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The Afterworlds (The Fleet, Book 4)

The Fleet: The Afterworlds

 

Book 4

John M. Davis

 

Signature Edition

 

Copyright 2014 Serenity Valley Publishing

Editing: Daniél Lecoq

Cover: Lia Luftikus

 

Signature Edition, License Notes

 

This book is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each recipient. If you’re reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then please return to johndavisbooks.wordpress.com and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.

 

The Signature Edition is used exclusively for book signings.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Table of Contents

 

Chapter 1: Winds of Change

Chapter 2: Coming Back to Haunt

Chapter 3: Walk the Line

Chapter 4: New Kind of Evil

Chapter 5: Against the Stars

About the Author

 

 

 

Thanks for the continued support!

John M. Davis

 

 

Chapter 1

Winds of Change

 

 

“ As much as I'd like the past not to exist, it still does.” -Amy Lee

 

 

The winds of change have been fierce and unrelenting. As our last remaining fleet departed the Skyla System nearly a year ago, much has changed. The infected have started to die off in mass numbers. Starvation, from the best we can tell. As tormented as the souls of the infected are, the human body needs nutrition in order to maintain its essentials. Muscles, tendons and the like. Those among the infected who haven’t been able to feed their appetite have withered away to nothing more than a pile of bones wrapped in skin. No longer a concern for anyone among the living.

What is of concern is the small percentage of infected that have fed themselves. While the weaker, unfed have died off, those that have fed themselves have not only maintained their strength – they have grown. Much faster, stronger and even more cunning. They now have the ability to organize themselves, which is something we never saw coming.

As for those left to survive on their own, it’s been tough at times. Dozens of worlds and their accompanying moons just sitting, filled with needed supplies. No universal government has been established as of yet. But there are plenty of local communities, each setting their own rules and guidelines.

And so our heroes find themselves in familiar territory once more. As they strip the needed supplies from its source and transport it to those in need. Of course, there is no longer a need to side-step the law. But that doesn’t mean danger isn’t lurking about. In fact, some would argue that the Skyla System of present is much more dangerous.

 

 

“What do we have?” Adam asked. “Talk to me.”

“Got a crate full of ammunition. Standard magazine rounds, mostly.” Dalton replied with a sigh.

Motioning Red Wolf to begin dragging the large aluminum crate through a narrow hallway, illuminated only by the bright round lights mounted to their spacesuits, Dalton eased over to a wooden desk of fine polished wood.

“Anything else?” Adam questioned.

He stood on the cozy bride of his own ship, standing behind Meg, who ran the communications board during the exchange.

“Not really. Just some odds and ends.”

Dalton had hit the money load. Slamming his empty backpack to the floor of the derelict ship, Dalton began stuffing it with fists full of cigars. The good kind too, making it an early Christmas in the eyes of the wily warrior.

“Well let’s speed it up a little, then. I don’t like being out here in the middle of wide open space. Especially attached to a damn Legion ship.” Adam requested.

Fuck you, buddy. Dalton thought.

He’d scored a pile of smokes and even three large bottles of vintage vodka. Not his first choice, but a damn luxury compared to his current stash. Easing the bottles into his backpack and mumbling curse words as he tried to zip it back tight.

The Legion-marked ship was certainly old. Adam had estimated it was in service during the first Glimmerian War. After that, it was anyone’s guess. After life scans ran across the ship thoroughly, Dalton and Red Wolf had made the trip. They would pick it clean and then get back to the nearest friendly colony. Hoping to unload what they didn’t need – bartering it for what they did need.

It normally took flying bullets to pull Dalton’s attention from cigars and alcohol. So when the man saw flickering movement to his left, it took several moments before he realized something was off. Pulling a shotgun to the ready with ill intentions. Dalton’s breathing growing a bit more intense.

“Come on out, you mother fucker.” Dalton said quietly.

Patiently, he waited with a shotgun at the ready. It was in his nature. Expect the worst until proven otherwise. He’d adopted that way of thinking after a life of running from law enforcement and anyone else who wanted his hide.

“Whoa!” Red Wolf said, hoisting his arms into the air.

“Fuck man, I almost shot you!” Dalton blasted.

“For what? Coming back to help you carry more cargo?”

“No!” Dalton said. “For tip-toeing around like a fucking primitive!”

“Oh,” Red Wolf replied. “Sorry about that.”

With a mane of bright red hair and the comfort of a crossbow in his hand, rather than a standard combat weapon, the name Red Wolf had come very easily. Invented as an insult, no doubt, but Red Wolf took to his name. Finding honor in it.

“Don’t sweat it,” Dalton said. “Here’s your take.”

Smiling wide, Dalton handed over one of the bottles of Vodka. An act of friendship for anyone who knew Dalton James and his longing for man-drink.

“I don’t really like vodka.”

“Then trade the shit. Get yourself a headdress made of feathers for all I care. You brought your ass over here and watched my back, so you get a cut of the good stuff.” Dalton said, insisting Red Wolf take the bottle.

“Alright.” Red Wolf said, grabbing hold of the half-gallon sized glass container.

“And hide the shit. You don’t want everybody on the Gunship to know you have it. You know what I’m saying?”

Red Wolf knew exactly what Dalton was saying. The bottle had been gifted as hush money, so to speak. Had Red Wolf not of caught Dalton with a hand in the cookie jar, the brown coat laden smuggler would have kept all three for himself. By handing one of the coveted bottles of vodka over, it made Red Wolf an accomplice.

“Yea. I think I know what you’re saying.” Red Wolf replied.

“Good. Then this stays between us.”

Dalton smiled a bit, slapping his friend on the shoulder with respect.

“Dalton, what the hell is going on over there?” Adam asked.

“Nothing, why?” Dalton replied. Barking his response into a comp mounted inside of his suit’s helmet.

“Because we heard yelling. It sounds like a parade over there.”

“We’re leaving any fucking way.” Dalton scoffed.

Several of the crew members had gathered near the tunnel bay doors, which linked the Gunship to any ship it decided to attach to. With a bit of good flying, the Gunship could maneuver in such a way that the tunnel bay lined up perfectly with another ship’s hatch. Using the strong magnetic lining embedded into the tunnel bay walls, the Gunship would then kiss the second ship, allowing its crew to enter the ship. Usually by way of blowtorch, without losing precious air..

“They’re in.” Rex shouted.

“Alright, Meg,” Adam said. “Detach us.”

Pressing a few keys in front of her, the Gunship reversed the power supply feeding into the magnets surrounding the tunnel bay. In turn, reversing the magnetic force and immediately pushing away from the abandoned Legion ship.

“Good work.” he replied with a grin.

As Meg stood to her feet, preparing to embrace her lover, she stared at Adam for several long moments.

“I love taking orders from you.” Meg said playfully.

“Is that a fact?”

“It is, captain.”

“Well now,” Adam replied with a grin of his own. “I can always find someone to cover the controls for you. Just in case you’d like to-”

“Slow down,” Meg said with a smile. “When I’m done here, I’m hanging out with your son. Remember? I promised him.”

“Oh that guy.” Adam said.

“He hasn’t picked up on the fact that his daddy’s a ladies’ man just yet. Otherwise, I’m sure he’d back off.” Meg jested.

“I’m not a ladies’ man,” Adam said. “I’m your man. You are all I can handle.”

“Sure. I bet you say that to all the women.” Meg replied playfully.

“What other women?” Adam asked, turning to look around the ship’s bridge. “The only other woman on this rig is Dalton’s-”

“You better go check on him, come to think of it.”

“Yes I should.” Adam said, leaning in for a moment to kiss the woman he loved.

 

“Well it’s about fucking time,” Dalton said loudly. “Me and old Red Wolf are over there laying our lives on the line and you’re snuggled up on the bridge with your woman. Now you finally come to check to see if we made it back.”

“You were never in any danger,” Adam replied. “We ran a stack of vitals on the ship before you went over.”

“The hell we wasn’t, I nearly shot Red Wolf.”

“Huh?”

“It’s a long story,” Dalton said. “But that’s your problem. You always think the situation is harmless and then, out of nowhere, it becomes a big old shit-storm.”

“What did you find over there?” Adam asked, growing tired of Dalton’s wide world of imagination.

“Ammunition.”

“That’s it?” Adam questioned.

“It’s a lot of damn ammunition, don’t act so disappointed,” Dalton replied, doing what he could to deflect the question. Unwilling to fess up about his looting of comfort drink. “It should fetch us a bunch of what we need.”

“Good job.” Adam said, turning to head back to the bridge. Contemplating their best move in rerouting course.

“He sounds surprised?” Dalton questioned.

“I’m not surprised, baby,” Cambria said, easing in to embrace the smuggler with smooth, white arms. “You’re famous for doing a good job.”

“I’ve got to get me one of those.” Rex commented, watching Cambria’s perfectly-proportioned body sliding into Dalton’s arms.

“Oh yea.” Pedro replied.

If there was a description of Rex, it was Dalton James with a bit of class. He favored the women, drink and a good cigar, just as Dalton did. That said, he’d never be caught in a brown coat. For him, it was about dressing nice, using fancy words when the conversation call for them and remaining clean-cut.

Pedro, not so much. He rarely spoke – to the point that most who met Pedro, thought he was born without an ability to speak. To a degree, he favored the Indian look that Red Wolf so desperately lacked. Very tanned-skin and thick, black hair.

Both men from completely different backgrounds coming together in agreeing that Dalton James was one lucky son of a bitch. Getting to hold the woman that most of the men aboard the Gunship surely fantasized about.

“Set course for Alpine Gulch.” Adam said, entering the bridge once more to find his lover at the controls. Doing what she could to teach Adam’s young son, Avery, how the controls corresponded to flight.

“Alpine Gulch? Really?” she asked.

“Yes really,” Adam replied. “They have a need for ammunition to hunt with.”

“Yea, but do they have anything we’re interested in trading for?”

“Not sure, but it’s close enough. A day, maybe less, until we touch down. Stopping in is worth a shot before humping it nearly a week out.” Adam said.

“Alright, you got it.” Meg said.

Leaning in, she began pressing several buttons in front of her. Explaining each of them to Avery. Three of the buttons would set the speed of their ship throughout the trip, six of the buttons gave the charting systems aboard the Gunship the exact location of Alpine Gulch and a sting of key strikes would begin sending out a looped message as they got close. Allowing the Gunship to communicate with any radar equipment Alpine Gulch may have. Letting them know that traders were aboard. The friendly type.

Meg’s question was justifiable. Alpine Gulch was a smaller city that hadn’t exactly thrived since the fleet departed. It was comprised of most folks who wanted to live in peace out and away from the city life. They were excellent hunters and trappers. They had to be. Most of the plains and hills on Corsica 2, the home planet of Alpine Gulch, we covered in nearly a foot of snow at all times.

Hunting brought a need for ammunition and Adam’s Gunship had just come into a mighty fine stockpile of the type Alpine Gulch needed. Adam had traded with Alpine Gulch a few times and had shown the folks a bit of respect. It wasn’t the ideal lifestyle for him, but he understood that his own lifestyle didn’t exactly fit their tastes, either.

Adam had built a rapport with the folks in charge on Alpine Gulch, which had also become a very noteworthy spot for folks just passing through. It wasn’t a spot you wanted to live, or even vacation, for that matter. But Alpine Gulch’s location was perfect in making it a resting place for getting from point A to point B. A place to refuel, chow up and grab a good night’s sleep in a quiet and chilled atmosphere. It had picked up a bit of steam when it came to interested traders, but Adam was still near the top of their list. Funny how treating people with a bit of dignity can go such a long way.

 

Alpine Gulch

48 Hours Later

“Looks like our kind of place.” Dalton commented.

The small moon was illuminated with the traffic of so many traders, each coming from their own dusty corner of a universe that was.

“Dalton and I will do the deal. Rex, you and Red Wolf be on standby. Just in case. We’ll either come back to the ship for the goods or for backup, judging by the looks of this place.” Adam said as his eyes continued to scan the area. Their Gunship slowly easing down to one of the few empty landing ports.

“I’d like to-” Meg began to say.

“Not this time around,” Adam said. “We don’t know enough about this place just yet. Let Dalton and me gauge it out first. If there’s trouble, we’re experienced enough to make it back in one piece.”

“Explosives?” Dalton asked.

“No,” Adam replied. “No need for anything that goes boom. Just pick a gun and get ready. A GUN, as in one.”

“He said one.” Rex commented as Dalton shoved a large revolver into the back of his pants. Having already shouldered a long-barrel shotgun.

“Yea, it’s a game we play. He gives me a number and I always add one. Just in case.” Dalton replied with a grin.

“Just in case of what?” Meg asked.

“Just in case things don’t go the way Adam plans, which is most of the time.” Dalton replied with a smile, placing a large cigar to his lips and striking flame.

“You know I’m standing right here?” Adam asked

“I know,” Dalton replied. “And you know I’m taking an extra piece anyway, right?”

Yea. I figured as much. Adam thought.

 

“We’ll head in on foot,” Adam said several minutes later, standing at the cargo door which now stood open. Smells of unique food penetrating the cargo area. “If we need the ammunition, we’ll com the ship. Just bring it down on the rover.”

“Alright.” Rex replied.

“You stay beautiful.” Dalton said.

“And you stay safe.” Cambria replied. Her arms draping over the shoulders of her lover with deep kissing to follow.

“Cambria, you’re in charge until we get back.” Adam said.

They had put the Gunship down in the ideal spot for business. Alpine Gulch rested only a few hundred yards away, tucked snugly beneath the foot of a mountain. As a bit of snow fell quietly around them, both Adam and Dalton looked forward to the night in front of them.

Places like Alpine Gulch were few and far between. Settlements of survivors that had organized for the sake of rebuilding. Each had its own rules, but those rules almost always included the smuggler’s code. Honor among thieves.

“Looks like a nice little place.” Adam said, watching two men scuffle as a large group looked on.

“It ain’t the nicest watering hole I’ve ever seen. You can bet your ass on that one, but it’ll do.” Dalton replied.

“What’s the fight about?” Adam asked, stopping to speak to an older gentlemen looking on, as were nearly two more dozen.

“The short one in the red shirt stepped on the other guy’s boots. Scuffed ‘em up pretty bad.” the older gentleman replied.

“Yep. Can’t be having that shit.” Dalton agreed.

“Where’s a man go if he’s interested in trading large-ticket items?” Adam asked.

“You go see Tony at the end of the street. Last building on the right, place called the Thirsty Rooster.”

“Much obliged.” Adam replied, nodding his appreciation before beginning to walk in the direction of such a cleverly named saloon.

“Over a fucking pair of boots.” Dalton said with a shaking of his head.

“Yea, tell me about it.” Adam replied.

“His boots ain’t even nice. Hell, the guy did him a favor scuffing ‘em up.”

“I suppose.”

Adam knew it was their kind of town. They were new faces and nobody seemed to give a rat’s ass. Letting him know that plenty of new faces came and went on a regular basis.

“Let me do the talking in here, alright?” Adam asked.

“Yea.” Dalton replied.

“What, no argument?” Adam questioned.

“Not tonight. You do whatever you think you have to. I’m on the lookout for good drink.” Dalton admitted.

“I see.” Adam replied.

“Don’t worry, I’ll be able to cover you from across the saloon.” Dalton said.

Adam shined a look of disbelief. He’d seen this play out too many times before.

“Scout’s honor.” Dalton added.

 

“That’s our guy,” Adam commented. “He’s met with three people already. Probably folks just like us.”

The Thirsty Rooster was just what Adam and Dalton expected it to be. A sturdy-built room filled with a bar, plenty of booze, some of the vilest characters imaginable and several scantly-dressed women.

“Well go introduce yourself.” Dalton said, becoming one with the whiskey as his hand poured another shot.

“I suppose I should,” Adam said. “And you can cover me from across the room?” Adam questioned.

“If you’re worried about the booze, don’t be. I could trim the hairs on a gnat’s ass at this distance.”

“Always a gnat’s ass.”

“Don’t,” Dalton growled. “Don’t even.”

“Just back off of the liquor enough to cover me.” Adam said.

“No worries there,” Dalton said. “Ain’t enough booze in this place to turn me sideways. Not that I still won’t try.”

 

“Tony, you’ve got another guest.” an armed man shouted out.

“Send him up.”

Tony sat on a large couch that was placed atop twelve deep steps. Giving him second-story real estate in order to look across the Thirsty Rooster and its happenings.

“Name’s Adam Michaels.”

“What do you want?” Tony insisted. It quickly became obvious that he wasn’t a man of much bullshit. A bit chubby, with a fine suit of black and thick black hair, Tony seemed a bit pestered that he had to entertain another person.

“I’m interested in doing some big-ticket trading.”

“What do you have?” Tony asked.

“Right now, I’ve got three large crates of ammunition. Legion issued.”

“Is that a fact?” Tony asked, seeming very interested with Adam’s statement.

“It is,” Adam replied, understand that negotiations were officially underway. “Another fact is I can bring you plenty more of it.”

“How much more?” Tony asked.

“How much can you shoot?”

“Look, I won’t bullshit you. Normally I have folks coming through here trading chickens or blankets that they feel are worth a hell of a lot more than they actually are. In most cases, I throw a sack of corn their way and tell them to get the fuck off of my moon. But you. You’ve brought me something of great interest.” Tony admitted.

“Is that a fact?” Adam asked with a grin.

“I think we can do business, Adam Michaels. The question is, what do you want?” Tony asked.

“Don’t rightly know yet. My crew and I live in orbit, so the basics to begin with. Food, water, fuel.”

“I’ve got plenty of the above.” Tony replied.

“But I don’t want to go out there and risk my neck just for a plate of food each day that will enable me to go out there and risk my neck, you know?”

“I understand. I can relate to that,” Tony said. “What’s the sense in living life without a bit of pleasure?”

“Exactly.”

Several people had went through the doors of the Thirsty Rooster, as expected. But, as two Hunters walked in, Adam’s mind quickly bled into the fact that they were in serious trouble. Even Dalton found his whiskey buzz coming to a crashing halt – staring up to his good friend in desperation.

“What’s with you and Hunters?” Tony asked.

“Long story.” Adam replied.

“Let me tell you how I made it to the top here, Adam. Because that’s a short story. I negotiate by knowing folks. I know their interests and I know their fears.”

“I don’t fear the Hunters.” Adam said sternly.

“Are you on their radar?” Tony asked.

“There’s no bounty on my head if that’s what you’re asking. I just tend not to get along with their kind well, that’s all.” Adam replied.

“Me either. Honestly, I can’t stand the bastards. But, they bring the women I need to make the Thirsty Rooster a hotspot, so we’re able to remain business partners.”

“Touching story.” Adam said.

“Let me tell you how this is going to work,” Tony warned. “Door number one. I invite our good friends up here and let you all sort your differences out. Or, door number two. You and I come to terms right now on a boatload of ammunition. Because, frankly, I need all I can get. I plan on doing some expanding in the near future.”

“What are the terms?” Adam asked.

“You deal with me and only me. Exclusive agreement. You want to trade chickens, I don’t give a fuck where you go. But when it comes to trading weapons and ammunition, you come to me. And don’t worry, I have ears to the ground in plenty of trading towns.”

“That’s it?” Adam asked.

“And you gift me the first crate of-”

“You can stop right there,” Adam said with a laugh. “Am I wearing a gift-giving suit with a sack thrown over my back? I didn’t come bearing gifts and I’m sure as shit not afraid of our blood-sucking friends down there. I’ve dusted my fair share and have a crew waiting on standby that has no problem kicking the door in and killing some more tonight. Now I’m guessing you don’t want that. Because I’ll be long gone and you’ll be left holding a bag of shit when their buddies come looking. Now I came in here with a spirit of honesty, so let me be honest when I tell you that I’ve been doing this a long time young man.”

“I can see that.” Tony said.

“Let me counter your offer with a realistic one that we both can live with.” Adam said unwaveringly.

“I’m listening.”

“I’ll have my guys bring down the crates of ammunition. In return, you fill ‘em with food, fuel, a handful of nice cigars and some of your most vintage wine. And I get the assurance that any time we’re on your moon, we’re passing by the Hunters with no problems. In return, you’ll have my exclusive business, and trust me. We roam a lot of Legion graveyards. Oh, and throw in a couple dozen roses. I’m feeling chivalrous.”

“Roses,” Tony replied with heavy laughter. “I like it. Adam Michaels, you and I can do business.” he added, formally extending his hand to seal the deal.

“Rex, bring the cargo down to the Thirsty Rooster.” Adam said, holding a portable com firmly in the other hand.

“Felix,” Tony said, barking back to one of his soldiers. “When this man and his crew are here, they are family. You got it?”

“Yes sir.”

“Tell me, Adam. When can I expect more goods?” Tony asked.

“We’ll lift off tonight and head back out. Now that I know you’re interested, I may be able to get some advanced weaponry as well. I’ll strip the Legion’s ships down to the framework when it’s all said and done. I’d say a week, maybe just a bit longer.”

“Sounds good.”

“Sir, we’ve got guests.”

“Fuck,” Tony said, once again annoyed by having to meet with someone new. “Send ‘em up.”

“Adam, my folks will take care of you directly in front of the saloon.”

“Much obliged.” Adam replied, nodding.

As he turned to head back down the steps, Adam passed both Hunters slowly. Smiling wide and understanding that their might on the battlefield meant nothing inside of town limits. They were just as powerless to kill him as he was to kill them. Presenting the perfect opportunity to be friendly.

“Y’all have a good one.” he said with a smile.

“We gotta carry our ass, son!” Dalton said with desperation. “The fucking Hunters are liable to-”

“To do nothing,” Adam replied. “Don’t worry, I arranged a deal. We’re protected within town limits and there isn’t a damn thing the Hunters can do about it.”

“Get the fuck out of here?” Dalton asked.

“No, I’m serious. We’re just waiting on Rex and Red Wolf to bring the cargo down. I had ‘em throw in some nice cigars and vintage wine as a kicker.”

“You did what?” Dalton asked.

“Just for you, my friend.” Adam replied.

No longer caring what people would think, Dalton wrapped his grizzly arms around Adam with true gratitude.

“I love you man.”

“Alright. Personal space,” Adam said. “A thank you works just fine.”

“So I can sit here and stare directly at the Hunters,” Dalton said. “A group of nasty fucking Vampires that have been on our asses for years, and they can’t do shit?”

“That’s right.”

“How y’all doing?” Dalton shouted, waving at the two Hunters above. Both of them recognizing him as a very sought after target.

 

“Those men,” one of the Hunters said, sitting directly across from Tony. “They are of great interest to our people.”

“So I hear.” Tony replied.

“I would very much like to-”

“You can save all of that shit,” Tony said. “You don’t have anything to offer me besides women and he’s bringing in weapons. Enough damn weapons to take Ronica, if so saw fit. He’s got my protection, their entire crew does.”

“For nearly a year, we have been bringing you women. Slaves to further your empire of gambling and filth. It would be a shame if we began taking our business elsewhere.” the Hunter threatened.

“We have a deal,” Tony said. “Now let me tell you something. The next time you come in here with a mouth full of threats, I’ll be slave-trading female Hunters instead. You get me? Your species doesn’t have the numbers or guns and don’t you forget that. I’m the king of the Afterworlds. This is my territory and you’d be damned wise to remember it.”

“I hope your abundance of manpower and weaponry does not run dry. Just an observation.” the Hunter said.

“Well you can throw your hopes in the same bucket you shit in, for all I care. Now get out of my sight. My men will pay you accordingly.”

“Very well.”

 

“A lot of damn ammunition.” Dalton said, watching Red Wolf and Rex going through the large crates with Tony’s men.

“Tell you what,” Adam said, locking eyes with a strange young woman across the street. “You go inside with the others and make sure we get the good drink.”

“Now that I can do.” Dalton replied.

Slowly walking across the street, Adam cautiously approached the woman.

“I couldn’t help but notice you staring,” Adam said. “Something I can help you with?”

“I’m looking for a new crew.”

“Aren’t we all.” he replied.

She was very beautiful, though her stare stabbed chills into him. An outfit of beautiful blue trimmed in white. Solid white hair, though not from ageing. It certainly seemed related to her race, as did her cream white complexion and cerulean blue eyes.

“We’re pretty much full at the moment.”

“Most of the men who come through here,” she replied. “We’ll, they’re not honorable men. I was hoping that you’d-”

“What’s your name?” Adam asked with intrigue.

“Alyssa. I’m sorry, my manners escape me.”

“If you don’t mind my asking, where do you hail from?” Adam asked.

“A small town called Windfall. In the far corner of The Drifts. Have you heard of the town?” Alyssa asked.

“No, but I’m familiar with The Drifts.”

Her innocence pressed hard onto Adam’s conscience, which was already infamous for being quite soft.

“I didn’t mean to be so direct. It’s just that I may not see another decent captain for a week or longer and I haven’t eaten.”

“Well, I’d be glad to give you enough to-”

“No,” Alyssa replied. “I earn my way. I don’t want any handouts.”

“I can respect that,” Adam said. “What can you do? Aboard a ship, I mean?”

“The normal things, I suppose. Cook, clean and I’m decent with a rifle.” Alyssa replied with honesty.

“It’d be put to a vote amongst our crew. If they decide against taking you on, we’d leave you at the next decent colony.” Adam warned.

“Anywhere but here.”

“Head all the way up the street. Our ship is the shiniest of the bunch, which is kind of odd if you’ve known me for very long. Ask for Cambria and tell her that Adam Michaels sent you. Tell her I’ll explain in a bit and that her loving husband is clearing the traders out of booze.”

“Thank you.” Alyssa said, wrapping her arms around Adam and hugging him with gratitude. Reminding him of a very desperate girl in a bad situation.

“No worries. Ask them to fetch you a plate of food, too.” Adam said.

Alyssa was obviously emotional, having found a brand new crew for the time being. Even if she did hold a terrible secret.

 

 

Chapter 2

Coming Back to Haunt

 

 

“How’s the fine wine?” Rex asked.

“Pretty good,” Dalton replied as the two men sat at the Gunship’s version of a kitchen table. Finely polished wood and enough room for a dozen, though only the two found themselves there. Alcohol the main course. “Pretty damn good.”

Stopping their conversation for a moment, both men watched Alyssa enter the kitchen. A single hatch on the floor which sealed shut by the spin of a large, circular handle. Dalton had thought it was a great design when having the ship built. Dalton was wrong. Even he’d bitched about the need to climb a ladder and open the hatched door just to get to the kitchen. And getting back to his bunk after slamming a few brews back? Well, that’s normally where his rant-filled cursing came into play.

Alyssa didn’t see the men, who sat off into a corner a bit. Preferring to drink in near darkness. And as her curves drew both of the men away from the conversation and into a trance of lust, Dalton’s famed lip-licking began to take place. His tongue the subject of many stories by way frothy beer mug.

They watched her open the icebox and search around for a moment, finally locating a pre-made sandwich and turning to exit through the same floor hatch. Sealing it tight with a twist of the handle.

It took him a moment to mentally compute what had just happened. Double-checking the alcoholic content on the bottle of wine.

“Who the fuck is that?” Dalton asked. “You saw her too, right?”

“That, my friend, is Alyssa.” Rex replied.

***

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The Afterworlds (The Fleet, Book 4)

  • Author: John M. Davis
  • Published: 2017-08-31 19:20:15
  • Words: 29195
The Afterworlds (The Fleet, Book 4) The Afterworlds (The Fleet, Book 4)