Angel Station by Walter Jon Williams
Approx. 140,150 words.
Published on December 11, 2011.
They’re outlaws now. Created to serve a function now obsolete, Ubu and Maria have lived their entire lives skating along the edge of extinction. Now they and their ship Runaway are in flight from the law.
What they find in the depths of space is a secret so startling that Ubu and Maria will need every last reserve of guile, cunning, and intelligence just to survive . . .