Freed: Chapter One


Chapter One: Ronan


Two Hunters on patrol passed below me.

My lip twisted in a snarl but Erich shrugged as if to ask ‘what did I expect?’

He was right. Hunters weren’t the brightest things out there, but either they or their handler had some basic survival instincts.


I’d been picking off every lone straggler I found on the ship for… well, not sure how long now. But someone finally wised up, had them running patrols in pairs.


Two at once would just make the overall job faster.

I dropped from the shadowed beam over the passage to the lower cargo bay, my feet hitting the deck plates with only a whisper of a sound.

Erich was right by me, his moves silent as always.

I tightened my grip on the long, narrow wicked blade in my hand and plunged it between the shoulder blades of the Hunter to the left.

The first one fell with an earsplitting screech as I severed the cords and cables that passed for a spine.

Unfortunately, that gave its companion plenty of warning.

Without a glance down for its companion it swung at me. I rolled back, swearing. Darkness, I wished I’d found a blaster, a needle gun, something on the damn ship.

But in all the time I’d spent killing the bastards, I hadn’t found any real weapons.  That was alright. I kinda liked ripping them apart, the way they’d done to us.

When I stood up from the wreckage I checked over the bodies again, tearing open their plated armor, exposing the tangle of flesh and wiring below.

Still nothing I could use.

I straightened, wincing a little.

Not smart, but excellent combat drones. I’d give them that.  I took a deep breath, and stopped myself at the stab of pain at my side.

Bastard had cracked a couple of ribs. And from the dull ache radiating through my arm probably did a number on my shoulder, too.

Erich fell into step with me as I headed back towards my hideout. “You can’t keep doing this, Ronan, not without medical care, not on those crappy rations.”

I grunted, but couldn’t argue, just rubbed the long, raw scar across my throat.

I healed fast, we all did. But even Wolves needed some down time between missions. Here it was just one long fight.

“At least stop by their lab, see if there’s anything you recognize, can scavenge.”

Erich was right. Erich was always right. It was one of his annoying traits these days.

I changed directions, loping through the empty halls. Hunters had their routines, and I had them mostly mapped out by now.  I’d caught the last two on their way to a part of the ship I hadn’t been able to gain access to. Yet.

Which meant the lab was unguarded.

I stopped at the door, bracing to go in.

Not much bothered me, certainly not anymore, but this room of people strapped to beds, sliced and poked and prodded, shook something at my core.

I looked at each still form as I walked through, teeth bared at the stink of sweat and pain and adrenaline.

“You should help them.” Erich stood at the foot of a bed holding a middle aged man, right arm removed at the shoulder. Drip lines of Void knew what ran into his chest.

“Not a doctor,” I muttered. “I’d probably kill them just getting them out.” And there was nowhere to take them. My fist clenched around the knife handle. The only thing I could give them was a quick end. Maybe that would be enough, but I didn’t know. Couldn’t judge.

Only six in the beds now.  The remaining two lay empty, ready for new patients.

I rummaged through the cabinets, looking for anything that would ease either my pain or theirs, but it was all labeled with strings of numbers. No telling toxin from treatment.

A tube of wound sealant was the only useful find. Grabbing it, I turned, more than ready to get out of the creep show.

And my gaze was riveted by a wide pair of green eyes, staring at me from a cage pushed to the back of the room.

A woman, long pale hair tangled and matted, crouched inside.

“Help me.”



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