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The Escape From

Pirate Moon

The Truehearts Books

Truehearts & The Escape From Pirate Moon

Truehearts & The Cosmic Cube



The Escape From

Pirate Moon

Jake Macklem


Sean Alexander

Copyright © 2021 by Jeremy Macklem

All Rights Reserved.

No part of this book may be reproduced in any form without permission in writing from the copyright holder. The only exception is by a reviewer, who may quote short excerpts in a review.

Cover Art © Vivid Covers | www.VividCover.com


1: Ace

2: Ace

3: Ace

4: Ace

5: Cam

6: Ace

7: Cam

8: Ace

9: Cam

10: Ace

11: Cam

12: Ace

13: Cam

14: Ace

15: Cam

16: Ace

17: Cam

18: Ace

19: Cam


21: Cam

22: Ace

23: Remy

24: Cam

25: Ace

26: Remy

27: Cam

28: Ace

29: Remy

30: Cam

31: Ace

32: Remy

33: Cam

34: Ace

35: Ace

1: Ace

Ace Hart walked down the center of the transport ship, holding her helmet under her arm, making eye contact with each of her STARs—Strategic and Tactical Aerospace Rangers—acknowledging each one by name: “Clark. Hurd. Rapkins. Lazar. Gutierrez...” She reached the end of the line. They’re good, but I never thought we’d get this far together.

“We get in and out, quick and clean.” A tight-lipped smile formed on her lips. “This is it shankholes—our last mission—then we all get to go home.”

“Hoo-Ra,” the platoon responded with enthusiasm.

Smith stood up. A blond Viking of a woman, she towered over the rest of the team. “STARs burn bright and fade fast. It’s always been that way… until us!”

“Hell yeah!” “Damn right!” some of the STARs cat-called.

“We all know why there are so many of us left.” Smith’s eyes fell on Ace.

What are you doing, you brute? Ace tried to glare Smith down, but the big woman looked away from her commander.

“Hart has pulled all our asses out of the fire more than once. We’re the best there is, and she’s the best of us.” Smith refused to face her friend and leader. “Hoo-ra!”

“Hoo-ra!” The STARs started stomping their feet. Ace slipped on her combat helmet to hide the color on her cheeks. I’ll get you for this, Smith. She did not like compliments. She held up her hand, trying to get them to stop, but it just encouraged them. If you understood me at all, you wouldn’t be cheering.

Smith shouted over the noise and it abruptly ended, “There are fourteen of us. We are the biggest class of STARs ever to survive their four-year term—and it’s because of Ace.”

Stupid hussies. I was using you. It was about staying alive and making it back to Earth. How do you still not get that?

The intercom static cut the moment short, “Final approach.”

Thank the Verse. “Alright hussies, enough with the feelings. We are in neutral space on our way to a small pirate outpost. Intel says that on top of the usual drugs and weapons, they are smuggling slaves. Command wants us to shut it down. They won’t bomb because of the slaves so we’re here to do the job. There may be some of the higher-ups in Crossbones. And as always, we are looking for intel. Command wants them alive if possible.”

“Who comes up with these names?” Smith rolled her eyes

“Someone with a limited vocabulary. Probably a Colonel?” Ace answered, to the laughter of the soldiers around her.

“Once we touch down, we will split into three teams and advan—”

The transport ship shook violently and Ace grabbed the wall for support. Smith slammed into the deck next to her but the other STARs were strapped in.

The intercom cut through the ship. “We are under fire! Taking evasive action.” The ship veered wildly.

We’re too high for small arms fire! Ace hit the intercom. “Pilot, where is that coming from?”

The ship jolted violently. Screams and shouts combined with the wind of explosive decompression. Ace turned to see a gaping hole where the front of the transport—and the pilots—had been.

That’s a problem. Two STARs sat dead in their seats, killed by shrapnel. So much for all of us making it home! Eleven of them left.

Air resistance had slowed the ship. They could jump. “I got better things to do than die! Prepare to jump. I’m the lead, Smith’s the tail. When I go, stay on my ass and we’ll make it home! You hear me, hussies?”

Smith held up a fist as the STARs gave their ragged response, “Hoo-Ra!”

“STARs on me!” Ace shouted and flung herself out the front of the ship, her team following right behind her. The anti-aircraft flak ceased as the transport ship continued to plummet. They think we’re dead. We can get to the ground, but how are we gonna get back off?

At three kilometers altitude, Ace had a perfect view of the pirate’s base. Bad intel. It’s a full military installation. We never stood a chance! She saw the runway and made out a group of parked fighters. We’ll borrow a ride from them! “I see our way out of here!” Ace said into her headset.

“You got better vision than me!” Smith crackled back.

“Alright hussies! We ain’t dead! There are fighters on the runway. That’s where we’re going. Close formation. Stay tight. Evasive approach.” She led them through a series of drops and turns, in a random pattern designed to throw off the computerized radar. Ace and the STARs fell through the sky.

You’re never more alive than just before you’re dead. Mick’s voice echoed his lesson in her mind. She accepted that the next sixty seconds were probably the last moments of her life. Closing her eyes, she smiled, reveling in the sensation. I don’t think I’m going to make it, Mick.

Mick’s gravelly voice spoke in her mind.

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