Shadows and Light by Stephanie Burkhart
Liberty's Flight by Esther Mitchell
Bleu Lies by Shea McMaster
Commander Kal Raines began questioning the wisdom and guidance of the TPP when they exiled him to the Borealis. But, he's loyal if nothing else. Since then, he's questioned every choice he's made in the name of the TPP.
Summer Merriweather has worked for the Rebellion under many names and in many situations, and now she's on Borealis. When Summer crosses Kal's path, she brings even more choices into question and he sees his loyalties have been thrown to the feet of swine.
When he realizes he has the chance to help in the ultimate overthrow of the TPP he stands and the precipice and must either step back or jump. Step back, and let the Rebellion die? Jump and join Summer in an ongoing, stealthy battle to strengthen the rebellion and perhaps someday overthrow the TPP?
"Cheesy-chips, Kev, where in the puddle of Hera's spilt milk are you?"
Hands on hips, Summer Merriweather shot the question out to the heavens. Somewhere out among the stars on the other side of the clear dome high overhead, her brother was on a ship headed for Borealis Space Station, the most notorious space outpost on the edge of oblivion.
A notorious outpost with a really nice arboretum.
Assured of her aloneness for the moment, she slipped off a shoe and stepped onto the grassy patch before her. There, between two shrubs, was a nice bare patch of soil. Perfect. Nobody would notice her little gift for weeks to come.
She stepped from the second shoe and fully onto the grass where she took a precious moment to wiggle her toes into the cool green blades. Still sensing no one earby, she bent and scraped shallow furrows in the bit of open dirt with one hand while palming open a small paper envelope with the other. Five seconds later she had a tablespoon's worth of small black seeds scattered and patted down into the ground, envelope stashed back in her pocket.
Satisfied to have one item crossed off her list, she dusted her hands and settled onto the grass. Just fifteen minutes to center herself. That's all she needed. Maybe then she could figure out why her brother had gone AWOL from the university. And why, of all the laser-brained ideas, he'd chosen Borealis as his destination. Hell's -- Boris's bluebells, Kev could already be here for all she knew. She'd only arrived this morning.
Hands resting on knees, legs folded into position, she drew in a deep breath of green air, just the right level of humid, scented with sweet flowers balanced by a musky note of natural decay. After the recycled air of the station below, this tasted of heaven.
Overhead, through the high dome, the deep black of perpetual night sprinkled with dots of twinkling starlight called to her. Pretty much the same way it called to Kev, with his dreams of conquering space and righting wrongs across the universe while discovering new phenomena.
Only he wasn't old enough, or experienced enough, to know what to do with his urges. Genius and street smarts didn't mix in that child. If a university specializing in common sense existed, she'd send him there. Instead, she hoped the University of Corabora Prime would let him remain a student after this defection.
If ever she'd wished for a telepathic link with her only remaining family member, it was now. "I know you're out there, but where?"
She'd muttered the words, not expecting an answer, so when a deep male voice spoke behind her, "Did you lose someone?" she flinched and fell backwards.
From the path, a man leaned over, looking at her from upside down.
"Oh!" The fact he wore a Trans Planetary Protectorate uniform moved her heart rate into double time. Betelgeuse, she didn't ever want to run into them, unless she planned for it, and then only if she timed it to her schedule. This specimen didn't have the appearance of an Enforcer, so maybe he was of the less harmful standard issue officer type. A really gorgeous guy, but possibly just a plain old ordinary person visiting the garden to relax. Surprisingly, she hadn't heard him approach. How long had he been standing there? Oh cattle cookies, had he seen her bent over, ass in the air? How big did she look from behind? And would he find her illicit planting? Careful, she warned herself. Let him speak first.
"Sorry," he said. "Didn't mean to startle you. I wouldn't have disturbed your meditation; however, I felt it only fair to alert you to the fact you might want to consider moving."
"What? I didn't see any signs saying it's forbidden to sit on the grass."
"I didn't say that." One corner of his mouth quirked up a fraction of an inch, as if it weren't used to the movement, and revealed a shadow of a dimple in his cheek. "I said you might want to consider moving."
"This is no way to hold a conversation," Summer muttered, and uncrossed her legs. Practicing grace, for a lady must always move gracefully, she rolled into a sitting position and continued on up to her feet.
She turned, and shook out her skirt. "Do I have grass all over me?"
The crooked smile, sandy hair and piercing blue eyes held just the right amount of amusement to power down her instincts to regard him with wariness first and extend trust later, if at all. He didn't seem ready to slap her in cuffs and haul her off to a lock-up. Not this second, but if she didn't give the right answers, she bet a meeting with the station's security force could be scheduled right quick.
Instead, her heart thumped at red-alert for an entirely different reason. The instinct to flee or fight fled and she felt a whole 'nother response zing through her. It made her no less wary. Personal experience with rogues of the tall, strong and gorgeous sort had taught Summer to keep them at arm's length except for the odd one-night stand. Fun to play with, she never got serious about a man. Unless he had valuable information for her. But that was work, not play.
Besides, she had a mission and really didn't have time for merriment of that sort, and certainly not with him. The immaculately pressed gray woolsynth uniform complete with the shiny silver officer circles on it put him in the dangerous foe category. TPP officer, albeit a slightly scruffy one. His hair was a tad too long, his eyes immeasurably tired, and his end of the day beard had begun to make an appearance. A bit like the station in general. A touch tarnished on the edges of the public face. Scruffiness aside, his posture reflected the ramrod stiffness associated with career military. A pity. Though without the commander's insignia, she would have pegged him as captain for sure, possibly rear-admiral by the air of authority he exuded like the uniform he wore so well.
"I don't see grass clippings on you." The slight smile grew a bit more. "But if you don't move--"
Water sprang at her from all sides as the ground sprinklers popped on.
Summer shrieked, "Fudge barnacles!" and leapt from the grass to the path.
"--you'll get wet."
Find information on the rest of the Borealis Space Station family HERE