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Alien Mercenary's Destiny
Author: Mina Carter





Zad’s destiny was to be a Krynassis hive queen. She was born to be a warrior queen with a ship full of clutch fighters to command. With her word as law, she would have been a goddess in the flesh, living among her subjects.

She was not destined to die alone in the dark, especially not in a corridor under some grubby slave pits where she’d fought for her life on a regular basis. Not today. Not tomorrow. Not any day.

She ducked under a power lance aiming to separate her head from her neck and slid up in the gap between it and the heavy-set male wielding it. A look of surprise flowed over his face when she didn’t hit the sand-covered floor in two pieces as he’d expected but drove vicious claws up under his jaw. He stiffened, the grisly crunch of bone reaching her ears as her claws punched through the roof of his mouth en route to his brain. Blood cascaded over her fingers, rolling down to coat her wrist as his feet did a little jig.

“Asssssshole,” she hissed as she dropped him to the sand floor, leaving him to twitch his last without remorse. He, like every other vaarking guard in this place, had bullied and beaten countless slaves while trading in their misery. He didn’t deserve pity. In fact, she wouldn’t have pissed on him if he was on fire.

Stepping over the body, she continued down the corridor.

The lower levels of the Tarviisan fight pits, the corridors and cages where they kept the slave-fighters, had become a brutal, bloody battlefield. As breakouts went, Zad had to admit the Warborne did it with style. And chaos. Mostly just chaos with guns and explosions for shits and giggles.

“‘You’ll know when it happens.’ No shit. Understatement of the vaarking century,” she muttered, ducking into a side corridor to catch her breath and plan her next move.

With the defenses breached and the perimeter security systems offline, most fighters were taking the opportunity to get a little payback… be that on the guards or on each other. Most didn’t seem to care which.

Twin roars echoing through the corridors said that Guntas and Vasko had decided on the latter. She wasn’t surprised. The two Devarians had hated each other’s guts from the moment they’d met. It had been all the guards could do to keep them apart and from killing each other. Today’s truce had lasted only long enough to secure the success of the breakout, and now they were back at each other’s throats.

A bellow nearby got all her attention, and she forgot about the two Devarians in favor of scooting to the side. A guard sailed through the air and hit the stone wall behind her, his last breath rattling from his chest in a groan.

She raised an eyebrow. He’d been one of the crueler assholes down here and very fond of his energis-prod. Taking it from his hand, she looked up at the fighter who’d thrown him.

“I’d have made him suffer longer,” she said, spitting on the corpse in contempt and handing the energis-prod over. Not only was the dead male fond of the crude control device, but he also liked to prey on the T3s—beings who couldn’t fight back, either because they were physically incapable or because they’d been completely and utterly broken by the pits.

“Thought about it,” the other fighter said, nodding his thanks as he took the prod. He was a short, stout Enaxis. His neck frills rattled in agitation, flared out and scarlet with bloodlust. “But I got more than a few assholes down here I want payback from.”

“I hear ya.” She nodded. “Happy hunting.”

“You too!” he called over his shoulder as he barreled off down the corridor in search of new prey.

Zad turned in the other direction, heading deeper into the corridors. Most of the fighting was dying down, leaving just a few hotspots she skirted around the edges of. A guard, battered and bloody, raced out from a side corridor and skidded to a halt in front of her.

He took one look at her still in her pit clothes with her hand sheathed in blood to the wrist, and his eyes widened. For a moment she watched the cognitive dissonance fight it out behind his eyes as he tried to make the visual of a slender, nonthreatening female vibe with the fact that his instincts were screaming at him to run away. She helped, letting her claws descend slowly.

Fear flooded his scent as the fight or flight reaction kicked in. He turned tail and ran.

“Good choice,” she muttered to the empty air. She could have dealt with him. He was only an Llaroxi, and no match for even a normal Krynassis, never mind a female. But… she had places to be.

Sliding her claws back with a snick-snick-snick in time with her footfalls she carried on. Her path took her deeper into the corridors, heading for the T3 cells. A few had been on the sands when this all kicked off, but most would still be down there. Helpless.

Her lips compressed into a hard line. The problem was, they wouldn’t be alone for long. Entirely too many predators lurked down here for her to be comfortable leaving them alone and unprotected.

She turned left at an intersection, plunging into the darkness of one of the smaller corridors. Before she’d taken ten steps, the hairs on the back of her neck rose in warning. Her steps slowed to a stop, her claws punching free as she balanced her weight.

“Come on out if you think you’ve got the stones,” she said, her voice even and calm. “But, just so you know, I’ve had a vaarking shit day, and I’m in a shittier mood. That does not bode well for your long- or even short-term survival prospects.”


A sibilant hiss and familiar dry scent filled the corridor. She closed her eyes with a sigh. Great, just vaarking great. She could have done without these assholes today.

“Well done, you can correctly identify the female of the species,” she said as she turned to face the small group of males.

They were pure-blooded Krynassis, just like her, but one look at their thick-set builds and heavy brows told her they were Snassi. Disposable troops used as cannon fodder, they were bred for strength and endurance, but intelligence was an optional extra.

One that had obviously not been considered in their hatch-group. It looked like they barely had a couple of brain cells between them. Which clutch ship had these been hatched from? Her mother would never have suffered Snassi so stupid to live. Because facing down a full-blooded Krynassis female was a bad idea, especially one like her.

“Feeeeemale…” one of the others whispered, and her eyebrow shot up.

“Yes, we already established that. Now how about you lot fuck the hell off before I get annoyed.” She huffed out a breath. She was already pissed off. “Okay, more annoyed.”

“Feeeemalessssss need males,” the one in the front, obviously the scale-head in charge, said.

“Not thissss female,” she snarled, bringing her fists up.

The fact that these males were even questioning the word of a full-blooded Krynassis female proved they were defective in the brains and shouldn’t have been allowed to live to adulthood. Either that or they’d allowed the more… progressive thinking of other species to corrupt their instincts and had begun to see females as weaker. They thought they could take what they wanted, in this case… her.

Not. Vaarking. Happening.

“Females need males,” the leader repeated, his black eyes flicking over her with obvious lust as his tongue snaked out to flicker over his lips. “For the heat. Female needs us to service her.”

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