Here is a sneak peek at a possible upcoming project. Don't worry, I'll be finishing my Kingdoms of Faerie series first, but this writing exercise has been a ton of fun and inspired me to branch out into more genres and more writings styles! I hope you enjoy!
The ricochet of blaster fire is deafening in my ears as I crouch low beneath the steel table, watching Vrokran officers board my ship.
“We are being boarded by—” I hear the reprogramed AI who we call Ivy say in my earpiece intercom.
I hiss, “They’re already shooting at me, you dumb heap of metal!” and twist my fingers around the trigger of my gun, diving around the legs of the table one more time to fire at the nearest officer. A beam of red penetrates his gray uniform, and he collapses to the ground while three more take his place.
“Where’s my backup?” I demand into the intercom, not trusting that the AI has done its job requesting reinforcement. The damn thing probably wants me dead as badly as the officers it’s supposed to work for.
“On my way,” my copilot says, calm and collected as always through the tiny speaker. A breath of relief passes through my lungs, but there is no time to relish in it. The officers close in around my only source of cover with government-issued weapons raised and I shrink back, holding up my hands in surrender.
“Guess you got me,” I say, feigning an innocent smile at the closest officer—a Vrokran with holes in the side of his head for ears and wide yellow eyes that appear to glow against his green skin. He or she, I can never tell the difference, clucks to his comrade in a language they believe I can’t understand.
“Just a child,” it muses to its mates, making my skin crawl with annoyance. My finger itches toward the trigger as they seem to forget I just took down a member of their team.
I fight the urge to roll my eyes when it switches to the common tongue for humans and demands, “Where is the captain, girl?”
The drive in my pocket weighs me down. If I can’t get to the command dock soon our entire mission will be a bust. I put on another cute smile for the filthy officers and say, “You’re looking at her.”
They spit on the floor in disgust, disbelieving as they always are, and in a swift movement, I lower my weapon from the air, sending another round of ear piercing shots through each of their bodies. The last one falls with an “o” on his scaly lips as black blood oozes onto the surrounding floor. I hear footsteps down the corridor and spin, raising my blaster to fire once more, only to see my copilot’s face. For a moment, it flickers with surprise before he crosses his arms.
“More bodies for me to clean up?” He glares.
“You’re welcome,” I snap, shoving the gun into his hand as I stalk past. “I’m going to get us out of here before more Vrokran show up. Make sure the doors are sealed.”
My copilot drops his head into a nod, as any lower official should, but then grabs me by the arm to stop me. I bite back the urge to shake his hand away, following his gaze to my leg.
Thick crimson fluid drips onto the floor at my feet from a large gash in my pants.
“It’s just a graze,” I say, but now that I see it, the pain flashes through my shock. He shakes his head and crouches at my feet, removing his jacket even as I start to protest.
“Just shut up for once. I’m just going to stop the bleeding,” he bites out, and I know I’ve upset him. Even though we are the same age, I outrank him on this ship—my ship, and I don’t want him to forget it. But I can’t argue that it would be bad if I bled out before I got to the command dock.
“There,” he says as he tightens the jacket around my throbbing leg. The pressure of the knot is painful, but I nod my head to show my gratitude. “Now go. The rest of the crew is waiting for orders.”
There is nothing more to say. The tension between us snaps and I turn to continue my sprint toward the command dock, forcing myself not to limp.
“The probability that those are the only Vrokran officers after the hard drive is very slim,” Ivy says as the door to the command dock slides open automatically. My crew is inside, watching with anticipation for their orders just as my copilot said they would be.
“Shut up!” I growl at Ivy, my temper rising more than usual at the sound of her mechanical voice.
The whispers spread around me and I glare, knowing what they’re thinking but unwilling to entertain their “our captain really hates robots” conversations.
Each one of my team has their own skill set, but it’s likely none of them ever thought they’d be working for a girl who’d been a teenage smuggler only three weeks ago. Some of them were the best of the best, but they watched and waited, regardless.
I take a seat in my captain’s chair, running a hand through my short brown hair until it is out of my face. The back of my neck is sticky with sweat from the fight in the corridor and it takes everything in me to stop my injured leg from shaking, but I know my duty. My copilot enters the room with black blood on his clothes but doesn’t say a word as he hands me my weapon back. I take that as a silent “all clear.”
“Prepare to get the hell out of here,” I order as each member of my crew rushes to their positions. There is a familiar sequence of beeps and commands, and then the ship is jerking forward.
“Charging for jump to Lightspeed in ten… nine… eight…”
There is a loud blast that rocks the entire command dock, nearly throwing me from my seat. My copilot’s arm is outstretched in front of me to stop the forward momentum, and I glare, noticing his smirk. He’s enjoying helping a little too much.
As I lift my head to assess our situation, movement catches my eyes in the large window overlooking the endless mass of stars beyond us—an enormous federal ship blocks our escape from the Vrokran officer ship we’ve just gotten away from.
“Fuck!” I growl, jumping from my seat and turning to my copilot. His face is paler than a hologram. “Tell me you can get us out of this,” I say.
His silence is answer enough and I slam my fist into the starboard.
“If they get this hard drive…” I bite my tongue to silence a scream.
“You can make it to Lunis Station in an escape pod,” he says, as if that will fix the problem at hand.
“I am not leaving you all to the claws of the Federation!” I growl, gripping the arms of my chair.
“The probability of—”
“SHUT UP, Ivy!” I spin around to face my crew’s expectant gazes, and a young engineer steps forward. Her eyes dart from my face to my copilots too quickly.
“If you don’t leave now, we are all dead,” she says, voice trembling. My copilot places a hand on my shoulder, moving me to face him. His amber eyes are kind but determined.
“We knew what we signed up for. Now, go.”
The ship jerks again, and this time I fall forward. He catches me with firm hands before I can smack my head against the starboard. I look around at the crew entrusted to me by the Star Rebellion and then at the incoming federal warship. I know the choice I need to make, but my feet feel glued to the ground.
“Alana, please,” my copilot says. His use of my name shakes me out of my trance. I return my gaze to his, and nod briefly. I hand him my captain’s badge, pressing it into his palm.
“Take care of my crew, Ethan,” I say as he wraps his hand around the badge. “You’re the captain now. I was never here.”
He looks at the badge and opens his mouth to say something else, but I hold up my hand. I remove my intercom from my ear, happy that I won’t have to hear Ivy any longer and turn toward my lead AI specialist. “Can you program her to lie?”
The Domu nods his bald wrinkled head. “She’ll never know you were here.”
I’m not sure if he is referring to the AI or our pursuer on the federal ship, but either way, I don’t have time to waste. I look at Ethan one last time.
“Catch you on Lunis, Captain.” I force a smile, knowing I may never see him again, and before anyone can get too sentimental, I turn and head for the door.
Ethan’s voice echoes behind me as he informs the crew what is going to happen when the Federation boards the ship, but I have a mission to complete. Reaching into my pocket, I retrieve the hard drive and wrap my fingers around the cool metal before sprinting toward the escape pods. If the Federation finds me here—if she finds me here—we are all dead.
There is only one hope now.
Get the hard drive to Lunis Station, home of some of the most unpleasant beings in the galaxy, and save the world.
Galaxies, I miss just being a smuggler.