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3013: ALTERED

3013: THE SERIES

© by Kali Argent

The 3013 Series

3013: MATED by Laurie Roma

3013: RENEGADE by Susan Hayes

3013: CLAIMED by Laurie Roma

3013: STOWAWAY by Susan Hayes

3013: SALVATION by Laurie Roma

3013: MENDED by Kali Argent

3013: TARGETED by Susan Hayes

3013: CHAOS by Laurie Roma

3013: ALTERED by Kali Argent

3013: ALTERED

Commander Ivy Dalton doesn’t believe in luck or chance. Everything in

her life—her career, her ship, the respect of her peers—she’s worked

hard to earn. When she and her crew are attacked during an exploration

mission, sending her ship crashing onto an unidentified planet, her only

concern is finding a way to contact the Alliance. She never expected a

single, tiny incident in the infinite reaches of space to challenge all she

thought she knew about fate, destiny, and…love.

For thousands of years, King Kai Blackthorn has ruled over the people

of his planet with selflessness and compassion, never taking anything for

himself. Recently, however, he’s grown weary, malcontent, and the

loneliness that has plagued him for centuries has become too

pronounced to ignore. Then all that changes with the unexpected arrival

of one sassy blonde with luscious curves and a dangerously sharp

tongue.

Caught in the midst of intolerance and corruption, two strangers from

different worlds struggle to find a way to coexist. Kai can’t abandon his

people, and Ivy can’t imagine a life grounded in one place. But fate will

not be ignored. Decisions must be made, compromises that will change

the course of their lives. For no matter which destination they choose, the

journey will leave them forever altered.

3013: ALTERED

Copyright © October 2015 by Kali Argent

Covert Art by SW Graphic Designs

Published by UnScripted INC

eBook ISBN: 978-1-940637-20-4

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. The unauthorized reproduction or

distribution of this copyrighted work is illegal, except for the case of brief

quotations in reviews and articles.

Criminal copyright infringement is investigated by the FBI and is

punishable by up to 5 years in federal prison and a fine of $250,000.

All characters and events in this book are fictitious. Any resemblance to

actual persons living or dead is strictly coincidental.

DEDICATION

To everyone who has ever felt like they’re not good enough—even when you

don’t believe it, you’re worth it.

PROLOGUE

The year is 3013.

Earth barely survived the Alien Wars that have ravaged the planet,

and an unknown virus had nearly wiped out the entire population. On

the brink of extinction, humans struggle to rebuild their civilization,

although nothing would ever bring back what once was.

Enforcing martial law, a new age of mankind is born, where warriors

rule and women are the ultimate prize. Only the elite earn breeding

rights and are granted leave to claim a woman in pairs. Men dream of

the day that they will be able to claim a woman to love, but for those

chosen being claimed means the end of their freedom and a beginning to

a lifelong bond with two strangers. The warriors may have the choice,

but the battle for their woman's heart has only begun…

CHAPTER ONE

Alarms blared throughout the ship, their harsh, electronic tone inciting

panic in everyone aboard the
Dreamweaver.
Colored lights blinked and

flickered from the computer consoles on the command deck, while the

video display flashed system failure warnings in red across the monitors.

“Lock target! Get me a visual!” Commander Ivy Dalton barked orders

at her crew over the wailing sirens. Sitting on the edge of her seat, she

gripped the arms of her chair when the ship shuddered violently from

another impact. “Tombs, status update?”

“Shields at twenty-eight percent,” Officer Anson Tombs responded,

turning away from his station to address her. Perspiration beaded at his

temples, darkening his chestnut hair, and his bright green eyes—eyes

nearly the same shade of green as Ivy’s—widened with anxiety. “Life

support systems failing. Significant damage reported in cargo bays three

and four.”

“Target locked,” another of her officers called from the weapons

panel at the front of the deck.

“Life support systems at thirteen percent.”

“Visual on screen, Commander. All communications are down.

We’re unable to establish contact with the vessel.”

“Seven evacuation shuttles launched. Two standing by.”

Her crew continued to call out stats and updates, but Ivy’s full

attention had turned to the small ship on the display. It wasn’t an

Alliance ship, nor did it belong to any of their allies. No bigger than a

shuttle, it likely wouldn’t hold more than three or four members,

possibly a scouting vessel. Emblazoned on the helm was an unfamiliar

emblem—a cluster of three dots situated in the middle of a simple circle.

Whoever they were, wherever they’d come from, they definitely

weren’t friendly.

“Fire on target,” she ordered. With their power systems failing,

they’d only get one shot. “And make it count.”

“Aye, Commander.”

Even as they unleashed their payload, reducing the unknown ship to

a scrap heap of twisted metal, the
Dreamweaver
lurched sideways. The

sudden shift threw Ivy from her seat so that she rolled and bounced

across the command deck. Coming to a painful stop when she crashed

into one of the computer consoles, she remained crouched on the floor

as the ship continued to sway.

Long strands of blonde hair stuck to her face, damp with

perspiration, but she swiped them out of her eyes roughly and released

a frustrated breath.

“Tombs! What the hell is happening?”

“We’re falling,” the officer called back.

“How?” Ivy demanded. “We can’t just fall through fucking space.”

“We’re caught in a gravitation pull, Commander.”

“Tombs, we’re at the edge of nowhere. There’s no fucking planet,

moon, or even an asteroid even close to our location.”

“Life support systems at seven percent,” another officer called.

“Switching to auxiliary power.”

“No.” Pushing to her feet, Ivy gripped the back of the chair bolted to

the floor and steadied herself. “Divert auxiliary power to the thrusters.

Then, everyone get to the shuttles.”

“Commander?” several of her crew members asked in unison.

“Do it! That’s an order!”

“Commander.” Officer Tombs shook his head. “We can’t launch two

shuttles and maintain the thrusters.”

“Yes, we can.” Staggering onto the command deck, Chief Engineer

Tariq Navarra grabbed Tombs by his shoulders and hauled him out of

his seat. “Get everyone to the shuttles. Now!”

As the crew stumbled and pushed their way off the deck, Tariq folded

his six-and-half-foot frame under one of the stations and ripped off the

metal paneling to reveal the bundle of tubes and wires. His cat-like eyes

narrowed, and he pushed his blond mane away from his face before

pulling a sharp, serrated dagger from his belt.

“Navarra, what the hell are you doing?” The ship lurched hard to the

right, throwing Ivy back into the computer console once again.

“If we’re lucky, saving our fucking lives,” the Helios hybrid muttered

in response as he began cutting and splicing the thick wires.

“A more literal answer,” Sion Jabari added as he appeared at the

doorway of the deck, gripping the frame for stability, “is that he’s

diverting power directly from the jump drive core.” The other Helios

smiled, the scar that ran from his temple to the corner of his mouth

distorting his upper lip. Revealing his elongated canines, he lifted his

massive shoulders as if he found the situation entertaining. “I’d tell you

to make for one of the shuttles, but you’re too stubborn for that, so I

won’t waste my breath.”

“Good thinking,” a small, feminine voice answered from behind him.

Ivy closed her eyes and groaned as she righted herself once again.

“Cami, you shouldn’t be here.”

“Stubborn,” Sion repeated, bobbing his head so that his auburn hair

bounced around his scarred face. “The whole lot of you.”

Shoving past the cat-shifter, Tariq’s mate, Camille Navarra, fought to

keep her balance as she maneuvered to the nearest monitor. “The last

evacuation shuttle just launched,” the tiny raven-haired female

announced.

Ivy had never been so simultaneously terrified and pissed off in all of

her thirty-two years. “You shouldn’t be here.” Her heart beat up into her

throat as she looked at each of her friends in turn, and the muscles in her

back tensed with anxiety. “I gave you an order!”

“And we’re not technically Elites.” Sion shrugged as his lips twisted

into a smirk. “In other words, you’re not the boss of us.”

“Everyone shut it!” Tariq barked. His nimble fingers spliced three

different wires together before he capped them with a titanium

connector. “Done. Sion, set forward thrusters at full.”

“It worked.” Cami’s storm-gray eyes rounded as white halogen lights

flickered to life, replacing the red glare of the emergency beacons. “We’re

going to be okay.”

Ivy wished she had the same confidence, but from the wall-sized

window at the front of the deck, she watched as flames engulfed the hull

of her ship. The
Dreamweaver
hurdled through the blackness of space,

gaining speed in its descent, and she still didn’t know how or why.

“Life support systems at three percent,” Cami called, her voice

trembling only slightly on the last word. “It’s not going to matter if we

have thrusters if we can’t breathe.”

“We just need to breathe long enough to land.” Sion punched at the

onscreen keyboard on the navigation panel and slammed one of the

levers forward.

“Land on what?” Ivy demanded, staring through the window into

the void beyond.

“Everyone strap in and hold on to your asses.” Taking his own

advice, Sion fastened the chair’s safety harness over his shoulders and

around his waist. “I think we’re about to find out.”

* * * *

Staring at his reflection in the back of his soupspoon, Vasili Kaireedtheryl

Blackthorn examined the long, thin streaks of bronze that grew

throughout his otherwise raven hair. In a few thousand years, his dark

tresses would vanish, replaced entirely by the slowly multiplying bronze

strands, and eventually, the locks would fade to a pale, shimmering gold.

Beyond the color of his hair, though, he’d still look the same. The

amber-gold of his irises wouldn’t change. His fair skin wouldn’t wrinkle

or thin with age. Even his physical strength wouldn’t diminish over time,

nor would his mental acuity. Until his last breath, he’d be forever

unchanged.

Except his hair.

Sighing, Kai dropped the spoon onto the long, narrow table in the

cavernous dining hall, leaned his head back against his chair, and closed

his eyes. His body hadn’t changed since his twenty-eighth year, yet

lately, he often felt ancient. He was tired, not physically, not mentally,

but weary in a way he couldn’t quite describe.

For more centuries than anyone could remember, the Xenons had

hidden themselves away from the rest of the galaxies. Utilizing their

advanced technology—and even a touch of their ingrained magic—

they’d cloaked their home planet of Xenthian with an undetectable

shield, leaving them invisible to the universe and its inhabitants.

The elders had made the decision to protect their home and their

people, to safeguard their secrets, during a time when violence and war

raged throughout the star systems. As immortal beings, the Xenon elders

had welcomed new members into their Court on only two occasions, the

most recent addition being Kai’s father, Elder Elorfindarian Blackthorn.

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