but is this makeshift crew really the stuff of superheroes?
Nivala’s first interstellar patrol is interrupted by extremely unwelcome visitors. Mallivan may have to take them on board; he doesn’t have to like it. His vociferous crewmembers certainly don’t.
He is right to be concerned. The youngest member of the team is in imminent, grave danger. People covet her privileged link to the mighty Chakran aliens, who can unlock spacetime itself.
When she makes a brave and selfless decision, the situation becomes critical. If they can’t reach her in time the galaxy will slide into self-serving chaos. They must risk more than their own lives.
Will their rookie tour of duty also be their last?
Both Zenzie and I were hit by the shot. We tumbled down the rest of the ladder to land in an ignominious heap at the bottom of the shaft. He swapped arms, reached in and snatched Zenzie from my prone body, pulling her out into the main corridor. One minute I was groaning because of her weight on top of me, the next I was groaning because I couldn’t feel her weight on top of me.
The arm reappeared, now reattached to a hand-held ultrapulse once more. The Vaer couldn’t even get his head through the hatch, so he was back to waving it about indiscriminately. My ears had not deceived me then. The Vaer had somehow got hold of the most advanced Terran weapons. I contemplated what that meant. Then, belatedly, I realized that I was about to be eliminated, so it didn’t really matter what that meant. There just might be a better way to spend my last few seconds in this universe.
I waited for my life to flash by me. It didn’t. All I could think of was that they had Zenzie, and that the gun in my face seemed enormous at such close quarters. I felt sick to my soul. I had actually taken Zenzara to them. How stupid was that?
No final prayers had occurred to me either. The only thing that happened is that my heart flooded with useless adrenaline and the reptilian part of my brain screamed at me to escape. Yeah. Thanks. Would if I could. You try diving down a crawl tube immediately after being hit by an ultrapulse. I’d like to see you try it. I managed to shuffle a few inches to the right. It literally took all of the energy I had left, and I collapsed after I had done it.
The gun had prodded around the empty space but now had found my stomach. It prodded again, checking the consistency of the obstruction. I work out quite hard, so I like to think it was a good muscle tone.
Not good enough to fool the Vaer into thinking it was an inanimate object. The gun settled directly at my sternum.
I closed my eyes and waited for the flash. I knew it would be the last thing I ever experienced. Damn! Not the way I had been hoping to go.
The flash, when it did come, seemed dimmer than I had been expecting.
I waited for the pain to flare up, or to cease, or whatever death feels like.
There was a scuffling and the hand holding the weapon began to edge out of the hatch in jerky movement. Back, pause, back, pause. I took a cautious breath. It didn’t ooze out of any holes in my lungs, so I took another one. The breathing apparatus still seemed to work.
The arm and the gun finally disappeared out of the hatch. There was a slight pause, and then Seyal’s head appeared in the gap. She still had Segaton bound to her chest. “Captain? Are you all right?”
About the Author
Gillian Andrews is also the author of the award-winning Ammonite Galaxy series, and Kelfor, the Orthomancers. She is English but lives in Spain, and is passionate about Cosmology. She likes to write upbeat space opera with strong protagonists and complex aliens.
One day, out of the blue, Theocrates began hearing voices. The “voices” wanted him to go to the Crystal Cavern. No one had been to the Crystal Cavern in over seventy years! But the Fate of Terexia was in the balance and Theo knew, somehow, that the voices were correct. He had to go. He had to find a way to repair the Rift that had formed between his world and the planet Tera, in a far off galaxy. The first step was to get permission, but even asking could be viewed as a criminal offense. Little did Theo know that these voices would catapult him above, and below, and across space, into an adventure that would change his life forever.
About the Author
Bryan DeWeese is a musician, writer and software engineer. Bryan’s first love is prognosticating about the future and telling stories in the science fiction and fantasy genres. Bryan has won many awards and hopes one day to be the recipient of a Hugo or a Nebula award.
Life and death action and intrigue aboard a military space vessel!
A startling command from the dreaded Praetan brings chaos into the tranquil lives of hermaphrodites Eulio and his lover Orosin. Using the tour of the Merculian National Dance Company where Eulio is a star as cover, they board the Wellington, a militaristic starship that values nothing they believe in. Someone is passing secrets about fleet movements and weaponry to the enemies in the Troia, but the efforts of the two Merculians to unmask the spy only stir up a toxic mix of hatred and violence. Who will have to die before the Praetan is satisfied? The Danger Dance is a futuristic space adventure with enough swashbuckling action and intrigue to keep even the most jaded science fiction addict enthralled.
Praise for The Danger Dance
“A crackerjack SF novel—moving, eloquent, and richly textured. I recommend it highly.” —Robert J. Sawyer, award-winning science fiction writer
“A tingling subversity of gender, sexuality and goosebumping excitement. Even better, Soles can rally write, with wit, sensuosity and depth.” —Perry Brass, author of The Harvest, Angel Lust, etc.
“A well written novel, full of sexual and political intrigue, it grips from the very first page and is difficult to put down.” —Annette Gisby, author of Silent Screams.
Other Books in The Merculians Series:
The Abulon Dance
The Merculians, Book 2
Publisher: Crossroad Press
Published: July 2019
While on tour to the mysterious planet Abulon, the pleasure-loving hermaphrodites of The Merculian National Dance company are intrigued by the virile patriarchal society they discover there. The natives seemed friendly enough at first but when the star’s young lover is kidnapped, the Merculians find themselves plunged into a brutal alien Civil War they are ill-equipped to survive.
Caro Soles’ many novels include mysteries, erotica, gay lit & science fiction. She lives in Toronto, loves dachshunds, books, opera and ballet, not necessarily in that order. THE DANGER DANCE is the first of five novels set in the world of the pleasure-loving hermaphrodites of Merculian. The second, THE ABULON DANCE is the second, and just oit now is THE MEMORY DANCE.
This Space Opera is set to Rock n’ Roll and classical music, many of the songs being entirely original and composed by the author.
It starts in the mid-20th century with two talented FBI Special Agents being tasked with recruiting people to undertake a really unusual mission. In the process, they are themselves abducted to take a leading role in that mission, which is intended to save the human race from alien conquest.
It involves time travel into the future, as they lead their hostile hunters on a merry chase across the centuries. They have the full support of other sympathetic races in their imaginative survival techniques, allowing them to go on the offensive.
The characters within embark on a series of adventures that are truly moving in their significance. Based initially on our own Planet Earth, the story employs reported alien sightings and events.
Future World ROLLS to its very core!
Other books in the Carousels of Life Space Opera Series
FUTURE WORLD ROCKS!
Going Back To Our Roots
Carousels of Life, Book One
Published: August 2017
This story contains interwoven strands that are brought together as events unfold.
The first focuses on the aftermath of Nazi research into UFO based systems. Primarily it concerns a flying time travel craft called the ‘Bell’ and its disappearance after those early days when the U.S.A. took over its research.
The second occurs in the future, when alien refugees seek asylum with us on our planet. They come from a planet destroyed by one of its own moons and have wandered the stars, looking for a place to stay.
Soon they are introducing us to other beings, secretly living under the surface of the planet and mining the moon. Naturally, whodunit problems arise for our crime detection agents to resolve.
All this occurs to a backdrop of Rock n’ Roll music, as Future World rocks to its core!
The author, writing under the pseudonym Terry Tumbler, was born in the 1940s in the small province of Wales, in not-as-‘Great’-as-it-once-was Britain. The adjoining photo of the real author has been air-brushed, so that the possibility of anyone stumbling upon his true identity will not disturb him, also believing that no one who reads his first book can possibly recognise him from the long gone days of his childhood. The first book, The Rough and Tumbles of Early Life, as you may be aware, is an accurate recollection of key events that occurred in his early life. Others of a similar, warped humour and semi-fictional nature have been produced and are being published.
The author left full-time education with a higher level certificate in Business Studies, had a Commercial Apprenticeship in the Titanium Industry, and subsequently gained professional qualifications in Personnel Management and as a Company Secretary. He worked in all aspects of computing for over thirty years, during which time many reports of dubious value and two technical manuals were well-written and printed.
Now retired, and a few months after moving abroad, the author was bemused to find his dear wife sitting alone on her tilting armchair weeping; the reason she gave was shock and horror at the prospect of spending her remaining years with him. Since then, he has done his best to behave himself, but she has still taken out a funeral plan on him. They have three grandchildren, none of whom much like to be with him for more than two weeks.
Those who may wish to inflict retribution for his innocently evil behaviour as a child, may well see through the flimsy disguise, but should know that the author now lives on alien shores and cares not one jot for their intentions.
“Amanda Bouchet blasts off with a series that’s full of heart, humor, romance, and action.”—JENNIFER ESTEP, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of Kill the Queen
Tess Bailey: the galaxy’s Most Wanted.
Captain Tess Bailey is in deep trouble. She and her crew are on the run, pursued by a tyrant who’ll take them dead or alive. Tess’s best hope is a tall, dark, and much-too-appealing stranger, Shade Ganavan, who says he can help her. But his motivations are far from clear…
Shade Ganavan: arrogance, charm…and that special something that makes you want to kick him.
With the dreaded Dark Watch closing in, what Tess and Shade don’t know about each other might get them killed…unless they can set aside their differences and learn to trust each other before it’s too late.
Two people on the avenue at the bottom of the Squirrel Tree both directed me to the same place: Ganavan’s Products and Parts. It wasn’t too far—still in the docking district and within easy walking distance—so I figured it was a good place to start.
I found the shop at the base of a towering, warehouse-type structure. It was recessed into the ground a few feet, requiring me to take a short flight of stairs down to access it from street level. A bell tinkled over the door when I swung it open, surprising me with the light, merry chiming. I couldn’t help appreciating the quaint touch in the otherwise industrial setting of the city’s sprawling, somewhat dingy docks.
Inside, the shop was bigger than I’d expected and crowded with metallic shelving packed with more stuff than any space rat could ever possibly want. It was almost overwhelming—and half of it was covered in dust. Motes twirled in the air, floating in the sunbeams streaming in through the high-up windows that let in most of the shop’s light.
I didn’t see anyone behind the register to query about repairs, so I walked the aisles, looking for anything that might be of use. I picked up forty rounds of LW-9 bullets in a sleek metal case for our Grayhawk handguns, but I didn’t really need things like the rest of this—gadgets and doodads and crap. I needed reinforced metal panels and someone who could weld them onto my ship.
I scanned the shelves for fuses and wiring, too, but didn’t see anything. The Endeavor’s electrical components weren’t in great shape, even with Big Guy’s brief help, and my console was currently dead. I’d have to see, but I hoped Jaxon would end up being enough of an electrician to fix it. When it came to a ship’s central power grid, I had some skills myself.
“Can I help you?” a man asked.
I turned and watched the speaker walk toward me from what looked like a back office, his steps silent and almost prowling. Despite his height and imposing physique, I might not have heard him coming if he hadn’t made his presence known.
Was this Ganavan? He was tall, with at least a few inches on me. He was wide, too, but mainly in the shoulders. His body looked healthy and trim. Like me, I thought his origins could probably be traced back to pre-exodus Caucasian. Unlike me, he had a healthy tan.
The fact that he was tall, dark, and hot didn’t stop my usual default mode from kicking in—to assess any stranger I met and determine how I would try to bring that person down in a fight.
I came up with a defensive scenario before he got too close. A ducking spin as he came at me, his own weight hopefully throwing him off-balance as I slid out of the way. A quick, hard kick to the back of a knee to get him lower than me. A sleeper hold from behind with my arm in a tight V around his neck, cutting off the blood flow through his arteries. With any luck, I could knock him out without ever touching his windpipe.
Unfortunately, looking at him, I estimated my chances of success with any of that at about eight percent, which made me glad there was no reason to think he was unfriendly.
He watched me, too, his brown eyes like lasers. I’d rarely been subjected to such a steady stare, especially from a gaze that held definite hints of interest and appreciation. My body started to heat from more than just the sunlight filtering down from the high windows. The light hit him at an angle, turning his eyes a tawny amber, like those of a jungle predator.
No. A jungle animal would scare me, and this man didn’t, despite his obvious physical advantage. His eyes were more the color of dark honey, appealing, all warm and tempting in the sun.
My taste buds seemed to burst to life with the memory of sweetness on my tongue. Starway 8 was one of the few places left in the galaxy with an actual apiary, and the liquid gold the director sold to the wealthy elite in Sector 12 was the main source of revenue for the orphanage. This man’s eyes looked just like honey number seven—my favorite. Almost the darkest. The darker honeys had more flavor.
He stopped a few feet from me, and those honey-brown eyes dipped, taking me in from my head to my toes. My clothing was skintight, and I felt a blush flare under his slow inspection.
Finally, he looked up. “Just checking for weapons.”
I snorted. “Really? Weapons? I haven’t heard that one before.”
He winked at me like the scoundrel I highly suspected he was. “We’re inventive out here in 2. Where’re you from?”
“What makes you think I’m not from here?”
“You’re a 12-er. I can hear it in your posh voice.”
Time seemed to slow down as my mind processed his words one by one, even though it only took a second. I hardly spoke to anyone besides my crew, and they didn’t care what I sounded like. Blurring my trail outside of the Endeavor meant it was time to work on a new accent, though. It was too bad. The precise, cut-glass diction was one of the only things I liked about Sector 12.