Authors: Lisa Lace
Tags: #Romance / Fantasy
Tracy was trying to remain alive and get back to Earth. That was before she met Rev, a sexy space cop who claimed her as his mate.
Now everything has changed for her, and she wants to stay with Rev. But there's a problem - someone wants to send her back to Earth.
She's fighting a battle to stay with her man as the secrets of her past are revealed, and she makes an important decision about her future!
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Tracy was out for a fun night at a bar with her friend, Carol. They were abducted by slavers who needed women to sell on the black market.
One of the slavers, Rev, was actually an undercover space cop who was trying to bust the slave ring and find information about the fate of his brother. Tracy was thrown out of the spaceship and she was followed right after by Rev, who was ejected after being outed as a lawman.
After a fierce battle, Tracy and Rev got the upper hand on the slavers and called in the authorities to bring the slavers to trial. Rev was also under investigation because his undercover mission was not sanctioned. Just as Tracy and Rev were realizing their feelings for each other, a alien faction demanded that Tracy be deported back to Earth and Rev undergo treatment to modify his feelings for Tracy.
Desiring neither of these outcomes, Tracy and Rev chose a third option: escape.
Tracy and Rev raced through the Enforcement Wing ship, desperately searching for any spacecraft they could use to escape. A team of military personnel was chasing after them. The government wanted to capture Rev, a former law enforcement officer.
They wanted to send Tracy right back to Earth.
At one point, Tracy would have loved the idea of returning to her home planet and leaving this fantastic world behind. The problem? This meant leaving Rev behind as well. For better or for worse, they were in this together for the long haul.
Rev had been searching for his brother for years. He thought his brother had been killed by space pirates, but once Rev discovered his brother might still be alive, he had to continue the search.
The first step was getting off this ship.
Running behind Rev, Tracy could not avoid looking at the back of his dark blue uniform. It was in the colors of the Enforcement Wing of the Aligned Worlds. Ironically, they were now being pursued by the Enforcement Wing because Rev had ignored a court order.
Suddenly, there was a wild chorus of voices all around them. "They are ahead!" "Send security to cut them off!" "Security is on the way!"
They were surrounded.
A panel on the right side of the corridor opened up. Nurse S'Den poked her head out, motioning for them to come in.
"Hurry," she whispered.
Rev and Tracy entered the dark opening, and S'Den pushed the panel back in place. She picked up a flashlight from the floor, and with her hand she motioned for them to be silent. Then she pointed the beam of light ahead and started walking.
Tracy couldn't see much from one flashlight someone else was holding. As her hand touched the walls on either side of her, she felt small pipes running up and down the wall and also larger ones that ran perpendicular to the floor. S'den stopped suddenly. Her flashlight lit the covered entrance to a ventilation shaft.
"This looks dangerous, but you want to go through here," she said, pulling off the cover. "Follow this tunnel to the end, and when you get out there should be a ladder that leads down to the launch bay. But first, stand still. I have to perform a non intrusive operation."
The nurse took out an instrument and ran it down the length of Rev's body. It beeped when she came close to his thigh.
"When you were in our medical facilities, they put a homing beacon inside you. It has to come out of your body if you want to remain undetected."
"Do it," said Rev. He stood still as S'den held the device to his thigh. A tube emerged from the medical instrument and made contact with Rev's skin, ripping through his clothing. S'den pushed a button. There was a sucking sound, and suddenly a flashing cylinder erupted from Rev's body, zoomed up the tube, and came to a rest in S'den's hands.
Rev screamed in pain.
"Good," Nurse S'den said. "That didn't hurt a bit." She dropped the beacon to the floor and crushed it with her boots.
"And now you, Noc Walsh."
Tracy nervously stood still as S'den scanned her body. It beeped when it come to her arm, where her contraceptive implant was supposed to be.
"Why is my implant beeping?" Tracy asked.
"I believed that Doctor Akar removed your implant so he could insert the homing beacon."
"He had no right to do that."
"I agree, Noc Walsh, but there is nothing we can do now. It needs to be removed."
"Yes, take it out." Tracy winced as the beacon was pulled out of her body.
"I provisioned the third ship on the left with food and supplies," said S'den "You should have enough to get to your home world, citizen Ar-Reven. Take this too, you might need it," she said, handing him the pack she carried on her back, "Take Noc Walsh to safety."
"Why are you doing this?" asked Rev.
"I don't believe Noc Walsh is the threat Ja-Idin Du says. There is something that frightens him about non-aligned world sentients, but his reasoning is not sound. Just because HE is frightened doesn't mean we all have to be scared. There are people like me who are tired of the control the Du have on our society. It's time that people show the Du we don't need to live by their rules."
"What about my friend Carol?" asked Tracy. "Who will take care of her?"
"Carol still needs constant medical attention and more time to heal. I will watch her. I will reunite you with her as soon as practically possible. Do not worry, Noc Walsh. I will care for your friend."
"Good luck to you, S'den," said Rev.
"Thank you," said Tracy.
"You're not free yet, Noc Walsh. You still need to get to safety." S'den gave the flashlight to Rev and disappeared in the dark of the corridors.
Rev and Tracy made their way carefully down the long ventilation shaft. The end was sealed and Rev carefully pushed out the cover, making sure not to make any unnecessary noise. He helped Tracy out and aimed the flashlight down the service corridor. The light illuminated a ladder in the corner to their right.
"I will go down first, then you follow me." said Rev.
Tracy swallowed hard, looking down the ladder's hole. It descended into complete darkness, and there was no way for them to tell how far the ladder went down.
"Is this a bad time to tell you I'm afraid of heights?"
"Tracy, you jumped out of space onto a planet, right? How can you possibly be afraid of heights?"
"Well, that's different. Number one, I didn't have much choice in the matter, and number two, I had a parachute holding me up."
"I still don't see how you can make those distinctions, but don't worry. I'll be under you. If you fall, you'll take me with you and land on top of me, cushioning your fall."
"I can't tell you how much of a comfort that is to me."
"It should be. I'll be the one who takes the brunt of the fall." He smiled, and Tracy realized he was trying to make an alien joke.
"Get down that ladder, and you better be a good landing pad." Tracy said nervously.
"As my lady wishes," he replied.
Tracy climbed down after Rev, clinging onto the rails. Immediately her hands grew slick with sweat and she started breathing heavily. She quickly looked down to see Rev's green head growing smaller and smaller as he rapidly retreated down the ladder.
"Rev! Wait!" she whispered loudly.
"Don't look," said Rev. "And try to move, we're not going to get out of here without going down the ladder."
As she sped up, Tracy's right hand slipped off the rung, and she cried out.
"Don't worry, Tracy," said Rev. "Just go slowly. But hurry."
Great, thought Tracy, he wants me to hurry and go slow simultaneously.
All this advice made Tracy even more nervous, and she slipped again. This time she lost her grip entirely and fell off the ladder.
Fortunately, she was close to the floor, and Rev had already dismounted the ladder. Rev had been watching her descent and had his arms raised up to catch her.
"Please be more careful."
Great. Hurry slowly and be careful. Tracy hoped they were out of here soon and there wouldn't be any more helpful suggestions.
"Sorry," she said.
"Let's go," said Rev. He took her hand and led her down a dark corridor. The light made eerie shadows ahead of them, and they had to stop multiple times to make sure they weren't being followed. At the end of the corridor was a small access panel, just large enough for one person to go through at a time.
"You wait here," said Rev. "I'll check out what's ahead."
Tracy grabbed Rev's arm. He twisted, and she kissed him hard.
"Mmm, we don't have time for that."
"Just a little added incentive to get us out alive."
He grinned. "Looking at you is incentive enough."
Rev pulled the panel back with a grunt and peered outside through a crack.
"This is the launch bay for shuttles and small transports," he whispered. "It looks clear so far. Wait here while I make sure there is no one around. Hold the panel after I leave."
Rev slipped out, leaving the panel for Tracy to brace open. She stood there as her heart pounded.
Strangely, this was by far the most nerve wracking part of her journey so far. Getting thrown out of a spaceship, facing huge land crabs, and multi-toothed snakes bent on making a meal of her was less frightening. When she knew about a danger in front of her, and could see it, it was much different than waiting around for the unknown.
Tracy was aware that Rev gave up everything in his life so far for her. His job as a tracker in the Enforcement Wing was probably gone forever. If they were caught, they'd be separated, and he faced space prison. Tracy wasn't sure what would happen to her, but she didn't trust the Counselor Ja-Idin Du as far she could toss him. Tracy agreed with Nurse S'den. Ja-Idin Du was lying when he said Tracy would be returned to Earth.
If there was a resistance movement against the Du, there must be a good reason, and maybe they would be allies.
A knock on the panel jolted Tracy out of her thoughts.
"Mate," she heard through the panel. At least she knew who it was. No one else in the universe would call her mate.
She huffed a breath of relief and pulled the panel back.
"Come on, it's clear for now, but we should hurry."
Rev held the panel from the other side as Tracy slipped through the crack. He pulled the panel tightly closed after she stood next to him. Tracy stood in a large hold lined on either side with small ships, most of them looking like fighters to her. The third one on the left, however, looked familiar.
"Is that it?"
"Yes, it's Jaal's transport, and it makes sense S'den would pick that ship. The other ships can't be released without command codes, and mine have probably been disabled."
"Rev," said Tracy sadly. Seeing the consequences of Rev's choices made her feel discouraged.
"Make no mistake, I do not regret this decision now, and I never will. But we'll have a lot of regrets if we don't get out of here."
"And how are we going to do that if you don't have command codes?" Tracy pointed to the heavy doors at the end of the bay. "Those launch doors look solidly shut."
"They won't be," said Rev. "S'den gave us presents." He slipped the pack off his back and opened it. He took out four black discs the size of his palm. He walked up to the doors to place the disc, slapping one at each bottom corner and two in the middle close together.
A voice shouted out "Stop!"
Rev and Tracy turned to see a man dressed in a uniform come into the bay. Rev tossed the pack to Tracy and raced towards the soldier. The uniformed man attempted a defense, but Rev was in attack mode and unstoppable. With a jab from the heel of Rev's hand, the soldier crumpled at his feet.
Shaking his head, Rev picked up the body and dragged it behind a bulkhead.
"Let's go. We don't have any more time and there might be more of them."
Rev ran to the transport. He held his palm against the keypad to open an entrance to the ship, and he and Tracy scrambled inside. Rev shut the hatch and waved her toward the pilots' cabin.
"Sit down and buckle up," he ordered as he sunk into a chair and started flipping switches overhead. Tracy dropped the backpack between them and sat in the other chair. She used restraints attached to the chair to strap herself in.
Rev's face was focused on the instruments as he checked readouts on the panel ahead of him. He pressed some buttons and the engines whirled to life. The ship was at a forty-five degree angle to the large metal launch bay door.