A Bug’s Life
Book Three of the Martian Alliance Chronicles

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“Asteroid shower!” Roy’s voice came over the intercom. “Crew to stations and strap in!”

When you’re flying in deep space, there are few things that scare you more than being caught in an asteroid shower. Because even a small rock can rip a hole in your hull, and any hole that isn’t immediately patched has the potential to destroy the spaceship and all the life within it.

Our stations during an asteroid shower were different than for any other type of flying experience. Sure, Roy was a fantastic pilot. And the chances of him avoiding most of the rocks were high. But they weren’t a hundred percent. We scrambled.

Once in position, we were all standing up, really tethered more than strapped in, each against a padded interior wall -- concussions tended to slow a being down, and if an asteroid breached, slow was not the best option. But we controlled how far our tethers could release. Until necessary, “not at all” was the operative choice. Everyone also had a patch kit in hand and ready to go.

“Intercom is open. Crew report, please,” Doven, our Quillian co-pilot and navigator said. “In station order.”

“Engineering strapped,” Willy shared. “No damage at this time. Engines running fine. Kyle’s with me.” Willy was our ship’s engineer. Kyle was Roy’s younger brother and basically making it a point to learn every station on the crew, just in case. And in cases such as this, Roy always wanted two in Engineering anyway.

“Medical strapped, all’s well here,” Dr. Wufren said.

“Quarters strapped,” I said. “Ciarissa, Bullfrog and I are in, doors are open, no signs of damage.” Our living quarters required the most beings to watch them, as we had a crew of nine and had ten rooms, total. Two of them weren’t used currently, because Roy and I slept together. However, ten rooms, two group bathrooms, and a connecting hallway took more than one being to watch. If Roy hadn’t wanted two in Engineering, we’d have definitely wanted Kyle with us up in Quarters.

“General Areas strapped,” Tresia said. Normally, we’d want another crew member in General Areas as well, but Tresia was an Arachnidan. Eight-limbed beings had an advantage when it came to patching holes quickly, and Tresia was extremely quick. She said being our galley chef made her fast, but it probably had more to do with the speed and agility exercises she performed daily.

Which was a good thing, because even though Roy had the Hummingbird whirling like a dervish, we still took damage. We all heard the pingggg sound. I couldn’t speak for the others, but my whole body tensed. Then there were more pinggggs.

“Got it!” Tresia called. Cheerfully. I hadn’t asked her, but I always felt that Tresia actually enjoyed the danger asteroid showers presented.

“There were at least five hits,” Roy said, voice tight.

“Six,” Tresia corrected. “All in the same area. Patching them all at once was easier than making breakfast, Roy. And before you ask, I’m ready with six more patch kits.”

“Good. We’re not through this yet.”


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