The Planet Thieves

Free The Planet Thieves by Dan Krokos

Book: The Planet Thieves by Dan Krokos Read Free Book Online
Authors: Dan Krokos
underneath. Just a tooth. Not even that sharp.
    It could be a trick! his training screamed. Don’t let your guard down. But with each passing second, Mason believed more and more that the biology of this alien wasn’t so different. If it had bones and skin and blood, it could be killed.
    â€œStill alive,” Mason said, slightly relieved. Killing the Tremist was one thing when he imagined them as monsters beneath their suits, but to find they had eyes and ears and noses … they looked too human.
    â€œAre you seeing what I’m seeing?” Tom asked.
    Mason knew exactly what Tom was talking about, had noticed the same thing right from the start, but wanted to ignore it. The idea made his stomach churn.
    It was the violet hair and eyes, the semitranslucent skin.
    â€œMerrin,” Mason said shakily.
    â€œIt can’t be possible,” Tom said. “The Solace family is well known. Her mother is an ESC commander and her father is in charge of the Disease Control Agency on Earth and Mars. He stopped the plague on Mars and saved millions of lives.”
    â€œI’m not saying I believe it. It could be a coincidence.” Mason could hear the hollowness of his words. He had a funny taste in the back of his throat, and the urge to seek cover.
    Tom pointed at the Tremist’s face. “But look.”
    The pale skin was like Merrin’s too, laced with purplish veins. Mason had wondered about her skin for years, but Merrin never offered an explanation. Many cadets were extremely pale from the lack of sun. And he’d always assumed she dyed her hair—many people did back on Earth, and the ESC allowed it, believing individuality was an asset to a soldier.
    What would it mean, if Merrin really was a Tremist? Would it matter?
    No. You know her, Mason thought.
    Tom kicked at the deck, making it ring softly. Mason didn’t yell at him for making noise because he was too busy thinking of alternatives. “Could be a Tremist trick. I’ve heard they’re shapeshifters.”
    â€œAnd I’ve heard they do magic,” Tom mumbled. “You can’t trust rumors.”
    Mason said nothing. The king had recognized Merrin, that had been plain. But perhaps he didn’t recognize her, but rather what she was . The color of her hair and eyes was too much of a coincidence. It’s not like she had dyed her hair and changed her eye pigmentation to mimic a Tremist—there wasn’t an ESC member who knew what they looked like.
    â€œI don’t know if we should be doing this,” Tom said, like he was talking to himself. “I think the most logical course would be to find an escape shuttle and cross to Olympus. We could try to get the fleet to cross back here.”
    â€œWhat happened to going back to the cadets?”
    Tom sneered. “Be smart. What chance would a lone Hawk have against our might? As long as Elizabeth keeps them out of her core, the Egypt is staying in one place. I can even get the coordinates before we go.”
    He was right: they should try to escape. But Mason wasn’t leaving. Not because he didn’t want to, but because once they left it was possible the Egypt and her crew would never be heard from again.
    Mason stood up straight. “That’s not an option for me. By the time we tell someone and a rescue mission is approved, it’ll be too late. The fleet will still have to assemble. You know that. There might not even be any ships at Olympus. We can’t risk losing the Egypt in the meantime. You can go, but I’m staying.”
    â€œI’m not a coward,” Tom said. “And there are always ships at Olympus. Always at least two.”
    Mason just nodded. The ESC could be overcareful. If there weren’t enough ships they might decide not to send any at all.
    â€œWhat do we do with this one?” Tom asked, pointing at the Tremist with his foot.
    Mason studied the Tremist’s armored suit, taking in

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