Category Archives: Part 1

Chapter 52: Homecoming

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With widened, bloodshot eyes, Cyrus watched as the buildings and lights of Paradiex sped past the train window. His heart was still banging against his ribs after their mad dash through the city streets. Horribly, the Beacon was twenty minutes away, but they’d escaped the HQ; they’d made it as far as the city transit.

And they had Dez to thank for that.

Rifle in hand, Dez had led them out of the HQ, barking orders to turn left, turn right, down that alley. With Fiearius’ arms thrown over their shoulders, Cyrus and Leta had followed, crossing breathlessly through the city to the temporary safety of the PIT train. Shockingly, no one had questioned them along the way nor even spared a passing glance. Apparently the librera Dez wore engraved into his arm was a powerful detractor.

Now, Dez stood at the doors, regarding the transit map thoughtfully as if leading escaped convicts was as routine as taking a lunch break.  At Cyrus’ side, Leta looked tense enough to spring up at any moment. Fiearius slumped between them, his eyes half-lidded, still mumbling Society propaganda nonsense under his breath. Continue reading

Chapter 51: Saving Fiearius

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Only tense silence filled the bridge as the Beacon began its landing sequence to Satieri. Finn was seated at the main navigation console, putting his military-pilot skills to use as he quickly operated the controls, muttering madly to himself. Behind him, Corra paced the floor, throwing anxious glances in his direction. Meanwhile, Cyrus simply sat in a chair, his eyes on the main window.

At last, a jagged skyline crept into view, as the capital of Paradiex unfolded before their eyes. It was a fast-paced, overpopulated city in the heart of a hot sandy desert, known as the leader in technological advancement and, of course, the proud founding place of the Society. The scenery was so eerily familiar, it was like he’d never left at all.

For the first time in four years, Cyrus had made it home. Continue reading

Chapter 50: Defeat

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All at once, Society agents flooded the hallway, grasped Leta by both arms and dragged her into their fold. Dez strode ahead of them, swinging his sword at his side with an air of utmost casualness. Beside her, agents seized Cyrus and Ren too, and Leta’s mind raced with one thought: please don’t let us be separated, please don’t separate us, please don’t …

For better or worse, all three of them were marched down the long hallways and through the same metal black door marked TEMPORARY CONTAINMENT UNIT. Inside, the walls were sterile and cold, the pure-white floor filled with chairs and metal benches. With a jolt of her heart, Leta saw one of the chairs was occupied.

Fiearius. Continue reading

Chapter 49: Finding Ren

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Whatever distraction Fiearius was pulling in the hangar, it seemed to be working: this long sterile hallway was empty of armed Society agents as Leta sprinted after Cyrus, her heart pounding in her chest. They were so close to Ren’s cell that she could barely breathe.

The interrogation bay was one deck below, a half-set of metal stairs that ducked downward. Leta’s feet swallowed the steps two by two, her gun gripped tightly in hand. Down here, the hallways were swept with silence. This bay was clearly set apart from the rest, as if they were underground, beneath the ship, held away.

For the worst detainees. Continue reading

Chapter 48: Boarding the Baltimore

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“The Baltimore? We’re actually going to board the Society ship?”

“‘Course not, ‘cause it ain’t possible — “

“ — watch your mouth. Cap’n says we can do it, then we can do it.”

“Yeah, right — “

Conversation swirled right past Leta’s ears. She barely heard the chattering crew as she breathlessly pressed through the mess hall and down the corridor with one destination in mind: the bridge. If this ship was really and truly headed to the Baltimore and to Ren, then she needed to speak to its captain.

Leta stalked right into the bridge, frenzied as a tornado.

“Fiear,” she demanded shakily, “what the hell is going on?” Continue reading

Chapter 47: Giving In

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It was a single four letter word that greeted Fiearius’ tired and hungover mind that morning as he rolled over in bed and laid eyes on the empty whiskey bottle on his floor.  So last night had actually happened then, he realized slowly. Leta had actually spent a good part of the night sharing drinks with him and a small part of the night sharing something else. Sometimes her presence was so frustrating, he wasn’t sure if he wanted to kill her or kiss her.

Last night, it seemed, he’d finally given into the latter.

By the time he lowered into the hallway, some twenty minutes of shame and guilt later, their shared bottle of whiskey was in shards littered across the floor and Fiearius was sure he could fix this. Continue reading

Chapter 46: Cheap Gin and Low-Grade Explosives

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It was hours past midnight when Leta, feeling too restless for sleep, found herself in a silent, ghostly part of the Dionysian she had never before ventured to: the observation deck. Commercial vessels boasted observation decks as grand wide rooms of glass with comfortable seating, perfect for sightseeing. But on the Dionysian, it was a merely a short dark hallway with a broad window.

Still — the view was beautiful. Leta sat on the metal floor, mesmerized by the sparkling jagged skyline beneath the tremendous bowl of the night sky. No wonder the deckhands always came down here to fool around or make out or whatever they did (she’d once seen Niki dragging Javier this direction).

She scolded herself for not visiting here sooner, even if she had good reason. In the past month, only the infirmary had been her sanctuary. When you were dying, exploring the Dionysian’s decks wasn’t much of a priority … Continue reading

Chapter 45: Other Arrangements

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“So you gonna tell me what it is or what?” Corra couldn’t help but ask as she sprawled out on a bench in the engine room and propped her chin in-hand. But Cyrus barely heard her question. He was busy at a console screen, firing at the keys rapidly, his eyes wide and excited, and it was obvious why.

On the desk beside him sat the round, black sphere Will had given Corra as a parting gift, glinting dully in the light — though by the way Cyrus kept babbling about the thing, it might as well have been a glistening jewel. For a few weeks, Corra had kept the mysterious object close to her, a small comfort; now, she decided it was finally time to see what it was for.

Leta had snorted and said it was most useful as a paperweight. But Will had told her it was much more important than that. He’d said the sphere held information somehow like an archaic hard drive that no one could read. Amazingly, he’d said it held a copy of the Caelum Lex. So naturally, she’d taken it to Cyrus. If anyone could access what was inside, it’d be him.

And really, she should have known he’d get all nerdy about it. Continue reading

Chapter 44: Impossible

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“You got a plan here, princess?” Fiearius grumbled to Richelle as he pushed open the heavy door and took the first cautious step out of his interrogation cell into the hallway. He carefully peered around a corner, glimpsing a few officers milling down the hall before Richelle shoved him in the chest to get back.

“Just pretend you’re still cuffed,” she ordered sharply. “With this — ” She lifted her wrist, flashing the librera she’d drawn on her hand. The ink was smudged, but she still said, “No one will question us. The police here have a very strict cooperation policy. Trust me. We’ll just get the rest of the crew and walk right out. Not a problem.”

Fiearius blinked at her. That was her plan? Find his crew and somehow stroll out of this heavily guarded station? He couldn’t say he was convinced, but he did, generally, subscribe to the impossible. And he also wasn’t in a place to argue. As Richelle stepped around the corner and strolled down the hall with confidence, Fiearius had no choice but to follow after her. Continue reading

Chapter 43: Interrogation

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Well, this was a familiar setting, thought Fiearius dully, glancing down at the binds digging into his wrists. This certainly wasn’t the first time people who were less-than-fond of him had handcuffed him to chair in a dark room. This was, however, the first time those people had actually been legitimate law enforcement. While he’d ended up at the mercy of many a criminal bastard over the years, somehow he’d always managed to elude badges and uniforms and red tape. Until Paraven.

Well, this place did boast the strictest, strongest and most extensive police force in the span. It was practically part of the experience to get arrested here. He would have been rather disappointed if he’d missed out on it. Continue reading