Salvage Rights (Distant Worlds Book 2)

 

 

Salvage Rights

By Kelly Lucille

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Text Copyright © 2014 Kelly Lucille

All
Rights Reserved

CHAPTER ONE

The capsule had
obviously been there a long time.  The dust and grime obscured any writing that
might identify what was being carried inside, and any sign that might have once
read hazardous waste could have conceivably been worn off a millennium ago. 
That the crew could not identify a power source was almost as troubling.  The
soft humming that seemed to fill the room assured that whatever was in the
coffin-like pod was getting power from somewhere.

“Did you check under
the floor?”  His voice tinny through the icom of the jumpsuit, Captain Tyber
Relian squatted as close to the smooth cylinder as he dared, his eyes on the
floor beneath it.  The jumpsuits they used were nowhere near top of the line, with
the visor on them limited to the small window where his dark brown eyes, Lore’s
black, and Mac’s blue were all that could be seen.  The best that could be said
for the outdated equipment was that it offered protection from the vacuum of
space.

“Nothing, sir.  I am detecting
a strong current of energy but cannot account for its presence.”  Lore stood on
the other side of the small probe ship, his handheld sensor out in front of
him.  “The only possibility is that whatever is inside has its own separate
power source from the rest of the ship.”

“This ship is from the
twenty-first century.  How is it possible that a power source – one that we can’t
pick up on our sensors no less – could have lasted three centuries?  It just
isn’t possible.”

“This does seem
unlikely; however, there is another possibility.  Whatever is inside could have
been placed in the pod at a later date.”

“So someone came along
sometime in the last 300 years and placed whatever this is in a derelict space
probe?  Why?”

“Unknown, but it does
seem the more likely possibility.”

“Anything on the
sensors that suggests what’s inside?”

“The sensors are unable
to detect anything at all besides the pod itself.”

“So the question is ‘do
we take it with us, open it, or leave it here for someone else to discover?’”

Another growly voice
joined theirs over the icom: “I say we just blow it out of orbit.  I don’t like
surprises.”  Mac had been a space marine for years.  Not only was he a big
bruiser and a trained killer, but he was also leery of anything he could not identify
— with reason, no doubt.  Patrolling the different sectors of space, those
marines saw seriously strange action on a regular basis.  His motto seemed to
be,
when in doubt blow it up
.

Tyber looked over his
shoulder at the big man that stood with his back to them, his space blaster at
the ready.  “Everyone knows how you feel about surprises, Mac.  Lore?”

“Not recommended
commander.  We have no idea what it is; therefore, we have no idea how it would
respond to an outside attack.”

“You think something is
living in there?”

“Unlikely, however, we
have no way of knowing if an explosion would act as a catalyst to whatever is
in the pod.”

“We could end up
blowing ourselves up in the process.”

“That is a possibility.”

“Can we form a force
field around the pod and open it without endangering the ship?”

“Possibly, but whoever
opened the device would still run the risk.”

“I don’t know about you
but I want to know what’s inside.”

“I am curious.”

“I didn’t sign on to go
blowing myself out of a 300-year-old ship,” Mac grumbled over the link.  “This
is a bad idea.”

“Noted.  The two of you
return to the ship.  Lore you help Sera erect a strong enough force field to
keep in whatever might come out of this.”

“Sir, I really think
that I should be the one.”

“Denied.”

“Tyber . . .”

“Denied, Lore.  You
have the ship.”

“Aye, sir.”

In a cascade of light
they were gone, not looking any too pleased with the situation, and both men
knowing there was no talking the captain out of it.

When the green light
was given to go ahead, he felt a shiver of anticipation.  He could not deny
that there was definitely something about the pod that was making him itch to
open it.  He was a little worried about the fact that he could not have left
the pod without seeing what was inside.  It seemed more than mere curiosity,
but he was reassured by Mac’s lack of enthusiasm.  Maybe he was just becoming
the action junky that Lore accused him of being.  Maybe it was just that good a
mystery.

All of this was running
through his head as he hit the latches to open the pod.  As soon as the seal
was released, he experienced a strange lightheartedness and could have sworn he
smelled flowers.  Hoping he wasn’t being influenced by some hallucinogenic
drug, he pulled open the top, immediately questioning his senses.

There was no weapon of
mass destruction.  There was a woman — a woman who seemed to be sleeping quite
peacefully and glowing with a strange inner light. A second after the pod
opened, the light faded and he was left looking at a woman with long hair that
shone garnet when his torch hit it.  When she opened her eyes, they were moss
green and drowsy, as if she was only waking up for the morning, rather than on
a derelict space craft light years from anywhere.

“Sir, we have another
ship closing fast.”

The woman blinked up at
him, her eyes widening as she looked around her.  She started to sit up and
then with a gasp, fell back, her hands on her head as if to keep it in place.

“Sir, it’s a Gorson
ship, raiders.”  Lore’s voice coming over the icom was as emotionless as usual,
but it still managed to impact a belief in the need for speed.  Tyber looked at
the woman before him, taking in her naked length under sheer robes, and her
panicked eyes.

“Sir, we are being
commanded to leave the area; it seems they have papers detailing the ownership
of all cargo.”

“Since when do Gorson
bother with paperwork?”

Mac’s voice came over
the line.  “I’d be a bit more concerned with the big guns strapped to their
side at the moment, Captain.  Can we get the fuck out of here?”

Lore’s voice was a
smooth cadence over the gruffly wild Mac.  However, the message was the same. “Indeed,
sir.  Since they are powering up torpedoes, it would seem ideal to do as they
ask.”

By now, the woman in
the pod was sitting up gingerly, breathing deeply and trying to stave off panic;
he had to hand it to her, she wasn’t hysterical, yet.  She met his eyes again,
shaking as she tried to make herself as small as possible, which was pretty
small since she couldn’t be more than 5’5” despite the proof of womanly curves
beneath her loose robes.

She hadn’t spoken yet
and he didn’t really have time to discuss the pros and cons of her situation,
especially as she may or may not even speak the language. Instead, he reached
in and hauled her into his arms, startling a gasp and struggle from her.

“I’m not going to harm
you,” Tyber said, but not really expecting it to help.  So, he was surprised
when she stopped struggling and lay quiet in his arms, her eyes glued to his
face as she tried to catch her breath and hold still.  “Lore,” he said, “now.” 
They were surrounded by a flash of bright light.

The second he was back
in his own ship, he handed the woman off to Mac, who was as surprised to find
his arms full of soft woman, as the woman herself was to be there.  However, he
was not one to look a gift horse in the mouth.

“Thank you!?” Mac
called as the captain disappeared towards the command center.

“She’s not a gift. 
Just get her situated for the jump.”  He was gone and Mac was left looking down
at the prettiest green eyes he had ever seen.

“Well, now, you look
like a gift to me,” he said, pulling her more comfortably into his arms, as her
eyes narrowed.  “Let’s say we get you strapped down for the jump, I’ve got just
the lap for the situation.”

She started struggling,
but Mac just chuckled, sitting down and adjusting her so that she was
straddling his lap.  Her loose skirts hiked up an indecent amount, he clipped
them in despite her best efforts to put distance between them, and then he pulled
her hard against his chest, trapping her hands between them.

“Mac?”  The voice was
impatient over the loudspeaker and made the girl look around her to find its
source.

“Ready ,Captain,” he said
tapping the chair icom, smiling into her panic.  “Not too bright, are you?  Don’t
worry; I like that in a woman.”

Her shriek was cut off
by firm lips and a brash tongue before the flash and boom of the jump caught
them and whipped Mac’s head back against the headrest and slammed her against
his chest.

When they came out of
the jump, mere seconds later, it felt like a much longer time.  Mac shook his
slightly too long brown hair out like a wet mongrel and looked down at the
woman clutching his tunic with white knuckled hands.  Her eyes were tightly
closed and he laughed, reminded of a little girl hiding from the dark.  He
grabbed her chin and pulled her face up as she opened her eyes, the shock in
hers turning to anger even as he watched.

He liked the fire so
much that he was tempted to fan it.  “Now, where were we?” he asked, his
scruffy five o’clock shadow rubbing down her soft cheek as he licked her ear. 
Then his mouth went to hers again, his tongue pushing for entrance even as she
jerked back.  “Come on baby, don’t be shy.”  She actually growled at him,
making him laugh and then curse when her sharp white teeth sank into his bottom
lip with savage intent.

“Fuck!” he bellowed, hauling
her back by her hair as far as he could with them still strapped in.  He pushed
the mechanism on the chair when it wasn’t far enough to get her to let go, and
then she toppled to the floor, his blood on her lips, his own stinging like a
son of a bitch and bleeding down his throat.

He stomped over to a
compartment, yanking it open to grab a clean towel from the pile there, and pressing
it to his abused lip while he turned to study the woman on the floor. 

She was still sitting
where he had left her, though she had pulled her legs under her; her hair was a
wild torrent that hit the floor and just kept going, pooling around her in a
garnet shimmer.  Her arms were straight and braced against the floor, her
perfect breasts heaving beneath the light fabric of her robes as she watched
him with a warning in her clear green eyes, as if she was holding herself ready
to attack.  As he watched, her little tongue shot out and licked away the blood
clinging to her deceptively soft mouth.  His blood.  He had felt those breasts
and that tiny waist barely hidden behind the long formless gown, seen her
shapely thighs and felt the flow of a nicely shaped ass as she was pressed
against him.  He had been attracted, as any man would be when faced with so
much soft woman, but now, looking at the feral light in her eyes and watching
her lick his blood from her lips, he was rock hard.

He took a step towards
her before a feminine voice cut through the haze of his thoughts.

“What the holy hell are
you doing?”  Sera took in the scene in front of her, Mac’s bloody lip and the
hot intent in his eyes, the strange girl kneeling on the floor.  She pounded
the icom unit beside her on the wall forcefully.

“Captain, you better
get down to the mess.”

“What’s the problem?”

“Mac’s losing it and
there’s a strange girl on the floor.”

There was silence for
all of ten seconds.  “On my way.”

He was not the only one
who showed up, and neither Mac nor the girl looked away from each other despite
there now being three more people in the room.

“Mac?” the doctor said,
pulling out a small handheld device and scanning first the girl and then Mac. 
Younger than the rest of the crew by a few years with dishwater blond hair and
a trim beard, he looked at his readout and blinked in surprise.  The captain
was right behind him.

“Someone want to tell
me what’s going on?  Mac?  Doc?”

“She bit me.”  Mac’s
voice was a rough growl.

“Get over it.”  The
captain’s voice lashed out, and even Sera backed up, though she was not the
focus of it.

Meanwhile, the doctor slowly
approached the girl, using his scanner, and trying to reassure her with words
at the same time.  “I mean you no harm, lady.  My name is Doctor Henry Morgan,
but everyone calls me Doc.”

“I don’t think she
understands, Doc.”

“On the contrary; since
my scans are showing incredible brain activity, I would say there is very
little that would be beyond her understanding.”

“Who is she?” Sera
asked, her arms crossing her chest over her overalls.  There was grease on the
side of her nose.  “How did she even get here?”

The greenest eyes he
had ever seen came to rest on the doctor.  “You seem young for a doctor.”  Her
voice was soft and lyrical, despite obvious roughness from not having used it
for who knew how long.

He laughed.  “You seem
young for being a couple hundred years old.”  Her eyes widened and then closed
as if she was searching for something inside herself.  She opened them again
and there were tears there, coating her sadness.  “Why am I here?”

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