The Maker is book 3 in the Lone Wolf sci-fi series. Now at Shakazhan, a planet cloaked by myth and legend, the crews of Anvil, Hammer and Styx settle in to a routine, doing their best to help the Sentience get back up to power. It’s a tedious job, but someone has to do it.
The Maker delves deeper into the mystery of Shakazhan and her people. Join Wil and Matilda as they finally meet the Maker.
Aboard Sentient Ship Hammer, Christmas Eve
Somehow, when you’re trying to save the universe, a single day, like Christmas, seems to come and go without fanfare. Still, there was something different about this Christmastime. It was the first that Matilda and Wil had spent together. The last three they had been in cryosleep, on a journey which had taken them far from whatever home they had known.
Wil was excited about Christmas for the first time in his life. For weeks, he’d been looking for the perfect gift for Matilda. It was the little things like this he treasured the most. Another thing making him rejoice, his brother, Marc, and sister-in-law, Becky, were expecting twin boys, due any day. It was still odd for him to think of Marc as his brother, considering he had gone almost 90 years thinking of him as a cousin and his very closest friend.
Wil had been exploring, conducting extensive recon while protecting exploratory teams. One of the first discoveries his team made was that the planet, though deserted above ground, was teeming with life below. It was home to everything from flying pigs to walking plants. Some races were friendly and benevolent, others were highly aggressive and deadly. Wil described it as a psychotic Noah’s Ark.
Wil was lonely, attempting to enjoy a day off. Used to hard work and a fast paced lifestyle, usually fraught with danger, he didn’t vacation well. With nothing to occupy him, he found himself wandering the corridors of Hammer, letting his thoughts and feet roam. Several days ago, the sentient ship had created a special jungle paradise, providing a quiet, safe environment for Wil to think. He went there now, feeling bored and somewhat sorry for himself, since his wife was busy and he wasn’t.
Matilda, was occupied with another team, conducting stability reviews before exploratory crews ventured in planet. Wil knew nothing of surveying, though he had led expeditions both on and in planet. His job was on hold until these latest surveys were complete. Bored and lonely, he took solace in his wooded labyrinth, feeling safe here, protected by Hammer. For a man whose life had depended upon being hyper-vigilant, he basked in the luxury of feeling entirely secure.
Sighing deeply, he lay down on the soft turf of the garden, preparing to take a nap, one of many he used to pass the time. He stretched his body languidly, crossing his ankles, arms folded behind his head, cap over his face. Just as he relaxed and closed his eyes, he heard a light crunching sound of someone walking on the gravel.
Not wanting to be disturbed, he feigned sleep. The quiet sounds stopped. Thinking the person had left, Wil shifted himself into a more comfortable position. Someone sat beside him and started touching him in places only his wife should. Startled, his eyes flew open. Matilda smiled down at him, her hands continuing their erotic journey over her husband’s body.
Wil smiled. “Hey, Baby, what brings you here?”
Matilda straddled him, undoing his buttons. “Nothing in particular, I got a few spare minutes and decided to spend them with you. Hammer was very helpful in locating you.” She smiled, shifting her weight on his thighs, enjoying the immediate reaction of his body.
Wil frowned, grabbing her hands. “A few minutes? Matilda, I don’t want minutes! I want hours and hours—”
Her kisses stopped further protest. “I’ve set aside at no less than one thousand four hundred and forty-four minutes to spend with my husband. In fact, the entire human crew is off duty. The Kindred don’t celebrate Christmas, so they’ll see to the ship’s ops until tomorrow night.”
A dark fire smoldered in his black eyes, ready to burst into flames. “Let’s go back to our room, then.”
“We have plenty of privacy here. Hammer promises we’re completely alone.”
With carefully controlled movements, Wil kissed Matilda. His hands caressed the familiar curves of her lush body as his sensitive nose savored her scent. They spent the next 120 minutes completely absorbed in one another. Later, as they dressed, a quiet bell chimed.
Raising his head to listen, Wil frowned. “What the hell was that?”
The bell chimed again.
“I don’t know, I’ve never heard it before.”
They dressed hurriedly, the bell still chiming.
“Hammer,” Wil asked. “What’s that bell for?”
“You’re both needed in medical immediately.”
Hammer opened a transport tube directly in front of them. Taking them immediately to medical, it deposited them just inside the door. Marc paced the floor agitatedly. When he saw Wil, his face brightened, clouded over again with worry and ran a gamut of other emotions, finally settling on worry once more.
“Becky’s in labor. She’s asking for Matilda.”
Wil and Matilda exchanged a meaning filled look. She knew Wil would calm his brother down and get him under control. Becky didn’t need Marc with her when he was in panic mode. It would only upset her to have him pacing and pulling his hair.
Patting him on the shoulder, she went to Becky’s cubicle. Tapping quietly on the door, she entered at Becky’s summons.
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