Shipwrecked – November 2023

Shipwrecked – November 2023



Cargo Serial, Episode 1

A science fantasy serial.



November 2023


“Where’s my face!” Rebecca stared at the mirror in utter shock. What looked back at her seemed to have her feminine form, but that’s where similarities ended. Her face was now a solid, black, mass. Smooth and featureless. Like armor. Almost like So’rn’s Chaser helmet. In place of her hair, her head was adorned with what looked like black, metallic cables. Animated black metallic cables. Like dreadlocks from hell. “My hair!” 

“Vestigial features have been replaced…”

“Bob!” Rebecca started shaking. “Please tell me this is just armor. Like you said, right? You’re my armor? I still feel my face. But it’s not there!” She put her hands on her face, trying to feel features that she just knew were there but no longer existed.

“You will feel it for some time while your nervous system adjusts…”

“I’m not adjusting to anything!” Rebecca took a step back and looked at her arms. They were likewise a shiny black material, covered with what appeared to be animated strips of black fabric. A loose cloak floated around her, oblivious of any gravity and apparently alive. “Please tell me this is just armor. Please!” Rebecca cried, shaking her head. She knew the answer already. The lack of a response from Bob struck home, and she broke down in sheer panic.

Her horrified wails filled the ship as she grabbed at her face, trying to remove the armor. She plucked at her armored arms, trying to rip off the living fabric, but the strips would vaporize and coalesce wherever she grabbed. She looked down at her feminine torso that was covered by the same armor and tried in futility to pull it off. When she touched the armor, it felt like she was touching her own skin, and the horror of it deepened. “No no no! Why are you doing this!?”

“You are a Pilot.” 

“Bob, I am Rebecca! That… thing,” she pointed angrily at the mirror, “that monstrosity, that’s not me!” She looked around and spotted So’rn standing in a corner nervously, still wearing his armor. “He’s scared of me now! A Camdyn! They’re like, wolfmen super-warriors, and he’s scared of me!”

“Please realize that this is for our survival. This is the nature of a Pilot.”

“I want my nature. Bob, please!” Rebecca shook her head, no longer able to look in the mirror. “I’m gone. I’m not me anymore.”

“No, you are not. You are us. Pilot and Drone.” 

“Well, I didn’t ask for it!” Rebecca turned around in a circle, holding her arms out. “I am just a nerd working on her PhD thesis.” She sat down on the floor, crying. Only then did she realize she had no tears. She couldn’t even cry correctly anymore. “Why are you doing this to me?”

So’rn knelt down beside her. “I have no idea if you are talking to me or someone else.”

“Oh, So’rn. I am so sorry. I tried to save you. Now look at me.”

“Your attempt is appreciated.” So’rn sat down beside her. “It could not breach my armor, however.” He tentatively grabbed her hand. “It really is you.”

“Yeah, and that thing that attacked you? It’s part of me now.” Rebecca sniffed, then realized she couldn’t even sniff correctly. Layers and layers of consternation. She slumped, dejected. “What am I going to do?”

“My scanner is showing a tight integration. I don’t think it can be safely removed.” He patted her hand. “Maybe a Gatekeeper can remove it.”

Rebecca shook her head, not willing to hope. “I was going to bring home a doctorate. I wanted to bring this back to the university.” She waved her hand around her. “The Cooperative universe and an expanded comprehension of physics.”

“You have apparently become part of that universe,” So’rn said quietly. “I don’t understand. Is it sentient?”

“I am.” 

Both of them spun around, then gaped. So’rn got to his feet defensively, ready for combat. Rebecca glanced at him, then stood up. “I thought you were a guy.”

The figure before them was decidedly feminine. A glossy black, smooth-skinned version of what Rebecca herself was supposed to be. “We have no gender. We typically mimic our hosts.” 

“Hmm, Bobbi?” Rebecca mused, walking over to the figure. “So, you’re not just inside me?”

“Our field of influence extends… far.” Bobbi smiled amicably. 

“Don’t do that. Smile. I can’t. Why should you?” Rebecca pointed angrily.

“I cannot be killed,” Bobbi said. “You can. Your form was so incredibly delicate.”

“I’m supposed to be delicate!” Rebecca glanced at the mirror, then shuddered. “I want me back. Please!”


“Who is ever going to love that?” Rebecca jabbed her finger at the mirror. “Mom? Dad? Oh my god, Meemaw? She’ll never understand! Even So’rn over there is scared of me.” 

Bobbi circled Rebecca, then glanced at a nervous So’rn. “He would have been a preferable Pilot. However, the Malakim has inexplicably assigned me to you.” 

“He didn’t say strip me of my humanity! Brian thought I was cute! He loved my hair!” Rebecca grew furious. “I need me. I need to be able to smile. To cry. I mean, how do I even eat?”

“You don’t require sustenance anymore.”

Rebecca just stared at Bobbi, hugging herself and feeling utterly violated. 

“Are all other… Pilots like this?” So’rn asked.

“I may not look it, but I like food! I love food!” Rebecca sat back on the floor hard, weeping. “And hair. And… skin.”

Bobbi glanced at Rebecca, then turned to face So’rn. “Such an interesting pairing. She sees you as family. You know that, right? A peculiar companionship.” 

“My question.” So’rn persisted.

“Yes. The adaptions are necessary to integrate properly with their Drones and our purpose.”

“Are they like this all the time?”

Rebecca perked up. “When your other Pilot was in my head, he appeared like any human.”

“That appearance was for your benefit and not an accurate depiction of what my former Pilot looked like. His morphology was similar to yours now.”

Rebecca slumped. “But now he is free from you. Did he revert?”

“When a Pilot and Drone are separated, the Pilot does not survive.” 

Rebecca looked up at Bobbi sharply. “You mean, he, he, he died? Because of me?”

Bobbi didn’t respond.

Standing up, Rebecca faced Bobbi. “Because of me?”

Her Drone remained silent.

“Oh, that’s just great! Great! Not only do I lose my humanity, I kill someone too?” Rebecca threw her arms up then paced, frantic. “I’m just a nerd on a joyride. Just a nerd…”

“Who a Malakim has taken an interest in,” Bobbi said. “You are not just anything. You should not be alive. But he wills it.”

“It’s Brian! My physics professor! He’s just a regular guy!” Rebecca couldn’t quell the growing doubts. “He loved to come over for dinner. He… endorsed my thesis.” She got quiet, looking at the floor. “He helped fund my observatory here.” Surely he had not manipulated her into this trip. “I wanted to come.”

“Your observatory saved your lives. It prevented me from targeting the living quarters of this vessel.” Bobbi said carefully. 

Rebecca gaped at him. “You sent the asteroid to kill us? I thought y’all missed on purpose.”

“I am the ‘asteroid’ sent to kill you.” Bobbi circled Rebecca. 

“You? That gigantic rock thing? Like, a half mile across?” Rebecca was dumbfounded.

“It is gone,” So’rn interjected. 

“Like I said, my sphere of influence extends far,” Bobbi said, matter-of-factly, glancing at So’rn. “You will find that matter is not an absolute.”

“Absolute? You are inside little ol’ me. And were that gigantic asteroid?” 


“Oh, my thesis is getting more ridiculous by the moment. They’re going to laugh at me. Like I wrote some cheap science fiction novel.” Rebecca leaned against the stasis pod as she pondered the new physics being presented to her. “The math alone is going to be almost impossible.”

The floor suddenly shifted and Rebecca watched So’rn slam into the wall with a thunderous thud. She remained unaffected. “Oh, for… What now?”

“The others are moving the ship.”

“Other Drones?”

“Our intention was to gather intelligence, then destroy this vessel,” Bobbi said.

“But, you’re here. In me.” Rebecca helped So’rn off the wall. “You okay?” So’rn nodded. He was still struggling against the inertial force that was not affecting her. “You guys were all apologetic about having to kill me. But now you’re going to do it anyway?”

“We were distressed that you were conscious of your demise and aware of us as its cause. Had you not been aware of us, you would have died in blissful ignorance.”

“Blissful. Sure.” Rebecca waved a hand. “Because, we’d just die all happy and everything. Do you even listen to yourself?”

“Our trajectory has shifted toward the gravatar,” So’rn said.

“The black hole?” Rebecca looked at Bobbi. “You’re just going to dispose of us in the black hole?”

“It is not a hole…”

Rebecca held up a hand. “Semantics. Please tell me you’re in contact with them. Tell them we’re friendly.”

“I have never lost contact with them.”

Rebecca almost let go of So’rn. “You. You’re doing this!”

“We are doing this. We cannot allow evidence of our existence to be exposed to the Cursed One.”

“I’m your Pilot now! You’re supposed to keep me alive!”

“Indeed. You will not be affected.”

“It’s a black hole!” Rebecca waved her arms, then grabbed So’rn again. 

“Rebecca, where do you think the Drones originated?”

The Crow Series

Begin Your


Crow Novels

Shipwrecked – November 2023

Shipwrecked – October 2023



Cargo Serial, Episode 1

A science fantasy serial.



October 2023


“Am I dead?” Rebecca could only see white. A sense of vertigo seemed to wash over her, but she wasn’t sure. She was certain she had a body, but couldn’t see or feel it. She wasn’t even sure she had actually asked the question. But she felt others. Like she wasn’t alone.

“How does she know the Holy Language?”

Rebecca jolted to awareness. That wasn’t her voice. But who? “Is this Heaven?”



“Where did you learn the Holy Language?”

The question felt ominous. Perhaps this wasn’t Heaven? “A Teacher gave me Samanya.”

“You call it,” a pause, “Common?” She got the impression the person was aghast at that trivial name.

“Well, yes.” Samanya seemed to encompass more than the simple word Common, however. Like origin, but more. She always wondered about that. The translation of the name was simply Common because there was no other way to express the deeper meaning of Samanya. “Am I dead?”

“What is a Teacher?”

“They’re like…” Rebecca stopped. “Why won’t anyone answer my question? Who are you? Are you an angel? Demon?”

She almost felt the smirk.

“Who we are is irrelevant.” A short pause. “Who is Steven Crow?”

“Uh uh. Quid pro quo, buddy. And that’s English. Well, Latin.” If Rebecca knew where her arms were she would have crossed them. She winced and saw Steven in her memories. She had met him briefly at the embassy on Endard.

“Answering our questions is not required. We just need to bring the memories forward.”

Smug. She got the sense that response was smug. “You know I’m a physicist, right? You want information brought forward, I can turn on the spigot and obfuscate everything.”

She focused on her math and lectures. Simple stuff. Irrelevant stuff. Basic gravity and velocity equations for orbital insertion. Automotive braking math at certain speeds. She dug her heels in and thought of math predicting basic fluid dynamics in a curved pipe.

“You are not dead.”

“Hah!” She wanted to cross her arms, but still couldn’t feel them. “Steven is just some fella from Earth who wasn’t a fella from Earth even though he really was from Earth and now he’s most definitely NOT from Earth. Sorta.”

“Her comprehension of the creature is limited.”

“I’m gathering that.”

“Two voices? Who are you?” Rebecca felt like she waved her hands in exasperation.

“I am still not detecting the Cursed One.”

“Maybe I’m in Hell after all?” Rebecca mused. “Why can’t I see anything? Am I in a hospital? Or is this a dream? I did a dissertation on Lucid Dreaming for my freshman year.”

“The Steven Crow has had contact with her.”

“I was working at the embassy. Everyone has had contact with me.” Rebecca sensed frustration from her interrogators.

“Not you.” Pause. “You’ve heard of Aliya.”

“There. She remembers something.”

“Okay, first voice is going to be Fred. Second one is Bob. And yes, we are acutely aware of Aliya. She caused the War.”

“She’s never met her.”

“Aliya may not have sent the attack, then.”

“Fred, what attack? You think she sent the asteroid?” Rebecca interjected. “And why this? Am I under anesthesia?” She imagined herself waving her arms around at the pure white.

A figure suddenly appeared before her, sitting in a chair. Interestingly, he looked like a regular human, dressed in jeans and a flannel button-down shirt. What her father usually wore. “We are very sorry. You do not have the information we need.”

Rebecca frowned. “Um, sorry for what? You’re letting me go, right? Waking me up? I’m just a dork out in the middle of space taking a joy-ride.”

“You will be terminated. We just wanted to let you know that it is not our desire to kill. Just a necessity.”

“So you are sitting in a chair here in this white whatever, just casually telling me you’re going to murder me?” Rebecca felt utterly helpless. Maybe she was already dead.

“It is a demonstration of respect. We had hoped you would not be conscious of us. But your lack of data felt like deceit and we had to make ourselves known. That knowledge of us cannot persist.”

“Make me forget then. Killing me because I’m having some hallucinations? Really?” She wanted to run, but couldn’t. She wanted to rage at the idiocy they were suggesting, but even that was denied her. She felt muted and hated the feeling. Was this all some torment of Hell after all?

“We…” Fred paused. He squinted at her. Even with his calm demeanor, she got the impression he became very alarmed. “You’ve been in contact with the Malakim! How have you survived?”

“Um.” Rebecca had no response, suddenly distracted from her growing terror. Then she saw him in another memory brought forward. Her physics professor, family friend, and mentor. “That’s Brian.”

Brian was talking to her about the cosmos. Rebecca smiled at the memory. He was a grizzled, aging black man who appeared as excited as a twenty-year-old. Was she never going to see him again? Or her parents? Then Brian stopped talking to her and looked around behind him.

“He sees us! He knows of us!”

“That’s just a memory. I think Mom said something.” Rebecca said, perplexed by Fred’s sudden departure from calm and dispassionate. Why was he so disturbed by a memory?

But Brian looked directly at Fred and smiled as he turned to face him. It was like he paused the memory and embarked on a gratuitous fourth wall-break. He leaned forward while Fred cringed. “This one belongs to me. I shall take your Drone too.” He reached out and touched Fred, who promptly vanished.

Suddenly Rebecca found herself alone in the sea of white. Or was she? “Hello? Brian?”


She flinched. “Bob?”


“Where am I?”

“In a stasis pod. Your counterpart put you in the pod in an attempt to exclude us.”

“Stasis? I’m in temporal storage?”

“Time is passing around us rather than through us.”

“Could you mansplain that again, please?” Rebecca tried to hide her confusion with irritation. It proved easy to do. A roller-coaster of emotions seemed to be coursing through her. She still had no point of reference. Just white brilliance all around her. “But, I’m aware. I’m talking to you.” A strong argument for an anesthesia hallucination dream. How could she possibly be aware of anything in the absence of time?

“Our consciousnesses are not constrained by time.”

Rebecca thought furiously. That seemed too easy. So’rn had put her in the pod to protect her. She was being attacked. Could she trust anything Bob said? Was she in danger? “Are you going to hurt me?”

“We are one, now. The Malakim has seen to that.”


“I am your Drone.”

“Oh, well. That explains everything. Can I, am I injured?”

“No. My previous Pilot had yet to issue a termination command. You are in perfect health.”

“I want out. How do I get out?” Rebecca felt herself squirming. She swallowed back a panic attack, refusing to give in to the tendrils of mindless fear that threatened to consume her. “Please, I want out. How can I be in stasis and aware like this?”

“We woke your consciousness to interrogate you. I am not able to return you to your slumber.”

“I want out!”

“I am currently working on that. Your counterpart is resisting me.”

“Counterpart. So’rn? Don’t hurt him!” Rebecca grew even more alarmed.

“Given your fondness for him, hurting him is not an option I am entertaining.”

Rebecca didn’t believe him. “You attacked him. Then me. Why isn’t he in stasis?”

“His armor resisted us. You had no armor. And he is the one who put us in stasis.”

“Oh. Yeah. Wow. I want that armor.” Rebecca remembered how robust it was. How alien it was. Fascination with it momentarily distracted her from her growing panic attack.

“I am your armor now.”

“Huh? Bob? Just what are you?”

“A Drone.”

“You’re that black stuff?”

“That would be correct.”

Rebecca sensed a little condescension. “Hey, I’m just Terran. Give me some slack, okay?”

“You are now my Pilot. There will be no slack.”

Rebecca sensed a pause. “Bob?”

The whiteness abruptly turned to black. Rebecca gasped and let out a squeak, then realized that she actually made those sounds. Blinking, she squinted. “I’m back?”

“Yes. Your sight will return when your nervous system reaches equilibrium with the flow of time.”

“That’s real funny, Bob. I wasn’t frozen in carbonite.” Rebecca reached up with her hands and touched her face. “Oh, I can feel again!”

“Your entertainment is quite peculiar. The similarity was unintended, however.”

“Can I see you?” She looked around in the darkness. “Where are you?”

“I am part of you, now.”

“Pfft. You’re a voice in my head. I may as well call you Jarvis, then. You need a British accent, though.” Rebecca laughed, relieved to be able to sense her surroundings. “I’m alive? I really am alive?”

“One moment.”

Rebecca was about to ask why when suddenly everything came into view. Not just the visible spectrum, but into the radio and X-ray and even into the gamma spectrum. Rebecca pushed on the sides of the pod, taking it all in. “Oh, my! Sensory overload! Did you do that?”

“I have augmented your limited vision.”

“Yeah, a little less, please.” Rebecca couldn’t squint or even close her eyes against the onslaught of light.

“Your brain will become accustomed to it shortly.”

“Sure. Not. I’m your Pilot. Dial it back now!”

“I’m your Drone. I will not limit myself or you. Just relax.”

“Feeling more like I have Venom than Jarvis,” Rebecca grumbled.

“You have me. You will be okay.” Bob said. “You may remove the cover.”

Rebecca looked up at the cover of the stasis pod. She sensed everything about it. Its mass, density, position in reality, even the quantum imperfections. “Oh wow. I might just throw up.”

She felt around the edge of the cover and found the release. Except, it was on the outside. “How am I doing this?” A little pressure and the latch clicked, allowing the pod cover to lift up. She reached up with her hand and touched it. The sensation was almost anticlimactic, given her expanded senses and abilities. Using her hands seemed insignificant now. She looked at them, wiggling her fingers. “Bob?”

“Our Unity,” he said simply, anticipating her unspoken question.


Sitting up in the pod, Rebecca spun around and saw an armored figure struggling through a black mass that restrained him. She felt him as much as saw him. As if she was the black mass. Relaxing instinctively, she sensed the organic mass abruptly fade from existence. It reminded her of the Keratian robes seeming to waft away when they no longer needed them. The figure stumbled and had to catch himself and she resisted the urge to reach out to him. “So’rn! You’re alive!”

So’rn froze, gaping at her. She actually saw his expression through his opaque armor.

“Um, what?” Rebecca suddenly felt self-conscious.

“Are you really… you?” So’rn took a wary stance, glancing around then back at her.

“Hey, you’re the one who wanted a stupid rock.” Rebecca swung her legs over the edge of the pod and stood up. She teetered a little, looking down. Why did she even have to stand? Gravity seemed so limiting. “Stop it, Bob. I like standing.”

“If you say so.”

More condescension. She looked at So’rn. “Are you okay?”

“You’re asking me?” So’rn shook his head. He tentatively reached and grabbed her hand, looking like he was ready to run away at any moment. Her massive wolfman, now afraid of her? “Over here. Look.”

Rebecca rolled her eyes and looked at a wall. It had been a display of the exterior of the ship. It abruptly changed into a mirror. She flinched, stumbling back. “Holy crap!”

The Crow Series

Begin Your


Crow Novels

Shipwrecked – November 2023

Shipwrecked – September 2023



Cargo Serial, Episode 1

A science fantasy serial.



September 2023


“Please. You don’t need to do this.” Rebecca wrung her hands nervously, following the massive wolfman around his quarters as he prepared.

He looked at her, then squinted. “Why are you so frightened?”

“I’m like, your plucky sidekick. Remember? Just here for comic relief?” She held her hands out expressively, then dropped them. “What happens if something happens?”

He didn’t respond.

Rebecca waved her hands, frantic. “I’m not an Evo or Order. There’s nothing special about me. I’m just some dork out in the middle of space working on her PhD thesis. I can’t survive without you.”

“You require no special abilities to survive, Becca.”

“So’rn, please,” Rebecca pleaded. She looked at the wall display screen that now showed the wreckage her wolfman was about to crawl through. Miles of jagged metal just waiting to poke a hole in his pressure suit.

So’rn followed her terrified gaze, stripping out of the last of his utilitarian garb. He held up a large white jumpsuit expectantly.


“Help me get into this.”

Sighing, she started pulling the tight-fitting jumpsuit up his legs, pushing his thick, black fur down as she went. “Our space suits are a lot looser.”

“This is just a cooling liner.” So’rn shrugged his arms into the suit and Rebecca helped pull it so he could clasp it shut. “It is supposed to be tight.”

“Hundred-thousand-year-old society and you haven’t invented auto-fit yet?” Rebecca took a step back, looking at him critically.

“Some of us prefer the older models,” So’rn grumbled. He pressed a wall-plate, then stood back as a closet opened.

“What is that?” Rebecca gaped.

So’rn glanced sideways at her. “Chaser armor.”

She ran her hand down the alien armor, admiring the ridges and plates. “It’s so organic. Are these ablative plates?”

So’rn raised a brow. “You are familiar with armor?”

“Dad drove a tank.” She shook her head. “This is a lot more sophisticated than a tank, though.”

“With good reason. I am a Chaser,” So’rn said, extracting the armor from her rapt attention. “Hold this.”

Rebecca helped while her wolfman donned the armor. She marveled as the seams vanished when the armor pieces clicked together, becoming molecularly one. “Chaser.”

So’rn glanced at her, recognizing an implied question. “We chase deviant Gatekeepers. Like your Steven.” He snapped on a head-gear ring. “He is lucid, however, and is not a threat. The others are.”

“This helps?”

“It gives us an extra moment to evade their attack.” So’rn looked in the air and waved at something.

Rebecca touched the armor again and saw the user interface for it floating around them. “They’re that dangerous?”

So’rn stopped and regarded her sorely. “Becca, worlds have been lost to deviants. You’ve been to Senin, right? Saw the history report? A deviant did that.”

“Oh.” Rebecca stopped asking. Apparently, deviants were a sore issue for So’rn. Still, what was a Chaser doing on a freighter? She looked at her friend, wondering if she should broach the subject. But he still seemed to anticipate her question.

“With the threat of the Venda, it seemed prudent to assign me to this circuit.”

“Just you?”

So’rn scowled at her.

“Sorry. I thought you chased deviants.”

“Venda tend deviants.” He stretched in the armor. “So, we engage in combat with them, too.”

Rebecca looked out the window display. It wasn’t an actual window, but looked like one. So’rn followed her gaze. “Do you feel better now?”

She turned to face him. “So you have armor. You could still get crushed. Or something worse.”

“There is a risk to any action we undertake, Becca. This is worth that risk. And my armor should give me an edge out there.”

“Can’t our rescuers look at the projectile?”

“If those who sent the projectile reach us before we are rescued, knowing who they are will increase our likelihood of survival by an order of magnitude.”

Rebecca looked down. So’rn lifted her chin. “I’m going to get a rock. That’s all. I need you to help.”

“Okay.” Rebecca sighed. “Sure. A rock. In the middle of a minefield.”

So’rn cocked his head.

“You know. Mines. Bombs you set to keep people out?” She pursed her lips, forgetting she was speaking Common. “I guess there’s not a word for that.”

So’rn grinned. “Don’t fret. We have our toys too.” He turned on his heel and left the apartment.

Rebecca had to trot to keep up. “Yeah. Toys.”

“I’ve mapped the field and found a chunk close to one of the access ports.” He waved his hand and Rebecca saw a representation of the asteroid chunks in the wreckage. An airlock on the external hull was highlighted, as were several boulders that littered the fuselage around it.

“Huh. They’re affected by the ship’s gravity flow too.”

“The effect extends outside the spacecraft a little.” So’rn pointed. “That one looks good.”

“There’s a tangle of sharp metal junk all around it.”

“I’ll be careful.” He looked at her. “I’m not foolhardy, you know.”

“I’m starting to wonder about that,” Rebecca grumbled.

“Wonder about what?” So’rn stopped and tapped a panel. “Here we are.”

“What do I do?”

“You’re my backup.” So’rn pressed another wall-plate in the room they had entered. A closet emerged from the wall. “Put, um,” he squinted at her, then pointed, “that one. Put that one on.”

Rebecca looked at rows of actual space suits neatly hanging. “Do I need a liner too?” She pulled at her blouse.

“Not necessary. This isn’t armor. Just put it on.” So’rn extracted the suit and examined it. “It is auto-fit and close to your size.”

“Oh.” She kicked her loafers off and stepped into the suit. So’rn sealed it for her and clicked on the headpiece ring.

“Your helmet will deploy automatically, but here is a manual deployment control.” He put her hand on a control surface.

“That’s… what if I hit it accidentally?” She toggled the control and her helmet seemed to materialize from the neck-ring. The visor was opaque, like So’rn’s, but she could see everything perfectly from within. Another toggle, and it retracted.

“It will not respond if you are in an inhospitable environment,” So’rn grinned. He couldn’t help but be impressed by the questions she was asking. “Okay, I assume you know how the lock works, right?”

“I’ve been in one during transfers a few times.” Rebecca fiddled with a control panel on her arm and looked up in the air at the settings floating around her. She activated one and her suit resized itself to more comfortably fit her. “If you expect me to go out there and drag your crushed butt back,” she stopped. Shaking her head, she pointed at the door. “I don’t want to go out there.”

“You’ll operate the return cable.” He tapped another panel, and a winch emerged from the wall by the door. He clipped the cable to his armor. “Just pull on that lever and it’ll retrieve me if there’s a problem.”

“What if you’re, like, stuck? Crushed?”

“Then it will retrieve parts of me.” So’rn gave her a toothy grin. He sobered at her horrified expression. “That was humor. You Terrans have a very dark imagination.”

“You Camdyn are really annoying,” Rebecca grumbled.

“That we are.” So’rn pulled up a virtual control and activated it. The door to the room snapped shut, and the room seemed to lift.

Rebecca walked to the door and stood beside the winch. “I don’t like this, So’rn.”

“I’m not going to get injured. The thought of you nursing me is motivation enough.”

“Pfft, you only wish.” She hit a panel next to the door. Her visor deployed automatically while the air was removed from the room. After a brief moment, the door opened, revealing the expanse of their little section of the space-freighter. She watched So’rn exit, stepping through a thick layer of dust. “I thought we had this cleaned every transit.”

“This is from this transit,” So’rn said, looking down. The downside of having gravity on the exterior of the vessel was the inevitable buildup of dust. He looked up and pointed. “We have a much better view of that now. Look.”

Rebecca followed his gaze and nodded. This transit had a supermassive black hole. They were far enough away that it wasn’t a threat to them. Their trajectory was already pre-programmed to account for the gravitational pull. “That’s why this transit is such a gold mine.”

“Gold mine?”

“A rich source of resources.” Rebecca clarified. “You guys can mine this for centuries and not make a dent. Dust, rocks, planetoids, all pulled into that accretion ring. Easy pickings.” Part of her thesis covered the astrophysics being represented here. She looked at her suit sensor readings. “And radiation. Hurry up.”

She watched So’rn navigate carefully around wreckage that was strewn across the fuselage of the space freighter. The edge of the chasm created by the projectile was close, and the distorted metal raised up like a vast, frozen wave. The sheer size of everything intimidated Rebecca, and she shivered a little. The engineering section alone was over fifteen miles long. The cargo section was over eighty-five miles long. She felt like a little flea standing by the door as she watched So’rn pick through the dust looking for samples of the asteroid.

“This is odd,” So’rn said.


“I already looked at this chunk.” He held up a fist-sized piece of the asteroid. “Not enough mass for a good radiation read.” He tossed it and kept feeling in the layer of dust. “There should be a larger piece right here, but it’s moved.”

“That’s a little creepy, So’rn.” Rebecca fidgeted, glancing at the handle of the winch.

“It is peculiar.” He stood up straight and turned around in a circle, looking down at the dust. “I’m not detecting any magnetic resonance, and yet the fragments seem to be aligning themselves as if there were.” He bent over and lifted up a much larger fragment. “Here it is.”

“Good. Now get back here.” Rebecca tugged on the safety line.

So’rn looked out into the chasm created by the asteroid. “It’s different when you’re actually looking at it out here.”

“I’m sure it – So’rn!” Rebecca screamed.

So’rn looked back at her, then around as a large black wave seemed to rise out of the surrounding dust. The chunk he held liquified and joined the wave that enveloped him. He writhed, trying to dislodge the black liquid while it attempted to find a way into his suit.

Rebecca pulled the lever and started pulling on the cable when the winch wasn’t turning fast enough for her. “So’rn!”

“No! Don’t pull me in!” So’rn waved a hand at her. The entirety of the liquid that had blanketed him abruptly left him, following the cable toward her.

Rebecca pushed the lever up and tried to jump back just as a mass of blackness suddenly fanned out and engulfed her. She fell back, hearing a distinct scream through her suit. Whatever it was, it was trying to get in. Suddenly, her headpiece retracted. Rebecca screamed into the vacuum as the blackness seemed to instantly fill her suit, immersing her.

Her last thought was a combination of emotions she had no idea existed.

Then, nothing.

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Shipwrecked – November 2023

Shipwrecked – August 2023



Cargo Serial, Episode 1 

A science fantasy serial.



August 2023


Suddenly, everything went sideways. Literally. Rebecca almost forgot to be scared. One moment she was arguing with a wolfman in a wrecked control room, and the next she was in the air as the vast control room seemed to precipitously slide by.

There was not a lot of furniture, thankfully, but the far wall was approaching rapidly. Like the others, the wall was a giant display, making it look like an opening into space. It made the visual even more terrifying. It was like the cosmos was approaching, ready to consume her.

The wolfman was suddenly next to her, grabbing her. He wrapped himself around her and spun around so she was looking at the receding wall. Only then did it occur to her just how massive he was. Sure, he towered over her when they walked together. But she felt even tinier in his embrace. She looked at one of his clawed hands that pretty much covered her belly. The other pulled her head back to his chest and she could only see between two of his fingers.

The impact was jarring. Rebecca seemed to blink for a long time before opening her eyes. She groggily realized it wasn’t a blink. She had blacked out.


No answer.

She looked around at him. His black eyes were partially closed and he floated limply by the wall.


Rebecca looked down, then around. They both were floating. “So’rn!” She waved her arms then took a deep breath, feeling nauseated by the sense of falling.

So’rn blinked, then looked at her curiously.

“We’re weightless? We’re going to lose all our air!” Rebecca flailed her arms while taking another deep breath.

He grabbed one of her arms, wincing, and pulled her back to him. “What does weightlessness have to do with losing our air?”

Rebecca stopped flailing and stared at him for a long moment. “Um. I don’t know?” She looked around. “I just, it seemed, I freaked.”

So’rn huffed.

“You’re hurt.” Rebecca turned in his embrace and pulled back the fur on his shoulder, peering down his back. No blood, thankfully.

“It’s nothing. We play harder than that as children.” So’rn pushed her away. He looked around, at the wall-display. “The wreckage is cooling.”


He glanced at her. “This part shifted, apparently.”

“That was a shift? A shift? We were standing over there a moment ago!”

“Becca, be calm. We are still alive.” So’rn pushed from the wall, dragging her with him. “Gravity flow generators must have gone offline in the shift.”

Rebecca looked back at the wall. On it she saw the wreckage of the hundred-mile-long space freighter. Actually, the forward shield was intact, as were most of the cargo containers. It was as if the asteroid was intended to destroy the rear engineering section of the vessel. Still, that was a good ten or fifteen miles of structure that was shredded at high velocity.

Intended? Rebecca remembered something So’rn had said just before everything went sideways.

“You said we were hit by a projectile?”

So’rn glanced back at her. “I did indeed.” He appeared surprised the Terran actually listened.

“No. That’s bull. We have protections.” Rebecca shook her head. It was hard to deny what she was seeing, though.

“Our shields protect us from impacting stuff. And our maneuvers protect us from stuff coming at us from the side. But none of our shields can protect against a guided projectile.” He looked back at her again. “You were there with me. You saw it.”

Rebecca gulped. They both had been on an observation deck and witnessed the black asteroid coming seemingly out of nowhere. It was traveling impossibly fast. And it ripped through their ship like it was foil. She closed her eyes as she remembered. It did seem to match their course change. She remembered the stars rotating as the ship attempted to avoid the asteroid. But the asteroid followed. “That’s impossible.”

“We move asteroids all the time.” So’rn grabbed a counter and pushed her into a chair. She gripped the armrests while he strapped her in. “This transit is a new mine, after all. We were supposed to leave two containers in orbit for the future crew.” He looked at the display, scowling. “This asteroid was only about thirty-two thousand cubic feet in size. But it was the velocity that did the damage.”

“Oh. Only thirty-two thousand cubic feet. What was I thinking?” Rebecca rolled her eyes. He actually used another word in his language. But that’s how it translated to her. She seemed to sink into the chair suddenly. “Oof, that was sudden.”

So’rn grinned at her. “Secondary systems are online.”

“No duh.” Rebecca unstrapped herself and stood up. The floor seemed to rumble and she looked around nervously.

“We’re still shifting. The impact caused a lot of heat expansion. Now we’re cooling.”

“Death by cooling spaceship. Not fun,” Rebecca grumbled.

“Can you name a fun death?” So’rn shook his head.

Rebecca grinned, then frowned, looking out the window. “So’rn?”

So’rn moved something in the air and looked at her while reaching up and moving something else. Rebecca couldn’t see it, but knew what it was.

“Who did this?”

He scowled and returned his attention to the air around him. Sighing, Rebecca touched the control panel and suddenly saw what he was seeing. Holographic displays floated all around them. Representations of data he was searching through. Apparently, he was pondering the same question.

“The Venda would be the easiest to blame.” He glanced at her. “They’re why I’m here.”

“Yeah, but don’t they normally hijack the ships?”

So’rn nodded. “True. This is different.”

“But the Cooperative doesn’t have any other enemies, do they?” Rebecca pursed her lips, nervous. The Venda were insidious and ridiculously relentless. Who could be worse than them?

So’rn chortled. “Oh, there are others. Contacts we’ve made that did not fare well.”

“I’ve never heard of them. Just the Venda.”

“Because the Venda are currently waging war against us. But they’ve focused on the core worlds.” He looked sideways at her. “They think they’re fighting on behalf of your deviant.”

“Steven Crow?” Rebecca shook her head. “He’s an Elf. And Earth… Terra, we’re not that happy with him either.”

So’rn huffed, returning his attention to his displays. “I need to get a sample of the projectile.”

“You’re going out there?” Rebecca pointed at a wall display, incredulous. Sharp shards of metal and fragments of the asteroid made the area near them a death-trap.

“Perhaps I can find a sample without going far.” He pulled up a 3D map of the ship that hung in the air around them. “Its radioactive signature will help identify the technology used to drive the projectile.”


“That would help me identify the responsible party.”

“Pfft. Then what? Our computers have lost contact with everyone.”

So’rn looked at her thoughtfully. “They hijacked the entanglement. We’ve only seen the Sadari do that.”

“And their Venda.” Rebecca waggled a finger. She shuddered. “I thought I’d be safe on a freighter. Now we’re being attacked by gods and their hordes?”

“Just another day in my life,” So’rn grumbled. He stopped and looked at her. “What do bovine have to do with it?”

“Huh?” Rebecca blinked, cocking her head.

“You mentioned a bull. I am still trying to figure that out.” So’rn squinted at her. “Did you bring any onboard?”

“What? No! That’s just something we say.” Rebecca held her hands out, exasperated. “We’re on a wrecked spaceship about to be attacked by who knows who and you want to know about bull?”

“I am just trying to make sense of your vernacular. Terrans are an odd people.”

“And then some.” Rebecca smirked.

“Some… what?”

The Crow Series

Begin Your


Crow Novels

Shipwrecked – November 2023

Shipwrecked – July 2023



Cargo Serial, Episode 1

A science fantasy serial.



July 2023


“I could eat you.” The massive wolfman leaned inches from her face, clacking his teeth and licking his lips loudly. 

“Sure. Then where would you be?” She refused to back up. Instead, she pointed again at the chamber behind her. “Eating those.”

“Becca, Camdyn don’t graze.” 

“Duh.” Rebecca rolled her eyes. Camdyn eating veggies? She shook her head and lifted a panel between the rows of vegetables, exposing large grubs. “Protein, just the way you like it. So’rn, Elves eat these just fine.”

“I’d rather eat you. Terrans are so deliciously tender.” 

“Pfft. I’d get caught in your teeth.” Rebecca stood up. “That fella on Mars did it. So can we.”

“That movie again?” So’rn grumbled and turned around, heading out of the chamber. “We still have rations. And we’re not on your Mars.”

“C’mon.” Rebecca chased after the massive Camdyn. Wolfman. She sighed. Why couldn’t she be marooned with an Elf or Faerie? “We could be here for months.”

So’rn looked at her quizzically.

“You know. Month. It’s, um, like thirty of your days?” Rebecca shook her head. “We cannot use up the rations too quickly. We need to make them last longer. That food is healthy for us.” She pointed behind her.

“For you.” So’rn scowled. “No.”

“You’ll love it. I promise.” 


“We can cook them. Spice them.”

“No and no.” 

“It’d be like eating clams.”

“Do I look like I eat clams?” So’rn pulled up short, looking at her in exasperation. 

“They are yummy.” Rebecca said, subdued. “We have this sauce stuff back home. It’s called soy sauce.”


“We have salt here. That’d help make them yummy.”

So’rn glowered at her. “It’d make you yummy.”

“Give it a chance, willya?” Rebecca pulled on his thick, black fur. “It’ll make the rations last longer.” She followed him into a ruined control room. “We need to be ready for anything.”

“We weren’t ready for that.” So’rn pointed at a wall sized viewscreen.

Rebecca sighed and looked at the wreckage displayed. They were on a space freighter over a hundred miles long, and something had impacted it head on, carving it nearly in half. “We’re alive, So’rn. And we’ll be found. I know it. But we need to prepare for the long term.”

So’rn turned to face her. “I have no doubt we’ll be found. But by who?”

Rebecca just looked at him. He turned to look at the wreckage again. “We weren’t hit by an asteroid, Becca. We were hit by a projectile.”

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