Get Lucky! Get Lucky!

Lucky Universe – Raw Excerpt [Part 1]

Hello, nightmare.

Hello, Lucky, said his nightmare.

But he wasn’t Lucky. Just plain old Private Lee Savage, the adopted son of Admiral T’Hap, the little brother of the best pilot in the corps, a rookie on his first cycle, ready to prove he was all that.

 

Lucky woke up and just wanted to breathe.

He was drowning. There was green-yellow liquid over his face, filling his eyes, his nose, his mouth.

He tried to reach up, but his hands wouldn’t move.

He tried to yell, but his mouth wouldn’t open.

He was frozen inside a tank of gel, staring upward into a vast open space.

He could see something just at the edge of his sight, above and behind him.

He couldn’t understand what he was looking at.

They were symbols more alien than anything he had ever seen carved into a rock wall. No, not carved. Embedded somehow, like they were a growth in the rock itself.

He was sure the symbols were a language, but he couldn’t explain why. As he watched, they morphed into letters he could understand. But the words made no sense.

The ceiling was higher than any hangar he had ever been in. The other walls were formed of rock too, but so far away he couldn’t make out any details. Scaffolding crisscrossed everywhere he looked.

This was a massive space carved into rock. So big, clouds had formed inside it.

Not clouds. Smoke.

A flickering in the haze. A burning smell.

And then he saw the flames licking up the side of the tank he was in. Everything around him was burning.

He strained to move.

He screamed at his body, but nothing happened.

This is where I’m going to die, he thought.

Not in his fighter.

Not alongside his sister.

Here, in some impossible excavation site in a vat of snot.

He tried accessing his AI copilot—the one they told him during basic training would be with him for the rest of his life—but he only got static. He was alone in his mind.

Some Frontier Marine he was turning out to be. Captured on his first real mission.

He strained to remember something. Anything. The past was a haze.

An image flowed in from his subconscious. A creature stood over him, tool in hand, digging inside his mind. Shivers of electricity fired up and down his spine.

Had that really happened, or was it a dream?

He tried to steady himself by tying together stray moments in his mind.

He had been in his training fighter. He remembered that much.

They were attacked by … something. What was it? He couldn’t remember, maybe didn’t want to remember.

It was just dumb luck that he’d been out with the alert fighters when their carrier was hit, the token rookie taking his turn with the big kids. Dumb luck that he wasn’t dead.

But now Lee realized it had been very bad luck.

A shadow crossed his face. A red cloud darkened the edges of his vision.

He jumped, or tried to. Nothing happened.

Then he felt the tiniest of shocks on the back of his neck.

Next he felt the goo around him draining away.

And he could move.

So move, dammit!

He jerked up and felt wires yank back against his neck and head.

He reached behind, and to his horror found something like an umbilical cord with hundreds of wired wrapped in a fine mesh digging into pinpoints in the back of his neck.

And then he felt the ground shift, and a giant hand reached out and swatted him across the room. He felt his head recoil as the wires ripped away. The tank he’d been lying in flew across the room. The rocky ground beneath him was cold against his naked body.

Around him, equipment was burning. Strange, foreign gear. Not Empire tech.

Something exploded near him, and he felt heat flare from it. He tried staggering to his feet and immediately fell back. It felt like he hadn’t walked in weeks.

The smoke was thick now. He tasted burnt air flow into his lungs. He put his face down to the cool floor and gagged.

He crawled blindly, tears filling his bloodshot eyes.

A shadow again crossed his face. This time, he reached out as the red cloud darkened the edges of his vision.

His hand bumped something.

It was the tank, flipped over in front of him.

If he could just get under it, there would be an air pocket. A second to think. Something.

He clawed at the edges, felt it fall back, clawed again and felt the edge lift. He thrust his face into the crack and took a clear breath, a cough wracking his chest.

He dragged his shoulders and the rest of his body under the lip. He finally yanked his feet inside, and the edge crashed back to the rock, creating an imperfect seal but keeping the majority of the killing smoke at bay.

He took another clear breath.

Now what?

 

Now you leave dreamland, Lucky. See you soon. 

Lucky shivered. He knew the voice. It was Him. 

It was The Hate.