I was a princess of Earth – okay, I know that’s not strictly true. I was the daughter of a Good Man of Earth. But since the Good Men were fifty or so people who controlled between them all the immense wealth of an entire world, you must admit that my position wasn’t very different from a princess.

I was raised pampered and protected. Only that wasn’t strictly true. Father wouldn’t let me injure myself, or allow anyone to injure me, but he didn’t seem to care the slightest bit what I thought or how my mind worked. I figured that was because women weren’t of much use in our class, really. You see, I couldn’t inherit, so father would have to marry me off to someone who could. It was my husband’s mind that mattered, not mine. This didn’t make me feel much better, but it also didn’t at all seem strange to me.

Until someone attacked me aboard my father’s space cruiser. I had to escape in a pod and then…

And then I met an alien. Well, at least I thought he was an alien. He looked perfectly human except for eyes that looked like a cat’s, and hair that mingled red, blond and black.

Turned out he was of Earth stock, but his ancestors had left Earth three hundred years ago to avoid being killed. They’d colonized an asteroid with a variable orbit. My husband – well, he became my husband, eventually – was one of a group of people bio-engineered to be able to pilot ships in perfect darkness. This was necessary because every six months, he brought his ship, the Cathouse, to Earth Orbit, where he collected powerpods from Earth’s biological solar collectors: the powertrees.

In fact, Kit was one of a breed people on Earth called Darkship Thieves, which we thought as real as fairies, dragons or gnomes.

Only, of course, Darkship Thieves really existed, and after my marriage, I guess I became one of them. I took up the post of Navigator to Kit’s piloting of the darkship. This meant that for six months or so out of the year it was just the two of us, in the ship, with nothing but space around. It might have been boring. It might have been deadly boring, if I weren’t married to Kit. But since I was married to him, there was never a shortage of good conversation, and other things too. If all else failed, he could play the violin – and under his hands, the music came alive and stirred my emotions like nothing ever had.

I thought I’d found paradise.

But there is always a serpent, isn’t there. After some adventures on Earth, we came back to Eden to find that we were not welcome. We got ambushed, and Kit was shot in the head.

He survived, mind you, but sometimes I wonder if that was for the best.

No, I don’t regret the adventures and perils I had to go through to save him and get him back as he was. But is he exactly as he was? And what will the difference mean to us?

You can read more about Athena Hera Sinistra in DARKSHIP RENEGADES, the second book in the “Darkship” science fiction series. The first book is Darkship Thieves.

Meet the author
Sarah Hoyt lives in Colorado with her husband two sons and a clowder of cats. Besides Darkship series, she writes fantasy, science fiction and historical mystery (the later under Sarah D’Almeida.) and the Daring Finds series under her pen name, Elise Hyatt. She blogs at http://accordingtohoyt.com.

Books are available at retail and online booksellers.

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