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   Chapter 8 No.8

Dead Beckoning By Christina Engela Characters: 5953

Updated: 2018-06-30 12:02

Life as the captain of a starship was far from easy – or simple – but nor was it a chore. In the past eight months that had followed their escapades on the Corsair home world, Mykl d'Angelo had already settled in. He loved space. He wanted to be out here. The Antares, which was fondly referred to by its crew as the 'Antarse', had been his home ever since that eventful day when she picked him up from his own broken down tramp freighter all those months ago. Since his rescue, he'd found himself re-instated to his previous rank of Commander by his predecessor, Joel Falconer, who had a dire need for his knowledge and experience with Corsairs at the time. Not long after, the old man died during an engagement with said Corsairs, and not long after that, Mykl was promoted up to fill the old man's chair. 'Not half bad, ' he thought. He'd been given a second chance to resume a career he'd all but given up on – had in fact walked away from, just to strike out on his own and to try and make sense of life in general… only to find that his life made more sense where he'd been than where he'd been going. All in quick succession too. It made him whimsically wish he'd quit the service years earlier – he might have got promoted a lot quicker that way! 'Still, ' he admitted, the main reason he stayed now wasn't just because of the job, the position, or the salary – or the adventures he would have along the way… it was because he'd been given another chance at a romance with an old flame from his time at the Academy – a relationship he'd long ago given up on.

Yes, Mykl d'Angelo spent many evenings lately congratulating himself for his stroke of luck. He had a cool job and his Exo was also now his girlfriend. Lt. Commander Ripley Jones – light brown hair, built like a drea

over the com system as they all started singing together. He swallowed. It was a well-rehearsed traditional rendition of 'happy birthday to you' in e-minor, backed by what sounded like a mariachi band. Party decorations brightened up the bland gray walls. Tables were covered in snacks and treats, courtesy of the galley no doubt. Everybody was smiling – no dammit, they were actually grinning at him – and wearing pointy little paper hats! Some figures in the vague mass of people started blowing little things that fluttered, lit up and went squeaked. The whole effect reminded him of an insane asylum… Or perhaps, a vision of Dante's Inferno. It looked like substantially more effort had gone into this than the recent new years' party. At any rate, it was certainly more than he'd expected. In reality, he couldn't have looked more surprised if he'd tried. He was a strong man, but a good man, and he was easily touched by kindness. It was all he could do to hold back his emotions as the song ended. It had obviously taken a lot of effort on their part, not to mention the planning that must have gone into it – though he had a sneaky suspicion about whom he had to blame for that.

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