The alpha versions of Chapters 3 & 4 are now available! We are releasing these chapters only as PDFs at this time. As before, if you’d like a copy, please leave a comment. We will email you the PDF unless you tell us otherwise. If you want to continue to receive the new alpha-version chapters as we release them, say so, and we’ll email them to you as they become available. (As much as we love to see comments here, we don’t see the need to make you ask for them each and every time.)
Enjoy and remember we love feedback! (Chapters 5 & 6 are on deck for early next week.)
Captain Minerva Lewis, CEF Marine Corps, opened her eyes to an insistent pounding. Blinking away the haze that was a remnant of the night before—three types of cognac, four varieties of scotch, and other drinks more dubious and less memorable—she identified the pounding as being from the door to their room, not her cranium. Sliding out from under the dark lean muscular arm that curved over her hips, she took her sidearm off an end table and cocked it while groping for her boots with the other hand.
“What the fuck?” her companion muttered, shaking sleep-tousled dark chestnut hair out of her light green eyes.
“Some dead asshole,” Lewis muttered. “Just doesn’t know it yet.” She slipped her boots on and stood, otherwise naked, while the woman behind her also retrieved a holstered weapon. The pounding redoubled. “Stay there. Watch my ass.” . . .
Forty-eight hours later, supported by a cocktail of carefully blended painkillers and duly admonished by the ship’s doctor about her immoderate behavior, Kris walked in the wardroom with one arm in a sling but under her own power. The nanocytes had done their ticklish work—a not exactly painful process but one that produced a singularly annoying crawling sensation—and were now breaking down and being flushed out of her system as fast as her overworked kidneys could manage. They had given her some pills to help with that along with strict instructions to scrupulously avoid rich food and strong drink—clearly someone’s idea of a bad joke.
In truth, it wasn’t as much of a joke as Kris had first thought. The atmosphere of rejoicing that flooded the carrier after the battle had been tempered by the loss of many friends, but it was rejoicing nonetheless. There was no shame in feeling elation at still being alive, and if there were friends to be mourned, that mourning could go forward just as well, or even better, in good fellowship and strong drink as in sorrow and tears. . . .