Pegasus Chained

Pegasus Chained - Book one of the Pegasus Wars trilogyYou don’t put an Intelligence officer inside a Tactical Armor. Or do you?

Rosa is no ordinary decryption specialist, and the prototype she pilots could be the best defense her colony has against an alien invasion. But when a rebel faction steals the Savant Armors, Rosa finds herself fighting a completely different war than the one she signed up for.

PEGASUS CHAINED is the first book of the Pegasus Wars trilogy. Chapters presented here are works in progress, and may not be the same as their final version.


Prologue – Fires

“Let it burn!”

The cry echoed from one end of the crowded street to the other as policemen in riot gear held back the chanting throng. There was smoke in the air–the remains of several Molotov cocktails burned themselves out on the pavement, but none had reached its target. Behind the stoic line of police rose the peaked roof of Governor Matsumori’s mansion, built in a style from ancient Japan. Its elegant gables and well-tended garden mocked the decaying city around it.

Diane Schuler elbowed her way toward a dented pick-up truck that someone had abandoned in the middle of the street. A dozen people stood on top of it already, waving picket signs. Most wore handkerchiefs over their faces to conceal their identities, but Diane didn’t bother–it was too hot anyway, and she wanted to be seen.

“Diane, wait for me!” Adam’s voice was barely audible over the calls of the crowd, and Diane ignored him. She was about to do something dangerous, and that always made her half-brother worry.

Diane was done with worry. She drank in the anger of her fellow colonists, let it fill her to the point of giddiness.

Every demonstration had its own unique energy and flow. Some were kerosene-soaked tinder, awaiting the right spark. Others resisted violence despite her best efforts. This one smoldered already, and Diane had only to fan the flames.

Two men helped her to the top of the truck, and the crowd took up a new cry. First by handfuls, prompted by Diane’s crew seeded among them, then in droves, until it filled the whole street.

“Schuler! Schuler!”

Diane looked at the faces around her. Pale European stock. Dusky Asians and Americanos. Africans even darker than Adam. All the hues of forgotten Earth looked back at Diane with hope, curiosity and expectation.

She raised her hands and the crowd quieted. Half a block away, policemen craned their necks to see what was happening. Someone handed Diane a megaphone, and she spoke into it.

“Laborers of Matsumori,” she said. “A hundred years ago my family, like yours, were drawn to Pegasus Four by the promises of the Nidus Mining Cooperative. By their lies.”

Her last word rippled angrily through the crowd.

“Nidus promised us wealth and prosperity, riches to be had mining the Medusa Rings.” She pointed upward. The rings were barely visible in the afternoon light, a pale cloud that stretched from one horizon to the other. “But have we ever seen one milli-cred of Cooperative profits?”

“No!” came the unanimous reply.

“The lord governors promised us a new world, billions of acres of untouched land. But do they share it? No! They keep us penned inside filthy cities and preserve it for their own descendants. What right do they have to withhold it from us? Who mines the asteroids and farms their fields–Citizens or Laborers?” Diane asked.

“Laborers!”

There was a stir along the police line, a handful of officers pressing through toward Diane. She needed to abbreviate her speech.

“And what about that mansion on the hill?” Diane leveled an accusatory finger at the building. “Who tends its gardens and sweeps the halls, while our children starve on the wages they pay us?”

“Laborers!” the crowd shouted.

“What shall we do about it?” Diane asked. “We sit here hungry while the Governor dines in his fancy house. How shall we repay him for his generosity and kindness?”

Governor Matsumori had no fans in the audience that day. The suggestions varied, but gradually the chant rose again; “Let it burn! Let it burn!”

Diane waited, letting their anger build to a fever pitch. The policemen closed upon her, and one of them drew his gun. Adam tackled him to the ground.

It was now or never. Diane silenced the crowd again, then leveled an arm at the police-ringed mansion. “As you wish!”

A resounding thump echoed from a nearby rooftop as a small missile launched over the heads of the policemen and impacted against the front wall of the mansion. It didn’t do much real damage, but the shock of the explosion knocked several policemen off their feet, and the building finally caught fire.

Chaos erupted. Screams of terror mingled with shouts of glee. The police line broke. The officers who had been making their way through the crowd were dragged down by a dozen grasping hands apiece, and didn’t come back up.

Diane ducked inside the pick-up truck before things got any uglier. There was someone in the driver’s seat, a blond woman in her forties whose face wasn’t quite as lean as those in the crowd. She hadn’t been there a moment before.

“Where to?” the woman asked.

Diane didn’t think twice. “Four blocks back, then turn left. But wait for … here he is.” She slid over so that Adam could climb in beside her. “What’s your name?”

“I’m Pam,” the woman said, and touched the dashboard with one hand. The display lit up immediately, and the engine coughed awake.

“This your car?” Adam asked with a frown.

“Nope.” Pam looked over her shoulder and honked the horn. The crowd surged past and the truck inched slowly backward.

It took ten minutes, but they managed to get out of the street without running over anyone. Diane guided them to a dilapidated building six blocks away. A pair of slat-ribbed dogs blocked the alleyway, growling, until Adam hit one with a piece of masonry and sent them running.

“I’m not letting her inside,” Adam muttered, watching Pam climb out of the truck. “She could be anyone.”

Support me on Patreon!Next

Leave a Reply