by Aubrie Dionne
Digital Edition $1.99
Each note brings her one step closer to the truth.
When the cyborg Nebula plays the piano she experiences memories from a time before her creation. These memories…which involve a captive rebel fighter being held on their ship…bring with them complex human feelings and awaken a desire for her to discover her origins.Radian is the long lost love of the woman from which Nebula was made. He’s vowed to avenge his finance’s death and rescue her sister from the Gryphonites, a fierce race out to enslave the galaxy.Nebula grapples with her identity and how much of who she is comes from someone else’s past. She is not the woman that died, yet she is undeniably drawn to Radian.Together Nebula and Radian seek to rescue his fiancé’s sister and end the Gryphonites’ cruel reign. But can Radian learn to love again and can Nebula accept a past made from someone else’s memories?
Publication Date: March 1, 2010 - Length: Novella
Nebula’s Music by Aubrie Dionne
Copyright 2010, Aubrie Dionne
All rights reserved, Lyrical Press, Inc.
Nebula was entirely alone. For a moment, she stood on the brink of oblivion, staring at the sight panel where the warp hole loomed. A cold feeling swept over her and she felt her skin prickle. She collected herself as if she’d been scattered all over the floor and hovered over the controls to release the back of the ship when the time came.
The time it took the elevator to reach the lower decks felt like an eternity. Once it opened and closed on the lower deck, Nebula authorized the directions for the front-back separation. Warning alarms rang in her ears as the deck’s lights flashed red. The locks on the bridge unfastened, and she could feel a tug underneath her feet as the back of the ship detached.
Nebula said a silent good-bye to everyone on board, including Radian. At least she’d kept him safe. However, she knew he’d be taken to trial and a rush of guilt swept over her. She felt like she’d delivered him into the hands of the enemy. Not only that, but any clues to her past went with him. She had to remind herself she had had no choice.
Once the other half of the ship was free, she engaged the thrusters, sending it launching into space. She calculated the coordinates for optimum flight speed and sent it on a clear path back to Earth. The engines weren’t working at full capacity, but they would make it. Nebula had completed her job.
Now all she could do was watch as the Gryphonite ship loomed closer in the black void of space. She stared it down and felt her destiny looming every minute it came closer. The elevator opened behind her, interrupting the spell of fate and she whirled around.
There Radian stood haloed by the golden light. She saw determination in the lines of his face and the set of his shoulders. His eyes held an emotional tug. Nebula felt a wash of relief to see him, but damned his presence in the back of her mind. She’d sacrificed everything to keep him safe, and there he was at her side.
“What are you doing here?”
Radian closed the distance between them. “I couldn’t stand to lose you again.”
“But I am not Mirilee,” she declared, her voice forceful. “A person is the sum of their memories and their experiences. I may have her body, but I will never be her.”
He was now only a breath away. His hands cupped her cheeks, bringing her face up to meet his. He looked like someone who’d made up his mind for good. “I know, and I stand by you nonetheless.”
A blinking red light called her attention away and Nebula moved, breaking the spell. “It is the Gryphonite ship. They are hailing us.”
Radian nodded his approval. She put them on full screen and pressed the receive button.
Although she knew what the Gryphonites looked like from images in her database, it still shocked her when the black eye turned in her direction. Beneath it, a jagged beak dripped drool at the tip. The eye blinked once and narrowed as the beak opened, flexing the jaws.
There was a series of shrill squeaks and piercing chirps. She did not need the translator to tell her it was a warning. “Surrender now or die.”
Radian ran a hand through his spiked hair. “How long does the crew need to get away?”
“A few minutes more, just to be safe. We are lucky they have not noticed half the ship is missing.”
“And they say Gryphonites have the eyes of an eagle.”
Nebula was surprised to find that she had an opinion. “More like the eyes of a vulture.”
Radian laughed but there was no happiness in it. “And maybe their brain size as well.”
“You are aware when they seized a ship that crash-landed on Gryphod, they stole the mechanics of space travel?”
“It makes sense that they’d have to steal it. A race that flew to begin with would never have the need to dream up a flying machine, never mind space travel. Go on, buy them some time.”
Nebula recorded her voice and put it through the language processor. She knew they would never fall for their claims, but because of the translation required, the correspondence would be time consuming. “We are a UPA-alliance vessel and fall under the jurisdiction of the UPA. An attack would violate rule two-hundred twenty-five of the Interplanetary Regulations.”
Radian patted her on the back. “Well said.”
Nebula waved away his credit. “It is a programmed response contained in my circuit boards for this exact type of situation.”
The response was forthcoming. “By aiding and abetting terrorists, you have violated rule forty-six of the same UPA-alliance treaty you speak of. You must be taken to Gryphod and charged under our terrorist act. If you do not surrender and provide us the phase coordinates, we will attack.”
He shrugged as if their fates were predetermined. To her surprise, he did not look afraid. “Well, this is what you wanted, wasn’t it?”
Nebula nodded and smiled, emboldened by his confidence in her. “All part of my plan.”
“For Mora, then.” Radian pressed the monitor back on again.
“For Mora,” Nebula whispered under her breath. She said into the language processor, “We surrender.”
Radian placed a protective arm around her shoulders. “Let them come.”