The Queen’s Triumph: Chapter 16

Part of the serial story The Queen’s Triumph

The Queen's Triumph, Chapter 16. A space opera serial. An elegant waiting room with sofas, coffee tables, and a few plants.

It’s Election Day, US friends! This is your very last chance to make your voice heard, so get out there and vote! Vote for leadership, and kindness, and hope.

And while the presidential election is incredibly important, all of the down-ballot races are important, too, so do your research (The League of Women Voters always has an excellent guide) and vote for your local officials as well.

Today and this week are going to be stressful, so here’s a chapter to help take your mind off of it. And HEAs are guaranteed in my worlds, so don’t stress too much as we creep closer to the final battle. :)

I froze even as my heart raced. What did you say? I demanded, certain that I’d heard them wrong. Adams didn’t have the ships or support to summon an armada. Right?

Which part of ‘fucking Quint armada’ is giving you trouble?

“What’s wrong?” Valentin asked.

“Sawya says a Quint armada just showed up. Check the news.”

The group all started asking questions, but I waved them away and returned to my conversation with Sawya. Has Chairwoman Soteras been in contact? Are they truly backed by the Quint Confederacy?

Regretfully, I’ve been a little too busy dealing with a fucking Quint armada to make any social calls, Sawya shouted across the link. There was a long pause, then they continued, their tone calm and deadly, Friends we may be, but I will not risk the station for you. Turn yourself in and I will do what I can for you. If you make me find you… don’t make me find you.

Open the airlocks and I will turn myself in.

You are in no position to make demands.

I closed my eyes and took a deep breath before I snapped out something that would get us all killed. I am making a request. There is no emergency in Block 19. The people here don’t deserve to be trapped, and it was already devolving into to violence right after the lockdown. People will die if it continues.

Continue reading “The Queen’s Triumph: Chapter 16”

The Queen’s Triumph: Chapter 15

Part of the serial story The Queen’s Triumph

The Queen's Triumph, Chapter 15. A space opera serial. A large open office space with couches and a conference table.

Today is the last day of early voting in several states, including Texas! Vote early if you can and beat the lines on election day!

I sprinted as fast as I could while dodging people in the growing crowd. Imogen shouted something from behind me, but I was too focused on not plowing into anyone to pay attention. The group link was also blowing up, but I ignored it, too.

According to the tracker, Adams had stopped just on the other side of the airlock. The distance between us shrank with each step. The doors wouldn’t close instantly. I still had time. I could make it.

The crowd got thicker and thicker as I approached the airlock. Many people were in pajamas, carrying whatever they could grab in thirty seconds. Frantic parents clung to their wailing children as they tried to get them to the safety of the airlock.

My heart twisted, but it would be far worse for everyone if Adams escaped. I shoved my way through the growing crowd, trying not to injure anyone.

I rounded the corner and finally caught sight of the airlock and the sea of people trying to escape. The heavy door on the Block 20 side was nearly closed. A few people still slipped through, but the gap would be far too narrow by the time I fought my way closer. The outer door had no safety shutoff—to prevent people from holding it open during a true emergency—and it would crush anyone caught between it and the frame.

I scanned the faces beyond the door. Commander Adams stood a few meters back, his pistol held loosely. He scanned each person coming through the airlock, presumably looking for me or Imogen. There were far too many people between us for me to get a clean shot, and I clenched my jaw in frustration.

Continue reading “The Queen’s Triumph: Chapter 15”

The Queen’s Triumph: Chapter 14

Part of the serial story The Queen’s Triumph

The Queen's Triumph, Chapter 14. A space opera serial. A woman with a gun in a dark alley silhouetted by bright lights.

Imogen gripped my arm as we waited. “I don’t like this,” she muttered for the tenth time.

“I know,” I said. I didn’t particularly like it either, since I would much rather be waiting with the attack party that was focused on Adams. “But this was the best option on short notice.”

We were in the corner of a small, out-of-the-way courtyard in Block 19. Sawya had picked it, assuring us that we wouldn’t be disturbed. They had given us the location before Adams, so we had arrived early to choose our position.

Here, tucked away in the darkest corner, tall columns gave us some cover. I was cuffed, cloaked, and blindfolded, though I wasn’t truly as helpless as I appeared. My blindfold looked good, but I could see straight through it.

“If one of Adams’s goons kills you, Valentin is going to kill me,” she said, “and I very much enjoy being alive.”

“Valentin won’t kill you. And even if he tries, Luka won’t let him.”

“Why couldn’t Luka betray you? That seems far more realistic.”

Continue reading “The Queen’s Triumph: Chapter 14”

The Queen’s Triumph: Chapter 13

Part of the serial story The Queen’s Triumph

The Queen's Triumph, Chapter 13. A space opera serial. A breakfast table with pastries, yogurt, and juice.

After Imogen left, I sat at the desk and tried to order my thoughts. Valentin waited for me upstairs, but I needed a moment to decompress. I hadn’t lied to Ari, I wasn’t going to go rogue and hit Adams tonight on my own, but the temptation certainly existed.

I let Valentin know that I was going to be in the office for a little while and then started going through the data Sawya had sent me. To say it was extensive would be an understatement. There were logs of when people left the building, including who, how many, and their destination. I shivered. Sawya would have just as much information on me, and they could’ve easily turned it over to Adams.

According to this, Adams had arrived a day after us, but he hadn’t wasted any time—he’d gone straight to Sawya. It made me feel a little better that he hadn’t been here for weeks.

He’d chosen his building well. There was no easy way to get a team in. We would have to draw him out or at least catch him when he was outside. Unfortunately, according to the logs, he let his lackeys handle everything. He rarely left the building.

I was going to have to play bait after all. I grimaced in distaste.

Continue reading “The Queen’s Triumph: Chapter 13”

The Queen’s Triumph: Chapter 12

Part of the serial story The Queen’s Triumph

The Queen's Triumph, Chapter 12. A space opera serial. A colorful city night scene with pedestrians and buildings.

We exited the tower without any difficulty. Sawya sent me an electronic information packet, as well as instructions to exit the block via the airlock into Block 4. It was the opposite direction of Block 48, but I figured they had a good reason and weren’t just trying to immediately double-cross me.

I told the rest of our team to withdraw and meet us there.

“Was it just me, or did that go better than expected?” Eddie asked once we were several streets away from Sawya’s building.

“Far better,” I agreed. “And we have Adams to thank for it. If he hadn’t infuriated them, then negotiations would’ve been much more painful.”

Murdering someone who I was probably already going to kill and trying to persuade the universe’s two superpowers to let CP57 negotiate the peace were small asks, all things considered. I’d been braced for so much worse.

“What did Adams do?”

“I don’t know, but I’m sure he was his usual charming self. He either threatened them or didn’t respect them.”

You threatened them,” Eddie pointed out.

“Barely. And only after being threatened myself. It’s a delicate dance, one that I’m sure Adams didn’t fully understand even if it was explained to him.”

Continue reading “The Queen’s Triumph: Chapter 12”