“The smart tactical move would be to run while we can,” Jasmine said.

Jack nodded. It would be the smart move. Avengers were hypercapable and his cargo wasn’t important enough to die for. But he still had one question, and he aimed a hard look at the freighter that had fired on them. “Not without knowing what’s in those cargo pods.”

“Yeah…I know,” Betty said and let out a long sigh.

“Betty?” Jack asked as he saw her deflate.

“They’re hauling people, Jack,” she reported.

“Frak,” Jack swore and lowered his head. “Let me guess. This isn’t an official prison transport?”

“Not considering the people I’m seeing.”

“Who you got in there?”

Betty shrugged. “Major media personalities from all over the sector. I’m seeing movie stars, musicians, politicians, and more. They’re from too many systems to have all been arrested.”

“So…not official.”

“No. But, Jack…these are really famous people. You’ve met some of them.”



Jack frowned and rubbed his jaw for several seconds as he looked back to the two approaching ships. “If they were missing, we would have heard it on the news, right?”

“There’s no way this many missing celebrities wouldn’t be major news.”

“So this ship and these people shouldn’t be here,” Jack said and sighed.

“No, Jack. They shouldn’t.” Betty aimed a sad look at him. “I’m sorry, but we don’t know enough to make sense of this.”

“And you know how much I hate a mystery,” Jack muttered.

“So we aren’t going to make the smart tactical move, are we?” Jasmine asked in a resigned tone.


“Got it,” Jasmine said and made a show of a pre-combat stretch. “So how are we going to handle this? Shoot first, or talk first?”


The Gemini Affair is a short story written for An Atlas to Time, Space, and Bonfires. There’s a kickstarter for it right now in case you’re interested in seeing a couple dozen stories by different authors. And this one, of course.

An Atlas to Time, Space, and Bonfires Kickstarter