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Touch of Blue
By: Michael W. Davis What is our destiny?
(Buy locations available at Davisstories.com)

Review
“a fast paced ride from start to finish. The writing is tight, storyline fast paced and characters are quite interesting. If you are looking for a short novella to take you to places amid the stars, then grab this wonderful SF adventure. I look forward to seeing more stories set in this fascinating world , LR&M Reviews

Blurb
Riggs, a retired Intel officer, is forced on a mission to el! a government e demises e"!and t eir control into new regions of s!ace. #e discovers t e trut about is wife, w at$s a!!ening on %dora &rime, and umanity$s ultimate destiny.

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Soft gamma ray emissions from the distant Gabriel Magnetar reflected off the residual gas of the neighboring nebula, except for the occasional maverick scintilla that ignited firefly like sparkles in the dense atmosphere of Adora Prime. The interaction bet een the planet!s magnetosphere and the deflected particles in its trailing orbital ake formed blue ribbon shapes like the aurora borealis of old earth. "iggs had vie ed this rare celestial phenomenon in the holographic theater prior to launch, but those #$ images paled in comparison to the electrical battlefield enveloping %asper, the inner most moon of Adora!s three lunar satellites. Though he had never visited this sector before, the visual experience outside his portal as familiar. The bursts of cold light, the blue streaks darting out and in each time t o particle streams intersected& he had seen it, some here, only stronger, more intense, almost as if the beams ere alive, performing some divine ballet ith its o n purpose, its o n' ()reathtaking, isn!t it*+ ,e -erked at the soft feminine touch on his right arm. "iggs had forgotten he as on a class .our Stellar /umper ith three do0en other curious sets of eyes peering out ard at the end of their three1month -ourney. ,e nodded at the petite female from 2ega Minor and returned to the vie from the portal. (3es, and very rare. 4!ve never seen anything so appealing, so beautiful, except maybe...+ ,e felt the discomforting rumble in his gut again and reached for the vacuum tube, (5xcuse me.+

, "iggs covered his mouth ith the suction device, barfed t ice, pushed the cleanser spray button to ash the acidic material off his face and tried to smile at the female pathic still stroking his arm. She conveyed an enticing smile. (My name is 3arra. 3ou haven!t taken any recharger -uice, have you*+ ,e shook his head, (4!m "iggs,+ and then 6uivered as he tried to s allo the traces of bile in his throat. ($amn stuff tastes like they extract it out the back end of an 7realian s amp skunk.+ The girl giggled, (4!ve never sucked on the ass end of any creature, but 4!ll agree& in its natural form, the recharger mix is bitter as hell.+ Quite a spunky little thing aren’t you. Just like Cali. (A big guy like you needs to replenish his electrolytes.+ She dabbed his mustache ith a moist ipe and rubbed gently across his mouth, (4 love soft lips.+ She surveyed the ste ardess three isles over, reached into her personal bag and removed a small flask. (,ere, give me your dispenser.+ She didn!t ait for a response, but 6uickly s6uirted a li6uid into his recharger bag, massaged it ith her thin tapered fingers, and suggested, (Try it no .+ ,e took a sip from the stra , ($amn, that!s almost good.+ ,e inhaled another mouthful of the spicy butterscotch flavored li6uid, (8hat the hell is'+ She pressed gently against his ear and hispered, ()arian ale.+ ,e hispered back, (That!s illegal, isn!t it*+ She smirked, (8ant to give it back*+ "iggs chuckled, (9o.+ (4t!s all 4 have left from our celebration. 5ach of us,+ she motioned to the other pathics around the ship, (took a 6uarter of our sign on bonus and thre a fare ell to our friends back home. And it as one hell of a party,+ she poked her tiny elbo in his ribs and pulsed her eyebro s, (if you kno hat 4 mean. 4 nursed a killer hangover for the first t o eeks of the flight hile e ere inside the crossover corridor, then 4 ent into the suspension chamber like you before e entered )rane space.+ ,e pulsed his eyebro s right back, (3es, 3arra, 4!m familiar ith such celebrations.+ The blue skinned telepaths ere notorious for the physical antics at their parties. That!s ho he met his ife, %ali. 3arra tended his hand, dra ing delicate shapes in his palm as she probed deeper, (5ver been to 2ega*+ (3es, many years ago. 4t!s here 4 met my'4t!s been a long time.+ She examined the crevices of his right hand. (4 don!t blame you for not going back. The exile colony is a dismal place. That!s hy 4!m here.+ She pointed to her chest ith pride, (4 as selected as a recruit for the Pallium harvesting pro-ect. %an you believe it* 4 tried for years to get assigned to one of the battleships as a sensor amplifier, but the ar ended and 4 figured 4 ould never be allo ed to leave that ugly place. 9o look at me. Am 4 lucky or hat*+ ,e studied her -ubilant beaming face. 5ven at t enty or t enty one years old, she retained the expressive innocence of an adolescent, -ust like %ali, -ust like all pathics from 2ega. To be a child ripped a ay from your family, imprisoned on an arid orld for no sin of your o n, -ust the inhumanity of an arrogant

government& it as difficult to fathom ho they fostered such a constant positive attitude. "iggs felt her leg sneak a touch ith his thigh and his male senses -umped to attention. ,e surveyed her soft hairless scalp, oversi0ed pupils, and tiny childlike lips, How could anyone not find them stunning creatures . (4 guess hat they say about the side affects of )arian ale on pathic omen is true.+ She inked, (3ou see the sparkle in my eyes don!t you*+ ,e tittered, (3es, 4 do, but it!s been a long time and 4 as much younger.+ She moved closer and flared her small nostrils, (4!d ask if that as a problem but 4 can tell from the tempo of your pulse and your thoughts that'+ She covered her mouth ith delicate nail less fingers. (4!m sorry, so sorry.+ She buried her face in the crux of her arm, (Please don!t tell them. 4 don!t ant to go back. 4 aited so long for my chance. Please.+

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Paxton motioned "iggs into his office hile he concluded a call, (4 get it, e!ve got problems. 8e!ve al ays got some damn problem. 3ou get a lot of credits to solve :em, remember* 9o, you be creative. 4!ll be do n to the operation center in fifteen minutes. $on!t make me pissed hen 4 get there.+ ,e smacked the comm set on his ear. ($amn, "iggs, it!s been a long time. ;ost a little eight. ;ooks good on you.+ "iggs scanned the spider pattern of scars emanating from beneath the patch on Paxton!s left eye. (%an!t say the same. 3our ass and gut remind me of a Tufus balloon beast. Maybe you should give up the -elly stuffed marshmallo s.+ The man across the desk glanced at the pink s6uare in his hand, popped it back in the glass -ar on the table and grunted, (Al ays, ith the smart1ass comments.+ Paxton stood and alked to a steel cabinet against the all. ,e inserted his thumb in the security box and the double doors opened to four shelves lined ith ro after ro of pint bottles. ,e removed one, relocked the doors, and returned to his desk. (%ost me a month of credits, but it!s orth it.+ Pax took t o shot glasses from the top dra er of his desk, (The natives that ferment this stuff refer to it as the Nectar of Angels. <no hy*+ (9o.+ (4t relates to the )arian ritual of mate selection. 4t!s called, Vasen’ si, hich translates to rite of bond. 5ver hear of it*+ "iggs shook his head. Paxton sat do n, raised the rose colored li6uid to his mouth, and slo ly sampled t o sips. ,e closed his eyes, issued a guttural moan and exhausted the air in his massive lungs, ($amn 4 love this stuff.+ ,e again extended the shot glass. (.e people outside the )arian culture kno ho they make this stuff, "iggs. Sure you don!t ant a'+

. "iggs shoved the glass back so 6uickly, the top 6uarter inch spilled on the desk. (4 said no.+ ,e pointed to the comms device, (4 see you still en-oy t isting arms of those belo you, Pax. 3ou never learn, do you*+ (Shit, man. 3ou!re not still holding me responsible forever scre up in your life, are you* 4 had nothing to do ith your ife!s'+ ()ullshit===...)ullshit, Paxton. 3ou didn!t pull the s itch but you delivered us to the devil himself. And no you!ve brought me back again, to help a government 4 don!t believe in. 8hat do you plan to hold over me this time* 3ou already took %ali. 8hat, you think 4 give a shit about my life.+ "iggs came across the desk, (3ou scarred faced piece of shit. 4!ve been aiting for this moment for a long time.+ >AP "iggs dropped to the floor and spasmed three times before going numb. ,e came too ith scar face leaning over the desk. (4 figured it as ?@A?@ you!d react like that so 4 had them install the barrier.+ ,e placed his pulse pistol back in its holster. (As for myself, 4!d be -ust as happy to burn your head off, but 4!m under strict orders from the council. 3ou kno , 4 shoot you, they shoot me. 5verything for the common'+ "iggs rubbed his chest, ($on!t say it. 4!m sick of hearing that shit.+ ,e used the desk to pull up and plopped back in the chair. (8hat makes them think 4 care hat they ant* They have no leverage. 3ou of all people should understand that, or does ugly sink deeper than your face.+ Paxton smiled, (3ou!ve got granite balls, "iggs. Al ays did.+ ,e lifted the patch to reveal a cloudy glass eyeball, ("emember, the lost eye and most of these scars came from our first encounter.+ Pax cast a sinister grin, ()ut 4 don!t hold it against you. See, 4!ve become compassionate in my old age.+ "iggs bit do n on his tongue, (Ans er the 6uestion, hy am 4 here, and hat makes them think 4!ll help.+ (Trust me. 8hen 4 explain your mission, you!ll ant to help.+ Paxton issued a peculiar expression for one so evil. (9o, you!ll beg me to let you help.+ "iggs sat back in the chair and observed the inged a6uatic creatures in the all1si0ed a6uarium behind the desk. (Get to the point. 8hy am 4 here, Paxton*+ .or several seconds, Paxton picked at the palm of his left hand. 4t as as if he ere trying to remove a thorn that had orked its ay deep inside and festered. 9o, it as more like he as struggling against' hat* Above the hite scar tissue, ithin that one black eye, he as hiding something, a secret he refused to reveal for fear of'"iggs decided, he hell with it. !end me to a penal colony. ,e drilled into Paxton!s sick mind, only at the primal level, not into his cognitive functions. "ear###uncertainty Paxton pushed back, struggled to bury something else so far do n in the recesses of his brain, even a ;evel Six couldn!t penetrate his vault. "iggs snapped his head. $uilt.

/ That as the core emotion he as fighting to hide. "iggs became confused. 8ith all the pain this slab of pus had caused in his life, hy no ould Paxton fear exposure of anything* 9o, it asn!t past discretions& it as hat they ere doing here, no , at this facility. )ut Pax never violated the %ouncil!s directions. 8hat ever as happening on Mors 4sland ould be at the ill and approval of the %ouncil. (7ut of my head, "iggs=+

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