“How the fuck did you get in here?” she demands.
“Your bot let me in,” I say, putting up my hands. Because her eyes are lit up white. She looks like an evil silver demon in this moment.
“What?” She whirls to address the Rexbot. “What the hell? Why would you let him in here?”
The bot flies up out of her reach just as she takes a swipe at him with her metal spoon. His chirping fills the room and my eyes follow him as he descends high up into the dome.
But then I get lost in the view.
The fucking view. I walk forward, unable to even process the threats that come spilling out of Veila’s mouth because I can’t quite believe what I’m seeing.
The thick, reinforced vacuum-grade plasti-glass dome starts at the floor, curves all the way up—several levels up—and allows me a full-on view of one side of the Harem Station ring.
But that’s not what has me breathless.
Because this ship—due to the nature of the top-level airlock on the outside of Harem—is positioned in such a way that looking from one side of the dome to the other affords a view of both of ALCOR’s gates.
I’ve seen them together before. When you enter the ALCOR Sector through one of the gates you can see the second gate immediately because they are positioned on opposite ends of Harem Station. And if you swing your ship around in the right way, you can see both of the gates at the same time.
Typically no one does that. So when you enter the sector you only see the gate you’re aiming at, and not both.
Right now, standing here in this dome, on this ship, in this dock, I can see them both at the same time and when I tip my head up I see the blobs of suns and the reddish-purple nebula that everyone calls the Seven Sisters. They are far, far away. Thousands and thousands of light years away.
When open the gates are fiery blue-violet rings with long, crackling tendrils of purple reaching out along the perimeter like flowing hair in zero-g. The inside of the gates are a deep, blue well of… well… no one really knows what the inside of a gate is made of. Space, for sure. But blue space, not black space. So some different kind of space.
“Wow,” I say just as Veila’s metal spoon cracks against the side of my head. “For fuck’s sake!” I yell, turning to face her. “What the hell?”
“Why are you here, sneaking around my place?” She’s fuming. Like if she wasn’t wearing that stupid frumpy shirt and her hair wasn’t all messy, I’d be afraid of her.
But somehow, despite her blazing silver eyes, she can’t quite pull off the whole villainess thing. So I just kind of smirk at her and say, “Calm down, you silver freak. The bot let me in! I just told you that!”
She grits her teeth and sets her jaw, clearly unable to reconcile me invading her space.
“What are you doing? And why are you dressed like that?”
Her brows furrow in confusion. Then she looks down at herself, realizes she’s wearing her comfy clothes and someone just caught her in them, and then the rage is back. She picks up a long knife from the counter and points it at me. “Get out!”
But I’m not ready to get out. I need answers and maybe she doesn’t have all of them, but she has some. “What’s going on here? Is this ship your home?”
Her knife is shaky in her hand as she continues to point it at me. “Get. Out. Or I will cut your throat with this knife from across the room.”
But then the damn knife is hurling through the air at me and I just barely slide to the side in time for it to miss piercing my throat.
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