So the story is called Drifter, and it's about the crew of the Panacea, who come across a derelict ship, just floating along in space, the middle of relative night. Well, the crew are pretty honest when they can be, but how can you just let all those perfectly good parts go? Of course they find more on the ship than parts..... And new boots.
This scene is towards the end. Tarik is a member of the crew and Raena is on the run from the Empire. You may remember Tarik, and certainly Raena from Loren's trilogy, In the Wake of the Templars. (If you don't, start with the first one, The Dangerous Type. they're awesome and you won't regret it!) Here they are teenagers, having just met. Poor Tarik is younger, and has barely spoken to a girl before.....
“I gotta a buncha brothers and sisters.” Tarik said before he thought it through.
Raena gave him a half smile. “A bunch? Where are they now?”
Tarik looked out the port, habit from left over from home, when he could tell time by the slant of the sun. It was the only thing he missed. Almost. He’d been on the Plague for only a year, but he already knew he never wanted dirt under his boots again. “There…. Were seven of us. All working the Coalition base on APLANET . We were loading the Panacea when the Imps hit the port.” He rubbed his eyes. “My sister gave me her blaster and sealed me into the hold with the supplies. She said one of them would find me.”
He left off the rest.
“I have a sister.” Raena said. “She would have done that for me too.”
“Yeah.” Tarik stuck a smile on his face and put his siblings to the back of his brain. “Even if you wished she didn’t.”
Then they were both silent. Tarik wanted to apologize. Instead he said, “So do you play-----?”
Raena snorted. “Can I win credit off you?”
“Shaa.” Tarik scoffed. “You c’n try. Like I have any credit.”
The game they play here, and then:
“Do you think your sister survived?”
That caught him off guard. Sky and Doc didn’t talk about the past much. Not theirs, not his. Tarik had picked up the trick. Somehow Raena made him want to feel like he’d come from somewhere again. He shrugged. “Well, she didn’t have a blaster.”
There was a pause. Tarik really hoped Raena wouldn’t tell him the odds or worse, call Taryn a traitor to the Empire. Tarik knew that Raena might think it, but saying it would ruin his chance of making her into a friend. “No. I don’t think any of them survived the attack.”
That wasn’t what he told Doc. Not ever. Doc would never forgive herself for not saving all of them. She needed him to be hopeful, but Tarik wasn’t stupid. His family was dead. The Empire didn’t take grunts prisoner, why would they? No. Tarik knew that they were just extra weight.
“I’m sorry,” Raena said.
Again, he shrugged. “We grew up in the cause. We knew the risks. I just never thought I’d be the only one left.”
She smiled at him, and Tarik wondered if she understood. Who had she lost? Her sister? What about her parents? He hoped, if he talked, she might tell him something about herself. But she revealed nothing at all. So he smiled back. “I guess I just think now that I’m living on borrowed time. I should dead, like they are.”
“Then I’d be dead too.”
His smile widened. “Hope you don’t hold that against me too much.”