Warriors of Phaeton - Leora Gonzales


“My fellow Americans, negotiations have concluded with the Phaeton Warrior race. After speaking to their council of leaders, we have learned that the Phaeton race has been surviving by using cloning. Unfortunately, the science that they have used has resulted in a low female birthrate. For their species to survive, they have been searching on other planets for potential mates.

“The State Department has decided to initiate a ‘mate match’ for single female volunteers to apply for what we are referring to as the ‘Bridal Pact.’ In exchange for these volunteers, we will be able to use the Phaetons’ medical advancements to save American lives. We will have access to a new fuel source that will all but eliminate our need for oil, both foreign and domestic. And we will also have the protection of their military from other species that may discover Earth.

“This is not a draft. It is completely voluntary. Women who apply will be compensated for filling out an application and signing the contract. We want to assure you that your safety and the safety of your sisters, daughters, and friends will be our number-one concern. We are working on a profiling system with national dating sites and the Phaeton Council to make matches, similar to what many of you have used in the past to find companions. As of right now, this is only open to women who fall within certain criteria but may be expanded after an initial trial period passes.

“Please keep an open mind and know that the safety of our citizens and country is our top priority. Women wishing to volunteer or get more information can contact their local intake centers, which will be listed by state following this news conference or found at bridal-pact-dot-state-department-dot-gov. This is an exciting time for our country and its people.”

Chapter One

Axis tore a chunk of meat from the bone he was gnawing on, popping the morsel into his mouth as he perused the stalls in the center market square. Aliens bustled about, bartering with anyone who stopped for even a moment in front of their goods.

Even though it seemed he was surrounded by chaos, Axis felt at ease. Here he could shake off the mantle of being the Phaeton Council’s interrogator, a heavy responsibility that gained more weight the longer he held the role. He’d needed a break in more cycles than he cared to admit.

The moment he’d docked his shuttle at the landing field, he’d turned off his link. The council knew how much he needed this time away from his duties, but he wasn’t taking any chances. Kaine and the council had called him back once already, and he wasn’t about to cut his vacation any shorter than it already had been.

Even now, the last mission lingered with him. The warrior whom he’d interrogated had been tortured by their enemy, the Verge, while he’d been held as their captive. His friend, or the man who’d once been his friend, was a shell of himself after the abuse the Verge had put him through. Not only had they attacked his body, they’d almost broken his mind.

Somehow, he’d managed to not only escape but fly back to Phaeton One where the med center had patched him up as well as they could. Tamin and Rodin were excellent doctors, but his friend needed more than a doctor. He needed a miracle. The entire situation had left him with a sour feeling in his stomach, reminding him of the last time he’d been called to interrogate someone.

At the memory of his failure to Finch’s bride, the piece of meat that Axis was swallowing momentarily caught in his throat. The food settled heavily as he mentally dissected the details of the day again. A day he’d failed not only Claudia, but also his people with his duties as the council’s master interrogator. Since then he’d had a difficult time trusting his instincts, trusting himself. The reality of what could have happened that day often woke him up, sweating and fighting the nightmare villains whom he’d assisted that day. Claudia and her husband, Finch, had had since become his friends, but their forgiveness of his transgressions make him feel even more humble.

The council had given him a reduced punishment for helping Claudia once he’d realized the situation was not what he’d originally thought. In the end, he’d been moved to lower-class duties for a brief span of time, which hadn’t bothered him since they kept his mind occupied, drowning out the internal struggle