Copyright © Lyz Russo, 2008
The Solar Wind II :
P’kaboo Publishers 2010
Copyright © Lyz Russo, 2008
First published online 2008
First paperback edition via P’kaboo Publishers, 2010
The Solar Wind II: The Assassin
"Remember who you are…"
There was always damp down here.
It peered out under hooded eyes, noting the solitary man
with his small round spectacles, focusing intently on his
work. He glanced up, his eyes looking straight through it.
It faded into the background and slunk up the steep
Passages it knew so well; it moved through them half
consciously. A white lab. Crew cabins. All quiet. Orange
bioluminescence lining the passageways. The place had a
name, it knew; if it could think in words it would
remember. Instead it remembered impressions. Blood.
It moved up silently to the upper deck. Voices ahead. It
opened a door and peered into a blue room with a beige
table and chairs, and half-familiar faces. People. One of
them lifted his head, looked straight at it, nodded. He had a
name, but it didn’t think in names. There was no point.
What it saw was life energy fizzing through bodies, living
blood coursing through veins, scrawny necks. Whoever
had designed the human body had designed it for disaster.
Necks were a stupid invention. They were fragile. And
skin – what was skin supposed to do? Be a loose bag to
contain all the insides? Because it stopped nothing! Not
like scales, or metal armour plating…
It left the doorway, turned and continued up. Avoiding
the cabin across the way. Because if it opened that door, it
would get sucked into a vacuum where they were waiting to
tear it apart…
“…details the plans for total eradication… pest
Federi peered out under hooded eyelids, listening
intently. His Stiletto had found its own way into his hand.
His body had retreated by itself into the crevice.
It was dark except for single orange glowing points in the
heavy haze. The crevice was the space between two boxes
in his storage bay, at the prow of the ship. The awful
flapping noise of vampire wings was the night wind in the
sails. The churning of the abyss was the prow wave against
the Solar Wind’s hull. The earthquake was just a bout of
choppy waves. And the faces, staring at him from the dark,
those accusing, half-familiar faces – they were gone. Only
a dream. He sat up, breaking out of the paralysed trance,
trading it with vivid memories of too many lives snuffed
out on that Rebellion Schooner. Of course they’d come and
haunt him tonight!
But they – who? The data capsules?
What was in those forsaken capsules? He needed to
know, now. He hadn’t looted the one from Anya Miller and
nearly lost his life and his friend and the Solar Wind
securing the second one, just so that he could lie around in
the storage deck entertaining nightmares! Vampire wings?
Did the capsules contain a genetic formula for a new
He cast a glance across the deck. Captain on the bridge.
Alone. The deck, empty. It was late. His feet started
towards the bridge.
(Federi is not the only one sensing trouble.)
“Fun and games,” commented Marsden on the bridge.
Radomir Lascek glanced up from the console, following
his First Mate’s gaze out onto the deck. He sighed,
depressed, returning his attention to the infernal stuff that
had come out of the two Unicate capsules. “My friend,
how are we going to deflect this? We’ll never have our
defences ready in time!”
“We’ve known for years,” said Jonathan Marsden. “It’s
in their character.”
“There’s not enough time,” countered the Captain. He
stared moodily at the deck.
Federi’s hunches were accurate. If he predicted that the
Solar Wind wasn’t going to survive the next three weeks…
Lascek frowned at the Ceilidh out on the deck. Let them
sing and be happy while they were still alive! The Tzigan
had done well when he’d talked him into hiring those three.
Captain’s summons from the bridge was more than
welcome! Federi headed up the passage and ascended the
steps into the control room.
“What do you make of that out there?” asked Lascek,
pointing to a disturbance on the turbulences screen.
“Shoals,” said Federi. “Quite a few. Some quite
“No, that there,” countered Jon Marsden.
“Ah,” said the Tzigan. “No idea. Enemy submarine?
“Jokes aside, Federi,” said Radomir Lascek. “What could
“It’s so big,” replied the gypsy. “Should be able to see
it!” He glanced out through the volcaniplex windshield.
“Bleeding pea soup out there!”
“Should send the minicam,” suggested Marsden.
Radomir Lascek punched a sequence.
“It’s not responding.”
“Hah! Probably needs new anti-freeze on that hatch!”
speculated Federi, reached for a life-vest and put it on,
already on his way outside. “Give me half a minute,
Rain was pelting down in nearly solid sheets. Federi
peered in the direction of that disturbance and saw nothing.
He climbed into the rigging, and past the Crow’s Nest to
the very top of the mast. What a stupid time for the thing to
go out of action! He fished the tube of hydropolyglossimer
anti-freeze lubri-squatch out of his pocket
and applied a liberal glob of it all around the rim of the tiny
hatch. The mini-hold sprung open. He followed the tiny
camera with its miniature helicopter blades with his gaze as
it whirred out of its hold and into the storm like a mad
And then his eyes wandered beyond it, as the rainsquall
passed and visibility was suddenly restored as if by magic.
The Solar Wind lifted onto a high crest, and he swallowed
and blinked. And activated his com.
“Captain, it’s a freak wave. A huge one.” He fished his
binoculars out of his pocket and peered through them. “At
least a mile long, I’d say, and coming at an angle to the
normal waves.” With frantic haste he activated the
binoculars’ distance- and size-measurement features.
“’Bout two miles away, and a height of over twenty metres.
With the sort of trough it must have, that would make it
thirty-five to forty metres high! That means it’s something
like a twenty… no, twelve-storey building coming at us!”
Lascek swore. “Federi, get below, now!”
The Solar Wind II: The Assassin
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