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©2021 T. E. Bakutis

This book is protected under the copyright laws of the United States of America. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, without the prior permission in writing of the publisher, nor be otherwise circulated in any form of binding or cover other than that in which it is published and without a similar condition including this condition being imposed on the subsequent purchaser. Any reproduction or unauthorized use of the material or artwork contained herein is prohibited without the express written permission of the authors.

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Print and eBook formatting, and cover design by Steve Beaulieu. Artwork provided by Shen Fei.

Published by Aethon Books LLC.

Aethon Books is not responsible for websites (or their content) that are not owned by the publisher.

This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events, locales, or persons, living or dead is coincidental.

All rights reserved.



1. 01: Employment

2. 02: Pollen

3. 03: Rafe

4. :04 Emiko

5. 05: Kinsley

6. 06: Truthers

7. 07: Encore

8. 08: Marquis

9. 09: Underground

10. 10: Holo

11. 11: Diplomacy

12. 12: Dead Weight

13. 13: Laundering

14. 14: Dirty Secrets

15. 15: Buried

16. 16: Scam

17. 17: Pardon



Praise for Supremacy’s Shadow

“A refreshing break from all those moody, thinky, burdensome award-winners, this book shoots first and asks questions later.”

—David Chang, editor at Space Squid

“The snark of Deadpool and the sci-fi realism of The Expanse, left on your door step and set aflame.”

—Alex Knight, author of the Nova Online series

“...a bit of Die Hard (in the future) fun.”

—Lilyn G., reviewer at Scifi and Scary

“...reads like Harrison Ford’s voiceover for Blade Runner 2079 before the director’s cut.”

—Tom Doyle, author of the American Craft series

“If you liked that scene where Han Solo talks to the Imperial guy in the detention center, that’s basically this book.”

—Mike Kern, author of Dark Winter

“Poor choices, bad jokes, and mouthing off to the very worst people at the wrong time, this book has it all.”

—Cameron Johnston, author of The Traitor God

“A gritty, fast-paced thriller like James S.A. Corey’s The Expanse, except the bullets are smarter than the people.”

—Rosemary Claire Smith, author of T-Rex Time Machine

“Suspiciously reminiscent of Firefly, only with more dysfunctional characters.”

—T. C. Weber, author of Sleep State Interrupt

“It feels like a reboot of my favorite sci-fi movies, but it didn’t ruin my childhood once.”

—David Vaughn, author of “The Captain in Yellow” in The Cackle of Cthulhu

“A litany of thrilling failure and rotten luck ... or as Hayden Cross would call it, Tuesday.”

—Sherri Cook Woosley, author of Walking Through Fire





01: Employment

Upon waking to find himself naked, alone, and floating inside an airlock, even a man as handsome and talented as Jan Sabato might understandably become concerned. However, the screaming hangover from whatever the guards had dosed him with (after shooting him with stunners, of course) argued for oblivion. Given a dozen transport shuttles were exploding in his head, a quiet death in deep space would probably be a relief.

A groggy and floating self-inspection revealed at least four new stunner burns on his dark brown skin, but no broken bones. A cursory hand-to-scalp check assured him he still possessed his springy coils of dark hair, which was another plus. His hair felt knotted and sweaty, but he’d just been stunned, drugged, and stuffed naked inside an airlock. One day with less than perfect hair was understandable.

Still, the airlock wasn’t opening — yet — and no one was kicking him in the ribs or screaming about cutting his eyes out — yet — so Jan found the nearest yellow emergency grip and grabbed it, carefully spinning his body until his feet were facing “down.” He pushed his feet to the cold metal floor, glanced out the airlock door, and verified his first impression.

Yes. There it was. Space.

There sure was a whole lot of it out there.

So why was he in here? And more importantly, how was he going to get out of here? There was a nine-digit keypad directly beside the closed inner door, but that was about as useful as a spare magazine for a gun he didn’t own.

The airlock was small, about the size of a closet, formed of the vaguely brown plastic and metal that formed most plastic and metal spaceships. The floor was light gray, as shiny as if it had never been scuffed, and a green dot blinked encouragingly beside the door leading into space. Green was preferable to red, so he had that going for him.

Jan supposed he could try shouting. When all else failed, that always caused ... something, to happen. He’d just opened his mouth when a grating buzz stabbed his medical hangover like a needle through his skull: an intercom system announcing itself.

Jan swallowed his groan. It seemed whoever had locked him in here planned to threaten him now, and that was always extremely monotonous.

“Jan Sabato.” A pitch-shifted voice, deep and robotic, echoed through the tiny airlock. “You’re awake.”

Jan massaged one temple with his free hand, pain lancing through his head. “You are observant.” Whoever was outside was likely watching him through the one-way window in the inner door.

“In a moment, I will present you with an offer,” the threatening,

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