BOOK EXCERPT: Stardogs Two, Redemption by Herbert Gross

Herbert Grosshans
Science Fiction with a dash of Erotica
Out Now! Stardogs: Book One.

The following is an expert from Stardogs Two, Redemption:

I awoke with the distinctive feeling that something was amiss. Opening my eyes, I didn’t move, just lay quiet, listening. Then I heard the faint scraping of an object being pulled across the hard
ground. It came from the direction of the fire. Turning my head slowly, I saw shadows moving around the fire pit. The fire had burned down. Only embers glowed inside the ring of stones; small sparks exploded occasionally into the air, illuminating the source of the sound.

Someone was trying to steal the large kettle. My eyes adjusted to the darkness and my hearing slipped into enhancement. The intruders were clearly visible now. I could make out the intricate tattoos on their naked arms. The blue and yellow color of their horns identified them as members of the Dark Lizard tribe. Fierce warriors feared by many of the other tribes.

I wondered what they were doing here in the mountains. They usually roamed the expanse
between the Golgat Mountain Ridge and the Black River Ridge, but then I saw the bright yellow of a Yellowhorn and realized that these were renegades, outlaws from different tribes. I saw at least six, but there could be more hiding in the shadows. The ones I saw moved on silent feet. I wondered what had happened to our sentry. Either dead by the hands of the intruders or fallen asleep at his post.

I shifted slightly, as if turning in my sleep, so I could get a look at the wooded area to my right and my suspicion was confirmed. More were hiding among the thicket. How many I couldn’t tell. I also heard the soft snorting of their riding animals. My rifle lay beside me, loaded and ready, but one bullet isn’t going to make a difference. It would only take care of one of them. I didn’t
see any rifles in their hands, but that didn’t mean they didn’t have any. Their comrades in the shrubs might be aiming their weapons right now at our heads. No guarantee they would hit any of us, but not impossible.

I knew that Cherryh was awake. I detected the change in the rhythm of his breathing moments after I awoke. No surprise there, since his body had been altered just like mine, and his senses were as alert as my own. The indigenous people could see better in the dark than humans, but
they didn’t have the ability Cherryh and I had. We lay in the darkness of the trees and weren’t as visible as some of the others. None of the other members of our caravan seemed to be aware of the trespassers in our midst. The consumption of wine had put them into a stupor and they
were probably dreaming of the hot-blooded women they would find in Isram. I felt the gentle click in my ear as my built-in speaker came to life.

“Major.” Cherryh’s voice came as a ghostly whisper. “I’ll take care of the ones in the bushes.”

Activating my own communicator, I whispered, “Alright.” I knew that he also had seen the path he could take to surprise the unseen watchers. He moved away without another comment. I watched his dark form crawling close to the ground, shielded by the shrubs that connected our sleeping place with the thicket the intruders used as their hiding place. He disappeared from my view into the protection of the tall shrubs. I waited for a few minutes, to give Cherryh time. I didn’t have to wait too long.

“Perimeter secured.” His voice sounded cold, distant, all emotions gone from it. He had done what needed to be done. My own body shifted into combat-mode. I moved before I even had a
chance to plan what I would do. It was almost like watching someone else. I was aware of what I did, but it happened without conscious effort. I didn’t need my rifle. It would only have been a handicap. The first of the interlopers fell without a sound when I grabbed him from behind
and broke his neck with a quick twist. As he fell, I grabbed his kiso and moved behind the Yellowhorn, who was stalking in front of him.

Pulling back his head, I drew the sharp blade across his throat. Gurgling and gushing blood, he joined his companion on the cold ground. The two who were carrying the kettle must have heard the commotion, because they stopped and looked back. When they saw me, they dropped the kettle and went for their own kisos. I was upon them before they could pull the wicket blades out of their sheaths. The first one died when I smashed my fist into his face, pushing the bones of his nose into his brain. Then I killed the other one with one vicious kick to his throat, crushing his windpipe with the heel of my foot. My incredible reflexes saved me from the thrown Ginsa-staffs of the last two, who had been heading toward the spot where Dragor and his men were sleeping. Dropping to the ground, I rolled away and rose again, grabbing one of the barbed weapons, which had clattered harmlessly to the ground behind me. Swinging it in an arc above my head, I advanced toward the two, who stood frozen in surprise.
Herbert Grosshans

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