QBS Polarus – Mid Atlantic Ocean
Bethany Anne nodded to the two female Guardians as she and Ashur walked to her suite. Just a little earlier, she had told John that he and the Guardians needed to go blow off some steam. She would be a ‘good little Queen’ and stay here on the ship with Gabrielle and a bunch of protection until they got back the next day.
Well, so long as they got back by noon New York time. When she said ‘noon,' John made her say where noon was being counted from as he didn’t want her to change the time zone on him.
She flipped him off while she laughed and decided New York would work.
When she stepped into her meeting room, Ecaterina was already there, speaking with Barb in a hushed tone. She wanted to roll her eyes as she stepped over to the small fridge. She grabbed a glass bottled Coke and dipped down to check no Pepsi’s had made it back into her fridge. She heard Ecaterina snort behind her.
She placed a finger nail under the cap and popped it off like a bottle opener. She caught the cap and tossed it into the trash before sitting down at the head of the table, “So, when are you going to fess up to being pregnant?”
Ecaterina’s mouth opened and shut a few times as Barb snickered.
Bethany Anne smiled, “I get it, you think you are not making me face what is missing with Michael but realize that hurt will heal with time. Well, it should fucking heal with time,” she agreed, “but it hurts a little that you wouldn’t trust me to be happy for you even as I go through my own grieving.”
Ecaterina put her hands on her slightly expanded stomach, “I’m sorry, I can’t say I’m thinking properly anymore.” She allowed, “For what it is worth, Nathan argued that telling you would be better.”
“Don’t you hate it when men get things right?” Gabrielle stated as she walked into the room, “Not that we can let them know they are right.” She looked over at Ecaterina, concern clearly written on her face, “You didn’t tell Nathan he was right, did you?”
Ecaterina rolled her eyes, “I said I wasn’t thinking properly, not that I wasn’t thinking at all.”
“You haven’t seen him in three days,” Bethany Anne added.
“Well… there is that, too.” Ecaterina blushed.
Gabrielle sat down with a notepad and a pen, “You were so going to throw women under the bus. Dammit, centuries of training men are going to go down the tubes.” She threw her hands up in the air, “what are we going to do with you Ecaterina?”
Barb interrupted, “You mean besides playing with the new baby?”
“Well, of course!” Gabrielle’s eyes lit up, “I get to be Auntie Gabby and spoil him rotten!”
“Her.” Ecaterina corrected.
“Great!” Gabrielle rubbed her hands together, “The first rule of woman’s club is we don’t admit there is a woman’s club!”
Ecaterina rolled her eyes. Her daughter was going to be the most twisted child in history.
“Any names?” Bethany Anne asked, a smile after watching Gabrielle’s antics.
“We are agreed on the middle name, and we think that we have decided on the first name,” Ecaterina said.
“Well, don’t sit there and make us wait!” Gabrielle said, “I’ll tell Nathan about your continued working out if you don’t spill the beans!”
Ecaterina looked around, “Uh…”
Barb looked at her, “What? You think we are worried that you are working out? Hell, my mom was seven months along, skiing while pregnant and smoking with my brother as well,” she mused.
“Really?” Ecaterina asked, “He is ok?”
“Well, he turned out a writer, so I don’t know if we can say ‘alright’, but he isn’t mentally deformed.” She allowed.
“Ma’am?” The four ladies turned to the Guardian at the door.
“Yes, Jasmine?” Bethany Anne asked.
“Captain says a call is coming in from Tabitha?”
“I’ll take it here,” Bethany Anne agreed. Gabrielle reached over and pushed the phone towards Bethany Anne, who waited for the first ring before lifting it up, “Tabitha. Yes, hello. Wait, hold on one second. I get that. You have more dead people but this time inside the house. What did you do? Mmmhmmm, oh, got a little blood-thirsty, did you?” She paused as the ladies all looked at her with curiosity on their faces.
Bethany Anne continued with Tabitha, “Ok, it sounds like you need action to get something off of your chest. If you want to take care of business, you need more people which I will supply. No, it comes with strings, of course… Do you want to take care of South America Tabitha? It’s a big undertaking and to be blunt, you may be killed.” Bethany Anne paused to listen.
Gabrielle got Bethany Anne’s attention and whispered, “Does she need me?”
“Do you need Gabrielle with you? No? Then Hirotoshi and Ryu have to be doing a hell of a job I take it?” She said with a little humor coloring her voice, “Mmmhmm, however, if you are going to do this then you will come here for a discussion. You will be required to take martial lessons from your team, and you will be expected to grow and be the leader for those of my elite you have with you. Realize, they are not allowed to serve any but who have given their allegiance to me, Tabitha.”
Bethany Anne listened for a moment, “We will send a Pod to pick you up in thirty minutes, you can join us here then you, and I will talk after. Very well, make it happen, Tabitha. Good, see you shortly as well, bye.” Bethany Anne hung up, “Seems Tabitha is also going through a life changing situation.”
“I wondered why we did not see her in Australia?” Ecaterina asked.
“She couldn’t handle the ceremony.” Bethany Anne replied, “She doesn’t believe Michael is dead. She is holding out hope that he turned to myst and is going to come back to us.”
“Isn’t this what you hope?” Ecaterina asked.
Bethany Anne breathed in deep and released it. “Yes, but I cannot plan the future on that hope. God knows this universe owes me a fucking break, but I don’t have the luxury of stopping our progress to rip through every conceivable option to see if he is there…somewhere.” She ended on a quiet note.
The three other woman wanted to reach out but realized there was a gulf of responsibility between them as followers and Bethany Anne as the leader.
TO BE CONTINUED
From Michael >> So, today I'm mentioning one of my most re-read series in the past two years. I am ‘one-degree of separation' from this author because Kat Lind, the wonderful lady who has stepped in to help while my Production Editor Stephen Russell was recuperating, has not only helped the author – Laurence Dahners – but is also friends with him and I guess they get together for drinks from time to time.
That's pretty cool to me.
His book series is Ell Donsai, and it starts with Quicker. There are all sorts of ideas that authors grab from book we read or stories we hear, or other ways. One of the things I searched for for the year I was puttering around with the story of Bethany Anne in my head and re-reading stories I liked, was the enjoyment I received when reading of Ell and her guard team.
I figure you know what I did with that, right? Bitches? (Ok…cracking myself up again.)
When a new book comes out, I grab it to read.
Quicker (an Ell Donsaii story #1)
Quicker is a near future SciFi/Thriller whose young heroine Ell Donsaii has a nerve mutation that makes her much quicker than a normal human. She becomes an intrepid athletic phenom who reminds one of David Weber's Honor Harrington.
Like Stieg Larsson's Lisbeth Salander (The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo) Ell is also a mathematical genius who, instead of counting sheep, works on her own theory of quantum mechanics to help her drift off to sleep. At once shy and concerned about her social skills, yet well loved by those around her, she finds herself at the center of a terrorist plot at the Olympics.
The terrorists never considered the difficulty of holding a hostage with the unbelievable quickness and athleticism of Ell Donsaii!
A tradition of young, strong, brilliant, female heroines like Honor, Lisbeth, and Katniss Everdeen is continued… LEARN MORE ON AMAZON HERE
“Oh, come one. Just one little kiss.” Phil said.
She leaned back with a shy grin on her face and looked him in the eye, “Nope, maybe we’ll get to know each other better if we both get into the same academy?”
That reminded Phil that he was never going to see her again, so he got a firmer grip on her shoulder and turned her toward him, leaning in harder. “Oh, come on.”
“I said no!” Ell felt her heart pounding and her world started to slow down. Her gut clenched as she realized what was happening to her. She was falling into the zone and something bad might happen.
Phil mistook her tone for intimidated fear and thought she was about to buckle. He exerted just a little bit more of the power that had won him so many wrestling matches, drawing her closer.
“Stop!” Her hand swung back with a little handbag in it.
He pulled a little harder, laughing inside at the thought of being hit by a purse – right up to the moment it exploded against the side of his face. He staggered back and, though he never saw it coming, a second blast of agony came from his crotch. To his dismay he found himself writhing on the ground, curled about his ravished groin, holding his face, unable to breath. Waves of agony pulsed slowly through him.
Dimly, he expected her to jump in her car and leave. Instead, she leaned down next to him saying, “Oh my God! Phil! I’m so sorry! But you scared me! Oh! You look pretty bad.” he heard her talking and realized she was calling for an ambulance! His first reaction was that that was ridiculous; he’d just been slapped in the face with a purse and kicked in the nuts! By a girl! He’d be fine. Surely, he’d be fine? But his body was telling him differently. To his dismay, he felt like he really did need a doctor. He rolled to his side and threw up his coffee. He was in so much pain he didn’t consider the fact that the police would be interested in the events leading up to his injury. When the ambulance arrived, he tried but couldn’t stand up by himself and to his humiliation; they loaded him on a stretcher like a sack of potatoes. Before the ambulance left for the hospital, the police had arrived and relieved him of his AI. Dimly he heard Ell telling them, “I’m so sorry. He just wanted a kiss. But he wouldn’t take ‘no’ for an answer! I’m so, so sorry. He just seemed so strong. I was really scared.”
“So what happened then?”
“I hit him with my purse.”
“You hit him with your purse!?” The voice was bemused. “And that laid him out like this?”
“Well I hit him really hard. I didn’t want to hit him that hard, but I overreacted. Then when he stepped back, I kicked him in the crotch. I really, shouldn’t have done that ‘cause he’d already let go of me. But he was so strong – I was afraid that he might keep coming after me.”
“You hit him with your purse and you kicked him in the nuts? – Then you called him an ambulance!?” The man was astonished now.
“Well, I’d kicked him awfully hard and he seemed to be having trouble breathing and he threw up. Really, I think he’s a nice guy who just got a little out of control.”
“A nice guy who was a ‘little out of control’? I can’t wait to download.