War Wolves Books 1 and 2 now available on Amazon!
Besides the white noise of the ocean and the few seagulls overhead, the base at Port Hueneme was as silent as a tomb. Riot pulled the jeep in an did a quick scan of the area. It appeared, for all intents and purposes, to be a deserted shell. Fences that once stood imposing and sturdy were now broken and bent. Bombed-out buildings lay demolished all around them.
“Uhhh, I don’t want to piss on your parade here,” Vet said as he straightened up in his seat, craning his neck to see all around him. “Still, I think I should tell you that Port Hueneme was abandoned after the initial Syndicate attack. They hit us hard here. We left this post and regrouped down south.”
“Just wait.” Riot maneuvered the jeep through the maze of crumbling buildings, overturned vehicles, and field of debris. “Do you remember Captain Harlan?”
“Uh, yeah. Every push-up he made us do, every mile he made us run.” Vet took another look around the destroyed area to make sure he wasn’t missing anything. “He’s here?”
Riot finally pulled the jeep to a stop beside a two-story building made of cream-colored cement. One side of the building had caved in on itself.
“When we destroyed the Syndicate, they left us information telling us this was all a test. They were preparing us for a much larger invasion from the true enemy. Captain Harlan is heading up a Marine division called SPEAR to deal with this new threat, and their HQ is here at the Bulwark.” Riot nodded to the building in front of them. “That’s why you’re here with me now. I want you on my squad for this mission. You’re the best mechanic I’ve ever met, and even with your vision, you’re one hell of a shot.”
“Count me in.” Vet hopped out of the jeep. “So what kind of goodies are we talking about? We get to look at all the cool alien tech, right?”
Riot scrunched her brow at Vet, stunned. She knew her oldest friend in the Corps would join her, but not this easily. It had taken him virtually no thought at all to jump skull-first into the madness they were about to embark on.
“What?” Riot hopped off the jeep and joined her friend on the other side of the beat-up vehicle. “Just like that? You’re in?”
“I’m not really doing much these days.” Vet shrugged, spitting to the side. “I knew when you picked me up we were going to do something crazy. It’s always something crazy with you. I was going to say yes whatever it was, that’s why I didn’t ask too many questions from the start. So you didn’t answer my question.”
“The alien tech, right? Tell me they’ve got their hands on some of the tech recovered from the Syndicate.”
Riot looked at Vet, and for a quick second, he was nothing more than a one-eyed kid rubbing his hands together on Christmas Eve.
“I don’t really know what they have.” Riot shrugged, motioning with her chin to the caved-in entrance to the building. “I don’t even know our exact mission. All I know was to start getting my squad ready, and you were on the top of my list. Come on, Cyclops, the sooner we get inside, the sooner we’ll get more answers.”
Vet followed alongside Riot as the two made their way around the building and to the entrance of the ruined building. The structure’s entry point was in a cove of debris. On their left, a huge slab of cement had fallen to the floor, blocking the left side of the double door. Riot walked straight to the right side where a metal panel was set into the cement wall.
“Master Sergeant Riot,” Riot said into the panel, at the same time placing the palm of her right hand on the pad. “Passcode phrase, ‘I miss Taco Bell.’”
The single steel door in front of them slid into the ground and completely out of view. A dark corridor sloping down welcomed them to the Bulwark.
“Wow.” Vet looked into the foreboding building with intrigue. “Makes me wish we brought the M16A4’s with us from the jeep.”
“We’re home now.” Riot stepped in through the door. “Come on, the lights aren’t going to activate until you step inside and the door shuts behind us.”
“This keeps getting stranger and stranger. Is it too late to revoke my decisions to join?” Vet stepped in through the door, scowling at the dark as if it were a real-life person who had personally offended him. “I hate not being able to see what’s in front of me.”
With a sound like a rush of gears, the metal door rose from the floor and sealed them into the space. A moment later, light blinded the pair of Marines.
“Ugh, my freaking eyebolla’s.” Riot winced at the brightness. Despite her anticipation of the light, it seemed she was still unprepared. “Come on, the elevator is down the hall.”
Riot blinked a few dozen times, trying to get her pupils adjusted to the light as she led the way based on her limited exposure here. They were in a long corridor with lights set into the walls as well as the ceiling. A pair of small-caliber turrets mounted in the ceiling moved along, following their progress.
A dark, circular dome was mounted upside down on the ceiling, housing a camera that tracked their every move.
“Was the bright-ass light really necessary?” Riot gave the camera the finger. She motioned to Vet with the thumb on her opposite hand. “This guy’s only got one eye left, so let’s try to keep it healthy.”
The pair finally reached the white elevator doors. A single, circular button with the symbol of a spear pointed down. Riot jammed it with her thumb five times just to be sure. It lit up under her command.
“I was wondering where we were going.” Vet shook his head, the scowl that was more his normal face than an expression creased his forehead. “Should have known you’d be taking me to a secret, underground military bunker.”
“Yeah, well, one of us has to keep things interesting, now that the Earth is free from an alien invasion and all.”
The elevator doors dinged open, providing access to its interior. The elevator was a large, square box with a series of numbers on the inside panel.
“Holy Syndicate almighty.” Vet scowled at the long rows of buttons and their corresponding levels. “How far did they have to drill into the ground to get seven levels beneath us?”
“Beats me.” Riot hit the button with the number seven on it, once, twice, then repeatedly to get the doors to close. “Hey, do you think the more I press the button, the faster the doors close, or is that just all in my head? Either way, it makes me feel better if I hit it a bunch of times.”
Vet shrugged, still trying to grasp the magnitude of how massive the Bulwark really was.
“Seven levels,” he said, more to himself than to Riot. “How long have they been working on this?”
The elevator doors came to a close. The steel box began to descend into the earth.
“And that’s just the levels that we know of.” Riot tapped the side of her head with the pointer finger on her right hand. “How many secret levels do you think they have in here? Let that cook your noodle for a minute.”
“A secret base like this has to have cool alien tech,” Vet murmured to himself. “They just have to.”
“Wait, listen?” Riot held a finger to her lips as the steel box continued to slowly lower. “Hear that?”
“I don’t hear anything.” Vet cocked his head. “Nothing.”
“Exactly,” Riot shouted, shaking her head in frustration. “My one request: add elevator music. And they couldn’t even do that. Oh well, come on, this is going to blow your mind.”
The elevator came to a stop. The doors slid open.
FROM JUSTIN >>> There we go, the second chapter of BRING THE THUNDER (War Wolves book 2). It just gets more and more fun, so stay tuned! Also, Jonathan and I recorded our Audiobook author notes yesterday and had a blast – stay tuned for that from Podium!
As for my author share this week, have you seen Isaac Hooke’s boxset for Alien War? Looks awesome!
With over fifty thousand books sold and borrowed, the Alien War trilogy has been one of the best-selling and highest-rated series published on Amazon over the past year. Perfect for fans of military science fiction and space opera alike, this bundle contains the complete trilogy: the full-length novels Hoplite, Zeus, and Titan.
In this riveting set, Rade Galaal and his elite team of mech pilots enter the fray to investigate the disappearance of a classified starship, retake a colony world, and face-off against an alien superthreat.