Get Free Copy

100 free copies left

This novel is limited to 100 free copies due to its part in Inkitt’s Novel Contest.

Free copy left
You can read our best books
Jest_Tal would love your feedback! Got a few minutes to write a review?
Write a Review


By Jest_Tal

Other / Scifi

Chapter 1

It was funny. No matter how close you got to the stars, they were still distant. You could bare yourself down to the bone and they'd never be really reached.

At least until they swallowed you whole in heat and pain.

Jubal Early sighed and settled himself back. The stars blinked and ever so slowly rotated in front of him as he drummed his fingers impatiently at his thigh.

It did give a man pause to think though.

And it seemed there was only one thing that his thoughts seemed to be wanting to return to.

"You're not well," she'd said.

Now, honestly. He was a grown man. Too old to be scared by a thin high voice and a knowing tone. He'd seen. . . well, he'd seen a lot of things.

She wasn't the first to say he wasn't well. Perhaps in so many words, yes, but not the first to really mean it. But she was the first to seem to be so confident about it.

That bothered him.

Because he was just fine. He was a reasonable man. Reasonable! He'd had that whole ship in his hands as well as the life of every single solitary crew member.

With the exception of one. The one he needed to have in his hands. . .

But he'd not hurt any of them. He'd listened in, gotten their measure. They seemed to be having second thoughts about the girl they'd brought along anyway. Hell, they'd probably welcome her leaving. All except the brother and it seemed like the boy needed to start thinking less of his sister and more of that little engineer girl.

Wasn't healthy a boy fixating on his sister so much, truly.

So he'd locked them away. Except for a few punches, he'd not touched a soul. Well, he'd touched that little engineer girl's soul. Scared her deeply and purely. However, it was still just a scare. He'd had her in the palm of his hands and hadn't even knocked her out to tie her up.

Just felt her trembling and moved on.

There was so much that he could have done, if he were truly the bad man that Ser...River had been saying. He could have rigged the ship to explode. He could have blown that boy's brains out and then dragged Kaylee up to the bridge and threatened to do the same to her. So many things. . .

And, yes, he took the job for certain reasons. Everyone took their jobs for certain reasons. But being a Bounty Hunter, while not generally a respectable job, wasn't all darkness.

He only took the bounties that were high enough to be worth his while. He was good. He didn't need to be a bread and butter assassin. Those high bounties were the Alliance offered Bounties, of course. No one else could offer higher.

And that meant they were legal. These people were criminals and needed to be brought in. Just like that little arsonist.

Of course, he was honest enough with himself to say that if a bounty was put on a respectable citizen at a high enough price..

He'd have to consider taking it. He had expenses to meet after all.

He'd been all willing to leave that ship, crew mostly untouched and vessel undamaged. And then that Captain had to go and slug him, all more than willing to leave him spinning out in space until he died, alone.

That didn't seem fair.

And, the neighbor's dog? It had never liked him. It had always sniffed at him like he was something. . . something too strange to be real. And the other children had laughed, calling him a bastard just because his daddy wasn't around. Momma said he'd of come home if he could, but. . . He hadn't.

So he had hurt the dog. But it wasn't like he'd done what he had really wanted - kill those fucking little kids with their jeering voices and painful fists and sharp kicks and cruel tricks and. . .

Just the dog. And he'd cleaned it up, too.

There was no rumble, nothing that could be felt. However the lights above him brightened. Jubal looked up to see the Firefly bringing its engines up and moving to pull off. He watched it intently, eyes never wavering from its hull as it disappeared from view.

It took a while for that to happen.

His eyes then narrowed and he looked up to his own ship, left to drift. At least they hadn't taken it in for salvage. He supposed that was one good thing.

He was not a bad man. And even if he was 'not well' he was certainly doing the best he could. Being a Bounty Hunter gave him a life.

Because some of them. . . some of them fought back. And it was then that he could smile and, yes. Feel the power. Feel that control. It was a rush and he could have it. Even if they didn't fight back, even if he didn't get to kill them for crossing the line of interfering, he was in control.

He'd always had that.

Until now.

He continued to spin, ever so gently.

Jubal Early shook his head. He reached for the belt of his suit and the transmitter there. A single press and the customized suit sent out a signal to his ship to bring it to him and open the airlock door. It had been a good investment, so it seemed, and a very necessarily addition for a man who would intended to be walking around in space without a tether.

Plus he'd liked the red.

Not bad. He wasn't.

But little River thought that he was. And . . . she'd sounded so very certain.

He waited patiently for his ship to arrive and found himself laughing a single breath. Inhaled, and then exhaled into the silence that followed his thoughts.

So certain.

He supposed it would be wrong to disappoint her, then.

Write a Review Did you enjoy my story? Please let me know what you think by leaving a review! Thanks, Jest_Tal
Continue Reading
Further Recommendations

Hawkebat: Playing both Kotor I & II and Swtor I found the story line interesting and it held me until chapter 35 Very good story and plot flow until then, very few technical errors. I felt that the main character was a bit under and over powered, as it fought for balance. The last few chapters felt too f...

gunter1987: I just want to say here that this is my first review, but I really wanted to review this story. I apologize if I don't write English to well, I am French.Reading through the many science fiction stories posted here and other places in the world, I started to see a few linking themes: heavy-hande...

Ravenhawk: Kim I was sure I wrote this before. But since both my computer and my internet connection has been futzing around so much, I'm surprised that I'm able to write this even now. basically you know I adore this story, I've told you as much before. I cannot fault it in any way at all, except that I wa...

Lacey Schmidt: The Trouble with Super is that you can't stop reading it. Mr. Barrett's characters are all to easy to relate to even if you don't have a super quirk of your own, and their plight is both heart-rendingly funny and heart-warmingly sad at the same time. It's a bit like Office Space meets the Matri...

Leah Brown: This was an amazing read! I was hooked from the very first chapter, holding my breadth to see what would happen next. The characters are rich and vibrant, and the world Danielle has created is fascinating. If you love YA, you MUST read this book. Such a smart, brilliant debut novel. I loved it!

Angel S. Adames Corraliza: Sensational! As a fan of superheroes, I have to say, you have a real winner of a story so far. I like that you made Allison a Wonder Woman expy, but kept her likable and relate-able in this first chapter. You showed us the Mother while also glancing at the Superhero, which I think is important to...

Steve Lang: I thought this story was imaginative, and well thought out. I also think it was an original piece, and not a rehash of previous scifi stories I've read in the past.Thank you for the effort put into this tale, and I look forward to reading more of your work!

hypaalicious: This story follows two main characters, Zoey and Derek, on a winding adventure that sucks you in from the beginning. It was easy to get into and get a feel for the world that the author is projecting, as well as all of the warring factions and difference of ideals that would otherwise be very co...

mrh: This interesting take on the Harry Potter series fascinated me from line one on. I am in love with this tale and its characters and cannot wait to read the next chapter. I look forward to more soon.When can I expect the next chapter? I am so excited to read it!

More Recommendations

cassandrab: Delightful SciFi (for a change)! I am not a SciFi fan: mostly the genre is far too dystopic for me. This book (written by a high-school friend) is, on the other hand, generally upbeat. Yes, Earth's future is threatened. But Earth has a chance to plan a response. And (spoiler alert) ultimately win...

Mark-Mikkel: Got directed here by the author herself. Started reading it, schoolday turned into a day of reading. I really like the apocaliptic world she has created. There are some oddities in the writing tho, but I guess they are because she did have to do it for NaNo (which she wrecked, good job!). In the ...

marycombs14: This is a very interesting book - mostly because the heroine is quite charming and well rounded, and has very real issues to manage in her life. Most of all,. I loved the view inside of the life of a South Asian girl/woman, the emotional self-talk, the customs and preferences, the expectations a...

Raymond Keith Moon: Great story arc. Nice command of the balance of overview and detail. Feels a bit like a multi-player computer game, but provides satisfying explanations for all the apparent magic. Please keep writing!

Nymeria: Really can't get enough of this story. It flows well, it captivates the reader from page 1, and throws you into such a well-written, well conceptualized world that you'll believe it's real. Everything in the book is meshed together really well. From character backgrounds to plot twists, you can t...

This story wasn't for you ?
Look at our most viral stories!

FreakyPoet: "you made me laugh, made me cry, both are hard to do. I spent most of the night reading your story, captivated. This is why you get full stars from me. Thanks for the great story!"

The Cyneweard

Sara Joy Bailey: "Full of depth and life. The plot was thrilling. The author's style flows naturally and the reader can easily slip into the pages of the story. Very well done."

This story wasn't for you ?
Look at our most viral story!

Ro-Ange Olson: "Loved it and couldn't put it down. I really hope there is a sequel. Well written and the plot really moves forward."