RANKS OF BRONZE
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They were Roman soldiers―and they were still alive because there were no better killers in the galaxy.
The Galactics need fighters who could win battles without the aid of technology. That's why, when Rome's legions suffered disaster at Carrhae, secretive alien traders were waiting to buy them on the Persian slave market.
Now, virtually immortal, the Romans fight strange enemies on stranger worlds; and though they win every battle, the spoils of victory never include freedom. If the legionaries are ever to return to Earth, it must be through the beam weapons and force screens of their ruthless alien owners. But no matter the odds, 2,000 years is a long time; the Romans are coming home. At the publisher's request, this title is sold without DRM (Digital Rights Management).
wall's jagged top was robbing his words of all life, all power. "The technique will succeed. Whether or not it does, the cost of the attempt is negligible. There —" "The beam that our colleague proposes using," cut in Rectinus Falco, holding himself erect with his chin and chest outthrust in a posture as much theatrical as rhetorical, "is one of the few decent timbers remaining to us. The bronze that he would have us use —" "Is available," said Vibulenus, and no one in the courtyard, even the
news cooled the tribune more than he expected, because when he raised himself his torso was shivering spasmodically. The swollen yellow sun that had baked them throughout the afternoon's bloody work seemed now to glance off his breastplate with no more power to warm. "What do you mean?" Vibulenus demanded as his palms scrubbed fiercely at his unlined, boyish cheeks and forehead. "There isn't any place to desert to that the crew won't find them." The stream was so clear that the soldiers' boots
baggage were of a physical type with the peasantry. They had so little initiative that they had simply waited, with no attempt to laager their wagons, when the soldiers boiled out of the train to attack the waiting Romans. They seemed scarcely less apathetic than the gangs of neck-chained slaves attached to the back of some of the wagons. The sinkhole was half a mile from the battle site. Vibulenus had not noticed the distance when he marched the cohort out in close order after a chilling
have been a trick; but it was easier to believe the trading guild could see through stone than that it would bother with trickery so pointlessly elaborate. "No trouble," repeated the Commander in oily satisfaction. "The rest of your fellows are gathered in the Main Gallery to watch the demonstration, but I thought you might as well see it with us." The image of Helvius turned and said something unheard to his companions. "You should realize, Gaius Vibulenus Caper," continued the Commander's
frail. Instead of trying to slash around the edge of his opponent's buckler, painted in the same pattern as his face, the tribune stabbed directly at the center where the four colors met. Spanish steel slid through leather and the wicker frame with little more delay than it had made of the paint. Even dazed by the blow to his head, Vibulenus' eye had correctly gauged the flimsiness of the equipment beside the sprawled corpse. The warrior screeched as the sword grated through the bones of his