Space MarineA group of Marines were busy in the silo’s command center trying to communicate with their families and figure out what was left of civilization after the invasion. They’d related to the resistance fighters that they’d escaped from the Syndicate after being given direct orders to assault and liquidate Shiloh.

This greatly concerned the resistance fighters who’d long believed that they were protected from attack because of the nuclear missiles housed in the silo. After discussing the possibilities of an imminent alien attack, Comerford and the others transitioned to other issues, specifically background information on how society had quickly broken down after the invasion. How the military had valiantly fought back, but been crippled by the alien’s overwhelming forces and technology.

They’d also come to learn that even though they’d known about the invasion, the top brass hadn’t been prepared for the alien’s tactics. Comerford, who’d once served in Army intelligence, was showing classified and open-source footage on a series of screens that had been downloaded in the hours before and directly after first contact with the Syndicate. While all indications were that the Syndicate had indeed knocked out a good number of satellites, some still remained along with intermittent internet access. Giovanni, Milo, Renner, Hayden, Cody, Xan, Hawkins, Mackie, and several other resistance fighters studied the footage.

Comerford tapped on the screens, pointing at images of Syndicate assaults on cities. “Turns out the aliens were here long before we first spotted them.”

“What? You mean, like E.T.?” Renner asked, and Comerford silenced him with a look.

“They engaged in what the brass used to call ‘Special War’ or ‘Convergence,’” Comerford added.

“Hybrid war,” Hayden muttered.

Milo pursed his lips. “Same thing Mao used during the Chinese civil war, Ho Chi Minh used in Vietnam—”

“And we used in that scrap back in the day in the South China Sea,” Renner added, with a knowing smile.

“Well, it isn’t any secret that the bastards lit us up physically and psychologically,” Comerford muttered. “They mixed conventional and unconventional tactics, flooding our cities with spiked drugs ahead of time, planting fake stories, screwing with cyberspace and satellites and our LOCs—lines of communication—turning countries against each other. And even though we were prepared for them to a certain extent, folks started getting awful paranoid. They wondered whether the alien threat was real and then boom, they hit us hard with the most precise military assault the world’s ever seen and we’ve yet to recover.”

“What happened to the President?” Milo asked.

Comerford’s jaw locked. “After they declared martial law, that weasel and the rest of the D.C. Continuity of Operations desk jockeys holed up in the bottom of Site-R in Pennsylvania. Raven Rock. Surprisingly, the invaders didn’t bring the hammer down on the White House, Congress, or Wall Street.”

“How come?” Giovanni asked.

“Probably figured it’d just be a waste of good ammunition,” Comerford replied, with a shrug.

“We should try to raise them,” Milo said. “Congress, the Pentagon. Maybe they’re still online. Maybe there’s a way to reach Centcom.”

“Aside from some of the satellites, almost everything’s still down,” Renner replied, shaking his head. “All of the databases, the ‘net, even all of my social media dating sites.”

“Screw your sites and screw the Brass,” Xan hissed. “We don’t need a bunch of politicians and water-walkers telling us how to fight.”

Milo’s gaze ratcheted over to Xan. “You gonna take out the Syndicate all by yourself?”

A zippered grin splashed her face. “One scud at a time.”

Xan slapped palms with another resistance fighter as Comerford powered down the screens. He looked to Giovanni and Hayden. “We’ve got some intel that the scuds are actually starting to branch out. They’re operating in the deserts, diverting rivers, and what not.”

“For what purpose?” Giovanni asked.

“To build bases. We’ve got some eyewitness reports that they dammed up the Snake River Canyon to build some kind of forward operating base.”

Worried looks were shared and Comerford swapped glances with the Marines.

“The bottom line is we know our terrain, we know what’s happening on terra firma. We were kinda hoping you boys would be able to give us some special insights on account of how long you were up in their command ship. Their tactics, maybe a weakness or two.”

“Yeah, and also tell us what it was like being their bitches,” Xan said as the other resistance fighters snickered. She moved over and jabbed a finger at the circle of welted flesh on the back of Hayden’s neck—the alien tattoo he and the others had been given back on the alien command ship.

Hayden swatted Xan’s hand away. “Lady, if you’ve got the ovaries to take on the aliens all by yourself, how come you haven’t overthrown ‘em yet?

“I’m workin’ on it,” Xan barked back, her smile slipping away.

“Well, what’s taking you so long?”

“We don’t have enough firepower,” she snapped.

“Exactly,” Hayden replied. “So how ‘bout you take a long cool sip of shut the fuck up and maybe we’ll tell you how to get that firepower.”

“Aside from that pea-shooter between your legs, whaddya got?” Xan asked.

Hayden looked over at Cody who smiled sheepishly. “Yeah, okay, so we’ve got some stuff you guys might find interesting.”

FROM JUSTIN >>> With all of the other publications coming along lately, I had to be sure you all don’t forget about the third Syndicate Wars book. So here it is, the third snippet.