Potato Surprise: A Brimstone Prequel

by Angel Martinez

When a steel trap of celestial and infernal politics threatens to close around them, Shax and Verin flee Earth’s system in a stolen ship, leaving everything behind. It’s an elegantly simple plan, with a new ship and a new life as carefree brigands among the stars.

But the ship seems to hate them, and in order to have any sort of life they need funds. A frightened man offering them a contract to deliver three mysterious crates comes just in time, and Shax is sure their troubles are over. Out of his environment and in over his head, Shax scrambles to understand the players and the consequences of his new life. With cargo that’s not what it seems, shadowy motives around every turn, and a gorgeous rogue named Julian for a dash of added confusion, Shax’s grand schemes of a new start may be his demise before he can even begin.

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Excerpt:

This wasn't how a ship should treat a demon prince. Frankly, it wasn't how a ship should treat anyone. Shax clutched the penlight between his teeth, trying desperately to prevent the plasfilm sheets from slipping out of order again.

"Maintenance… mattress settings… navigation readouts… nitrogen storage… That's absurdly specific. Oogamous transport? What in blazes?"

A huge shadow blocked half the meager light from the corridor floor runners. "What the fuck are you doing now?"

I don't have time for this. "I'm reading the manual."

Sulfur-laden steam accompanied Verin's next snorted breath, his clawed feet scraping the deck plates. "I see that, numbnuts. Why aren't you in the fatherfucking pilot's pod?"

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"Ver, I'm not doing this for my health." Shax glanced up, then was sorry he had. Verin's broad frame, head topped with his curled ram's horns lit from below by the floor runners, was a bit too ominous for comfort. "When I tried to page through the manual in the pod, the screen froze and the console spit out reams of plasfilm. The lights flickered out, so down here on the corridor floor is the only place I can see any damn thing at all."

"You're figuring out the nav calc since you royally screwed the jump out?"

"A prince has no choice but to screw up royally," Shax murmured. "No, I'm trying to find out how to change the ship's registration."

As soon as he said it, Shax wished he could take the words back. A rumbling growl vibrated the deck plates and sparks rained down around him from Verin's harsh breaths. If his own irritation level hadn't been at several feet above his horns, he might have picked his next words more wisely.

"Hell's sakes, Ver. Calm down." Oh, imp crap.

Fingerlings of flame shot from Verin's nostrils as he surged forward and yanked Shax up by his shirtfront. The plasfilm sheets scattered over the decking. Even though his feet dangled several inches from the floor and mortal peril stared him in the face, Shax fought a sigh. I just got those back in order.

"You and your bloody stupid ideas!" Verin shouted in his face. "You steal a ship that hates us, fire up the Copernicus drive without knowing what the fuck you're doing, send us out into the hairy ass end of nowhere, and you want me to calm the fuck down?"

On the last word, Verin hauled back and hurled him across the corridor with the force of a missile launch. Pain registered, as short and sharp as his violently loud collision with a cabin door, before the remainder of the lights went out.

COLLAPSE

About the Author

The unlikely black sheep of an ivory tower intellectual family, Angel Martinez has managed to make her way through life reasonably unscathed. Despite a wildly misspent youth, she snagged a degree in English Lit, married once and did it right the first time, gave birth to one amazing son, and realized at some point that she could get paid for writing.

Published since 2006, Angel’s cynical heart cloaks a desperate romantic. You’ll find drama and humor given equal weight in her writing and don’t expect sad endings. Life is sad enough.

She currently lives in Delaware in a drinking town with a college problem and writes Science Fiction and Fantasy centered around gay heroes.


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