2016 was hard. And 2017, well. WELL.
I feel like we all need a little extra fun now and then, right? We need to be able to put the real world on pause, while we explore the depths of a world that isn’t poised to lose so much of what it has built up these past years.
To that end, I’m here to share with you the cover of my upcoming novella from Apokrupha, The Thing in the Ice, which is precisely the story you’re looking for. (How about a tiny excerpt too? Okay!) A heroine fighting corruption and mercenaries on an asteroid? Check! A lovable alien sidekick? Check! A plague of space dragons? Check! A tribute to a lot of wonderful things I love about science-fiction? Check!
…twenty-three years later , in the vast, black emptiness between Mars and Jupiter, Ceres was melting.
“Sublimating,” Flit said, leaning against the door frame leading to the Icebox’s sickbay. “Perfectly normal, sublimation.” Above her, the electrical system crackled and a shower of orange sparks spewed from a convex hole in the ceiling onto the crosshatched walkway. One by one, the sparks winked out like stars.
It had been a long time since she’d seen the sky.
Her comm filled with static, then Danse’s baritone. “Flit? You there?”
She stared at the blood leaking from the hole in the left leg of her suit. At first, she’d thought it was just a tear, the suit’s lining the same blood red. Partly, that was the point, the flash of bright red allowing a cutter to know when they’d torn their suit, or had suffered an injury they might not otherwise feel. She felt this wound, the insistent thrum of the bullet’s passage through her thigh, but didn’t really feel it. Not in any place that mattered.
Her helmet clattered to the floor and she staggered into the room, sickbay’s flickering lights in the hazy air nauseating her as she pushed toward the myriad drawers that lined the far wall. Her left foot squelched a little in her boot, proving the blood had run there too, in silent, crimson rivers.
Flit didn’t answer, but neither did she silence her comm. She forced herself to cross sickbay, to not slump against the closest bed and take the pressure off her thigh. Only when she reached the drawers did she allow herself to lean against their support. She opened one, and then another, and then another. A flutter of paper scraps bearing single letters; gauze, tape, scissors, all very useful items she was sure, cascaded from every drawer as she swept through them until at last her fingers closed around what she sought.
She pulled the chocolate-coated protein bar from the fourth drawer with a triumphant grin, noting three others amid the medical debris. The aqua blue wrapper crinkled as she tore it between her teeth, as with gloved hands she shoved half of it into her starving mouth. Manage Your Hunger the BOSS Way! the wrapper screamed in fuchsia print.
“Danse,” she said around the mouthful of sugary shit. “You can’t expect me to take these mercs on an empty stomach…” She didn’t mention the gunshot wound to her thigh—that would just take the conversation to a place she didn’t want to go. She pictured the mining shaft, the debris, the tangled wreck of Danse’s rig… Nope, she didn’t want to go back there.