QSFer Angel Martinez has a new FF holiday sci fi comedy book out: “The Solstice Pudding.”
Chief Engineer Shandi Leavenworth has been crushing on Major Tyra Sur ever since she joined station staff, though the laconic customs officer doesn’t give up personal information easily. A few scraps of information leads Shandi to the perfect Solstice present, until of course everything goes horribly wrong.
Major Sur took the job on Onwa Station for the stability, the quiet, and out of a need to be useful. It’s been all of those things up until the woman she’s been quietly flirting with at the bar puts in a desperate call for help. There’s no question they need to save the station, but Tyra’s not so sure about saving their budding relationship.
“Why don’t you just get her some nice jewelry like a normal person?” Miteg’s voice drifted out from under the engine pod, his deck boots twisting and shuffling as he worked on a stubborn bolt.
Shandi smacked his soles with a mag wrench. “Have you ever seen her wear jewelry?”
“Well, no. But everyone appreciates a nice, shiny thing for a present.” Miteg shoved his float dolly out from under the pod, blinking up at Shandi with his huge, orange eyes. “Don’t they?”
“A lot of humans do, but not all of them. Unlike fekra.”
Miteg shrugged with his topmost arms before shoving back under the pod. “It’s a genetic thing. We can’t help it.”
“I’m not complaining, Teg. You’re easy to buy presents for.” Shandi went back to loosening bolts on the pod’s top section. Her right arm gave an annoying creak as she bullied a stubborn bolt loose. For now, it was just an annoyance, and she wasn’t slowing down to let Miteg catch up to her. She might have a cybernetic limb advantage, but he had four arms. It was a matter of principle.
“Those wing studs you bought for my last Emergence Day were krek.”
“I’m glad you liked them. But Major Sur doesn’t have wings. She doesn’t even wear ear studs.”
After a suitable pause, in which Shandi could only assume Miteg was thinking about ear studs, he offered, “You know your elbow’s squeaking. Want me to take a look at it?”
“No. Thanks, though. Pretty sure one of the micro-shocks is toast. I’ll replace it later.” Shandi removed the upper plate on the housing, revealing the fried regulator module. “There you are, bad thing. I found which one failed, Teg. Come on up.”
“Thank night. That last bolt wasn’t budging.” Miteg scrambled to his feet, reached in with all four hands, and decoupled the module so he could lift it out. “Get her something else humans like, then. Why are you beating your brain against your skull about this, anyway? You’re not family. You don’t work together.”
“Because it’ll be solstice in a week where she comes from, and it’s important.” Shandi huffed as they wrestled the module over to the workbench. “And she’s so beautiful and together and perfect.”
“I see. It’s a courting gift.”
“No!” Shandi hit Miteg with a side-eye that should’ve been hard enough to knock him over. He didn’t even notice. “Maybe a little. But mostly it’s a solstice present.”
The unlikely black sheep of an ivory tower intellectual family, Angel Martinez has managed to make her way through life reasonably unscathed. Despite a wildly misspent youth, she snagged a degree in English Lit, married once and did it right the first time, gave birth to one amazing son, and realized at some point that she could get paid for writing.
Published since 2006, Angel’s cynical heart cloaks a desperate romantic. You’ll find drama and humor given equal weight in her writing and don’t expect sad endings. Life is sad enough.
She currently lives in Delaware in a drinking town with a college problem and writes Science Fiction and Fantasy centered around gay heroes.