Dovis, страница 1
The Vorge Crew – Book Two
By Laurann Dohner
Dovis by Laurann Dohner
Sold into slavery as a child, Mari was raised on a vessel repair station, growing up to become a highly prized engineer. So she’s surprised when her owner not only grants her freedom, but finds her a paying job aboard The Vorge. Mari’s determined to impress her new captain and crewmates. It’s the only way she’ll remain free, safe from the hands of other slavers. But there seems no impressing Dovis, the ship’s head of security. He’s huge, hairy, scary, and seems to hate humans.
Dovis finds humans weak and annoying at the best of times. They don’t need another one aboard The Vorge. Especially a female who works hard enough to make everyone else look lazy. He wants Mari gone—until he meets her. The tiny human is sweet, shy, timid…beautiful. Now Dovis really wants her gone. He isn’t happy about his attraction to a human. Especially when he can’t be certain Mari’s desire for him is from the heart…or an accident of his own making.
The Vorge Crew Series List
Dovis by Laurann Dohner
Copyright © August 2018
Editor: Kelli Collins
Cover Art: Dar Albert
eBook ISBN: 978-1-944526-94-8
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. The unauthorized reproduction or distribution of this copyrighted work is illegal, except for the case of brief quotations in reviews and articles.
Criminal copyright infringement is investigated by the FBI and is punishable by up to 5 years in federal prison and a fine of $250,000.
All characters and events in this book are fictitious. Any resemblance to actual persons living or dead is coincidental.
Dovis – The Vorge Crew – Book Two
By Laurann Dohner
It was tough being an alien. The fact that Mari was human made it ten times rougher. No one from Earth had made a good impression after they’d taken to space. Many had become thieves or slave traders. She didn’t blame most races for their mistrust. Her own family had sold her at the age of ten for money.
What kind of people do that?
Not good ones.
Mari had been one of the luckier kids sold as far as slavery went. She’d been bought by a Teki family that ran a ship repair station. They’d taught her to fix darn near anything that could fly in space. Her small size and quick ability to learn had been assets, earning her respect.
That meant safety from harm, since she was valued. The Teki race viewed humans as disgusting to look upon because they only had two arms and no tentacles. Some of their customers didn’t agree, and they frequently tried to touch her. They were painfully discouraged by her owners. The Teki protected Mari with lethal force when necessary.
Freedom wasn’t a word she’d dared even whisper. That got slaves killed or punished faster than refusing to do what they were told. And Mari always did as she was told.
That’s why dread filled her when K’pa called her into his office after her shift ended. He was the current head of household and ran the station for his family. It never boded well when the alien who held her life in his tentacles wanted a face-to-face meeting.
All six of his eyes stared at her while his two mouths had curved upward in what passed for smiles. “You’re done here.”
Panic and fear set in right away. She scrambled to think of how she’d messed up. The retrofit of the engine she’d just finished had gone perfectly. She’d even been a day ahead of schedule.
“Please don’t push me out an airlock! I’m sorry for whatever I’ve done. I’ll try harder.” She was ready to drop to her knees to plead for her life.
He snorted, which passed as laugher for a Teki. “You’ve made us a lot of money, Mari. I’m finally old enough for a mate and to have children of my own.” He leaned forward, four of his tentacles resting on his desk. “P’ski is taking over.”
A shudder ran down her spine. He was K’pa’s younger brother. Any little mistake caused him to lose his temper. He also thought the workers were treated too nicely and had bragged about making lots of changes when his day to run the repair station came. Some of those changes included longer hours and less meals provided each day. He’d also complained the workers were dressed too nicely for slaves. He’d threatened to make them walk around naked to save credits.
K’pa leaned back in his chair. “You are free, Mari. My gift to you for excellent service and the fortune you helped me make over the years. I’ve saved well for my family-time retirement. No one is a better mechanic than you.” He snorted again. “Plus, it’s a matter of honor. With you off the station, repairs will likely fall behind.” His double set of lips curved upward again. “P’ski thinks he can do better than I have at running our business. I won’t allow that.”
Shock held her mute as she stood there, trying to process everything he’d said.
“There is a ship currently in for repairs that has another human onboard. Captain Cathian Vellar is an ambassador for the Tryleskian planet. They abhor slavery and treat other races with respect. I wanted to find you a good home.” He used a tentacle to open a drawer and pull out a data card, shoving it her way.
She accepted it and glanced down fast. Her image had been duplicated on the card, some sort of identification.
“I negotiated good wages and living conditions for you upon his ship. He promised to protect you against harm in all ways. I know you sometimes fear others, since we’ve had issues over the years with customers when they’d spotted you. You’re pathetically defenseless, with your lack of claws and your puny size. The captain expects you when you leave my office. Go right to his ship on port three. You are to report directly to him. That card is your pass to freedom.”
“Thank you.” It was terrifying to leave the familiar for something new, but P’ski scared her more. Working for him would become a nightmare.
“You’ve never given me any trouble, Mari. Never tried to escape. You were the best slave I ever purchased.”
She’d had nowhere to go, and had been smart enough to stay where she’d been protected. Even repair workers heard the whispered rumors of how bad it could be off the station for anyone traveling alone. Slavers might capture them, and they could end up in far worse circumstances. The Teki fed their workers three times a day, gave them access to medical care if they were injured, and issued new clothing every year. They might be locked into their sleeping quarters after a shift, but they had clean, solitary rooms, which kept them safe. No one could molest them, or steal them away.
“Thank you.” She bowed her head, clutching the card in her hand.
“I wouldn’t have sold you if you’d been my spawn,” K’pa said. “For a human, you are smart. Your parents were not. I made certain Captain Vellar is aware of your value despite how you look. I vouched for what a hard and dedicated worker you are. He is intelligent and will treat you good. Make me proud again.”
The door behind her opened and she spun, heart pounding. It was K’pa’s assistant. The alien held a large tool case. “I packed her personal belongings inside, master.”
“Escort her to port three, Ri. If anyone asks, she’s fixing something. My brother is paranoid I’ll pull a stunt of this magnitude—and he’s correct.” He snorted. “Make certain she gets there without delay. You’ll be punished if she doesn’t leave on that ship.”
“Yes, master.” The assistant, a blue-skinned fish-looking alien with three legs, fixed his watery eyes o
She turned to K’pa again. “I can’t thank you enough. Good luck finding a fertile mate, and I hope you have many healthy spawn. I’ll never forget you.”
She spun before he could change his mind and hurried out the door after the assistant. The tool case must have contained her clothing. She kept close to the blue alien as they left the offices and mingled with the station visitors there for repairs. Many aliens stopped talking as they passed, and she could feel their stares. Mari kept her chin down and her gaze locked on the assistant’s back.
They made it to port three without being stopped. Ri led her to one of the docking sleeves and turned, holding out the case.
“This is The Vorge. Swipe the card. You’ve already been hired. It allows you access.”
“Thank you.” She took the case from him, gripping it with her free hand.
Ri blocked her way to the scanner, and she looked up.
“May I give you words of advice?”
“I would appreciate that.”
“Work hard, don’t be talkative, and stay out of the way. The best workers are ones who aren’t seen but do their jobs efficiently. I’ve been an assistant for thirty-two years and am considered the best.”
“I’ll remember.” She felt that was good advice.
He stepped out of the way. “Enter.”
She scanned the card. The ship doors opened and she rushed inside. They sealed at her back and she stared around, looking for any crew since she didn’t know the layout. She hadn’t even been able to glimpse what kind of ship it was from the docking sleeve. Port three was for large vessels, though. “Hello? Computer?”
“Activated, Mechanic Mari. What may I help you with?”
The computer already knew her. She smiled. “Please inform Captain Vellar I’m aboard, and I’ll wait here until he’s ready to see me.”
A moment later, lights along the floor activated. “Please follow. I’ve been instructed to show you to your cabin. The captain is busy at the moment.”
“Thank you.” She was impressed with the lighting system as she wound her way through a few corridors to a lift. She stepped inside when the doors opened and it took her two levels down. There were six in all—and it was her responsibility to keep everything, on every level, in working order. It seemed a bit of a staggering task without a team. Did she have a team? She wasn’t sure.
“One step at a time,” she whispered.
The doors parted—and she startled when a trio of short, round aliens stood in front of the lift. She’d never seen their kind before but forced a smile. “Hello. I’m the new mechanic. My name is Mari.”
“Address us as Pods. It’s what we are. To speak to one is to speak to us all. We also should inform you that we read minds. Some aliens find that disturbing. Currently, you are slightly afraid, confused, and worried. There’s no reason to be. Captain Vellar is a wonderful boss. We’re here to show you to your cabin and answer your questions. The captain and his mate are having sex.”
“Again,” another one of the Pods muttered.
The third one giggled. “A happy captain means less for us to do.”
The first Pod snorted. “That is not correct, or we’d be watching entertainment instead of settling the new mechanic into her cabin.”
She bit her lip, prepared to tell them that the computer could do that and they shouldn’t bother with her.
“You’re crew,” the first one stated. “The computer is not. Captain Vellar appreciates a personal touch.”
She was immediately reminded the aliens could read minds. That was going to be tough to live with. What if they picked up thoughts she didn’t want to share? It was important that the crew like her.
“We won’t tell others what you are thinking. That would be considered rude, and we enjoy peace.”
“Peace?” She tried to figure out what they meant.
“To anger other crew means we are left without peace. Their thoughts bombard us with their fury,” one of them stated. “Any mind that focuses on us send us their thoughts, whether we are scanning for them or not.”
“If you are ever in distress, think deeply of us,” another one added. “We’ll hear you.”
The third one bobbed a little. “We don’t like to cause anger in our crewmates. Nara still calls Dovis “Wolfman” and “werewolf” in her head. He’d be angry if he knew. We never tell him.”
“You just blabbed,” the second one accused. “Let One speak. He’s best at it.”
Mari glanced at them. “You’re numbered?”
The one on the far right answered. “I’m One. I’m the voice most of the time because Two has a big mouth and he tends to be grumpy. Three thinks everything is funny and tells bad jokes.”
She smiled, liking that they might look similar, but they seemed to have very different personalities.
“She’s smart,” the middle one grunted. “I like you too, Mari. You’re okay for a recently freed slave. We worried that you’d be beaten down and emotionally broken.”
“I like that she didn’t compare us to Humpty Dumpty,” the last one chuckled.
She was confused. “Who or what is that?”
One backed up. “I’m not reading that you are comparing us to childhood memories of storybooks in your mind. You’re different from Nara. She’s the other human from Earth aboard The Vorge, and she is the captain’s mate. Come with us, Mari. You should like your cabin. They are far nicer than the ones you had.”
“You can see where I lived in my mind?” She was impressed if they could.
“We just read thoughts. We can’t see images. You are hoping for a bigger bed and thinking how uncomfortable the narrow cot was in your old quarters. You also had to share a bathroom with two crew teams.” One spun away. “Follow us. You have private cabin here. No bathroom sharing required.”
They were cute, what with their white rounded bodies, but she worried they’d fall over with those short, tiny legs. They only reached to her waist.
Three chuckled. “She thinks we’re cute!”
“No need to apologize,” One sounded amused. “You’ll adjust to us, and we like you already.”
They led her to a door that auto-opened. Her new quarters were nice. She knew her mouth gaped open a little at the generous size. It held furniture to create a living area, with an open bedroom behind. There were doors she could slide together to separate the space. In the very back, there was a storage closet and a private bathroom.
“She likes it,” One announced. “It’s at least fifteen times the size of her old sleeping room. Do you know how to use the food replicator?”
She walked into the living space and found the device inserted in the wall. “Yes. I’ve worked on a lot of these updated models.”
“She’s never eaten from one though,” Two stated. “She’s wondering if the food quality is better. It is, Mari.”
She smiled at them. “Thank you. I have some questions.”
“You do not have a team of repair workers. It’s just you. Of course, the captain expects you to ask for help if needed. Dovis is the one to contact. He’s security, but he has also doubled as our mechanic.” One inched closer.
“He’s not good at it,” Two snorted. “And he gets angry.”
“Very.” Three laughed. “We’ve learned many bad words from him.”
One sighed. “She wants to explore her cabin and learn the ship. The computer will give you schematics of the vessel and a list of repairs that need to be done. I believe all the parts have been ordered. Most are minor repairs that Dovis refused to do. You can start tomorrow at six.”
“Thank you.” Mari already felt excited to start.
The trio left her alone and the doors sealed. She stared in wonder at her nice living quarters, grinning. She was free—and now she had a new crew, which she hoped she’d like. “Computer, can you show me a detailed design of the ship?”
The wall lit up and she walked clos
* * * * *
Dovis snarled, punching the bag. The computer had just notified him that the new crew member had boarded. He probably should meet with the human, but he had no desire to do so. Cathian had completely disregarded his wishes.
He wondered if this Mari would be as annoying as Nara. She always made jokes about fetching a ball around him. He understood that on Earth they had dogs. He’d even done his research, finding a hologram of what one looked like, and understood the comparison. It was still an insult.
He pounded the bag harder with his fists.
York entered the training room and gave him a nod. “Did you hear? The new mechanic has arrived.”
“I was informed.”
“Think she’d wanna do a Parri?”
He gazed at his friend. “Nara says you look like the love child of a blue vampire and the industrial Hulk. What do you think? Did you research them?”
York growled, revealing his teeth, including the two extended fangs. “Incredible. Not industrial. It is a large creature. I’ll assume she compared me to a blue vampire because of my coloring and tearing fangs.”
“That’s Nara. She thinks she’s funny.”
His friend approached. “Cathian mated her. It means humans are sexually compatible. I can’t disregard that. You saw the brothel workers on the last four stations we’ve visited. I want to get laid.”
“What about Marrow? You were having sex with her.”
York sighed, shoulders sagging. “She is set on finding a mate, now that the captain’s got one. I’m not the one for her. She is envious of how happy those two are. She discovered Nara hadn’t had sex in over a year, and thinks that’s what might have landed her Cathian. It convinced her to go celibate.”
“Cathian was in heat and the crew threw Nara into his cabin. I doubt he cared how long it had been since another male had touched her, and she had no choice.”