Chapter 5

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My breath lodges in my throat. I stare down at the knife. It sticks out of the wall inches from my abdomen. Adrenaline surges, anger, fury, rage, all of it boils to the surface. I shove Sarka, a low growl, from deep in my throat, escapes through gritted teeth. I knock him onto the bed giving him what I hope is a deadly stare. Based on the smirk curling the edges of his lips and my heavy breathing, I somehow doubt it.

I run a hand over my face, trying to calm down. I turn back and tug the knife from the wall. My hand shakes as I grip the handle, my fingers tingle.

"Don't pull a weapon unless you intend to use it."

How can he be so calm? I'm about ready to burst through my skin. "You made your point." I fumble the knife back into its sheath and take a moment to compose myself. I have nothing to focus on except the plain desk jutting from the wall. I use a breathing exercise, taught to me by Kate, the woman who took me in after my mom died. I haven't had to use it in years. Now there are two people in my life who drive me mental enough to need diaphragmatic breathing.

"Jordan, I'd never intentionally hurt you."

"You couldn't if you tried," I hiss and storm out of his cabin.


I spend the rest of the week overseeing repairs and readying the ship for our exploration of this galaxy. Any initial trepidation gives way to excitement. This is a chance to see what's out there. We're actually going to discover something new. After a millennia of hiding out in our own galaxy, never venturing further than our own solar system.

As I walk the decks, running my fingers along new panels, I'm gripped by a sudden surge of pride. She isn't much, the Persephone, but she's got spunk. In a few more days we should be ready to launch.

The only thing left is the outside repairs to the hull near the breach. I don't want to leave on such an unknown mission without having the ship one hundred per cent ready.

I'm in the mess the day before we launch. Meals don't feel the same without Ash. Even Hartley, who hasn't stopped talking the whole time, can't keep my mind off her. I blink and look up at him when I notice the quiet. He's stopped talking.

"What?" I ask.

"Didn't you hear the intercom?"

I cock my head, even though there's nothing coming over the speaker. "No. Was it for me?"

He shovels spaghetti into his mouth and speaks around the noodles dangling from between his teeth. "The doctor wants you to report to the med centre." A glob of tomato sauce rolls down his chin as he sucks up the noodles.

"Dammit." I jump up and dump my food, shoving the tray in a stack near the door and rush out.

My first thought is Sarka. When I enter, Yakovich is lounging on one of the beds, confirming this thought. Her legs hang over the edge, swinging like a pendulum. Her shoulder is wrapped in a white bandage. The tattoos from her neck are visible now. They run from the nape of her neck all the way down her shoulder to her back and branch out along her arm. It's clear what she spent most of her wealth on. Body art. The bandage is obscuring a hawk. Its wings span her back, the beak and head angle along her other shoulder. The detail and shading is astounding. She must have had it done on Alpha. That's not something you'd get on one of the mining ships, or even one of the mining cities on Epsilon.

"What happened?" I ask. My eyes scan for any other damage, but she appears fine otherwise.

She leans back, but stops and sits up again when the movement puts pressure on her shoulder. "Wrestling match didn't quite go my way. I'll be fine, Captain. It's a scratch."

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