Claimed: The Warriors of Nur

BOOK: Claimed: The Warriors of Nur
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CLAIMED

WARRIORS OF NUR

 

 

 

C.C. COATS

Warriors of Nur

Book One: Claimed

C. C. Coats

Dedicated to my Soul Sister Nana Yaa.  You inspire me to live my dream by living yours.

PUBLISHED BY:

Lu’Crecha Coats on Kindle

Copyright © 2012 by Lu’Crecha Coats

No part of this book may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or electronic form without permission.  Please do not participate in or encourage piracy of copyrighted materials in violation of the author’s rights.

Claimed
is a work of fiction.  Names, characters, places, and incidents are the products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously.  Any resemblance to actual events, locales, or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.

 

 

PROLOGUE

 

“Cataloging planetary series, 13579ZAP.  Referenced as inhabitable.  Planetary inhabitants referenced as undetermined variant. 
Twin Encounter
will continue to un-cataloged quadrant…ZAR with inten—” 

Leo paused.  The scraping sounded again.

Urrrrrrrrrr…
  It was the sound of metal scraping metal. 

She stopped the recording, straining to identify where it was coming from.

There was no one else aboard ship.  All OD (Outer Drifter) pilots flew solo, which was why there was such a rigorous psych eval before admittance to the program.  The ship listed, and Leo grabbed the console to stop from hitting the wall. 

There it was again,
Urrrrrrrrrr…  She identified the sound as
tension hooks.  

Hitting the perimeter view, she watched as a picture of the tail end of the
Twin Encounter
appeared on the large screen above her. 
What the hell?
 

The attacking vessel was approximately half the size of her ship, which was relatively small since it was only designed to support a crew of only one.  Its exterior blended into the darkness of the space around it, the only indication of its presence, the two long tension hooks that now connected them. 

“Oxygen levels decreasing.” 
Reported the voice of the onboard automated life support system.

Leo turned to the systems panel, which revealed the automated life support monitor flashing a steadily decreasing gage. 

What the…

She pressed the manual over-ride.  The gage continued to decrease, a soft vacuum sound confirming the slow removal of the ship’s oxygen slowly being removed.

I need that to breathe…I need that to breathe…I need that to breathe…
The litany looped to repeat over and over in her head as she pressed at the manual over-ride. 

Nothing happened.  In fact, none of the controls was working.  It was as if they were locked; the touch sensitive buttons did not even illuminate when she pressed them. 

Panic set in: her chest heavy, lungs straining.  Her heart pounded, the rapid pulsing an echoing drum in her ears.  Whoever said drowning was the worst way to die was spot on if her current state of non-air was any indication at all. 

Crawling now, she dragged herself into the EP launch enclosure, the doors sealing tight before the on-board support system began to pump life-sustaining oxygen through the ventilation system.  She shot backwards, the sudden force of the automatic launch propelling her three feet across the cabin before she crashed into the equipment panel.  Her world narrowed, the edges of consciousness fading to match the blackness that stared at her from beyond the viewing panel

Fuck!  Avi is gonna be so pissed….

 

Leo’Nya watched as she slowly drifted closer to the alien planet of Nur.  She was finally close enough.  The gravitational pull would soon begin to control the destination of the small EP.  How long had it been since she’d launched herself from the
Twin Encounter
…? 

Well, I’ve been drifting for…

She glanced at the unit that ticked slowly on her wrist.  It was standard issue for all Outer Drifters.  That was the official title for all the pilots lucky enough to make it into the elite group responsible for exploring the outer limits of what most people consider the edge of space.  Her job was to determine which planets were inhabitable and which ones were to be avoided.  She sometimes spent months just…well … , drifting until she found a new or un-cataloged planet. 

“16 days…I’ve been drifting in this…”

She looked around at the octo shaped pod that contained everything essential to sustain humanoid life for an undefined amount of time. 

She gripped the arms of the seat, startled to note the sudden change in momentum.  She’d drifted close enough and could feel the planet’s gravity beginning to pull her into its atmosphere. 

Knees to her chest, she tucked herself into the smallest ball possible while remaining strapped in.  Forehead down, she wrapped her arms around her legs, and closed her eyes. 

There was nothing to do at this point.  Her pod would crash without her assistance.  She didn’t need to see it happen.  She knew it would survive impact; after all that’s what it had been constructed for, but she still didn’t want to watch the ground hurtle towards her.  As everything around her trembled, Leo’Nya took a deep breath and held on.

CHAPTER ONE

 

Ok.  Get it together girl... 
She chanted silently in her head as she hung suspended from what was now the
top
of her pod

I
would
be the one to crash upside down.  

Up side:, at least she was still strapped in, and uninjured.  Being smashed around like a broken rag-doll was
just
what she needed to make a crash landing even worse. 

Leo wrapped her legs around the bottom support of her chair before pressing the center button of her security harness and wiggling her shoulders and upper body free. 

Pulling her body towards the base, she wrapped her arms around the center support, allowing her legs to loosen and dangle.  Now, all she had to do was
not
hit anything on the drop to the floor.  Easier planned than done, particularly when hanging suspended like an incompetent circus monkey.  The distance to the floor was roughly eight feet.  She’d be fine…at least that was the hope.  The last thing she needed was to break something on the way down.

 

Erol watched the burning tail as it streaked across the sky.  There were only two things that could be responsible for such a display. It was rare that a rock large enough to burn that long drifted close enough to be forced into their atmosphere, which left only one other option. 
Aljeni

His nostrils flared, scenting the air. 
Time to go.
 

The
baqra
he’d been tracking was long gone now, its scent just a faint spice on the breeze.  He’d tracked it longer and farther than intended, loosing himself in the thrill of the hunt.  His predator-self had relaxed into the comfortable familiarity of knowing that he was the most lethal thing in the vicinity.  It was the only time he was able to shuck the weight of his responsibilities.  A time when he could feel free, and unhindered. 

Now the weight came crashing down, the burning tail of an off-world vessel reminding him of just how dangerous it could be for him to linger too long away from his clan … away from his brothers, and the female they all protected.  He’d been gone too long. 

His thoughts turned to his brothers.  There were four of them.  Neron, Atif, Donagh, and Cahil.  They together protected their most precious treasure: their young female.  Uriel. 

Nur was a planet ruled by strength.  The survival of a bloodline was determined by  that bloodline’s ability to protect and breed their females. 

Uriel was a pure- born Gwerriera Nies female, one of very few left on Nur, and with a 1:7 female to male ratio, it was only through the diligence and strength of the males of her line that she hadn’t been stolen and force bred.  She was still young, having only just reached her first breeding cycle, but even at fifteen cycles, she would be taken if she were not well protected. 

Erol’s jaw tightened, his strides quickening at the thought of what abuse his young sister would suffer if she were ever left unprotected.  He needed to return home, but first…an
Aljeni
left to roam was an unknown threat, and
that
was something no Gwerriera Nies would allow.

 

Leo stuffed the scopes back into the pack at her feet.  The limited gear she carried consisted of a personal water filtration system, long range portable scopes, a ration pack with roughly two weeks’ worth of protein jelly, a laser blade, and an all- climate chameleon blanket.  All fit neatly into her standard issue OD-Gear Pack.  Unfortunately, the weight was enormous compared to the size, and she could feel the ache of it digging into her shoulders.

She guessed by the moon’s position, that there were maybe another four to five hours before it covered the sun and cast her into darkness. 

This IAESC classified this planet as YTBD ‘Yet to be determined’.  Nur, it was called.  They hadn’t decided whether or not this was a planet to be avoided or not, but it was definitely inhabitable. 

The atmosphere allowed for humanoid survival.  This meant she could breathe unassisted; but they didn’t know enough about its natives to determine the possibility of successful species mingling.  Or even what kind of welcome they’d get if they
did
decide to just drop on in. 

What she
did
know, however, was that the planet had one sun and one moon, ; and they both orbited simultaneously in opposite directions with the moon moving clockwise and the sun counter.  The moon would cover the sun at what most would consider the zenith, causing night to fall only every thirty-six hours. 

Good news: -she would have a lot more daylight to work with.  Bad news: - she would also have a lot more night.  Night lasted for a good twelve hours on Nur. 

She needed to find coverage before then.  She hadn’t seen or heard any of the natives since her landing, but her luck would last only so long.  Humans were not the only beings in the universe infected with curiosity, and there was no way she’d been missed, streaking across the sky as she had.  It would be foolish to remain at the crash site.  Besides, there was no need.  Her OD-Unit functioned as a distress tracker— among other things—and as soon as she launched her EP, it’d been activated.  She wasn’t expected to report in for at least another five months, but when her signal activated, they would send R&R to look for her.  Now all she had to do was, well…wait. And stay alive.

 

Leo felt like she was baking.  Well actually, she
was
baking.  Her tight white flight suit was definitely not engineered for desert deployment.  The burning orange ball overhead blazed, its rays, heating the material until she felt like a twice-baked potato.  What she wouldn’t do for a chame-suit right now. 

The specially designed chame-suit material was engineered to not only camouflage, but also to regulate the temperature of the wearer, but-- of course-- they weren’t standard issue unless you were part of R&R. And she was not R & R. 

In fact, she wouldn’t even know that there
was
such a thing, if she didn’t have the privilege of a sister who not only worked in that division, but also headed the Primary Response Team of the Retrieval & Recovery Division of the IAESC. 

Unlike those in R&R, OD’s didn’t need stealth to get the job done.  In fact, it was rare that they even needed to leave the safety of their vessels.  Well, that was unless they launched from said vessel to crash land on an otherwise un-cataloged planet, then had to trek through a swelteringly hot desert towards the only visible shelter for miles… in which case, clothes that would help you
not
die from heat exhaustion would be lovely. 

She sighed, the muscles between her shoulder blades screaming from the unfamiliar weight of her pack. 
Alright ‘Nya…keep it movin’.
 

She grimaced, her internal dialogue sounding suspiciously like her sister, who would ’aggressive motivation’ when Leo grumbled about running laps. 

It would take her a good three hours to get to the large mountain-like hill, the only thing not flat that she could see, and within that time, she had to figure out what to do when night fell.

She needed a plan.  She processed so much better when she had a plan.  No plan meant panic.  And panic was
so
not a good look for stranded on an alien planet. 

The journey to the stony structure took almost exactly three hours, night almost beating her there.  It was really just a huge hill, the small hollowed openings at its base just large enough to qualify as caves. 

Commandeering one of the smaller ones, she relieved herself using the portable filtration system.  She grimaced at the necessity of it, but the system was designed to filtrate and purify her urine, removing the waste and filtering the rest into drinking water.  She could then empty the waste from the bottom and the water would remain in the top.    It was gross, but water was water. 

She removed the blanket, scopes, and laser blade before jamming the pack to the far back of the opening.  Piling them beside her, she pulled the blanket to cover everything but her nose and eyes.  Patiently she watched as the color slowly changed to blend with the rock and ground around her. 

It wasn’t called a chameleon blanket for nothing.  It was designed to hide its user by blending into the surrounding area.  It was constructed of the same material as the identically named suit, and lucky-lucky, it
was
standard issue.  Within minutes, she couldn’t tell where the ground ended and the blanket began. 

Scope to her eyes, she peered into the empty desert she’d just trekked through.  The sun was almost covered.  Darkness had come.

 

BOOK: Claimed: The Warriors of Nur
6.5Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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