Excerpt from Incursion: Unbound Book 1
“But…” He didn’t know how to get through to her. “You’re friends with an iridelli—you risked everything to bring him with us—you’ve hid him and helped him…”
“Leave Drien out of this. Just because I’m friends with one iridelli doesn’t mean I have to risk my neck for every iridelli in the sector.”
He stared at her. “But—don’t you… don’t you care?”
She glared back, then took a deep breath. “Do I need to remind you how we all met?”
“I remember Anzanar as well as you do.”
“Right. Anzanar IV Penal Facility. An Imperial prison. Pris-on. And do you know why I was in that prison?”
They did not discuss it, as a rule, any of them. Fazl, Merika, Thorn, and Drien—the four who’d done the impossible, escaped an inescapable Imperial prison. The Only Living Anzanar Escapees’ Mutual Aid Society, she’d called them once.
From the corner of his eye, he could see the new iridelli, silently absorbing every word, eyes moving back and forth between them. Drien just hunched himself even smaller.
“Smuggling iridelli, Abu. Smuggling iridelli in the Barrens. They sent me to that hellhole for smuggling that one little thing the Empire does care about, even out here. Drien’s group, if Thorn’s right about that.” From her place by the door, the dark woman nodded.
His jaw dropped. “I never knew that.”
“I didn’t know it either. I never saw my ‘cargo.’ I was just a stupid girl, all star-struck to be out in the great big, wide Empire, excited about the first time anybody actually paid me to fly something.” She shook her head. “Great gaping gods, I was dumb.”
He started to speak, but she waved a hand irritably. Irritation was good, he thought. Much better than shaking anger.
“Not the point. The point is that they do care, even out here. I hate them at least as much as you, and for mostly the same reasons as you. But I won’t risk going back there—or anywhere like it—ever again, Abu. Not for you, not for Drien, not for anything. I just want to be left alone, be ordinary, and get by. All right?”