Feb. 08, 2013 – Chapter One
Feb. 15, 2013 – Chapter Two
On the other side of the galaxy, a fleet of vessels came towards a small, unassuming planet. The fleet loomed there, as though weighing the consequences of their following actions. Then, without so much as a warning shot, the entire fleet opened fire, destroying the planet into dust.
A thousand sirens went off in Zoe’s head as she awoke to the blaring sound of her communicator. Tiredly she fumbled to her console and opened the channel.
“Black Swan here,” she answered.
“Zoe!” the image came into view of the Celestial Syndicate in chaos. In the foreground the face of Chancellor Toomale came into view. “Do not come to Uthel!”
“Madam Chancellor,” Zoe shook her head. “I don’t understand.”
“The Zephyr Alliance,” Toomale answered. “They have attacked Ecart and are on their way here.”
“How many casualties?” Zoe asked.
“All of them,” Toomale breathed.
“The entire planet?”
“Yes, Zoe,” Toomale answered sadly. “The entire planet obliterated.”
“What must I do?” Zoe asked.
“Do you still have the package?” Toomale asked.
“Yes,” Zoe nodded.
“Good,” Toomale answered. “You must go into hiding. They must not know what you have. They will be after you.”
“What about you, ma’am?” she asked.
“I will signal you with my location when I am secured,” Toomale answered. “Until then, make no attempt to contact me or anyone else. Stay hidden and be smart.”
“Yes, ma’am,” Zoe nodded. “Good luck.”
“You too,” Toomale nodded and severed the connection.
A low chuckle came from Zimmerman, now alert. Zoe turned and saw him sitting up on his bed. A grin slashed across his face as they locked eyes. Zoe suppressed a shudder.
“It has begun,” he said in a low voice.
“What?” she asked.
“The last stand, my dear,” he answered. His voice grew in volume gradually as he continued to speak. “It will begin with the independent planets, and then the Galactic Syndicate will fall, and the Zephyr Alliance will sweep across the galaxy.”
“No,” Zoe shook her head. “I won’t let it.”
“Won’t let it?” he rose from the bed and walked toward her but was stopped by the energy field that held him. “You don’t have a choice. It has already begun. If you release me now, I shall spare you your life.”
“And if I don’t?”
“I have more power than you know,” he growled. “They will come for me, and when they find me you will wish you had accepted my money at the brothel.”
“Shut up,” she sneered, pressing a button on the arm of her chair. A jolt of electricity shot through Zimmerman and he fell to his knees with a cry. “These old Wraith vessels have a lot of fantastic settings. Do you know about the Wraith Lords, Mister Speaker? The last of them were killed off two generations ago, but their technology lives on. They enslaved entire races and their transport vessels are quite useful for bounty hunters. That was the first setting; would you like to see what the second setting feels like?”
Zimmerman only smiled in response.
Zoe returned to her console and changed course and zipped off into space.