-UP AND COMING AUTHOR-
Huntress Alpha Epilogue (both parts)
It took nearly forty-eight hours to transport the hidden ship to the Narvis galaxy and a week to get the ship properly hooked to Rakkah's Armada class ship in order to power it while it floated in quiet stasis above Ojibwe.
At first only her, Jarak, Rakkah, and Ravki had entered the stolen S-Class carrier ship. Stale re-conditioned air met them as the doors opened with a hiss. Justice's heart pounded in her chest as all four sets of their glowing eyes scanned their surroundings. It was quiet. Only the sounds of the ship's humming engine and the occasional readout alerts from the machines sounded in the dark ship. With every silent step they took forward lights began to blink to life until they stopped in the main hold. Forty cryo-pods lined the walls, twenty on port side and another twenty on starboard side.
Justice stepped forward from the hunters and felt her heart return to a steady rhythm as she checked each and every status screen of the fifteen filled pods--all green she noted in relief.
"You told us there were twenty," Rakkah's deep voice broke the silence. "There is only fifteen."
Not bothering to turn back and look at the golden eyed hunter she found her Lieutenant Beta and smiled up at the massive figure. Even sleeping, her lieutenant was a hard ass. With her brow slightly furrowed the sleeping figure mouth was set in a hard line.
"Yes," she finally answered turning towards her Delta, Veronica, to tap on her screen. "I technically have twenty sisters but I only command fifteen. The other five…well…those are the throwbacks. The original models and controlling them was never an option. Last I heard they were supposed to be shipped out for a mission under heavy Undul guard and no one has heard from them since." She looked up thoughtfully for a moment before turning to Rakkah with a raised eyebrow and a smirk. "They did find the bodies of the Undul guards though. They were stuffed in an escaped pod. There severed limbs and decapitated hands artfully arranged. I believe you can find that under your records 98-H7V93."
Coming up to the pod next to her Ravki's clawed finger tapped carefully on the screen as he looked down at the readouts. "Their escape is the likely reason for the control access planted within you and the others."
Justice did not comment on that. Turning she caught Jarak standing in front of her Beta's pod and staring up at the imposing figure. As if sensing her gaze he turned his head and caught her gaze, his eyes bright with intrigue. "This one looks worthy of the stories you have told me."
Justice laughed as she stepped beside Rakkah who was looking at her sisters on the other wall. "So, are you ready for fifteen more of me?"
Rakkah looked down at her with an unreadble gaze before turning around with a regal swoosh of his spines. "Begin waking them," he commanded before leaving the bridge back to his ship.
Constantly in and out of the connected ship, she worked closely with Ravki in preparing her sisters to wake. Able to commandeer an empty sleeping chamber for both her and Larsa Jarak watched silently nearby with Larsa as they worked. Everyday they worked closer and closer to her dream of reuniting with her sisters and Justice could hardly contain her happiness. Each night after Larsa went to sleep on the far side of their temporary chambers Justice met her mate with all the pent up enthusiasm she held in each day. Doing their best to keep silent for Larsa's sake only increased their frenzied need as they pushed and pulled each other closer to that shattering edge of bliss. Bite marks and light scratches scored Jarak's shoulders and arms as she held in her screams of ecstasy. Bruises marked her thighs and backside lovingly from where Jarak had held her firmly against in as he pushed deeper into her wet, accepting body. Each night her mate gave her everything she needed, punctuating that day of happiness like a final seal with his low growls of love in her ear.
For years true and thorough happiness seemed so out of reach only now to know it had been hiding from her in plain sight behind mandibles and claws.
They stood as a large group in front of three pods. This was it the first round of reactivation. Her and Ravki stood next to the pods' screens and checked over the final details as Koga, Tyrn, and Jarak who held Larsa stood behind them.
"The briefing update is complete," Ravki spoke deeply to her left.
Justice nodded, hiding her sudden nervousness at the upcoming next step. Last night she recorded an hour long video briefing filled with supporting documentation. Succinctly she explained their current condition, the control access in each of them that had been removed during their sleep, the length of time they had been asleep, as well as a full update with her living on Ojibwe and what to expect with the yautja. Each of the fifteen pods had been set to a higher level of consciousness and the briefing sent via the neural uplink. Passing her gaze over the pods, she watched in silence as her sisters' eyes moved back and forth rapidly behind their eyelids. They were taking in the information--and some of them were reacting. Looking up at her Lieutenant Beta Justice heaved a heavy sigh as she watched the slight frown turn into a scowl. Her level of consciousness as well as Cora's, Veronica's, and Alimide's were set at a higher level--they would be the first to waken.
Minutes ticked by as they all watched. Justice didn't need to see the pinging notification on the screen to know that her lieutenant was waking first the deepening scowl on the imposing figure's face was poof enough.
The lieutenant opened their eyes with a jerk. As if sensing her, their eyes found Justice's immediately. Light pink eyes narrowed with lethal promise as the pod began to move and the glass lid open. Turning until it was at a thirty five degree angle, the pod stopped with its lid fully open now. Large pale hands gripped the sides of the pod with a slap and deep wheezing cough sounded before the figure within sat up.
Justice didn't say anything she merely took the prepared cup of water and stepped closer to the open pod.
The fist came at her fast.
Catching it with her other hand Justice groaned at the strength behind it. Even just waking up the bitch was strong fuck, she thought as she met her sister's grimacing face with a smirk.
"Hey sis," she purred laconically, enjoying how her Beta's pink eyes began to glow brighter in anger, "nice nap?"
Pushing her fist away with a surge of strength, Justice thrust the lieutenant the cup of water. Snatching the cup with a dark scowl, the lieutenant brought the cup to her mouth and drank deeply. Behind them Justice could hear the yautja shift closer as Cora's pod began to come down at her awakening.
Her lieutenant coughed as she sat down the cup with a loud clang. "I will fucking kill you," the soldier rasped as she found the switch for the pod's wall and lowered one side so that she could swing her long muscular legs out.
With short pink hair and pale skin, Bex sat up dressed in only a bandage top to cover her breasts. Before the surgery on all fifteen of her sisters each one were still wearing their combat uniform. With the help of Ravki, they had removed all of their clothes and placed them in sterile bandage like underwear. While the skimpy underwear looked dainty and maybe even cute on some of her shorter more delicately framed sisters it only enhanced the overall menace of Bex. With shoulders nearly as wide as Jarak, her Beta didn't seem to lose an ounce of muscle during her forced sleep.
"How completely expected of you," Justice muttered stepping back. "And here I thought briefing you ahead of time would save me the droll speech."
"Oh you want to be saved a speech, no fucking problem," Bex coughed once more spitting up some of the blue tinted nourishing gel she had ingested during her sleep. Wiping the back of her mouth with the back of her fist she began to lurch forward, ignoring the string of wires still hooked up to her back and chest. Alarms blared from her pod as her pink eyes whitened at the edges. "I'll just paint the fucking floor with your face, you bitch," Bex snarled. "You didn’t trust us--you didn't trust me enough not to turn into a Goddamn drone-"
"You already did!" Justice snapped back in a shout. She hated herself for taking the bait but Bex was hitting a nerve she didn’t even know what there.
"We could have figured it our together, though," Cora's voice broke in from their left and they both turned to see the small brunette coughing slightly before smile weakly up to Ravki as he held out a stiff arm for support. "It was our lives too you know."
Battling to contain her guilt laced anger, Justice gathered herself and took a deep breath. "Yes, yes, I made a decision and you all don't agree," she waved a hand nonchalantly as she observed Koga standing next to Veronica and Alimide's now downed pods. "How about you all get up and we can just have one big argument and get this over with."
"I have no plans to waste my time arguing," Bex swore to her with a dangerous look as another alarm blared from her movement.
Justice knew that look from her Beta. She was going to fight her. Looking over her shoulder where Jarak stood holding Larsa she exchanged a silent look I-told-you-so look with her mate. Amusement glittered back in his aurora eyes as he watched the scene before him. She told him last night as they lay together in bed that Bex would fight her firsthand after waking, and she was goddamn right.
Turning back to her sister she gave the lieutenant a shrugging smile before pulling out her ace. "Then maybe I shouldn’t introduce you to certain someone then. Maybe I should keep her all to myself," she taunted.
Confused, Bex's brows furrowed. "What the fuck are you talking about?"
Waving to the shadows across the room, Justice waited for the familiar huntress to step out of the darkness.
Turning back she watched her sister's eyes widen and the angry muscles in her face relax as she watched the female yautja approach.
"Well, I was going to introduce you to Ookla," Justice explained not bothering to hold back her smile at Bex's stunned reaction. "Though you're being such a bitch right now I shouldn't. Ookla meet Bex. Bex meet Ookla."
By now Cora, Alimide, and Veronica were completely awake and watching from their pods as everyone in the room watched Bex and Ookla size each other up. With each passing second that ticked by the tension between the two rose as they just stared at one another in silence.
"Tell me I'm not still asleep," Bex choked out.
"You are awake human," Ookla replied tersely.
With slow careful movements Bex lowered her feet to the ground next to her pod and stood up. Justice watched as Ookla's beady eyes widened a fraction as Bex stood to her full height forcing the huntress to look up.
"Then if you are real, do me a favor why don't ya, and come over here," Bex drawled, reaching for the huntress.
Ookla let out a deep warning growl as Bex's hand caught her at the elbow, but that was it. Gently Bex pulled the yautja huntress forward a step and looked down at her with a possessiveness that made Justice want to turn away and take a phot at the same time.
"Damn it feels like I've been waiting for you all my life," Bex whispered as the machines begin to beep in loud warning for her to take it easy but Bex ignored them. Taking an unsteady step forward to close the gap between them she reached up and grabbed a handful of the wires and ripped them from her body without a care.
"I have read your human writings for me," Ookla stated, her fists balling at her sides. "I will see you in battle for your disresp-"
"Did you now?" Bex cut her off with a grin. Sliding her pink gaze towards Justice she gave her a knowing look before casting Ookla a bright leering smile. "Did you get to the one titled wedding night?"
Ookla growled but Bex continued happily staring down at the huntress with eyes filled with dark, chaotic promise. "It's not so much a poem as it is a very detailed plan of action for our wedding night."
"Mating," Justice corrected her.
Bex gave her a confused look.
"Ookla will be your mate," Jarak supplied heavily from the far side of the room.
Stepping out of Bex's gentle grip Ookla turned on her heel and shot her and Jarak a look of seething outrage.
"Ah yes, how very yautja," Bex said ignoring Ookla's mounting frustration at the situation. Reaching out she cupped her shoulders with both hands and took a step forward which only pushed Ookla back.
Outraged Ookla lifted both clawed hands with blinding speed towards Bex's hold but everyone including Ookla just blinked in surprise as Bex caught both of the huntress's wrist with even faster speed. So much for being groggy at awakening, Justice thought. Looking to Ravki she smirked as she watched him no doubt type that very same thing into his gauntlet's datapad. With both of the huntress's wrist captured in each hand Bex's smile widened at Ookla as she took another step forward, forcing Ookla to take a step back.
"Yes, mating," she says as if familiarizing herself with the word. "That's what we'll do."
With another few steps Bex walked Ookla through a nearby door and they all watched it seal behind them.
No one said anything for a moment.
"Well, that room is about to see some real strange action," Veronica piped up from her standing position next to Koga.
Ignoring her sister's laughter Justice smiled and called out. "Computer, sound proof storage room A-5."
"While they are fucking show me my niece," Alamide turned and looked at Jarak. "That's the only way I am going to forgive you, Justice," she announced haughtily as she held out her arms to Jarak much like Larsa does when she wants to be held. "Bring her to me brother."
"No, I want to see her, first," Cora whined as she ripped off her own monitors and stepped away from Ravki.
"I'll fight both of you bitches if you touch her before me. I am the sergeant Delta I get to hold her first," Veronica growled already making her way to Jarak.
Justice laughed and smiled at Jarak. "We have got a long night ahead of us, there are eleven more to wake up."
"Did you ever think Ravki would become an absolute babe magnet?" Justice asked from her lounge chair.
Adjusting herself with a grunt, Ember pushed the lever on her own lounger so that she could lift up and look over her rounded belly. With a lazy yawn, she looked across the lake they were sitting near to see Ravki walking purposely to his newly built laboratory.
"Never," Ember replied with a grin.
Since waking her sisters, it was unanimously decided that the cybernetic soldiers be moved to Tani. The decision gave the women not only a sense of freedom, but it ensured no friction from the other yautja at the sudden arrival of huntresses. Friction, the Upran people of Tani, did not feel whatsoever at their arrival. The docile inhabitants welcomed the warrior women with a sigh of relief, knowing that their presence added an extra level of protection to their vulnerable people.
Ravki's move to Tani was only meant to be temporary. As her sisters settled into their freedom and reactivated their suits, Ravki was there monitoring their progress and providing them with anything they needed.
"It probably has something to do with the giant printer he gave them carte blanche access to," Justice grumbled as she felt another uncomfortable kick within her belly. Putting a hand to her rounded stomach, she glared at the protruding flesh even as a smile tugged at the corners of her lips. This child was going to be hell on wheels.
"Oh God, yes," Ember groaned, throwing back her head, letting the sunshine on her pregnant figure. "Now that he gave us access to it to print out our own stuff, I don't feel guilty anymore since I don't have to pester him so much now. Especially with the new baby on the way," she said with a grin as she rubbed her round tummy.
Justice made a noise of agreement as she closed her eyes to the powerful sun. Today they were both sunbathing outside near the lake across from Ravki's laboratory and not too far from the row of fifteen black pyramids that housed each of her sisters. Jarak and Akur were somewhere no doubt sparring with Bex in the newly terraformed forest. A past time her mate and a handful of other yautja enjoyed doing with her lieutenant Beta. Sometimes using her suit and sometimes not, Bex would walk out of the forest alongside the hunters sweaty, bloody, and always grinning ear to ear. That was what freedom did for her--what it did for all of them.
From that freedom, however, came a decision from her sisters that not only surprised Justice but Rakkah as well. One by one, her sisters stood before Rakkah's throne in front of hundreds of yautjas and pledged their loyalty to the Ojibwe leader, vowing to respect the secretive species' culture and traditions. Eagerly ten of her sisters went beyond that and happily agreed to the yautja honor system the hunters used. Right now, those same ten were off-planet spread out in other galaxies working through the established trials to earn and gain honor in the yautjan way.
"You know, they are only doing this to get their own ships, right?" Justice had told Rakkah once the women had left the throne room, their eyes alight with mischievous fire.
Rakkah had turned slowly to her, his golden eyes glowing within the deep shadows of his protruding browbone with knowing amusement. "Yes," he said simply.
Shrugging, Justice sighed. "Well, I'm sure you know what you're doing. But I can't say that I'm not a bit worried about the trouble they'll no doubt get into once they gain the freedom of their own ships," she said, eyeing him speculatively. "You got to remember, Rakkah, they have never been off the leash, so to speak."
"I have dealt with many young hunters," Rakkah's voice rumbled from behind his closely shut mandibles. "Many eager for the chance to kill and prove themselves."
Trusting him, Justice had nodded, giving the yautja leader full authority to deal with her sisters how he saw fit. She had her own life to worry about, especially the new life that grew inside of her--a life that had taken not only her and Jarak by surprise but all of Ojibwe.
It was at the fifth month of her pregnancy and during one of many visits to Esmerelda's lab when the doctor gave both her and Jarak a look of stunned surprise. For a moment, the doctor said nothing as she looked from her tablet and back up to Justice with her mouth agape. Silence thickened as the tension in the room rose. Justice wanted to grab the woman by the shoulders. Mental images of shaking the doctor until answers poured from her mouth looped in her head, but she did nothing. Though she would have loved to have claimed the restraint was due to her calm control, Justice could not lie to herself. It had been Jarak's patient silence at her side as he waited for Esmerelda to gather herself.
"Y-you're having a b-b-boy," Esmerelda stuttered.
The news rocked Ojibwe.
Between Esmerelda, Ravki, and a few of the other scientists, they had worked tirelessly combing collected records. It was only the arrival of Carnak's leader sometime after that helped shift the surprise away from Justice. Followed by a single hunter, Kinrya, the leader of Carnak had stood proudly before Rakkah's throne. The huntress stood tall and radiated with menacing power.
"You claim to have information about male halfling children."
"Yes," the Carnak leader said simply.
For a few strained minutes, neither leader said anything, only stared. Their gazes sparking off each other in some sort of silent powerplay.
The hunter standing behind Kinrya, dressed in dark gold ornate armor, let out a warning sound. Jerking her head to cast a warning look over her shoulder, Kinrya stared at the hunter as if silently checking him for his insolence. The gold hunter stared back at his leader in silent challenge.
With a low rumble under her breath, the Carnak leader turned back to Rakkah and extended a graceful clawed hand to the hunter behind her, and spoke. "My brother and his mate."
Everyone's eyes in the throne room shifted to the golden armored hunter and then to the empty spot next to him. Lifting his gauntlet, the large hunter's claws clicked against the datapad's surface once before the woman at his side blinked into existence.
Bex, who was standing next to her mate Ookla and next to Akur, crossed her arms over her muscular chest and let out a huff of a laugh. "Well shit, you really are going to have a boy."
Justice couldn’t look away from the sleepy toddler. With one tiny arm around the woman's neck and his head leaning against her shoulder, the little boy opened his sleepy eyes revealing the signature black sclera from his yautja blood and his bright green irises and beady pupils.
"You have not shared this," Rakkah's words were lined with accusation.
"No," Kinrya replied in an almost haughty growl that only made Justice like the huntress more.
Rakkah's eyes narrowed only a fraction before he let out a deep-sounding chuckle. "I had heard rumors your brother had taken a mate and other rumors that you, Kinrya, had become overly attached to the mate," Rakkah paused only for a second as the huntress leader of Carnak visibly bristled at this before continuing. "It now makes sense. It is not his mate you have become attached to, it is the child."
Kinrya took a threatening step forward towards the throne as if she meant to make Rakkah eat his words, but neither Rakkah nor Iko flinched at the move.
"My sister is attached to my son. She has been since his birth. She spends more time with him than she does securing her own mate."
Kinrya spun on her heel and faced the taller hunter, violence glittering in her eyes. Again no one flinched at the aggressive action, not even the human woman, as if used to this type of behavior from the huntress.
"Our clans are to share information," Iko tersely reminded the Carnak leader.
"As you shared the arrival of fifteen more of your cyborg women?" Kinrya's eyes fell on Bex for a moment, and Justice could see Ookla's eyes narrow at the Carnak leader in a possessive warning.
The gesture set off a mini chain reaction. Completely ignoring the crowded throne room, Bex gave her mate a salacious grin and draped a muscular arm over the huntress's shoulder as she bent down to nuzzle her neck. Even from where she stood, Justice could hear bits and pieces of her sister's filthy whispers to Ookla as she promised to alleviate any fears over her loyalty for her. The whispers bordered on obscene.
"Eww," Cora whined from behind them.
"We have shared what is necessary for yautja supremacy, you have not," Iko reminded the Carnak leader.
Kinrya said nothing for a moment, she just stood there staring up at Iko as if she was weighing the option to outright kill the second in command or not. Finally, she spoke. "Years ago, our scientist mixed human DNA with my clan's bloodline."
There was a collective sound of disgust amongst the hunters of the room, but Kinrya continued unfazed. "The results were inconclusive--until the birth of Kian's child. Our scientists believe there is a likely chance your cyborg has a small trace of yautja DNA."
Murmurs of sounds filled the room as everyone absorbed and commented on this information. Across the room, close to the wall, Justice could see the two scientists she had previously dealt with, eyes light up at the information.
"This is good news, though," Esmerelda said thoughtfully from behind them. "That means anyone else who maybe wants to have a yautja child can also have the option for a male. It would just take a few adjustments…" The doctor's words faded away as she began to mumble more to herself than to anyone in particular.
"Not anyone, though," Kinrya taunted cruelly as her eyes traveled back over Ookla and Bex before dismissing herself with a whip of her long spines and leaving the throne room.
Bex's eyes went white with rage as they all understood the meaning behind the Carnak's leader's mocking words.
"I'll fucking kill that bitch," Bex seethed before turning to look back down at her mate. "Don't worry, baby I'll-"
With a growl of disgust, Ookla stepped away from Bex before activating her cloaking.
"Ookla!" Bex grabbed at the air in front of her, but her hands met with nothing.
Letting out a harsh sound under her breath, Bex grabbed the faceplate which she kept on her belt and brought the silver mask to her face. Immediately the Spartan designed helmet latched onto her face and lit up as she scanned the area for her missing mate.
A deep curse sounded from within the mask before the large cyborg took off, shouldering her way roughly through the crowd and out the throne room.
"And that started off so good too," Cora whined as her other sisters nodded.
"I know," Ember moaned in agreement as she stared worriedly at the throne room entrance.
Looking up to Jarak, Justice smiled at the lack of concern in the big hunter's eyes. Over the past few months, he had become close with Bex, almost closer than she was with her. They seemed to understand one another.
"I didn't know Ookla was considering children yet," she whispered low enough for only Jarak to hear.
As everyone seemed to disperse from the throne room, Jarak walked alongside of her as they made their way to Ahzma's chambers to pick up Larsa. "I do not think has," Jarak said, angling his head thoughtfully. "I think it is the lack of an option she does not like having."
Justice let his words sink in. she thought of her sister's tenacity and Ookla's quiet anger. This was going to be a problem.
Putting a hand to her stomach, she gave her mate a strained smirk. "We're in for some interesting times ahead."