Dozois Gardner - Space Soldiers / Дозуа Гарднер - Солдаты космоса [2011, EPUB, ENG]

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Space Soldiers / Солдаты космоса

Название: Space Soldiers / Солдаты космоса
Год выпуска: 2011
Под редакцией: Dozois Gardner & Dann Jack / Дозуа Гарднер & Данн Джек
Издательство: Baen
eISBN: 978-1-62579-153-5
Формат: EPUB
Качество: eBook
Язык: английский

Для любителей боевой фантастики - о тех кому предстоит сражаться в Звездных Войнах ...
    The Gardens of Saturn Paul J. McAuley
    Soldiers Home William Barton
    Legacies Tom Purdom
    Moon Duel / Лунная дуэль Fritz Leiber
    Savior Robert Reed
    Galactic North Alastair Reynolds
    Masque of the Red Shift / Маскарад в красном смещении Fred Saberhagen
    Time Piece Joe Haldeman
    On the Orion Line / На линии Ориона Stephen Baxter
Fritz Leiber

First hint I had we’d been spotted by a crusoe was a little tick coming to my moonsuit from the miniradar Pete and I were gaily heaving into position near the east end of Gioja crater to scan for wrecks, trash, and nodules of raw metal.
Then came a whish which cut off the instant Pete’s hand lost contact with the squat instrument. His gauntlet, silvery in the raw low polar sunlight, drew away very slowly, as if he’d grown faintly disgusted with our activity. My gaze kept on turning to see the whole shimmering back of his helmet blown off in a gorgeous sickening brain-fog and blood-mist that was already falling in the vacuum as fine red snow.
A loud tock then and glove-sting as the crusoe’s second slug hit the miniradar, but my gaze had gone back to the direction Pete had been facing when he bought it—in time to see the green needle-flash of the crusoe’s gun in a notch in Gioja’s low wall, where the black of the shadowed rock met the gemlike starfields along a jagged border. I unslung my Swift* as I dodged a long step to the side and squeezed off three shots. The first two shells must have traveled a touch too high, but the third made a beautiful fleeting violet globe at the base of the notch. It didn’t show me a figure, whole or shattered, silvery or otherwise, on the wall or atop it, but then some crusoes are camouflaged like chameleons and most of them move very fast.

Pete’s suit was still falling slowly and stiffly forward. Three dozen yards beyond was a wide black fissure, though exactly how wide I couldn’t tell because much of the opposite lip merged into the shadow of the wall. I scooted toward it like a rat toward a hole. On my third step, I caught up Pete by his tool belt and oxy tube while his falling front was still inches away from the powdered pumice, and I heaved him along with me. Some slow or overdrilled part of my brain hadn’t yet accepted he was dead.
Then I began to skim forward, inches above the ground myself, kicking back against rocky outcrops thrusting up through the dust—it was like fin-swimming. The crusoe couldn’t have been expecting this nut stunt, by which I at least avoided the dreamy sitting-duck slowness of safer, higher-bounding moon-running, for there was a green flash behind me and hurtled dust faintly pittered my soles and seat. He hadn’t been leading his target enough. Also, I knew now he had shells as well as slugs.
I was diving over the lip three seconds after skoot-off when Pete’s boot caught solidly against a last hooky outcrop. The something in my brain was still stubborn, for I clutched him like clamps, which made me swing around with a jerk. But even that was lucky, for a bright globe two yards through winked on five yards ahead like a mammoth firefly’s flash, but not quite as gentle, for the invisible rarified explosion-front hit me hard enough to boom my suit and make the air inside slap me. Now I knew he had metal-proximity fuses on some of his shells, too—they must be very good at mini-stuff on his home planet.
The tail of the pale green flash showed me the fissure’s bottom a hundred yards straight below and all dust, as ninety percent of them are—pray God the dust was deep. I had time to thumb Extreme Emergency to the ship for it to relay automatically to Circumluna. Then the lip had cut me off from the ship and I had lazily fallen out of the glare into the blessed blackness, the dial lights in my helmet already snapped off—even they might make enough glow for the crusoe to aim by. The slug had switched off Pete’s.
Ten, twelve seconds to fall and the opposite lip wasn’t cutting off the notched crater wall. I could feel the crusoe’s gun trailing me down—he’d know moon-G, sticky old five-foot. I could feel his tentacle or finger or claw or ameboid bump tightening on the trigger or button or what. I shoved Pete away from me, parallel to the fissure wall, as hard as I could. Three more seconds, four, and my suit boomed again and I was walloped as another green flash showed me the smooth-sifted floor moving up and beginning to hurry a little. This flash was a hemisphere, not a globe—it had burst against the wall—but if there were any rock fragments they missed me. And it exactly bisected the straight line between me and Pete’s silvery coffin. The crusoe knew his gun and his Luna—I really admired him, even if my shove had pushed Pete and me, action and reaction, just enough out of the target path. Then the fissure lip had cut the notch and I was readying to land like a three-legged crab, my Swift reslung, my free hand on my belted dust-shoes.

*All-purpose vacuum rifle named for the .22 cartridge which as early as 1940 was being produced by Winchester, Remington, and Norma with factory loads giving it a muzzle velocity of 4,140 feet, almost a mile, a second.
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