A StarStation Novel
Lieutenant Michael Collins’s week just went to hell. The suspicious actions of his captain escalates as he orders Michael to investigate a dead ship’s heart—the cephalopods that pilot the star drive system. The mission forces Michael from the safety of his ship and his lover, Commander Eizen Sartris, while straining the bond with his own ship’s heart, Padua.
Attacked by Siwu pirates, Michael finds refuge on a damaged alien vessel, where he waits for Eizen to rescue him. But in the dark cold wreckage, he discovers a thriving garden tended by a strange young boy on behalf of his enigmatic “Mama.”
Fear dominates Michael’s thoughts as he struggles not to succumb to the darkness and terror of abandonment. To survive he must rely on his wits and hold fast to his faith that Eizen will find him before the pirates—or before the mysterious entity on board decides to destroy him.
- 1 To Be Read list
“Get a taser and shock the thing. Watch the lieutenant. Once you’ve captured it, take it to the animal cargo hold and make sure it’s locked away completely. Lieutenant Commander, show me your workbench.” Eizen was aces at giving orders as he carried me gently to a cleared-off work area. I scrambled to sit up, but he kept me still with one hand on my shoulder. “Stay, Mick. You… we’re getting someone to come down.”
“I can’t stop, Eizen. I have to get Steph’s humidity levels back under control, and we need to contact the xenologists about this thing.” I attempted to roll off the bench, but the idiot put his hand on my hip and stopped me. He was warm as he held me. Eizen’s face had a sheen of sweat, and his eyes were wild with worry. His perfectly coiffed hair was messy and sticking up everywhere. “Eizen, I’m fine. You can let me go.”READ MORE
“You’re not fine. You have—” His hand did a circle of his face, and I could see fine tremors in his hand. “You should have left the tunnels the minute you found signs of an animal. Someone should have been right there, protecting you, watching out for you.”
“You know that’s not gonna happen. We have barely enough crew, so no one is able to guard my back every time I go into the tubes.” I reached up to cup his face, and he leaned into my hand, his eyes closing at the touch. “He just caught me unawares. Next time I go in, I’ll be ready for the rat bastards.”
“The thing bit a piece of your ear off. It could be infected.” Eizen’s pitch went higher and squeakier the longer he spoke. He was starting to breathe in shorter gasps, causing me to be concerned. He never could handle me being hurt, and I hated that I did this to him today.
“Hey, sweetheart. It’s okay. Merely superficial. Nothing to be concerned about. We have a really good med team on board. I will be fine. Okay?” I gazed carefully in his impossibly beautiful eyes, cringing at the worry lines and red tinge of colour. “You’ll always protect me. But I’m scrappy, since I know you’re there.”
Eizen glanced at me and stepped away, allowing my hand to fall to the bench I lay on. “You’re an important member of the crew and to me. We should always be on guard to help our fellow crew.”
“Thank you, Eizen, for that ringing endorsement of Padua’s crew.” Sitting up and swinging my legs over the side of the table, I winced as vertigo hit me. I blinked patiently until the room stopped spinning, and Eizen was holding my shoulder gently.
“You really need a doctor to examine you.” He stared at Steph and sighed. No public displays of affection in front of subordinates. His eyes and the tightness around his mouth spoke all the words, though. He wanted to hug me and examine every inch of my head to make sure I was really alright. “Sit there, please.”
“Just put a bandage on my ear, and I’ll be fine. I don’t need Dr Cayne looking at me.” I hopped down from the work bench and moved toward the back of the garden, where the control panel was. I knew how important the tropical plants and other vegetation were to Steph, and I wanted to finish the job so we could both sleep that night.
“Lieutenant, you don’t need to fix it. I’ve jury-rigged a solution.” Steph moved to block me from going back to finish my job. “You need to listen to the commander. That creature could have blinded you. Will you please allow the med staff look after you?”
“I’m fine, Steph. Do you want your trees to die? ’Cause they will if I don’t fix that connection,” I snapped. I ducked under her arm and shook my head. I didn’t need them to mollycoddle me because of a torn ear. Nothing was wrong with my hands, and my eyes were safe. All I had were a few surface scratches.COLLAPSE