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Writing an novel, or series, or something


#21

The door to the quarters opened, and Jake walked in holding a meal shake can to his mouth. “So tired after your shift that you would actually drink that thing?” asked Sarah in teasing voice. She saw him give a slight start, not so much that she was in his quarters, but that she was only wearing a night piece that left little to the imagination. Before he moved the can away from his mouth, she laughed and said, “Skival wants us out in eight hours. Actual seven hours 45 minutes from now, you slow poke. So let’s see,” as she stretched out across his bed, “we only need five hours sleep really. And two hours should be enough to clean ourselves up and eat a real meal. That leaves us 45 minutes to do something else,” she finished with a wide smile.

“Are you serious? I haven’t cleaned in over sixteen hours Sarah. Also,” but Jake was not able to get much further as Sarah quickly stood up and grabbed the can, set it down on the table, and threw him onto the bed.

She hadn’t cleaned in awhile or slept either, so he could offer no excuse. Always trying to be a gentleman, but she had no time for that now. As she began to remove his jump suit, she asked, “Before we get too caught up in fun, they say you found a pirate victim?”

Jake began to help in the undressing but was able to answer, “Yes, though it looked like it happened over a half a week ago. There have not been any other signs of activity since we entered the patchwork.” Sarah felt some tension leave her shoulders that she did not even realize was there.

She laughed again, “Heavens, I got so bored with that program, I could not wait to do something else. Lucky for me and you I know your quarters combination. Set the alarm for 45 minutes though, we will need our sleep.” She bent down and kissed him before he could say anything else, for it seemed they had no time to waste.


#22

Let me know if I post these too much at a time.


#23

Six hours and twenty two minutes later, Jake entered the mess hall with a clean jumpsuit on, cleaned body, and a major appetite. Sarah was going to be a few minutes behind him, as it was going to take her time to get to her quarters to clean up, but they agreed to leave for the bridge together after eating. The mess hall was just a basic rectangle, with one side having a small kitchen with a buffet service and several synthesized food stations next to it. The crew of 76 consisted of 43 humans, 18 Triadia, and a mix of other races. The ship itself was built by one of the free trade colonies from Terra. So, it generally meant that the buffet was edible, but sometimes Jake did not want to take the risk. As he approached, the buffet, he heard Ajax call out from one of the tables.

He looked over and waved, but continued to head to the buffet. Jake really needed food, but he heard Ajax shout out in his odd (seemingly faked) accent, “Hey man, don’t cha go for the buffet today. They be serving Beetacian grub.” Jake quickly turned to the synthesizers and ordered a plate of lasagna with bread and greens. Synthesized food never tasted quite right. It is made by artificially by creating the ingredients in a special molecule processor; then the layers are stitched together to form a block of food. The block usually was the same size of the food item it was mimicking and tended to have the same consistency. It does not take place instantly, but with these devices, in order to have something to eat, you just need to buy cheap raw materials of protein, minerals, fibers, and water. It can mimic most foods after that. Lasagna, oddly, was not close to the real thing but tasted better than most dishes. One can almost ignore its gelatinous texture all synthesized food had to some degree.

After a minute or so wait, he grabbed his meal and went to join Ajax. His tall friend was sitting near one of the sensor windows, looking out towards the nebula they were just in. Ajax once told Jake that his family came from the nation state of Jamaica on Terra. That is why his skin was dark, he wore dreadlocks, and he tried to speak with that accent. Jake concluded that Ajax did look the role, but he could still very well just be pulling his leg with one of his mind games. Ajax was very clever and good with numbers. His current job was helping Skival in finances for the ship.


#24

Sitting with him was Orital, a Triadial, who was one of the ships engineers. His older sister was the chief engineer. Triadial have three legs, with his lower torso shaped more like a small triangle with two legs up front and one in the back. Though odd looking to a human, Triadia were very agile despite their appearance. The top torso looked human like enough, though the hands only had three fingers. His head was shaped like an upside down triangle, with a long chin, narrow mouth, and large eyes. Their average height is nearly seven feet tall. The skin of their race resembled a reptile’s. Some have greenish hues and others yellow in their skin. Orital’s was yellow. However, the most striking thing about Triadia is they have very few facial muscles, which always gave them a blank facial impression. Across their foreheads ran a series of small protrusions of soft flesh like material. They acted like mood stones, changing color to indicate the ‘expression’ the Triadia wanted to give. Jake had become very good at ready those colors.

“Hey guys, how are you two doing,” Jake said as he sat down next to them.

Orital turned to Jake and the ridges turned green mixed with blue, indicating concern. “Rumors say that Skival said sharks might be in the area. Do you know what that means?” Orital said in a near monotone voice.

“There were pirates in the area, but we are not sure if they are still around,” answered Jake.

The way the colors flashed across Orital’s forehead indicated that Jake answered incorrectly. “That is not what that translation means. Skarks means a certain race; sharkies I believe is the human slang for them. Rumor states that the Captain took this high paying haul because the outpost we are going to has had trouble with Henthshraq pirates.”


#25

That managed to get Jakes attention away from his food. He knew little about the race of Henthshraq, but what he did know was that it was considered the most powerful non ancient race there was. They were the race that built the free trade route system consisting of many stationary fold point stations across the few known galaxies.

Space is vast, and there are only three modes of faster than light travel. Warp speed can get a ship up to ten times the speed of light, but any faster would warp space to much and destroy a ship. Hyperspace jumps can nearly instantaneously take a ship from .1 light years to 14.3 light years distant, but could not go any further and require anywhere from 12 to 24 hours to recharge. The last mode is to fold space, literally connecting two points of the universe together. However, to do this requires massive power and large folding ships. The fold point’s size depends on what is making the point on both ends. But once a fold point was made large enough, any ship could just go right on through. So far, no distance limit has been found on the fold point system, but both ends of the point cannot be closer than three light years apart.

Since the Henthshraq built their system, travel has become much easier for all the races. However, besides the system, Henthshraq inspired many races with their technology, most notably the N.A.U. machines which they were the first race to implement. The odd thing about the race is that they tend to keep to themselves. Even with the trade system, few races have any actual ties to them, and fewer races have a true understanding of them. Out of all the space faring treaty bound groups, the Henthsharq also represented the strongest independent and non-aligned race. The Terran Federation was also an independent race, though it is starting to feel the pressure to join one of the treaty groups.


#26

Other than that, Jake realized he didn’t even know what a Henthshraq looked like. “I didn’t know they had pirates from that race. Is that a bad thing?” Jake asked before taking in a mouthful of green cubes.

Orital colors flashed the equivalent of a nod. “Yes, if the pirates are of that race, it would be bad. I have never heard of Henthshraq pirates, so my worries might be misplaced.”

“Relax man, I looked over the figures,” Ajax said to Orital. “This job is paying only a slightly higher than normal hazard pay. That would mean possible pirates, but none that would be a threat to this ship. The big bonus comes from…well man, something else.” He said with a wink. Jake heard rumors that Skival tended to ship ‘other’ types of cargo for large profit. This cargo could be considered illegal, but Skival never transported something dangerous. He heard he transported pleasure toys to one stringent colony, booze to a dry colony, cat nip to one feline like races colonies, and other things along that line. A minor contraband crime in the TF, though some races would have taken Skival’s head if he had gotten caught. It gave Jake a bit of a thrill to be part of a ‘scandalous’ crew.

Caught up in the conversation, Jake received a sharp pinch from Sarah as she sat down next to him. After a slight yelp of pain, Jake told her what Orital said. Sarah’s face grew very concerned. Jake asked what was wrong, and she answered, “I have actually seen Henthshraq. I know a little bit about them too. We use their system all the time, so Skival knows them well enough. If the pirates are Henthshraq, then they must have done something to be banished from their homeland. That would not make them pleasant people. I would rather not think about having to fight a group of them.” The four continued their meal after that not mentioning anything about pirates after seeing Sarah’s reaction.


#27

I will add a bit more tonight. Might as well finish off the first section I wrote out.


#28

Somehow Sarah always was faster eating than Jake. As he and Ajax started to leave the mess hall, she had already left for the bridge five minutes ago. This gave Jake an opportunity though, and he was quick to take it. He turned to Ajax and pulled him aside in the hall way. “Our next stop at a TF or TAC outpost is immediately after this job right?” he asked.

“Why yes it is,” Ajax responded with a curious expression. “Why would you confirm what you should already know, hehe, unless you got something on your mind… say trying to purchase a ring with hunkin rock on it?” A grin started to form on Ajax’s face and grew into a full smile with laughter threatening as Jake’s skin went from normal to red.

“How did… what you makes you say that I am searching for something like that?” Jake quickly answered back. Ajax gave him a look of smug satisfaction, and Jake knew that there was no dodging the truth with him.
“Yes, I have decided to propose to Sarah. I want to do the traditional Earth engagement ring, and the only places to get them are Terran outposts and colonies.”

“Holy Dung Man!” Ajax said with a laugh. “My little man is all grown up. Going to settle down and marry, grow lazy, become boring, and waste his life away …” The look Jake gave him cut off his teasing rant.

“Shall I tell Hana your views on marriage?” Jake said with full earnest. “Sarah and I have been dating for over a year, and I cannot see my life without her now. You and Hana have been dating for nearly six years. Tease me anymore and I will start putting certain ideas into her head.” Ajax’s reaction of distress pleased Jake very much.


#29

“Dang man, you are starting to get to good at this game. Though that does put an idea into my head, what if I purchased a ring for Hana as well? We can propose to our sweeties, yah, and then we can get married on the same day and place! We would save a fortune by combining our ceremonies.”

Jake was about to scold Ajax for kidding again, but looking closer at him he realized he might be serious. The lost in a day dream look Ajax was giving off also told Jake that marrying Hana might have been crossing Ajax’s mind lately as well. Before he could ask, the communication device on his belt chirped out in Itch’s mechanically translated voice, “Itch’ to Jake Misoto. Please come to bridge immediately. We are going to full alert.” The alarms started simultaneously.

Jake ran down the corridor and shouted back to Ajax, “When we get out of this mess, let’s talk more on this.”

He turned the corner and heard Ajax shout back to him, “Glad you said ‘When’ not ‘if’ man!” with his custom laugh following.


#30

Hana sat in the remote probe pilot chair with perfect posture. From Skival’s view, he could only see one hand, revealing her dark skin coloring that some humans have, and her long hair bundled up behind her head. It allowed the chair easier access to her bio interface port being up like that. He could still tell it had streaks of red color mixed with its black coloring. A stray conversation he overheard revealed that several human females use a gene therapy technique to have different genes active for certain hair follicle, thus giving them naturally mixed hair coloring. The only none manipulated feature of Hana’s that revealed she was of mixed human nation state heritage were her stunning and natural eye colors; left of darkest blue and right of a bright brown. Skival thought space might be too much for the human genome, and this counted as evidence.

His thoughts though strayed back into reality, and he pressed his mind against hers and asked for permission to enter again. Once it was, he saw what she was seeing through the probe. A Greymax corvette remained outlined by the probes sensor’s. They revealed extensive damage throughout the ship. Destroyed probes from the corvette floated nearby. This was a major problem, for this Greymax corvette carried as much firepower as Pleasant Venture, and the pirates decimated it. The Greymax outpost they were heading too greatly misinformed him of the dangers these pirates posed. Only one good thing could be gained from this discovery, the attack appeared to have occurred more than a week ago.

“Itch’tatca, as soon as we can jump us out of this area.” Skival said as he withdrew from Hana’s mind. He always tried to be careful while in someone else’s mind, but with other species it is hard to control what he ‘hears’. Early when Sarah and he entered the bridge, Hana had just discovered the debris field 600 kilometers away. Even with such a discovery, a back thought crossed Hana’s mind, something that revealed mix emotions over Sarah. From what he could tell, Hana and Sarah were good friends, but Hana’s stray thought revealed concern. It seemed something like Hana felt she had to guard someone from Sarah. At the same time another thought of hers scolded herself for thinking something like that. He managed to start blocking out the excess noise at that time, but made note of it in case it became a distraction for her during a crisis.


#31

“It is going to be at least three more hours before we can jump, Captain,” Itch’ responded. Skival considered going to warp speed, but once again he concluded that would only reveal his position if anyone was out there, and that his warp engines were not fast enough to outrun these pirates. Worst, going to warp would delay the recharge of the jump drive. The port door opened, and Jake walked onto the bridge at a very fast pace. Skival gave him a quick briefing mentally, and Jake rushed to his pilot seat. In just a few moments, Jake had cleared his probe and began to help with the patrol. The site of four near motionless humans sitting the pilot chairs gave Skival a slightly odd feeling in his bosom, one that told him things are not well.

Jake’s senses were once again split between himself and the fighter/sensor probe. As soon as he left the bay, he saw a text message and an outline of a flight plan enter his mind. Sarah had already set up a perimeter defense pattern for the ship. He saw the Venture in his rear sensors, and the flashes of color revealed the shields coming up and the limited weapons systems activate. For a ship just over 300 meters in length, the Pleasant Venture did not carry much armament, but the four light twin laser cannons and eight anti fighter/meteor rail guns gave the ship a nice punch. Normally, with that fire power, strong shields, and four attack probes, pirates would not find them an appetizing target. The few that ever did try to take a bite gave up after a few shots.

The fact that the corvette was destroyed changed the mood from confidence to grave concern on the bridge, and Jake felt it strongly. Jake quickly got into his position in the formation, and began to keep his watch. “Greymax do not represent the best warriors of the galaxy, and this crew has a lot more bite to its bark,” Jake thought. He was not going to let anything happen to this crew and his friends now with so much more at stake. An hour passed, and the maneuvers of Dawson and Hana revealed that fatigue started to take hold of them. Jake knew they had only very short breaks, and they have just started their ninth hour of this shift. He was about to ask Sarah if there was anything they could do to cover for them so they could get a moments rest when Hana, simply by a directed thought, texted him.


#32

“Jake, after we get done with this, you are going to have to look at this probes sensors program with me. I keep getting echoes.” Jake focused his scanners towards Hana’s probe. He did not know why; sensor echoes were common enough with probes, but something felt wrong.

Nothing appeared that was not supposed to be there, but as he began look elsewhere, the colors repeated their pattern in an echo effect. “No way…” Jake thought. He texted Sarah and Hana, “What would stealth technology look like with our sensors?” Before Sarah could reply, the sensors exploded in color and Hana screamed in pain.

“Damn!” Jake thought. He looked back towards Hana’s probe, or where it was. Now debris scattered across the area. The sensors realigned revealing a ship behind Hana’s former location. It reminded Jake of a Terran shark, only its color was as black as the background of space and it was 120 meters in length. It opened its jaws releasing three objects.

Sarah, seeing it as well, shouted out loud, “Shit! Captain, Henthshraq corvette 40 kilometers away. Nine by twelve o’clock. It just launched two N.A.U.’s and a fighter unit type. Looks like it has boarding ships attached to its hull.” She texted Jake and Dawson, “Dawson, fly away from them and start pumping out a distress signal. We need help now! Jake, we need to take out the boarding craft when they launch and keep those units from knocking out Venture’s defenses. Keep your probe intact and follow me!”


#33

Pause for a second.

Aahh, couldn’t find a good Landshark sketch version to show you.


#34

At the same time, Skival started his orders, “Itch’, evasive maneuvers. Samson, prepare our weapons. Main targets will be their units but priority will be boarding craft as they appear.” He went over to Hana. She was breathing hard and already removed herself from the pilot chair. Her eyes were open, but a quick mental probe told him she could not see. “No!” Skival thought, as he realized that a neural feedback shock has temporally disabled one of his best crew members. The shocks cause blindness and completely wreck a person’s equilibrium. Skival whispered to her to stay put until she recovered and prayed silently that she would.

“Captain to all crew members. Prepare for extremely hostile boarders. Set up guard for key locations.” He announced over the intercom. The crew has trained for this. He could feel them doing exactly what needed to be done, yet he knew that they were not ready for this threat. Never in his dreams did he imagine that a Henthshraq pirate ship existed. No wonder he couldn’t sense them earlier. “Damn that entire race, how could a whole race be anti-telepathic?” he thought vehemently. But now was not the time to lose concentration. His screens showed Jak’se and Sarah’s probes about to engage the enemy units, and the enemy vessel picking up speed towards them. A quick calculation revealed they could not out run it.

He continued to give orders, placing crew members in key positions and directing the ship in its evasion attempts. He looked at his screens again. The Henthshraq vessel continued to approach at an alarming rate. Suddenly, he realized he did have one ace up his sleeve. “Itch’, prepare the anti inspection system.” The system he set up for those bastards in case they ever tried to inspect his ship could finally earn its worth.


#35

Jake followed Sarah as her wingman as they streaked towards the enemy units. The enemy fighter type broke off from their formation and raced towards Dawson’s probe. Sarah sent a quick warning to Dawson but told him to still focus on sending out a distress signal. Already the pirates had started to jam communications, and his probe was the only one far out enough to emit a signal. The pirate N.A.U.s got closer, and Jake could see them clearly. They were humanoid in shape, resembling bodies of lean but very muscular athletes. The armor plates covering the metallic muscle system had several cracks and broken panels. The weapons they wielded included forearm mounted and shoulder mounted guns. Their height of just over ten meters added to their imposing image.

Sarah sent a quick text, “Good, these are very old models. Break right on three, and we go for the closest to us.” He sent his acknowledgement and followed the maneuver after the countdown.

Their probes had one forward mounted laser cannon and two rotational rail guns. Jake used his vision to lock onto the target and used the computer to correct for errors before letting loose his deadly arsenal. Disbelief momentarily shocked him as the pirate dodged both of their attacks in a move that resembled a dancer’s. “That pirate’s reflexes were damn fast,” Jake thought. But so were Sarah’s and his, and they managed to dodge the pirates’ return fire. Jake quickly realized a problem though. The enemy units could maneuver just as quickly as the probes but had a major advantage of being able to point and shoot their weapons separately from their motion. Even the rotational rail guns required Jake to have his probe pointed and thus moving in a certain direction.


#36

His probe suddenly spun from a direct hit. The blast packed more of a punch than he anticipated. “We are not going to last long against these guys,” Jake thought, but quickly forced his probe under control and fired back. He tried to keep Sarah covered, but the pirates moved with such speed and ease, it seemed they were only playing with them. “Come on, make a mistake you bastards,” thought Jake, and then suddenly one unit seemed to lose power for a brief second. Sarah instantly pounced and nailed it with a few direct hits before it spun out the line of fire. Jake saw in horror that little damage was done.

Before they could continue to press their attack, several shots scored direct hits on Sarah’s probe. It began to spin violently out of control. Jake maneuvered to cover it, but his vision began to blur, commands went sluggish, and the probe failed to acknowledge him. He called out loud, “They are jamming our communications to the probes, switching…” It was too late. He opened his eyes to see the bridge. Sarah already left her pilot seat and was helping Hana stand up. Skival looked at him and mentally told him he did well, but Jake knew they were now helpless against the attacking pirates.

Skival watched on the screens as the pirate fighter craft closed in on Dawson’s probe. Soon it would jam his signal and destroy their last hope of calling for help. The two N.A.U.s flew closer to his ship. Crewman Hanson at one station and Itch’tatca prepared the Venture’s weapons and, when the time came, let loose a volley of lasers and energized flak. The ship immediately rocked from the counter fire of the enemy fighters. Even though the enemy used older models of their species, the weapons used remained extremely effective. The shields buckled and failed with their concentrated attacks, and weapon turrets began to be destroyed one by one. A violent rock shock the entire ship as the corvette fired one salvo to take out the observational bridge.


#37

“Thank the Great Mother that main bridge is within the ship,” was the only comforting thought Skival had at the moment. He heard Itch’ announce all weapons had been disabled and engines as well. The sensor windows started to go blank revealing the grey walls behind them. However, Skival did manage to see the boarding craft break off from their mother ship. Dawson suddenly yelped, and even without reading his mind, Skival knew that their only hope now was that someone strong heard the mayday signal.

“Sarah, Jake, go and help defend sick bay. Hana and Dawson remain here to help guard the bridge,” He told his pilots. As Sarah ran out with Jake, Skival announced to the crew, “We are about to be boarded. Take no measure to guard the cargo, they can bloody have it. However these pirates have shown to be extremely hostile. We must guard engineering and the bridge or else they will kill everyone on this ship. Those that can fight and are trained with what weapons we have, you know your duty. Everyone else, lock your doors and stay quiet. This enemy does not take surrenders.” His speech ended with the sound of grinding metal echoing across the hull.

Sarah and Jake entered the small sick bay. Fortunately, no one occupied the beds at the moment, but Bobby, the ship’s medic, paced about the place sputtering nonsense in a thick accent from a place someone told Jake was the South. Sarah quickly pulled some of the beds out and with Jake’s help made a crescent barrier around the entrance. The two small machine guns they had were ancient but represented the last remaining weapons available to them from the small armory. The door suddenly opened and Jake spun around and nearly fired. Ajax limped into the sick bay and looked around, “Well, I choose a fine time to get blasted by a concussion shock didn’t I?”


#38

Bobby snapped out of his hectic state and pulled Ajax over the barrier and quickly started to treat him. “Ajax, you armed?” asked Sarah as she and Jake finalized their preparations.

“I have two arms…” Ajax stopped his joke after catching the deadly glance Sarah gave him. “I got a laser pistol with me.” She quickly told him to take the left side as soon as he got treated. Jake took the center position with Sarah took the right. Now all they could do was wait. The sounds of weapons fire echoed through the ship. Screams of horror and pain could be heard far off, but another scream, high-pitched and piercing, reverberated through the steel plates. The sheer intensity, strength, and anger it projected nearly broke Jake’s will.

Before he could even think about trying to hide, sparks jumped out of panels on of the walls and a foul order seeped from the ventilation system. “What the hell is this?” Jake called to Sarah.

She smiled as they all heard the alien scream of surprise and frustration. “This,” Sarah answered, “is a surprise Skival has for Henthshraq inspectors. Their kind can sense electrical fields and movement with special nerves on their heads. They also have a great sense of smell. Eyesight is supposedly actually not quite as good as humans, and their hearing is only slightly better. With this,” as she rubbed her nose after taking a sniff, “we are on even fields. Though, it was not intended for combat, just to annoy the inspectors since they could not legally do anything about it.”

A small explosion from within the ship caused the deck to tremble. Jake looked over to Sarah again and said, “Sarah, after we get out of this, I have…”


#39

His voice was cut off with Hana’s coming over the intercom. “Hana to Sick Bay, three of pirates are heading straight to you.” Sarah quickly asked from where and what the other pirate positions were. Bobby took cover in his small office, and Jake started to hear heavy footsteps running down the hall. He heard two crewman voices, Beetacian and human, right outside the door. Before Sarah could call to have them come in, shots that sounded like mixed laser and blaster ones rang outside the corridor.

Voices talking in a rapid high hiss resonance then called out, and then the Beetacian could be heard doing its form of screaming, mandibles chattering loudly with a high pitched whine. After the screaming stopped, Jake knew he heard the alien pirates laugh. “Sick bastards,” he thought right as the door opened.

The fight happened so fast. No more than five seconds. After it was over, Jake looked down at the first pirate who entered. All three defenders shot it immediately as it entered. It wore little armor or clothing. The skin was blue, grey, and smooth yet rough with thousands of micro scales coating its surface. The body was humanoid, very lean but showing dense muscles in the same manner that the N.A.U.s had. The face had a nose of shark and a crest like fin going up the middle of its forehead to the top of its head. Behind the crest long hair grew. Blue, green blood poured out from several holes now scattered across its body. He looked at it for only two seconds. Then his eyes followed where the other two went.

In the battle, the first fell immediately. The two behind him sprinted in and moved towards the sides. Jake followed the one going right. It didn’t fire its weapon, but moved so fast and reached out to shove Sarah against the wall. Jake fired his gun and managed to hit it a few times. Sarah also fired before getting pushed back. The pirate fell over the barrier and didn’t move. Jake turned to the second one, and had seen Ajax struggling with it. Two shots put that one down.


#40

His eyes went to Ajax, and he stopped. He couldn’t move or think for a moment. It was not till Bobby hit him that he came back to his mind. The Henthshraq have a natural stinger coming from their elbows, and one was now sticking into Ajax’s throat. Bobby was trying to stop the bleeding, but kept cursing about a toxin. Ajax just choked, a look of utter pain etched on his face, and then he stopped moving. Bobby cursed once more, closed Ajax’s eyes, and then ran back to grab more medical supplies to put in a kit.

Still in shock, Jake slowly turned to Sarah and said “Sarah, we should try to get to engineering or the bridge, we…” Never before had he felt so much pain. If he knew he had not just been shot, that would have been his guess for the pain he felt. He saw the pirate push her against the wall before it died. Its hand covered her face. He now saw the wall she had been in front of had a streak of red blood, hair, and pieces of white and grey running down it.

About to run over to her, Bobby quickly stopped him. He said, “Kid, for your life’s sake, you really do not want to see that. She is gone.” He spun Jake away from the site, and Jake heard him throw a blanket over her.

Jake stood motionless, but his thoughts started to scream “No, this can’t be happening. IT CAN’T BE! GOD WHAT IS HAPPENING? Ajax, Sarah, they can’t be gone. THEY CAN’T BE!”