By Steven Koutz

A piercer landed on the docking bay of the Black Guard class two warship, the Ripper. A piercer was a unique style of assault shuttles. It was designed for full out assault and forced boarding of other ships despite the size of the target. It had a side cargo door to board capital starships, a port hatch to dock with other shuttles and freighters. It also was the only ship that could dock with various starfighters because of its unique extendable pylon equipped with alternate dock fittings to create the required airtight seal. It was equipped with three fore mounted enhanced medium laser cannons, that fit like medium guns but fired like large ones. It was also equipped with two complements of ten concussion missiles with swivel launch tubes that allowed them to fire from the fore and the aft arcs of the starship. It had two aft mounted enhanced medium laser cannons as well as two small laser cannons on each side. It was equipped with enhanced shielding and a landing claw. It hosted radar jamming and stealth hull plating to allow the ship to approach without detection. Piercers were normally manned by ruthless and relentless commando teams with standard numbers of five to six of the most elite trooper forces known simply as the Brigadiers. Their success was measured by brutality and kills.

The side cargo door opened. The disembarking team aboard this piercer was the most decorated and successful infiltrators. They were dubbed the Whisper. They like all Black Guard soldiers, were a team of humans donned in black and dark blue armor. They were also equipped with the standard issue blaster pistols and rifles as well as the black whip and the signature black handheld axe with a fireman’s style head. Their black helmets also hosted the same blue tinted face shield but to signify the difference was the three top mounted razor edges. They also had green shoulder pads mounted to the body armor. They disembarked the piercer with their helmets gripped in hands. This team consisted of six dark skinned humans. The first was the youngest and the lovely Sergeant Fable Agatha. Her long black hair was tied back in two braided tails. She was a communication expert. She made even her armor look sexy with her slim form and stride. Lieutenant Batton Good was next to disembark. He was the shortest of the team. He had a buzzed haircut and a goatee shaven in the form of a downward pointed arrow. He was more of a spy than soldier and often sent in first as the team’s scout. The next off the ship was the team’s tech, Lieutenant Moss Kreese. He had a high and tight haircut, with a narrow mustache and chinstrap beard. He was well fit in muscle structure and wore the lesser and more open armor to allow him to get into tighter spaces. The pilot, Lieutenant Neesha Pitch was a female with long straight black hair. She walked with a more athletic stride. The weapons master of the group seemed to walk with a groove like she was listening to some deep rhythm rock music. She was Captain Sharnelli Bales and called the team to formation.

The team commander was Major Bub Daccam. His muscular frame seemed to highlight his armor. He was young for his rank but his bald head helped counter that with a look of toughness and edge. Major Daccam approached the awaiting Fright Agent Maddo, a member of the Teon race. The Teons were a rare alien race to this area of space. They were rumored to have come from within Derth controlled space. They appeared muscular, but it was more of their armor design. Their hands were of bone and resembled a human skeletal hand. Their heads resembled a human skull. Fright agents were the only highest ranked officers in the Black Guard that were not human.

He welcomed them aboard the Ripper and acknowledged that he had an assignment that would fit them like a glove. They were escorted to the strategy room and briefed on a Black Guard encampment that had been taken over by the Gangoks. The Gangoks were racial slurred with the terms of stink oafs and brawn brains because of their hulking physique and strong offensive odor. He added that the soldiers were confirmed dead but there was a device of classified importance in that encampment. Their mission was an elimination of all four Gangoks and retrieval of the device that was secured in a gray case box. He admitted that the Gangoks were unaware of the importance of the devise. Major Bub Daccam stated that it would be helpful to them if they knew the purpose of the device. He declared that his team had high security clearance. Fright Agent Maddo claimed that he could only reveal that the device was a prototype that would revolutionize hyperspace travel.

The piercer later landed on the planet Ris, a primarily wilderness planet. The Black Guard encampment was originally a deceit of a hunting party but was actually a transferring unit of the classified device from a secret base located under the river. The Whisper commando squad had advanced stealthily and fanned out and around the encampment with aid of the hand signals from Major Bub Daccam. The Gangoks may not have known about the classified device but they had come prepared with laser absorbent vests. Gangoks themselves had extra tough hides that would require extra fire power to affect. They were large hulking humanoid beings with large muscles and height. Despite their red skin, they resembled trolls of Earth myth, minus the horns. Each of the four Gangoks wore their black hair on the top of their heads in different mohawk cut styles. Their stench was strong yet tolerable to most races except the Helvens.

The commandos once in position, had made their moves. They had fired heavy blaster rifle fire into the encampment and focused intently at the two centermost positioned Gangoks. The ability of Gangoks to take heavy blaster hits even without the vests was incredible, but the vests had even added more challenge to the task. Despite that, the Whisper commandos had managed to take one of the four male Gangoks down. The other was dropped to a knee before throwing a portable camping stove into one hail of laser fire. Lieutenants Pitch and Kreese were knocked over by the impact of a heavy stove falling on them, The Gangok on his knee had been previously identified as Dredd. He was the leader of a Gangok opposition gang that had plagued Black Guard outposts. Major Bub Daccam and Lieutenant Batton Good had moved into fire at close range. Dredd had lunged upward and gripped the blaster rifles of both commandos. He ripped the weapons from their hands and bent the long barrels. They had both drawn their blaster pistols in rapid response.

The other two Gangoks had charged against the laser rifles of Captain Sharnelli Bales and Sergeant Fable Agatha. The two female commandos countered with extraordinary melee combat skills. Captain Sharnelli Bales dodged the swing of one Gangok and a double swing of the Gangok behind him. She tumbled around the rear posted Gangok and made him shift and turn with his large and powerful fists just missing each of her previous positions. She had grabbed onto his belt and swung herself upward in a backward swing to land the heels of her boots directly under his chin. The Gangok was staggered as Captain Sharnelli Bales dropped on her feet. She had also with the distraction slipped a frag grenade down the front of his pants. She slid between his legs and forward tumbled away from the explosion that blew the Gangok to pieces.

Sergeant Fable Agatha had tied up the wrist of the front Gangok with her black whip wrapped around it. The Gangok’s strength though had proven to be too powerful as he flung her overhead and into a large tree trunk. The impact had shaken her and she now had a blurred vision of the Gangok that charged at her with her whip handle dangling behind his run. Lieutenant Moss Kreese had recovered from the flying stove impact and charged between the Gangok and his fallen comrade. He threw the black axe signature weapon of the Black Guard into the charging Gangok’s throat. The Gangok stopped his charge suddenly and pulled the axe from his throat and tossed it to the ground. It had drawn red blood that ran down his red skinned chest but had not been deep enough to detour the Gangok’s hostile assault. He landed a solid fist punch onto Lieutenant Moss Kreese. The one solid and heavy punch drove the tech lieutenant straight down to the ground and left him unconscious. Sergeant Fable Agatha had taken her advantage and tumbled between the Gangok’s legs with her axe drawn and, in the tumble, came up with the one that the Gangok had thrown down. She ended her tumble motion behind him and drove both fireman style axe blades into the back ankles of the Gangok. He dropped to his knees and let out a roaring scream of pain that was silenced by two blaster bolts to the back of his head from the blaster pistol of Captain Sharnelli Bales.

Dredd was now the last Gangok standing. He screamed out in gong, the primary Gangok language. It translated to, “Finging Black Guard trash!” His scream was silenced by the blaster pistols of Major Bub Daccam and Lieutenant Batton Good. The shots riddled Dredd’s upper chest. The fatal blow was from the blaster rifle of Lieutenant Neesha Pitch. She apologized, “Sorry for my lateness but I did have a stove thrown on me.”

It was later that Major Bub Daccam and Captain Sharnelli Bales handed the silver case box to Fright Agent Maddo on the command deck of the Ripper. He commended their team on another successful mission. He added, “The Black Guard will be forever in your debt.” Major Bub Daccam responded, “No gratitude needed sir. Serving the Black Guard is our duty.”

THE ADVENTURES WILL CONTINUE: The Whisper commandos will serve again in short stories and the currently being written; Shadowed Stars book 4: Remnants.