Dekker Knight has a secret past. Vivian "Vesuvius" Briggs has a sword, and a chip on her shoulder. Together they run a team of lovably delinquent space mercenaries: the Dozen.
When a mysterious villain steals a top secret piece of tech, the government contacts the Dozen, knowing Dekker and Austicon have bad blood—and there's no group better suited to tracking him down.
But what Austicon has liberated from corrupt government labs goes far beyond matters of interplanetary security and threatens the government itself. Can the Dozen stop Austicon? Now that they know what he has… is he even the real threat?
"Imagine if Firefly and Farscape had a baby! You've got a quippy… a will-they, won't-they romance; some truly scary villains; questionable authority figures; bad guys that are really good guys and good guys that are really bad guys; weird alien species… a run down ship that barely manages to stay afloat; and evil sentient plants. Add them all together, and you get a complex, imaginative story that's one heck of a wild ride!"– Theresa Samek
"Just when you think you know what's coming you don't!"– Russell Bacon
"The Last Watchmen was a brilliant exercise in leaving genre-boundaries behind. There's certainly an element of science fiction as Chris introduces new and unique races to the typical pantheon as well as bringing in fascinating technology. Guns blaze, ships soar, and epic battles ensue - everything sci-fi readers love."– Matthew E Morgan
Dekker galloped down the stairs and towards his team where they'd assembled. Shin mingled with some of his crew as their leader waved the work order.
"Got us a job, everyone. Pays well, too, for what it is. It's a simple transport."
"Mustache" Sam, an old soldier who'd been with Dekker since day one piped up. "What's the catch?" He curled the edge of famous mustache and spoke in a steady drawl.
Dekker bit his lower lip. "Some of us may not like the passenger: a Krenzin negotiator sent to mediate a miners strike on Io's Halabella outpost." He glanced sidelong at his business partner, Vesuvius.
Jamba brightened up at the news. Io had some decent, independent casinos established to entertain the miners. Typically, the most dangerous part of the job was boredom, when it wasn't bullets, at least.
Vesuvius bristled and pursed her lips at the info, but kept otherwise silent. Her hatred of the felinoid alien race was widely known and given for good reasons.
Dekker continued, "Sorry to drop our work on you, Shin, but duty calls. It won't be a long mission, though, and you're free to..."
"I'd love to join you," he interrupted. "I don't get off-world much and this is the perfect opportunity to see the world's greatest team of Investigators at work." He grinned.
Mustache chuckled behind him. "Hey kid, those guys are on the other side of Reef City. You must've made a wrong turn."
"Sorry about the Krenzin thing, guys," Dekker said as he walked closer. "I don't understand why Halabella Corp keeps hiring them," he lied. It wasn't difficult to find the political motivation on the corp's behalf. The cat-like race had made a mess of the Mother Earth Aggregate's politics ever since their inclusion and emigration to Earth. Even worse, their ideologies had ruined Dekker's life long before he met Shin and the Muramasas. "Skids up in two hours."
Part bounty hunter, part mercenary, part armed tour guide, Investigators didn't always get to choose what kind of jobs they would be offered—and they needed to work. Many other crews never distinguished between distasteful and evil and that gave the profession a bad name.
"At least it's not immoral work," Trigger shrugged. He winked with an eye branded by a long, vertical scar. "Everyone knows that's why I joined this crew—had enough of the kind of work that keeps me up at night. Ferrying a kitty-cat around... how hard could that be?"
Dekker threw an arm around Vesuvius. "You gonna be okay with this?"
She stiffened. "Just don't expect me to make small talk."
"Yeah..." Dekker trailed off, thinking of his own vendetta against them, of the ones he lost... of her. "I don't blame you. Not at all."
Vesuvius kept a blank face and walked off. "Let's just get paid and get on with it."
Shin watched her go and kept his voice low. "I see you still haven't told her about... you know who?"
Dekker shook his head. He hadn't even told Guy.
Shin paused until everyone else had drifted well beyond earshot. "You know how she feels about you, right?"
Dekker shrugged slightly. "I think so."
His friend shook his head. "If you only think so then you really don't. But I get it—your father was the last Watchman and the Watchmen had a ton of secrets... just don't get so used to keeping them that you forget about everyone else." He clapped Dekker on the arm.
"You're a real pain in the rear, you know that—just like your old man?"
Shin shrugged and grinned. Master Muramasa had never hidden his desire to see the two together. "Yeah well... what goes around comes around," he called out as he walked away to find his cousin.
"You're still mad about the time I ruined your wedding? She was an assassin who was hired to kill you!"
Shin shouted back with a laugh, "Don't judge our love!" He flashed his friend a grin and then turned a corner leaving Dekker alone with only his thoughts and a preflight checklist.