Red Day, Ere the Sun Rises – Characters

The text, "Red Day, Ere the Sun Rises: A Sun Speaker Story" over a red sun.

Characters | Chapter 1 | Chapter 2 | Chapter 3 | Chapter 4 | Chapter 5 | Chapter 6 | Chapter 7 | Chapter 8 | Chapter 9 | Chapter 10 | Chapter 11 | Chapter 12

I was told the sheer quantity of characters was a little intimidating. I started to understand as I made this list. Hopefully this will help keep the characters straight.

Hal the Sun Speaker


Born 825 Post First Earthen Emigration. A prophet called the Sun-Speaker, he gets visions from the god Sol that lives in the sun. He was raised on Venus from the age of ten.


A doctor who was part of Hal’s crew. She is currently in hiding, raising the future King of Mars with her wife Sofia.


Former special forces in the Mars militia, she was dishonorably discharged for saving Hal’s life against orders. The first time she met him, she also beat the crap out of him. She is his former bodyguard.

Gwinevere the Second, High Queen of Venus

As a child, found Hal hiding in the luggage of the royal ship. They dated as teenagers. When he was ex-communicated from the church, she broke all ties.

Princess Lenay

Princess of Venus. She was born with an immune disorder like her mother but both were healed by Hal.

Thomas the sixth, Ruler of Mars

King of Mars being raised in exile on Earth. He was kidnapped as a child by the Venetians.

The Assassin

Suzie (AKA Helena)

Former assassin with the Maidens of Antichthon. Hal helped her uncover the corruption in the organzation and she joined his crew as his new bodyguard. They eventually developed feelings for each other and are now dating.


The assassin trainer from the Maidens of the Antichthon. Disgraced, she was tortured and implanted with cybernetics and sent to fight in the arena. Hal healed her and the expelled cybernetics became their own person. Currently both are in charge of the The Mederei Alpha, a former gladiator ship which is now a home for refugees.

Seren Plentyn and the Secret of Hokulua Station

Seren Plentyn

An adventurous twenty-something archeologist and linguist. Member of the Children of the Stars.

Captain Jan Ng

A stern but fair life-long miliary soldier. They are the captain of the MOAS (Mother of all Suns) Warship Ennill.

Annie Musa

Wife of Seren and ace fighter pilot. Annie is sarcastic and loyal. Member of the Children of the Stars.

Mother of All Suns

The last remnants of an ancient civilization downloaded their minds into a great machine. Its power source was a sun and that sun’s consciousness merged with the people.

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to my Funeral


Plutonian who discovered the secret to eternal youth. Despite looking 18, she is a brilliant doctor and scientist.


Computer and engineering genius. Helped free Callisto from mob rule with his hacking skills. Currently the engineer on Hal’s ship, the Hey Sunny.


A Mercurian pilot. Hal served as a medic on his ship. To save his life, Hal had to leave him on a pirate ship to be tortured.


The system’s strongest telepath and precog. Former member of Hal’s crew currently living on Xanthus.

Gladiators in SPACE!

Henrick Al-Mer of the house of Mers

Royal instructor to the kings and queens of Mars.


Martian-Barsoonian adviser to the King and former leader of his people.

Diamond Stars and the Galactic Heist

Diamond Stars (AKA Garnet)

Former Black-Sun operative who went rogue. Current incarnation of the Robin Hood style character Diamond Stars and captain of the Revenge. Also a recent Sun Speaker of Sol.


Doctor on the Revenge. Boyfriend of Diamond Stars.


Younger sister of Onyx. Weapons expert and gunner on the Revenge.

Ghost Ship Robinson


Ex-soldier and mercenary. Died on the Robinson


Ex-soldier and mercenary. Bioscience expert on the Hey Sunny.


Former engineer on the Hey Sunny. Died on the Robinson.

The Suns of War

Nessa Muldune

Captain of the ISS Galahad. She’s a Feline Martian who has a strong love for her crew, knowledge, and justice.

Alexandre Crowley

Senior science officer of the ISS Galahad. He’s a Serpant Tyrite who values logic over emotion.

Tanya Brook

Lieutenant weapons officer of the ISS Galahad. She’s a Sapian Martian. She’s tall, muscled, and looks like she’s been in plenty of fights.

Em Frechette

Master Sargent and communications officer of the ISS Galahad. They’re a Sapian Tyrite. 

Peri Anson

Doctor of the ISS Galahad. He’s an older Sapian Martian. His interest lies in his crew and their health above all else.

Bart Shelby

Lieutenant and pilot of the ISS Galahad. He’s Canine Arisian with plenty of years as a fighter pilot.

Arzure Pendreicht (Zuri)

Head Engineer of the ISS Galahad. She’s a young Sapian Martian, the reincarnation of King Arthur, and a Sun Speaker for Sol.

The Suns of War – Chapter 12 (Serial Story)

Prologue | Chapter 1 | Chapter 2 | Chapter 3 | Chapter 4 | Chapter 5 | Chapter 6 | Chapter 7 | Chapter 8 | Chapter 9 | Chapter 10 | Chapter 11 | Chapter 12

Chapter 12: The End?

Hiding on an enemy ship is a lot easier when they don’t have security cameras. The Blue-Sun ships relied on their Sun Speakers to see any threats coming. Thankfully for Nessa, they still hadn’t figured out how to track felines like herself. 

Unfortunately, it would only take one guard seeing her for alarms and violence to start. I’d best be extra stealthy, she thought.

The most obvious place to look was the now emptied prisoner cells. Unfortunately, Zuri wasn’t there. She was trying to decide where to go next, having only been on one of these ships once and having only seen the cells, med facilities, and hangar bay, when all the screens turned on at once.

Aria, the Sun Speaker, started to talk the second she was on screen. “Myrddin ships. We have found Arthur and she has agreed to join our cause.”

A mechanical voice replied, “If this is another trick we will be displeased.”

“Here is her DNA.”

After a few minutes, the Myrddin fleet responded, “All hail Arthur!”

Zuri was now pulled on screen and Aria said, “Tell them!”

The young girl looked angry, there was fire in her eyes and a scowl on her face. She looked off camera and mouthed, “Deck 42, room 631.” Then she fixed her eyes on the camera and said, “Myrddin ships. Blue-Sun and Violet-Sun are on a holy quest to rid the universe of all who do not worship the glory of their Sun god council.”

Nessa didn’t waste time watching at one screen. It was being broadcast across the entire ship. She hurried to deck 42, hoping that was the kid’s way of asking for rescue. 

“Get on with it,” Aria said as she poked Zuri.

The younger girl smirked and said, “The original Arthur was a Sun Speaker for the sun of old Earth. They are waging a holy war against that sun. Against our origins. They must not be allowed to succeed. Return to Earth and protect its people and the god Sol.”

There was swearing and the feed cut off. Nessa chuckled and thought, Way to go kid.  

She was almost at the right room when Aria burst through the door, red with anger. “Take her to medical. Scan and dissect her, I want to know how her powers work so we can reproduce them.”

The door closed behind Aria and the woman stormed off. A few minutes later, two large men walked out each holding one of Zuri’s arms. They were half dragging her and it looked like she was asleep.

Suddenly in Nessa’s head, Zuri’s voice said, Glad you came back for me. Wait until we’re closer to medical before taking these guys out.

How are you talking to me in my head? Nessa asked, fighting a panicked feeling.

The Sun Speakers of Blue-Sun are very well trained in how to use their powers but not in shielding their minds. When I touched Aria, I experienced her whole life. Now I know everything she knows. Which is surprisingly little but enough to start my training.

Okay, Nessa said, it was all she could think of saying. The idea that Zuri could see someone’s whole life from a touch was disconcerting.

When they reached the medical facilities, she shot both guards in the back. They were stunned and Zuri was free. The moment both men let go, she stood up and ran to Nessa for a hug.

“How do we get out of here?” Zuri asked.

“Bart’s fighter is still in the hangar, but we’ll need a distraction. Do you think you could write a virus or something that will shut this ship down?”

With a big smile, Zuri replied, “I already have. I had a few minutes alone in my cell and they never frisked me for my computer.” Nessa thought that was weird and was about to say so when Zuri added, “I thought it was weird too. I checked and they uploaded a tracking app to it. I’ll have to leave it behind. Don’t worry.”

“Can you not read my thoughts? Please.” Nessa asked.

Sighing loudly, Zuri said, “Try thinking quieter then.”

They moved slowly and finally reached the hangar bay. Zuri attached her computer to the wall and pressed several buttons. All the lights in the ship turned off, leaving only emergency lighting.

They hurried to Bart’s fighter ship and got inside. It looked like it hadn’t been touched. Zuri gave it a once over and said, “Either they’re way more clever than I think or they didn’t expect anyone would try to escape in a short range fighter.”

With the power off there was no way to open the hangar doors and Nessa took pleasure out of blasting a hole for them to escape. No power meant no alarms, and they escaped without any trouble.

Nessa was setting a course for the closest debris field in hopes of hiding until the fleets left. From her scanners, the Myrddin fleet and the Violet-Sun fleet had already left. She almost crashed into the Galahad when it decloaked in front of her. It took all her skill to turn the fighter and land in her ship.

Bart met them as they exited the fighter and said, “You didn’t get any scratches on her, I hope.”

“You were supposed to be on the transport ship. What are you doing here?”

“It was really cramped and they had a fighter. The doc and I took it and convinced the crew to wait for you. It didn’t take much convincing. Despite you being a Feline, we all love you, Captain.”

Ness smiled and gave him a big hug.

He blushed a little and turned to Zuri, “And you, young lady. Just because you’re Arthur doesn’t mean you’ll get any special privileges around here. You’re a member of the crew same as the rest of us.”

Zuri stood a little taller and smiled. “Yes, sir.”

One the bridge, Nessa addressed the crew, “Thank you for waiting for us. Now we need to decide what to do. Those bastards who destroyed our homes are going to do it again at old Earth. We can stay here and help the three systems regroup and rebuild or we can go join the fight at Earth. I won’t order you, this has to be a group decision.”

They all looked at Zuri who shook her head. Everyone was silent until Alexandre spoke, his lizard hiss extra pronounced as he said, “Our systems have been at war for centuries but I have never felt closer to a crew than I do all of you. I say we teach those sun worshipping bastards what war really means.”

The rest of the crew cheered and agreed. 

“There’s only one problem. They have engines that can make the distance between systems in seconds. How will we ever make it back to earth in time?” Bart asked.

With an impish grin, Zuri replied, “We have a few antimatter bombs and if I can get the math just right, we can replicate what happened last time we were hit.”

The end?

While you wait for the next serial story why not read a previous one?

The Suns of War – Chapter 11 (Serial Story)

Prologue | Chapter 1 | Chapter 2 | Chapter 3 | Chapter 4 | Chapter 5 | Chapter 6 | Chapter 7 | Chapter 8 | Chapter 9 | Chapter 10 | Chapter 11 | Chapter 12

Chapter 11: A Rescue and a Trap

As far as rescue missions went, this one didn’t start well. It actually didn’t start for a little while.

They flew their cloaked ship close enough to the other to be able to get across but there was no way in without the other ship finding out.

“They’re opening their shields long enough to let out fighter ships. We could try and time it so we can jump in while they’re going out?” Bart asked.

“We won’t fit in there.” Nessa pointed out the obvious.

“Not the whole Galahad, just my little fighter. Once we get everyone on the transport carrier, someone’s going to need to fly it out. I’ll be sad to leave the old fighter behind, but that’s an easy sacrifice.” There wouldn’t be room in the transport with all those people and the fighter wasn’t fast enough to keep up.

Alexandre, Em, and Tanya had volunteered to stay in the Galahad while the rest of them crammed into the little fighter and got ready to leave.

“It’s been an honour serving with you. We are all representative of our people and despite our systems being at war for a millennium, we have come together to become a damn fine crew. Now remember, the Sun Speakers can see the future especially when it’s governed by the actions of a Sapian. They have no idea what we Feline or Canine are doing. Hopefully that will extend to Serpents like Alexandre. Follow his lead and let’s save our people.” It wasn’t her best speech, but it got the reactions she’d hoped for. 

The fighter ship was designed for two people and it had felt cramped when they had gone out with three. Now at four with Zuri, Nessa, Bart, and Peri, it was pretty squished.

They waited as close as they could with the bay door open. Peri scanned them all as they were waiting. Finally, the other ship released its fighters and Bart flew toward their hold as fast as possible.

The hold was massive and still had some fighters getting ready to launch. Nessa, in the gunner’s chair, shot the remaining ships before they had a chance to move. 

Alarms blared. “We weren’t going for subtle, were we?” asked Peri rhetorically.

Instead of landing, Bart took advantage of the large corridors in the Blue Sun ships and crashed through the door. Nessa shot at any soldiers in their way. Through the twisting corridors, they passed the prisoner cells and took a sharp right into the large cargo hold that had the Tyrite Troop Transport. They landed outside the doors and ran back toward the prisoner cells.

With the guards taken care of, they moved quickly. As they ran, Peri whispered to Nessa, “I found Arthur.”

She whispered back, “If it’s Bart, don’t tell anyone, he’ll be insufferable.” 

Yelling from the front, Bart said, “I’m a canine. I can hear a whisper as well as you could, feline, we all know it’s not me but the girl.”

Peri looked surprised at Bart’s comment, “How did you know?”

“Only one of us was raised by an old-Earth cult and looks like the guy on the screen.”

Zuri stopped running and said, “I’m Arthur? But I’m a girl.”

“Bah!” Bart barked. “The Tyrite Empress is a girl. The leaders of Avalon are girls. The royal Family of Ares are all non-binary.” He paused before yelling, “Welcome back, Queen. Now move your tiny butt, I’m going to need help hacking the cell locks. Unless we find a living guard, my method won’t work.” It felt like months since they’d thrown a guard at the forcefields to open the cells, but it had been only a few days.

Relaxing at his casual tone, Zuri rushed forward to hug him and the two ran ahead to the central chamber.

The Sun Speakers couldn’t follow what was going on with her, but Zuri was a Sapian and that meant they probably already knew. “We need to speed things up,” she said.

Zuri made quick work of the console and released the prisoners. Releasing them was easier than organizing them. You don’t move a thousand people quickly unless you want some of them trampled.

Nessa and Bart directed the flow while the doctor made sure everyone was alright. Finally, as the last of them was moving toward the ship, Nessa and Zuri were alone at the end of the line. “Did you know?” the older woman asked.

“No. I was told my whole life that my brother was Arthur. That Arthur could never be a woman.” Zuri still looked uncertain.

“Did you finding out unlock some sort of latent memories that would teach you about your powers?”

Laughing, Zuri said, “No, and you know it wouldn’t. The Avalon lady said she needed to train him, I mean me.”

“I guess we need to get you to her then.” Nessa felt the fur on the back of her neck rise in alarm and she pushed Zuri out of the way of a stun bolt. It hit the bulkhead beside her.

Behind them were a dozen soldiers and Aria the Sun Speaker. She still looked young but her eyes were old and angry. “Hello, cat.”

“That’s Captain Nessa Muldune, you prepubescent prophet.”

Zuri snickered at Nessa’s snarky tone.

The Sun Speaker didn’t seem amused; she said, “Did you think you could save them?” When Nessa didn’t reply, she continued, “We knew if we had enough people and started a fight, you’d eventually show up and we knew that you’d bring us back Arthur.”

“You knew I was Arthur?”

“Absolutely. Now you have two choices. Die with them or live with us.”

Zuri looked confused, then her whole face went blank, and then she furrowed her brow like she was watching something absolutely fascinating. Finally, the girl slumped a little and started to cry.

Looking smug, Aria said, “That’s right. We’ve rigged the ship to explode and unless you stay with us, we’ll detonate it.”

Barely audible over the hum of air and the smugness of the Sun Speaker, Zuri whispered a series of numbers. She repeated the ten digit code twice and then said, “Fine. I’ll stay, but you have to let Nessa go with the others.”

“I won’t leave you alone with these people,” Nessa argued.

“Go, please.” Zuri looked worried enough to be sick. 

Nodding, Nessa turned and ran to the transport. Peri was waiting at the door. She got to him and said, “There’s a bomb on the ship, but I think Zuri gave me the disarm code.” She gave him the code and when he didn’t move she added, “Go disarm it.”

“What about you?”

“I’m going to save Zuri”

Read Chapter 12

While you wait for the next chapter, check out the previous serial stories:

The Suns of War – Chapter 10 (Serial Story)

Prologue | Chapter 1 | Chapter 2 | Chapter 3 | Chapter 4 | Chapter 5 | Chapter 6 | Chapter 7 | Chapter 8 | Chapter 9 | Chapter 10 | Chapter 11 | Chapter 12

Chapter 10: A lot of Ships, a Fake, and a Decision

They all forgot to breathe as they dropped out of FTL. None of them were sure what they’d find. The Blue-Sun armada was powerful enough to destroy every planet in a solar system but the Myrddin were also powerhouses.

“Is it too much to ask that they destroy each other?” had asked Bart.

The sight when they arrived was as terrifying as it was awe-inspiring. Nessa fought down nausea and feelings of insignificance as she looked at all the ships.

The million-strong fleet of pitch black monstrosities that was Blue-Sun was faced by an equal number of round red Myrddin ships. Over both fleets was the self proclaimed Three-System Fleet, a group made of the survivors of the Martian, Tyrite, and Aresian empires interspersed by Old Earth ships. Apparently, Proserpina wasn’t the only Old Earth colony that had been hiding. 

“I don’t get it. No one is saying anything,” Em said.

“They’re deciding what to do,” Nessa responded.

The quiet was interrupted by the mechanical voice of the Myrddin ships, “Show us Arthur and we shall join your quest.”

Bart let loose a chain of swears in every possible language and a few that Nessa didn’t recognize.

Blue-Sun broadcasted a videofeed of a man. He was tall, athletic, with a chiselled jaw and chin. His wavy brown hair and piercing blue eyes. His voice was resonant and commanding as he said, “I am Arthur, bow before me or face destruction.”

“A kingly character,” Peri said, not sounding convinced.

“He looks like the show fighters, all definition and no real strength.” Tanya sounded disgusted.

Nessa chuckled, “He doesn’t seem like a prisoner. I think he’d give us a fight if we tried to rescue him.” Addressing Arzure, she asked, “How’s the cloak holding up?”

“It’s solid and even their Sun Speakers won’t see us,” the girl said. 

Nessa noticed that Zuri had the same brown wavy hair and piercing blue eyes as the fake Arthur. They had the same strong chin, although he was pale white and she had dark amber skin.

“We should still try to take him or take him out,” Alexandre said. His scales shone in the lights of the bridge.

“No,” Nessa said. “If they take him and leave, we’re rid of the lot.”

The Myrddin finally replied, “Send us his DNA and we shall decide.”

The Blue-Sun fleet sent the information and Doctor Peri looked it over at the same time. 

“What do you have, doc?” asked Bart.

“It’s human DNA from a man, about forty. He’s in good health, needs more iron in his diet. Without something to compare it to, I can’t really tell anything.

“Compare it to this.” Zuri sent information to the doctor’s terminal. “The DNA of Arthur was in the database we took from them.”

After a few moments, the doctor said, “It’s so close a match it could be a sibling, but it’s not Arthur.”

“How long before they figure it out?” Nessa asked.

The Doctor didn’t get a chance to answer as the Myrddin fleet started firing on the Blue-Sun. They moved in unison, like birds flocking on a loaf of bread. It was efficient on a horrifying level.

Despite their impressive powers, the Blue-Sun ships crumbled into random debris. When the other fleet finally retaliated, it was like watching fireworks.

The Three-System fleet made the wise choice and retreated. Nessa was about to order that they do the same when another fleet appeared above the combatants. They looked a lot like the Blue-Sun ships, but their ships were a little smaller and the logo was a dark violet.

Pincered, the Myrddin didn’t stand a chance.

“Prisoners!” Nessa cried. That’s why the Three-System fleet had been there, they’d been hoping to save some of their people. “The Blue-Sun still has a lot of our people. Let’s save some.”

“That is reckless, dangerous, and will most likely kill us,” growled Bart. “I love it!”

“Zuri. Find out how to get us past their shields. Tanya, Alexandre, and Peri, get to the armoury. We’re boarding one of those ships.” Nessa felt a thrill of excitement at the idea that she might be able to save a few more people.

“I’m scanning the fleet for our people,” Em said. “There’s a ship near the rear that has over a thousand captives.”

“We’ll never be able to get that many on the ship,” the Doctor said.

Em smiled and replied, “You’re right, but there’s a Tyrite troop ship in their hold.” The Tyrite troop ships were some of the fastest in the galaxy. It would be a tight fit with that many people, but it would give them a chance to rejoin the new Three-System fleet.

With their orders, everyone got ready to head out. As she was heading to the armoury, Nessa was stopped by Peri. “Captain. I’ve analysed Arthur’s DNA from the Myrddin. It’s missing pieces. It’s more of a unique template that’s missing markers for gender, skin colour, and even race.”

“What are you saying, Doctor?” she asked, buckling a protective vest on herself.

“We’re looking for a human-white-male, but I think that’s too narrow.”

With a chuckle, Nessa said, “So is Bart the mythic Arthur?”

With no sign of humour, the doctor replied with, “He could be.” He helped her get into a double harness for handguns.

She swore. “So he, I mean they, could be Sapian, Feline, Serpent, or even Canine?”  

“Yes. I’m sorry but that makes our job a lot harder.”

Taking a moment to process the information, Nessa finally said, “Bring a portable medical scanner and scan everyone. Maybe we’ll get lucky. Until then, let’s go save some people.” She patted him on the back.

Nessa expected to be frustrated by the news, but she wasn’t. Something was niggling at the back of her mind and she was starting to suspect that Arthur was closer than any of them knew.

Read Chapter 11

While you wait for the next chapter, check out the previous serial stories:

The Suns of War – Chapter 9 (Serial Story)

Prologue | Chapter 1 | Chapter 2 | Chapter 3 | Chapter 4 | Chapter 5 | Chapter 6 | Chapter 7 | Chapter 8 | Chapter 9 | Chapter 10 | Chapter 11 | Chapter 12

Chapter 9: A Bomb, more Fanatics, and some Rest

The bomb embedded in the ship was giving off so much energy that it was super-charging the engines. 

“Once we open the energy collectors, we can syphon off the energy. That should slow us down,” Zuri explained again.

Bart’s bushy eyebrows furrowed and he asked, “Where are we going to put all that energy?”

It was Alexandre who replied, “Our new energy cells can hold a hundred and fifty percent of maximum. The rest we’ll be using to drop out of FTL without exploding.”

Bart swallowed hard and just nodded.

It wasn’t long before they had modified the ship and were ready to try. 

“Captain, on your mark,” Zuri said.

Trying not to think about what would happen if they had missed a valve or a bolt, Nessa said, “Bart, prepare for some fancy flying. When we drop out, we’ll be right in the middle of the Ares system and I don’t think they’ll be too happy to see a Martian ship arriving. Okay, Zuri, do it.”

Everyone braced for impact, but other than a worrisome humming noise, not much happened other than the view from the monitors changing.

Once they’d successfully dropped out of FTL, however, things got bumpy. They were still going extremely fast and Ares was one giant asteroid field.

Bart navigated them out of the field and then howled in frustration and anger. 

Nessa knew what it felt like to see your homeworld reduced to rubble and let the man grieve. She asked the rest of the bridge crew, “Damage report?” 

Zuri looked frustrated as she replied, “Working on it captain, but our sensors were damaged, and that’s slowing things down.”

Frowning, Nessa said, “Blue-Sun has to be stopped. We need to find Arthur. From what the Avalonians said, he has the power to stop them.”

“Sir, I’ve been reading through the massive amount of information they gave us on Arthur and I think I found something that will help.” Em looked hopeful.

“Go ahead.”

“It’s said that Arthur can block the connection between the Sun Speakers and their gods. He was also a powerful Sun Speaker himself so he has those powers. It says that the best way to identify Arthur is when he uses his powers.”

Still heartbroken at seeing his homeworld destroyed, Bart asked in a teary voice, “What powers? What can stand up to this level of destruction?”

Em sighed and said, “The text is half metaphors and all flowery language. It’s hard to decipher. Other than blocking the Sun Speakers, there’s something about leading the half-living into battle, and understanding the secrets of war. I really d—” Alarms cut him off and he tapped at his console before saying, “There are four Myrddin ships and they’re hailing us.”

The near mechanical voices boomed over the ships coms, “Myrddin searches for Arthur.”

“Put me on,” Nessa said and once Em did, she said, “Myrddin ships. We are the Galahad and we also search for Arthur.” When they didn’t respond, she asked, “How will you recognize him and what do you plan to do with him?”

It seemed like they weren’t going to answer until the voice said, “We will recognize him by DNA and we shall follow him into the war to end all wars. Why do you search for him?”

Nessa didn’t want to mention Avalon so she settled for a half truth, “We hope he can help against the meaningless destruction of Blue-Sun.”

“They are serpents, which must be destroyed. It is agreed.” The coms cut off and everyone stared at the screen in confusion.

After a moment, Em said, “They’ve sent us a data packet with what looks like medical information.”

Peri, who’d been sitting at a spare station, perked up and said, “Send it to medbay and I’ll look it over.”

Zuri, who seemed to have missed everything, looked up and said, “Looks like sensors, shields, cloak, weapons, FTL engines, and plasma collectors all sustained severe damage.”

“Is that it?” Alexandre said, and Nessa could swear the large lizardman was teasing Zuri.

Blushing, Zuri said, “It’ll take a day and a half to repair.”

Nessa nodded and gestured for her to go ahead. Both her and Alexandre got up and headed to wherever they needed to repair things. “We’ll set up two shifts. Bart and Tanya, you go for a rest, Em and I will take first duty.” When the other two were gone, Nessa told Em to go help the engineers. 

The bridge was so quiet with everyone gone, Nessa could almost believe that she was back as a commander in the Martian military. “Has it really only been a few days?” she asked herself.

She monitored communications, but the usually active channels were quiet. With at least two of the three major powers destroyed, there weren’t many people left.

The shift went on quietly until Bart came to relieve her of duty.

“How are you holding up?” she asked.

“I’m angry and sad, but mostly I feel numb. Those bastards took our homes without breaking a sweat.”

She placed a gentle hand on his shoulder and he pulled her into a hug. She said, “I understand.”

“Bah, enough touchy-feely stuff. Get some sleep.”

Her quarters were untouched, but felt wrong, like a relic from another time. She ate a quick meal and then lay down for sleep. She didn’t expect it would be easy, but she closed her eyes and fell into a deep sleep.

She was started out of a dream about chasing ghosts through a maze by Bart over the coms, “Captain, Blue-Sun is broadcasting on all channels that they found Arthur and he’s going to lead them into battle against the rebel suns. We’re reading a massive fleet of Myrddin on their way to the Blue-Sun location.”

Later, on the bridge, Nessa looked around at the assembled crew and said, “It’s probably a trap, but if there’s a chance they found Arthur, we need to make sure he isn’t being used by them.”

“The ship’s ready to go,” Zuri said.

“Let’s go rescue King Arthur Pendragon, Speaker of the Rebel Sun, Ruler of Old Earth and the three kingdoms of War.”

Read Chapter 10

While you wait for the next chapter, check out the previous serial stories:

The Suns of War – Chapter 8 (Serial Story)

Prologue | Chapter 1 | Chapter 2 | Chapter 3 | Chapter 4 | Chapter 5 | Chapter 6 | Chapter 7 | Chapter 8 | Chapter 9 | Chapter 10 | Chapter 11 | Chapter 12

Chapter 8: Angry Parents and Antimatter Bombs

When the fake asteroid hailed them, Nessa had assumed they’d talk to a burly farmer or engineer. There were jokes throughout the Mars system about Proserpinans being uncultured or backwards. 

The man on the screen was dressed in an ancient styled suit and looked like something from the old Earth stories. He had a strange sharp accent like Martian wasn’t his first language. “Arzure Pendreicht, where have you been?” It was the tone of a precise and strict teacher, not a parent.

“Excuse me Sir, but I’m Commander Nessa Muldune of the ISS Galahad. We are searching for a man named Arthur.”

The man turned his piercing grey eyes on Nessa and said, “Would that be King Arthur? Who shall return and rule the galaxy ushering in a golden age of galactic peace?”

Hesitating, Nessa then replied, “Yes.”

With a sly smile the man said, “No one by that name is on Proserpina.” He then scowled at Zuri and commanded, “You will return home immediately or we will retrieve you! You have no business traipsing around the cosmos with these people.” His emphasis on the word people made it clear it was meant as an insult.

“But Father,” she started and then added, “Yes, Sir.”

The line was cut and the whole bridge crew turned to Zuri. Nessa was the first to talk and asked, “How old are you?”

“Twenty. Why?” Zuri looked confused.

“I was sixteen when I enlisted and by Martian law you’re an adult at that age. You don’t have to go with him if you don’t want to.”

Zuri sighed and slumped into the engineering station’s chair. “You don’t understand. He’ll chase us and he’ll destroy this ship.”

Alexandre scoffed. “This might be a Martian design, but with the upgrades done by the Avalonians and yourself, there’s no way that ancient bucket of bolts could touch us.”

“That’s an original old Earth destroyer class colony ship. Its hull was designed to absorb radiation and turn it into fuel. It would take crashing a planet into it to make a dent.” Zuri sounded defeated. 

Nessa put a gentle paw on the girl’s arm and said, “He could command the combined army of the three systems. If you don’t want to return, I will protect you.”

The rest of the crew nodded in agreement and the decision was made. 

“Please,” Zuri said, her voice thin and fragile.

Nessa gestured at the screen and said, “Em, get them back on the vid.”

“Yes Sir,” the master sergeant replied.

“What do you want now?” The man’s glare was as sharp as his suit.

“Zuri is a member of our crew and she wants to stay with us. Our mission is to find Arthur. Any information you can give us would be appreciated.” 

The man fixed his eye on Zuri and said, “If you do this, we will kill everyone on that sh—” His words were interrupted by heavy fire.

“Sir, there are three Myrddin ships that have just dropped out of FTL. They’re firing on both us and the Proserpina,” Tanya said with her fingers poised over the weapon controls.

“They’re firing on both of us,” confirmed Alexandre.

Bart barked, “Let’s get out of here.”

“Agreed,” Nessa replied. “Take us anywhere but here.”

Just as the Galahad jumped to FTL, an explosion rocked the ship. 

Still looking younger than her years, Zuri tapped furiously at her consol, “Captain, we’ve taken severe damage to our engines. I’m not sure how we’re still in FTL.”

“How is that possible and can anyone tell where we’re headed?” Nessa asked. Sometimes it was the Captain’s job to know all the answers and sometimes they had to ask the right ones. Finding the balance was always tricky.

After a little, Em answered from the helm, “It looks like we’re headed toward the Ares system and our speed is increasing. We just passed FTL-20.” Faster than light speed was calculated by multiplying the speed of light. Twenty meant they were moving at twenty the speed of light. With the ship’s engines, they normally moved at a maximum of FTL-15.

“Zuri, I thought you said our engines were down?” Bart asked.

“They are, but that was an antimatter bomb, and it hit our shields at the exact moment we created the FTL bubble. The bomb is stuck in our bubble, fueling our speed, and sustaining the bubble.”

“Can the ship survive this?” Nessa asked, surprised that she couldn’t feel any turbulence.

“Absolutely. The ship isn’t doing anything so it’s not a problem. However, if the bubble bursts before it slows, the ship will be torn apart at a molecular level,” Alexandre replied.

“Sir we just hit FTL-2000. Nope FTL-4000.” Em sounded awed and panicked at the same time. A feeling that Nessa could understand.


“What if we shot a regular bomb at the antimatter one?” Tanya sounded excited about blowing things up. 

With wide eyes, both Alexandre and Em said, “No!”

Zuri explained, “That would probably knock the antimatter bomb out of the bubble, but it would also burst it.”

“We’re moving too fast for my instruments. We’re going to pass Ares in less than an hour,” Em smacked her console as if that would help it make more sense.

“How can we syphon off this speed?” Bart asked. When they all looked at him he said, “When I’m flying the fighter and I’m getting too close to my target, I can activate my rudder flaps to slow me down. Can we do the same, but with the bubble?”

“You’re a genius,” Zuri said, causing the canine to puff up his chest.

“So we have something like a wing rudder?” he asked.

“Tartarus, no! That’s a terrible idea. But you said syphon off our speed. What we need to do is syphon the power of the antimatter bomb into our ship’s energy collectors and that will slow us down.”

“Those are designed for plasma not antimatter,” Alexandre pointed out.

“We just need to make some small changes. These engines were designed to run on plasma converted to antimatter, so we just disconnect the micro-collider and feed it directly.”

Alexandre agreed and Nessa asked, “Is this going to kill us?”

Both Zuri and Alexandre replied, “Probably.”

Read Chapter 9

While you wait for the next chapter, check out the previous serial stories:

The Suns of War – Chapter 7 (Serial Story)

Prologue | Chapter 1 | Chapter 2 | Chapter 3 | Chapter 4 | Chapter 5 | Chapter 6 | Chapter 7 | Chapter 8 | Chapter 9 | Chapter 10 | Chapter 11 | Chapter 12

Chapter 7: Surfing the Rubble of Mars 

They’d almost made it to their ship when they were hit by the shockwave. The Myrddin ship exploded faster and harder than they’d expected. 

“What was in that thing? Explosives?” Bart said, wildly trying to get their shuttle under control before they hit the ship or an asteroid. 

“Sir, if you can hear us, we have to get out of here. The explosion pushed all the asteroids around it toward us.” Em’s voice was clear but panicked over the coms.

Nessa looked out as Bart levelled them out and saw the wave of debris coming toward them. “That’s okay Sergeant, we’ll join you at the edge of the system. Try and keep an eye on the asteroid.” She didn’t want to lose sight of the asteroid that they’d detected that was moving oddly and had the old Earth engine signature.

“I’m working on boosting our shields,” Zuri said.

“Have either of you Martians been on Ares?” When the two of them gave him confused looks, Bart continued, “Most of it is water, clean beautiful water. Our two moons give the planet the most amazing tides. That’s why we have the best surfers in the three systems.”

“Bart. What the Hades does this have to do with our current situation?” Nessa felt totally useless. Bart was driving, Zuri was upgrading, and she was sitting, wishing there was something for her to do.

“I’ve always wanted to try surfing. I guess today is my lucky day.” Bart stood up straight and grunted in the direction of the incoming wave of asteroids.

Zuri poked her head out of the panel she was playing with and said, “That could work. I’ll concentrate the shields on the bottom of the ship. Nessa, shoot anything in our way, and Bart can surf us out of this.”

“I’m not sure about this but I don’t have a better idea. At least I get to shoot something.”

Bart barked a laugh and said, “Hold on to your tails.” He accelerated and the shuttle was thrown up over the curve of the asteroid wave.

They followed the wave and it rode the asteroids; anything too big or close, Nessa shot it.

Soon they were approaching a moon-sized asteroid and Bart grunted, “That beasty has us in its gravity. We’re going to have to go through. You ready to corkscrew?”

Nessa checked the scans and found that the asteroid was mostly water and rock. She trained the laser cannons to fire in an X formation. It would create a tunnel just wide enough for their shuttle. 

She fired and had created half the tunnel when the lasers died. “We’re going to hit the core, reverse!” she shouted.

“No! I can fix them!” Zuri’s confidence was worrying, but Nessa nodded at Bart and he kept course.

As the wall of ice got closer Nessa watched the young engineer work. It was like watching a complicated martial arts routine. She moved like no one and no engineer that Nessa had ever seen. 

“Better fix that fast or I’m going to have to hit the brakes, or the ice,” Bart sounded nervous.

Zuri gave a growl, strange from a human voice, and shoved her hands into the panel she’d been working on. Nessa blinked in confusion a few times as Zuri started to glow. 

The laser control roared back to life and Nessa fired. They were covered in water from the melting of the ice. It froze again the moment it touched the ship.

They made it through the asteroid and surfed a little longer until finally they found themselves at the edge of the system.

They all cheered before Nessa hailed the Galahad, “Everyone alive out there?”

After much too long a pause for Nessa’s liking, they replied, “Yes sir, we made it. We have some damage to the shields, but we’re okay. Coming to pick you up now.”

Once back on the bridge, Nessa sat in the captain’s chair and said, “Did you manage to keep the asteroid in view?”

“Yes sir. Should we follow them or wait for Zuri to finish the repair?” Alexandre’s emotionless voice asked.

“She can handle it on the go. Let’s follow that asteroid.”

“Sir, if that’s really a galactic ion drive, we’ll only be able to catch them if it’s broken or if they want us to catch them,” Tanya said, looking uncomfortable reminding a superior officer of something so obvious.

Nodding, Nessa asked, “How’s the cloak?”

It was Alexandre who replied, “It should hold, but at some point Zuri will need to turn it off to fix the shields.”

“Understood. Let’s go.”

They moved slowly, in comparison, to avoid the many other pockets of planetary debris that covered the entire system and were moving more violently since the explosion.

When they got to the asteroid it was obviously a ship with an illusion or projection that fooled their ship’s sensors. It looked brand new but the design was straight out of the history books about old earth. 

“What ship is that?” Nessa asked.

“Unknown, sir,” Alexandre replied. The rest of the bridge crew shook their heads.

At the same time, Zuri entered and said, “I have to turn the shields and cloak off.” When she looked at the viewscreen she said, “That’s an old earth Yacht. That’s the Proserpina. “How did they get it out of the moon? Oh no, are they looking for me?”

“Why would they be looking for you?” Bart asked, his tail drooping.

“I might have run away,” Zuri looked down and blushed. 

Before anyone could say anything, Em said, “Sir, the asteroid is hailing us.”

Read Chapter 8

While you wait for the next chapter, check out the previous serial stories:

The Suns of War – Chapter 6 (Serial Story)

Prologue | Chapter 1 | Chapter 2 | Chapter 3 | Chapter 4 | Chapter 5 | Chapter 6 | Chapter 7 | Chapter 8 | Chapter 9 | Chapter 10 | Chapter 11 | Chapter 12

Chapter 6: The Processor Core

“I have a bad feeling about this,” Bart said as they approached the Myrddin ship.

“Do you have a bad feeling or do you not like this?” Nessa teased.

“Both. Also I regret that Avalonean dish we had.”

Nessa laughed. The ship seemed impossibly big compared to their little shuttle. They approached the part of the hull that connected to a hatch, which should bring them to the engineering bay.

They were joking with each other because they were nervous. Zuri was laser-focused on the task at hand. “I’ve released a field of Ionizing Radiation around where we’re landing. It should look like a spike of Galactic Cosmic Radiation and confuse their sensors.” When the other two looked confused, she added, “It’s like a numbing agent for the ship’s sensors. It should buy us an hour before they detect us.”

“It’s still looking like a singular they,” Bart said, looking uncomfortable.

Nessa sighed and said, “We’ll then, my odds are significantly better. Don’t fall asleep here. I’m sure we’re going to need a quick evac.”

They landed and pressurized to the hull. Opening the hatch, Zuri used a cutting torch to get through the hull. When she pulled the chunk of the hull off, it revealed a narrow corridor. 

“Glad the plan was for me to stay here,” Bart said, “I’d never fit through that hole.”

Nessa scoffed and led the way. It was wide and tall enough for her to crawl without needing to look like a snake. She was used to being quiet, but Zuri wasn’t. If the ship had sound based security, they were in trouble.

The corridor was shiny metal and completely smooth. There was no visible exit or entrance to any other part of the ship. There was, however, a whole network of these tunnels all over the ship. They took several turns and twists, but Zuri seemed to know exactly where to go.

Nessa was so turned around that she was sure she’d die in the corridors if anything happened to Zuri.

Finally Zuri motioned Nessa to stop. She pointed at a spot just above their heads. It looked like all the other parts of the corridor and Nessa tried to push, but nothing happened. Zuri joined in and eventually they gave up. Zuri used the cutting torch. 

It had been a little over fifteen minutes, which meant they had thirty to download the data about Arthur, upload the virus, and get out. That didn’t sound like a lot of time to Nessa.

They popped up out of the floor, which looked like everything else; metal on metal. The walls in this room were covered in little lights. Room was a generous word for it; Nessa could almost touch the walls on either side, 

“I think that’s their main system,” whispered Zuri. 

Nessa was going to laugh, but there was something eerie about the place, like a church or tomb. “Let’s hurry up and get this done.”

There was something wrong and Nessa couldn’t put her finger on it. After a few seconds of listening to her own breathing, she realized what it was. There was no sound. No engine, no machines, no fans, nothing. “Why is it so quiet in here?”

“It’s this metal, it stops vibrations. It’s why we didn’t see them until they were almost on top of us. There, I got the data. I just need a few more minutes to upload the virus. It’ll fry their processing core and that should cause a cascading effect that will leave them dead in the water.” Zuri was repeating herself, she’d told everyone this earlier.

“Hurry, please,” Nessa said.

“Right, like I’m frolicking here…”

Nessa started counting and when she got to eighty, Zuri swore.

“I can’t get the virus into their processor core. It’s got a hardware firewall.” When Nessa gave her a blank look, Zuri added, “I need to connect directly.”

“I thought we were in the core?”

Looking like the annoyed teen she was, Zuri said, “In the server room, not the processor core. That’s right there,” she pointed to a metal wall and walked over, “I just need to open this panel and then I’ll have access to the main…” Zuri trailed off as the panel opened and gave them a perfect view of the processing unit.

“That’s a brain,” Nessa said. “Can your virus affect that?”

Zuri’s mouth opened and closed a few times before she said, “No, but I can repurpose it to attack the weapons and engines.” Regaining some composure, she added, “I know, I know, Hurry.”

The processor was in a tank of liquid that vaguely bubbled. It had multiple wires attached to it and an eerie backlight. It didn’t have eyes but Nessa felt like it was watching her.

“Done,” Zuri said, proudly. Her expression darkened as she glared at the brain.

“We have ten minutes to make a fifteen minute trip. Let’s go.”

They were half way there when Zuri said, “Why was it a brain? Aren’t processors more powerful?”

“Yeah. Maybe they haven’t managed to create AI? Honestly not sure.”

“Some things shouldn’t be mixed,” Zuri said in disgust.

Ness scoffed as they crawled, “Let’s not go that far. I have a bionic leg and I know more than one person with visual implants. Technology is a great way to make the world more equitable.”

“That’s not the same thing. That was a brain controlling a spaceship.” Zuri sounded incensed.

“I agree, that was a little too far for my taste. I wonder if all the Myrddin ships are like that.”

“We’re almost out.” The moment Zuri said it, alarms started to blare.

As got into their ship, Bart said, “Throw our ‘Plan B’ parting present down the tunnel and shut the hatch. We’ve got incoming.”

They placed a small drone carrying a plasma torpedo on it into the tunnel and shut the hatch. The drone sped towards the centre of the ship and was only slightly pulled back when the air was sucked out.

The shuttle sped away from the Myrddin ship and managed to get outside its shield before the torpedo went off. The ship exploded faster than they’d expected.

Bart shouted, “Hold on to your tails, this is going to get bumpy.”

Read Chapter 7

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The Suns of War – Chapter 5 (Serial Story)

Prologue | Chapter 1 | Chapter 2 | Chapter 3 | Chapter 4 | Chapter 5 | Chapter 6 | Chapter 7 | Chapter 8 | Chapter 9 | Chapter 10 | Chapter 11 | Chapter 12

Chapter 5: Hiding from Wizards in the Rubble of Mars

“There’s nothing but rubble,” complained Bart, scratching at his ears.

Sighing deeply, trying to keep her cool, Nessa snipped, “Just like the other eight million times you said it. Just keep scanning and see if we can find any clues.”

They’d spent the past week scanning every piece of debris from what was left of the Martian system. Seeing one of the three major powers that had been fighting for over two hundred years reduced to nothing but a pile of charred debris was putting them all on edge.

“Sirs,” Alexandre’s distinctly reptilian voice sounded alarmed. “There’s a ship that just appeared out of nowhere.” 

Alarmed, Nessa turned toward the main viewscreen and said, “Have they seen us?”

“I have n—” He didn’t get a chance to finish.

“They can’t,” said Zuri, bouncing up and down in what Nessa assumed was pride. When Nessa gave her an expectant look, the young girl said, “I really liked the special cloak that they had on Avalon and I spent some time scanning it while we were there and it turns out it’s just light bending over external shields.”

“Fascinating. You recreated an advanced technology from a few scans and your imagination. I’m impressed, young one,” Alexandre sounded more scared than impressed. 

“Thank you!”

“Let’s not count our kills until we check the pulses,” grunted Barf. “They’re broadcasting something.”

“Em, put it on screen!” Nessa ordered.

On the viewscreen was near complete darkness, only a figure stood facing the viewscreen. Their face was in complete darkness as their outline was backlit. They wore a cloak with glowing silver designs all over it. When they spoke, their voice was mechanical and deep, “Myrddin searches for Arthur.”

“Stay radio silent,” Nessa said. “We are hidden, right?”

As if on queue the voice continued, “We know you hide. Arthur must be found. They must be trained.”

“Does anyone know more about these guys? Other than that Blue-Sun hate them?” Bart asked.

Alexandre replied, “The Tyrite Empire met them several decades ago. We were able to talk to them. They refer to themselves as wizards and are searching for Arthur in order to train them to fight the sun worshipers. We had standing orders to avoid them and never to fire on them. They were fairly docile as long as you didn’t come too close, fire on them, or have any information they wanted.”

“How many Tyrite ships did they destroy?” Nessa asked.

“Every third encounter ended with them stripping all information from our datacores and leaving the ship’s crew braindead.”

Suddenly Nessa wondered if her former captain might have had the right idea. “So do we wait for them to leave, or should we go look somewhere else?”

Tanya, who had been awfully quiet for the whole exchange, said, “I don’t think we should leave, sir. I think I found something. There’s a large asteroid near the edge of the system that is registering very faint signs of power.”

The asteroid was moving slowly enough to look like it was a natural movement, but scans showed a small amount of ionic energy that was unique to old Earth star drives. The old Earth drives were more powerful and used less energy, but the ability to repair them and the material to do so wasn’t found in any of the three systems.

“Do the Myrddin see it?” Nessa asked.

Alexandre replied, “No, but they might suspect. That message may be for them and not for us.”

“Let’s follow that asteroid. Maximum speed, Zuri,” Bart ordered.

“No, absolutely not. We’re in the middle of a giant debris field, even if we’re invisible, we’re going to move so much rock as we move it’ll be pretty obvious,” Zuri said, shaking her head emphatically. 

Looking annoyed, Bart barked, “Do you have a better idea?”

Smiling in a way that made Nessa very uncomfortable, Zuri replied, “Let’s board their ship, take it, and anything in their database.”

After a lot of yelling and angry words from the rest of the crew, Zuri explained, “There’s a small flaw in their shields. If we hadn’t been scanning everything so deeply I wouldn’t have seen it. I can modulate a small ship’s shields to match their frequency and slip in unnoticed. Then a small group could infiltrate and take the ship.”

“How?” asked Tanya, looking bloodthirsty.

“I can take their data and send a virus that will take out their processing core. I just need five, maybe ten minutes.”

Nessa and Zuri were chosen for the team with Bart piloting his little fighter. Tanya had argued that she could protect the little engineer better, but Nessa reminded her that this was a stealth mission and if things got bad, Nessa had claws.   

“I don’t like this,” Bart said as they approached the ship.

“You don’t like anything,” Nessa teased before adding, “But you’re right, we don’t even know the layout of the place.”

Sighing dramatically, in the way only a teen could, Zuri said, “Once we get past their shields I’ll know the layout and we’ll know exactly where we’re going. You worry too much.”

Bart laughed and said, “That’s how I managed to become old. Worry and luck.”

As they passed the shields, Zuri swore and said, “This can’t be right, There’s only two parts of their hull that’s hollow. It’s like they have a cargo hold and an engineering bay, and that’s it.”

“I’m also not reading any sign of life,” added Nessa, “No wait, there’s one life sign.”

“Where do you want me to land, or are we turning back?” Bart asked Zuri, who suddenly looked really nervous.

“I would need their engineering bay, so I think there’s a shaft right here,” she said and pointed at a spot on the hull. 

“Creepy ship with only one life sign… here we go,” Bart deadpanned.

Read Chapter 6

While you wait for the next chapter, check out the previous serial stories:

The Suns of War – Chapter 4 (Serial Story)

Prologue | Chapter 1 | Chapter 2 | Chapter 3 | Chapter 4 | Chapter 5 | Chapter 6 | Chapter 7 | Chapter 8 | Chapter 9 | Chapter 10 | Chapter 11 | Chapter 12

Chapter 4: Meet the Crew, Fix the Ship, Find a Quest

“The planet shouldn’t exist,” Alexandre added after saying it was hailing them. “Without a sun, nothing could live. Not to mention it’s supermassive and shouldn’t be able to support life.”

“Somethings there and hailing and I’m Commander Muldune. Officer,” she said gesturing at the Tyrite Canine standing near coms.

“Master Sergeant Em Frechette, Sir,” he said in a deep and extremely clear voice.

“Put them on the main viewscreen.”

The man turned to the coms panel and his fingers danced across it like he’d been using Martian tech his whole life.

A picture of a woman appeared on the screen. She was pale but healthy, with light brown hair and bright blue eyes. “Welcome Commander. We’ve been waiting for you.”

“You have me at a disadvantage,” Nessa said tentatively. She was trying to figure out if this was a trick and what angle these people might have.

“Of course. I am the Morgaine and this planet is Avalon.” When no one reacted, she said, “We are searching for Arthur and need to find him before the Myrddin or the Blue-Star find him.”

“Good luck,” Nessa said, wondering where this was going.

“We need you to find him. Our movements can be foreseen by Blue-Sun and Arthur must be trained in his powers or the universe will soon be controlled by the suns.”

Trying to sound diplomatic, Nessa said, “We’d love to try and find them but unless we can get repairs and maybe some upgrades, we’re no match for either Blue-Sun or Myrddin.”

“We can help with repairs. What do you need?” The woman asked. 

Nessa was going to ask her to hold, when the young girl started to talk, “The drive is damaged, the outer hull needs patching, the power distribution is cracked, and Blue-Sun put a tracker on us. We could also use some enhanced plating for the hull, better weapons, and a full upgrade of our powercore for shields and drive.”

The woman looked amused and replied, “Is that all?”

The girl must have caught on to the teasing because she blushed, her dark skin turning deep red. Her accent was Martian but her clothes weren’t from anywhere Nessa had seen. Her hair was long and black tied in complicated braids. “From your coms you probably use liquid fusion power derived from pure plasma. We could use that and whatever you’re using to make your planet look dark and dead when it’s obviously not.”

“Impressive from one so young. Yes, we can upgrade your ship. It won’t make you stronger than your enemies, but it’ll give you a fighting chance. We’ll also give you all the data we have on Arthur. Hold for landing coordinates.” 

Em turned off the coms.

Nessa turned to the girl and was about to say something when the girl looked down at her own feet and said, “I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have talked without permission.”

This young girl wasn’t an officer in the Martian military and she looked too young to join even if she’d wanted to. Nessa wasn’t going to treat her like a new recruit. “I’d appreciate you checking with me in advance next time, but you did well. Good job kid. What’s your name?”

“Um. Uh. You can call me Zuri. I’m a human from Proserpina.” That explained the odd clothes. Proserpina was a moon of Mars and the people were farmers and engineers who’d dedicated themselves to the goddess of the same name. They rarely left their moon and never allowed visitors beyond the market and landing bays.

“Zuri… did you say that we have a tracking device on the ship?”

She smiled a proud smile that looked a little predatory and answered, “Yes, but I’ve been jamming it since we got to the bridge. They won’t find us.”

“We’re all refugees now and not soldiers,” Nessa said, making sure the sickbay could hear her. “I don’t want to order anyone around, so I’ll leave it up to you. What do we do?”

“I think we should do it. Maybe we can deal a blow to those Blue-Sun bastards,” grunted Em.

Nodding, Tanya added, “If I get to shoot a few of them then I’ll be happy.”

“I am a man of science and this sounds fascinating,” Alexandre added.

“I’m in!” exclaimed Zuri.

Over the coms, Bart’s gravelly voice said, “You might be a dirty Martian but since Mars, Ares, and Tyr have all been destroyed, I’ll follow you.”

“And I’m with you old friend.” The doctor couldn’t keep the smile out of his voice.

They received the coordinates for landing and everyone but Zuri seemed apprehensive. As they approached the planet, everything shifted and went from dark to bright. The planet, which had seemed supermassive, was much smaller and had a tiny sun orbiting it like a moon.

“This is spectacular,” gasped Alexandre.

Avalon was a beautiful planet from what they saw of it. Unfortunately, the Morgaine refused to let them meet in person or see anything but the large field they’d been ordered to land in.

Zuri followed the repair crews like a puppy and the rest of the crew had nothing to do, so they decided to assign roles. Nessa was appointed captain, Bart helmsman and second in command, Alexander science, Tanya tactical, Em coms, and Zuri engineering. Peri, being the doctor, was assigned to medical. The seven of them practised with the ship and read up on Arthur.

He’d been a great leader on old Earth and died in a battle. He’d been resurrected during the great Earth wars where billions escaped the fighting to the stars. Three ships came to this part of the galaxy and formed the three empires.

The Avalonians and the Myrddin believed that Arthur would come back and fight the evil Sun empires. 

When all the repairs and upgrades were complete the ship was renamed the ISS (Independent Starship) Galahad.

The Avalonians were not big on long goodbyes and they were ordered to leave as soon as possible. The data on Arthur said he’d be reincarnated in the Martian system so they headed there to find any signs.

Read Chapter 5

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