Title: Hold Until Relieved
Author: Rick Shelley
Publish Date: 1994
Publisher: Ace Books
Genre: Science Fiction
Sub-Genre: Advanced Weapons, Advanced Medical, Nanobots, Advanced Technology, Armed Conflict, Nanites, Starships, Space Travel, Regeneration, Invasion, Subjugation.
Plot Summary: Humanity has spread out from its little corner of the Milky Way and broken into three main Empires: The Accord of Free Worlds; The Schlinal Hegemony; and the Dogel Worlds. Of those, the Accord is still based on a democratic society, and it is based in the Terran Cluster, the world’s closets to humanity’s birthplace, Earth. The other two Empires now want the worlds of the Accord for expansion, and they are willing to use the force to get them.
The 13th Spaceborne Assault Team has been dispatched to a boundary planet between the Accord and Hegemony Empires called Porter, which the Hegemony had already captured previously in order to prevent the troops garrisoned there from leaving to reinforce other planets against the main Accord assault to retake the planet of Devon. The 13th is terribly outnumbered with only enough supplies and ammunition for ten to twelve days at least. As the Hegemony forces attack, the 13th and their support forces hard and repeatedly, the 13th runs dangerously low on food and ammo. They were ordered to ‘hold until relieved or recalled’, and their casualties were mounting fast, but there was no word of their recall or of any relief and the length of their mission had already passed. Were they forgotten?
As humans spread to the stars, they took both the good and the bad ideas and technology with them. After many years and a plague or two, the human colonized planets formed into three separate Empires, with the one most like the original explorers making up the Accord of Free Worlds of the Terran Cluster. Now the Schlinal Hegemony needs more room to expand and they want the worlds of the Accord to do it in. The 13th Spaceborne Assault Team has been dispatched as a diversion to the planet Porter, which has already been taken by the Hegemony and garrisoned with a large force severely outnumbering them. The 13th is supposed to only remain on Porter for seven days, keeping the Hegemony forces stationed there occupied and thus preventing them from sending troops to fight the main battle elsewhere. After the seventh day of fighting, the 13th still hasn’t been reinforced or resupplied and they are nearly out of supplies, food, and ammunition. Morale is getting low and they are sustaining heavy losses and sleep deprivation. The Hegemony force on Porter knows that the Accord soldiers have limited supplies and no reinforcements near, so they are taking their time, forcing the Accord fighters to use up their valuable and limited resources.