Excerpt from “The Outworld Warder”

The Warder

The golden sand glistened under the lesser of the outworld’s two suns. Although rather small, the glaring rolling hills made it seem larger. The smooth unbroken sand erupted suddenly and a small cloaked form rose up. After shaking off the sand from her garb, Ellison scanned the horizon with her hazel eyes. Captain Corey had promised to come for her at this hour.

In the distance, two bright silver dots appeared. The two Interceptors came in fast, the sand swirling in their wake, and disappeared into the rocky mountains behind her. The transport vessel followed, stopping briefly in the settling sand to take on Ellison before following the Interceptors back to the Warder Gideon.

Ellison disembarked into the soft red glow of the Warder. She went to her quarters to change into her uniform. Her desert garb fell to the floor in a pile of rough cloth and sand. She stepped into the shower to rinse off the last trace of where she had been. The soft teal of her uniform heightened the amber tone of her skin.

As she left her quarters, a line of bright blue lights cut through the red ambient light of the corridor. She hurried to the bridge, while lounging warriors snapped into action elsewhere. A small alien vessel had been detected by the Warder’s scanners. It was headed for a dense asteroid cloud. Two Interceptors were launched to investigate the interloper.

“Why don’t they turn?” Lieutenant Tallman was usually the quiet one. His question caught Ellison off guard. She didn’t have an answer.

Captain Corey ordered the Interceptors to fire at the asteroid cloud. The small asteroids exploded on impact creating a cascade of explosions as the debris field spread. All three vessels turned away from the debris hurtling out from the cloud. “Ellison?”

Ellison focused her thoughts on the alien ship. After a few minutes of searching for a telepathic link, she smiled. “They are called the Vree. They were heading for the asteroid cloud to hide from a pursuing vessel.” Corey nodded to Ellison. After a moment of focused silence, she turned to Captain Corey. “They’ve accepted our invitation.”