Read Anja's Star (Outer Settlement Agency) Online

Authors: Lyn Brittan

Tags: #futuristic romance, #scifi romance, #romantic science fiction, #romance series, #scifi novella

Anja's Star (Outer Settlement Agency)

Anja's Star

Outer Settlement Agency

by Lyn Brittan

Published by Gryy Brown Press, 2013.

Table of Contents

Anja's Star (Outer Settlement Agency)

ANJA’S STAR

Chapter Two

Chapter Three

Chapter Four

Chapter Five

Chapter Six

Chapter Seven

Chapter Eight

Chapter Nine

Chapter Ten

Chapter Eleven

Epilogue

Extras

www.lynbrittan.com | Newsletter for new release updates, freebies and sneak peeks: www.eepurl.com/DP0Cv | The author loves to talk. Join her on Twitter at www.twitter.com/AuthorPamelaLyn, but be prepared for lots of “oh no she didn’ts,” during Reality TV live tweets. | Or pop in over at Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/AuthorLynBrittan | Scroll to the very end for a sneak peak at the cover for Quinn’s Quasar, the next book in the Outer Settlement Series

ANJA’S STAR

Copyright 2013 © Lyn Brittan

Edited by J.A. Trejo

Cover Design by Clarissa Yeo

www.lynbrittan.com

All rights reserved.

No part of this eBook may be reproduced in any form or by electronic or mechanical means including information storage and retrieval systems, without permission in writing from the author. The only exception is by a reviewer, who may quote short excerpts in a review. This eBook may not be sold or given to other people. If you would like to share this story, please purchase additional copies.

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

––––––––

Chapter One

A
nja Figue threw her omnitablet against the wall after running another diagnostic of the ship’s thrusters. The stupid thing hadn’t changed no matter what she did.

Stupid,
lying¸
thing.

It claimed the shuttle was fine and yet the spacecraft could only manage the weakest of hovers above Titan’s surface.

Covered by her mechanic’s jumpsuit, Anja fingered the hidden Meash Corp tattoo on her arm.  Even though she was no longer with the terraforming agency, she still had a reputation to uphold. She’d been the best mechanic around and one of the few brave enough to go to Enceladus in the midst of the clone uprising.

She shivered at the thought of those half people. They were why she’d abandoned all Meash prospects and gone solo. Never again would she not have a say in where she laid her head at night. Really, when you think about it, piracy had been the next logical step. Better pay, good work hours and an at-will work option that really couldn’t be beat.

Anja opened a datalog and, for the billionth time, looked for any inconsistencies. There had to be something. 

Attila Ert’zod ran a tight fleet of ships. He’d given her a chance and she’d be damned if she wasted it. For one thing, there wasn’t enough liquor on this moon to save her if word spread she couldn’t get a bird in the air. But more importantly, she had no place else to go.

She couldn’t help a petulant kick to the console. “It’s fine. It’s all flipping fine and in perfect working order, only not working at all.  All systems relaying the right information...unless...”

Anja hopped into the subcontrol room, taking ladder rungs two at a time until she reached the whirring and whizzing driver coil housing unit. A small thing, a forever thing, a thing that almost never needed fixing...was offline.

Of course.

She would have kissed it, if not for the small matter of radioactivity. Instead, she licked the triple housed casing unit and fist pumped the air. One day a machine might beat her, but not today. With lightness she hadn’t felt in ages, Anja ran to her quarters, grabbed her blaster and hopped out of
The Bastard’s Revenge.

Before she left the landing station, she blew the ship a kiss. Two hours. In two hours, and well ahead of schedule, she’d have the protective gear needed to fix the coil, receive a healthy bonus from Captain Ert’zod and, if all things went according to plan, become part of his permanent crew.

Chapter Two

“S
o, you’re Ert’zod’s boy, hmm?”

Retzi didn’t bother looking up from his cards. He’d heard the man, even over the drunken howls from every direction and off key singing from the stage. He just didn’t like what he’d said. “I’m no one’s
boy.

“Oh, course, of course, no offense intended, Lunar Officer...what’s that you’re calling yourself these days? It’s not as if you can fly around here with the same name. Half the galaxy wants to imprison him; the other half wants to kill him.”

His eyes did rise at that. Crost knew full well he hadn’t changed his name, thought Retzi paid often enough for not doing so. It wouldn’t have made any difference anyway. At only fifteen years his junior, Retzi had often been confused for his father. It made for a lot of fights, temporary prison visits and the odd paternity test. From a distance, few could tell them apart. Up close, the badge helped. “Your hand.”

Crost made a series of questionable maneuvers as he played his turn, interjected by sips of wine. “Word is that your father has a ship out here.”

“Is that so? You finished?”

“Yes and no,” Crost said, rearranging two of his cards. “But you must have known that. I can’t imagine anything gets past the great and powerful Outer Settlement Agency these days. You make it very hard to do business.”

“Me in particular, or the Ert’zods in general? Everyone has an issue with me, for one reason or another,” he said, raising a glass at Crost’s laugh.  “And isn’t that what you’re doing to me? Making my work harder than it needs to be? You could go legal.”

Another laugh from Crost and a waving of a chubby hand. “Taxes. Is that it? You’re not here to see your father, but me. I am very flattered.”

He wasn’t far off. Retzi would had much preferred to be on the more civilized Venus and not Saturn’s largest moon, Titan, but Crost was too big a fish to pass up. Retzi needed a big enough net to get him though, and his cheating at cards right now wasn’t it.

He wasn’t a dirty cop, not in the least. If he had seen his father doing something illegal, Retzi would have brought him in.

Probably.

As it happened, Retzi preferred to stay out Attila’s sight, or had, until his father began forwarding him information about his business competitors. ‘Mutual benefits’, he’d said. Retzi fully intended to take out his father one day, but until then, there were plenty of other fellows to bring into justice.

Crost belched over his hand, sending wafts of ale and half-digested food across the table. “Your move.” The fabric of Retzi’s brown travel tunic grazed the cards when he leaned over. He jerked back seconds later when Crost’s finger trailed up his arm. “If you intend to keep it, you’ll want to remove your finger now.”

“You’re as handsome as your father and as beautiful as your mother,” Crost said, settling back into his chair. “We can stop playing now, no matter what you do, you lose.”

“You’ve been cheating the past ten minutes,” Retzi countered, but knew Crost referred to more than this game. He’d been so wrapped up in beating the criminal, that he’d lost sight of his original goal of collecting intel. Crost’s wide mouthed grin did the exact opposite of settling him.

“The rules of this establishment are very simple. If the majority of table sitters accuse a player of cheating, he has cheated. But, Officer, I don’t think you’ll find many here willing to support your word or your name.”

Retzi held his tongue as Crost’s arm raked the winnings to his side of the table. “Double or nothing?”

“Nothing.” No point in playing on if the whole tavern was out to get him and didn’t care for the many pairs of eager eyes and full-toothed grins thrown his way. Retzi’s chair scraped the floor, silencing their corner of the room. He’d just thrown his rain cloak over his head when Crost cleared his throat. “What?”

“Well, just the small matter of payment. See, I laid down three antes.”

“That’s a load of shit and you know it.”

“Majority rules the house.”

“There’s not a court in the galaxy that’ll believe you.”

“You’ll have to get to one first,” Crost said, pointing to the similarly grinning bouncers at the door.
Oh great.

“How much are you going to take from me?”

Crost whispered the amount and Retzi worked very hard at swallowing his heart back out of his throat. “That’s impossible.”

“I’ll give you time – two weeks. Of course, I would need a little something as collateral to tide me over.”

“Something like what?”

“You-“

“Excuse me?”

“-Or
The Bastard’s Revenge
. Your choice. You might want to consider it the fairly generous offer that it is. I mean, we all saw you lean over and slip something out of your tunic. That’s grounds for a killing in these parts of Titan.”

“I didn’t...let me guess. House rules?”

“Now you’re getting it. So then, what will it be? Your ship, your body or your life?”

Chapter Three

A
nja lifted her face to the rain and opened her mouth for huge gulps of it. Sure, the scheduled downpour made life miserable every few weeks, but that was the glory of it. Vendors hated it. It was a time for academy studying for students with a mixture of telecommuting and weeklong parties for their parents. If you had the money to blow, vacations to other parts of Titan, heck even Enceladus or further, were expected.

It all added up to good deals for anyone brave enough to stay and deal with the elements. It took a little longer than usual to gather what she needed, many merchants having given up on the week entirely, but the ones open salivated at any ringing of a tent flap or door.

Her haversack weighed as much as the ship did after leaving the final shop and between the boulder slung across her body and the rain, she slipped every few feet. 

Didn’t bother her a bit. Through the splattering rain she could almost hear the Captain’s credits chiming into her account.

Maybe that’s why it took her a minute to piece the parts together when she got back to the dock.

Or missing parts. Big spacecrafty parts. “Where’s my ship? Who-”

A hand shot out, stopping her run to the port commander.

“Calm down.”

Anja whipped around at the voice and stopped cold. “Captain? If I’ve done something wrong...wait. Who are you?” Anja’s eyes took in the massive man in front of her. Huge, handsome and pissed, he looked all the world like her actual captain. “I didn’t know the captain had a brother.”

“Son. And you’re going to help me get the ship back where it belongs.”

She almost didn’t hear the last bit. Son? The captain didn’t look old enough to have a child this age, but there was no denying the freakish resemblance. Well, not so similar. This man, whatever his name was, carried a softer edge to his looks, yet everything read that much more intense than on the captain. Eyes, a deeper blue, chin with a sharper cut and a deeper cleft. Even laugh lines, lines that crinkled even at the moment. She fought the urge to let her eyes travel lower. She’d made it her rule never to mix money with pleasure, but did the son count too? Wait. No. Big picture. “My ship is gone!”

“About that, not exactly gone.”

“Oh?” She put one hand over her mouth and put the edge of the other against her eyebrow. “Is it invisible now?”

“This isn’t funny.”

“Got that right,” she said, pulling out a blaster and leveling it on his chest.

“Whoa—”

“Two seconds to prove who you are. One to explain where
The Bastard’s Revenge
is. Go.”

“Retzi Ert’zod I’m-“

“Wrong order,” she said, powering up the charge.

The man’s hands flew in the air, accompanied by a round of curses she internally gave of mental nod of appreciation to. “A man named Crost.”

“Oh, great.”

“So you’ve heard of him? Good. Care to put down your gun?” She didn’t, instead, wiggling it around, urging him on. “I’m Ert’zod’s son, one of them anyway. I work for the Outer Settlement Agency.”

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