Govi said, “It’s my understanding your parents passed away not so long ago.”
A shadow of sadness passed over her round face. “They died in a shuttle accident just after I turned seventeen. I never felt I got to properly mourn them, because my situation was so up in the air. I was afraid my true nature would be discovered since I became a ward of the Church.” Michaela shuddered.
Raxstad pointed out, “You managed to get away undetected, however.”
She nodded. “Since I’d finished my schooling, I applied to the military as a junior serviceman. It’s a program for kids who are not likely to go to college and aren’t qualified to do anything worthwhile. Once you get through that, you go on to basic military training. Lucky us, after that we would get to fight on the front lines in battles. It’s essentially training to be cannon fodder. They pretty much stuck the juniors on a ship and assigned us all the shit jobs.”
“What exactly did you do?” Govi asked.
“I slung hash in the mess.” At their confused looks, Michaela offered up her wonderful throaty laugh. “I served meals in the ship’s cafeteria and cleaned up afterward. It wasn’t awful. Plus, it gave me the opportunity to try and escape Earth for good. That’s why I signed up in the first place.”
“A plan that has succeeded,” Korkla congratulated her.
She gave him a rueful smile. “After over a year of waiting and hoping. And only if that battlecruiser orbiting Plasius doesn’t find a way to send fighters to tear everything apart before I get out of here.”
Raxstad spoke in a forbidding tone. “They won’t get anywhere near you. Besides, you’re not going to be here much longer anyway.”
Korkla grinned. “We are getting you and your friend Jessica McInness off this planet. No matter how you feel about my clan, you are going to Kalquor, where you’ll be permanently free from Earth.”
Michaela’s sudden beaming smile was the most beautiful thing Korkla had ever seen. It was the smile of the terminally ill patient who had received a miracle cure. Her dark eyes, so brown they were almost black, brightened with unshed tears.
Release tentatively scheduled for June 2014