When Cpl. M. J. Robeson of the United Earth Systems Marines comes to in her quarters aboard the starship Alliance, she discovers that she is the only member of the crew conscious while a lone unidentified intruder has invaded the ship. A brutal cat-and-mouse battle ensues between Robeson and the intruder for control over the starship, with the fate of hundreds of Robeson's crewmates hanging in the balance.

“Finders Keepers” was originally published in Full-Throttle Space Tales #3: Space Grunts, edited by Dayton Ward. As you can tell from the title of the anthology, the theme was “military in space.” My story was originally written for the Star Trek: Strange New Worlds contest and featured Tuvok aboard Voyager. Needless to say, it didn’t win the contest. I then reworked it into the B story of a pitch for the Starfleet Corps of Engineers series, this time with Commander Corsi, chief of security of the da Vinci, facing off with the hijacker. The pitch didn’t have much of a chance, because that book series was cancelled. Since there’s no other market for Star Trek short stories, it was kind of an orphan until Space Grunts came along and gave me the inspiration to rewrite it (again). Space Grunts eventually went out of print when the publisher went out of business, and that’s when I first made the e-book available. But then the story reappeared in print in Maximum Velocity: The Best of Full-Throttle Space Tales from a new publisher, the latest developement for a story with a convoluted history. The excerpt below is the opening paragraph.

The buttons above are for my self-published version; those below are for the Maximum Velocity anthology in paper form.

Finders Keepers

The security field shorted out with a blinding concussive wave, tossing Corporal M. J. Robeson backward, the flash overwhelming her still sensitive eyes. She hit the bulkhead shoulders first, then her head snapped back with enough force that she nearly lost consciousness. Head still spinning, she drew her smartgun, but it slipped from her hand, dangling from its coiled lanyard between handgrip and holster. She kept on her feet, blinking rapidly, hoping to regain enough sight to defend against the inevitable attack from the humanoid prisoner, but the whiteout was only slowly fading. Although Robeson’s ears were ringing from the explosion, she could hear the hostile intruder’s uneven footsteps lurching toward her from the brig. . . .

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