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Celestial Storm

Written By: Viola Grace
Published by: Devine Destinies
ISBN #:978-1-55487-700-3
Series: Sector Guard # 13
Word Count:19750
Page Count: 79
Heat Level:
Price: $3.99
Available in: Adobe Acrobat, Palm DOC/iSolo, Microsoft Reader, Hiebook, HTML, Mobipocket, Rocket, Epub, Sony PDF, Sony LRF

    Andra Nickles fired up her engines with a wave at the Guardsman watching her leave Morganti. The babies in Fixer's arms waved back on their momma's behalf. A fresh batch of suits and armour boxes for Udell base were stowed in the hold and she was on her way.
    
    "This is the Guarding Flight, Alliance courier, clearing the Morganti base with a flight path for Udell base. Please confirm."
    
    It was second nature to check in with the ground crew when she left. The tech she was carrying was highly confidential and experimental to the point of dangerous.
    
    "Acknowledged, Andra. Keep it in a straight line this time."
    
    "Yeesh, play chicken in a meteor storm once and I never hear the end of it." She was smiling as she lifted off and went through the pre-jump checks on the way out of Morganti's atmosphere.
    
    Her halo was implanted in her skull and her controls responded to her thoughts. Working on the Sector Guard support staff allowed her to experience and experiment with tech she had never dreamed of back on Earth.
    
    It still struck her as amazing that she had been one of the chosen Volunteers to leave her world and family behind. She had been a courier back on Earth as well. Her shining skill was her inability to get lost. It was so much a part of her that she had never even considered that it could be a talent until the assessors threw her into situations, mazes and even blindfolded her in the trials to prove it to her.
    
    Once out of the atmosphere, she laid on the thrusters while she did final checks on her jump systems. The jump markers loomed and she cubed her position between them. Orientation in three-dimensional space was a skill that came as naturally as her navigational talent.
    
    Andra leaned back in her seat, relaxed her palms on the sensors at the edge of her seat and took a few deep breaths. She opened the gateway in her mind and pictured her destination. She sent a pulse through the jump beacons via her halo and they synched with those near Udell. A sliding wrench and she was in two places at the same time.
    
    The Guarding Flight settled into the Udell beacon space a moment before alarms started blaring and the ship started shaking. "What in hell?"
    
    She was still weak from the jump when air began to hiss out of the seals on the ship. Outer displays showed a brilliant collection of lights and particles writhing around the ship. "Udell base, this is the Guardian Flight, courier Andra. My ship is under attack by a particulate storm and engines are unresponsive. I am in distress. Life support is failing and I have no ability to eject and run."
    
    "Andra, stay put. We are coming to get you." Guardian's voice was calming, but Andra knew that with her seals failing, her life support would soon be useless. She would soon be cold and lifeless in the vastness of space.
    
    "I will wait with bated breath."
    
    "Funny stuff. Do what you can to stay alive."
    
    "Will do." Releasing her restraint harness, she moved as rapidly as she could as her ship lost gravity.
    
    Particulates flowed into her shuttle and danced around in a light and flowing pattern. Andra batted them out of the way as the grips of the emergency breather fought her.
    
    Breathable air was becoming scarce, small particulates made their way into her lungs as she fought to free the breather.
    
    More particles made it into her body. She was faint from the lack of oxygen and ice was starting to pool in her limbs. Her knees gave way and she slumped to the deck with the certainty that death was coming.
    
    The particulates swirled, becoming thick tentacles that lifted her gently before surging into her mouth and nose. There was no pain, only the feeling of being bathed in warmth as the particles danced outside and within. A curiosity and joy that she knew were not her own filled her from the inside out as the world went dark.

    Andra Nickles has been a Terran courier assigned to the Sector Guard for a few years. The storm that wraps her ship and makes its way inside finds her just outside of Udell. With her body overwhelmed, her mind shuts down and the entity within the storm takes up residence. Racked with radiation that she doesn't know how to control, she is relegated to the home of Udell's avatar, Nich, where she learns a little about his race and a lot about his taste in botanicals. Using flowers as a tool to visually measure her radioactive output is unorthodox, but everything she is now experiencing is beyond her situational training. With care and control, she becomes the Celestial Storm, now she just needs to rework the name.

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