Snippet 5: Evolution, Ghost Squadron #3


Alpha-line Q-Ship, Federation Border Station 7 Airspace, Lorialis System
“That’s the Omega-line? It doesn’t look any different than this Q-Ship,” said Lars from the copilot seat.
“That’s kind of the point,” said Eddie. “The differences are on the inside.” He pulled the controls to the side as Julianna maneuvered the other ship, the one Hatch had just created, up next to them. “Strong Arm,” he said, using Julianna’s call sign, “you wanna show Carnivore what that baby can do?”
“I thought you’d never ask,” said Julianna over the comm. The Q-Ship she was flying punched out at breakneck speed, leaving the other behind.
“Whoa, it can definitely move,” remarked Lars. “I’ll admit that’s impressive, but I thought the new line had some out-of-this-world features?” The Kezzin gave Eddie a sideways glance that showed his disappointment.
Eddie activated the thrusters to send their own Q-Ship racing after Julianna. “Just wait. There’s another feature you have to see in action.”
“Carnivore, did you just say ‘out-of-this-world’ while we’re racing through space?” asked Julianna.
Eddie snickered. “He’s been sheltered, so give him a break. We’ll teach him some fun references.”
A laugh echoed across the comm. “Don’t learn your lingo from Blackbeard.”
“Hey, I know things!” argued Eddie.
“If you three are done shooting the breeze, our target is ahead,” said Pip.
“’Shooting the breeze?’” asked Eddie, activating the second thruster to catch up with Julianna.
“Yes, it’s one of the many weird things about his new evolution,” said Julianna, a sudden edge to her voice.
Eddie shot Lars a look and raised his eyebrow but said nothing, and Lars returned the glance with a slight shrug.
“Target spotted,” said Lars, checking the radar. Julianna, as planned, had made an arc around the upcoming Black Eagle.
“That puppy is slow. It must have been kept in a rusty garage since it was decommissioned.” Eddie sent the Q-Ship toward the flying target, doubling his speed.
“Strong Arm, we are approaching and will be in position soon,” Lars informed Julianna.
“Fifteen seconds,” supplied Pip.
“Almost there,” muttered Eddie.
“Target’s fuel reserves are low. Engines have failed twice,” Pip informed them.
Lars flipped two switches overhead before adjusting his microphone. “Defiance Trading Company, we’ve determined that your spacecraft is in distress. We’re a Ronin tow craft, and we offer assistance.”
There was no answer over the static-filled comm, but the gray Black Eagle immediately spun in the opposite direction. For a moment it looked like it would stall, but the engines kicked back on and it shot forward.
“We’ve got a runner,” said Eddie, sitting up.
“Your engines are failing, Defiance. We can help you. We mean you no harm,” said Lars over the comm.
Another voice finally answered. “I don’t need any help. I’ve got a rescue craft already on the way.”
Eddie sent the Q-Ship after the Black Eagle and quickly caught up. The craft in front of them came to an automatic halt, causing Eddie had to swerve the Q-Ship around it. He overshot it by a short distance before doubling back and hovering just in front of the old craft.
“Fuel levels on Defiant ship are nearly depleted,” said Pip.
“How long could he idle?” asked Eddie.
“Three hours, roughly,” said Pip.
“I don’t have three hours to hang around here,” remarked Eddie. “This idiot needs to realize we aren’t the bad guys.”
“Unless he turns out to be an enemy, and then we’ll fuck him up,” said Julianna.
“There you are, Strong Arm. What say we end this already?” Eddie and Lars were only thirty meters from the other ship, close enough for a visual, and Eddie leaned forward to look into the Black Eagle. The murky dust covering the windows made it impossible to discern a figure, though.
“There’s a problem,” said Pip over the comm.
“Of course there is. Wouldn’t be a party without one,” said Eddie, not at all deterred.
“Fuel level is rising,” informed the AI
“How is that possible? You said it was near zero,” said Lars.
“It shouldn’t be possible,” said Eddie. “Maybe there was a malfunction with the gauge.” As soon as the last word left his mouth the rogue Black Eagle zoomed forward again in another attempt to get away. It wasn’t going to work, but the last-ditch effort was kind of cute. Eddie flew straight after it and kept pace.
“Have you guys been looking for me?” asked Julianna. Eddie couldn’t see her out the window, but a quick glance at the radar told him that she was hovering just above the Black Eagle.
“There you are!” Eddie chuckled. “Lars, tell this guy we’ve got him surrounded. You’ve got a nice voice, so I’m sure it’ll sound comforting.”
Lars shot Eddie a strange look. “’Comforting?’ Do I really?”
“Like an old grandmother,” Eddie assured him.
“If she had smoked for forty years,” added Julianna.
“Are you sure you want me to say we have him surrounded?” asked Lars. “We only have two ships.”
Keeping his hands on the controls, Eddie nodded. “Just do it.”
Without another question, Lars flipped a switch. “Defiance, we have you surrounded and we mean you no harm. Allow us to tow you from here.”
“I’m not falling for your bullshit. Just leave me alone.” The voice crackled through the staticky comm.
“Testy little tyke, isn’t he?” asked Eddie. “Strong Arm, we’re ready for you to graduate to the next phase.”
“Copy,” said Julianna. “Initiating. Be ready for next phase in three, two…and one.”
In front of the racing Black Eagle another Q-Ship appeared, and Lars’ eyes widened with shock. Eddie had wanted to tell him about this part beforehand, but he had also wanted it to be a surprise. He wagered there was no danger in that.
Lars whipped his gaze to the radar. Another ship had appeared behind the Black Eagle and almost at once the fleeing ship slowed, stalling once more before coming to a near-halt. A second later two more Q-Ships materialized on each side of the Black Eagle.
Lars flicked off the comm, disconnecting them from the Defiance ship. “I’m guessing those aren’t enemy ships, based on the smile on your face.”
“Those aren’t even ships,” said Eddie proudly.
Lars stared at the vessel just in front of the Black Eagle. “Huh? They look like ships.”
“Holograms are funny like that,” said Eddie.
“Holograms?” sputtered Lars. “Strong Arm, are you doing that?”
Julianna answered right away. “Yes, they’re projections. After the right modifications, Hatch was able to make them appear as actual ships on the radar too. Just one of many upgrades to this Omega-line Q-Ship.”
“Damn, that’s remarkable,” said Lars.
“Looks like it’s time to bring this guy in,” said Eddie. “Finally.”
“Finally?” questioned Julianna. “This took a whole five minutes—you’re so impatient. But yes, let’s bring him in and end this.”
Lars nodded, flipping the comm switch. “Defiance, we’re sending out tow cables. Cooperate, and you will not be harmed.”
There was no reply as Eddie fed out the cables and locked them securely into place. After they had been reinforced, Eddie signaled Julianna. “Strong Arm, we’re all set. Meet you back at ArchAngel.”
The Q-Ship projections disappeared from around the Black Eagle. “Copy,” responded Julianna. “I’ll be waiting with a welcome gift for our guest.”
“Freshly baked muffins?” asked Eddie, mock hope in his voice.
“With fucking crumble on top,” said Julianna.

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Dec 19, 2017 | Posted by in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Snippet 5: Evolution, Ghost Squadron #3

Snippet 3: Evolution, Ghost Squadron #3

Chapter Two

Officers Lounge, QBS ArchAngel, Lorialis System

“You’re kidding me,” said Eddie, pulling back his arm and launching the dart forward. It whirled through the air, sticking hard into the board, a few centimeters from the bullseye.

Lars took the position where Eddie had been. “I’m not kidding you. Marilla says these aliens are telepathic. Isn’t that bizarre?” He threw his own dart and it landed on one of the numbers that bordered the target.

“I definitely don’t want to meet any those guys,” remarked Eddie. “I don’t need some alien in my thoughts.” He picked up a dart and twirled it in his fingers. The idea of having someone in his head, like Julianna had with Pip, was a bit strange. Sure, there were the obvious perks to it, depending on the circumstances, but Eddie wasn’t sure how he’d feel about an AI listening to the things that went on in his mind, let alone an alien.

Maybe that’s why Julianna had gotten rid of her last AI, Ricky Bobby. Eddie had been silently investigating the whole thing for a while now, ever since Pip became sentient. Julianna acted happy about the evolution, but there was something else going on. He could sense it in little ways. It wasn’t so much what she said, but what she didn’t say. When Eddie discovered Ricky Bobby’s existence, it came as a shock. For as well as he knew her, Julianna had never spoken about her former AI companion, despite how long she and Ricky Bobby had worked together.

Eddie wanted to approach her about this, but had yet to do so. He wasn’t sure why. Maybe he just didn’t know if it was his place.

“Yeah, I know,” said Lars. “One or two telepaths is one thing, but an entire species boggles my mind.” The Kezzin soldier watched as Eddie took his shot. Again, he narrowly missed the bullseye.

Lars didn’t bother lining up for his next shot. He haphazardly threw the dart, and it didn’t even make it on the board.

Eddie whistled through his teeth. “Damn, I’m glad you fly better than you shoot. Otherwise, you’d have been wasted by now.”

Lars shook his head. He realized he was being sloppy. It had been like this in recent weeks during his down time. That was the only opportunity that he had to let his mind wander, and it always shot back to the Brotherhood. Seeing the army that Commander Lytes had put together overwhelmed Lars whenever he thought about it, and he couldn’t help but dwell. Maybe he didn’t know those soldiers, but they were still his fellow Kezzin. They were his brothers.

He wondered about his family, too. Had his brother been required to join, once Lars had left? He didn’t like to think about that, but it was difficult to control his thoughts. Doubts and fears were tricky things to control. The moment you thought you had a handle on them was the moment they consumed you.

The screen on an adjacent wall flickered on, Chester’s pale face looking out at Eddie and Lars. “There you are, Captain,” he said, beaming. “I have something I think you should take a look at.”

Eddie, unflustered, pulled back his arm and released it with the dart. It stuck straight into the bullseye this time. Casually. As though he had planned this, he turned to the monitor. “I’ll be right over. Have you paged Commander Fregin yet?”

“Yes, she’s on her way here,” said Chester, running his hands through his spikey blond hair.

“Very well.” Eddie slapped Lars on the shoulder as he turned to leave. “Keep practicing, brother. One of these days you’ll be able to beat me.”

Lars smirked, showing his razor-sharp teeth. “Challenge accepted.”

Evolution releases December 21st.

Dec 13, 2017 | Posted by in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Snippet 3: Evolution, Ghost Squadron #3

Snippet 1: Evolution, Ghost Squadron #3

Chapter One


Defiance Trading Company Headquarters, Planet L2SCQ-6 in Frontier space, Unnamed System.

Felix Castile listened to the loud breathing of the Kezzin behind him. Commander Lytes must have had a deviated septum. It was the only plausible reason for his constant sniffling, always interrupting the silence.

Or maybe it was just a physical trait of the Kezzin. Felix hadn’t taken much time to learn about the species. He knew these lizard-type aliens could stop breathing for an extended period of time, but that was about it.

Felix prided himself on his ability to accumulate and use information, but only when it was useful. If it didn’t earn him additional power or prestige, then he didn’t seek the data out. Currently, his relationship with Commander Lyte existed solely to further his own plan—the complete and absolute destruction of General Lance Reynolds. The moment the Kezzin stopped being useful would be the moment Felix cut him loose.

All that Felix Castile did was for the goal. Every action, every day.

And that was exactly why he was here in this awful place, staring at a group of black market merchants.

The leader of the Defiance Trading Company, a rogue operation that stockpiled weapons and sold them on the black market, looked up from the pad in his hand. “We have loaded everything into your ship that you requested. I have yet to see the transfer of funds come over, though,” said the man, his voice raspy, probably from years of smoking or hanging out in filthy warehouses like this one. The man, Mateo, had a thick scar that ran over his left eye and down his cheek. Living outside of Federation space hadn’t been kind to him. That much was clear.

Felix surveyed Mateo’s crew. There were roughly a dozen men stationed around the warehouse, most of them with their guns at the ready and grimaces on their greasy faces. Felix had Brotherhood soldiers on each side of him, outnumbered by Mateo’s guards. No doubt, the arms dealer felt safe with all his people to protect him.

He was short-sighted. Only fools underestimated Felix. The arms merchant would soon understand that.

Felix cleared his throat. “You sold me three nukes. How many more do you have here?”

Mateo’s scar moved when he lifted his eyebrow. “Not sure why my inventory is any business of yours. I’ve supplied you with what you’ve asked for.”

“That you have,” Felix said, pulling his hat down over his eyes and taking a step back.

Mateo eyed the pad again. “Like I mentioned, the transfer hasn’t come through. We can’t let you to leave until that happens. It’s simple business. I’m sure you understand.”

Felix smiled darkly. “About that…”

He took a few steps back, his soldiers stepping in to shield him.

“Didn’t you hear me?” asked Mateo. “Hey! I’m talking to—”

Shots fired from above. Men yelled. Some tried to return fire, but they were quickly silenced.

Felix turned in time to watch Mateo clutch his chest as the bullet pierced the arms dealer’s flesh. Disbelief and betrayal rang out in the man’s eyes before he fell to his knees, finally collapsing forward.

Each of the men stationed around the warehouse lay in similar positions, blood puddling around them. None had stood a chance.

Stationed overhead were a dozen Brotherhood soldiers, each one assigned to take out their specified targets on the ground. The timing had been perfect.

Felix glanced up to the rafters, a proud look in his eyes. “Have your men load the remaining weapons into my ship.”

“Yes sir,” said Commander Lytes, his eyes lingering on one of the dead bodies for a moment. He hadn’t liked the plan and said there had to be another way. Lytes was wrong and must have seen that now. Perhaps next time he would trust in Felix’s plans from the beginning.

The door to the exit swung out in front of them. A man with a short black Mohawk and a leather jacket that had seen better days froze at the threshold. His eyes scanned the warehouse, falling first on Mateo’s dead body and then the others that were strewn all over the facility. His gaze snapped to Felix, standing roughly ten meters away. They’d missed one of Mateo’s men.

“Get him!” barked Felix.

The soldiers darted forward, right as the strange man reversed, heading back the way he came. Gun shots rang out from the hallway, echoing loudly in the warehouse.

Felix looked at Commander Lytes. “Have your men search the building. I don’t want anyone left alive. Do you understand? No witnesses.”

Commander Lytes nodded, hurrying off to where his men were gathering in the middle of the facility, having climbed down the rafters where they were stationed.

Felix’s eyes briefly rested on Mateo’s dead body. Perhaps he would be happy, knowing that his weapons would be used to end a long-standing battle. A fight that would shake the very foundation of the galaxy…of the Federation, itself. What better use could a man like Mateo have than to be useful? What better purpose could there be than to alter the status quo? Had Mateo never come to this warehouse today, he might never have realized his true destiny. He would have gone on living his life, worthless as it was, and died without ever truly mattering.

But Felix would make him matter. Felix would give Mateo’s life purpose. That would be his gift to him.

Soon, everything would be in place to make General Reynolds pay. Felix had figured out the best way to punish him for what he’d done all those years ago.

Break the Federation…and General Reynolds would be broken, too.

Evolution will be released December 21st.

Dec 8, 2017 | Posted by in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Snippet 1: Evolution, Ghost Squadron #3

Snippet 5: Exploration, Ghost Squadron #2

Exploration: Ghost Squadron, #2

Snippet 5

Julianna slammed the door to the interrogation room upon exiting. She had to get out of there before she did something she’d regret to the dumb Trid. He wasn’t talking, almost like he wanted her to rearrange his shark face. Ever since seeing those imprisoned by the Brotherhood, she had a new passion to stop them. Julianna had seen it all, but that didn’t mean seeing children starved or families separated and imprisoned was something that didn’t faze her. She was human after all.

Well, kind of.

Julianna pulled back her fist and launched it at the wall. The force of her punch should have hurt. Would have made a normal person flinch with pain. Julianna only considered doing it again to further relieve the frustration.

“Some things never change,” said a voice at her back.

Julianna straightened, tightening her jaw. She turned around, knowing full well who was speaking. “What’s that supposed to mean?” asked Julianna, running her eyes over Jack Renfro.

The spymaster for the Federation hadn’t changed a bit. Still the same muscular physique and discriminating expression covering his face.

He smirked. “It means, you’ve still got the same fire I remember.”

Julianna allowed herself to grin, her shoulders relaxing. “Some things never die, about like you.”

Jack chuckled, a warmth spreading over his features. How long had it been since she’d set eyes on him? A long while, no doubt. “The same could be said about you.”

“What brings you aboard the ArchAngel?” Julianna asked. One reason she hadn’t seen Jack for quite some time was that he had been sent on a series of unclassified missions. This was a guy who fixed things. Made shit happen. Everyone respected Jack, and those who didn’t never stuck around for long.

“I’ve taken on a new assignment,” he responded.

“Oh? General Reynolds hasn’t disclosed anything to us,” said Julianna, referring to her and Eddie. The ArchAngel was in their command and, therefore, anything happening on it should be of knowledge to them.

He nodded. “That’s why I’m here. I’m taking over for the general.”

Exploration Releases December 4th.

Nov 30, 2017 | Posted by in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Snippet 5: Exploration, Ghost Squadron #2

Snippet 3: Exploration, Ghost Squadron #2

Exploration: Ghost Squadron, #2

Snippet 3


Evidence Locker, QBS ArchAngel, Axiom System.

Eddie and Lars were back aboard the ArchAngel, stowing the weapons cache they’d collected from the warehouse.

There were at least two hundred small and medium arms, not to mention enough grenades to blow up a small city.

Eddie shoved one of the crates with his foot, pushing it into its designated spot. These still weren’t Federation grade weapons. Soon they’d have to steal some advanced guns off of a dumb pirate. It would be a win-win situation. Shiny new weapons taken from evil aliens. “You think any of these guys got into the whole gun trade thing because they just liked guns?”

“I’ve never found much success in trying to understand the criminal mind,” admitted Lars.

Eddie entered a security code on the crate’s lid, locking it down. Then he secured it with a large harness in order to ensure it wouldn’t budge later on. “I think most of them are in it for the money, but I bet there’s like one or two guys who just enjoy a good gun, you know? Just a couple of halfwits who like to blow shit up.”

“You’re talking about yourself, aren’t you?”

Eddie grinned. “Tell me you don’t like it.”

“Violence has never been something I take pleasure in,” Lars countered. “Though, I will say, there is a certain satisfaction in delivering justice.”

“Like today?”

“Especially so,” agreed Lars. “We confiscated enough weapons to wage a small war, arrested a dozen criminals, and—”

“And found our target,” finished Eddie. He glanced towards the door. “Which, if I’m not mistaken, Julianna is interrogating as we speak.”

Exploration releases December 4th

Nov 26, 2017 | Posted by in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Snippet 3: Exploration, Ghost Squadron #2