Alien’s Stake: Sneak Peak


The whole thing about your life passing before your eyes before you died was a lie.

How did I know?

Because I’d been waiting for that to happen for the last, say, ten to fifteen minutes? I wasn’t sure how long it’d been. Not with everything having gone from bad to worse, the way it did.

I only knew one thing: seeing my life’s biggest moments, the good, the bad and the ugly, would’ve been preferable to this.

Frequent flyers should be able to understand my plight the best, if they’d ever been caught in a bad storm.

Not knowing what to do while everything around you was shaking and you were holding onto the edges of your seat, unable to make a run for it because you could barely see the ground beneath, all the while hoping you made it out alive.

Except that this time, I wasn’t on a plane and I was pretty sure I was going to die.

Maybe I’d gone crazy, but my dreams had been nightmares, so real that I’d managed to wake myself up.

At least, I thought I had.

In my nightmares, little green men had taken me from my cozy bed, stripped and poked and prodded me as I faded in and out of consciousness.

Now the nightmare was getting worse.

Trapped in a metal pod with only a glass viewport at the front, my ears rang with the sound of alarms, the rattle of explosions.

I closed my eyes, willing myself to think of happy things, to fill my brain with good memories of my sweet kids and their sunny classroom. 

We’d been decorating the space with their drawings and hand prints the day before this happened.

And then another explosion rocked my pod from the wall, and I faded out again.

The nightmare changed. 

No alarms, no shaking.

Natural light poured in through the cracked window of the pod.

Sore spots bloomed all over my body and maybe a couple of bruised ribs?

Life as a kindergarten teacher hadn’t exactly made me an expert on that sort of thing.

Far above, a pale cloud drifted across the sky.


Suddenly I was desperate to get out.

Maybe it was just another dream, but the thought of being trapped for even one more second was more than I could bear.

Thrashing and kicking, the door finally broke loose and fell, hitting the ground with a muffled bang and I hoisted myself up, one groan at a time, freeing myself.

And then I blinked.



“Nope, you’re real!” I yelped and dropped myself back inside the pod. In the nick of time too, since the energy bolt that crackled through the air merely grazed my shoulder.

Real or not, that hurt.

After being abducted, nearly losing my life in a crash, now a walking rhino-man was shooting at me.

This was surreal, like an episode from my favorite sci-fi flicks, except I was the protagonist in this adventure.

“Try anything and I will make you beg for mercy, slave. I can hurt you in ways you haven’t dreamed of,” he taunted me.

His voice was gruff, like a chain smoker’s, colored by a very palpable sense of danger. 

My gut was telling me that this thing, this man, liked hurting others. These were not just empty threats.

My heart raced in my chest, the already accelerated rhythm going into pure overdrive the second he grabbed me by my hair and pulled me up. 

There was no way to escape him, my gaze switching between his horned face, his shark-like teeth, his black, beady eyes that bore into mine, emanating glacial coldness.

It felt like I was staring at Death itself.

The walking, talking, rhino-man was dressed in something straight out of an 80’s punk-rock music video, but with definite Mad Max vibes – guns hanging off his back, at his sides, his solid frame easily thrice the width of mine and he reeked of something coppery.

Like blood.

“How many of you are there?”


“Answer me, slave!” he yelled again.

The rhino-man was now all up in my face, his stinking breath suffocating me. He was prodding me with the pointy end of his gun, punctuating his questions with painful jabs aimed at my cuts and bruises.

I had every intention to answer him, but it was taking me a while to find my voice.

“Please,” I croaked out.

Impatiently he threw me to the ground.

Like a rag doll, I fell face-first, inhaling an unpleasant amount of dirt. I choked on it, my eyes watering, my entire body aching.

“Poor little human can’t breathe?” the rhino mocked, stepping closer.

Just as well he did, though, because it turned out he had a knife strapped to his ankle and I was close enough to grab it.

So I did.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not some sort of action hero. 

Either this was another nightmare, and nothing mattered, or it was real and I was going to die anyway.

And I really, really didn’t like bullies.

I grabbed the cold handle and I plunged the blade right into his foot, wiggling it in there for maximum damage.

Black blood gushed out of him and splattered all around, staining his boot, my hand, the ground we were on.

“Fuck you!” I yelled. Well, I tried to. It was probably more of a whisper as I rolled away, clutching the knife in my bloody fist.

His pained roar was deafening. I’d angered him and earned myself a scathing beating at the least, if I remained his prisoner.

The only thing I could do now was to run as fast and as far as my legs could carry me, but when I got back on my feet, a flash of gold, copper and brown blocked my vision.

“Did nobody tell you not to touch the belongings of a Korgein? Hands off my female!”


It seemed like I’d made it to the stasis pod’s crash site just in the nick of time.

And that the human female it housed was alive and… well, alive.

Her tiny form lay bleeding at the G’zanta’s feet, half broken and trembling.

And yet there was something about the way her body was poised that spoke of yet unbroken determination.

She hadn’t surrendered to him.


What she did next was even better, though.

As I leapt from my stinger she wasted no time in stabbing him.

Was there anything sweeter than a bloody G’zanta wailing in pain?

Yes, there was. When the source of his pain was a tiny little human female, not even half his size. It was like a grown axtell being taken down by a cute little gouin – ridiculously shameful.

“Did nobody tell you not to touch the belongings of a Korgein? Hands off my female!”

She’d rolled away, pushing herself to all fours, while the G’zanta had his stun gun pointed at her back, clearly intent on shooting so much pure electricity into her body it was going to knock her unconscious for hours, if not days.

While that would have made things easier on my end, I didn’t want to see the female suffer for her bravery.

“Then maybe you should take better care of your slaves. She’s mine now.”

“Not a chance.”

With a final dash I landed between them, a split-second before the cursed idiot fired the blast.

It hit me square on my chest and I doubled over in pain, my vision blurring. My people are resilient, but taking such a direct hit was still unwise.

Keeping upright was a struggle, but I grit my teeth and bore with the sting of the blast, taunting my enemy.

“The day a mere G’zanta takes something from me, Sorik the Korgein, is the day I die.”

“Then die, No One the Stupid,” he roared and tackled me.

Like youngsters on the training steppes, we fell to the ground in a mass of limbs. 

It soon became clear that hand to hand combat was not the way to go. We were too well matched. This was going to be a long, vicious fight.

And then, right before I could gain the upper hand by shattering his socket and blinding him in one eye, the G’zanta wailed again. I kicked him off me and he rolled to the side, groaning, revealing the human’s lithe form. She was looming over us, panting, her eyes round and wide, her mouth forming an O.

“Did… did I kill him?”

Her hands were empty of any weapons and it wasn’t until I looked at the G’zanta again that I realized what she’d done.

She’d stabbed him in the back, right at the base of his tail, nearly severing it.

No wonder he was wailing like a newborn babe.

“No, but you’re going to wish you did.”

I rose and glanced around. First and foremost, I needed to ensure the female’s safety. A wounded G’zanta was doubly dangerous and she’d hurt not only his body, but his pride, too.


I grabbed her arm. “You need to snap out of it and listen to me.”

I wasn’t prepared for the intensity brimming in her eyes. 

Or that their color was a shade shy of the rich emerald of the Threzelas blooms, my mother’s favorite flowers.

The word precious came to mind.

Maybe, just maybe it wasn’t entirely about the money she was going to bring me once I sold her to the highest bidder and won the bet against my brothers.


I swallowed around the lump in my throat.

I needed to focus.

“Find a spot to hide in and only come out when I say it’s safe to do so. Do you understand?”

We were in a junkyard, a graveyard for ships and stingers, but I wasn’t going to let it become a final resting place for either one of us.

“Behind you!” she screamed, but it was too late.

The G’zanta fired his blaster at me and didn’t stop until he emptied the charger. My muscles cramped and I felt frozen, like a statue made of flesh and scales.

“Run,” I urged the female.

“That’s not going to save her from what I’ll do to her, Korgein. She’ll be broken before she meets her next owner. That, I promise you.”

“She. Is. Mine,” I growled before turning around and facing him.

I didn’t need to look back to tell that she wasn’t obeying my command, the scent of her fear filling my lungs.

“I said run!”

Finally, she moved. The sound of her soft footsteps hitting the water-starved ground echoed in the dead silence surrounding us.

The loss of her presence was like an itch. Nonsense.

She was a universal breeder and valuable slave, worth a year’s wages as a gun for hire.

And yet the thought of letting the G’zanta abuse her made my blood boil.

In silence we stalked each other around the junkyard, hiding behind scraps and using the wreckage to trap the other, running circles around the now empty stasis pod.

Finally I climbed to the top of a ship that had been picked for parts, the maze of metal unfurling below me like a map.

Clearly revealing the G’zanta pulling the human out of her hiding place. He smacked her across the face and she went limp in his arms.

I didn’t think.

I simply acted.

I shot him dead, stopping only when I ran out of charges for my weapon. By then, the G’zanta was nothing more than a puddle of black blood and exposed bone, half slumped onto a discarded stinger cockpit.

I ran to her, to the brave little female that got plunged into an unfamiliar world and yet who didn’t want to submit to its chaos.

Kneeling beside her unconscious form, I used my bioscanner to check for injuries. The external ones were obvious and none of them seemed like they would kill her, but I knew next to nothing about human anatomy.

Certainly not enough to discern any potentially life-threatening internal damage.

Lifting her short gown I passed the scanner over her belly, marveling at her softly yielding flesh before going higher, over her chest and the plump, round, pair of breasts.

There was a certain kind of beauty in the paleness of her skin coloring and the way her dark hair reflected Reazus’ blue sunlight.

Yet on the other hand, she was weak, there was no denying that. 

She was fragile, so vulnerable and soft, I wondered how her species survived without any natural defenses. 

The G’zanta had their thick skins and horned heads, my kind had scales and sharp claws, the advantage of speed and even flight, for the lucky few who’d found their mates.

The bioscanner beeped three times in quick succession, pulling me out of my dark thoughts.

“Not what I wanted to hear,” I mumbled to myself as I read the results.

This was beyond what I could handle. 

I had no other choice than to call upon the help of an old acquaintance. 

If Tarka still lived in Maneet, that was, and if he didn’t still want to kill me.

There was a lot at stake here: my safety and hers, the bet with my brothers, the credits and what I was going to buy with them.

Yet every moment of indecision could be costing the female her life.

I gathered her small form in my arms, ignoring how ice cold she was, and made my way to the outskirts of town.

Tarka better not close his door in my face.

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