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This is a work of fiction. All characters or incidents are a figment of the author's imagination and any resemblance to any incident or any person living or dead is purely coincidental.

Chapter 1


Pete Collins was trying to get his wife, Linda away from their son, daughters and grandkids. They were the last to load into Auntie, the ancient Alcantaran spaceship Galactic Antiquarian, which Ron Calvin, Gus Ghaolh and Tik Michi had used to escape from the Bugs.

Linda finally finished her good-byes and they both waved as they stepped out of the spaceport terminal to hurry out to Auntie. Pete could tell that she was crying as they walked and he watched as she dug in her purse for a tissue. He said, "We aren't leaving forever and besides, with eh new 3-D hook-up, it'll seem like they're in the room with us when you talk to them."

"I know, but it's still not the same as being here and being able to give them a hug."

Pete gave up because he knew he couldn't say anything to win this argument. He looked around as he walked, but didn't see any more of the Alcantaran spaceships. The trio's families and friends must have flown them back to the Key or out to work on the salvage again. Pete tried to hurry Linda a little as they walked up the ramp into Auntie.

Seeing Ron standing in the airlock, Pete thought about the last few months here on Earth. Ron had been a neighbor here on Earth before his capture by the Bugs. His partner, Gus, had been kidnapped from Prokne in the Coddington's Nebula while the other partner Tik had been whisked off Vesta IV in the Melponmene galaxy. The three had been brutally enslaved on a Bug mother ship.

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