The Last Angel: The Hungry Stars, Chapter 24

As my patrons have voted for, this month’s final update is a new chapter of The Hungry Stars. In this update, we get some robot shenanigans and people reacting to robot shenanigans. Then again, you could say the entire series is about that. Ah well.

In this update, Echo and the crew have had enough dissembling. The revelation that Lydia Jameson has a child – and that her blood ended up inside a computer console – has piqued the AIs’ interest. This is not a good thing. Not for the League and perhaps not even for the Confederate ‘delegation’. We’ll have to see how it all shakes loose. In the meantime, we’re also checking in Nasham with a snippet of what he’s been up to below. Some perceptive readers may remember a certain name from a certain earlier story as well. That too, is something we’ll be keeping an eye on.

Hope you enjoy and for the full story, check out the links above!

~

“Well, then let me assist.” She held her hands out towards him, palms down. During his time on Rally, Nasham had heard that the humans’ handshake traced its lineage back to primitive tribes who used it to show they carried no weapons in the offered hand. This gesture had similar roots for his people, showing both that one was unarmed, and that one’s fingernails – Tribunes did not have claws per se, having lost them shortly after they began to stand upright, but their nails were hard and could grow long, easily capable of drawing blood – were turned away from the other person. Nasham returned the gesture, laying the backs of his palms over the woman’s. “Treshu Illt Ganam Uina Olnée Luni,” she said, introducing herself.

Nasham’s right ear twitched a little. He knew that name. She was the sole survivor of an ill-fated attempt to chart a course through the Black Veil. Her ship and the vessel that had gone in search of her – led by none other than Treshu’s brother – had both been lost. When her brother’s vessel had been boarded, the Group Leader managed to get a small group onto a courier and escape, but all of her compatriots had died before they’d been rescued.

Against the bitch-thing, such events were all too plausible, but the first time he had heard Treshu’s circumstances, it had made his hackles rise. It was his story. At least, the official story of how he’d survived Bequeathed. Thinking quickly, he’d gathered a number of the human cadets to him and evacuated before the cruiser’s… “technical error” destroyed it, but humans were not as hardy as Tribunes and they’d all died before the rescue team arrived.

A tragic tale of heroism and dedication as a member of the ruling species risked his life to save as many as he could, but their own inherent flaws saw them succumb before him, and a reminder of how unprepared Broken were for the galaxy at large. It made for a good narrative, but it was a complete lie. He hadn’t escaped. He’d been let go after the human monstrosity slaughtered everyone else.

Almost everyone else. Somehow, some of those he’d believed dead had turned up hundreds of light-years away in the livery of the Red Hand. The possibility of a connection between the terrorists and the bitch-machine made his liver turn to ice, but it was hard to deny it now. He’d been told repeatedly to allow CIS to handle that investigation, but like so much else these days, it was always there in the back of his brain. Like the story of another sole survivor slipping through the machines’ grasp.

He had been assured that Treshu had passed every test they could think of, just as he had. He’d considered meeting her, but his duties had kept him aboard Light of Judgment. Besides, what could he have said? Treshu was only cleared to know of ‘Gravestone’ and not the Wound. He couldn’t even commiserate over their shared experiences. Hers was a survivor’s story, not that of a god’s plaything.

~

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