Valentine Day Treats 2024

Chris Lowry
4 min readFeb 14, 2024

Roses are red

Violets are blue

Happy Valentine’s Day

From ME to YOU

I hope the big fat baby in a diaper shot you in the posterior with an arrow of love for today.

And if you can’t be with the one you love, love the one you’re with. I’m talking about the man or the woman in the mirror.

Love you. Give yourself something special, even if it’s just a little patience and a break.

Like a Free Look at THE HUSTLE to make your morning.

Plus:

To Silence Them: A Lake District Thriller (DI Sam Cobbs Book 2) FREE

Wayward Sons: A Jerry Snyder Novel (Caribbean Mystery Series Book 1) FREE

A Thrill a Minute Book Giveaway group promo

AND

History is weird.

It’s usually written by the winners, and depends on where you are.

Like exploring Space.

It started out as a Cold War competition, back when the US government was trying to hold back the Red Tide of Communism and the Soviet Union.

The Commies beat the US to space.

The US beat the Commie’s to the Moon.

And a couple of disasters later, governments got out of the space business, except for spying.

Then someone found Psyche.

An all iron asteroid worth a quadrillion dollars.

That’s right, a one with nineteen zeros behind it.

All of the sudden, space was the race to be in.

First one to land on a floating asteroid and mine it could corner the steel market back on earth and all the ceramic steel alloy needed for space.

Corporations saw dollar signs and built their own rockets and like every other time in history, when money was involved, death followed.

I could smell it.

There were dead people in here, but I didn’t see them.

“Anything?” Strait’s voice chirped in my headset.

“You got eyes on a monitor?”

“Aye.”

“Then you’re seeing what I’m seeing.”

Which was a whole lot of nothing.

Ten corridors so far, up and down the stretch of the Battlecraft and every single one of them empty.

So far.

I could smell the dead though.

Something dead.

I just hadn’t found it yet.

The robot rolled next to me, treads muted on the deck floor.

I wanted it to tap into a terminal and run scans on the cameras that were stationed at every intersection giving a view all over the ship.

But we hadn’t found one yet.

Not a working one, anyway.

The three we had come across were all off line.

Which was weird for battle readiness.

And the empty corridors that echoed back my bootsteps were weirder still.

Spooky.

I’m not superstitious.

Hard to be when your job is to deliver death.

Still, if I were, I’d say the place felt haunted.

I wondered with what.

“Have you hailed them?” I asked.

Kept advancing.

“We’re trying to keep a low profile,” Brenna answered.

“I think we’re past that.”

“What if they answer?” I could hear her smirking through the headset.

“What if they don’t?”

That earned a few seconds of silence.

I listened to a few clicks, some static that sounded faint.

“No response.”

Her voice was flat, emotionless.

Which was good. She was trying to keep me calm, I guess.

Because I did not feel emotionless.

I felt something I hadn’t in a long time.

Scared.

“How far are you from the bridge?” Strait asked.

“Ten minutes.”

“Don’t worry,” Momo cut in. “You’re not alone.”

She was right.

I had Ragnorak and Guillotine floating outside. Plus the other four crew members waiting for me not too far away, matching their orbit to the Battlecraft.

“You’ve got M-1.”

I glanced down at the robot rolling beside me.

“Thanks,” I said.

“No problem.”

I kept going and the ten minutes lasted about half an hour before I reached the bridge.

At least that’s how it felt.

The space was empty.

A Battlecraft is built for just that. Battle.

The bridge is one of the largest rooms on the ship, packed with stations designed to monitor every aspect of the ship underneath.

Technically, I supposed they could put the bridge on any portion of the vessel, since there is no up in space, but the design of the Battlecraft series placed the command center top and center.

I looked around at a bunch of still monitors.

They weren’t blank.

That would indicate a power problem.

No, they were all on, and all stable. Life support. Engines. Astro-location. Weapons.

And hundreds of camera views.

All empty.

“Who abandons a Battlecraft?” I asked the air.

“No one,” Strait answered. “You need to get out of there.”

I agreed.

Turned to go and stopped.

Looked back at one of the monitors.

I saw her.

A woman in a sick bed. I could tell it was sick bay by the pristine sheets and sterile looking environment.

“Hold on,” I said to the radio and leaned in for a closer look.

The image on the monitor wasn’t as clear as it could be, but I could make out the rise and fall of her chest.

She was sleeping.

“I found someone.”

“Crew?”

“I don’t know,” I answered.

“Just one?” Strait sounded as confused as I felt.

“So far.”

I let my eyes race across the rest of the tiny images inset onto the monitor. Hundreds of empty intersections, cargo holds, weapons bays. Small unmanned drone fighters sat in their tubes, ready for launch.

Crew mess hall. Empty.

Crew quarter corridor empty.

I couldn’t see into the crew quarters though.

There was that much privacy allowed.

One member per bunk, six bunks per room. Not quite a hot rack, but tight quarters still.

A thousand doors lining the deck, five hundred per side.

Six thousand highly trained, highly skilled crew members were supposed to be manning their posts, tending the ship, ready for a fight or exploration or taking over a target.

I found one so far.

I was afraid of what I’d find if I kept looking.

Want more?

--

--

Chris Lowry

Author at https://payhip.com/ChrisLowryBooks Runner writing books both fiction and non fiction, crypto investor, real estate and urban renewal.