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Death Adder by Naomi Lucas

Death Adder by Naomi Lucas PDF

Author: Naomi Lucas

Publisher: Independently published


Publish Date: August 29, 2022


Pages: 374

File Type: Epub, PDF

Language: English

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Book Preface


“In and out, guys. That’s the goal. We get the target and we get out. This isn’t field practice. This planet is dangerous, and previous reports indicate that the locals are prone to aggression.”

“Oh, come on, Captain. It’s not like we’re dropping into Hellion. This is Earth. We all know what’s down there. Nothing but dust and bones.”

I don’t give Roger my attention. He feeds on jokes and easy sentiments, feeling the need to always lighten the mood of my squad. He does it when he’s nervous.

“Kyle, tighten your straps. Until we lose the pod, the descent will be much rougher than you’re used to,” I say.

Roger smiles from where he sits across from me. “Nobody wants to smell like vomit on their first mission.”

Once our ship is close enough to the planet, we’re dead falling in a battle box. The ship’s pilot will drop the container we’re in, aiming it at our target location. Until we make contact, we’ll be in freefall. The descent will be rough. They always are in battle boxes. Soldiers have died because their straps weren’t tight enough.

Sometimes they died anyway.

Those in command aren’t giving us a ship. There’s already one waiting for us on Earth—the same transit that brought Peter’s team here. We just have to find it, figure out what happened to Captain Peter and his team, and bring both home.

As my men settle back in their seats, I check the satellite map of Eagle’s Point. The ship is currently several miles north of the original mission site and sits at the base of a mountain. Peter’s ship hasn’t moved for several months, not since its emergency takeoff.

And its subsequent crash.

Peter’s ship never made it off of Earth, and shortly afterward, all contact was lost. Since then, Central Command has been in the dark.

Central Command does not like being in the dark.

Countdown commences in one minute.

I lower the map and pull down my goggles.

Peter’s mission was supposed to be an easy one: find the whereabouts of the enemy’s technology and bring it back to The Dreadnaut in hopes that we can discover a way to fight the Ketts. We need anything that would give us an advantage. Because we’re running out of options.

“Steady now,” I remind my team. “Deep, even breaths. This’ll be over before it’s begun.”

Stoney silence answers me as I scan my squad one last time. They’re focused and aware.


The box trembles, and it’s lifted from its track—disconnected from the transport ship. Reaching up, I clutch the straps over my chest and join my men in bracing.

We’re close to Earth now.

Our homeworld.

The pilot’s voice over the intercom begins counting down from thirty. My fingers strain as the cushions on either side of my head tighten, locking my head in place. The light above us flickers when the box lurches. Then the light goes out entirely.

My men are silent through all of it, probably holding in their stomachs and swallowing the ball of anxiety lodged in their throats.

Nobody likes being dropped, especially in the dark. I inhale and hope to god that we land on level ground.

“Five. Four. Three—” my eyes wrench shut “—Two. One.”

We rattle as a hollow, static sound envelops everything. That hollowness stabs into my gut and my head, making me lightheaded, even shaky. I grit my teeth against it.

The woosh of air—of cutting pressure—encompasses the space inside the box, and my boots lift off the floor. I press them down as the sensation of weightlessness grows, as one second becomes a hundred more.

My body lurches upward, thrusting my soul out of my body, and we stop as I jerk just as violently down. The pressure clears. The lights turn on, and then there’s a moment of strained tension as everyone peels their eyes open.

I pry my fingers out from around my straps. “It’s done.”

Roger curses. “I think I pissed my pants.”

Officer Ashton rises from his seat first. He has been with me the longest and is my team’s analyst as well as my co-pilot. “When don’t you piss yourself?”

They continue to bicker while I straighten my uniform and push up my goggles. I unlatch my supplies from under my seat and tug on my weapons’ straps and walk to the back of the box to grab my rifle from the cabinet. When I’m certain it’s not jammed, I throw on my beltpack.

My hand pauses over the lump in my right pocket, checking the small recorder Dr. Laura gave me an hour before takeoff. It’s undamaged. Sighing, I walk to the front where Ashton is kneeling at the hatch and peering down at his tablet.

I peer over his shoulder at the screen. “What do you see?”

“The temperature is 76F, the air is clear of radiation particles, oxygen and hydrogen levels are good, and we’re on level ground. Captain Briars knows his math.”

“And the ship?”

He flicks his screen and brings up another. “Peter’s ship is southeast of us by about five kilometers.”

“Good. That’s not too far.”

“As I said, Briars knows his math.”

“Captain, there’s something wrong with Liam!”

Josef stands next to Petty Officer Liam, who is bowed over, and coughing up spittle. He loads his medical scanner and begins checking him over.

I open my water canister and head to them. “Drink,” I order.

Liam wipes his mouth and takes my water. “Thanks, Captain.”

“His vitals are elevated, though not by much. He’s fine,” Josef mumbles and puts his tool away. “He’s just green.”

Liam wipes his mouth again and hands the canister back to me. “Of course I’m fine.”

“This is your first drop. It happens.”

“Someone always vomits,” Roger quips.

I return to the front and secure the rest of my gear. Liam and Josef follow me and do the same.

Pulling my rifle forward, I face my men.

“We’re not supposed to interfere with the local alien life unless absolutely necessary. We’re not supposed to make our presence known at all,” I remind them. “These nagas are sentient and are highly intelligent beings, according to Captain Peter’s reports. If you see one, you’ll know it. They look like us, except they have a tail instead of legs. Let’s make this quick, short and sweet. We head straight for the ship.”

“What happens if we get there and everyone is dead?”

I meet Liam’s eyes at the back. His face is white as a ghost, and it’s clear he’s not feeling well. Maybe the water wasn’t enough. “Let’s hope that’s not the case. We cover each other’s backs, understand?” I look at each one of them as I say it. “This is Earth, remember that, this isn’t a war zone. What’s our motto?”

“Life’s too short for shit.”


My men know what they’re doing and I’m confident in their abilities. Although Liam and Kyle are new to me and are mainly serving as extra manpower in this mission, Josef, my team’s medic, and Roger, my second in command, are both full-fledged officers and have been with me since I was transferred from the front lines to serve on The Dreadnaut. Both men are excellent officers, but Ashton and I go back even further.

I had been the only surviving soldier after the Ketts’ takeover of Colony 4’s airspace. My ship crashed outside Huryanta City just as the aliens turned their attention to the planet and the people still trapped upon it. I managed to get into the city, make it to the local base and help the citizens hold the Ketts off long enough to repair one of their few remaining ships.

Now that the people had a pilot in their midst, they had hope.

Getting that ship off the planet should’ve been impossible, but the stars aligned for me, saving not only my life but Ashton’s as well, the brother of a Colonel of The Dreadnaut’s military. He followed me when I was then transferred to The Dreadnaut, where I was awarded medals, bumped up in caste, and given my squad.

The Colonel said a woman with a strong survival sense shouldn’t be wasted on the Ketts. I was a hero now. I could be utilized better, and I agreed because if I ever faced a Kett again, I knew it would be the last thing I saw.

I was lucky and afraid. I agreed and became a Captain.

Nobody gets that lucky twice.

Meeting each of their gazes one last time, Roger gives me a twitchy smile back.

I punch the release code into the battle box’s panel. Pressure floods my ears as the door gives way and disappears into the confines of the box’s inner walls.

Shrouded in darkness, an alien wilderness greets me.

Breathe, says Laura’s voice in the back of my mind.

Inhaling sharply, I turn my night vision on and step out onto sacred ground.

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