Here’s the first page from my short, Independence Day, which is in the first volume of the Coming Together: At Last anthology. Two anthologies of stories and poetry will be released by Phaze in ebook and print, and proceeds benefit Amnesty International.
“I told you he wouldn’t come for you.”
Ananda Perez-Smythe refrained from wincing at the pain Jack Nelson’s words caused. Barely. “Kee’s been busy. You know, that whole thing about forging a new republic for his homeworld.”
Nelson’s sandy good looks sneered at her through the holovid. “We do them a solid, help them kick Imperial Earth’s ass, and what thanks do we get? Booted off-planet, without even a word of acknowledgement from their fearless leader.”
It had taken two years for the Taurins to win their independence from the Imperial Earth Alliance, but win they did. After signing the treaty that ordered most non-Taurins off the planet, they’d released the political prisoners, including Taurin Kee, the father of the rebellion. Ananda knew the moment he’d been granted his freedom—it was the exact moment that he’d stopped “sending” to her mind.
“Is that what you did it for, Nels?” she wondered. “So you could be lauded as a hero and have statues erected in your honor? I did it because it was the right thing to do.”
“Tell that lie to everyone else all you want,” he retorted. “We both know you did it because you wanted Kee.”
“I will always consider Taurin Kee a friend, a compatriot,” she said evenly, gripping the holovid display in an effort to keep from shouting. “But make no mistake, Nels—even if Kee hadn’t been there, I would have still fought for the Taurins.”
“I lived on the plains with Kee’s tribe for three years. I lived and learned and laughed with the Taurins. It may be stretching it to say they became my family, but they did become my friends. Imperial Earth made a mistake in assuming that because the Taurins preferred to live simply that they were primitive. Don’t make the same mistake by assuming things about me.”
Nels blew out a breath. “I’m sorry, Ananda. I just want you to come back with me. This place isn’t for you.”
Somehow she dragged up a laugh. “If this place isn’t, then which one is? You know I’d be arrested the moment I stepped onto an Imperial ship. As far as Earth is concerned, I’m a traitor. I certainly wouldn’t make it to the Inner Nine or a court martial—they’d immediately execute me by blowing me out the closest airlock.”
“Then forget Earth. Come with me to the Outer Planets. These Taurins obviously don’t care how much you’ve sacrificed for them, they haven’t once tried to repay you or give you a place here, so I say so long and good riddance!”
Ananda stared at the holovid, grateful that she’d never fallen for the pretty surface that hid such an ugly interior. “I think I’ve heard all that I need to hear from you, Nels. I wish you safe journeys.”