A Matter of Faces
By Angel Martinez
Release Date: October 26, 2013
Word Count: 11,000
Editor: Erika Orrick
Any landing you can crawl away from is a good one.
A data privateer crash-lands on a barely habitable moon where he's rescued by a research scientist who refuses to show his face. Though suspicious and paranoid by necessity, Rhodi finds himself drawn to the soft-spoken man behind the mask.
Professor Covington prefers being isolated with his research. He has good reason to limit human contact, but he can’t abandon anyone to the ravages of a fickle and dangerous environment. He knows Rhodi’s hiding things. It’s none of his business and his mysterious guest will leave once a nasty native virus has run its course. Strange how the thought makes him less happy by the hour.
Genre: Gay Science Fiction Romance
Excerpt - Chapter One
Damn SK9000 pods. Pieces of junk. Sure, they were cheaper than the old 8's, with cushier insides, but the guidance systems sucked. Another degree off on the landing angle and even crawling away wouldn't have been an option.
Rhodi had no idea how long he had pulled himself along, maybe a few minutes, maybe a thousand years. His head threatened to split with the pounding, his injured leg dragged behind him like a sack of magnetic hammers. Research center… there's supposed to be a damn research center here somewhere…
Guidance had told him that much. Direction was another thing entirely and his guess seemed to have been wrong, crawling against the moon's rotation so he moved toward the night. If he had picked the other way, he might have had the light a few minutes longer.
The odd notion of being able to see the moon's curvature in the fading light dogged him. It had to be the head injury.
He'd gotten too cocky. Just that last bit of intel, the one to satisfy his curiosity, to be certain he'd turned over all the slimy rocks, and now he was paying for it. Mansour, you're an idiot.
His hands hit vegetation that sent searing, stinging pain from his fingertips to his shoulders. He jerked them back with a sharp cry. Wonderful. This was where his notorious career as a data swashbuckler ended. Curled up on his side in the swiftly cooling, thin-aired night, he felt consciousness slipping and wondered if the light in the distance was the one everyone said appeared when you died. He always thought that was a container full of crap, but either way, he was about to find out.