“Do not think poorly of the actions I must take to prevent more bloodshed,”- Nisha
Unlike the Rest is a first-person narrative of Nisha Patel. Like the rest of her people, Nisha is a Venandi, a vampire descended from angles. At an early age, she quickly learns there are a lot of things that set her apart from the others. Nisha has great sway over those around her and it threatens to tear her people apart. Will Nisha learn to harness her potential before it’s too late, or will her whole world crumble around her?
This is a Short Story
An Excerpt From Neutral Space
It was only a two-day trip. Kheda and I took turns at the controls, never leaving them for more than a few minutes. Reality finally returned, and it wasn’t pleasant. Less than an hour outside Sirus Three, four army ships approached. I jammed their scanners and long-range communicators, but I answered their hail.
“Identify yourself and state your business on Sirus Three.”
“William Smith and my wife, Ann, on our way to visit friends,” I replied.
“Turn on your view screen.”
“Sorry, sir it broke three months ago, and we haven’t found the part to fix her yet. The ship’s old, you know.”
“Then slow your approach and prepare to be boarded.” I turned off the communicator and turned on the intercom. “Kheda, get your butt up here. I’m gonna need your help.” Kheda came at a run without any shoes on. She’d been sleeping, I could tell, but she was wide awake now. “They want to board.”
“What are you going to do?”
“We’re finished if they board. I’ll be arrested, and we’ll both be handed over to the Kelsairans.”
“Jackson, maybe that’s what we want.”
“No, Kheda; we don’t have enough evidence yet.”
“I know, but let one dock I have a plan. You have a feel for her right.” I slowed the ship as she locked down the doors.
I switched on our communicator. “Ready to be boarded, slowing my speed as we speak.”
“Copy that, ship one will commence docking procedures.” I turned off the communicators.
“Wait till they open their hatch and can’t get into ours. Then, we’ll blow them off our side and break free. At least we’ll only have three to deal with then.”
“Kheda, that’s a bad idea. If we can get close enough, Jeannie has defensive weapons. She can help us.”
She checked the controls and frowned. “We’re still too far out.”
“She can make it. If we wait for them to dock, the other three will close in. I won’t be able to break free.”
Kheda was worried. “You’re sure?”
“Do it your way.” She strapped herself in and manned our guns. She brought up shields and transferred power from auxiliary systems. “I love you, Jackson.”
“I love you, too, Kheda.” I took her hand a moment before letting go.
“Deactivate shields and power down your weapons, or we will fire.” Came the hail. I fired up the engines and pushed ahead. They followed and ordered us to stop again.
“They want us alive. They’ll target the engines. Use it to your advantage, Kheda.” Her eyes went wide. She knew these were my own people we were going to be firing on. The first ship fired, and I rolled out of the way. I pushed the engines further and took evasive actions.
They spread out on my tail making it harder to avoid them. I looped back on them to give Kheda a clear shot. She took one out as the other two peeled off. They came at me from either side now. The fourth ship that was going to dock with us finally caught up. Kheda took it out before it was even in the game. We were getting closer to the planet now, and I dared not push the engines any further. I sent the signal to Jeannie, hoping she’d respond. The other two ships were tearing my shields to pieces and Kheda couldn’t get a lock. This ship wasn’t meant for a dogfight. I sent the code to Jeannie again. I was going to have to slow down soon if I wanted to live through the landing.
I veered right, hoping to buy time and took a hit on the starboard side. Kheda got off a shot as well and knocked out one of the other ships engines. It was slowed, but it wasn’t backing down. I was just starting to think Jeannie wasn’t going to help when the other ship was destroyed. I looked to Kheda, but she shook her head. The other ship was hit again and destroyed as well.
Kheda powered down weapons as I slowed for a landing “They didn’t get any messages out. I think your plan was better if not riskier.” I nodded my heart still pounding. “And you really are a better pilot.” Her voice was steady even though her hands had a slight shake now that the fight was over.