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The claxon bells were going off all over the ship, and the crew rushed to and fro as they took their duty stations to prepare for the inevitable. “Rotna, get off the comm with your mate. NOW is the time to focus on the ship, not some female.” the Commander yelled as he gave Rotna a stern frown and pointed to the weapons console. Rotna usually manned the weapons console during battles. However it has been a few years since this crew had seen any battles. All had been calm during these trips until this one. “I must go now, stay safe and know that I love you!” Rotna ended his comm with his mate and focused back on the weapons console, but he was too late. A charged torpedo hit the side of the ship where Rotna was stationed. The console discharged an energy blast that threw him against the metallic desk that housed the science scanners behind him. His back hit the hard surface, and he fell to the ground unconscious. “Someone get a medic here immediately! I need my weapons officer back on task. “The Commander gave Rotna one more look and arched an eyebrow with the realization he wouldn’t get his weapons officer back on duty any time soon. The ship warbled as another torpedo hit a different spot on the same side of the ship. All of the warriors on the bridge looked to the Commander as he stumbled to the weapons console. His second in command made his way to the weapons station from across the bridge. The Commander loaded and launched four torpedoes and sent them off one after the other in rapid fire towards the enemy ship that had attacked them. This enemy had agreed to a tentative truce some years back, and would on occasion play chicken with the V’Zenian ships, but they never would have openly attacked like this. “Eereen, fire the laser cannons at will and target their port engine. Let’s see if we can’t damage their ship enough to keep them from firing any more torpedoes,” the Commander yelled as he handed over the weapons con to his First Officer. “Yes, Sir!” Eereen stated as he sat at the console. He quickly reviewed the ship in front of them and targeted the port side engines with both laser cannons and another round of torpedoes. He had to be careful since they did not have many left. This ship should not have seen any combat on this trip. It was only on a trip to Earth to pick up another load of slaves and possible mates for their species. In the four trips he has made, they never saw anything more than space dust in their path. The Chief Engineer reported to the Commander, “Sir, that last set of torpedoes damaged our engines along with the artificial gravity generator. I sent men to fix them, but I can’t guarantee that parts of the ship will have enough gravity to function normally.” “Listen up, this is the Commander. We have an issue with our gravity generator and certain areas could intermittently lose artificial gravity. Use the hand rails if you must move about the ship, otherwise strap in and prepare for a bumpy flight.” The Commander knew that his slaves in the holding cells had nothing to help them stay secure. He briefly wondered if he shouldn’t release their cell doors so they could at least find some seats to strap themselves into. But before he could think of it anymore, another round of torpedoes made their way past the energy shield his ship had up. “Someone tell me how those torpedoes are making their way past our shields! They should not have access to such technology! I want a solution before they blow us out of the universe! And I want something that will destroy them- five minutes ago!” The Commander sat down and strapped himself into his command chair. Then reviewed the schematics they had of the enemy ship based on their scans over the past twelve hours.
“Oh stink, this is real isn’t it?” I started to slink down on the floor as my body began to register the movement in space and my eyes confirmed what I was feeling. All of my senses were on overdrive, I could even taste the oxygen that had been pumped into the room. It almost felt like I was drowning. Venay reached down and picked me up. He held me to his side while walking me back to the couch. “Are you ok? Is the oxygen mixture too high for you?” He was looking me over and paying close attention to my chest, but in this case I believed he was watching me take shallow breaths. “Why can I taste the air? I shouldn’t be able to do that.” I looked at him with a raised eyebrow while breathing in deep. “We have an increased level of oxygen when we first leave the planet. Over the years we have discovered that humans tend to pass out easily unless we do this. Your bodies have a difficult time processing oxygen while in shock as we are leaving your solar system. But once we get moving your bodies adjust. They really are quite adaptable to most environments. Another reason our ancestors chose your people to integrate with us.” He puffed up his chest and sat up straighter. It looked like he took great pride in the fact that his ancestors abducted and experimented on humans. That just made me angry. “How could you take pride in the fact that your species has been kidnapping my people for two centuries? What do you do with my people? Do you force yourselves on the women? Force the men to be your slaves and do your hard labor?” I fisted my hands at my side and debated if I should hit him or try to run again. Although, I knew running wasn’t an option at this point. It was at this point that I truly believed he was an alien and I was in space. Not sure how this all happened, but there it was. He didn’t answer me at first, he looked back towards the porthole and watched space as we hurtled through it. I had to admit, it was quite beautiful and oddly enough, calming. I felt myself relaxing and let go of my fisted hands and my shoulders started to loosen up as well. “Paris, I will admit, our ancestors were not the most civilized. But we are very different now. We never force a woman to mate with us. If we take a human mate, she is very willing…” He looked at me and his eyes dilated while he gave me a smoldering smile. “Hey now, don’t go getting any ideas about me. I am NOT to be used as a breeding mare. No one who abducts me will be using me as a slave either. Stockholm Syndrome won’t be my downfall.” I got up and walked over to the open porthole and sighed as I watched the stars zoom past. I put my arm on the side of the porthole and leaned into it and whispered, “I will find my way home again.” “I chose you because you are my mate. I could feel it across the field when our eyes met. You felt it too, I know you did. The connection was visible on your face and when I touched you a moment ago as well.” “What exactly do you mean by ‘mate’?” “You would call it marriage. When we mate, it is with our one true love. The universe has created someone for all of us to love and join with. When we meet that one, we feel an instant sense of right, of belonging to each other. It is how my species have chosen their true mates since the beginning of time. There are exceptions, there are always those who can’t wait and will sometimes mate with someone they were never meant to mate with and that always causes problems.” “You might as well lock me up with the other slaves, because no one is going to mate with me.” I locked eyes with him and stared at him until he spoke again. “If that is what you wish, but I must warn you. Without my protection, any of the males on this ship have the right to try and persuade you to become their mate.” I tried to interrupt but he held up his hands, “They will not force themselves upon you or any other female, but they will try to get your attention in other ways… Most of the males who volunteer for this mission are looking for their mates. About half of the women will become mated to the men on this ship before we even reach our home planet.” He stood up and walked to the door but stopped before opening it. “Are you certain you would not reconsider and become my mate? I hold a very high rank and your life would be quite comfortable. You would be well taken care of and would want for nothing in life.” He looked me over slowly as I thought on his words. “I am positive. There is no way on God’s green Earth I would choose to give myself to anyone who kidnapped me. I want to go home and forget about this entire experience.” I huffed out and put my arms around myself in an effort to comfort me. It didn’t help… “Paris, this is the last time I will offer you my protection. You are intended to be my mate, I feel it. Life as a slave is not one you will enjoy. While we do treat our slaves better than we used to, it is still a very difficult life. One you will experience on this voyage home if you turn me down.” He reached over and took a strand of my hair into his hands and slowly drew it between his thumb and forefinger. I pulled my hair back, what he was doing was sending small shivers down my spine. That was too intimate of a gesture to accept from my abductor. “I am positive. It would be preferable to rot away as a slave than to be used up as someone’s mate.” He sighed and lowered his head for a moment, then stood up tall. Man was he tall, and imposing when he put his warrior mask back on. “Very well, but don’t come to me when you find that you don’t have enough food or warmth on this trip.” He proceeded to open the door and he grabbed my arm rather forcefully and hauled me over to one of the cages in the other room. “Open cage A-1, process this slave but make sure she gets extra in her evening meal.” He took one last look at me and then walked away as another alien took me by the arm. I heard Venay say something about putting his uniform on and then he would be on the bridge.
My heart was still pumping an hour later, and my adrenaline seemed to be burning out. I was exhausted just sitting there holding tight to the laser gun as well as to the couch every time our ship was hit. I wanted to say that I could hear the laser cannons fire, or whatever they called them on this ship. But I knew it must be my imagination creating the sounds in order to keep track of the fighting somehow. However, I really did hear some of the torpedoes going back and forth. It was a weird sound, almost like Superman flying super-fast through a tunnel and taking all sound with him through that tunnel. Then it was super quiet for less than half a second which was always followed by a loud bang and then the ship would jerk one way or another. At least there was a warning sound before the torpedoes hit. They packed the most punch. The next hit, well, it was almost what killed us. The ship started to tilt, like it had lost its stabilizers or something, but we must have gotten a good hit on them as well because another hit didn’t come for a while. I could feel us limping along. Since we were slanted, Lisa and I had to hold on tight to the couch. I had never been so happy to see furniture tied to the ground before. Some of the knickknacks and loose items like chairs and pillows were flying around as we tried to get away from the enemy ship. We turned and headed to something, at the time I didn’t know what. But at least we weren’t getting shot at any more. It seemed like days before we made it to the planet. The only reason I knew we were at the planet is because Venay called me, again. “Venay, I am fine. No need to worry about me.” “Thank the moons! But I am calling to warn you, this next bit is going to get very difficult. There should be a place in the quarters you are in where you can strap yourself to a fold down chair on the wall. Find that and get your butt in it now. We are going to try landing this ship on the planet before the enemy can catch up to us. But with the damage, re-entry is going to make for a very bumpy flight. Can you do that?” “Yes, I can. Thank you Venay.” He grunted and then hung up. “Lisa is there a set of fold down emergency chairs that we can lock ourselves into? You know, like the jump seats on a commercial flight?” “Yes, in the back bedroom. There are two seats there. What’s going on?” “What did Rotna say when he called you?” “He tried to tell me what was going one, but was told to focus on his task, not his mate.” Her cheeks actually turned a shade of pink. I wondered when they were planning their ceremony. “Glad to know he is fine.” “Why do we need to do this? Is the ship getting worse?” Lisa asked, with wide eyes. “Yes, we are approaching the planet and going to attempt to land before the enemy ship can catch us. The re-entry is going to be tough.” We made it to the back room and found the seats. There were a few things that had blocked our way, but we moved them without much issue. It was a good thing Venay called to warn me, because we weren’t even buckled in when I felt the ship jerking and shaking like an amusement park ride about to go off the rails. My teeth hurt so bad within just the first two minutes, I thought they might all be cracked, first from the chattering they were doing with the way we jumbled around and then from the pressure I put on my mouth to stay closed. Somewhere along the way I had bit my tongue and it hurt. I couldn’t say how long it took for us to get through the atmosphere, but it felt like forever. I could tell when we made it because we started to smooth out and the ship wasn’t jerking so badly. The loud noise that almost made me deaf had also quieted down, now it was more like a ball whistling through the air. Although, my head was pounding and my body ached from all of the jostling and clenching. I don’t think I have ever held on to anything as tightly as those restraints, ever! “Lisa, you ok?” “Did we make it?” She looked around the room wide eyed and I could see she had been crying. Her face was streaked with the paths her tears left. But I couldn’t blame her. I was pretty scared myself and if I hadn’t survived five years on the streets I would have probably been crying as well. “So far. I don’t think we have landed yet. So stay seated until we are told we can move. I have a feeling we are going to feel the landing as well.” The ship was still tilted and the seats were very uncomfortable, we were slanted to the left so the belts that made up the restraints were digging into my left side. It felt like one of those carnival rides where you went around in circles but you were hanging on one side and the ride seat was digging into your entire side. It was similar to that, but worse. “Lisa, tell me about the plans you and Rotna have made for your wedding. When do you want it to take place?” She looked like she might get hysterical any moment. Her eyes were all over the place and she was having trouble breathing. But she didn’t look injured, unless the belts did something internally. “Huh? What? Oh, yea, wedding. Ummm, we spoke about it last night. We agreed that we wanted it to happen as soon as we could get some time on the Commander’s schedule. Do you think he will have time tomorrow?” She was dazed, I wasn’t sure she understood what was happening. How could she if she was thinking Venay could marry them tomorrow, after crash landing on a planet while in a firefight with a pretty heavily armed enemy ship? “Lisa, do you know what just happened?” I wished at that moment I could get out of my seat, but I knew there was no way it would be safe until after we made landing. “Yes, we are landing on a planet.” “Because we just got our butts kicked in a firefight with an enemy ship. There won’t be time to get married, not at least for a while. I couldn’t even tell you how long it will take to fix our ship. Or if the Zateelians will come for us. Lisa, I need you to focus. Can you do that?” Her eyes were still glazed over and her mouth was hanging open. She kept moving her head like she was listening to some music somewhere. Just then I got a communication from Venay, “Paris, are you ok?” “Yes, both Lisa and I are ok. She might have some internal injuries, but I think she is ok. However, she appears to be in shock. How much longer before we land?” “We came in too fast, so I have to keep her flying as long as possible to slow down, which means we won’t be close to the settlement here. But they will come for us and help us soon. Stay in your seats. Don’t move until I tell you, ok?” “Of course, I am betting we will feel it when we land?” “Yes, I am afraid you will. And Paris, don’t say anything, but Rotna is hurt, badly. Lisa might know. If he called her before he went unconscious then she knows. But don’t say anything until we land and you can check her out. Ok?” “Ok, thank you. Um, any news about the enemy ship? Are they following us?” He sighed and I knew it was bad, “Yes, they are heavily damaged, but they did make it through. However, they are not very close to us. They will have to crash land as well so we should have some time before they come looking for us or the settlement. I just hope that they aren’t able to crash very close to the settlement.”
Meet The Author...
J.L. Hendricks is a new independent author. The Interdimensional Saga series is her first one and she is very excited to share Book 1, Eclipse of the Warrior. Her latest series which comes out later this month is a PG-13 version of the hot Alien Sci-Fi Romance genre! She thought it might be fun to write in that world while still keeping it mostly clean for everyone to read. Although, she has had some complaints that it was too steamy. Let her know what you think! She is very proud to have served in the US Army before she went to college. She decided to finally write, and finish a book, this year because of a few friends who encouraged her to do so. She hopes her stories entertain you and can bring a laugh on occasion. Actually, it was her roommate's cat who talked her into staying at home to be her minion all day long! Pyper truly believes that J.L. is here to serve her alone, and to feed her whenever she graces J.L. with her presence.