Formation, The Ghost Squadron Book 1
By Sarah Noffke, Michael Anderle, J.N. Chaney
Desert Lounge, Deck 25, Onyx Station, Paladin System.
Eddie carried two beers in his hands, squeezing between two fat guys and a Yollin as he tried to make his way back over to Julianna in the corner.
“Excuse me, fellas,” said Eddie, forcing his way through. When he finally reached his target, he let out a short sigh. “Damn, this place is packed.”
“It is,” remarked Julianna.
“I don’t remember it being this crowded the last time I was here, but that was years ago.”
“The station recently took on several hundred new jobs. Since the Federation is expanding, colonization has significantly increased in this region.”
Eddie took a drink of his ale, gulping down a third of the glass. “Not bad,” he said, wiping his mouth.
Julianna did the same. “I’ve had better.”
“Well, sure. I didn’t say it was great.” He took another drink. “But it’s better than Five Trees.”
“That’s the bar we found you in, right?” she asked.
“If you can call it that. It’s mostly a front for smugglers and pirates.”
“I knew that part,” Julianna admitted.
“I researched it on the way to pick you up. I also know why you were there.”
He drank the last of his glass. “I doubt that.”
“You went there looking to fight,” she said simply.
He chuckled. “Not just any fight. I was there for a specific one.”
“Was that the alien we took down?” she asked. “I believe his name was T’turk.”
“That’s the guy,” confirmed Eddie. “Heard rumors of an alien frequenting that bar. People said he was the one who killed the crew of the Valiant. I’d had my eye on him for half the night, but I wasn’t absolutely sure until he admitted to it. That’s when I knew he deserved an ass kicking.”
She nodded. “I read the report on the Valiant. Did you have a friend onboard?”
“No, I didn’t know any of them,” he said.
“Then, why would you take such a risk?”
“Because no one else was going to,” said Eddie. His eyes drifted to the table, and he cleared his throat. “I need another drink.”
Julianna paused, reaching for a pad, which she had strapped to her side. “Oh, is that so? Thank you, Pip.”
Eddie glanced at her. “Did you just call me ‘Pip’?”
“No, I apologize. I was talking to my E.I.”
“You have an E.I.?” he asked.
She nodded. “He’s extremely useful. You can meet him officially when you receive your new clearance, possibly tomorrow.” She looked at the pad, and then tapped the screen. “Oh, he suggests we check out the bar below deck. It’s called Wash-it-Down, but it’s off the books. No government personnel allowed.”
“They got any Blue Ale?” asked Eddie.
“Best rated on the station, Pip says.”
Eddie leapt to his feet. “Let’s do it.”