assumes command of the 3rd Battalion, Marine Raiders. In the tiny
village of Shabhut, Yemen, while trying to put the blast on ISIS
forces, an even deadlier enemy emerges: ancient, unreasoning
creatures who tear into both U.S. troops and terrorists without
mercy, leaving brutally dismembered corpses in their wake.
giant prehistoric spiders roused from millennia-long slumber by
power-mad terrorists. These aptly-named ‘Arachnosaurs’ are
hungry. They’re angry. And they have declared war against all of
humanity . . . whose days might just be numbered unless Key and his
unit can stop them.
Key tried to focus at the way the front of his boots poked up against the divot’s lip, expecting to see his toes blown off at any second. But it didn’t take more than another second for him to realize what was happening to him. “Shit,” he said over the whomping going on all around them. “I’ve been conked.”
“What?” Daniels complained as a tree limb shattered above them, scratching their faces with jagged bark. “Not again!”
Yeah, that’s right, Key managed to recall. That’s where he had heard the “conked” term before. The base doc had said it when he had diagnosed Key’s previous, original, concussion. And doc had given him the self- diagnostic list then, too.
“Symptoms check.” Key grunted miserably. “I’m nauseous.”
“You’re nauseous!” Daniels snapped. “I’m nauseous! Anybody’d be nauseous in this shit!”
There was a vicious whine just above them, and Key could feel a wave of heat make a line from his forehead to his crotch. The thing causing it just missed them before continuing on to smash through an already crumbling wall fifty feet beyond.
FGM-148 Javelin, Joe automatically assumed. Nice that some hard-won memories defied even concussions. But whether the anti-tank missile was fired by the good or the bad guys was anybody’s guess.
“Headache, dizzy, ringing in my ears,” Key continued, trying to stave off total amnesia.
“Okay, okay!” Daniels grumbled. “You oughta know. What do you want from me?”
“Memory loss growing, need your help.”
“Christ, Joe.” The honest concern in Daniels voice was music above the cacophony. “Do you even know you’re Joe?”
“Yeah,” Key answered, struggling to be present, feeling stronger already.
“We’re 3rd Battalion, Marine Raiders, M Company, eighty-five strong.”
“Not anymore,” Daniels reported with his usual lack of empathy. “Heavy defensive fire. Surprisingly heavy.”
That comment let Key know the attack must’ve been seventh level of hell heavy. Daniels prided himself on taking the worst in stride. “What are we down to?”
“Last time I could check, less than fifty. Sergeant major shot to hell. Lieutenant colonel just blew up in your face.”
Key gritted his teeth, then hazarded a quick look around. He returned to his prone position with his cracked skull thankfully still just cracked. But he could still not distinguish enemy from friendly fire. Worse, he couldn’t find any human source of the shit-storm. “Where is everybody?”
“Damned if I know,” Daniels said. “Where’s comm?”
“No live communication for a coupla minutes now.”
“What? So who’s commander now?
“Near as I can tell, you,” Daniels said. Then he added sarcastically, “God help us.”
Key ignored the comment, but couldn’t disagree. Finally made it to chief with a nice new concussion as a reward. Even so, he still could remember that his rep was “Joe Cool.” According to Daniels, he never lost it. No time to start now.