A derelict freighter abandoned in outer space is too much for space pirate Aston West to pass up and he can’t fight the urge to pilfer its valuable cache of illegal weapons. However, the ship’s one last occupant has other ideas and fights to maintain her hold on the weaponry. After attack craft return to finish the ship off, Aston has no choice but to save her from certain destruction.
Who is she? What are the weapons for? Why was the freighter destroyed?
For every answer he finds, he discovers more questions, and his life is put in jeopardy every time he stops to catch his breath. Aston’s life motto of never getting involved is put to the test, and he must decide whether to become a hero for a people in need, or continue on his path of self-preservation.
“I’m in,” I announced to Jeanie.
Inside, I broke into a sweat from both the physical exertion and the climate controls aboard the freighter. Rulusians were from an extremely warm and humid jungle planet, and liked to make their ships feel like home. My heavy jacket didn’t help matters. Lines of sweat made their way down my face as I stepped away from the airlock hatch.
I turned my gaze to the entry corridor and saw carnage I wouldn’t soon forget. Rulusian bodies lay on either side of the hallway. Burn marks from energy weapons shone as black patches on a background of dark green skin. The putrid scent of scorched flesh was in the air. I passed an open doorway on my left and looked inside at crew quarters. More Rulusian corpses lay amidst sparks and clouds of smoke.
I lifted my sleeve again. “You’re sure there isn’t anyone on this ship?”
“Affirmative. All scans show nothing but you.”
“This damage is too recent for my liking.”
“Did the crew abandon ship?”
I grimaced. “Doesn’t look like it.”
I continued toward the bridge. Dark blast marks lined the floor and frame around a blown access hatch. Smoke particles lingered in the air, and I detected a faint chemical odor as my eyes watered. I took slow, cautious steps through the opening and became witness to even more carnage. Ten more Rulusians were collapsed against the wall or slumped over consoles, all roasted by weapons fire. I definitely didn’t need to meet up with the people who had done this. I didn’t get into the scavenging business to be a hero. Everyone loves heroes, but heroes have a tendency to die young.