Chris Gerrib has a new queer sci-fi book out (ace, bi, gay, lesbian): One of Our Spaceships is Missing.
In the 23rd century, spaceships just don’t go missing.
FBI agent Ray Volk is assigned to a task force to investigate a tragic accident: the disappearance of interplanetary passenger liner ValuTrip Cardinal, carrying 500 souls between Mars and Earth on a routine run. What looks like a cut-and-dried case of pressure loss is complicated by the arrival of a Martian Captain. A very cute Martian Captain who keeps sticking his nose in Ray’s investigation.
Martian exchange student Kelly Rack knows the disappearance is no accident. She survived the ships’ hijacking, but learns the former cruise entertainer leading the pirates has plans for the passengers, and they don’t include sightseeing. Kelly has avoided the murderous pirates, except now an off-duty Earth Commander insists on organizing resistance for the passengers. She forces Kelly to climb through service tunnels on sabotage runs, risking capture and death.
Can Ray shake down the right accomplices to capture the good ship ValuTrip Cardinal before its new captain spaces everyone on board? Will Kelly discover the pirates’ hidden plans for their prisoners? The race is on, because One of Our Spaceships is Missing!
Genres: Space Opera / Military Sci-Fi / Science Fiction / LGBT and Non Binary
Warnings: Threat of rape, coarse language.
Victoria settled behind the piano in what most passengers misnamed as the First-Class lounge of the in-system spaceship ValuTrip Cardinal. The lounge was open to everyone, although only first-class passengers got their first drink of the night “free” from the bar—given how much more the first-class passengers were paying for the same food and only marginally larger cabins, that “free” drink came very dearly indeed. She stretched her fingers.
“Hi there, good looking.”
“Hi there yourself,” Victoria replied, glancing up from her music display. “Well, Hank,” Victoria said, putting her hands on her hips, “I like that dress.” The dress in question was a spaghetti-strap number made of two pieces of material, black and white, connected by white lacing. The lacing started at the top of Hank’s cleavage and ran diagonally down her chest, becoming a side slit at her right hip. It was an interesting way to tastefully expose a lot of olive-colored skin.
“I’m glad you like it,” Hank replied. “I had to send down for my stored bag to get it.”
“It was worth it,” Victoria said. I hope you tipped the guy who had to go get your bag for you, she mentally added, then wondered why she cared. It’s not like that SOB will be able to spend any money after tonight.
“So, what are you doing after your set?” Hank asked.
“You, hopefully,” Victoria replied. She smiled—it was the line she’d used every night since they’d hooked up.
“If you can catch me,” Hank said.
Yeah, not like you ran from me very fast. Victoria felt her face flush and looked away. The woman was very talented in bed. “Be a dear, Hank,” Victoria said. “A glass of wine for a working stiff?”
Hank set her glass of beer down on the small bar which wrapped around the piano—an act that highlighted the cast on her right wrist. “Coming right up. Wouldn’t want you to get dehydrated.”
Victoria unabashedly admired Hank’s ass as the woman sashayed to the bar. “Not what you think of when you think Navy,” she whispered to herself. Commander Henrietta “Hank” Solis, United States Navy, Retired (at age forty-five!), had treated herself to a long tourist visit to Mars and was now returning home to take a job with “the VA,” whatever that was. Victoria had hooked up with her on the first night out, and now, five days later, they had a regular thing. Pity you’re never going to see Earth again. She chuckled. I’m getting soft in my old age.
Victoria adjusted her microphone and noticed her boss, Jack Otarski, buttering up one of the passengers. He frowned on crewmembers having relationships with passengers. He frowned a lot, as crew members hooked up on the regular.
Hank returned, her dress emphasizing her lack of a bra. “She was out of pinot noir, so I got a red zin.”
“That works,” Victoria said. Helen, the bartender, probably had plenty of pinot. Switching to zin was a signal that something was not going to plan, which was just wonderful. I’ve spent two fucking years working on this plan and I’ll be damned if this doesn’t go off. Victoria was especially pissed given the event was supposed to have happened last night. They were already twenty-four hours behind schedule. She noticed her boss checking his old-fashioned wristwatch, so she launched into her first song, a mid-tempo ballad which had been a respectable hit twenty years ago. No point in getting him wound up until after we’ve pulled off tonight’s activities. The audience was of an age to remember the song, and the opening bars produced smiles. It is nice to be appreciated.
Chris Gerrib admits to being a bit obsessed with Mars, but in a healthy way. He can quit thinking about Mars any time he wants to. He wrote three novels (so far) set on or around Mars, but promises to get out of the Solar System soon. Chris still has a day job as the IT director at a Chicago-area bank, and holds degrees in history and business from the University of Illinois and Southern Illinois University. He also served in the US Navy during the First Gulf War, and can proudly report that not one Iraqi MiG bombed Jacksonville, Florida while he was in the service. In his copious free time, Chris is a past President of and currently active in his local Rotary club.