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Book 1
FREEGROUND





Prologue

The Last Mission


The odds weren’t in our favour. They rarely were, but this time it was different. The stakes were higher. As I drifted through the silence of space in my Raze Starfighter, I got a shiver. All systems were deactivated, including life support. Our wing was hiding behind thousands of meteors we had stirred up and directed at a nearby gas giant.

There were one hundred of us this time, all set up in fighters, bombers, and shuttles, each assigned to a task group. In times like these, everyone’s performance was critical. We could make only the smallest sounds, radiate only the heat in our shielded vacuum suits, our only life support. We had to drift in the shadows of the meteor shower until the last possible instant.

People were watching, machines were scanning carefully for anything in the field that could be something other than rock. It was hard to stir up so much mass and send it close to the munitions station. If one of us were scanned because we were just a little out of place, all that work would be for nothing.

I looked towards our target through the cockpit and barely caught a glimpse. It was massive, two wheels surrounding a tall centrepiece hanging in orbit around a gargantuan blue and purple gas giant. The station looked small even though it was over a hundred kilometres across with fighter bays, drone launch tubes, dozens of point defence turrets, and missile launchers. No one had ever gotten anywhere near it. Beyond it were small silhouettes against the sun. One of the All-Con Fleet Battle Groups had stopped in to rearm and would be there for several days. They suspected someone would attack the station.

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