Lost Legacy, Legacy Hunter Series Book 7
RELEASE DATE: OCTOBER 20, 2022
War has come to the galaxy.
In the wake of her father’s untimely death, Element Cruz raises the battle cry for the Freedom Collective. To save the doomed planet, Axel Ryan travels to Earth to put his uncle’s theories about Stardrives to the ultimate test. Now, more than ever, they need their entire team to succeed.
But Hendrix has disappeared and taken the time-traveling starship, Queen Bohemia, with him.
Time is running out. Rosamunde Cruz is on the warpath, determined to remove any obstacle—including her own daughter—that dares stand in her way of absolute rule over the Galactic Trade Corporation.
Axel, Ellie, and their friends must navigate through it all to bring Rosamunde to justice and restore peace to the galaxy. Buckle in and hold on tight as we journey to the stars in this action-packed conclusion to the Legacy Hunter series!
Things to have on hand when reading this book:
Snacks (Shiznit says)
Your favorite drink (or two)
A box of tissues (just saying)
Click the 'pre-order now' button and get ready to enjoy the ride.
Chapter 1 (unedited)
The sight of frell knew how many Core ships looming directly ahead of the Maven Haven and blocking the ship’s egress from Amasis was the single most soul-crushing thing that Axel Ryan had ever seen.
At least, to date, he added as an afterthought.
Because if the Core fleet could find them at one of the least-known places in the galaxy, he was certain that the universe had an infinite number of miserable surprises in its bag of tricks and that it wasn’t finished frelling with them yet.
“How could they have possibly known we would be here?” His words fell flat within the darkened confines of the bridge where only Ellie, sitting next to him with a look of stunned horror on her face, was alert to hear them. Blake Bronson and the others remained slumped over in their seats, unconscious from the difficult passage through the planet’s temporal barrier. Why was nothing ever easy? Axel thought. If it wasn’t bad enough that the planet was about to explode, now they were cut off from escaping by the Core. This was a die-die situation, and all because Hendrix had stolen the only ship with time-travel capabilities that could possibly have gotten them out of this mess easily--
As the name hissed through Axel’s mind, he gritted his teeth with such force he was in danger of needing to consume his next meal through a straw. Had he led the Core right to them? It would explain why he’d left them and taken off in the Bohemia. “Hendrix frelling sold us out!” He slammed his fist against the console before him, causing the panel of buttons to beep in protest.
“Hendrix is an asshole.” Gothani murmured, her voice thick with grogginess as she stirred in her seat at the navigation console.
Ellie shook her head, her lips set in a firm line. “Either way, it doesn’t help us now, does it?” Ellie said.
“This is Captain Ortega of the Rehnquist. Remain on your current trajectory and prepare to be boarded. The terms of your surrender are not negotiable.”
“Frell.” Axel ran his hands through his hair, which was long overdue for a trim. “What happens if we try to make a run for it?”
“Outrun a fleet of Core ships in this old bucket of rust? They’ll blow us to pieces before we can say—”
“Hualhyth…” Bronson said, coming too from being unconscious. He coughed, gesturing vaguely in the direction of the viewscreen filled with the image of the Core fleet, and shook his head as if that might help make sense of what his widening eyes were seeing. “Holy mother of all things that could possibly frell this day up.” He coughed again and pushed a button to engage his comm. “Well, hi there, Captain O-Tugger of the Busy Wrist. [CH1] [kr2] That’s a negative on the boarding. Thanks for the offer though.” He flashed a grin as he responded to the Core commander and glanced at Axel and Ellie. “We didn’t surrender, did we? I don’t remember us surrendering.”
“Oh, frell.” Bubbles groaned next to him. “Will you shut up? You’re going to get us all killed.”
Bronson scanned the readouts and frowned. “I’m guessing there must be at least a hundred ships out there.” His expression brightened as he glanced at the Travanian. “You said you wanted a challenge.”
Bubbles gripped the sides of her chair as if she was gripping her captain’s throat. “I swear Bronson, if we get out of this alive, I’m leaving this damn crew. For real.”
Bronson turned and grinned at Gothani, his voice almost a whisper. “You know, that’s the one hundred and twenty-fourth time she’s threatened to leave?”
Bubbles groaned and gestured impatiently at him. “Do you not take anything seriously?”
“Well, of course I do.” He tapped his fingers on his steering controls as he studied the viewscreen. “If they wanted us dead, they’d have blown us to pieces by now. They want to take us in alive. So, I say, we make a run for it.”
“How?” Ellie called out. “You said it yourself, there’s over a hundred frelling ships out there,”
Bubbles shook her head. “What about a slip drive?”
“What?” Bronson placed a hand on his upper chest as his bottom jaw dropped. “You, Bubbles McBubbles, is suggesting we use a slip drive?”
Axel chuckled as he leaned forward in his chair toward Bronson. The volatile relationship between Bronson and his Travanian second officer was legendary. “Um, I hate to interrupt, but the Core fleet is getting closer, and the Rehnquist has dispatched a boarding shuttle.”
“Yes. Yes, yes, yes. Well, I’ve got good news and bad news.”
“What’s the bad news?” Axel asked, wondering what could possibly be worse than facing a fleet of Core ships with a planet about to explode at their backs.
“The bad news is this ship handles like a garbage freighter with a blown engine, and…” he turned to Bubbles, “…there is no slip drive.”
“So, what’s the good news?” Bubbles asked.
Bronson shrugged. “I’ll let you know when I think of any.” He pressed a button for the onboard comm. “Attention Remler, can you detect any type of tesseract in the area.” He turned to Gothani. “I hope he’s awake.”
“This is Captain—” the voice started over the comm.
“Oh, please shut the frell up. I’m trying to think here,” Bronson said, muting the comm button with an impatient stab of his finger. He turned to Axel and Ellie, mouth open as if prepared to speak. Then he flinched and glanced at the viewscreen as laser fire hit their shields, causing the ship to shudder from the impact.
“I should have taken the Bohemia myself instead of Hendrix,” Bubbles snapped.
Bronson sneered at her and then checked the readouts on the main console. He nodded as if satisfied with what he was seeing. “No missiles, but the laser cannons look intact. Axel, Ellie, can you man the weapons?” Bronson pointed at the two weapon stations in turn.
Axel nodded. “Already on it!” If it came down to it, he’d rather die in a firefight than get captured by the Core. He quickly made his way to the weapon station on the right where a bank of controls were displayed. The layout was unfamiliar, but the process was the same as any other ship he’d been in. Aim and fire and hope you didn’t miss. Although the effort would be pointless, the ship they were in wasn’t built for fighting. The weapons were good for little more than a quick volley to ward off cargo pirates. They lacked firepower to take out the Rehnquist and the smaller fighters would be too nimble to lock onto.
Ellie joined him a moment later, taking the weapon station to the left of the pilot and co-pilot seats, and glaring at Bronson. “This is suicide. The Core must be aware the planets about to explode, right? If we don’t get out of here, we’re all going to die. We don’t have time for this shit.” Her frown deepened as she studied the readout and turned to Axel. “What about the Stardrives? The cargo is full of them. One helped us before when we were trying to escape the fleet at Aridoon.”
Axel paused, studying Ellie. The subject of Aridoon didn’t come up very often, given that he’d nearly died on that planet and in the process of saving him, Phoenix had been created. But she did have a point about the powerful bio-mimetic beings. “But it used all its energy to save us. Can we ask one to sacrifice itself like that again?” Not to mention they’d been left floating dead in space with no propulsion systems and if not for Ellie’s father and the Freedom Collective rescuing them, they would have all been dead. The chance of the Collective being around this time to pick them up was… less than zero.
“Well, we may not have any choice,” Ellie said. “If we are taken into custody, the Stardrives will be taken as well.”
Axel nodded. Ellie didn’t need to explain what would happen if Rose got her hands on the last known supply of Stardrives in the galaxy. Every planet in the Trade Corporation’s reach would be held hostage. But she was right. If they didn’t get the frell away from Amasis before it exploded, they were all dead anyway.
A second volley of laser fire erupted, narrowly missing the Maven Haven.
“Huh?” Gothani muttered, peering at her readouts.
“Now they’re just playing with us.” Bronson growled.
“I don’t think they were firing at us,” Gothani said, her brow furrowed in confusion.
An unknown voice burst through the ship’s comm. “Cargo vessel MR654, do you copy?”
“Yes?” Bronson responded.
“Alpha reporting in. I have a squadron of twelve ships.”
“Beta squadron here with another twelve ships,” a different vice called over the comm.
“Gamma squadron checking in. Twelve ships all ready to blow up some Core assholes. Some of you might know me as Lyantra. I’m here to help find you an escape route.”
The third voice sounded familiar to Axel. He caught Ellie’s look of recognition as she darted a glance at him. “Damn,” Ellie said. “The ‘Finder’ really does find a way.”
“But how the frell did she get here?” Axel shouted, his mood instantly lifting, knowing they now had support in the firefight against the Core.
“We discovered a network of wormholes thanks to the Resistance. Pion Pear sent us. Thought you might need some help,” Lyantra answered over the comm.
“Well, I’m glad he did,” Bronson replied. The viewscreen was already flickering with the eruption of laser fire and Core ships were met head on by the sudden appearance of the Resistance fighters. “Where did you say the wormhole exists?”
Before Lyantra could reply, Bubbles sat upright with a jolt. “Wait! I’ve found something!”
“A sense of humor?” Bronson quipped.
Bubbles tossed him a withering gaze. “No. This ship might not have slip drive tech, but it’s got something else almost as useful.” She pressed a button on her console that was flashing red. The viewscreen lit up with a grid, mapping what appeared to be gravity wells in the immediate vicinity of space. The biggest one, of course, was Amasis, looming like a dark sphere, which flexed and bulged as it struggled to maintain cohesion within the grip of dimensional flux and its impending doom. But within the orbit of derelict ships that surrounded the planet like a spectral grave, several smaller wormholes swirled and pulsed, directly in line with the trajectory of the Resistance fighters had arrived on.
“Well, I’ll be,” Bronson murmured as if impressed. “Wormhole detection tech.” He flashed a grin. “There’s our good news. I knew we’d find it.”
“Why didn’t we see it before?” Gothani asked.
Bronson shrugged. “We weren’t looking for it?”
“You’re as annoying as Hendrix, you know that?” Gothani said.[CH4]
Bubbles shook her head. “No, he’s not. He’s worse. Much worse.”
Axel nodded, appreciating the intricacy of the navigational map, which Bubbles had adjusted to broaden and superimpose over the growing battle of ships. “That’s a handy tool to have for a cargo runner, if you wanted to avoid trade commissions, asking uncomfortable questions, or make a quick escape.”
But even as they watched, one of the smallest wormhole egresses nearest Amasis imploded and disappeared like it had never existed, its energy consumed by the planet’s increasing instability.
“Right. Let’s get the frell out of here before there’s nothing left of here to leave,” Bronson said. He leaned forward in his chair and addressed the Resistance vessels engaged in fighting. “Attention Freedom Fighters. We’ve located the wormholes and are plotting a course to the nearest one.”
“Copy that. We’ve got you covered.”
“The most stable wormhole is fifteen point three one space clicks aft of the Rehnquist,” Gothani pointed ahead at the viewscreen. “So that means we have to get past the fleet to that. Or head back towards the planet where the gravitational flux is playing havoc with our sensors, and try to slip by it to the next wormhole on the far side. That must be the one the Resistance Fighters came through. But they’re all showing signs of instability. Not sure how long they’ll stay fixed in space before Amasis’s flux shreds them. And us.”
“The boarding shuttle has been destroyed!” Axel called out as a surge of satisfaction pulsed though him. Maybe they would get out of here intact. It was hard to see who was shooting what with so much laser fire going on, but the unmistakable implosion of the small vessel flared on his targeting screen.
“Yes!” Bronson pumped his fist into the air. “Keep firing at those ships. We’re going in,” he called out. The Maven Haven’s viewscreen became a blizzard of laser fire as Bronson altered the ship’s course. A direct route to the wormhole would find them smashing into the Rehnquist, if they weren’t destroyed in the process.
The newly arrived fighters from the Alpha, Beta and Gamma squadrons continued to exchange fire with the Core vessels.
“The shields aren’t going to hold!” Bubbles shouted as the Maven Haven shuddered with the impact of repeated laser fire. “Sixty percent and falling.”
Ellie steered the laser cannon and locked onto a target, firing burst after burst at the distant vessel. With each press of the fire button, she thought of how her own mother had sent this fleet out to capture or destroy them. If this was how power corrupted someone, she was glad to be out of the family business.
She followed the ship she had targeted as it changed direction, continuing to unload the Maven Haven’s firepower at it. So many lost lives, and for what? Ellie thought. The irony of her actions wasn’t lost on her as she let loose yet another volley of laser fire directed at the fighter. She knew how this worked, it was either destroy or be destroyed. Sure, the Core were corrupt and did whatever her mother commanded them to do, but they were people, each with a life and dreams and hopes. Dreams and hopes that will be lost anyway if they’re still here when the planet blows up.
“Report,” Bronson said through the comm.
“Lost six ships so far,” Alpha-1 said. “But we’re keeping them busy.”
“Alpha, Beta, Gamma. Are you aware of the situation with Amasis?” Bronson asked.
“Fully,” Alpha-1 replied. “But if you guys don’t make it, it’s all for nothing. One sec, I have a Core fighter on my—”
Another voice burst though the buzz of static left by the sudden loss of contact with Alpha-1, “Not anymore.”
As Bronson steered the ship closer to the Rehnquist, the battle ahead of them increased in visibility. Not only did the Alpha, Beta and Gamma teams have a raging fight going on with the Core fighters, there was also a number of mid-sized vessels doing everything they could to block the Maven Haven from escaping.
“What the frell is happening?” Shiznit shouted as he entered the bridge, eyes wide and hair bristled. “I heard you call for Remler before, he’s still sleeping. Everyone’s still sleeping, except me. The Stardrives are doing it, I think. They’re just kind of hovering above everyone. It’s creepy. I think they’re scared.”
“Stardrives scared?” Ellie asked. That didn’t sound good.
“With the way you guys are flying? Yes!” The ship lurched, nearly knocking the Gho’bar off his feet.
“We’ve got to get to a wormhole on the other side of that ship. And when we reach that wormhole, you won’t want to be standing there like that,” Ellie pointed out.
Shiznit didn’t respond. He stared at the viewscreen as if transfixed by the image of the Rehnquist, gradually growing in size as they neared it. “If that ship fires at us, we’re toast.”
Three Resistance fighters flew into sight of the viewscreen, narrowly missing the Haven Maven by meters, their collective firepower taking out another two Core fighters in a fiery implosion that rocked the Haven.
“Just thought we’d come and say ‘hi’,” Beta’s voice spat through the ship’s comm.
“Gamma squadron, let’s split into two groups. My group will begin a strafing attack on top of the Rehnquist. Group two, hang back and take out their cannons and missile launchers. Make sure you keep frosty.”
With the full Gamma squadron still intact, they glided through the air like ballet dancers on a stage, breaking away into two groups of six fighters and moving in synchronization with each other.
“See, Shiz?” Axel called out. “Nothing to be worried about when we’ve got friends—”
Ellie turned as she heard the thud and the Gho’bar, paralyzed from fear, fell to the floor, limbs straight and eyes wide and staring. Dammit! “I didn’t mean that you should freeze up and pass out!”
“Oh shit,” Axel said. “He hasn’t done that for ages.”
Bronson turned to see what Axel and Ellie were talking about. “He just falls down?”
“He sometimes suffers from fear paralysis. It can take him anywhere between ten seconds and five hours to wake from it. It’s not uncommon for his species, but Shiz is more susceptible than others of his kind,” Axel explained. “We need to secure him.”
Bronson nodded as Axel stood and made his way to the fallen figure of Shiznit. A look of fear plastered across his face, the Gho’bar’s only sign of life was his rising and falling chest as he breathed in and out. Axel picked him up and put him over his shoulder as if he was a backpack. After a few steps to the rear of the bridge, he placed Shiznit in a seat and secured him by a crossover buckle. “Now just stay there, buddy.”
“Not like he can actually move,” Ellie muttered to herself, noting the awkward way the Gho’bars arms and legs stuck out. It was getting harder to track the Core vessels using the weapons controls. Whether it was the increasing instability of the space they were in caused by Amasis, or the ships instruments were failing as the banks of laser energy depleted, the situation wasn’t good.
“Missile, incoming,” Bubbles called out. “Our frelling shields are down to only ten percent, not enough to withstand a weapon of that magnitude.”
Axel ran back to his weapons station and targeted the incoming missile. He fired several volleys of laser plasma, but the missile appeared unaffected. “No way, you have got to be fucking kidding me! Did I miss? How could I miss?” He checked his controls, his movements frantic.
“The target lock is no longer working,” Ellie explained. They were fucked. Truly fucked. It didn’t matter how Bronson tried to shake the missile by twisting and turning the freighter, the weapon’s pursuit was relentless. “In about five seconds we’re all going to be dead.”
“I’ve got it,” a voice called through the comm.
Ellie and the Haven Maven’s crewed watched in horror as one of the friendly fighters flew into their sight and then veered into the direction of the incoming missile. The two exploded on impact in a fiery plume that filled the viewscreen. Debris hit their ship, despite Bronson banking hard away from the collision.
The bridge was filled with silence as the enormity of the moment sunk in. Even Bronson seemed at a loss for words, having just witnessed the Freedom fighter pilot sacrifice themself so the Maven Haven and its cargo had a chance to survive.
“Okay, people.” Bronson’s voice was unusually subdued. “We’ve been given a chance. Let’s not waste it. What’ve we got left?”
“Shields are holding at ten percent,” Bubbles called out.
“Targeting computer appears to be damaged and weapons banks down to fifteen percent,” Ellie announced.
“Gamma seven checking in. I’ve focused on three of the Rehnquist’s missile launchers and two cannons, but there are still dozens of each, and their shields are still intact.”
“Okay, Gamma squadron, peel back and prepare for another strafing attack,” Lyantra said as the battle chatter continued, both sides taking losses as the Maven Haven progressed towards the wormhole.
“T-183 here, reporting in, captain. I have analyzed the data and we have five minutes until Amasis completely self-destructs.”
“T?” Bronson asked over the comm. “Whereabouts are you exactly?”
“I am in the cargo hold, sir. Reboot sequence is completed. I have managed to tap into the ship’s systems from down here.”
Gothani looked at Bronson and pointed at a small screen. “The cyborg’s right, the planet is rapidly falling apart.”
Bronson nodded, and for the first time since she’d met him, Ellie could swear he was anxious. The ship’s captain spoke into the comm. “Attention all ships, we need to be gone in less than five minutes.”
“I don’t know how much damage we’ve done to the Rehnquist, but they might try to follow you through the wormhole if they can’t take you with them now,” Lyantra said.
“I can’t believe we’re all here fighting while Amasis goes supernova. They should just let us go or we’re all going to die.”
“Amasis can’t go supernova,” Bronson pointed out. “It’s not a star.”
Ellie opened her mouth to give Bronson her opinion on the semantics of the matter, but Alpha cut her off over the comm, “We’ll stick around as long as we can Bronson, but once you’re clear, we’re all gonna hightail it outta here, too.”
The wormhole couldn’t be any further than one space klick away, but the space between it and the Maven was filled with the fighters attacking the intimidating Core capital ship, and the remaining fleet.
“Are they blocking our way to the wormhole now?” Bubbles called out as they barely dodged a volley of laser fire from a pair of Core fighter ships. “I swear there’s even more of the fleet in the way than when we plotted our course.”
“This thing maneuvers like a brick through a pile of Borb shit!” Bronson winced as he banked the ship and dodged to the right of the ships flanking the Rehnquist.
“Thanks for that wonderful visual,” Ellie said. She had just taken out a second mid-sized ship by randomly blasting laser fire in the forward direction, but the effort to take down those ships made her wonder if her and Axel had made much difference.
“I’m hit!” a female voice screamed through the comm.
“Oh, shit,” Axel said.
“Frell this,” Ellie said as her laser power bank reached zero. She ran to where Axel was stationed in time to witness the damaged Alpha squadron fighter smash into the cockpit of the Rehnquist. The resulting explosion caused the command ship’s forward shields to buckle and the vessel to begin dipping downward.
“Rehnquist’s forward shields are down. I repeat, the command cruiser’s forward shields are down. All fighters focus firing on the bridge.” Lyantra announced over the comm.
“It’s not good! There’s a back up shielding in place,” one of the fighters called out.
“Keep tying!” Lyantra shouted.
“Attention, cargo ship,” Captain Ortega said through the open comm channel. “This is your last chance to comply and surrender to our charge. Failure to do so will result in your imminent destruction.”
“Destruction.” Ellie stared at the command cruiser, looming large on the viewscreen. “Mother would rather kill us than let us go free?”
“Looks like,” Bronson said, his expression grim. He leaned toward the comm. “Before you die, Captain Tug-Tug, you can tell Rose to go and eat a giant Borb c—”
The Haven Maven suffered another hit. Everyone grabbed their seat as they were tipped on a near right-angle. How many more hits could they absorb? They should have been toast from that last impact.
“We need more time,” Bronson muttered.
“We’re now further away from the wormhole than before. Captain, I don’t know if we can make it unless you get us back on course,” Bubbles said.
Bronson kept the Maven Haven’s course headed away from the firefight and toward the planet instead. As Ellie looked through the viewscreen, the Rehnquist was almost out of sight. What is he doing?
“Captain!” Axel shouted.
Bronson didn’t respond, his focus seemed fixed on crashing them into the planet.
Bubbles looked down at her statistics screen. “Gravity is increasing. We’re picking up speed. In fifteen seconds, we won’t be able to escape the dimensional flux,” Bubbles said.
“Bronson, are you hearing ANY of this?”
“Now!” Bronson called out and directed the ship back to the wormhole, using the trajectory to ‘bounce’ the ship off Amasis’s atmosphere and create speed. The ship shook from the stress as they skimmed the temporal flux barrier and once again accelerated towards the wormhole, the only way out of the hell they were in.
“We’re down to twenty ships between the three squadrons,” Alpha’s voice announced over the ship’s comm.
“Look out. A heap of fighter ships have exited the Rehnquist,” Lyantra said.
“Great, just what we need, more company,” Bubbles thumped her console.
“Is it just me, or are we moving faster than they can track for weapons lock?” Axel asked.
“A little trick for the close-range fighters, yes,” Bronson replied with a smile, but his focus remained on piloting the ship through the melee of fighters swarming between the cargo vessel and the wormhole.
Ellie checked her readouts, which was a sea of warning lights and messages. The extra boost from the gravity bounce had brought the ship to near lightspeed. Good for avoiding targeting but now they had the added danger of crashing into ships before they could avoid them.
“There’s too many of them,” Beta yelled.
Bronson spoke into the comm. “Get outta here, now. All of you. You’ve done what you could. Get yourselves to safety.”
He was right. Although the Rehnquist would meet its end any second, the newly added enemy ships saw them outnumbered to the extent they were when the three squadrons of fighter ships first entered the battle. And they were out of time to do anything more about them.
“This is insanity,” Ellie said. “Why don’t the Core just stop fighting and leave? Do they want to die?”
“My ship’s been disabled,” Lyantra said. “I’m dead in the water, or space, as the case may be here. Alpha, Beta, Maven Haven… it’s been an honor.”
“Noo,” Ellie whispered. A lump formed in her throat as the visual on the viewscreen showed a fiery plume erupt where Lyantra’s ship had been. She had only known the Lemondian briefly, but enough to remember her cheeky smile and ability to live up to her nickname of ‘The Finder.’ It was a good thing Uncle Henry was in the cargo hold with the others and not awake to witness the destruction. He, Iris and Lyantra had escaped the Borbian prison together. And he’d already lost Iris. Lyantra would be another blow.
“Mine too,” she whispered as she gave the viewscreen a small salute.
“One minute to wormhole, and fifty-nine seconds until dimensional flux,” Gothani updated. “It’s gonna be tight.”
Explosion after explosion flashed on the viewscreen, each representing the termination of a ship, the ending of a life.
“We’re down to ten ships. Good luck Haven Maven, it’s been an honor,” Alpha said.
“No!” Ellie said. “They can’t all die.”
“Beta checking in. My turbo-thrusters are gone. But I’m gonna take as many of them with me as I can.”
Ellie closed her eyes, but it didn’t stop the leader of the Beta squadron from spiraling into the bridge of the Rehnquist and exploding against the shielding in a burst of flames that were quickly extinguished as the fighter imploded.
“She’s taken out their forward shielding for sure this time with that heroic act. A true warrior,” Gothani said.
No one else said anything as the Maven Haven drew closer to the wormhole entrance, which appeared on the viewscreen as a funnel shaped grid that moved and flexed as if alive. With each passing second, the remaining fighter ships escorting them to the wormhole decreased in quantity.
“What if they follow us in?” Ellie asked.
“The Rehnquist can’t at least,” Gothani answered, checking the readout on her console. “Not without functioning shields. They’ll be ripped to pieces. Which might happen to us as well. Shields down to three percent.”
“Let’s put everything we’ve got into reinforcing the shields,” Bronson said. He pushed a button on his console and spoke into the comm. “Alpha, are you still there?”
“Just hanging in. All squadron members, get to that wormhole. Follow the Haven Maven.”
“Alpha, I’m not going to make it,” a voice burst through the comm. “Please, Haven Maven, make sure you get the hell-”
The distressed pilot’s voice was cut out as his ship exploded. Ellie looked at what was left out around them, and even if they were victorious and escaped, a lot of good pilots had perished to ensure their getaway.
“Oh, frell!” Bronson said as three mid-sized vessels moved directly into their path.
“Wormhole entrance in thirty seconds,” Gothani called out.
“We’ll hit those ships in less than that,” Bronson shouted. “We’ll have to abort and—”
“We can’t abort,” Axel said. “There’s no time for a second try.”
“We can’t survive a collision either,” Bronson said.
“Captain!” Gothani shouted. “The shields are at full strength…and climbing?”
Ellie checked her own console. The power banks for the laser weaponry were fully charged again and a faint blue glow appeared to be emanating from …well, everything. The ship, the bridge, her console, her hand. She waved her fingers in front of her face, fascinated by the afterimage they left behind in a trail of pale glowing energy. It was soothing. Soothing and … familiar. Had they died? What the frell was going on?
“Ten seconds to impact, nine...” Bubbles called out, drawing Ellie’s attention. “Steer around you idiot!” the Travanian shouted at Bronson.
“Brace for impact,” Bronson shouted.
Ellie tensed as the Core vessels filled the viewscreen, anticipating the moment of obliteration. At this speed, at least it will be quick, she thought. But a quick end appeared to be taking a lot longer than she’d expected as the moment of impact arrived and the Maven Haven not only remained intact, it appeared to pass through the ships blocking their path like a knife though butter, with barely a shudder. Within seconds they were past the blockage unscathed and flying towards the opening of the wormhole as if nothing had ever stood in their way.
“What the…?” Bronson asked, mirroring the thought of everyone on the bridge as they looked at each other, sharing the same dumbfounded expression.
Caree’s voice washed over the ship through the onboard comm. “Phoenix is using the Stardrive energy to make sure we escape. It will be okay.”
Well, that explained the glow and how the shields and ships systems had suddenly become recharged.
“Is there anything that little dude can’t do?” Bronson looked between his co-pilot and navigator and then at Ellie.
“It would have saved us a lot of trouble if he’d helped us earlier,” Bubbles muttered.
“Well, he did just destroy an entire hoard of planet-infesting Mind Eaters a few hours ago. Even super babies need a nap,” Ellie snapped.
Bronson nodded. “Good job, everyone,” he called over the comm.
“Captain, the shield surrounding the ship has expanded to protect any nearby fighters, including Core vessels.”
“All life is precious,” Phoenix answered over the comm. “We go now.”
“Sounds like the little dude wants my job. Status?” Bronson asked.
“Ten seconds to go,” Gothani said. “But that wormhole is becoming increasingly unstable. Amasis is starting to go.”
Bronson nodded. “Okay, everyone.” He spoke into the onboard comm. “Secure yourselves now, things are about to get bumpy.
“Entering wormhole space…now,” Bubbles called out. “Amasis is… frelling hell. The gravity well is increasing, trying to pull us back.”
The ship shuddered under the enormous stress, but the course didn’t alter and the blue glow intensified until it was the brightest light source on the ship, seeming to emanate from the metal itself.
After a moment, the glow dimmed and the crew watched as the blackness of space changed into a kaleidoscope of colors and the ship accelerated within the wormhole and away from the collapsing planet. Ellie took a deep breath, grateful to not be around to see the remains of Amasis suck in anything that didn’t reach the wormhole before the planet suffered its dimensional flux and imploded.
“How many ships do we have with us?” Ellie asked, her voice quiet with the exhaustion that settled into her bones, emanating from her mind.
“Ten Freedom fighters, two Core fighters. No sign of the Rehnquist or anyone else.”
“Goddammit!” Ellie shouted. Over two full squads of Freedom Collective fighters and practically a full fleet of Core personnel gone in a blink.
Axel stood and went to Ellie’s side. He placed his hand on her shoulder. “I’m sure Phoenix did the best he could—”
“He wouldn’t have had to if my mother hadn’t set up a goddamned ambush!” She took a deep breath, trying to calm the rage biting her insides. “None of this should have happened.” All those lives lost today. And for what? Just because they were pawns in a vicious power game? “My mother has officially gone insane.” She sank into her seat and squeezed her eyes shut, her limbs shaking from the intensity of everything she’d experienced. They were safe. They’d escaped. For now. But how long until they did it all again when her mother devised a new fun way to try to kill her daughter and anyone else who got in the way? “This shit has to stop.”
“Yes.” Axel’s palm was cool and soothing against her cheek. She opened her eyes and stared at him. They’d been through so much together. His face was etched with exhaustion, but his eyes were filled with the same caring she’d seen that first day they’d met as kids so long ago. Here was a man who knew no guile or deceit. Whose genuine heart had set fire to her own and given her strength to escape the world she’d been born into.
But she hadn’t escaped. Not yet. Not while her mother was still alive and in control of the damned Galactic Trade Corporation.
“It’s okay, freckles. It’s just been a fucked up frelling day.” He tweaked her nose and smiled, causing her to giggle at the immense understatement.
“Fucked up frelling day from hell,” she corrected, catching his fingers between hers and giving them a squeeze. It was hard to remember that only hours earlier they’d still been captive in a parasitic mind prison, but thanks to the efforts of the Freedom fighters, Phoenix and the shifters, they were free. She sighed, her breath hitching on the waves of emotion she was feeling. “You know, it would have been easier to get off that dammed planet if Hendrix hadn’t frelled off in the Bohemia. We really could have used that slip drive.”
Axel turned to Bronson and Ellie was suddenly acutely aware that everyone on the bridge was staring at them. “Why did Hendrix take off in the Bohemia?”
Bronson gave a nonchalant shrug. “Why don’t we ask him?” He winked at Gothani and spoke into the comm, “Hendrix, do you copy?”
The comm was filled with static.
“I repeat. Hendrix, do you copy?”
“Huh, must be busy.” Bronson shrugged.
“Does that thing even work in a wormhole?” Bubbles asked, rolling her eyes. “I’m pretty sure transmissions are cut off, or at least limited, while we’re inside the tunnel.”
Bronson raised an eyebrow at her and grinned. “Worth a shot.”
Ellie stared at the Captain of the Bohemia for a long moment as her skin prickled. Something wasn’t right here. Bronson was acting far too calm and unconcerned for someone who’d had their ship taken without permission. But her concerns over what Bronson and Hendrix were up to were dimmed as a new and more pressing question popped in her mind. She looked at Axel and the others.
“Hey, um…, just wondering…does anyone know where this wormhole goes?”
RELEASE DATE: OCTOBER 20, 2022
If you are a fan of those well-known sci-fi films or shows then The Legacy Hunter Series is for you. All the action you expect, outrageous creatures and strange lands, laugh out loud humor, and a touch of romance.
C. D., Amazon Review
Space travel? Check. Aliens? Check. Action and adventure? Check. The Legacy Hunter series has it all, and if you love science fiction it's a must read!
K. R., Amazon Review