Lost in Barbarian Space(2)

By: Anna Hackett


It was also home to a part-human race of barbarian warriors.

“So, when do we get started on our mission?” Honor asked. They were here to look at the ancient crash site of an old Earth ship that had crashed here thousands of years ago…and forever changed the planet and her people. In her head, Honor was already organizing the supplies and the security team for protecting the archeologists as they worked.

“Soon,” Nera said. “Brandall, I need you to stay on your toes. There’s added information that hasn’t been shared about this mission.” Her gaze flicked to Derek Wu on the other side of the gym and she lowered her voice. “It’s been classified until we reach the planet.”

Honor felt her interest sharpen. “What?”

Nera shook her head. “I can’t share yet—” she held up a hand when she saw Honor’s face tighten “—I’m sorry, it isn’t my call. Niklas wants the Markarians to be the first to hear it.”

“You have to give me something,” Honor protested. “I’m your second, and this really hampers my work. How does it affect the mission? Does it make it more dangerous—?”

“Yes.”

When Nera didn’t add any more, Honor released a breath. “That’s it?”

“For now. You’ll get all the details on the ground when we meet with the Markarians. All I can tell you is that Niklas got his hands on some ancient records about the ship that crashed here. There’s more to the story.”

Honor raised her brows. She felt a slight electric buzz through her body. It was the feeling she got when a tightly planned mission was about to spiral out of control. “So, what now?”

“We’ll take a shuttle down to the surface shortly to meet Niklas’ cousin, Aurina, and her bondmate.”

Right. Nik’s cousin Aurina, a former deep-space scout, had discovered Markaria when she’d crash-landed here. She’d since mated with a barbarian warlord and made her home here. Honor couldn’t imagine giving up technology for a man—no matter how good he was in bed. Honor loved hot showers, laser weapons, and twenty-four-hour VelocityBall channels.

“Unfortunately, we won’t get to work straight away.” Nera’s face didn’t change, but Honor got the impression the woman wanted to grimace. “We’re to be welcomed with a sword-fighting display and feast in our honor.”

Sword-fighting? Honor hid her smile. That didn’t sound too bad. Maybe she’d find a few moves she could incorporate into her training. “It at least gives us a chance to scope out our hosts before we head out on the mission.”

Nera nodded. “Assess their strengths and weaknesses.”

“Ah…they aren’t our enemies, right?”

One of Nera’s brows rose. “Everything can change in an instant. Be prepared. Always.”

Right. She’d forgotten that Nera Darc trusted no one…except Niklas Phoenix.

“Oh, Nera, there was one other security issue I wanted to discuss with you,” Honor added.

“Yes?”

“The explosives sensors keep going off in Lala’s cabin. I’ve searched the girl’s room numerous times, and I can’t find where she’s hiding the damn stuff.”

Nera’s lips turned up for the briefest second. The closest she got to a smile. “Our student assistant won’t blow the ship up, Brandall. She’s an expert with the stuff.”

“It’s against protocol to allow a student to bring uncatalogued explosives aboard.” Honor didn’t care if Nik’s ward was an explosives expert. She was a teenage girl, and Honor didn’t think teenagers and explosives were a good combination in any situation.

“I’m sure,” Nera said, that smile threatening again. “I’ll talk with her. Now, back to our trip to Markaria. Ensure you gather as much data on the planet as you can. We know it’s home to some unpleasant beasts. I want to know the best ways to take them down if we come across any.”

Honor snagged a towel from a nearby shelf and blotted her face. “Surely you faced worse on old Earth?” Nik and Nera’s expedition to the war-ruined planet that gave life to most of the systems and planets throughout the galaxy was legendary. As were the wild, mutated beasts they’d discovered there.