QSFer R.M. Olson has a new bi/lesbian space opera book out, The Ungovernable book three: “Time Bomb.”
Someone’s hunting the Ungovernable. And they’re not going to stop until every one of the crew is dead.
When an enemy from ex-smuggler pilot Jez’s past reappears, determined to extract revenge, the crew of the Ungovernable have two options: fight, or run. But when a hyperjump gone wrong leaves the Ungovernable crippled, her weapons down and her cloaking disabled, their options become scarce indeed. As they scramble to repair the ship with rapidly-dwindling supplies and even more rapidly-dwindling oxygen, their pursuers are inexorably closing in. And if they’re going to survive, each of the crew will have to confront dangerous secrets from their past, before those secrets come back to destroy them.
Time Bomb is the third book in R.M. Olson’s science fiction space opera series The Ungovernable. With a crazy, close-knit crew, plenty of humour, and loads of action, Firefly meets Ocean’s Eleven in this fast-paced, kick-ass, wickedly fun series.
Warning: childhood abuse mentioned, violence
ez tossed a handful of gambling chips onto the open cockpit floor of the Ungovernable and eased herself down into a slightly stiff slouch. “Alright, Olya, listen up. You know how to play fool’s tokens, right?”
The eight-year-old gave her a skeptical look. “You know my mamochka, Aunty Jez. What do you think?”
From the copilot’s seat, Lev gave a long-suffering sigh. Jez looked up at him and winked.
Despite the fact that he still looked like a damn scholar, something about his dark, tousled hair and mild, intelligent eyes made her heart stutter just a little. It had been happening far too often over the last couple days.
Which was completely stupid.
She shook her head and turned back to Olya. “Fair point. OK, first—”
The ship jolted, and Jez grabbed for the corner of her pilot’s seat with her good arm as gambling tokens skittered across the floor.
She swore through her teeth.
“What—” began Lev, but she’d felt that kind of jolt before on a ship. She jumped to her feet, swearing louder as her broken ribs protested, and flipped the holoscreen up. A red dot flashed from behind them, then another, then another, and as she watched, a streak of yellow shot out from the one in the centre towards their ship.
Damn. This far out in deep space they shouldn’t have to deal with this crap.
She slid into the pilot’s seat and flipped power to the rear shields on instinct as it hit, and a crackling spark of energy shot up the back of the ship as it jolted again.
“We’re being shot at,” she gritted. “Someone’s firing on my damn ship. Olya, get back to your mama, I’ll teach you to gamble later.” Olya nodded, face pale, and slipped out the cockpit door.
Adrenalin crackled through Jez’s body, but she couldn’t stop grinning. Probably shouldn’t be, but hell, it had been way too long since she’d gotten into a decent fight.
Three days, at least.
She shoved down on the controls, and the Ungovernable nose-dived as another shot skimmed their port side.
“Strap down, everyone,” she called over the ship’s com. “Things are about to get interesting.”
Lev had already strapped in, his face slightly pale.
“Get Ysbel onto the guns,” she snapped at him, and he nodded and hit the com.
Jez whipped the Ungovernable in a tight circle, the pressure of the restraints against her injuries bringing momentary stars to her vision, then yanked back on the controls as another shot whispered just under them, her beautiful, perfect ship responding to her lightest touch as if reading her thoughts.
That was the secret—if you got too far, they’d adjust their aim. Let them think they had you, every single time.
A red damage report scrolled across her screen from the last hit, and she swore under her breath.
Whatever these ships were using, it wasn’t a short-haul ion-cannon.
“What the hell was that?” she snapped over the com. “Tae?”
“I don’t know.” Tae’s voice over the com was strained. “Stand by, I need to get on the shields.”
Another shot, and at the last moment she pulled into a roll, the shot sliding past her starboard side.
She had visuals on her attackers now, three bright points against the clean, cold black of deep space—sleek, fast short-hauls with the slim body and short wings of something that could go in-atmosphere as well as out. Something designed for speed and maneuverability, and from the looks of it, a hell of a lot of firepower.
They’d be fast.
But they had no idea what they were getting into.
“Ysbel, you on?” she called into the com.
In response, Ysbel’s guns cracked out, a thin line of blue slicing through the black, and caught the wingtip of one of the sleek flyers, sending it spinning away from them, energy sparking across its shields.
“That shot should have vaporized them,” Ysbel grunted over the com in her heavy outer-rim accent. “They’re running shields I’ve never seen on a short-haul.”
The two remaining ships spun in formation, and another yellow crackle of energy jolted past her, followed by two more—the damaged ship had, apparently, rejoined the fight. At the last second Jez pulled into a roll, biting down hard against the pain as her body pressed against the restraints. Two of the shots slid past her starboard side, but the last slammed into her shields. More red scrolled across her holoscreen.
Tae staggered into the cockpit, trademark scowl on his dark face, dressed, as usual, in his worn mechanic coveralls that almost made him look like the street-kid he’d been, up until a month ago. He shoved his hair out of his eyes and glared at her. “For heaven’s sake, Jez, I said—”
“Bit busy now, trying to keep us all alive and everything,” she shot back. She pointed her ship’s nose starboard, then spun hard to port, whipping the Ungovernable’s stern around so she was coming up on the belly-side of her attackers.
Another blue line from the Ungovernable’s gunports lit the black of space, narrowly missing the foremost ship.
Ysbel swore over the com. “I can’t aim if you won’t let me line up, you idiot pilot.”
“Might not have to,” she murmured. “Just give me a sec.”
The ships had caught on to her maneuvers now, and split up, flying in close. They were going to hit her from three sides, which, if they were firing regular ion cannons, wouldn’t be a problem with the kind of shields her angel was running. But whatever they were firing—
Three bolts of yellow crackled on her screen. She waited until the last second, then she jammed the thrusters, sending the Ungovernable leaping up and out of the way. The three ships scattered to avoid friendly fire, but one of them took a bolt to one wing.
R.M. Olson is the author of The Ungovernable series. She has ridden the Trans Siberian railway, jumped off the highest bungee jump in the world, gone cage-diving with great white sharks, faced down a charging buffalo bull, and knows how to milk a goat. Currently she resides in Alberta, Canada with her four children, three cats, and a dog the size of a small bear. She goes hiking and skiing more often than she probably has time for, eats more chocolate than is probably good for her, and reads more books than is probably prudent.