Snakes and Starships: II

“That would suggest I think you can be saved,” Antares countered, sliding his hand across the wall until his fingers curled lightly around one side of her throat.

“Luckily I have no need or want of that,” she whispered, purposefully rolling her hips forward against him. “Other things, however, for which I once developed a taste,” she added, licking her lips suggestively, “I don’t mind admitting a desire for.”

He did not move but for the slight twitch of his fingers as Miho kissed him again, a long, lingering kiss she drove into his mouth with increasing insistence until he pulled his face away.

“You assume much,” he growled, and though it sounded like a reprimand, a warning, his body had already betrayed him.

“I’ll even let you be in control,” Miho grinned, nipping at his lips. “Unless you’re feeling submissive.”

In response, Antares pressed his lips to her neck and began to burn a trail upward along the line of her jaw.

“Guess not,” Miho chuckled breathily, as Antares draped her captive arm around his neck.

While he made his way to her lips, claiming them with a possessive force, Miho dug her fingers into his glossy black hair and raked her nails across his scalp.

“I suppose your rank meant more to you than retribution,” she taunted, grunting as he seized her waist and hoisted her off her feet. “And I nearly told him myself, just to see the expression crack his face. Oh, the ruin he’d bring down on you.”

“You should concern yourself more with the ruin I am about to bring down on you,” he snarled, and wrapping her legs around his middle, Miho cackled.

“Do it,” she urged breathily. “I want you to.”

No more words were exchanged.

Whatever had transpired between them in the past, it seemed to fuel a dangerously potent passion that tangled them both in a smouldering, lustful haze. The soft clatter of their uniforms hitting the floor was muffled by the quickening ebb and flow of respiration, a song of increasing desperation.

Antares danced them around the room, shoving Miho against surfaces here and there, until the cold glass of his fish tank against her bare skin cause her to let out a particularly large gasp.

Satisfied by the sound, Antares grinned triumphantly into Miho’s face and dug his thumbs into her thighs. Steadying his stance, he teased against her slickness until she bit down hard on his shoulder. The enthusiasm of his penetration caused Miho to cling to his broad shoulders, ten sharp, blood-red knives clawing bright, erotic sigils into his skin.

Their union scorched against the cold expanse of space, a fiery maelstrom of energy consuming both until their bodies and wills could take no more.

When they both ached, Miho laid against Antares’ chest, idly flicking his nipple, while he lightly tugged against a strand of her hair.

“Next time, I’m on top,” Miho murmured languidly.

“Next time?” Antares repeated.

“Sex with you is, not entirely unpleasant,” she mused. “But,” she went on, twisting the large ring she was wearing until the massive garnet slid sideways, “all good things come to an end.”

“I’m delivering you to the Emperor,” Antares announced, completely deadpan, but Miho didn’t seem fazed.

“I know,” she sighed comfortably, smearing her thumb across the clear gloss the garnet had revealed, before smoothing a thin film across her lips. “For all your rebelliousness, you love your position and power too much to give it up for a sweet piece of ass.”

Still, despite this clear point of conflict, Miho smiled as she slowly stretched a leg over him and rolled on top, cheekily toying with his lower lip with her index finger before sucking on it hungrily.

“Unfortunately,” she murmured, pausing to smother him for a few more, enjoyable seconds, “I have other things to do, than bow to my father’s whims.”

With one last kiss, Miho rocked back, and though Antares’ hands had come up to rest on her hips, they fell away from her body heavily.

“What?” he hissed, brows twitching as that fuzzy, weighted sensation began to spread throughout his whole body.

“Sorry, Commodore,” Miho yawned, shifting off him and the bed and beginning to collect her clothing. “I hope Corvus didn’t inform the Emperor you’d recovered his daughter, because you’re going to have some serious explaining to do when you arrive empty handed.”

Outrage exploded from Antares’s eyes, but he found himself completely unable to move. He was powerless, able only to track her movements as she tidied her hair and reaffixed her crown before pulling the sheets up to Antares’ chin.

“Paralysis will wear off in a few hours,” she informed him glibly, lightly touching his chin before heading to the door. “That should give you plenty of time to come up with an entertaining excuse.”

Blowing him a kiss, she then left him to his no doubt infuriated rumination, while she slipped out into the corridor.

She hadn’t expected guards, after all, she wasn’t an enemy, and so for the most part Miho moved unhampered through the ship. Despite wearing a crown, she hadn’t always been a princess – her repertoire of skills was extensive from a life lived in the military thanks to her father.

He’d been good for something at least.

That Antares’ ship was Empire in origin made it easy for Miho to initialise the escape shuttle, and before Corvus could rush to find Antares and tell him about it, she was well and truly on her way to the nearest colony port.

 

“You sure leaving Jenna and Atlas alone together is a good idea, Jazz?” Jaxon queried, giving her a light nudge in the ribs as they navigated the streets of Cygnus II.

“Sure,” Jazz shrugged, scanning their path.

Expecting to get jumped was an occupational hazard.

“That’s it? Sure?” Jaxon poked, and though Orion sent him a warning glance, he continued. “She’s been acting all kinds of jealous since you and that grumpy bastard got close.”

“Quit creating drama where there isn’t any,” Jazz sniffed. “Besides, she’s about to have her hands full with her Union defector friend.”

“Remind me again why we’re helping the guy?” Jaxon snorted. “How many times did we have to rescue Jenna because of him?”

“Too many,” Orion responded curtly, “but the fact remains he’s had access to Union technology and other secrets. He could be useful.”

“You’re just jealous because he’s prettier than you,” Jazz snickered, delivered in casual hip-check.

“Of that guy?” Jaxon scoffed. “The legendary Jaxon Silva is jealous of no man, especially not one with a ponytail.”

Orion rolled his eyes, while Nova frowned slightly in consternation.

“I sense some masculine insecurity,” she announced, which caused Jazz to laugh, but the smile dropped at the sound of blaster fire. “That is Union weaponry,” she assessed, shifting her hold on her own massive cannon.

“I really want this to just be a coincidence,” Jazz muttered, taking out her own pistol.

“Doesn’t matter what it is, it’s coming from the direction we’re headed in,” Orion pointed out. “Nova take the rear.”

Jaxon might have made a lewd comment, but he too was readying himself for combat.

 

When Miho had landed the escape pod at the space port, she’d wasted no time leaving it there. She knew the moment he was able, Antares would track it to her location. Terovin and the Excellon crew would come and retrieve her eventually, but for the time being she needed to blend in – not something she could do in full Empire regalia.

Sticking to the shadows as much as she could, she skirted back alleys until she could ‘borrow’ some clothing from a washing line: a ridiculously mismatched ensemble, but far less ostentatious than her uniform.

“Life would be so much easier if…” she muttered to herself, but stopped mid-sentence and mid-step when she recognised a dreadfully familiar flash of white. “…if that guy died in a hole,” she finished in a rasping growl, glancing upward to a nearby balcony before hauling herself up. “What the fuck are you doing here, Sol?”

Like a cat she crept along rooftops, tailing the Union Admiral and his entourage silently, unable to keep from satisfying her curiosity. He was the kind of man who hated doing things for himself, so whatever had brought him to the streets of Cygnus II, it had to be important – just the kind of thing Miho loved to spoil.

What she discovered at the end of their journey, was another Union soldier, one garbed in an exo-suit she had become painfully familiar with. But there was no camaraderie, and the solidly built soldier took a defensive stance the moment he caught sight of the Admiral.

“Your futile attempt at freedom is over, Aquila,” Evander Sol smirked, as the Union soldiers spread out to block all routes of escape. “I will ensure you pay for your disloyalty with your life.”

As usual, Sol spouted self-righteous Union rhetoric clichés as easily as he inhaled, and Miho had to stop herself from looking for something to throw. Instead, she took stock of the surrounding area, did another headcount, plotted several courses of action.

She may have been there to re-join her crew, but there was nothing she liked more than spoiling the Union’s day.

Evander Sol was completely irresistible to her – a pompous do-right hypocrite of the highest order: a manipulative monster wearing a fractured mask of virtue.

“Mirra couldn’t clean up her own mess?” the beleaguered soldier snapped, his tense gaze also analysing the situation carefully.

“Admiral Mirra’s folly is her arrogance,” Sol declared, the words rolling off the tongue without even a hint of the irony.

It was all Miho could do not to give herself away by cackling incredulously.

“Her failure will be my success,” Sol continued smugly, “and I intend to be the one to flip the switch on your life myself.”

Of course, Miho didn’t know the backstory here, but the opportunity to mess with both Sol and Mirra was just too great a temptation. Above them all at their backs, Miho rose slowly from her concealed crouch, and she knew the exact moment the trapped soldier saw her.

Beaming, she inclined her head to him before looking down, poised on the roof’s edge like a diver – her intention clear.

“Are you in on it too, Sergeant?” the soldier asked, a good deal of accusation in his tone, and their attention remained on him. “Do you sacrifice your faithful? Your loyal? Do you tell them they’re serving a greater good while being the rot at the core of the Union?”

Not long ago he wouldn’t have dreamed of saying such things, but his eyes had been opened. He still believed in freedom, in fairness, in the things the Union said it stood for, but now he knew it was all smoke and mirrors serving the interests of a powerful, corrupt few.

“I will not allow your lies to pervert the sanctity of the Union,” Sol announced pretentiously, his victorious smirk far too much for Miho to tolerate.

As if she could fly, she launched herself from the roof. Her fall was a gracefully choreographed arch away from the building with Sol and his soldiers her intended landing zone.

 

By the time blaster fire flashed into view, alarmed shouts were audible, but the crew of the Promise only skidded to a halt when Tyrian appeared with a body cradled against him with one arm, shooting behind him with the other.

“Back to the Promise,” Orion barked, before reporting back to Atlas. “We’re coming in hot, Atlas.”

“So what else is new?” Atlas’ voice grumbled over comms. “Who’d we piss off this time?”

“Union,” Orion answered, laying down some covered fire so Tyrian could catch up.

“To be fair it’s Tyrian’s fault,” Jaxon clarified. “And he’s bringing a friend.”

“More strays?” Atlas grumped. “We ain’t got room for any more strays.”

“No time for a discussion,” Orion barked, little plumes of smoke erupting around he and the others as they fled.

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