Red Day, Ere the Sun Rises – Chapter 5

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


Chapter 5: Obligatory boardroom and planning scene

“Denebola,” I (Hal) said, hoping to get a rise out of someone. It was the sun that the Sun Speaker on the Robinson had said he represented before I flew our ship into Sol and let the plasma work it out. 

The entire crew of the Revenge did a complicated gesture over their hearts. “Let me guess… God of your people?”

It was Diamond that answered, “No. The God of Black-Sun is Spica. Denebola is the god of devouring in the Pantheon. He is the one that eats the rebel suns. His Speakers are twisted and lead armies of Void-Beasts.”

I saw the look in Diamond and Zuri’s eyes a split second before the vision hit me. Our three ships were flying toward the edge of the system when the Denebola fleet arrived. They were the ships I’d been having nightmares about. They were black and shiny like they were covered in tar, their angles were wrong and seemed to shift as I watched.

The Sol fleet had already been decimated by the Sun Fleet. This new influx was the last straw, and I saw them retreat through a portal near Mars.

The Denebola ships started to attack the other sun’s ships, the planets, and anything between them and Sol. By the end of the vision, there was nothing left, the Sol had been extinguished.

The meeting room on the Hey Sunny had really comfy chairs for when this happened. The three of us woke up to our friends looking worried. 

“That was concerning,” I understated.

Zuri ran to the corner and threw up in the garbage. Her captain brought her some water to rinse her mouth, and the girl came back.

I had an idea but I needed more information first. “Zuri, your ship creates an FLT-bubble and moves space around it?”

“Yes. But it takes a lot of energy,” she replied.

“Diamond, you use a jump drive? With a wormhole generator for long distance trips?” The jump drive was similar to the way my ship and most of the Sol system ships worked.

The man nodded. 

I turned to our last guest, Captain Jan, and asked, “You have an actual sun inside your ship, and it propels you how?”

“My people have been using stardrives for millennia. We use the sun’s natural resonance to move the universe around the ship.”

Adric, Zuri, and all the other tech heads started asking questions at the same time. When they’d calmed down, I asked the question I’d been dreading since I’d heard of the stardrive, “Can you make more non-sapient micro stars?”

The captain looked confused as she replied, “Yes, but they’d be useless for stardrives. The mind of the sun is what does all the calculations.”

“I don’t want to use them as stardrives. I want to use them as bombs. We can manipulate the plasma levels in the sun and cause it to go supernova. If we can make enough, I can create a chain reaction that would take out most of that fleet.” 

“Hal! Channelling that sort of energy would kill you!” Suzie exclaimed.

Taking her hand gently, I replied, “It would but I’m not alone anymore. With three people, it’ll be a lot easier.” Turning to Adric, I said, “Can you retrofit the ship to have a stardrive and a wormhole generator?”

“Yeah, with some help,” he seemed confident but overwhelmed. We all were.

“Okay. Captain Ng. How many non-sapient suns can you create in a month?”

She looked over at her crew and spoke in their language before turning to me and saying, “If we can use Sol for extra power, we can probably have a few thousand by that time.”

“Excellent. Let’s all get ready.” Dismissed, everyone started to leave. When there was only me, Suzie, Zuri, and Diamond left, I cocked an eyebrow and asked, “What is it?”  

It was Zuri who spoke first. She tried hard to sound confident but years of being looked down on showed in her tone. “I don’t like the idea of killing trillions.”

“I don’t like the Suns but it seems harsh to kill them like that,” Diamond added.

I gave a theatrical sigh before asking, “What other options do we have? They’re not going to offer us the same courtesy.”

“I don’t know but there has to be another option,” Zuri said and her attitude was like looking into a mirror.

Diamond nodded and his lower lip jutted out in a stubborn pout. I swear the man could have been a male model.

Earlier the three of us had exchanged information in a wholly new way that involved sharing our history together through a telepathic connection. I showed them everything I had learned about being a Sun Speaker, Diamond showed us all the training a Black-Sun Sun Speaker received, and finally Zuri shared her multi-lifetime experience as the reincarnation of King Arthur. It was fascinating to see the difference between everyone’s training and how varied the powers they accessed. One of the reasons me and my predecessors had such short lifespans was that we spent a lot more energy and power than was safe.  

“I’m glad to hear that,” I said and tried to smile reassuringly. “I’m hoping the micro sun bombs can be more of a deterrent until the Denebola ships arrive. If we can keep the Sun’s armies busy without hurting them, they’ll have no choice but to help face off against the void-beasts and their masters.”

“What?” all three of them said at the same time.

“We saw those ships attacking everything. I’m guessing that the Sun fleet has a sense of survival. We just have to delay them until the real nightmares arrive and then hope we can take whoever survives.”

Suzie chuckled and said, “That’s the most Hal plan I’ve ever heard.”

“I’ll take that as a compliment,” I replied.

She chided, “Don’t. It’s still very risky and depends on us being able to distract a fleet of bloodthirsty zealots.”

“Distracting is what I do second best,” I said with as much confidence as I could.

“What do you do first best?” Zuri asked suspiciously.

“Getting into trouble,” I replied. 

Suzie rolled her eyes and the other two Sun Speakers walked out of the meeting room.

“I know you’re keeping something from the rest of the group. Why?” Suzie asked, and I loved her all the more for not asking what.“I’m not sure how much the enemy Sun Speakers can see or how much control they have. If I could watch them planning, I know I would. I want to keep as many surprises as I can.”

Read Chapter 6 (June 2024)


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

Red Day, Ere the Sun Rises – Chapter 4

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


Chapter 4: A Flashback to a Diamond

The closer we got to Sol and his system, the more powerful my visions became. The visions were intense and terrifying.

There was more than just Black-Sun massing to attack. There was a whole rainbow of suns. The full spectrum; Black, White, Blue, Violet, Red, Orange, and Yellow. 

The irony is that Sol’s system spawned the humans that comprised these fleets. Old Earth had had three mass exodus, the first two had colonised the Sol System, the third had seen them colonise the galaxy.

As they’d travelled, they’d come across the sapient stars and those same stars saw the human’s potential. It had taken just over five hundred years for the whole thing to go from scattered explorers to trillions of soldiers. The suns worked fast to try and quell the rebels among them.

Sol believed in the sanctity of life and freewill, while the others believed it was their right to rule the universe. I, newly renamed, ironically, Diamond Stars, wanted one thing. The same as the name of my ship, Revenge.

How was my small, mostly unarmed, ship supposed to exact revenge on a fleet counting millions? I had no idea. 

We were cloaked from the fleet, both from their scanners and from their Sun Speakers. I had found a nifty device that blocked the Black-Sun from finding us. From wormhole to wormhole we followed them, since we didn’t have our own wormhole generator, and caused havoc when we could.

It was just me, Onyx, my boyfriend, and his little sister Sphene. We had all the expertise to run the ship and take care of ourselves, but not to cause any major damage to the fleet. After almost two years we got our chance.

Sol gave me the answer in the form of a vision. The Sun Speakers from Black-Sun are trained from birth in how to handle and survive the visions. I had forced the information out of one of their Sun Speakers, which meant I wasn’t in constant pain or slowly killing my brain. That didn’t mean it was pleasant.

After the vision, I ran to a computer terminal and started typing. When I was done, Onyx massaged my shoulders and asked, “What is that?”

“I have no idea,” I said.

“Your sun god is really vague and like I’m not sure he knows what he’s doing,” Sphene said from across the room, lounging in the way only a teenager could. She stood up and walked over. She read the gibberish in front of me and said, “That’s computer code. Looks like a program to hijack their wormhole generator.” 

The three of us were geniuses, me with mechanical devices and ships, Onyx with anything biological, and Sphene with code, although she preferred weapons. 

“Where will it send them?” I knew it was sending them somewhere the moment she described it.

“Looks like the galactic core,” Sphene chuckled. “That many ships that close to the core would definitely get sucked into the black hole.”

Onyx played with my hair, which was making thinking hard, and asked, “How do we get that code to them?”

“We’ll need to infiltrate a ship,” Sphene replied.

I shook my head, “No. We just need a comms antenna. I could do it from outside a ship.”

The strong brown fingers stopped playing with my hair. Onyx said, “Wouldn’t we be stuck here?”

“We have a matter-replicator and the Black-Sun plans. I’m sure I could build a wormhole generator.” I didn’t say that it would have to be one jump and if I screwed up the math, we’d die a horrible death with our atoms spread across a dozen systems.

I suited up and Sphene took us close to one of the ships. The cloak worked better from a distance and the closer we got, the easier it would be for Black-Sun to see us. 

The calm of space is also its scariest attribute. The quiet, cold, and seemingly unending distances seem safe, until you factor in the fact that space wants you dead. Despite this, I jumped out of the ship with nothing but a spacesuit to protect me. I had a little jetpack that propelled me to the ship. 

I floated toward the comms array, and when I got there, I unscrewed the panel and plugged in my small pad. It took me a few moments to download the code and send it to the fleet.

“They’re activating the wormhole generators,” Onix said into my earpiece, sounding worried. “Get out of there!”

It’s called space but it’s pretty full of stuff. Space radiation, debris, and other things fly around at high speeds everywhere. As I headed back to the ship, I was hit by a small meteor and tossed off course.

I was about to get hit by the ship I’d added the code to when a well-aimed grappling hook caught me and pulled me back into the Revenge.

“Thanks, Sphene,” I said panting as I got back into the ship.

“Go to medical. You’re bleeding.” She sounded annoyed but I could hear the worry behind her tone.

In the room that was deemed medical, I watched the last of the Black-Sun ships fly into the wormhole. “Good riddance,” I said. A vision from Sol told me that the fleet would be decimated by the gravity wells and the creatures that lived there. Horrifying humanoid dog alligator creatures, I’d seen them before, they were nightmare creatures we’d called Void-Beasts.

“You look pale, let me sew that up,” Onyx said, gently helping me in bed. “I’ve seen you hurt worse. Why do you look terrified?”

“We just destroyed ninety-percent of the Black-Sun fleet.”

“That’s great!”

“Those ships that survived are going to be joining the fight with void-beasts by their side.” We’d won a victory, but at what cost?Sol gave me a new vision and it was of the same battle I’d been dreaming about, but this time there were less Black-Sun, and I could see a fleet of Sol ships led into battle by three ships; the Warship Ennill, the Hey-Sunny, and the Revenge.

Read Chapter 5


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

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

Hal

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.

Rose

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

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.

Samantha

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

Janet

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

Adric

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

Travis

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.

Caro

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.

Aly

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.

Onyx

Doctor on the Revenge. Boyfriend of Diamond Stars.

Sphene

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

Ghost Ship Robinson

Fry

Ex-soldier and mercenary. Died on the Robinson

Hoff

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

Teddy

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.

Red Day, Ere the Sun Rises: A Sun Speaker Story (Serial Story) — Chapter 3

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


Chapter 3: Hope arrives, Sol help us if it’s false hope

People as individuals are only predictable if you know them. People as a group are always predictable. Scared people are even more.

It took me nearly a half hour to get them to shut up and listen to me. It might have taken less time if I’d done more than look at them scathingly. 

When they’d finally calmed down, I said the worst possible thing, “These ships are our Allies, and despite their numbers they are nothing compared to what is coming.” That cost me another ten minutes of their panicking.

“The enemy we are facing wants only one thing, to destroy our sun and anyone it its way.” I thought this was a pretty good call to arms. 

I was surprised by the Venutian Queen saying, “What if we left? The old Earth corporations did it. We could find new homes.”

The head of the Psionic Clans, a thin and gangly man with bug-like eyes, answered, “Old Earth had a few billion people, and most of them probably died in the void between galaxies. Moving the trillion inhabitants of the system is impossible.”

The room was quiet and they all looked around. It didn’t take any special psychic powers for me to know what they were thinking. They were all the rich, the ruling elite. They were trying to decide if they could save themselves.

“You could spend your fortunes on leaving or you could spend them on preparing for what’s to come. With our new allies, we can create defensive turrets, mines, build new ships, and give them more than they bargained for.” I’d hoped for a “Void, Yeah!” or something equally as motivated but instead they all furrowed their brows and thought about it.

I walked out as they argued about who was going to do what.

Again I sat down on the floor and cradled my head. “Any progress?” Suzie asked me. 

“Yes, but we still have a lot of arguing to go through,” I said. She handed me some headache medicine and a bottle with water in it. “Thanks.”

“You’re getting a lot of headaches. Are you dying again?” she was glib but I could tell she was worried. 

“No. Not yet. I’m just tired of all the yelling.”

She sneered at the door and then looked at me in confusion, “But the headaches have been since we found that ghost ship.”

“Not their yelling,” I said and finished the water bottle. “The yelling in my head. Sol is really chatty and the closer our enemy gets, the louder their suns’ voices get. It’s like trying to listen to your loudest friend in front of a speaker at a Martian Metal concert.”

She whistled and replied, “Ouch.” She kissed me on the head and looked uncomfortable. She wanted what any significant other would have wanted, to stop the thing that was hurting me, but as amazing a fighter as she was she couldn’t stop an armada.

Coming back into the room, I was pleasantly surprised to see that Mercurial Guild had volunteered to make the weapons, while the Venusian Empire agreed to build ships.

“Who’s going to build the matter replicators, cloaking devices, micro-sun propulsion engines, and fighter ships?” I asked.

They all looked at me like I had just spouted off a bunch of technology that didn’t exist. To be fair, that’s exactly what I’d done. 

Over the coms, Adric said, “Sir, three more ships just appeared. One of them is massive.”

“Our other allies have arrived,” I said. “They have various technologies that can help us but we have to work together.” A vision hit me and I saw how one of the ships had arrived. “Diamond Stars brought us a gift.” Before they asked, I added, “Diamond Stars is the name of the captain of one of the ships, and he hijacked one of the enemy’s ships. We can use it to try and find their weakness.”

Adric routed a call from one of the ships to the conference hall, “This is Captain Ng of the Warship Ennill. We’ve been sent by the Children of the Stars to help you. Do you accept our help?”

For once, everyone in the room deferred to me. I didn’t like being chosen as the leader but I didn’t have a choice, “This is Hal, Sun Speaker of Sol. You are more than welcome. Make your way to the third planet from the Sun. I hear we have a lot of building to do.”

Captain Ng barked a small laugh and said, “You have no idea.” 

When the coms cut out, I said, “They seem nice. Better than disembodied brains controlling ships.” The comment was ignored and I’m glad I didn’t have to explain about the fleet of Myrddin that had come to help defend us.

The other two ships introduced themselves. There was the Galavant captained by Captain Muldune; they had just come from a devastating war against the same enemy but all three of their solar systems were destroyed. The second was the Revenge captained by Diamond Stars. They followed and managed to get past part of the enemy fleet.

Through the noise of Sol and the other suns in my head, I heard, Hal? Can you hear me? This is Diamond Stars. Sol called for my help. His voice was deep and full.

Diamond Stars? I love that name! another voice in my head said. I’m Arzure Pendreicht but call me Zuri. Her voice was young and enthusiastic.

With that, I was no longer the only Sun Speaker of Sol. I had backup. Why didn’t that make me feel better?

Read Chapter 4


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

Red Day, Ere the Sun Rises: A Sun Speaker Story (Serial Story) — Chapter 2

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


Chapter 2: Seren and friends get a call for help

The Children of the Stars had been travelling the universe for ten thousand years. Annie could swear that’s how long they’d been assigned to the Mother of all Star’s planet. She was sick of sitting still and wanted to be moving again. It had only been five years in reality, but it had been a very uneventful five years.

“Can’t you sit still for two seconds?” Seren asked. She was sitting on the couch with her tablet translating the ancient language of the Mother. 

In the five years since they’d discovered this place, their entire civilization had gone from hoarding technology and enslaving micro-suns to sharing their knowledge and working with the suns as equals.

When the Children of the Stars were still just crawling out into the universe, they’d discovered a planet that had been hollowed out to make room for a micro-sun. The sun had been created to power a massive computer that housed the consciousness of the original inhabitants of the planet. Something had happened and the minds merged with the sapience of the sun. They melded into a wonderful and powerful mind. 

Instead of marvelling at what they’d discovered, they stole the technology and then pushed the planet into a void between galaxies. They monopolized the technology and travelled the universe.

Since Annie and Seren had re-discovered the Mother, they’d made a lot of fascinating discoveries. The largest being the ability to speak with suns. Every sun is sapient but until recently, they’d only been able to talk to the Mother and her children.

“The suns say anything interesting?” Annie asked.

Seren pointed at what she was working on and said, “This is just a novel I’m translating. It relaxes me.” 

Laughing, Annie walked over to her wife and kissed her head, saying, “Okay. That’s weird. Cute, but weird.”

A message beeped on both their watches. It was their friend and boss, Jan, or as they were supposed to call them, Captain Ng. Emergency meeting, my office. Now!

The captain’s office was sparsely decorated and Annie would normally tease them about it, but when she and Seren entered, they saw that the room was filled with high level military.

Annie saluted and said, “Generals!”

Seren only nodded politely since she wasn’t military. 

“Good. Thank you for coming,” said the soft voice of the Mother coming from a speaker in the walls. “I have been speaking with the suns and they are concerned about what is happening in the Milky Way Galaxy.” She brought up a starmap. 

“That’s one of the old galaxies,” Seren said, looking almost hungry. “Our home galaxy, Abell 1689, is roughly five hundred million years old. Most of the galaxies we’ve travelled to are between that and five billion. The Milky Way and the old quadrant are between ten and fifteen billion years old. Who knows what we could find.” An archeologist’s dream.

“Yes, exactly,” said the large man who was head of the military in this section of the galaxy. “And something is happening there?” 

Annie appreciated the general trying to get Seren and Mother back on topic.

“Yes,” said Mother and when no one said anything she continued, “Suns have fantastic powers. When a star explodes, everything it’s made of gets scattered, but eventually enough of it comes back and starts a new star. That means that the stars in the Milky Way have died and been reborn so often that their powers are closer to a god.”

“That’s ridiculous,” said Jan. “There’s no such thing as a god.” The Children of the Stars didn’t believe there was a deity, but they did believe in being reborn.

The Mother sighed, something that sounded strange from a digitised voice, and said, “Powers like a god not an actual god. Either way, one of them is screaming for help.”

Everyone stood in silence until Annie asked, “Why is a sun that has god-like powers asking for help from us?”

“He says that the other suns have banded together to destroy him and his people. He says there are two trillion people that will die.” The Mother sounded sad and disgusted at the same time.

“How can we help?” asked Seren.

“I propose we send every ship at our disposal to help them out,” the Mother replied.

The general huffed and said, “That’s not up to you alone. We need to assemble the council for something this big. An emergency meeting can happen by tonight.” He marched off muttering about logistics.

When he was gone, Seren got a huge smile on her face and asked, “What’s the real plan?”

Annie and Jan looked at her confused but Mother replied, “The council will probably refuse. I have been working on a new ship design that is smaller but could hold a few hundred fighters and a small crew. I believe I could change it into a warship and repository of knowledge. We could help upgrade their technology, which is quite primitive from the datastream the sun sent.”

“How big is this datastream?” Seren asked excitedly.

“It’s a complete history of his people, only half a million years of data. I’ll send you the compressed files.” 

The answer and offer was enough to make Seren sit down. She made the face that Annie jokingly called, “acheologasm” and started to scroll through the data.

Annie rolled her eyes and said, “If the council says no then who’s going on the ship?” She knew the answer but had to ask. The Children of the Stars had been ruled for ten thousand years by the Technomages who had been generous but brutal. When they’d found the Mother of All Stars, they’d briefly treated her as a new ruler. Mother had found the idea horrifying and they’d worked on a form of democracy. There was a ruling council but any major decisions could be voted on instantly through the star-communication network.

Jan sighed, “Whoever volunteers.”

The three friends looked at each other and nodded in agreement. They’d volunteer.Well, I wanted something exciting, thought Annie.

Read Chapter 3


While you wait for the next chapter, you can read some related stories:

Red Day, Ere the Sun Rises: A Sun Speaker Story (Serial Story)

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


Chapter 1: When all other negotiation tactics fail, scare the pants off them

Have you ever tried holding onto melting ice cream? No matter how hard you hold on or try to force it back into shape, it just keeps dripping. That’s what it felt like trying to convince the rulers of the solar system to listen to me.

There were members from all the systems empires: The Mercurial Guild, The Venusian Empire, The Martian Empire, The Free Peoples of Ceres, The Jupiter Protectorate, The Titan Federation, The United Moons of Uranus, the Neptunia Commonwealth, Pluto, the TNO Alliance, The Republic of Kuiper, and last but not least, the nomadic Psionic Clans.

That’s a lot of names, and frankly I wouldn’t remember them all either if I were you. Just picture a room with a lot of people who’ve hated each other for longer than anyone can remember why, and add a very tired Sun Speaker, that’s me, in the centre of the yelling. 

Let me recap what’s going on, just in case you haven’t been following. I am Hal, and when I was young I was chosen by the great god Sol, who lives in our sun, to speak for him. I am the Sun Speaker, and in millenia past, that has meant being the head of a massive system-spanning church.

Unfortunately for me, the church didn’t approve of my style of leadership and declared me a heretic. The church then appointed a jerk who would say whatever they wanted and I stole a spaceship and did my best to serve Sol and help people.

Real Sun Speakers are given special powers. We can heal the sick, summon great cleansing fire, and purify water. We also get glimpses into the future and vague orders from Sol themselves. The human body wasn’t made to channel such power and most die by thirty.

I am now almost fifty and still look thirty, thanks to the last known vial of an immortality serum given to me by my friend, doctor, and resident mad scientist.

Things were going pretty well for me until Sol started showing me visions of devastation on a system-wide level. Black ships filled with other Sun Speakers and endless soldiers. And here I thought I was unique… Unfortunately I’m not, and the other Suns are older and able to have more than one Speaker.

I had hoped I would have a few more decades before the attack arrived, but then I checked out a derelict ship and almost died fighting one Sun Speaker, and he said they were coming.

I’ve seen the fleet of ships covering everything inside the Kuiper Belt with death. They aren’t just coming for Sol, they’re coming for everything and everyone they protect.

The Grande Adjudicator of the Jupiter Protectorate screeched in frustration in the face of the Queen of Venus. She followed up with a comment about the faithfulness of his husband.

I should have interceded and stopped them from kicking off a system-wide war that would leave us weaker against the imminent threat. Instead, I left the room.

The air in the hall was cooler by several degrees. The royal palace of Mars wasn’t used to that many people in one room and was struggling to keep the temperature even. 

I put my back to the wall and slid down to the stone floor. I curled my legs up and debated crying, laughing, or locking the doors from the outside.

“Aren’t you supposed to be organizing them into a coherent defence plan?” Suzie said gently, kicking my foot. She looked like she was wearing a simple business suit, but I knew it was her light armour that projected a disguise. Her long curly black hair was pulled into a thick braid, which I knew held several spikes to dissuade anyone from pulling on it.

“Yeah. I’m not the right person for this. I’m a meddler, I pull small strings and help people. I don’t think I can do this.” I wouldn’t confide that to anyone else. Suzie and I had been together for four years now, four years of struggling to get to these negotiations.

She kicked me again. “Don’t do this. You’re the only one who can do this. You have allies in there, leverage that. Use some of that charm you keep saying you have. Do what you have to. Or would you rather I deal with them?”

“No!” I exclaimed, standing up. She was the love of my life, but as an ex-assassin, her way of dealing with people was a lot more violent than mine. I kissed her gently and added, “Thank you for believing in me.”

I turned to head toward the door and Sol chose to send me some interesting information. The worst visions can leave me crying on the floor in pain but most aren’t that bad; this was the equivalent of getting slapped behind the head.

I walked into the room and I’m not sure any of them even noticed me.

Into my comms earpiece, I said, “Adric, can you put our guests on the main viewscreen in the conference room.” The large screen had been used as a visual aid for explaining what was coming early in the conference. 

“How did you know? A ship just appeared outside Xanthus,” The asteroid past Pluto was populated by people who didn’t want to deal with groups like this. It was also home to the, arguably, best psychic in the system Caro, one of my good friends.

The screen flickered to life and a large saucer shaped ship came into view. The room fell silent for a second before they all started demanding answers at the same time.

They were cut off when Adric played the audio message that was coming from the ship. A loud deep mechanical voice said, “The Myrddin have arrived to protect Sol from the Council of Suns. Please do not resist the Myrddin, we will only harm you in self defence. The fleet shall arrive momentarily.”

Adric cut into the audio. With awe in his voice, he said, “Every trans-Neptunian outpost is reading ships. There’s tens of thousands… no, millions. The system is surrounded.”

Read Chapter 2 (February 2024)


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Ghost Ship Robinson – Chapter 7 of 7

In the past five minutes, I’d learned that my god wasn’t alone in the universe and that my nightmares were created by an evil version of myself.

I also learned that he didn’t fight fair, and how it feels when a bullet pierces your lung.

I then quickly learned what it felt like to get shot in your leg, hand, and shoulder. I reached out with my power tried to pull his soulfire from him. I was too weak.

Convinced this was how I died, I prepared to explode. I could at least take this jerk out with me.

Walking towards me, he smirked again. His sword touched my neck and he said, “You don’t have to die today. I could burn out Sol’s influence and give you a new life with a real god. Denebola is merciful and gives his emissaries gifts beyond your imagination.”

“Your god has more than one emissary?” I asked, coughing up blood.

“Millions!” he replied. I coughed and thought of the implications of having an army of me.

I shuddered at the thought and hoped Sol had some sort of trick to save me. “Phoenix!” I said into the com I’d been keeping open. I also hoped that my crew were listening.

The ship turned itself on and I heard the hum of the engines and suddenly we were in subspace.

Without a fantastic targeting computer, a prophet, or a Precog, you’re just as likely to appear inside a sun as you are to get to your destination. Space is vast and filled with a lot of nothing, but space drives are like tiny pieces of metal and suns are like giant magnets. The reason we don’t go much past our solar system isn’t a lack of power, it’s a lack of ability to calculate where to come out. Even a Precog can make a mistake. A short jump will land you dangerously close to a planet. A long one will almost always land you inside a star.

That’s exactly what happened to the Robinson. My crew lobbed it at the sun. Like throwing a marble down a funnel, we appeared in the middle.

There was a split second when we came out of subspace that the other man scowled and then we were completely engulfed in fire.

I thought I was going to die, but as the ship around me vaporised, I started to heal. All around me was wonderful warmth and love. I could see the beautiful colours of the sun that should have blinded and killed me. It was all wonderful. Of course I was naked again, but I still had the sword.

Unfortunately, so did the other guy. “You knew we could survive inside a sun?” he asked and his words were in my head; they felt slimy.

“Nope,” I replied.

His face fell and looked at me in wonder. It was the first time I saw on his face what I had seen with my power. He was dying. The power was eating him alive. “You are either a fool or you are more powerful than we thought possible.”

“As epic as sword fighting another prophet inside a sun sounds, I don’t like sword fighting naked.”

He laughed and he looked me in the eyes. It was like being hit by a small planet. Our minds locked and I saw a battle that was ancient, and made us seem pitifully small. I saw the stars themselves fighting and the destruction it caused. I saw Sol trying to save sentience while the others tried to enslave it. Then I saw flashes of what was going to happen, what had happened, and what was happening now. In essence, I saw everything and it gave me a headache.

We were no longer fighting as ourselves. We were conduits for the fight between Sol and Denebola.

When it was all over, I knew Sol had won. I hoped I’d helped somehow. The other prophet had the bad form to smirk as he turned back into stardust.

I have no idea how to explain it, but I felt pride from Sol. He was proud of me. The feeling was quickly replaced by a series of visions.

When the visions cleared, I was kneeling in the centre of my ship’s bridge, sword in hand, and still completely naked. Even with the serum, I was weak and needed a little time to recover.

I felt hands gently place a robe over my shoulders and looked up at Suzie. I imagined a million things to say and instead asked, “May I?”

She grabbed the scruff of my hair and pulled me into a kiss. When the kiss ended and the jeering from the rest of the crew stopped, I said, “We have funerals to prepare for and family to notify. How’s Travis?”

“I’m fine. Tougher than I look.” He looked pale and sick, but he had both legs and was conscious so the doc must have done something right.

“Great. We’ll start with Teddy’s parents on Venus.” I hadn’t been back since I was excommunicated and had caused a civil war. “While we’re there, we’ll have to save the Venusian royal family.” Everyone looked at me disbelieving. “Don’t worry, I have a plan.”

They all laughed. It was a wonderful sound and I appreciated it. Things were about to get a lot worse. I had seen the ships coming, each with a crew of nightmare creatures and prophets. Worst of all, their sheer numbers meant they wouldn’t fit in our solar system. We were outnumbered by so many I didn’t know what to call the the number.

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In the distant future humanity has spread to the other planets in our solar system. These stories follow Hal (a prophet for a godlike entity that lives in the sun), and his friends, as they try to make the solar system a better place.

Hal The Sun Speaker

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5

The Assassin

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to my Funeral

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Gladiators in SPACE!

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Ghost Ship Robinson

Chapter 1 | Chapter 2 | Chapter 3 | Chapter 4 | Chapter 5 | Chapter 6 | Chapter 7

Ghost Ship Robinson – Chapter 6 of 7

Oh, how I hated that smile. It was smug, knowing, and superior. I hated it all the more because I had perfected the same one years ago. The man looked a lot like me, but older and evil. How does one look evil? His eyes were the colour of space with no stars, his smirked tilted in a way that said he knew he was better than everyone, and sides of his eyes didn’t crinkle when he smiled.

I didn’t believe in evil, even when the church I served tried to have me killed, twice. But that changed when I saw the man. I can feel the people around me. There’s warmth to all sentient souls. It’s a reflection of Sol himself. This man was colder than the heart of a black hole. Dispite all that, I could feel the powers of a prophet in him.

“Emissary of Sol. I’m here to kill you,” he repeated.

“I prefer Sun Speaker, Prophet, or just Hal thank you.”

“Your preferences make no difference. You will die today and everything in this system will bow to Denebola and The Pantheon.” I could hear both the truth and the capital letters in what he said. There was a lot to unpack there. First, was that Sol wasn’t alone as a god. Second, there was a pantheon of them. Most pressing was that this guy was like me. I’d met my predecessor before I had any connection to Sol. He was the first member of the church to try and kill me. But I’d never met someone like me.

Reaching out, my senses I felt his power; it was slimy like a vegetable left to it’s own devices for too long. He was still in perfect contact with his god even from this distance. Something I wasn’t. There was something else there though, he was powerful but like a wood fire, I could see he was wearing thin.

I had always assumed that Sol was the only god and finding out there were others threatened to send me into a philosophical spiral. I did what I do best and compartmentalised; I’d deal with the fact that my god wasn’t alone and might be weaker than others later.

From my study of my predecessors, they all died rather young. None survived past forty. In this line of work, our connection to Sol, literally made us burn out.

Our Doctor Janet’s miracle serum that let her stay young, had a very different effect on me. I wasn’t reverted to my early twenties, thank Sol, but instead it had allowed me to channel the power without killing myself.

“You busy yourself meddling in the affairs of others, when you should be ruling them.” He stretched out the vowels of ‘ruling’ and lifted his arms melodramatically. The nightmare creatures moved forwards as if pulled by strings attached to his hands.

He glowed a deep green light and smirked. I decided that if that was the way I looked in a fight, I wouldn’t want to fight me. The nightmares attacked and I sliced two of them down. Suzie would have gotten five.

One dove to bite me and I grabbed its head. For a moment I considered wrestling control of them from him. Being inside their heads didn’t seem all that much fun. Instead I pulled the sunlight out of its soul.

We are all made of the same elements, forged from stars over billions of years. Those elements are infused with a kind of spiritual energy. It’s what kept me calling Sol a god. Not his prophetic visions, but knowing that we were formed inside him and he had given us our souls.

Creating fire is fun, it scares people and makes them do what I want. Pulling the Soulfire from something isn’t fun. It was an act of destruction that left me feeling sick and horrified.

From the outside, all you’d have seen is the creature collapse, shrivel, and turn to dust.

“How? No one can channel that power without destroying themselves.” The man looked… excited? Amazed? Aroused? I wasn’t going to ask.

“You can give up now and head back home. Tell The Pantheon we’re good.” If Sol wasn’t part of this pantheon, maybe he was a rebel. No wonder he liked me.

“No! I’ll still kill you.” He pulled out a sword. It was the kind of sword villains carry in bad entertainment vids. Completely impractical in its size and spikiness.

Reaching into the belt of my robe, I pulled out the gun I had taken from the armory on my way up and shot him. The first hit should have killed him. I should have shot him in the heart. Instead, it went through him and the wound healed. I emptied the clip into him and he shrugged it off. It was my turn to be envious. I didn’t heal like that. I can heal by going into a sort of flaming trance, but it takes time.

Dropping the gun, I held the sword in both hands and prepared for his attack. The bastard pulled out a gun of his own and shot me.

“Copy-cat,” I said with a wheeze. I think I felt the bullet rattling around in my lungs.

Read Final Chapter


Sun Speaker

In the distant future humanity has spread to the other planets in our solar system. These stories follow Hal (a prophet for a godlike entity that lives in the sun), and his friends, as they try to make the solar system a better place.

Hal The Sun Speaker

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5

The Assassin

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to my Funeral

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6

Gladiators in SPACE!

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6

Ghost Ship Robinson

Chapter 1 | Chapter 2 | Chapter 3 | Chapter 4 | Chapter 5 | Chapter 6 | Chapter 7

Ghost Ship Robinson – Chapter 5 of 7

“Hal, you’re an idiot. Get the hell out of there.” Suzie was sad and ignoring it by being furious with me. I couldn’t blame her. I’d told her I loved her and sent her back to the ship with a giant alien monstrosity’s head. If I’d been going for romantic, I should have gone with flowers or chocolate, but it’s all I had at the time.

“Sorry. Sol tells me I’m more likely to survive this.” It was mostly a lie. I’d seen her death, more than I ever wanted, but I hadn’t seen anything about me. Although these nightmare creatures were sure trying hard to get me. I’d managed pretty well so far by slicing with the sword and pushing them back with gusts of heat.

“Fine. Just get to the shuttle. We need to talk before I kill you.”

Clearing his throat, Adric said, “I’m having a little trouble getting a lock on the ship. Can you get to engineering and turn off everything?”

“Sure. Just a walk through a park. An alien, prophet eating, dog park.” I’d been doing okay against the creatures and that wasn’t a good sign. They should have been able to swarm me. Maybe cutting off the big one’s head had scared them? Or maybe something else was going on and I was sure that wasn’t a good thing.

Sure, I had a sword and sure, I had cut a few of them down, but if they all attacked at once I’d be swamped. What were they waiting for?

I moved slowly towards engineering and wished I could stop off at the armory. I killed a few of the nightmares as I went. They were getting less petrifying and more annoying.

It took me much too long to get to the main power shut off. It would shut everything down. Thank Sol for my portable air extractor. It would let me breathe in terrible conditions for at least a few hours.

I saw fresh blood on the ground and Sol hit me with a disturbing vision. “Adric, power’s off now. Is the Doc there?”

“Yeah Hal. I hear you. What’s up?” Janet sounded and looked like she was in her early twenties. It was the side effect of her immortality serum. She should be just over a hundred now.

“I’m seeing blood in engineering. Either they’ve been spreading our poor teammates around or someone was bit. Check Suzie and Travis out and let me know.”

The creatures all lifted their slimy heads and turned around, leaving me alone in the semi-darkness. I started to wonder where they were going and decided to worry about it later. Making my way back to the shuttle quickly would have been my best bet; but I was worried about a trap. I made a small stop at the armory on my way.

“We’ve locked onto the ship, but we have a problem.” Adric sounded annoyed and didn’t wait for me to say anything before adding, “Travis was bit by one of those things. He says he can’t remember, but now his legs swollen and Doc put him in the fishbowl.” He was talking about the sterile biohazard room that doubled as our jail cell.

Janet started talking, “Something’s attached itself to his leg and infected him somehow.”

“My day isn’t going to be complete until you tell me that one of my crew has alien eggs in him, is it?” I tried to not gag.

“How did you know?”

“I asked myself how things could get worse and this was one of two options. Can you cut it off?”

A sigh from the coms told me she didn’t like the idea, “The eggs are releasing an antitoxin. If I cut off his leg, the toxin that’s throughout his system will kill him. I’m trying to synthesise an artificial version but…”

“I owe that man my life. Do what you can… wait… what about the virus? Could that work? It was genetically engineered to fight these things right? Maybe it could be adapted to cure him.” Travis had been the captain of one of the most impressive pirate ships in the system. They stole from the rich and gave to the poor. The poor were mostly their families, but they gave to others too. They were rotten and wonderful all at once. I’d infiltrated and it hadn’t gone well for him. I’d felt every pain the other pirates put him through before he escaped, and I’ve never forgiven myself for what he went through.

“This isn’t my first medical issue, Hal. I’m already working on it. Get your healing fire ass over here.” She sounded tired and stressed. Without me or Travis to pilot they’d have to take a risky jump or coast to the closest commercial jump gate. One gave them even odds and the other would take a few hundred years.

“My flame cleanse might make things worse.”

“Then do the opposite. I don’t know. Get here and we’ll figure it out.”

It was an interesting idea. If I could create heat and plasma why couldn’t I drain it? Could I freeze these things?

The point was academic. I turned the corner to approach the shuttle and there, standing with a cocky grin, was the man from the cryogenic pod. I stopped walking and he must have taken that for fear instead of shock. Still smiling, he said, “Emissary of Sol. I’m here to kill you.”

Read Next Chapter


Sun Speaker

In the distant future humanity has spread to the other planets in our solar system. These stories follow Hal (a prophet for a godlike entity that lives in the sun), and his friends, as they try to make the solar system a better place.

Hal The Sun Speaker

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5

The Assassin

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to my Funeral

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6

Gladiators in SPACE!

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6

Ghost Ship Robinson

Chapter 1 | Chapter 2 | Chapter 3 | Chapter 4 | Chapter 5 | Chapter 6 | Chapter 7

Ghost Ship Robinson – Chapter 4 of 7

I have wonderful timing, I mean I’m a bonafide prophet. I spun around and shot not one, but two, of those nightmare dog things in the head without hesitation.

They had no eyes, no nose, they were nothing but dark, slimy muscle and teeth. They seemed utterly quiet until they pounced, then they let off a series of complicated clicks.

“They’re blind and hunt by sound,” I told Suzie as we moved through them towards the shuttle.

“Good thing we have lights,” she said before grimacing and adding, “I shouldn’t have said that.” The light died. We both had enhanced vision built into our suits. It didn’t make any difference other than making the whole situation creepier.

I shot another one and then tried to throw a plasma blast. It hit the closest nightmare and seemed to do nothing.

We fought until heard a screech, howl, and louder clicks. Somehow my plasma managed to feed the damned thing I hit with it, making it grow. It was now big enough to shrug off the bullets I was shooting at it.

They swarmed over every surface. I blasted holes into the floor, walls, and ceiling. They still came towards us, but slower. The big one stayed back, barely moving. We killed them as they came at us. By we, I mean Suzie sliced them and I tried not to die.

“Hey Sunny. Lets get that matter transporter working, shall we?” I yelled into the coms.

“Sure thing boss… I’ll see what I can do.” Adric replied.

“Faster is better.”

“Right. Not something I’m going to rush. Stay exactly where you are.”

We were backed into a corner and I aimed the gun to make the biggest bang. Unfortunately all I got was a click, meaning I was out of ammunition. My trusty blaster did nothing and my super awesome plasma attacks made them grow.

“Suzie… I-”

“Not the time Hal.” She was right. I had terrible timing.

“I’m an idiot.”

“Go on.” The nightmares were staying back, having learnt what she could do with a blade.

“I should have told you before. I’ve been having nightmares about these creatures since before my funeral.”

Sighing, she said, “You talk in your sleep. We all know.”

“I really am an idiot.”

The problem with a matter transporter is that it’s unreliable, illegal, and painful. You’re just as likely to get rearranged into a pile of goo as you are to arrive at your destination. Which, in normal times, isn’t an issue since I can use my powers to know when it’ll work. But when my powers are on the fritz, well, that’s not great.

I reached out and touched her shoulder. I was going to say something, but a vision of her death stopped me. I saw over a hundred versions of her dying before I found a plan that would work.

“I love you, Suzie. I know I’ve been an idiot and I know I don’t deserve you. Just make sure you remember me.”

Her face softened for a moment and she looked at me. “What…”

I gently took the sword from her hand and took two steps to the side. “Now, Adric, now!”

“Use the head to figure out the virus. You only have a few months.” The large nightmare creature dove for me but I had already moved out of it’s way. With a swipe of the sword, I cleanly took off its head. It fell where I had been and both it and Suzie were teleported.

“Go into the dark, you son of a third rate pirate!” I heard Suzie’s cursing transition from in front of me to the coms as she was transported to the ship.

When I didn’t say anything, I was too busy fending off the creatures, she asked “Why?” There was a catch in her throat. That catch and the sadness it represented was worse than all the yelling she could have done.

“Because it meant I saved your life. Adric, tow this thing within tossing distance to the sun.”

“Hal No!”

“Last resort, throw this garbage heap into the sun and let Sol work it out.” I was fairly certain that the heat of the sun would kill these things. If they fed off plasma this would kill them from overfeeding and Sol himself should be able to deal with them.

Not to mention my powers would be more… well, powerful. Yes, it was a terrible plan but it was the only thing I could think of. Give me a break; I was fighting of nightmare creatures with a sword on a ghost ship. Sure, it might have been the solar prophet equivalent of wanting my teddy bear when facing nightmares. Thankfully my teddy was a seven thousand kilometre radius ball of fire.

Read Next Chapter


Sun Speaker

In the distant future humanity has spread to the other planets in our solar system. These stories follow Hal (a prophet for a godlike entity that lives in the sun), and his friends, as they try to make the solar system a better place.

Hal The Sun Speaker

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5

The Assassin

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to my Funeral

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6

Gladiators in SPACE!

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6

Ghost Ship Robinson

Chapter 1 | Chapter 2 | Chapter 3 | Chapter 4 | Chapter 5 | Chapter 6 | Chapter 7