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Seven Stars Saga
Book Three


Nyx strode down the corridor towards the command deck of the Kokou II. Shadows bounced on the walls, and boots pounded all around her. The inevitable overload due to the fire in the passage made the lights flash, and everything smelled of ozone. If someone was paying attention to the flame engulfed decks, she would never have guessed it. The fire licked the sides of the hall, smoke pouring from the seamless panels as they bubbled and melted away. Panels from the ceiling fell, and cables came loose, sparking blue above her.

She would kill the murderer Jaymes Boucher if it was the last thing she did. And the only way to do that was to confront the ex-Queensman on the bridge of the ship Boucher and her cohorts had absconded with.

Nyx slapped the door pad. It glowed red. Locked.

She grimaced, a sense of déjà vu passing over her. This could have been the start of her journey with Erebus; she had physically rewired the locked panel on the Thanatos many months ago during her search for the Star of Erebus. She couldn’t believe how short a time ago it was when she had thought the Star would be world-killing tech instead of an all-pervasive AI. Ever since Erebus had allowed herself to be infected by Nyx’s blood, then taken over so many ships with the power to absorb and control technology, it had been so easy to bypass the physical rewiring of any doors for Nyx.

Erebus herself had activated the AI in Nyx’s blood during an accident on the Thanatos, which had been commandeered from Matthews. That was after Malcam had taken the opening to stage a fake mutiny against Nyx’s father on the Medusa. Kai, her ex-fiancé, had commanded the Thanatos for a very brief time after her father’s ship was lost. And once her father had died, Nyx had never looked back. She took the path of strength—turning herself into the central idol of a cult, liberating prisoners from an asteroid mine, and raising an army.

But she hated some of the choices she had made. To upload Yoon’s consciousness. To have to take over Erebus’ emerald code whirling through the Kokou II’s technology and tech all over the universe. Whenever Nyx manipulated her sibling Star’s code, she inhabited Erebus. It meant taking over a part of her sister—the only one of her seven siblings who showed her any support. But Nyx would do it if she must. She had to reach Boucher on the command deck.

The rogue Queensman’s recent attempts at a coup, attacking Navy supply lines, was a nuisance. She made it easy for Nyx to find her through Erebus’ code, easy to plan the ambush that would capture the Kokou II—that would capture Boucher. It was enough that the ex-Queensman had already tried to displace Phoebe as Queen of the Protectorate in an early coup d’état with the African Continental Governance and the North American Union. Boucher wouldn’t get a chance to usurp Nyx as well—especially after she had murdered the man Nyx loved.

The heat of anger bubbled in Nyx’s stomach. That woman had killed Malcam during her take-over of Phoebe’s Protectorate with the ACG and NAU. Malcam had been protecting Nyx, and now Nyx would hunt Boucher to the ends of the universe. It was icing that Queen Nyx’s Protectorate soldiers could finally capture the NAU and ACG coup leaders who had run while she took over La Terre and the Protectorate in a short, heated battle.

Nyx slapped the pad again. It glowed red. “Merde, Erebus. Just open the door,” she growled, ignoring the smoke burning her throat.


“No.” Erebus’ voice echoed down the flame-filled hallway.


“You won’t stand in my way of killing that woman.” Nyx would have the door opened and finally get to deal with the traitor Jaymes Boucher. She reached the tendrils of her white aura—using her ability to manipulate life energy with the AI code in her blood—into the swirling emerald in the door pad. Erebus’ weakness was that she was everywhere, allowing her code to infuse with the technology of thousands, maybe millions of ships, planets, colonies—anything that ran on tech. Nyx could use that, no matter how much she disliked manipulating her sister Star’s technological abilities. Nyx prepared to tweak the whorls of Erebus’ aura, stomach tightening. She didn’t want to use Erebus’ code without permission. But she would. She had to. Boucher needed to die for her crimes—for killing Malcam. “Just remember that you made me do this.” Nyx gathered her wisp-like code which, ironically, Erebus had given her when the AI in Nyx’s blood had been awoken. She sent the tendrils shuddering through her sibling’s pervasive code. Erebus fought back.


Nyx’s lips thinned. Erebus was still her own person and could control her powers. But as the Seven Stars’ operating system, and the head of the pantheon, Nyx could manipulate anyone’s life energy who she had infected with the technology in her blood. It may be a struggle, unless she uploaded Erebus fully, but she could still move her sister’s code where it was most useful. In this case, unlocking the door so Nyx could confront Boucher.


“You can stop,” Erebus pleaded. “You don’t have to take it this far. You already control the Protectorate and the undergovernments. You’ve taken La Terre and recovered the people who rebelled against Phoebe. You don’t need to do this as well.”


“Boucher can’t live.”


Erebus’ aura snapped, and Nyx settled the code into place. The door slid open with a jitter, and a slight warm breeze swept by Nyx as the pressure from the command deck equalized with the corridor. The flames behind her fanned higher.




“You know why. She killed Malcam.” Nyx took a knife from a sheath on her thigh and stared at a wide-eyed woman with tattoos crawling across her jaw who was crouched half-way in a two-person executive escape pod. “Phoebe?” Nyx growled. “Why are you here?”


Her lithe, ebony-haired sibling straightened and took a few steps towards Nyx. “I need to set things right.”


“What, exactly? I’ve taken the Protectorate from Boucher and her ACG and NAU minions,” Nyx spat. “What needs to be set right that I already haven’t begun correcting?”


“No,” Phoebe whispered, pausing. “You aren’t correcting anything. It’s time that the Protectorate return to its rightful ruler.”

Nyx tried to glance around Phoebe, but her sister shifted her weight, blocking her view of the open escape pod.


“I predicted that you’d find us here if we came.”


“What? So, this is all an elaborate trap? For what purpose?”


“I knew you’d destroy this Kokou just like you destroyed the first. I predicted that you would find those responsible for the coup against me. But I don’t want the Protectorate anymore. I want to return the rightful ruler. And I can’t do that if you kill Boucher. We had to stop you.”


“We?” Nyx asked.


“Erebus, Boucher, and me. It’s time to let all this go.”


“Why do you insist on letting her live?” Nyx screeched. “She killed family. How can you side with her?” 


“There are things that need to be returned to their place for the universe to survive. If not, you’ll destroy everything. You’ll be unstoppable. A monster.”



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