Collection of short stories set in the Delphinus universe.

Delphinus Contract By G.V. Nett– Available from Amazon  for kindle and in paperback

See where it all began.

FIRST TEST

Delphinus Universe Timeline: Talana, Jade and Isabelle are in their first year of training at United Defense.

Talana stumbled on the narrow path as another stone tumbled into the creek below. She reached out a hand to balance herself on the jagged cliff face that soared above her. Rivulets of rain poured into her shoes. Talana hoped her fatigue wasn’t too obvious. This was her first time as team leader in a survival test. She had a lot to prove.

Talana had been scrutinizing her fellow cadets since their random allotment together. The gossip mill had Isabelle pegged as arrogant and another cadet labeled Jade as friendly which was code for unremarkable. Talana didn’t want to think about what they might have heard about her. Two hours in to the survival test only one thing was clear. They were all so different, Talana hoped it turned out to be a good thing.

“We need to find cover. The lighting is getting close.” Talana yelled over the rain.

“Kerastasy’s team isn’t far behind we don’t want to lose the lead,” Isy said.

“Hamilton. They would be stuck in the same storm,” Talana said, stopping her monotonous trudge.

Jade, who was next on the track almost ran into Talana. “We passed a small cave not far back.”

“Back. You want to go back?” Isy’s question was drowned out by a crashing boulder. Jade lunged at Talana to push her out of the way.

“You okay?” Jade said lying on top of Talana.

“Thanks to you.” They struggled to pull themselves up slipping in the mud several times. “Back to the cave. Double time,” she ordered, ignoring the pain in her right leg as she took the first step.

Jade pulled aside the branches of a small tree to reveal the cave entrance.

“Well spotted,” Talana said, as they dumped their packs inside. It was big enough for all three to stand and move around a little. “This will do till the rain clears.”

“You’re hurt,” Jade said, stepping closer.

“What?”

“Your leg. Xian it’s bleeding.” Jade pointed to the gash on Talana’s leg.

“It’s Talana. And it’s just a cut.” She sat down to get a better look.

“Better wrap it,” Isy said, reaching into her pack for a bandage.

“You want me to do it?” Jade offered sitting down beside her.

“I got it.” Talana took the bandage from Isabelle.

A small communicator drone hovered just outside the cave. “Cadets.” The drone’s simulated voice bellowed. “Do you require assistance?”

“No.” All three women said in unison. A small light at the bottom of the drone flashed green before the drone disappeared into the streaks of rain.

“Why did it have to be Earth? Couldn’t they have sent us somewhere more exotic?” Isy commented.

“What’s wrong with Earth?” Talana asked.

“I can say it. I’m from Earth too. It’s boring. And in the real world when are we ever going to be on a mission without a single bit of tech?”

“We have a gun,” Jade offered.

“Its projectile, how ridiculous.  It’s not a real test unless they think it’s a time travel test not a survival test.”

“It’s so much better than class,” Jade said. “I’ll take a dank cave over theory any day. Besides you looked like you were enjoying the logic part of this.”

“Once we got the code you really aced the clues to tell us where to go for the pit stop,” Talana added.

Isy blushed a little. “It wasn’t that hard.”

“Well I for one think we make a good team.” Jade informed them. “Talana got the code. Isabelle worked out the destination of the pit stop and I determined the fastest route there. Which may not have been the best idea given where we’re sitting.”

“No, this isn’t your fault,” Talana said, checking how much water each of them had left. She couldn’t rely on filling up from the creek now that the water was so churned from the rain. “I checked the weather report. There was no storm warning or low pressure system to account for this amount of rain. We need to start a fire.”

“I’ll fill up my empty can from the rain,” Jade said, snatching hers from Talana. “And there are some dry branches at the front. I’ll get them.”

“We won’t be here for that long,” Isy said.

“However long we have to be here we may as well be warm,” Talana replied.

“I guess I can use powder from the ammo to start a fire. You know they could have given us a lighter.”

“Great,” Talana said, as Jade dumped some twigs on the ground.

Isy pulled some small white flakes out of her bag and added it to the ash from the bullets. Tiny sparks ignited into small flames. Since they were all supposed to have the same thing in their packs Talana had no idea how Isy had just created fire.

Talana watched as Jade absently made swirls in the dirt with her finger. Talana liked that Jade smiled easily and often, she had a lightness to her personality that Talana envied. Unlike other cadets Talana recognized the steely determination behind Jade’s kind eyes. There was a depth of character that Talana was looking forward to getting to know. Shifting her attention to Isy who was repacking her kit. Talana was sure with Isy what you saw was what you got. She was blunt and capable. Talana liked her already.

Jade broke the silence. “Is it true your mum holds the fighter class shuttle speed and accuracy record?”

“Yeah,” Talana said quietly.

“Among a few other records I heard,” Isy said, oblivious to Talana’s scowl.

“I imagine it’s hard to have that legacy to compete with,” Jade said.

“Most people assume that legacy is the only reason I’m here.”

“Doesn’t matter how you got here,” Isy said. “You still have to get through.”

“For people who supposedly passed the critical thinking exams to get in there is far too much assuming done by cadets. The rumor mill is out of control,” Jade said.

“Like the rumor you’re dating Cassie Kerastasy,” Isy said, with a wry smile. “You didn’t lead us down this path to give your girlfriend an advantage did you?”

“Actually I heard it was Talana seeing Cassie,” Jade countered. Talana just laughed not bothering to confirm or deny the rumor. “So Talana Xian is it just legacy that brings you to the UD training centre or do you have your own reasons?”

Talana usually gave the well practiced answer about maintaining peace and protecting the citizens of the Orion Arc planets and their allies. But the warmth of the fire and the genuine interest on Jade’s face pushed her to tell the truth.

“I want to command the best ship in the defense squadron.”

“Oh thank god,” Isy said. “Finally someone who doesn’t go on with the bull about duty and honor. I don’t know what they think is so bad about ambition. I want to be the best engineer in the Orion sector.”

“What about you Jade?” Talana asked.

“Where I come from no one has ever graduated from UD training. I’m not even sure anyone has ever applied.”

“So it’s a big thing just to be here. I get it,” Talana said.

“You’re paving the way for others. It’s great,” Isy added.

“I don’t want to just pave the way. I want to light it up. My parents don’t travel much so I just watched the shuttles and ships go by. Now I want to be able to pilot anything and everything. I want to be the best pilot in the UD.”

Talana smiled. The rumors were right. Isabelle thought she was smarter than everyone else because she probably was and Jade who had already saved her life was the consummate quiet achiever.

“Do you hear that?” Talana asked standing up.

“What?” Isy asked.

“I think…” Talana moved towards the entrance to the cave. “It sounds like…” she stopped. “Oh crap.”

Isy followed behind. “Oh crap,” she said looking at the water crashing down the swollen banks a few feet below the cave.

“Hamilton step back.” Talana’s order was too late. The ground dissolved under Isy’s feet. She slipped down the bank out of Talana’s reach, her feet dangling just above the gushing water.  A clump of grass was the only thing preventing her from falling further.

“Isabelle!” Jade shouted her arm outstretched.

“Get back,” Talana ordered. “Get the rope from my pack and yours.” Talana stretched her body face down on the ground. “Wrap that end around the boulder and throw it to me.”She tied the rope around her waist. “Now stay back just in case.” Talana threw the other end down to Isy and pulled her up.

“Everyone okay?” Talana asked as she leant against the cave wall trying to catch her breath.

“I’m good,” Isy said panting. “Thanks to you two.”

“This cave is starting to look really small,” Jade said. “Somebody got a plan B?”

“We’re going to have to use the help beacon,” Talana said folding up the rope.

“No way,” Isabelle said.

“We can’t give up yet,” Jade agreed.

“That water is rising fast.”

“Then we use the rope and climb further up,” Isy suggested.

“I’ll go first. I did a far bit of climbing as a kid,” Jade offered.

Talana looked at their willing faces. She didn’t want to give up either but she was the team leader. “No it’s too risky.” She hit the activation button on the beacon. “I’ll take full responsibility for this.”

Isy kicked the dirt and Jade slammed a hand down on the ground.

The communicator drone reappeared. “Help will arrive in two minutes.” This time the drone remained in place.

Exactly two minutes later a shuttle replaced the drone at the entrance to the cave. The ramp extended into the small alcove, an officer called out from the shuttle. “Congratulations team Xian.”

“What for? We just conceded defeat,” Isy said.

“First rule is to stay alive. If you had waited until we had no other choice but to come in and save you that would be considered failure. You are the first team to call for help.”

“What did I say are we a great team or what?” Jade said.  Talana and Isy smiled, Jade’s lightning fast change of mood was contagious.

“We are,” Talana agreed.

“But next time we go for the win not the retreat. Right?” Isy asked her team leader.

“I think the three of us are capable of staying alive and leaving the rest in our dust. Or mud in this case,” Talana answered.

“I second that,” Jade said, holding out her hand to seal the deal.

“I third that,” Isy said placing her hand over Jade and Talana’s clasped wrists.

“Right that’s settled then,” Talana said, staring at their eager faces.

THE END

Rescuing the Equuleus

Delphinus Universe Timeline: Talana has graduated and being serving in United Defense for six years.

After six years of dedicated service to United Defense Talana was progressing towards her goals and rapidly ascending the command ladder. But over the years, the naivety of her aspirations had become all too evident. Talana’s rank entitled her to see confidential information, she now knew the real cost of UD’s version of peace. The ends did not always justify the means. It was one thing to take orders assuming it was for the best but Talana was now in a position to give the orders with full knowledge of the consequences.

The defining moment in Talana’s short-lived career with UD was a distress call from a Contract ship that was identified as Non-A, meaning its crew was not allied to any member states or UD planets. Although the ship Talana was serving on was only one hour away, the Captain gave the order to continue with the current mission and contact another ship to respond to the request for help. The Captain gave the order knowing the nearest ship was at least nine hours away. It was Talana’s job to relay this information to the distressed ship but although the Contract ship’s computer received the message, there was no response from the crew. Talana pleaded with her Captain but as far as he was concerned the procedure was clear, they were under orders to aid a member planet, the Non-A ship was therefore low priority.

Talana’s instincts were screaming that nine hours was going to be too late for the crew of the Contract ship. It was the last time Talana could accept that people’s fate was decided by their membership status. Using the privileges and security codes afforded by her rank and with the help of a trusted friend, Annette Davern, who forged authority for the shuttle to leave and directed the sensor scans elsewhere. Talana was able to steal a shuttle, medical and engineering equipment and set off to the source of the distress call.

Talana envisaged an old, bolted together, bulk carrier ship but the craft drifting helplessly in space in front of her was seamless and although large, its curved surfaces made it look more aerodynamic and maneuverable than anything in the UD Fleet. The reason the crew hadn’t responded to Talana’s message quickly became clear. Although the outside was obviously intact, the internal scans showed the life support system had failed and Meteron gas had somehow leaked into the ventilation system. Talana’s scans showed that the gas had almost dissipated. Although it usually only rendered most species unconscious for several hours, the life support was no longer functioning. The crew had very little oxygen left. Talana knew immediately that if she had not disobeyed orders the crew of this ship would never have regained consciousness.

After docking, Talana found the ship’s controls were similar to most UD ships and the computer was not in lock-down mode. It was a relatively simple task to ventilate the rest of the gas and reinitialize life support. Talana could finally take off the uncomfortable enviro mask and get a proper look at her surroundings. It looked like the interior of the ship had been designed to match the outside, with smooth and slightly curved surfaces and control panels located all over the room but there were minimal furnishings. Having spent the last few years living in the totally beige and chrome environments of UD ships Talana was impressed with the boldness of the deep red, bronze and cream color scheme. Talana planned to use the ventilation system to filter a stimulant to the crew.  But before Talana activated it she wanted to find the Captain and administer the stim personally so she could explain what happened. Talana just hoped the Captain of this ship was level headed and didn’t react badly to a stranger wandering around their ship after a disaster of unknown origin.

As she made her way to the command centre Talana noticed that all the unconscious bodies she stepped over were female and most looked like they were in their fifties or sixties. Talana was horrified by how quickly their lives had almost ended. Reaching the command centre, Talana easily identified the Captain, she had not even left her seat. Suddenly feeling like a voyeur, Talana quickly punctured the Captain’s shoulder with the stim shot and was amazed how quickly the Captain became alert.

“I am Lieutenant Talana Xian… Or, um, at least I used to be… I have just given you a stim prick, your crew will be fine once I activate the same stimulant through your environmental system. They will probably be confused and it may give some people a slight headache. Do you remember what happened?” There was a long pause as the Captain ran her hands through her shoulder-length grey hair and focused her vibrant blue eyes on Talana. She seemed to be assessing whether Talana was friend or foe. Standing up shakily the captain placed a hand on Talana’s shoulder for support. She smiled and finally broke the silence.

“Welcome to the Equuleus Lieutenant Xian, I am Captain Shannon O’Malley,” she said, looking Talana up and down.“UD Lieutenant?”

“Yes.” Talana didn’t think it was the time to reveal that her actions would qualify her for a dishonorable discharge and the only reason she would get away with only that was because her temporary commission expired several days ago. Her commanding officer was notorious for his inability to do paperwork; this was the one time that was an advantage.

Moving on from her scrutiny of Talana the captain glanced around at her fallen crew, she turned back to Talana, this time the smile was gone. “I believe you just saved us from a very undignified end, thank you. Now let’s wake the old girls up.”

A few hours later it was discovered that a series of burnt out circuitry had culminated in the near disaster. According to the captain, the damage must have occurred while they were docked at Filetut Station. A class three nova storm had hit the station overloading a lot of the automated systems causing a feedback surge through the docking clamps. The Equuleus was forced to leave the station before repairs could be completed to avoid another storm. Captain O’Malley admitted that their eagerness to leave was also motivated by a desire to reach their final destination. Talana was informed that the crew and her Captain were going to retire in a week. Duties and responsibilities were considered less important than planning their upcoming celebrations. It was nearly a very costly and in Talana’s opinion a very stupid mistake. Though none of the crew seemed to agree with Talana’s assessment of their error in judgment. They all seemed grateful for the rescue but relatively unfazed by their near-death experience. In fact, after only two days of repairs and system checks, which Talana had gladly helped with so she didn’t have to contemplate her next move, the crew was now consumed with organizing another celebration, this time in honor of their savior. It did not sit well with Talana. She informed the Captain she would be departing immediately. But the conversation did not go as planned.

“Surely your duties can wait,” Shannon said. “I’ll send a message to your commanding officer requesting you be allowed to remain here to continue to help us fix the systems.”

“Your systems are fine now and anyway, I have already communicated my resignation to my former commanding officer. I will travel to the nearest planet and then set the shuttle on auto-pilot back to my former ship. I appreciate the gesture Captain but I need to go.”

Although the Captain was old enough to be Talana’s mother and a head shorter than Talana, she exuded authority in way that made Talana automatically stand at attention while the Captain scrutinized her closely. Talana found herself glued to the spot, unconsciously waiting for permission to leave.

“Well, I guess that answers my question. I just finished going through the communication entries from our little time out and I found a message from you saying a ship would not be here for another day. But then you arrived here a couple of hours later. Those self righteous bastards didn’t give you permission to leave did they?”

“No, but that’s just one in a long list of reasons why I’m not going back.”

After another long pause the Captain continued. “Do you know much about Contract ships?”

“Just the obvious and what your crew has been telling me. But I’m not sure what that has got to do with me leaving Captain. I really should be going before I’m charged with unlawful possession of a UD shuttle.”

“Indulge me for a minute and please call me Shan people stopped calling me the Captain around here a few weeks ago,” Shan said, after making herself comfortable on the sofa behind the work area and instructing Talana to take a seat. “You see, most Contract ships specialize in only one or two areas, say freight, scientific investigations or security and so on but I was the first one to offer to do almost anything and do it well. I have scientists, engineers, security personnel, and tacticians. The thing we specialize in is having an all female crew, which I might add has made us very popular with a lot of interesting organizations. But that’s another conversation entirely. We have worked hard for many years to change the reputation of Contract ships. When I first started, the only ones running were groups of itinerants who were either looking for passage away from something or were drop outs from big companies or military ships. No offence intended. Anyway what I’m getting at is I have a ship of amazing women who have done and seen amazing things but it’s time for a new venture.” Leaning towards Talana and fixing her blue eyes on the young women Shan spoke in a sincere tone that again made Talana think she should be standing at attention. “I want you to do the same, put together the best people you can find and be the next Captain of the Equuleus.” When Talana said nothing the Captain continued. “There are only a few stipulations. The Equuleus is yours if you have an all female crew, she gets a bit temperamental if she gets man-handled,” Shan said, reaching over to pat the computer panel affectionately. “Secondly, you must abide by the guidelines we devised together as a crew. You will be familiar with most of the goals from the so-called mission statement of your former bosses, except we actually do live by the principles. In a nutshell, we don’t enter into contracts that will be harmful to anyone or anything in any way. Oh and the last thing is our cook and her partner, who is our medical doctor, want to stay so they have to be a part of your crew. Trust me they will grow on you. So what do you say?”  The question was asked as if it was the most natural thing in the universe to offer a perfect stranger your ship and your mission.

Too stunned to say anything for several seconds, Talana finally clumsily replied, “I um… I… You don’t even know me and I don’t have anything to give you, no credits no assets, nothing. This ship is so amazing but you don’t owe me anything. I’m just glad I got here in time.”

“I’ve been busy while you’ve been in engineering. I looked at your official file and I also spoke to an old friend, Professor Randal.”

“My old lecturer from the training centre?”

“She informed me you would have no problem with upholding my principles, captaining my ship and certainly no problem with an all female crew.” The last part was said with a wicked grin. “You see this isn’t about repaying you for saving our lives. I’ve been looking for the right person. I thought it was my daughter but unfortunately she’s now married and pregnant and more to the point, not interested. I’m also not in it for the assets, my crew and I have built up more than enough credits. In fact, our last contract earned us a substantial amount of land on a beautiful planet where most of us are planning to go and sip wine and watch the sunset. So the Equuleus is yours if you want it.”

Talana stood up and paced up and down the small office. She realized there were no pros and cons to this decision, no if, buts or maybes. This was a once in a lifetime offer. Command, adventure and challenges with no moral compromises.

“Maybe some of the gas got behind my mask or I gave you the wrong dosage. This doesn’t sound sane. No offence, I mean come on, one minute I’m unemployed and have no idea what to do and the next thing you’re giving me this amazing opportunity.” Taking a deep breath Talana pushed all the jumbled emotions and multitude of doubts aside. “Don’t get me wrong. I would be the crazy one to walk away from a ship like this. Who wouldn’t want this? I would be honored. But how can you possibly know I’m the right person for the job?”

Talana found herself embraced in a bear hug. “You are the right person.”

“How do you know?” Talana asked again.

“My grandmother was a big believer in fate and destiny and my mother taught me to trust my instincts. So far, these things have led me in the right direction, as I know they are now. I firmly believe it’s our obligation to honor good fortune by passing it on, besides which as my crew will attest every decision I have ever made has been slightly crazy. But right now our destiny is to celebrate,” Shan said, as she left the office to give her crew the news.

A brief conversation and a hug and Talana’s future was decided. Her life changed and her commitment to honor the trust Shan placed in her sealed.

Talana was not raised on stories of fate and destiny. She was raised on military logic and reasoning. Sitting down was not making this decision seem more logical. Talana decided action was needed. Crossing to the computer panel, she opened a link to her best friend Isabelle. “Want a promotion?” Talana asked when she saw Isabelle’s face on the small screen.

“What? Tal now’s not the best time. I’ve got a lot of work to do and the Captain is breathing down my neck. Can I contact you later?” Isabelle asked, as she continued to work.

“No, this can’t wait. You’re going to be the head of engineering and my second in command. Just not on a UD ship.” Talana knew Isy would not believe her or quit her career without proof. “I’m coming to pick up you and Jade and we will take the rest from there.”

Isy kept working. “Whatever Tal, got to go.” Talana had learnt long ago not to take offence when Isy’s was on a deadline.

“Just start packing Isy. You and Jade have a new mission. I’ll see you soon.”

Isy just waved her hand and logged off.

“Right that’s settled then,” Talana said, staring at the blank screen.

THE END

New love

Delphinus Universe Timeline: Talana has just taken over as Captain of the Equuleus

Talana wasn’t quite used to Paully’s old style cooking but lasagna was one her new favorites. She resisted the urge to wipe the last morsel of sauce from the plate with her finger. Jade had seen all her bad habits before, too many times. But now they were together there was a level of decorum Talana wanted to maintain for as long as she could.

“You shouldn’t be doing this,” Jade said. Talana knew she wasn’t referring to her eating habits.

“You think I should have said no to helping the Fidler ship and let the second solar wave take them out?”

“No that’s not what I meant. I just mean this was going to be your first day off since we got to the Equuleus. You’re going to have to say no to something, sometime.” Jade picked up their plates.

“This isn’t going to work if you mother me.” Talana knew it was a mistake the second the words were out of her mouth.

“Mother you?” Jade spun around dumping the plates back on the table. “Don’t you dare use that line on me. I’ve watched you do that to other girlfriends.”

“Well then you know this is who I am.” Talana stood up, it was too late to back down now.

Jade stepped closer. “First, if I want to tell you to look after yourself I can. And second you’re with me now. I want you all in. I won’t take anything less.” She stepped back. “I have to go meet Isy.” Jade stomped out of their quarters.

Talana cursed the Fidler ship for the second time today. Fidler were a group of scientist who didn’t know their own limitations. They were studying an area of space known for its high velocity solar waves. Science apparently took priority over safety in their opinion. Their thirst for data led them to getting too close. The wave damaged their shields and engines and now the Equuleus crew had two hours to help them before the next wave hit.

The Equuleus had superior shields but even they would be stretched by the intensity of the wave. Talana didn’t have a choice, no one else had responded to the Fidler’s distress call. Other ships had more sense than to enter the dangerous area of space.

Ninety minutes later

Ling Na studied the readouts, they hadn’t changed from the last diagnostic. Nothing on the Fidler ship was going to plan. The occupants were all astrophysicists or molecular mechanics. They were so caught up in their domains of expertise they had let their systems get into a lethal state of disrepair.

“Ling you don’t have to keep checking with Isabelle.” Jade held her hand over Ling’s CB. “You have got to learn to trust yourself.”

“But I’m not an engineer.”

“No buts. We have half an hour left. Isy is busy working on the turbines and the shields. You’re a pilot which means you have to know these systems as well as an engineer. If she can’t get it done in the next ten minutes then we need navigation and backup propulsion.”

“Exactly. That’s why I need to ask if she thinks I should reroute or shunt the power packs.”

“What do you think?”

“You really want me to go through all the pros and cons?”

“Which one is quicker?”

“The shunt.”

“I agree. Use the fuse pen on the delta section while I work on this one.” Jade handed over the tool.

Jade was just about finished her assigned task when a com came in from Talana. “I want you to pack it up over there.” Talana’s captain tone was loud and clear over Jade’s CB.

“We can get this done Tal,” Jade replied.

“I don’t want you over there when the wave hits. We’ll bring the crew back in the shuttle if we have to.”

“But we can save the ship.”

“I’d rather save the people Jade.”

Jade stepped away from the workstation hoping she was out of Ling’s ear shot. “If it was anyone else over here would you still be ordering us back?” There was silence on the other end. “We will get this done. Trust us. Jade out.” Jade walked back to Ling. “Okay don’t make a liar out of me. What’s next Ensign.”

Forty five minutes later

Jade landed the shuttle safely back on the Equuleus. “Good work people,” Isy said, as the Equuleus team filed out. Talana was waiting at the bottom of the ramp. “Hey Tal. Let’s try arrange it so the next distress call isn’t from a ship that’s got no air-conditioning,” Isy said, patting a sweaty hand on Talana’s shoulder.

“Sure Isy. If you try not to cut it so close next time. Telling me the job is done only a few minutes before the wave hit isn’t exactly following rule number one.”

“We did stay alive,” Isy protested. “You’ll have a report as soon as I get a shower,” Isy said, trotting out of the shuttle bay.

Talana pulled Jade aside as the rest of the team walked away. “You said I could trust you.”

“Tal we’re safe.” She took Tal’s hand. “It’s all good. We got navigation back up and Isy got a burst out of the engines to get us further away.”

“Just, Jade. Only just. You should have listened to me when I said to get back here.”

“I didn’t mean to undermine your authority or anything. I just didn’t think it was time to cut and run.”

“I have to know you’re going to obey orders.”

“I know. But you have to be okay with my being in harm’s way. Cause I get the feeling it’s going to happen a lot.”

“How are we going to do this Jade?” Talana turned away. “I was going crazy over here watching that wave get closer and closer and there was nothing I could do.”

Jade tugged on Talana’s shoulder, turning her back so they were face to face again. “I think you just need to believe that I don’t want to do anything that would make me leave you. I’m always going to want to come home to you.” Jade pulled Talana in for a kiss.

The end

Mia – Before the Storm

Delphinus Universe Timeline: This story takes place six months before the Equuleus travels to Delphinus.

Mia convinced herself she had taken the job at the Diplomatic Unit because she was interested in interplanetary concerns but deep down she knew it was due to her desire to stop resisting the inevitable. Undertaking ambassador work with the surrounding planets was a requirement for Collective nomination and selection. It meant accepting the path everyone else wanted her to take. Which was following in her mother’s footsteps.

Most people who knew Mia’s mother, Claire, felt it was a foregone conclusion that she would be nominated and eventually voted onto the Collective when the next place became available. Delphinians placed great importance on preparing potential candidates for leadership. It was a long and challenging process that required a great deal of commitment and an ability to empathise with the needs of all the different communities on Delphinus. As well as understanding the needs of their allies on different planets and the delicate political relationship with planets that were closer to adversaries than allies.

Claire had enjoyed every aspect of the preparation process and had almost completed the extended tour of all the communities when she was killed trying to intervene in an attack on another women. Although Mia was still only a child, she had requested to complete the journey in honor of her mother. Zivic, who at the time had just been nominated to the list of potentials for the Collective made the pilgrimage alongside Mia.

The denial did not last long. When Mia was offered the opportunity to leave the Diplomatic Unit and train for planet security she accepted immediately before anybody tried to change her mind. Delphinus planet security suited Mia perfectly. It was never boring. She could challenge herself with training in everything from advanced field medicine to tactics and of course, piloting, all of which she loved. It was everything she wanted and everything she’d been missing when she had taken a job with the Diplomatic Unit. But that too was cut short by her ill health. Mia had been to specialist after specialist to try to determine what was going wrong. Through all the test and procedures Mia desperately missed her home in the hills behind the planet’s political centre, Lerete.

****

Skipping out of the afternoons round of testing Mia took a flyer to her old home, landing just a few feet away from the narrow creek that ringed the property. Mia splashed her face with the cool water. When the ripples subsided she stared at her reflection in the glassy water. She saw tired eyes and lank hair. She placed her hand in the water to dissolve the image. When the water flattened again it was not her image. Staring back at her was another woman, she was beautiful, even though Mia couldn’t really make out her features. Mia felt the desire to reach out to the image. Somehow she knew the woman was not alone or lonely but she stood apart from everyone else. Mia knew she shouldn’t give her a hug or even take her hand, it wouldn’t be welcome. What the woman needed was for Mia to stand beside her letting her know she was there.

Mia slumped to the ground. She felt like she was being drained. But she didn’t mind. She would give whatever the woman needed.

“Mia. Mia wake up.” A nurse hovered over Mia. “You fell asleep sweetie.”

“What?” Mia looked around at the clinical room. She was so far away from the water’s edge.

“You fell asleep under the scanner. It happens sometimes.” The nurse helped Mia up to a sitting position. “But you need to get over to Doctor Alter’s office for the results.”

“Sure,” Mia said. Desperately wishing she could go back to the dream world instead.

THE END

Delphinus Contract By G.V. Nett– Available from Amazon

Take a Sneak peek at Delphinus Contract

A futuristic love story about meeting your soul mate at the exact moment they need you the most and want you the least. The story follows Captain Talana Xian’s struggle to lead after her world is shattered by betrayal and revenge.

Take a look at the Character descriptions for Delphinus Contract

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