The Queen’s Gambit: Chapter 13, Part 1

Part of the serial story The Queen’s Gambit

After a week in the med chamber, I was ready to escape. I’d been unconscious for most of the first several days and only remembered brief snatches of time. But the auto-doc had done its job well, and I’d woken up yesterday nearly healed. Despite my protests, Stella had put me under for another day, but that ended now.

I needed out.

Ari had given me brief updates in the short periods I had been awake, but she had been holding something back. And I couldn’t wrangle the information out of her if I was trapped in a med chamber.

“Twelve more hours would do you good,” Stella grumbled from the other side of the clear med chamber hood. “You nearly died a few days ago. If I hadn’t had the trauma-doc, you would’ve.” She scowled as she scrolled through my medical diagnostic.

I doubted she could find anything in the report that would prevent me from escaping. Truth be told, I felt awesome. Both my thigh and side were completely healed, covered over in smooth skin without even a scar as a reminder.

Stella sighed in defeat. “If I let you out, I want your word that you won’t lift anything heavier than a kilogram for the next three days.” I started to protest and she cut me off. “I will knock you out again if I have to,” she said with a deadly serious gleam in her eye.

I knew when to accept gracious defeat. “I won’t lift anything heavier than a kilogram for three days,” I promised.

“Ok, get up, shower, and get dressed while I find Ari. She’ll be keeping you honest,” she said. She waved a hand towards the back of the room. “Shower’s the door on the right.”

I nodded meekly. Beneath the scowls and grumbles, Stella was too pale, her face drawn. According to Ari, she’d been up constantly the first few days, monitoring my condition and tweaking the auto-doc’s settings. As soon as I’d seen her face, I’d known just how close to death I’d skated.

Stella left and the med chamber hood swung open. I sat up with a grimace. Despite the electrical stimulation the chamber used to prevent muscle atrophy, I felt stiff and sore.

I swung my legs over the side and eased up to standing. I expected my right thigh to hurt, but other than the faint tremble of unused muscles, I felt great. It was going to be really hard to remember my promise, which was probably why Stella decided to attach Ari to my side.

A glance around revealed a dozen other med chambers, all thankfully empty. We were aboard Asray, the Rogue Coalition’s only city-ship. The Coalition had started on this ship, back before we took over Trigon Three and Arx.

Capable of holding nearly 5,000 people, the ship was designed like a small city—hence the name. Relatively tiny as far as city-ships went, it was still our largest ship and the one with the best medical unit.

Now that I was up, I needed to see how much damage we’d taken, but first I needed to get rid of the chemical and ozone stench from the med chamber. The smell clung to my skin and hair, reminding me of my previous stints in medical. I grabbed my clothes and headed for the tiny attached shower.

Short, but I decided not to keep you in suspense all weekend. :) Parts 2 and 3 will be posted at the regular times next week.

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21 Replies to “The Queen’s Gambit: Chapter 13, Part 1”

  1. Thank you for not leaving us at the end of Chapter 12! I’ve been eating every word up, thank you! Up here in Alaska I do love my reading in the winter!

  2. Thank you! I’m thoroughly enjoying your voice, so this was a great Friday treat. Especially since I only picked up the last snip early this morning. Didn’t have to stay in suspense for long :) Amazing job!

  3. I am simultaneously happy to read the latest post and despairing because it is one step closer to the end of this round of installments.

  4. An unexpected, VERY pleasant surprise. Thank you!!!

    You’ve probably already explained this — apologies if you have — but why a novella instead of a full length story? It seems like there would be plenty of material to work with!!!

    Thanks again for the extra treat!!!

    1. Novellas don’t interfere with my traditional publishing contracts and are short enough that I can work them in between novel deadlines (hopefully). :)

      I plan to continue the TQG novella series later this year, so you’ll see more of Samara and Valentin.

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