I’ve got a rare treat this week – special guest Laurie Green, who’s here to tell us all about her “pet” from Pets in Space 4! In addition to being a friend, Laurie A. Green is an award-winning, USA Today bestselling author, and a science fiction romance enthusiast who founded the SFR Brigade community of writers, which is now over 1,300 members strong.
My “pet” in Pets in Space® 4 is called a SpyDog. Her name is Maura and she’s the third StarDog character I’ve written, with one each for Pets in Space® 1, 2 and now 4. These three stories have added rich new layers to the ongoing saga as well as important new characters in my Inherited Stars Series.
This third installment takes place not before or after the anchor novel—Inherit the Stars—but at the same time! It adds a whole new perspective on the struggle behind Operation Reset—much like Star Wars: Rogue One did for the original Star Wars: A New Hope. (Except with a happier ending!) Though SpyDog was definitely a challenge to write, I had a lot of fun creating this alternate space adventure.
But let me tell you a little more about my starring pet–the “cutest little undercover agent in the galaxy.”
Maura may be the craftiest and most resourceful of all the StarDogs yet, because she’s a very special brand of bio-engineered upgrade, created to work as a partner with deep cover Network agent, Rigel Blackline. Maura has a number of enhancements above and beyond “normal” StarDogs, creatures who often serve as ship’s mascots and companion animals.
The wily little SpyDog is still comprised of the same blended canine-feline-weasel-mongoose DNA, but with some added improvements. She has keen intelligence, improved dexterity, is camouflage-capable, and has the ability to communicate silently with her handler over short distances (via technology not telepathy). This ability is essential to mission performance and enables the human agent and SpyDog operative to work as a close-knit team.
But like all highly-intelligent creatures, Maura also has her quirks. She’s an independent thinker who can sometimes be willful, especially when she thinks she knows best, and this occasionally tests her handler’s patience to the limit.
Below is a brief snippet from SpyDog that showcases the spirited little SpyDog and her handler, Rigel, “in the wild.” These two partners have a galaxy-altering mission to perform. They must reach Network headquarters located on a distant space station, but crossing paths with a possible enemy asset along the way–a legendary warrior-class female Rathskian–is about to add a whole new level of dynamics to their important quest!
Excerpt: SpyDog Standoff
It seemed she’d been surveilling him and now she’d caught him in a lie. This was clearly a time to walk lightly.
“Don’t know what you mean. I was just cruising the hangs looking to book a ride off Banna as soon as the embargo lifts. My last transport is grounded for repairs.”
“Nothing you’ve told me is true.”
Rigel gave her a side-eye. “You’re calling me a liar?”
She looked vexed. “What’s in the bag?”
His hand moved to the satchel, even though his eyes stayed locked on her. “Just a few clothes. Snacks. Water. The usual stuff.”
“Then why is the usual stuff moving?”
Gigadam! Rigel glanced down and saw his partner’s rustlings. He’d told her to keep quiet, and she’d obeyed. But he’d failed to command her to keep still.
“Just a pet. A Rutanga from planet Veros.”
“I’d like to see this Rutanga from planet Veros.”
Rigel tried not to clench his jaw or curl a fist. The Alliance now knew what a StarDog looked like and even more damning, why they’d been bioengineered. Six moons ago, the Ithians had raided General Kemm’s lab on Carduwa and eliminated it, leaving only a few remaining StarDogs in existence—those already in the field serving the Network or the ones sold as mascots to help support the lab.
Maura was one of the few remaining. And she was one of the best. A StarDog upgrade known as a SpyDog. Highly intelligent and extremely perceptive. Though…quirky, at times.
“Show me,” the Rathskian insisted, her finger shifting on the trigger of her weapon.
“All right,” Rigel said, holding up one hand to placate her. “All right.” He holstered his laze-pistol in an attempt to look less threatening and reached for the catch to his bag. In reality, he could draw and fire before she could blink, and he would…but only if he had to. Only if she recognized the contraband he carried.
Rigel unsealed his satchel.
And Maura happily poked her curious little head out of the opening, her golden ears perked and amber eyes alert and trained on their nemesis.
The Rathskian took a surprised step back. “A StarDog,” she whispered, her voice filled with startled awe. Not disgust. Not contempt. Not even fear. Her gaze shifted up and locked on Rigel’s face. And she slowly…cautiously…smiled.
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