It was at times like this that Jim Raynor, former marine lance corporal, proud citizen of the Confederacy and erstwhile farm boy, felt most alive. At the speed at which he was urging the vulture, the wind cooled his face so that the oppressive heat vanished. He felt like a wolf hunting down prey, except the purpose of today’s adventure was not the death of a living being but the death of the empty state of Raynor’s and Tychus’s wallets. This was a cargo train, not a passenger train, and inside its silvery innards was—if Tychus’s tip was right, and Jim had every reason to believe it would be—a very lovely, very large safe filled with Confederate credits.
“Why, it’s a rescue mission, Jim,” Tychus had rumbled, his blue eyes dancing with good humor as he had filled Raynor in on the plan. “Those poor creds—they’d just be condemned to lining the pockets of some Old Families who don’t need any more money. Or else put to some nefarious scheme that could hurt somebody. It’s our duty—hell, it’s our calling—to liberate them creds to where they could do something that really mattered.”
“Like buying us drinks, women, and steak dinners.”
“That’s a good start.”
“You’ve got a heart of gold, Tychus. I’ve never met such an altruistic man in my life. I got goddamn tears in my eyes.”
“It’s a tough job, but somebody’s got to do it.”
Jim grinned as he recalled the conversation. He and Tychus were behind the train, catching up to it quickly. He stayed right and Tychus veered left. Tychus crossed over the maglev tracks, adjusting the magnetic frequency on his bike to compensate so that he, like the train itself, could cross easily. Jim increased his speed, moving alongside the maglev until the right car came into view. He and Tychus had spent hours analyzing all kinds of transportation vessels over the last few years, sometimes simply from blueprints or images, but usually up close and personal, as they were about to do now. They had “liberated” other credits before—it seemed to them like hundreds of thousands over the years, although the liberated credits never seemed to stay with them very long. That was all right too. It was part of the ride that life had become.
The year is 2494. Almost five years ago, Jim Raynor and Tychus Findlay were members of the Heaven’s Devils, an elite Confederate marine unit praised for its nerves of steeland combat expertise. After making a stand against their corrupt commanding officer, the two men were forced to go AWOL or risk being unjustly prosecuted and resocialized.
Now, Raynor and Findlay are outlaws hounded by an unyielding interstellar marshal. Life, however, has never beenbetter. Each day is another chance to pilfer more credits from the Confederacy’s deep coffers. Each night holds the promise of spending their hard-earned profits in bars, brothels, and gambling halls. But a man can only run so far before the law—and his past—catch up with him.
Devils’ Due recounts an unforgettable period of Jim Raynor’s life as he descends into the Koprulu sector’s criminal underworld alongside the street-savvy Findlay. Here, far from his humble upbringing on the fringe world of Shiloh, Raynor will face some of the most trying challenges of his life. The decisions he makes will alter his destiny forever and put his father’s oft-spoken wisdom, “A man is what he chooses to be,” to the ultimate test.
Pocket Star, March 2012
Mass Market Paperback, 368 pages