Alien Romance: Caged By The Alien: Scifi Alien Abduction Romance (Alien Romance, Alien Invasion Romance, BBW) (Celestial Mates Book 4)

BOOK: Alien Romance: Caged By The Alien: Scifi Alien Abduction Romance (Alien Romance, Alien Invasion Romance, BBW) (Celestial Mates Book 4)
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CAGED BY THE ALIEN

CELESTIAL MATES BOOK 4

 

MARLA THERRON

 

 

 

Copyright 201
6
by Marla Therron

 

All rights reserved.

No part of this publication may be reproduced

in any way whatsoever, without written permission

from the author, except in case of brief

quotations embodied in critical reviews

and articles.

 

This is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to any

character, person, living or dead, events, place or

organizations is purely coincidental. The author does not

have any control over and does not assume any responsibility

for third party websites or their content.

 

First edition, 2016

 

 

Description

 

Ambassador Penny Allyn is about to embark on the most important mission of her career- Representing humanity during First Contact with an alien species.

A carefully selected team of experts have been chosen to follow a series of mysterious broadcasts across space to an alien planet and introduce humanity to a new intelligent species for the first time.

But just as they reach the alien planet, a disaster no one could have anticipated throws Penny and her entire team into danger, and their mission becomes one of avoiding what seems to be an inevitable interstellar war.

Aiten Tau, the mysterious and powerful commander of the alien’s military forces, is put in charge of Penny and her team, and takes particular interest in Penny.

They struggle to understand each other in time to prevent a cosmic catastrophe, but their growing feelings for each other may only get in the way. Giving in to her passion for the Alien Commander could make Penny the vanguard of an interplanetary war…

Prologue

 

The floors of the hall of judgement were gleaming white marble, cold under Penny's knees. The honey comb columns of alabaster on either side of her, to which she was bound by chains of golden light, grew in organic fractals towards the impossibly high, arched ceilings.

The patterns of the stained glass panels in that ceiling glittered in fragmented shards of red and blue and gold, far too distant for Penny to determine what image they portrayed, if any. Those windows were the only color in the stark white hall, save for the people inside it.

Strange soldier-drones in their blue-black chitinous armor. Workers with their excess of spiny limbs darting through the edges of things, just flickers of abstract gold. Males with their glittering iridescent wings fluttered through the high spaces above on unknown and arcane business, or else stood before her on the edge of the dais, looking down at her with calculating compound eyes.

Above them all, too massive and strange to be real, the queen shifted shedding layers of diaphanous skin as she was reborn over and over, her skin pearly, translucent and new hardening to nacre with the touch of the air and flaking away in a shimmering dust. She was nothing like a human, and she was undeniably the most beautiful and terrifying thing Penny had ever laid eyes on. Penny quaked with fear of her judgement.

She turned her eyes to one of the soldier-drones that stood near the queen, the shiny black shell of his armor deceptive, hiding the near human form she knew was beneath it, the kind and handsome face that had been all she clung to in these unnumbered days of imprisonment.

She couldn't speak through the webbed and clinging device they'd attached to her face, but she pleaded with him through her eyes, desperate for any reassurance. The soldier turned his head away to avoid her stare, and Penny felt her heart shatter.

The queen was stirring, shedding glittering mother of pearl dust, fanning the glory of her multitudinous wings, trembling as they filled the vast chapel with the serene humming hymn of their motion. She towered over them all, her mouthparts working like strange wet machinery, a sliding puzzle made of onyx and obsidian.

"JUDGE MENT HAS BEEN REACH ED," the queen spoke, her voice impossibly low, reverberating in Penny's bones and almost painful, "THE INVA DER INVI OLATE UT TER UNTOUCH ABLE CAPTUR ED CONFESS ED DIRE DANG ER TO HIVE AND HEARTH VAN GUARD OF VI O LENCE BRINGS BAR BAR IANS TO OUR DOOR."

The chapel vibrated with the buzzing agreement of all those present. The males shook their glittering wings at her in disdain.

"SEN TANCE REN DERED," the queen went on, "A MESS AGE TO DELI VER SAN GUINE SCOUTS RE TURNED SANS SKULLS SHALL AS SURE NO FUR THER FOOL ISH FOR AYS INTO SOV ERIGN SPACE."

Penny shuddered with horror, but had expected nothing else. It was as he'd told her it would be from the first day she'd landed here. She tore her eyes from the queen to once again stare at the solider-drone, no longer with any hope of last minute rescue, but only praying for a few last glimpses of him before the queen's glittering mandibles closed around her head.

He still would not look at her, and though she couldn't blame him, the betrayal in her heart roared loud enough to drown out the horrendous hum of wings as the queen moved, leaning down towards Penny to deliver her terrible justice...

Chapter One

 

SEVERAL MONTHS EARLIER

 

Penny stood on the bridge of the starship Oshun, running her hands over the dark console in slow, thoughtful passes, trying to calm herself. The ship had been named for a Yoruba goddess, an orisha of many things but, in this case most importantly diplomacy. After all, mankind was about to undertake the most important diplomatic mission in their history.

"You're letting it get to you."

Penny took her hands from the console and looked back at the woman standing behind her, smiling politely.

"Of course not, Captain," Penny ducked her head respectfully, "I am absolutely ready for this mission."

Captain Rivera was a tall, broad-shouldered Latina woman, with raven dark hair and keen eyes which weren't fooled by Penny's confident facade at all.

"I didn't question your readiness Ambassador," the Captain replied, "I only said you're letting it get to you. Which you are."

Penny took a deep breath, running her hands through her auburn hair in a compulsive nervous gesture, then cursing quietly and trying to fix the damage she'd done to her carefully chosen hairstyle. Captain Rivera chuckled and stepped forward to help. Penny let her hands drop and looked up at the other woman with undisguised admiration in her dark blue eyes as Rivera calmly and deftly swept Penny's hair back into place.

"It's just so huge," Penny tried to explain, her voice small with anxiety, "If this is what we think it is, we could be responsible for first contact. I could be the first person to ever speak with an extra-terrestrial being! Everyone's expecting me to be so calm about it, but what if I mess up? What if I can't understand them, or I say the wrong thing, or any of a thousand things go wrong the same way they do in any diplomatic discussion here on earth. If misunderstandings just between different cultures in the same species can lead to genocidal wars, what will happen when we try to talk to an entirely different species? Captain, I could go down in history as the harbinger of the first interstellar war-"

She stopped suddenly as Rivera put a finger to her lips.

"You're letting it get to you," the captain repeated, "Keep your thoughts in the present. Focus on one task at a time. This is just another mission. You're one of the greatest ambassadors alive. I was there when you talked the lunar colonies out of secession when everyone thought we were on the edge of civil war. You can do this. And you'll have Ambassador Nesmith on the Hermes to back you up as well. You will not mess this up. So hold it together. The film crew will be here in a minute."

Penny took a deep breath, forcing herself to calm down, and her hands to stop shaking. She knew the captain was right. She needed to focus on the moment.

"Am I late?"

Lacy Cho, their xenobiology specialist, rushed onto the ship, tugging on her flight suit nervously.

"You're right on time Doctor," Captain Rivera assured her.

"The documentary crew is supposed to be here any minute," Penny told Cho, helping the other woman affix the last of the emblems on her suit as she took her place in front of the console beside Penny.

"What about Salome?" Cho asked, fussing with a pin in her long black hair, "And where is Ian?"

"Dr. Maurea is showing the crew in," Rivera explained, "You know how they've taken a liking to him. Salome is dealing with a few last concerns in the lab. Apparently, they received another transmission last night they wanted her to take a look at before we left."

"And of course they called her instead of me," Cho grumbled, "Typical."

"Communications is her specialty," Penny pointed out.

"Yeah, she can tell them plenty about how the signal was composed and sent," Cho continued to complain, "But she's got no grasp of the language or the culture behind it! At least, not nearly as much as I do. But they always skip over me! Just because xenobiology is a new field doesn't mean they have to treat it like a joke."

"No one thinks you're a joke, Cho," Rivera said calmly, "Relax and get ready to smile for the cameras."

The Oshun was a sleek, handsome ship, built to be as light and fast as possible. The bridge, on which the crew now stood, formed the rounded nose of the ship.

The console wrapped around it in a half circle around which five chairs were arranged. Above the flat, touch screen dash, a wide, currently dark screen also wrapped around the inside of the nose. The ship had no windows, the better to withstand the rigors of space.

Instead, it had thousands of tiny cameras, which fed information back to screens like that one, taking the place of viewports. It was turned off at the moment, but had it been on, it would only have showed the Hermes sitting on the opposite side of the launch pad. Oshun's twin, Hermes would carry a second complete crew. They were each other's back up, in case something went wrong during the voyage.

A moment later, a handsome blonde man stuck his head through the open hatch curiously, smiling when he saw them.

"Looks like just about everyone is here!" he called back to the people behind him, stepping inside, "Where's Dr. Abdullah?"

Ian Maurea had a thick New Zealand accent which the media found almost as irresistible as his effortless surfer charm. You would never have guessed he was a genius astro-navigator from looking at him. According to him, all Maori were fantastic sailors, and space was just another ocean to him.

Behind Ian, a documentary film crew stepped into the ship, eyes wide and cameras rolling.

"She'll be with us shortly," Rivera answered as Ian, looking especially dashing in his flight suit, took up a spot beside her in the lineup, "A last minute transmission."

Ian grinned, leaning past Rivera till he could see Cho.

"Skipped over you again, did they?" he teased.

"Oh shut up Ian," Cho huffed in irritation, but Penny could see she was smiling, probably just delighted that Ian agreed she should have been consulted first. Cho's crush on Maurea was well documented.

Penny was fairly certain everyone on both crews had struggled with a crush on the navigator. Even Rivera had been briefly charmed. But fraternizing with crew mates that way could get you removed from the mission, so Penny, along with everyone else, hadn't allowed those feelings to grow beyond the basest infatuation. Only Cho's had stubbornly lingered, despite her best efforts to shake it.

"Welcome to the bridge of the U.S.S Oshun," Rivera spoke to the documentary crew, reciting a planned script, "I am Captain Bonita Rivera. You've met my astronavigator Dr. Ian Maurea. On my left is the foremost xenobiology expert in the world, Dr. Lacy Cho, and beside her is renowned diplomat and conductor of the Lunar Accords, Ambassador Penny Allyn."

The documentary crew of course already knew this, having conducted preflight interviews with the entire crew already, but this footage would be played at the beginning of the film once it was edited.

"Sorry I'm late!"

Rivera paused and smiled as a tall, dusky skinned woman in her late thirties with a headscarf tucked into her flight suit hurried through the hatch and on to the bridge.

"Ah, and here is our communication officer," Rivera explained, "Dr. Salome Abdullah. Dr. Abdullah was part of the team that first found and recorded the Kepler transmissions. Without her research into stellar signals, we would not be on this mission."

Penny still remembered the moment more than ten years ago when the public had first been told about the signals Salome's team had located, echoing out of the far reaches of space in the Kepler region, the cluster of planets the Kepler telescope project had studied and determined to be habitable.

They'd already been studying the strange, faint signals for years before they released the information to the public, once they had proof that the signals were real and indisputably the product of another intelligent civilization.

That was when planning for the first contact mission had begun. Penny had known even then, just eighteen and graduating valedictorian of her prestigious private high school, that she would be part of it, would stop at nothing to earn a place on that ship. Her parents had been thrilled to see her set such a lofty target. Penny was only surprised they hadn't chosen it for her themselves.

"It's from here in the bridge that I'll be steering the ship," Ian continued with undisguised pride, patting the back of his chair, "Keeping us on the trajectory NASA has laid out for us, as well as calculating and adjusting that trajectory in case of any unforeseen obstacles. Now, we'll be taking the journey in stages, with long cryosleep kips in between each leg..."

The interview went on a while longer as the documentary crew was shown around the ship, then at last they were shooed out. A security team swept through next, ensuring nothing had been changed, damaged, or left behind. And then, at last, it was time to begin final checks.

Penny settled into her seat, her heart hammering with fear and excitement, ready to do her part. Rivera was the only dedicated astronaut. The rest of the crew were specialists, but they'd all been trained together for years on every single function and maneuver the Oshun had. Every one of them could fly the ship if they had to, though of course they were best off flying it together, each one handling their specialty.

Final checks hit no snags and Penny felt almost nauseous with excitement as the five of them pressed the buttons on the collar of their flight suits which expanded a clear, close fitting helmet around their heads. It was time for takeoff.

The view screen was on now, and Penny could see the Hermes on the other side of the tarmac going through the same motions. A window opened in the corner of the screen to show the Hermes crew as they prepared.

Captain Gaugin, a dignified older man, shared a respectable nod with Captain Rivera. To either side of him sat Dr. Renee Klaus of xenobiology, Dr. Theresa Nguyen of astronavigation, Dr. Catharine Redbird on communications, and to his far left, Ambassador Ambrose Nesmith. The elderly black man exchanged a smile with Penny, the same twinkle of nervous excitement in his eyes.

She felt better about this knowing she had someone so experienced on her side. Nesmith had been rewriting the rules of diplomatic conduct since before Penny could spell the words. The fact that she was working with him now left her dizzy with delight.

"Captain Rivera to ground control," Rivera said, flipping on the coms, "Checking in. How is the weather looking?"

"Everything looks good captain;" a controller answered calmly, "That storm we were keeping an eye on seems to have stalled off the coast, so it shouldn't be a problem. We're all good to go here."

"Excellent." Rivera practically glowed with pride, as though she could barely believe it was finally happening. Penny was in much the same boat.

"We have the documentary crew here watching the launch," the controller continued, "They'd like to know if you guys have any last words before the launch, anything to say to the folks back home?"

"I would like to politely request that ground control not use the term 'last words,' thank you," Dr. Cho suggested as laughter echoed over the coms, "And also remind my boyfriend not to let the fish die while I'm gone. Love you honey."

"I would like to say goodbye again to my partner," Captain Rivera said, her voice losing its crisp professional edge for a moment, "You and the kids are the best things that ever happened to me. Stay safe. I promise I'll be home soon."

"I have a message for my brother," Salome said next, "Stay strong, I believe in you. Watch after Alia, make sure she graduates. I expect to see her opening her own medical practice by the time I get back!"

"I'd just like to tell every Native and Indigenous kid out there that it isn't impossible and it isn't too late," Ian said, surprisingly serious for his usual flippant attitude, "Look at me and Redbird over there on the Hermes. Look how far we've come. There are no limits for you. So come and meet us in the stars!"

There was a small applause after that, and then eyes turned to Penny, who found herself briefly caught off guard.

"I guess," she said hesitantly, all the elegant words she'd prepared suddenly out of her reach, "I guess I'd like to tell my parents... Goodbye. I hope you're proud of me."

They took quotes from the Hermes crew next as a few last checks were made and the engines warmed up.

"It's just about that time everybody," the controller said, "Everything is green on this end. You are cleared for launch. Beginning countdown in..."

Penny took a deep breath, checking that she was strapped in and her helmet was secure, fussing as last minute nerves fluttered like a cloud of butterflies in her stomach. The countdown dwindled lower as the roar of the engines grew louder and louder in Penny's ears, drowning out everything else.

She closed her eyes, not sure if she was trembling or the ship was shaking. The count hit zero and several Gs of force hit her in the chest as the rockets kicked on and threw the Oshun and the Hermes into the atmosphere.

Riding waves of fire they soared six miles straight up. It was a tense ride, Ian and Rivera trading data and orders with ground control in rapid fire as they carefully guided the ship into the sky. Penny, not a critical part of the launch sequence, could do little but watch, fingers crossed that nothing would go wrong.

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