So, it's out.
Book four of the Prometheus Series, Prometheus Vengeance is out now on Amazon HERE.
I hope you like this latest installment in Frankie's story.
If you want more of a taster, you can read the second snippet below.
If she had to guess, she would bet that these guys were a distraction. Placed here to cover the escape of the main group by distracting and delaying the police response. They were sacrificial lambs, and they had no idea what they had let themselves in for, she thought, feeling angry and pissed off. The self-important arrogance of the Corporations and their agents never failed to annoy her.
Moving down the length of the transport, she peered around the end of it and looked up at the building. The threat seemed to be confined to the rooftop, and the building wasn’t too far from the edge of the highway, either.
‘What’s your plan, Frankie?’ William asked via their neural link.
‘Patch me through the Ulric, please,’ she asked.
‘One moment…’ William said. ‘Okay, you’re through, Frankie,’ William said as an icon in her field of vision appeared to let her know another person had joined this link session.
‘They’re on the roof of the nearby building to our north. Ulric, please let your men know that I’m going in,’ she said. ‘We need to take these guys out before any more innocents get shot.’
‘Do you want back up?’ Ulric asked.
‘They can follow me up, but I will be going on ahead. They’ll just slow me down,’ she answered him.
‘Okay, I’ll let them know,’ Ulric said.
Frankie eyed the building, the distance to it from the edge of the highway, and calculated her jump. Rocking back on her rear foot, Frankie charged forward.
She carefully judged her speed, hopped up onto the top of the side barrier, and pushed off hard, leaping into mid-air towards the side of the building as gunfire sounded all around her. A few shots slammed into the highway close to her, but she wasn’t hit and sailed through the air, firing off a handful of shots at her target window, spreading spider web cracks all across it.
A second later, Frankie tucked herself into a ball, holding her arms and legs close as she smashed through the window, sending chunks of glass flying into the room beyond. Frankie rolled and came to her knees, her gun up and ready.
Frankie remained still for a second, listening, but heard nothing of concern and moved to the door. She was in a room that was set up like a home office and moved cautiously as she stepped outside of it. She found herself in an open plan living space and standing within it was a woman, her hands up in surrender and looking very scared.
‘I’m not going to hurt you. Stay inside your apartment, let me out of here and lock the door behind me. Let no one else in until the police say otherwise. Got it?’
The woman nodded.
‘Where’s the exit?’ Frankie asked.
‘It’s there… It’s open,’ she said, her voice squeaking with fear.
‘Lock it behind me,’ Frankie repeated and moved to the door. She opened it and went through, checking the corridor. ‘Direction to the stairs?’ Frankie called back into the apartment.
‘Left, then first right,’ the woman answered.
‘Thanks,’ Frankie said before she set off along the passageway, holding her gun up high and ready. She took the first right as directed, and a short distance along the corridor widened out. There were four elevator doors here, two on either side, and another fire door that led to a stairwell.
She considered taking the lift, but it might announce her presence and make her an easier target, neither of which was a desirable option. Stepping through the fire door, Frankie moved into the stairwell and listened carefully once again. She couldn’t hear anything suspicious for the moment. All she knew was that she needed to get to the roof top as quickly as possible. Steeling herself, Frankie set off at a sprint, taking the first set of stairs in two leaps before rounding the corner and leaping up the second flight in a single jump.
Frankie kept her free hand on the centre railing to keep herself on track, using it to bank around the corners at the top of each flight of steps and moved as quickly as she could.
One of the benefits of being a full body cyborg was her ability to run at a full sprint and not get tired or out of breath, which came in useful at times like this when she needed to move quickly. Her enhanced muscles and strength was also proving useful as she took each flight in a single leaping step.
As she neared the top, Frankie slowed down and started to listen more to her surroundings, hoping to notice any threat before it was too late.
However, it soon became clear that there was no one in the stairwell with her, and as she reached the last few flights, she noticed that this stairway stopped short of the roof, with the final door exiting into the top floor instead. She ascended the last flight of steps carefully, having pulled her rifle from her back where she had stowed it for the run up the steps. As she reached the door, still not hearing much to suggest any danger, she noticed that this door had been forced open sometime recently. The frame around the lock was broken with bits of plastic and metal laid on the floor.
Frankie opened the door slowly and carefully, peeking around the corners before stepping out and into the empty corridor outside. She noticed, amongst the signs on the wall pointing to where the rooms on this floor were, there was also an arrow pointing to roof access. Frankie followed it, creeping along the hallways, taking a right, and then a left, but she stopped at the corner as she heard movement up ahead.
Frankie took a quick look around the corner and saw at the end of the corridor, which wasn’t too far ahead, that a group of four guys, operators by the looks of them, had set up a little defensive wall around them using cleaners carts and boxes.
Frankie smiled, it was almost cute. She had no time to waste, though, and pulled out a grenade from her belt pouch. Frankie could set these on either a timer or control them wirelessly when they were in short range. She flicked the top off and armed it, causing an icon to appear in her field of vision asking her if she would like to control it. She confirmed that she did and threw it around the corner.
The two-inch long cylinder spun end over end and flew through the air, dropping behind the barricade just as one of the men spotted her at the corner and yelled to his teammates.
Frankie detonated the grenade. The explosion wasn’t huge, but it sent all four of the operators flying, along with their makeshift barriers with some of the debris bouncing past her along the hallway. As the shockwave passed, Frankie darted out into the hall, shouldering her rifle as she marched forward, through the still settling debris. She could see the first operator a short distance up ahead, laid out on the floor, covered in blood and badly injured. He was still alive, though, so Frankie put two rounds into the man’s head to put him out of his misery.
She moved up and reached the T junction with the doorway to the roof on the far wall and looked left and right, just in time to see one of the wounded operators lift a gun and fire at her. Frankie ducked and without even thinking about it, fired back with a three round burst into the man’s centre of mass.
He jerked as the round hit him before dropping limp. Frankie looked and found the other two, but they were already dead, their injuries too severe for them to be able to survive.
The door on the opposite wall was hanging off its hinges and looking much worse for wear after the explosion. It also had a sign above it saying, “Staff Only” and “Roof Access”.
Beyond the door, Frankie could see a good-sized storage and service room with cleaning products and maintenance tools inside as well as pipes and wires running all over the walls and into junction boxes.
Frankie moved inside and soon found some stairs leading up on a far wall. She hoped she wasn’t too late to help the police that the operators up here were shooting at, and moved forward, only to notice a shadow pass over the wall, blocking the light from the top of the stairs for a moment.
‘Guys, what’s going on down here,’ said a male voice.
Unable to see the top of the stairs, Frankie aimed her gun in that direction and moved slowly forward, keeping quiet. She tucked herself into the wall, making herself partially concealed, and waited. A few seconds later, the shadow moved again, quickly this time as a figure walked down a few steps into view and swung his gun out to look into the room.
The operator couldn’t help but notice the debris and aftermath of the explosion that had happened outside the door, and looked on in horror, probably seeing at least part of the one the bodies out there.
‘What the…’ he muttered to himself.
Frankie didn’t wait any longer, and with her sights already lined up on the figure, she simply squeezed the trigger. Her gun barked, and the man on the stairs spun like a top, blood splattering over the rear wall as he tumbled and fell. He bumped down the last few steps of the stairway and settled on the floor at the bottom, his gun still held tightly in his hand.
Frankie was very much aware that she needed to end this as quickly as she could, and stepped up to, and then over this latest casualty before bounding up the stairs in three steps, leaping out of the door to the roof, and landing in a roll. As she came up, she could see four more operators up here, one of them much closer to her than the others and moving towards the door, no doubt wondering what the hell might be going on down there.
He looked positively startled upon seeing her spring from the door, causing him to freeze. Frankie was grateful for this lack of judgement on his part as she took in the rest of the scene and brought her gun to bear.
Behind this closest figure, she could make out three more operators, two of them held guns and were next to the far edge of the roof. One of them was shooting down at the highway below, while the other was shouting orders at the third man who was fumbling to load another Rocket Propelled Grenade into the launcher.
Frankie opened fire on the closest man, putting three shots into him, two in the chest and the final one into his head. Just beyond him and to the right, the man with the RPG looked up at Frankie as she readied her next shot. He looked surprised as she fired again, but this time, she aimed for the large grenade in his hand. Blood exploded from the man's hand as her bullets ripped through it and into the casing of the RPG. A fraction of a second later, it exploded with an almighty bang, obliterating the operator who had been loading the launcher in a shower of flying gore. The building shook, bits of stone or concrete flew everywhere, and the next nearest operator, who had been firing over the side of the building, oblivious to Frankie, got thrown off the edge with a wild yell of pain and fear.
Frankie half laughed as she jumped to her feet and shot forward a few steps with her gun trained on the remaining man.
The final operator looked up at Frankie after having moved to shield himself from that latest explosion. He looked quite sheepish and shocked for a second, but then moved quickly to bring his pistol up to shoot at her. Frankie moved, spinning as she advanced and kicked at his gun, smashing his hand with her unforgiving boot heel, sending the gun skittering across the floor.
‘Aaaagh,’ the man yelled as she moved in again and punched him in the face. She didn’t put her full force into it, pulling the punch at the last moment. It would still have hurt, though. The man dropped to his hands and spat blood on the floor as Frankie grabbed the rifle that had fallen to the floor next to him and threw it away.
She stood there for a second and scanned the rest of the rooftop. No one else was here; they were alone.
‘I’m on the roof. The shooters have been taken care of,’ Frankie sent through her neural link.
‘Copy that, we’re on our way up,’ William said.
‘Now, then,’ she said as she reached down and grabbed the final operator by the scruff of the neck and lifted him up to look at her. ‘Who are you and what the hell are you doing up here?’ she asked.
‘And why should I tell you?’ he asked, defiant.
‘Tell me, or I hack your cyberbrain and dig it out. Either way, I’m finding out,’ she answered him. ‘But the hack will be painful.’
The man was about to speak, but then closed his mouth, apparently weighing up his options before he looked up at Frankie again.
‘I’m an operator with Nano Technic, or at least, I was. We broke away before they could put us under arrest. We needed to save more of us, and once we’d done that, we were put here to cover their escape,’ he said.
‘In other words, you’re expendable. You’re not valuable enough for your superiors to save,’ she said.
‘Call it what you like, it was an honour to serve,’ he replied.
She suddenly sensed movement behind her and twisted to have a look, only to see William and DCI Riley with a few other officers, jog up onto the roof. Frankie relaxed as William approached her.
‘Good job, you even kept one alive,’ he said to her.
‘Figured he could be useful,’ she answered as officers moved in to cuff him. Frankie stepped away with the director to give them space. ‘Looks like a whole group of them got away, though, and if they left these nine here, they must be a fairly sizable force to be able to afford to leave them,’ she said.
‘That is alarming, but not as worrying as what their plan or target might be with such a force,’ William said, concern etched upon his face.