The mess hall inside the CORS seemed to be miles long, brimming with noise and activity as military officers and cadets took their midday meals. Even in the organized chaos, Fiearius had no trouble spotting his brother across the room: of all the people sat at the long tables, tapping away on consoles and jabbing their forks onto plates, he was the only one not dressed entirely in Carthian green. A vacant circle surrounding him told Fiearius who the clear outcast was right away.
“There you are,” said Cyrus, looking up as Fiearius approached his empty table. “I was beginning to wonder if they’d killed you after all.” Continue reading →
Growing up, Fiearius had often imagined himself having adventures across the Span. Haggling in the markets of Tarin, playing poker in a shady dive bar on Archeti, exploring the streets of the Ellegian capital city — he’d dreamed of it all, and everything had seemed possible. But if someone had told him then that one day he would find himself taking a tour of a Carthian military space station? He would have laughed in their face.
When the doors to his bedroom were thrown open and Corra stood on the threshold, Finn knew he should have felt a wave of embarrassment. After all, he was sitting on his couch, drinking a murky glass of whiskey. Smoking a cigarette. Alone. And it was barely noon.
Corra pulled a face of disgust and perched her hands on her hips. “What the hell are you doing?”
Adopting a look of comedic offense, he put out his cigarette in a tray on the floor and scoffed. “What do you mean, what the hell am I doing?” he said, exhaling a plume of smoke. “What does it look like I’m doing?” Continue reading →
“Never thought I’d be able to convince ya to go on a date with me,” said Finn as he held out his arm for Leta to take. But Leta completely ignored the gesture, and instead brushed past him and strode into the elegant garden party as if she’d gone alone.
“This couldn’t be less of a date,” she muttered, snorting. She adjusted the straps of her short dark dress and took a deep breath as she melted into the sea of people crowding the cobblestone garden. “I’m only doing this for Corra.”
“Hey, so am I,” said Finn, though without much conviction, as Leta had already started beelining past the fountains and toward the bar without him. But Finn spoke the truth: he’d agreed to take this job only for Corra’s sake. Something about her sad puppy-dog eyes made him feel weak and guilty. So he’d carefully sidestepped any correspondence with Callahan (who was furious, demanding to know why his cargo had not yet been delivered) and took up Corra’s good cause: attending this fancy-ass garden party only to sneak the enslaved allies out of it. Continue reading →
“Oh, getting off the estate was real easy,” Cai was saying to his captive audience in the bridge. He leaned back in his seat and regaled the group with how he’d earned his freedom as the Beacon sailed smoothly towards the supposed coordinates of the Conduit. After 24 hours on the ship, the man Corra had found half-naked and mostly starved on the streets of Genisi was starting to look more like a person and less like a gutter rat. Most of that day, he’d spent glued to Corra who one might think had practically adopted the man with the amount of attention she gave him. But even she, it seemed, was new to this story.
“We picked the lock on our quarters and just ran out,” he went on. “That was the simple part. It was getting off Ellegy that proved a challenge. As it turns out,” he laughed, “there aren’t many ships willing to take on escaped allies who don’t have two credits to rub together.”
Alyx leaned forward eagerly, her chin in her hands. “So what’d you do?”
Cai grinned. “Snuck aboard. We split up and stowed away, me and the four other allies. We figured we’d have a better shot of not getting caught if we each got on different ships.” Continue reading →
Callahan was completely unlikeable, Finn thought to himself with some amusement as he sat across from the man’s desk. Completely unlikeable, and for so many reasons: like how he spoke minimally in their business conversation and mostly kept his eyes on the tablet in his hands. Or how he scoffed and sneered when he saw homeless people asking for money in the streets. Or how he always spoke in a lofty, oily voice. Of course, Finn found that his most unlikeable trait was his disgusting treatment of Corra. He’d decided that Corra was a subservient ally and there was no changing his mind about it.
But for better or worse, Corra was not present in this meeting. She’d informed him brightly that morning that she had better places to be and considering Callahan’s attitude toward her, Finn shrugged his compliance. He’d do this one alone.
“So,” he said briskly, breaking the minute of awkward silence. He hoped to bring Callahan’s attention off the screen in his hands. “We’re delivering another ship for you, then.” Continue reading →
With a snarl, Fiearius slammed both his palms against the rickety metal door and marched into the cramped bedroom without a word of hello or warning. Inside, Dez sat on the edge of his bed, leaning on his knees as he read from a book. He looked up in surprise, opening his mouth to speak. But Fiearius, burning with rage, had no interest in what he wanted to say.
“You need to leave,” he heard himself growl.
Dez blinked at him slowly. “Excuse me?”
“Leave,” Fiearius snapped, pointing out the door. “Leave. Now. Get off my ship before I force you off.”
Carefully, Dez put his book aside and stood up to his feet. “Am I entitled to ask why?” Continue reading →