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A Proof of Possibility
(A Clumsy Handful of Stars #1)

F/F, Science Fiction
[20 Pages / 3,800 Words]

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Aida de Luca knows better than to defy protocol. As comm specialist, she has no official role in a survey mission on an abandoned planet. Her job is to stay out of trouble, ready in case the science team requires her linguistic expertise.

Venturing alone into a mysterious cave is the most reckless thing she's ever done. But something is calling to her, and it doesn't feel like a threat. Even fear of disappointing Jamila Warwick—Aida's captain and constant source of distraction—can't dissuade her. Though it's impossible to tell what waits beneath the surface, nothing will turn Aida off the path now.

Series: A Clumsy Handful of Stars
A Proof of Possibility The Spaces in Between


Somehow, the single dark eyebrow Warwick arches encompasses all these thoughts spinning through Aida's head. The gesture—exaggerated in the stark beam of torchlight—offers wry rebuke without any need to speak the words aloud.

Aida's face heats with chagrin. She deserves worse than a pointed look. Violating the chain of command so blatantly should earn her an official reprimand, never mind the inherent danger of what she's done. It's only their long years of working together that make her confident this is not what her captain intends.

The look on Warwick's stern, lovely face isn't angry—which means Aida has the benefit of the doubt, for the moment at least.

Warwick has a habit of looking the other way for Aida's lapses in deference, when discretion allows. A soft, dangerously fond hint of special treatment, not that anyone has ever noticed or complained. Some days, Aida lets herself wonder if it means something—if her captain's interest runs deeper than protocol—deeper than the complicated friendship they have grown to share.

Some days she imagines what it might be like to simply ask—to find the right combination of foolishness and bravery and demand the information she needs. More than anything, what Aida craves is proof she isn't imagining things. For fuck's sake, she is supposed to be good at this: language, nuance, expression, implication. Her entire professional life hinges on her ability to parse ambiguous information and suss out meaning from limited points of data. Considering how long and how closely she has studied Jamila Warwick, how intimately Aida has learned to read her captain's every tell, it's galling to have no idea if her fascination is returned.

These are imprudent things to wonder, let alone hope. Aida knows better. Warwick is too much a professional to indulge a romantic attachment to a subordinate. To express more intimate interest would be inappropriate, no matter how desperately Aida might want her to do so.

With the pained efficiency of long practice, Aida pushes such thoughts out of her head before they can show on her face. "Why didn't you stop me? We've been walking for hours."

"Thought about it." Warwick's mouth twitches at one corner. "But that seemed a poor way to discover where the hell you were going."

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A Proof of Possibility
Cover design by Yolande Kleinn
ISBN 978-1-946316-24-0
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