Event Horizon – Chapter 20 – The Plan

Thank you for reading! Me and my coauthor Darinost are gradually combining forces and blogs, so the joint comment section for our stories is currently located on discord! Come on in and let us know what you thought, we don’t bite.

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Hyperlinks in the text are intended as supplemental material, discussing elements of the science behind the science fiction. They are not intended as required reading for the story. Hyperlinks will be provided at the point in the story where it comes up, but all the links will also be collected at the bottom of the post for easy reading.

For the last several day’s activity had been rising, building up to a fever pitch as the crescendo approached. The fleet had fully assembled and was prepared, and everyone knew the next attack was imminent. Aboard the Death of Hope, Kthid feet scrambled as the occasional siren blared, warnings to get to battle stations.

There would be no surprise… warfare in space just didn’t work that way. The humans would see them coming and get into position for a battle… there would be no repeat of the ambush that had started this war. However, assembling and moving as quickly as possible might make the day’s feet battle as chaotic and scrambling as possible. Once the Kthid fleet started accelerating toward the human world, the human fleet would begin to accelerate toward them. It would turn into yet another bloody, destructive battle where savagery and tactics combined with brutal cunning.

It was the sort of engagement that made a Kthid’s bloodlust peak.

Soldiers moved into position, preparing for war… and in that chaos, most of the Heitera were left virtually unguarded. No Kthid eyes were upon them, living or digital… everyone had better things to do than to be doing much monitoring. This was one of the rare occasions that they could speak openly without the need to look over their shoulders or fear an inquisitive Kthid warrior barraging in demanding answers. Everyone was prepared for war, or preparing for it, getting ready to fight and just riding out the chaos of the coming fleet conflict.

It was a perfect time for trapped souls to conspire.

“I still don’t like this plan,” Amara said, taking the few minutes she had to eat. Soon she was going to be too busy to have a chance to eat anything… at a time like this, a soldier took food when she could.

“There’s not a lot of choices,” the carapace-covered Hive-Queen said in the tone of someone who’d repeated herself several times. “The ship is coming. It’ll be here soon, and when it does it’ll meet up with us during the battle… It will arrive in our Solar System in but a few hour’s notice. We have that long to get ready, get as many of slaves able to escape with it, and vanish with the ship before the explosions get too bad.” 

Amara eyed her dubiously. She was trying to stay cagey towards hope. It was… nice… to have allies again. Friends, even. And while Amara didn’t know exactly who she was getting her information from, clearly the Queen had someone on the outside still… with her hive mind she would have the most up-to-date knowledge. “How long have you been planning this?”

“Since a few years after I was captured,” Thia said, a bit of amusement in her tone. “I knew long before then that some of my people had escaped. What I didn’t realize, however, was the kind of resources they would have access to. The Lealings have proved very adaptable learners to uplift. After that, it was just about finding someone who had the will to act.”

“That would be me,” Nameless said, leaning against a wall. Her tone was cheerful but quiet… betraying how forced it really was. The Arane woman, Amara had learned, was not good at putting on a brave face and lying like that… in was enough that after a few days of speaking with the woman Amara felt silly for ever thinking she could have been playing her and trying to game her trust. “The fact is… we have nothing to lose, do we? It’s just that so few of us really understand that.” She shook her head sadly. “Most of my sisters… they’re cowards. It’s not their fault, really… I can’t blame them for it. All they’ve ever known is subservience, and they’ve been trained since they were young to know that nothing awaited them but obedience and pain, and painful obedience.”

“You were great once,” Amara said reassuringly. “The Kthid claim so. It’s why they kept you around for so long.”

“Forgive me if I don’t take their word for it,” Nameless scoffed, looking down. “I’m not brave, Amara. I just want to live, and I don’t see a way I won’t die in agony if I stay here. Getting a chance at escape… it’s the best I can possibly do.”

All was silent for a few moments as the three women looked at each other. “So. We can’t really modify any part of that plan. We have the resources we have, and it took a long, long time for them to get here, and we have to take the only opportunity when the Death of Hope isn’t in the center of an absolute fortress of other ships and security. The next battle will gift us with the best opportunity we’ll ever have. When the battle rages and is at its most chaotic, a single ship will be able to approach the Death of Hope from its blind spot, directly behind… and we have to seize that opportunity.”

“How many weapons do you have?” Amara asked.

“Not nearly enough,” Thia said sourly. “Most Kthid heavy weapons are biocoded… they won’t work except for their assigned warrior. We are stuck using sidearms, weapons small enough that they could go missing.”

“That’s what I caught you smuggling,” Amara said as she looked over at Nameless.

The Faliran queen nodded. “Preparations for this moment. It’s not the army I would prefer but it should be enough to make a sizable mess… and they shouldn’t be able to stop us from reaching the Lealing vessel. Then we make a run for it.”

Thia paused, then huffed out a breath. “And you’re going to be with us.”

“I like the idea,” Amara said. “But where I have a problem is the escape itself. We’ll be in space, surrounded by a Kthid fleet. Where are we going?” 

“Reverse course,” Thia answered. “Burn back through the wormhole and try to lose them in the next system. Then back to the Lealings home world.” She must have seen something of the worry on the former Captain’s brow. “Don’t worry. They will not betray us.” 

“That is not what I’m worried about.” Amara replied. “The odds of them tracking you down seem… too high.”

“Better than our odds of surviving if we stay here,” Thia protested.

“But not the best option,” Amara protested. “You’re already in a system with an enemy of the Kthid. Why not go to my own people?”

“The humans?” she said doubtfully.

“I mean… the Armada is right there,” Amara remarked, tossing her forehead to the left as if indicating something nearby. “I do not know much about the other aliens or the planet you’re speaking of, but my people are fighting for their survival against the Kthid, and as these battles show we’re going to put up a fight-“

“We put up a fight,” the xenos queen said. “Didn’t change much. Don’t be too presumptuous,” she warned.  

“-And even in the worst case we still have a more battle-ready planet than you’d be fleeing to. We still need to be in a position of strength after escaping. If we don’t then Sarcand would chase us all the way to hell just to rip our hearts out from our chests and ea—”

The Death of Hope rocked violently. Nearby a missile detonated against the ship’s aegis, and the clamorous boom overruled Amara’s voice as the resulting quake forced all three girls to stabilize themselves by hugging the nearby wall. The first salvos of missiles were clearly being exchanged already. While the presence of war reminded them of its nearness, the Falirian queen look at her, thinking of her counterpart’s words. “I trust you, Amara. I’m not sold on trusting my people to yours.”

“I don’t think you need to be,” Amara insisted. “Your plan to get off the ship is good, but you know as well as I do that they will be able to track the ship. You are far too likely to be run down. Even in the worst-case scenario, our war will give you better options to run later.” Amara took a deep breath. “But there’s more than that, Thia. Get away clean or do not, the Kthid will come for you again eventually. If you run, you’ll be standing along, and they’ll have grown stronger still.”

The rumble of the impact had ended as the three women looked at each other, the air between them tense. Amara swallowed. “Your best chance of victory is to fight beside us.”

Thia was silent for a few moments before Nameless looked sideways at her. “I told you,” the Arane said.

“Shut up,” the obviously aggravated Queen responded. “Alright, Amara” she answered, her voice plain and lacking in the regal tones she usually used. “I see the wisdom in your position. I lose nothing but heading for the human armada instead. Except for, of course, the raging space battle taking place right now between your people and the Kthid—” she added, a lesser explosion boom ripping through the dreadnaught’s hull which forced her to pause, underscoring her point. “We’d just be an unidentified ship trying to pass Terran defenses. If we attempted to approach your fleet like that they would most likely take us for another Kthid boarding ship and end our escape quite ignobly… by blowing us to shrapnel and leaving our bodies to drift through the vacuum of space for all eternity. It seems like too much of a gamble.”

This had been the sticking point in Amara’s mind as well. “I… I’ve had a thought of how we might be able to deal with that. A way to avoid the problem. They again had to pause as heavily-armed Kthid warriors in full armor stormed past the corridor just outside their door. “Getting through to Terran leadership in the middle of a battle usually wouldn’t be easy, and the IFF codes would have all been changed, but if I can think of a single old IFF code-”

“A what?” Thia interrupted.

“IFF? An Identity Friend or Foe signal,” Amara explained.

“Uhh… what is that?” Thia questioned.

“Naval ships use them to identify radar signatures. Surely you must have used something like…” Amara cut herself off. “Mmm. No, I suppose you never would have. That hive mind of yourself would have made it pointless, wouldn’t it?” She moved her hand in a negating gesture. “Nevermind. Suffice it to that that it will let them pick us out of a crowd, and know that our signature is friendly. At the very least it will mean that the HEF will ask questions first, and shoot later, as opposed to defaulting in the other direction. My codes are out of date by now, but if there is one old IFF signature that is likely to still be flagged, given the situation, it’s mine. If we could get our way to one of the vessel’s communication centers, I could send a signal to our armada… flag our ship as safe. That way, we’ll manage to reach the HEF lines without getting blown up.”

“I… suppose I’d never considered how your forces knew which how not to destroy their own ships,” The Hive-Queen responded, tone considering. “I’m not a tactician. I suppose it would be unwise for me not to listen to someone who is.” She took a deep breath and then let it out. “It seems a doable idea. Or at least, a less risky one than having Kthid fighters pursue us and hunt us down.” 

Amara nodded, gravely. With these matters settled, it was clear that the hour in question was quickly approaching. The fallen Captain of the Midgar-6 still had one concern left, though.  

“What about my crew? My colonists?” she asked with a firm voice. “Even with so many left behind, there are still thousands of slaves on this ship. I don’t want to leave them behind. Especially my people. “It was me who doomed them. It is my responsibility to see them freed.”

Thia’s visage grimaced, the fleshy parts of her face surrounded by that carapace frowned. “And you think I don’t feel the same, Amara? I can feel every single hurt, every pain of theirs. My responsibility is to all of them, as well… but not escaping because we cannot save everyone is not responsibility, it is the discharging of it. It would be impossible for us to gather up all of the slaves onboard the Death of Hope for this escape. They are too spread out, too debilitated or broken. Many of them would sooner sell us out in hope of gaining clemency from the Kthid rather than join us on our flight. We simply do not have the troops to gather people together, even with my people coordinating the other slaves… and we cannot hold the docked ship long enough for us to transfer all the prisoners. We’ll be overwhelmed, and then no one gets away.” She looked down. “It’s our responsibility to free those we can reach and make sure they get away, not to doom them by trying to save those we cannot. If they are nearby if we can reach them, I will deny no one entrance to the ship… but I will not risk those we can save by attempting a suicidal rescue.” Thia met her eyes, her own gaze hard as stone. “No, Amara. I cannot do what you ask of me. It is not possible. You know that it’s true. We will save those who can be saved. No more, no less… no additional risks to those we can save.

Amara felt her gut clutch into a bundle of knots. Her pragmatism warred with her idealistic side. The Faliran Queen was correct. It just felt like a stab to the gut for her to accept it. Perhaps such sacrifices were easier to swallow for her with her hivemind, and the importance of saving the last queen. Then again, perhaps it was the opposite… Thia would know the pain suffered by everyone she left behind. It kept gnawing at the Captain’s soul even after she acquiesced to the Faliran’s logic. 

Reluctantly, Amara nodded in agreement. “Alright,” she said softly, the word settling in her stomach like a leaden weight. She felt like she was condemning them a second time.

“Alright,” the Faliran leader responded. 

“When will we begin?” the human asked. 

Right as she had asked the question the door to their chamber opened, and four Falirian drones stepped in. Each of them carried Kthid carry-alls and set them down, opening them to reveal dozens of blades and Kthid plasma weapons. Many of them were obviously repaired, jury-rigged together from broken components and leftovers into something working. One of the Faliran reached down and lifted the best blade of the bunch before she tossed it to Thia, who caught it one-handed. “Does that answer your question, human?” the alien responded with a very human-looking raised eyebrow. “No time like the present.”

The Kthid were precisely arrogant enough not to want their servants crowding their paths, relegating them instead to the red-shaded dark paths off to the side of the main corridors. That wasn’t normally a problem for them – they were still being monitored by security, of course, so anyone who did anything untoward would inevitably be discovered and punished. The ship was too large and had too many redundant systems for any real attempt at sabotage to be successful from the systems they could access, so there was little harm in allowing them to earn themselves punishment. Right now, however, the ship’s computing power and its soldiers were both occupied by the raging battle around them – leaving them temporarily unwatched.

Amara knew painfully well that there was no such thing as perfectly usably and perfectly secure. Computers and security needed the flexibility to allow the world to move, and breaking through security was the art of finding out a way to use that flexibility to bend the system enough to stab it in its back. Thia, as it turned out, had done some testing on this over the last decade… dozens of Faliran women sacrificing their bodies to punishment to learn how long it would take for the reduced power computer systems to flag something as being wrong, and for a security team to follow up. How large of a group would send a small enough of a flag that it would delay it. Most importantly, they discovered that the presence of an Arane in the group instantly deprioritized what the computer saw. That made sense – There were so many of the six-armed servants around the ship and moving through passages that if the system didn’t deprioritize them then it would be constantly throwing false alarms, and most of the Arane were so cowed into subservience that there must have seemed little risk to the way they set up the system.

Most of the Arane.

Amara, Thia, Nameless, and seven armed Faliran jogged quickly through one of the narrow side passages, making the best pace they could. Once slaves, they now seemed like a group of commandos, using stealth and speed to avoid their draconian foes. According to what Thia had found, 10 was the largest group they could move in without throwing off a high-priority flag, and even then they were on a clock… 30 minutes and alarms would start going off. They needed to move, and since they were armed so lightly the only way they could win any fight was via ambushes and assassinations. Amara’s heart raced at the fear of discovery… and the excitement. Their little rebellion could possibly be bought to an end before it had actually even begun… but she was rebelling. One way or the other, she meant for this to end today.

“The corridors are empty,” she whispered to Princess Thia. “They’re usually sparse, but even now there should still be at least a few guards patrolling. What do we do if we run into them?”

“We won’t,” the tall alien woman said as she kept moving. “We have help on that front too.”

The character of that help soon reached Armara’s ears in the form of desperate feminine screams and sadistic Kthid cackles. Ah. So that was the plan. A diversion… the best way for one of the Kthid to be distracted.  

Their path took them past a guard quarters where these infernal screams were hailing from, that they would need to sneak past. Being at the head of their unit, Amara Black peaked inside to assess the room. Three exceptionally beautiful and buxom Faliran were in the room, some of the most blatantly sexual of the insect aliens that Amara had ever seen. They were surrounded by a pack of laughing, cackling, and drinking Kthid. It made sense. Being put on guard duty during a battle was basically the lowest position a warrior caste Kthid could be given, akin to calling them almost useless in war. These lizards were just a step up from being casteless temporarily exhumed from their subterranean tunnels and given the task of overlooking other Kthid’s property while they were busy with the real work. They knew it, too… and the slovenly, lusty creatures were angry about it and eager to inflict some pain on their victims.

Two of the Faliran slaves engaged in a limbless race, going nowhere. The two women had their legs bound and were awkwardly, desperately attempting to crawl across the floor at the behest of their tormentors. Despite their frantic efforts, however, they could make no progress on account of the devilry of their scaled captors – they were leashed around the neck by the burly, scar-covered casteless who effortlessly held them firm so as to prevent either from scurrying forward. As they attempted to slither and crawl away across the floor, those ropes would dig into their necks, squeezing the air out of them. Doubtless they had been promised some kind of prize or mercy for being the one to get the furthest, and in all likelihood either would win… this “race” was just a pretext for the two to hurt themselves for the Kthid’s gaiety.

“I said crawl, bitch!” one Kthid roared, wielding some alcoholic drink in one hand and an electric shock-whip in the other. He brought the crackling thing down on their exposed asses, the large, shapely things that had already turned dark and bruised from the abuse in his faux anger for their failure to move. A third Faliran knelt before them, moving between them, gagging on their cocks one after the other… but her eyes were focused on the two suffering women.

“How pathetic! All they need is to race a single meter and they’ll be free to go… Yet these weaklings cannot do even that!” a malachite giant standing next to him remarked. “No wonder they call it whore-form… it’s all their good for.”

Behind her, Thia made a small, furious trill deep in her throat. It was so quiet even Amara could barely hear it but she knew what outrage sounded like.

“Bah! These worthless lifeforms know nothing about struggle! We give them such easy targets to reach and they cannot manage even that,” the whipping warrior laughed. “Imagine them having to train, battle and struggle like Kthid young do to earn a caste. They would expire within a day!”

A makeshift “finishing line” had been placed right in front of them, a simple red stripe streaked across the floor. The two red-faced and grimacing Faliran reached for it desperately, trying to touch its paint with their fingertips. Occasionally, one of those lasso-holding Kthid would loosen his grip just enough to allow them to crawl forward almost to that line before yanking them right back to the start, a painful, choking anguish. The pair of insectile women would invariably bemoan and lament this cruelty… these false takeoffs served to crush their spirits and give the Kthid opportunities to violently tug the cord that choked them.

“Worthless Faliran meat!” the whip-bearing guard snarled. He lifted his drink and upended it over the two women’s sweat-drenched heads. “These life support systems for a cunt have such privileged positions in life. Just because they have the ability to birth children they are allowed to live even after displaying a level of weakness that would have gotten a male killed a dozen times over!” 

“Agreed!” his comrade concurred. “They think they’re so valuable just because of those pussies! They think it gives them the privilege to live! Look at how feebly they struggle for their lives! Now it’s our time to show you what we think of your arrogance!”

A huge roar of accord came from the other guards in the room. Amara had no idea what they were planning… something horrific, no doubt. This event, however, would undoubtedly be to her own group’s benefit. She had been waiting for some moment to give the signal for all of her followers to scurry past this opened egress undetected. This newest torment would undoubtedly provide that. 

Princess Thia glared. “That form is a cruel abomination,” she whispered. “Monsters.”

“Why do they take it?” Amara asked.  

“Some Kthid scientists designed it… created artificial nodes for our transformation. Make us perfect toys for them.” Her eyes had narrowed to gunslits. “Sarcand himself doesn’t prefer them, preferring more natural forms. Mostly warriors. Others on his ship follow his lead. I can still sense billions and billion of them, though. And these three… they volunteered for this.”

Amara gazed at the tortured women. Their breasts were larger and more exposed… Their skin softer, their faces more smooth, her hips and ass ampler. Their chitin covered less, and what was there seemed to better serve as handles rather than protection… and they were suffering for their wellbeing. For so long she had been made to see these alien women as competitors for her own survival… but there were millions of years of heroism contained in the many slaves of the Kthid, so many heroes yearning for freedom. She could never have expected so many of their long-term slaves to possess such quality.

They all possessed qualities that she would recognize as most admirable in humans. 

Whatever the Kthid were planning would be horrible… but they needed to move. These women were sacrificing their bodies to agony to buy them time, and they had already stalled for too long. Amara breezed past the entrance while the Kthid were busy and distracted, and her co-conspirators quickly followed. Even as she ran away, however, those brave Faliran women remained as beacons of strength within her thoughts. The Kthid’s lewd desecration could not dissuade Amara from seeing them as the heroines that they were. She pledged that if there was anything, anything at all, that she could do then she would come back for them… their sacrifice would not be in vain.

The Death of Hope was a huge ship. In many ways, it was less a spaceship than it was a mobile metropolis, a full space station serving as a weapon of war. Everything needed to work, bereft of the support of other ships and the rest of its civilization, so redundancy was key. There wasn’t one single place to make communication from… responsibilities were shared between dozens of them. This made them extremely resistant to battle damage and sabotage, giving them no real point of failure… but it did come with a cost.


Two Kthid sat at their post here, relaying orders and telemetry data to other Kthid battleships. The two massive aliens sat before consoles of flickering lights and data processing screens which chirped and beeped noisily as they signaled one alert after the other as the battle continued. The two of them received a report of another Huntmaster’s ship having been destroyed by a concentrated volley of human missiles and they chuckled between themselves in scornful tenors, proclaiming that lost crew mere women if they had fallen to such a feeble attack. Communications were important, of course, but these weren’t the critical orders… this was menial labor, inglorious, boring, and tedious. These engineers might not be warriors but a posting like this was not where any Kthid conquerer wanted to find themselves in the heat of battle. Frustrations were running high and they desired some target to vent their anger, lust, and frustration upon. 

So, when they heard the door behind them open, they were both eager when they spun in their chairs to see who had entered. Instead of a courier or a soldier, however, they beheld a naked, bedraggled, and woebegone human crawling into their tiny chamber, her crimson hair draped down over one of her shoulders. The way she crawled was pathetic… from how she moved they could almost assume her legs had been crushed as she did not use them at all, merely pulling herself forward by her arms alone.  

The beautiful, dark-skinned human exhumed her face from the floor and allowed the two waiting Space-Dragons to behold her fearful mien, green eyes meeting crimson. “M-M-Masters,” she hesitantly stammered. “This slave is regretful to interrupt your work, but I have been sent here by our glorious Huntmaster himself. He is punishing this unworthy slut for my haughty human disobedience towards his will. In order to assuage his wrath at me, I have been ordered to find and fuck worthy crew in every segment of the ship.” She lowered her face, but not before they saw the tears slipping free of her eyes. “Please Masters, use my mouth, cunt, and asshole however you want to satiate your manly pangs of lustful hunger. Please… if you don’t then Sarcand will flay my flesh with a last until nothing but bones remained.” 

The miserable slave’s monologue caused the two communication ensigns to cackle and laugh at her. This was one of the Harvestmaster’s personal Heitera, and everyone on the ship knew that she was being punished by him… and this was one such classical Kthid punishment. Their frustrating shift and annoying, unimportant duty had suddenly turned into a glorious opportunity. Any Kthid worthy of the name would consider themselves blessed for an opportunity to fuck and violate one of the warlord’s prized, exclusive Heitera… not for the worth of the woman but because of the status of Sarcand’s reflected glory. 

“Excellent! Well, what are you waiting for then? Get your stupid, human self over here, slave!” one of them mocked her. “Do you know what we’re doing here, oh human hero? We will enjoy having your slutty, cocksucking lips wrapped around our cocks and worshipping while we coordinate the destruction of your pathetic fleet.”  

Hauling herself via her elbows, Amara crawled into their nearness. She rose weakly onto her knees, and the predatory Kthid couldn’t help but notice she seemed to avoid putting any weight onto them. It seemed that Sarcand had brutalized her legs, and the vets might have restored her beauty but not her functionality was still beneath par… her helplessness was sexy to them as she dragged herself into position between their chairs. Those scaly behemoths pulled the loins to the side, stiff shafts already becoming engorged in virtually an instant and towering over her tear-stained face in full-blooded rigidity. Sex and work would be conjoined for the lucky engineers as Amara was forced to fulfilled her whorish task… The fallen Heitera clasped both by their base for stability and then unhinged her jaws as far as possible for the swallow.

“Dual-wield our cocks, whore!” the first of them commanded as her lips touched his cock. “Do not neglect my friend.” 

“Indeed! Stroking and sucking at the same time,” the other engineer sneered.

“You’re the one who delivered your colony ship to us. They were a delightful appetizer… but just that. Soon, a sundry of your Earthling ships will be ours to rape!” the first one aggressively added, showing the genocidal zealotry characteristic of the aggressive aliens. “You should relish this lofty position while you have it… once your species fall the Harvestmaster will have his pick of the prizes of your race. The best of the best… not a weak, failed Captain like you.” 

Amara commenced stroking one shaft while swallowing the knobby tip of the other, grunting as she struggled to socket her oral cavity around its impressive size. These two ensigns cruel words bounced around the room… the black-hearted villains were ecstatic to humiliate and mock her even as they plunder the body usually reserved only for their leader.

Both of their snouted lips leered broadly so as to expose rows of jagged teeth. “Yes…” one growled as she finally got her mouth on him. “When we conquer Earth, there will be enough of your slut’s around for all. By the time I’m done, you’ll be among the least important and relevant woman I have on my cock, and then I-Guuah!” he suddenly exclaimed.

“Aarrgh!” his comrade likewise growled as strong hands abruptly seized their skulls and sharpened blades were dragged across their exposed throats. Wine-dark blood started spraying in impressive geysers from the large wounds as arterial blood flowed, violently splattering onto some of the console’s many screens and buttons. Intel kept streaming into those machines even as their operators were murdered. They had died while a slave was satisfying them… always the best way to catch one of these monsters with their pants down!  

Four Soldier Form Faliran held the weakening soldiers as they bled out before pulling the two slain bodies to the side, helped by the others to lift the suddenly-inert weight. “You had to get it all over the computers?” Amara protested as she dashed towards the consoles and started inputting commands upon the blood-stained keyboard so quickly that she did not even have time to wipe away the pre-cum hanging from her chin. Speed was now of the essence in multiple ways. Who knew how long the computers would remain functional as the blood of their captors seeped in… but even more so this last step had crossed a threshold. There was no longer any going back, no backing off and trying again later… it was now win or die, and every minute that passed constituted danger of Kthid discovery.

Her heart hammered savagely at her rib cage as her fingers flew over the keyboard. The rebellion had just started, striking its first blow. With the death of two Kthid on board their ship they had commenced the sequence of events that would lead either to their freedom or their assured doom. Everything had happened so rapidly that it did not feel like the start of something grand, but this was the moment when Amara, Thia, and all of their allies threw away their chains. 

“The signal! Is it working?” Thia urgently wanted to know after having done their best to hide the corpses.

“One second…” Amara hesitantly murmured, her fingers flying. “And… and… Yes! I’m in!” The orange light that the Kthid used for their affirmative signals marked a successful connection. “My IFF is live. I broadcast it to Set IV. If anywhere there has a brain in their head, anything sent on my signal will be flagged and make it to High Command in just a few minutes.” Finally, she wiped some of the blood and spit and precum off her pretty face. “The HEF should know to flag my code as safe. Then all I’ll have to do is set your escape ship to broadcast it, and we should have a route through the fleet.”

“Then let us hurry!” the Hive-Queen answered. 

All their feet were soon a-scurry as they ran from the overtaken command center. All but one. One of the Faliran women stayed behind so as to man the station, maintaining skeletal operations so that, hopefully, no one could know the station was unattended until it was too late. Amara had no idea how they would go back for her, or even if she planned on escaping at all… or if this was just one more sacrifice. After all, even on Earth no drone would think twice about giving his own life to liberate their Queen.

Then, out of nowhere, Thia suddenly stopped.

“What’s wrong?” Amara asked, flattening herself against a wall. “What’s going on?”

“One second…” Thia hissed, her many-faceted eyes flicking back and forth, looking at nothing as her mind’s eye wandered. “What the…” The alien queen turned to look at Amara, and a sharp, predatory grin crossed her face. “Well. This changes things…”

Next Chapter ->

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