Amidst The Stars

By Christee Morton All Rights Reserved ©

Scifi / Romance

"Who did you kill?"

The ground was moving underneath her, and she couldn't feel her hands.

Coming to with a groan, Amyn went to brush her hair out of her face and found she couldn't. Tilting her head back as far as she could, she caught sight of the cuffs that were keeping her arms over her head and sighed. Waking up either tied up or cuffed was seriously getting old. Letting out a deep breath, she took a look around her and was momentarily confused. This wasn't the back alley where she'd gotten stunned. Instead, it looked like she was in the underbelly of a ship, aptly named the cargo hold. Raising an eyebrow, she realized that whoever was operating the ship was a little more merciful than the Hunter, and had pressurized the hold so she could breath and not pass out from lack of breathable air.
"How are you feeling?" a voice asked from the shadows, and Amyn whipped her head around so fast she almost gave herself whiplash.
Cursing herself for not realizing that there was a cat-walk, she stayed silent as she waited for whoever it was that spoke to step into the light. She'd learned quickly to not answer disembodied voices. There was a sigh from the person before footsteps were heard, just as a massive body appeared from a corner.
Eyes wide, Amyn took in the pure white eyes and the dark skin that let her know that this man was one of the deadliest races in the galaxy. Long red hair was tied back in a warriors braid that let her know just how deadly the man was.
"You're Pryktin?" was the first thing that came out of her mouth and she winced, instantly regretting it. "I'm so sorry-." she started to apologize, but he lifted a clawed hand and her voice left her.
"It's not the worst thing people have said the first time they see me." he waved off the apology, but she could see that her words had hurt him. "How are you feeling?" he asked again, vaulting over the railing and dropping to the ground, barely making a sound as he landed.
Jaw slack from the display of skill, Amyn shook her head, forcing her mind to focus on his words. Taking a moment to catalog her injuries, she frowned when she realized she was loosing feeling in her legs again, a sure sign that her spine had been re-injured.
"My legs and hands are numb, my head is killing me and I really need to pee, but other than that I'm fine." she replied, shooting a wide grin at the man who could easily kill her with a single finger.
"Who did you kill?" was the next question out of the Pryktin's mouth, and Amyn choked on a breath.
"Excuse me?" she asked, not sure she'd heard right.
"A Hunter has you bagged and tagged." he said, motioning to the metal bracelet she'd missed before, and moved closer to where she could see where the white of his iris met the white of his eye. "Who did you kill?"
"No one!" she protested, pressing her as far back into the wall as she could, suddenly feeling irrationally scared of the large man, who hadn't even touched her.
"Then why do you have a bounty on your head worth more than three ships combined?" The Pryktin question and Amyn couldn't help the gasp that escaped.
"I had no idea the bounty was that high." she muttered to herself, but it made so much more sense now, all the Hunter's she'd encountered had been unusually aggressive than normal.
"You knew there was a bounty?"
"Well, yeah." Amyn admitted. "This is the first time I've been 'bagged and tagged' as you put it. But I still didn't kill anyone!" she hastened to reassure the large male, realizing how it sounded to someone who didn't know her.
"Then why the bounty?" he asked, and Amyn sighed, shoulders sagging as much as they could, given her current shackles.
"My husband isn't a nice man." she started off, giving only the basics. She didn't want to be passed to another Hunter or anything like that. "To save my own life, I was forced to marry him, and his greatest joy is causing me pain. No matter how many times I run away, I'm always brought back."
There was silence as the Pryktin stared at her, and she was reminded of the tale that said that his particular race could sense if you were lying or not. She hadn't realized she'd started crying until he reached forward and gently wiped the tears away with a calloused hand. He'd been careful to not let his claws touch her skin, and she suddenly had a feeling that he avoided contact at all cost, just in case others found them terrifying.
When he stepped back and made to leave, Amyn called out, realizing she didn't know his name.
"Who are you?" she asked quietly.
"Krestin." was the equally quiet reply, his back turned to her.
"Krestin, I don't want to go back." she said, a lump in her throat as she spoke. She was hoping against hope that he would be willing to help her, but when he kept walking and the door to the cargo hold slid shut behind him, she couldn't help the tears that fell freely down her face.
Bringing her knees up to her body as much as she could, she buried her face in the worn and patched fabric of her pants and cried.

Zin knew the moment that Krestin walked onto the flight deck that something was about to happen. Not that he blamed his friend, he'd been listening in on his conversation with the woman. He knew there was more to the story, there always was, but the pain in the woman's voice had hit him in the gut so hard that he had to steady himself against the control panel and he knew that if Krestin didn't do something, sooner or later he was going to.
Apparently Krestin felt the same way, for as soon as he was within arm's reach of the Hunter, he'd grabbed the man by the throat and lifted him clear out of his seat. Suddenly glad that Krestin was on his side, he remembered a story Mely had told him about the Pryktin race, where their strength was amplified a hundredfold if their anger was righteous, making then a difficult foe to defeat.
"Where are you taking her?" he asked the Hunter, teeth bared in a snarl that the Hunter instantly copied, hands going to the one around his throat, trying to get loose.
It may have been childish to feel the way he did, but Zin was insanely satisfied with the sudden panic that entered the male's red eyes when the arm wouldn't budge.
"Kres!" the rest of the crew gathered around the two, Zin barely managing to step between them and the angry Pryktin.
Tiny Mely was the only one he couldn't stop and when she reached out to lay a gentle hand on his shoulder, Krestin's head snapped around and a hush fell as they saw his eyes. Normally a blinding white, his entire eye was covered with a red film, and they knew that he was more than pissed off. The last time Zin had seen his friend in this state of mind, it had taken the entire staff of the bar they were at to pile on him and shoot a tranquilizer at him.
"Get the woman to the Med Bay, Mel." Krestin said, softening his tone for the much smaller woman, letting Fain relax with a sigh. "She's hurt badly." At that, Mely snapped back into Medical Office mode and she took off towards the cargo hold, Shenna two steps behind. Shen knew from experience that having a woman around during such an exam as Mely was going to have to do to would be a comfort.
"Touch her and you die." the Hunter managed to get out before the massive hand around his throat squeezed, making him gasp for air.
"Where are you taking her?" Kres growled, not having to worry about scaring any of the women, and the remaining men gathered around, bodies taut.
"To the Druin's." the Hunter managed to gasp out, and Zin sucked in a breath.
The Druin's were a particularly nasty cult that specialized in War, no matter what kind. For them to actually pay to have a woman returned to them meant that the man who had forced the woman to marry him was either a War General or equally high up in the ranks. It also meant that if they killed the Hunter, and let the woman go, they would be coming for them.
"She's awake, isn't she?" the Hunter rasped out, red eyes wild. "Perfect timing, I was getting bored." he let out a laugh that ended in a gargle as Krestin ripped his throat out.
"Jesus, Kres." Fain sighed and Zin collapsed into a vacant chair.
"Kres, do you know what you just signed us up for?" Dain asked, daintily wiping away a drop of splattered blood from his face with a white handkerchief.
"Look at her and tell me it won't be worth it." Krestin growled at his friend before disappearing out the door.
"He may be right, but damn, Olen is going to be pissed." Zin spoke up from where he was seated, long black coat flared out around him.
"You know my brother has been itching for a good fight just as you have, my friend." Shenna's voice came from the doorway. Her face was taut with haunting memories,and her fists were clenched.
"How bad?" Zin asked, and she knew what he meant. Rather than reply, she motioned for him to follow, leaving Dain to pilot the ship as he did.
"Shenna, are you alright?" he asked quietly as he followed her, and the quick, jerky shake of her head let him know all he needed too.
As they approached the door to the Med Bay, a scream of pain echoed through the hallway and Zin sprinted forward, images of what was happening going through his mind, but what he found when he barged through the doorway was nothing like what he expected.
Mely was straddling the woman, who was laying on her side, face screwed up in pain with tears leaking from her eyes.
"Oh, thank Kel you're here, Zin. I need your help to hold her down." Mely sighed in relief, crawling down from atop the woman, who was taking deep breaths to try and beat the pain. He recognized the technique, as he had used it himself when he was in so much pain he thought he would pass out. "Her spine's been fractured, and if I don't get it set right, she won't be able to walk."
Walking forward, he caught the warning glance from Mely, and stopped a few feet away from the bed.
"I'm not going to hurt you, I just need to keep you from moving while Mely sets your spine." he said lowly, careful to keep his voice light even as anger towards the bastard who had done this rushed through his veins.
The woman didn't open her eyes, just nodded as the muscles in her jaw clenched. It was then that he realized just how frail the woman was. It was easy for him to see the bones in her face, and when he gently wrapped a hand around her wrist, the bones felt way too fragile.
A gasp left the woman's lips as the heat from his hand registered, and when her eyes opened, Zin was struck by the silvery color, and the depth that threatened to drown him.

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