Richard Parry grew up on a steady diet of cartoons, observed around the edges of his parents' watchful gaze. He started writing bad fiction at an early age, but has had 30 (…plus) years to think about the error of his ways.

He's worked as an international consultant in one of the world's top tech companies, which sounds cool, but it wasn't all cocaine parties. Richard's managed to wrangle "Best Novel" and "Best New Talent" shortlistings from the Sir Julius Vogel Awards. He specialises in stories where heroes save the world/universe (hey, why limit yourself?) through action scenes and clever dialogue. His latest series starts with Tyche's Flight, an action-packed space opera where humans fight against evil mind-reading aliens. It is not a documentary.

Richard lives in Wellington with the love of his life, Rae. They are trying and failing to train cats.

Tyche's Flight by Richard Parry

A colony world falls silent.

Grace Gushiken is a grifter and a liar. Worse, she's an esper, an abhorrent creation of the Old Empire, on the run from the Republic's justice. Nathan Chevell captains the free trader Tyche. He's no pirate, but he's no white knight either. There's no business in helping strays.

Thrown together on a mission to the edge of space, they find the doomed planet Absalom Delta deserted, its people enslaved by the insect-like Ezeroc. The aliens have descended like locusts on humanity, consuming all in their path. No one is safe. Even the Republic Navy is powerless against them.

With nothing but an aging starship running low on luck, Grace and Nate clash against the might of an alien kingdom. The Ezeroc have arrived, and they are hungry.

Tyche's Flight is the first book in Richard Parry's gripping Ezeroc Wars series. If you like page-turning space opera with great dialogue and heart-pumping action, get your copy today!



  • "Terrific space opera with plenty of action, mystery and suitably creepy non-humanoid aliens. Characters are well developed and likeable, physics is pretty accurate, the twists are well done and it was a very enjoyable read. Has me firmly hooked on this series."

    – Amazon top 1000 reviewer
  • "*This* is why I love reading SF."

    – Amazon review



He would always remember the first time she lied to him.

Nate was sitting in a spacer bar — not that it had signs saying Spacer Bar or Drunk Crew Welcome. It was the way it smelled more than anything, old engine oil overlaid with the unmistakable tang of ozone that came from working heavy machines or plasma cannons. Beer, vat-grown because out here that was the best way to get consistent results. Still, you never knew if some strain of modified soy was being used on-planet for your drink. There was also the smell of sweat, and sometimes, of anger.

That last was typical. Drunk Crew Welcome wasn't always a good thing.

"Captain Chevell," said the man across from him, Republic uniform starched so crisp you could shave yourself with the collar. It was a dress uniform, lieutenant's insignia on the shoulders, wings on the breast, a bunch of other medals Nate was too bored to take in. The ID tag said Evans, which might even be his name. Nate didn't care about that either, because this man was a piece of a great machine, and the machine didn't care about names, only results. The uniform went nicely with dress hands, folded in front of the lieutenant. Fingers that hadn't seen a blaster since basic training, not a callus anywhere. This man was content behind a desk, and probably good at it too. The Navy hat was on the table to the man's right, almost like a barrier. Possibly a necessary barrier — the other man seated across from Nate with Evans wasn't an officer. Not even close. He had scars, and muscles, and was wearing dress fatigues that said I'm always on duty, even in your Spacer Bar. He wouldn't have finished that with asshole because Republic Marines were always polite, but he would have meant it. So yeah, that hat was a good barrier between the two: on the same side, but different points of view. "Are you the captain of the Tyche?" Evans said it like Teach.

"Certainly not," said Nate.

"You're … not?"

"No," said Nate. "I'm the captain of the starship Tyche." He pronounced it like Lady Luck intended: Tie-Key. "Say it with me. Tyche."

"Tie. Key," said Evans, face blank.

"Good work," said Nate. "You were going somewhere with that, right?"

"Captain Chevell," Lieutenant Evans said again, "it would be nice to hear your perspective."

"My perspective?" said Nate. "I'm not sure it needs a perspective. You're talking cash money for a milk run."

"Exactly the kind of perspective I was hoping for," said Evans. He brightened. "Are you willing to take on the job?"

"Hold up," said Nate.

Evans looked a little lost. "You said 'cash money for a milk run.' I'm not sure—"

"Where there is milk, and it's cash money, there's always a fly in it," said Nate. "Always."

"A fly?" said Evans. The Marine next to him hadn't even looked sideways at Nate, not once, eyes straight ahead, jaw clenched. Or, Nate thought, perhaps it wasn't clenched — the man might have had a jaw made of rocks and rubble. It would be nice if Kohl was here, because Kohl spoke that kind of language. But Kohl was off getting drunk or laid or a hundred other things he wasn't being paid for, which left Nate here, alone, in a Spacer Bar that smelled of anger and Drunk Crew, ass hanging out, trying to negotiate with the Republic. A Republic who didn't negotiate, which made it fun, and crazy at the same time, and if Nate was being his honest authentic self, like that holo kept telling him he should be, it was why he was pulling the tiger's tail.

Time to pull harder. "You've listed a fee, payable on delivery of an unspecified object, that is frankly astonishing," said Nate.

"Yes," said Evans, "that's—"

"Hold on to your drink," said Nate, watching as Evans' eyes went to the empty space in front of him. No drink, because a man like that didn't drink on duty. "Or, hell, watch me hold mine." Nate took an exploratory sip of his beer, which the bartender — a cute young thing with braids that glowed green in the dark interior of the bar — had assured him was vat-grown as he'd dropped Republic coins in front of her. It didn't taste half bad, but the other half wasn't great. Whatever. At least it didn't taste like soy beer. Evans was watching him drink, or was watching Nate's hand holding the beer. One of Nate's hands, like one of his legs, was metal: all shiny gold and precision metal and gleaming gears. It was that metal hand, or rather how Nate had … acquired it, that made him cautious when dealing with the Republic. "An astonishing fee means astonishing danger," he said, "or it means you'll fuck me. And I don't mean a nice, cozy fuck, full of gentle whispers and soft kisses. I mean a—"

"I understand what you're saying," said Evans, his lips pulling tighter.

Good Goddamn, but is that Marine smiling? There was something in the way the mound of muscle's face had twitched that made Nate proud. "An astonishing fee means you don't mean to pay it. And getting paid is of high importance to me and mine, if you know what I mean. So here's what'll happen. We'll talk terms."

"The terms are clear," said Evans. "Five hundred thousand Republic credits, payable on delivery."

"Do I," said Nate, "look like a stupid man to you, Lieutenant?"

Evans paused. "Not … particularly, Captain."

"Perhaps green, young, unused to the rigors of command?" Nate raised his eyebrows.

"No. I would say not."

"Then why are you treating me like a gullible child?" said Nate. "I need three things from you."


"Three," said Nate, giving the Marine a glance. Nope, the man still wasn't moving. Like a sphinx, that one, about as readable as a rock. Nate hoped they wouldn't get into any trouble, because without Kohl, it would not be fun business, not for Nate. The Marine would have fun. He held up his gold hand, digits clicking as he extended his fingers. "First, you'll pay me twenty percent up front. This isn't a number that horrifies you. It's a rounding error in your budgets. Not enough for me and mine to run, but enough for us to know there's a higher chance of you paying the rest rather than spacing us all. Two," and a second metal digit clicked up, "you'll tell us what the cargo is. You'll tell us because of what happened two years ago, when I took Republic cargo, and then was raided by the Republic, and your clowns tried to charge me for hauling contraband. Took months to work through that, you assholes tried to stiff me on my completion bonus, and I was in jail. A jail, Lieutenant. Third, you'll hand over a load of torpedoes. Nothing fancy, no crust-crackers, just some simple ship to ship nukes, because I'm fresh out, and the only place to get nukes is from the Republic Navy. Sort of."

"Sort of?" said Evans.

"Sort of," agreed Nate. "The thing we're dealing with here is trust, Lieutenant. Trust can be bought. I'm offering to sell you mine, for a twenty percent advance, knowledge of the cargo, and thirty-six ship to ship nukes. How's that sound?"

The lieutenant thought about it. Nate watched the man's eyes scan the room, the rough crowd giving them a circle of calm because nothing said stupid like picking a fight with the Republic Navy. "You're aware," he said, after a suitable period of reflection, "that we could seize your ship, kill your crew, and do the job ourselves?"

"Sure," said Nate, "you could try doing that."

"We are the Republic Navy," said Evans.

"Like I said," said Nate, "you could try. There's a couple of problems. First, you'll have to scare up someone who knows how to fly my baby. Not a common ship, not anymore. Those Endless Drives are a thing of wonder and beauty, and the flight systems behind them take a loving touch, Lieutenant. My crew has a loving touch. The Tyche, she's our home, our palace, our playground, and our friend. She'll fly true for us, and she'll crash and burn for you and yours."

Evans was watching him. "You said two reasons."

"I did," said Nate. "The second reason is because you're the good guys, Lieutenant. You don't raid a peaceful freighter, kill the entire crew, and then steal their ship. No. In this instance, you're trying to pay top dollar because you don't have an Endless ship on hand, you want a dedicated crew, and you want a package delivered. I'm your man. But with those three stipulations."

"Also," said a woman, slipping into the booth next to Nate, "you'll surrender right of salvage. Fourth condition. Or stipulation. Call it something that makes you happy, like 'finder's fee.'"

Evans, Nate, and even the Marine turned to look at the woman. Casual clothes, lots of black, except for her shirt, which was white. Ruffled collar, making Nate think pirate before he almost laughed at himself — if there was a pirate here, it was him, with his modern version of a hook hand and peg leg. Her arm, from exposed elbow to wrist, was etched in an ancient-style black tattoo, no dynamic colors switching with her mood. Not this one, no sir. She tabled a sword in a scabbard in front of them all with a casual toss, a similar casual toss of her hair — short-cropped, dead straight, black, just long enough to touch her chin, not long enough to get her into trouble — following. White teeth in a smile that made Nate take immediate interest, despite his better judgement, because nothing said trouble in quite the same way as a smile like that — Nate had a similar smile of his own. And nothing said run in quite the same way as a stranger knowing your business.

Because she was a stranger. He'd never seen this woman before in his life, and that made him uncomfortable. "Hi," said Nate.

"Hi," said the woman, a flash of that smile again peeking out from around her hair. "Been looking for you. For hours."

"Captain," said Evans, "who is this—"

"Grace Gushiken," said the woman, "and I'm the Tyche's Assessor."

"You are?" said Nate. "I mean, yes, you are."

This wasn't when she lied to him. She was lying to them, and Nate could get behind lying to the Republic Navy. It was just more pulling of the tiger's tail, and that lent a certain air of charm to her right away.

"And," said Grace, "the captain shouldn't have been talking to you without me."

"He shouldn't?" said Evans.

"I shouldn't?" said Nate, but he wasn't sure if he was asking a question or not.

"Because the captain," said Grace, "is not an Assessor. He knows ships, and he knows people, and he knows bars," and here, a chuckle, too natural to not be rehearsed, "just fine. What he doesn't know is the value of good salvage. You're sending him out to a place where there's a downed transmitter."

"How did you know—" said Evans.

"The thing about downed transmitters," said Grace, "is that sometimes they're downed, and sometimes they're up and everyone's dead. In the second instance, there's salvage, and we want it. It'll make the trip worthwhile even if you try and stiff us on the other eighty percent." Grace looked at Nate. "You went for the standard eighty-twenty we talked about?"

"I … did," said Nate, thinking well fuck me, but roll with it. He turned back to Evans, turning on his own smile. "I did."

"How did you know—" said Evans, again.

"Everyone knows," said Grace. "This bar is full of people who know. They know your precious Bridge is down, and that you don't have any Endless ships to spare, and that there's a colony out there ripe for piracy at the other end of that Bridge. We," and she jerked a thumb at her chest, "have an Endless ship. We have an Endless ship with a cargo bay large enough to hold a new transmitter. Also got an Engineer who can bolt that right on the side of your gate, fire it up, and get things working again, even if everyone's dead."

"Why would everyone be dead?" said Evans, blinking.

"Pirates," said Grace. "We were just talking about that."

"And we need," said Nate, slipping into the silence like it was made for him, "those ship-to-ship nukes. For the pirates. Who may have killed everyone. Not our first rodeo, Lieutenant. Not our first salvage run either. Grace here will take what's lawful salvage and leave the rest. You know our records. You know how we work."

"Yes," said Evans, looking like he was downing cheap tequila, salt, and lime, except without the salt or lime. "We know your records, which is why there will be no Avenger-class weapons given over. Not only is it illegal to provide these to civilian ships, it would cause me to lose sleep at night."

Fair enough. Nate frowned, but had to admit he wouldn't put nukes in the hands of the Tyche's crew either. Not after that incident back on Century Gamma. Unlucky for everyone, kind of a lose-lose, but less lose for the people with the nukes, which had been the Tyche. "So, Lieutenant," said Nate. "We know what we're hauling now — transmitter. We can live without the nukes. But we can't live without the twenty percent."

"I could," said the Marine, speaking for the first time, and astonishing everyone, and not least of which because his voice was gentle in a way not common with the Marines, "rough him up a little."

"You could," said October Kohl, coming up behind the Marine, leaning close enough to kiss, and nuzzling a blaster next to the man's neck, "not live past the next five minutes." He looked up at Nate. "Captain. I could rough him up a little." Kohl looked and smelled drunk, which was a standard state of affairs, but his eyes were bright. Like the Marine, he was a solid mound of muscle. Unlike the Marine, he had scars, a bad set of locks in dire need of washing or trimming or just burning, and what Nate was sure was an unhealthy desire to kill people. Which was why he was useful. The Marine's eyes had gone wide, his posture stiff in a way that suggested he knew the kind of man who had a gun to the side of his head.

"I think we've about established how this will work," said Nate to Evans. "Would you agree?"

"I would agree," said Evans. "I'll be in touch with the Tyche to arrange the details."

"Great," said Nate. "You want to be talking to El. She's our Helm." He gave a glance to Kohl. "You could…" He waved his hand, the one still made of flesh and blood.

"Kill this asshole?"

"No," said Nate. "Let him go."

Kohl looked like he was thinking about it, really thinking about it, about whether this was the time he would push the limits of his contract. He relaxed, letting the Marine go, and slapped a hand on the other man's shoulder. "Sorry about that. No hard feelings."

The Marine rubbed the side of his neck where the blaster had been. "Sure," he said, because there wasn't much else to say when there was a man right behind you with a blaster in his hand and murder in his heart.

The Marine and the lieutenant slipped out of the booth, leaving the bar, the Marine glancing over his shoulder, Kohl giving the man a friendly wave before slipping into the booth across from Nate and Grace. He looked at Nate. "Who's this?"

"I'm Grace," said Grace, flashing that smile.

"Was I," said Kohl, "fucking talking to you?" He was slurring a little. He seemed to see the sword on the table for the first time. "Nice sword."

"Thank you," said Grace. "I'm—"

"Still not," said Kohl, "talking to you." He blinked, coughed, and looked at Nate. "Captain?"

"Kohl raises a good question," said Nate. "Who the fuck are you?"

"Grace Gushiken," said Grace, "your new Assessor."

"Hell of a way to interview for a job," said Nate, "but we're full. And we don't need an Assessor."

"Yes you do," said Grace. "Be honest, Nate—"

"Captain Chevell," said Nate. "Let's start with that."

"Captain Chevell," said Grace, still a hint of a smile about her, "those men wouldn't tell you anything. Not about the cargo. Not about the transmitter. And sure as stars, not about what's going on at Absalom Delta." She looked at his metal hand. "You look like you might know what the Republic lying to you feels like."

Nate's eyes moved to the door of the bar, a couple walking in. They were laughing, her hand on his. He bent to whisper in her ear, and they moved to the bar. The bartender with the glowing green braids put a couple of drinks in front of them, sweeping Republic coins away like they'd never existed, like it was a magic trick to make things disappear before your eyes. Nate watched Grace Gushiken watch those two enter, watched her watch them move to the bar, and then he watched as she pretended she wasn't watching them. "So, Grace," he said. "You seem to know the Republic pretty well yourself."

"Better than you know," she said, relaxing into her seat, which — not coincidentally, Nate thought — lowered her from view.

"And why should I take you on my crew?" he said.

"Because you need me," she said.

"And because you need me," said Nate, looking at the couple at the bar. They were still laughing, and talking, but their eyes were scanning the crowd. "Why?"

"I need to get off this rock," she said. "An Assessor doesn't make coin sitting in a spacer bar."

That, right there, was the first time she lied to him. Not about her name, as near as Nate could tell, but about what she was. Not that she wasn't a great Assessor; she may well have been. It was impossible to tell from the vantage of this fine spacer bar. Didn't matter: it's that she was so much more. Nate could feel it, feel it like he could sometimes feel the old pain where his left arm and leg had been burned away in cleansing fire. Feel it like warm sun on his face when they were on a beautiful planet like this Enia Alpha, a gentle 0.9Gs tugging at him, a yellow sun in the sky above. But he could also feel that there was something about her. She had tugged that tiger by the tail like she owned the damn tail, and Nate felt an instant like for anyone who could stick it to the Republic.

Nate looked at October. "Kohl," he said, "do you want to fight?"

Kohl thought about it. "I don't know, Captain. You and me? It'll be hard for you to give orders without your teeth."

"Not me," said Nate. "Those two at the bar."

Kohl turned around, the faux leather booth seat creaking under his weight. He turned back. "How much you want 'em hurt?"

"I want 'em hurt enough to let us get to our ship without being followed."

"Great," said Kohl, rising.

"Could you," said Nate, "wait for us to go? You know how I love watching you work, but—"

"But you want 'em distracted as you go, so I can get 'em from behind," said Kohl. "It doesn't seem fair. I like it."

Grace was already slipping from the booth seat, a dancer's flow in her movements. She gathered the sword from the table like it weighed nothing, slung the scabbard's belt over her shoulder, and gave Nate a glance. Something fearful behind the play. "You ready?"

"I'm ready," said Nate, but this time he was lying to himself. Not that he knew it. None of them knew what was coming.