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Mack ‘n’ Me: Arach

Mack ‘n’ Me ‘n’ Odyssey #3

C.M. Simpson

Nothing ruins a good cup of kaff than a spider teleporting on board… and these were in the six-foot-business-suite-and-tie range, all carrying blasters and a sense of entitlement like you wouldn’t believe. They gave me a job to do, and held my ship hostage while I went to do it—and that’s when everything went all to Hell. Exactly how I’m gonna get us out of this one, is a mystery to me. First step, though, is to bust Mack and the ship right out of their eight-legged claws. Piece of cake. Right?

NOTE: The main character swears like a sailor, and the support cast aren’t much better. If swears bother you, then this story may not be to your taste.

2nd Edition

Copyright © February 03, 2021, C.M. Simpson

Cover Art & Design (c) August 28, 2020, Moonchild Lilja at Fantasy Book Design

All rights reserved.

License Notes

This ebook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This book may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each recipient. If you’re reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then please purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.

Dedication

This is for all those who believed in me enough that, eventually, I had the courage to believe in myself.

Thank you.

Contents

Acknowledgements

1—Boarding Party

2—Dealing with the Devil

3—On Landing

4—The Custody Game

5—Of Spiders and Wasps

6—Allies

7—An Incursion

8—Raiders

9—Boarding the Marie

10—The Battle for the Shady Marie

11—Mack Meets the Queen

12—Cutter in Command

13—The Defense of the Shady Marie

14—Rescuing Askavor

15—Arach Infiltration

16—Mack, Needles and the Psi

17—Taking Back the Orbital

18—Contracted to the Queen

19—New Ventures & Alliances

20—Birth of a Planetary Nation

21—Airfield Skirmish

22—Walking Wounded

23—Surgery on the Sugarsides

24—Into the Processing Plant

25—Decoys and Traps

26—Of Kings and Mutants

27—Spider Bait

28—Recovery

29—Poster Girl

30—Cutter Unleashed

31—Sanderamon Raid

32—Time Enough for Sleep

Author Notes

Other Work by C.M. Simpson

About C.M. Simpson

Acknowledgements

Arach is the third book in the Mack ‘n’ Me ‘n’ Odyssey series, and the third novel set in Odyssey’s universe—and I’m not sure it would have seen the light of day for years, if it weren’t for Michael Anderle, Craig Martelle and the 20booksto50k group they started. Without these guys, and without the members of this group, I would have continued paddling on the edges of becoming a full-time writer, I would have found another full-time job, and I would have given up writing full-time as nothing more than a dream. They showed me what was possible—and they showed me the multitude of ways to go about working towards that dream. They gave me the courage to start climbing, instead of just playing in the foothills—and, for that, they have my heartfelt gratitude and thanks. By being there, you guys have done more than you know.

Thanks must also go to my husband, Ian, who gave me the space to write, and especially for giving me time to write, and reminding me that I can’t do all the things, all at the same time, even though he lets me try. Without that space and time, this book would have taken a lot longer.

1—Boarding Party

The arach materialized in the ship’s canteen. I had turned away from the counter with a cup of tea in my hand, when the air in front of me shuddered.

Funny one, Mack, I thought, but I backed up a step, just the same. No way was I going to let him spoil my first cup of the morning. And then the air grew solid, and I saw a face I knew. One that still came to me in nightmares.

I dropped the tea…kinda. Actually, I tossed the tea, cup and all, at the creature standing before me. Oh, he might look like a man, but he wasn’t. He was arach—and spiders still scared the crap out of me. I tossed the tea, and I was back over the canteen counter and reversing towards the stove top when Mack arrived.

His hand, on my arm, yanked me sideways, saving my ass, quite literally, from a nasty burn. And then he pulled me up against his front, and wrapped one arm around me, while the other pulled an A-Level blaster and levelled it across the canteen counter.

“I told you not to come back,” he said, and the arach smiled.

I glimpsed fangs. Reversed away from it. And didn’t move an inch. Mack was a solid wall behind me, his arm a bar of iron over my chest. More air shimmered, and the few crew who were in the canteen were gone before the rest of the arach team arrived.

A whimper clawed its way out of my throat, and I froze. Tremors shook me, but I couldn’t move. The arach regarded Mack’s blaster, regarded Mack, and regarded me, and that damn smile didn’t shift. We were in it, but deep.

“We have more work for you,” it said.

“And I told you, no more,” Mack retorted.

He had? Somewhere in my mind that registered as something he’d done for me. It was almost sweet.

“You also said you don’t say no when you can’t outrun us,” the arach replied, and Mack swore.

Yeah, pretty much what he said. We’d been bugged and we hadn’t even known it. Tens had some explaining to do.

And then the arach looked at me. Most frightening thing I’d seen in a long line of things that scare. The tea had hit it mid-chest, staining its suit, and shirt and tie. I mentioned this thing looked like a man, right? Yeah?

Well, it was wearing a suit. All business, these arach—when they weren’t slaughtering each other’s clans, or taking over planets under the guise of being traders. This one looked at me, glanced down at its suit, and looked me right in the eye. I went weak at the knees, and so not in a good way.

“You owe me blood,” it said, and my knees gave way.

Not

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