Welcome! If you’re here via the SFR Station’s blog hop, it’s April Fool’s Day, and the authors of SFR Station are being fools for giveaways! And if you’re not here via the blog hop, you picked a great day to start exploring sci-fi romance! So what’s so great about sci-fi romance? Why are we all fools for love of it? 😉 (I had to work that pun in there somehow)
Think of your favorite sci-fi TV shows. What do you love most about them? Chances are, you love the gadgets, the special effects, the cool alien or futuristic tech, and the possibilities that someday, people really might treat all that stuff like everyday things. But chances also are, you wouldn’t care nearly as much about all that stuff without the strong personalities who are using those things (or having some of that stuff happen to them). The science is intriguing (it is always intriguing), but the characters show us how to make sense of it, to fit it into our world. And there’s no more intimate a look into the effects of science and technology (even if it falls more along the “handwavium” end of the spectrum than the “currently in development at many fine universities” end of the spectrum), than through the eyes of love and human relationships. Even if one of those in the relationship isn’t quite all human!
Huntress of the Star Empire
Now, since you’re here, and you’ve indulged me thus far, I’d like to tell you a little about my efforts to explore the human condition in a futuristic or technologically advanced setting. I’m currently 8 episodes into my sci-fi romance serial, “Huntress of the Star Empire.” When I started publishing “Huntress,” I wanted to make it like a “TV show in your mind,” where both short and long term story arcs share the attention of the story. I also wanted to explore some themes in the story about our identities, and how much they are shaped by the events and circumstances around us, versus how much is just “us” and would be no matter what.
Excerpt from Episode 3: Tailspin
She was called Huntress. Feared throughout the inner orbits, all the way to the frontier. Doors opened when she flashed her wrist tattoo, and any that stayed shut against the tattoo, opened with a little prodding from the other wrist, with the tiny rocket launcher attached to it. She was respected. She was feared. She was a Vice Hunter. She carried the full power of the Union’s authority and might, directly from the Prime Minister himself, and could walk, unmolested, through the halls of power on a dozen different worlds.
But she couldn’t seem to walk through the cockpit door on her own ship.
She’d faced planetary governors with scores of sycophants, personal armies, and corruption blocking her every step of the way, and blasted through them as if they were glittersilk. But she couldn’t confront one lone prisoner, helpless in cuffs and rendered unconscious, because every time she did, he shook every belief she had right to her core.
Yet confront him, she must, because he was the only thing that stood between her and the ship’s tiny refresher cubicle, and she really needed to go.
Urgency of the most basic kind prompted her to open the panel between the cockpit and the main cabin.
His head hung low on his chest, his breathing, even. She darted from the door to the other end of the cabin. Her fingers were on the latch to the necessary when his voice smoothed over her skin like a fine coating of body oil. “I wondered when you’d emerge from your shell again.”
She covered her jump with a turn. “I wouldn’t be so eager to see me if I were you.”
“I’ve counted the dimples on the floor tiles eighty-four times. I’d much rather count your dimples. You’ve got two, you know. But they only come out when you smile, so I don’t imagine very many beings in the system have seen them.”
She pressed her lips together. “I could make some marks on you, if you’re looking for things to count.”
His eyes glimmered. She couldn’t decide whether they were blue or gray or even green. They seemed to shift with his mood. Like sneak-lizards, blending in with their environment. “Could I count them before I passed out from blood loss?”
“Probably not. Anyway, I promised to deliver you unmarked. I think the Director wants to use you as a rug in his study.”
“Is that what this Director does with psypaths? Uses us as upholstery?”
“Of course not,” she snapped. “You’ll be humanely treated until—”
“Until you can be neutralized,” she finished.
“And how does your precious Union ‘neutralize’ a psypath?” His tone was even and light, but she heard an edge to it. The first time she’d heard anything but amusement or flirtation from him. I can use that. I must use that. I need to keep the upper hand.
“You’ll be remanded to a secure facility for further processing.”
“Into protein cubes? Because if that’s the case, then my last request is for you to eat me.”
She gaped. “Did you just—”
He blinked, his face the very picture of innocence. “I only want the chance for my flesh to touch your lips, and if I have to do it as a protein cube—”
“Ugh! Just stop!” She swallowed past the sudden curdling in her stomach. “Protein cubes are not people! I don’t care what the rumors all say.”
“Neither are psypaths, according to your Union.”
“Well, they wouldn’t make you into a protein cube, anyway.” She forced herself to breathe past the nauseating idea of eating something that used to be a someone. “You’re far too stringy-looking to be good eating.”
His tawny eyebrows went up. “You could let me down. Give me some real food. You know, for fattening-up purposes.”
“That’s disgusting. You’re disgusting.” She slid back the panel to the necessary. “I’m going in here, now. Goodbye.”
Several minutes later, still in the necessary, she heard him shift. “Treska? The Union isn’t so cruel that you’d forbid me to go in there next, is it?”
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