by Nathalie Gray, futuristic (2008)
Red Sage Publishing, $2.99, ISBN 978-1-60310-148-6
The ELFs have landed! No, we aren't talking about Santa's little helpers. "ELF" stands for "Exoskeleton Humanoid Life Forms". Don't ask me what that means or what an ELF looks like - this is a very short story and the author doesn't dwell on pesky things like details here. Let's just be content with the description stating that they are eight-foot tall aliens.
JoJo, our heroine, is caught in a crossfire at the start of Compromised, with many of her team mates already down for the count. As JoJo and what's left of her crew battle their way out of the ELF space station they find her ex-boyfriend Mathias Horsen held captive in an interrogation chamber. JoJo has her orders from HQ to withdraw while ignoring anyone else trapped in the space station, but this time around, JoJo is going to disobey her superiors and fight to make sure that Mat gets out alive with the rest of them. The thing is, they were and still are playing for opposing sides, what with her being a soldier for her bosses from Earth and he being a spy who is working for... well, someone else.
Compromised is a blindingly fast-paced story that is concerned mostly with our gang making their escape, along with a dozen or so subsequent pages to cool things down, get the obligatory sex scene going, and give the story some semblance of closure. Because of its short length, one can't expect much in terms of characterization or depths or even details. Despite the limitations, however, this is one exciting and fast-paced space adventure caper with some romance thrown in.
To be honest, the characters do seem too similar to those of the previous short space capers by this author that I've read and the storyline follows the same fundamental structure too. But Compromised is superior to those stories, I find, because of its much better pacing and the placement of the sex scene that doesn't get too much in the way of the story. Fans of the author may find this one a quick read to whet their appetite until the next full-length effort by this author comes around.
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