Scavenging space junk isn't glamorous or lucrative, but finding a disabled Allied Planets Security drone is an unexpected treasure Captain Anexa Loy can't pass up. Although pinching the drone is illegal and outrunning an APS Patrol fighter is dangerous, Anexa needs the money.
The booty on board, Anexa returns to Spaceport Adana where she meets Davis, a sexy hunk too charming to ignore. Giving into temptation can be risky business.
Lt. Davis Darkano of APS Patrol falls hard for the Spaceport beauty, but when he discovers the woman of his dreams has the stolen drone Davis must decide between love and duty.
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Copyright ©2017 B.J. McCall
"Claws on target."
Seated at the bridge, Captain Anexa Loy watched the action on the cargo bay monitors as the huge claws of the retracting arms clamped down on the twisted chunk of metal. To most space trekkers it was junk, but to a scavenger the hunk of floating debris was credits in the bank. Her crewman, Souzai, was working the claws and keeping Anexa informed of his progress. Souzai's sister, Ulina, was poised to close the huge bay doors the moment the junk was retrieved.
"Arms retracting," Souzai reported.
Excited by the find and already calculating the worth of the metals, Anexa asked, "What is it?"
"Looks like an APS drone or what's left of one," Souzai said.
Allied Planets Security had hundreds of identical drones patrolling AP controlled space. Anexa adjusted the camera controls, focusing closer on the mangled mass. A blast had taken out a good portion of the side, exposing the drone's interior.
The smugglers and pirates were getting bolder. With the AP Security expanding its patrols, business was suffering. Unauthorized scavenging included. Grabbing a drone and busting it down for parts and metals was risky, but so far Anexa's forays into the AP restricted zones had paid off. If she was caught scavenging without a permit, the Scavenger Guild would fine her ass.
If she was caught grabbing a drone the APS would toss her ass in jail, but times were lean and Adana creditors were downright mean. At least the APS couldn't accuse her of blasting the drone. The Karang Guni had never carried that kind of firepower.
Moving slowly, the huge arms pulled the drone toward the empty cargo bay. Bringing the twisted hunk of metal into the ship's bay required skill and precision. Her finances were tight enough without expensive repairs. "Careful, Souzai."
"Millimeters to spare, Captain."
As the nose of the damaged drone entered the bay, Anexa thought about all the overdue bills the haul would pay. She might have enough left over to afford a few necessities like spare parts.
Anexa lived aboard the Guni and sold her junk on Spaceport Adana. The rusting structure supported a growing population unable to survive on the hostile environment of the planet it orbited and for which it was named. Although the ship was aging, the Guni was home and collecting space junk wasn't glamorous, but it was honest work, most of the time.
The monotone voice of the ship's computer sliced into Anexa's joyful anticipation. Unidentified craft. Range two hundred.
Chui! Anexa tore her gaze from the bay monitor, swiveled in her captain's chair to the primary sky screen. Moving fast, the tiny speck of light was bearing down on her position. "Interception?"
Nine standard minutes.
Anexa glanced at the bay monitor, mentally fighting a quick battle. Bring the drone in and risk interception or release it and run. Given her desperate financial situation and low supplies, breaking down the drone into scrap was worth the risk. "Souzai. We've got company, coming at us fast. Can we do this like now?"
Eight standard minutes.
Anexa's heart pounded as the seconds ticked off. Her gaze darted back to the screen.
Craft identified. Allied Planets Security Patrol fighter.
The fighters were armed to the teeth and the pilots were the AP Security hotshots. "Souzai. APS Patrol fighter. He's coming fast. We've gotta move. Now!"