After Stars Fall

In a vast and desolate universe, Raven and Fox drift through the stars, displaced from their long-lost planet. With their crew of four, they travel space and time, riding the high of escaping obligations, debts, and pasts.

When they catch an enemy mercenary Cassia in straits, they rescue her to undermine the illegal doxxing business she leads. To succeed, they must deceive Cassia and collect her secrets. In their journey across the cosmos, they weave webs of duplicity and camaraderie, alliance and exploitation, blame and responsibility.

As Raven grows closer to Cassia and questions her deceit, she entangles herself with the life she led and the promises she made. Can Raven and her crew find redemption, or is it too late for them? 

Their scheme promises heartbreak and betrayal; the fate of the universe hangs in the balance. 

After Shadows Fall is a science fiction novel that delves into female leadership in aviation, social identity in speculative environments, and the relationship between privilege and altruism. 

Natalie wrote the first draft of the book in 2022 over seven months. She will begin to edit in 2025.

I wave my hand at the capsule. I look outside then back at her. “How do we stop this? How do we end this for good?”

She looks at me for a long time. If she could feel the desperation I feel, she would respond sooner. At last, “Do you not understand? You cannot. You cannot end this for good.”

I wait for another answer, for a promise or a lie. But Cassia is not me, and I am not Cassia. She sits down, and she stares at me until eventually, her eyes slip shut and she slumps against the chair. She goes still. 

“Last one down,” Fox says to the overcom speakers. 

“Fifteen seconds of safety,” Crim says.

“Clear,” Peleus says.

“Engage thrusters,” Phoenix says.

I feel the spaceship lurch. There’s a lifeless silence for fifteen seconds as we glide into a starlane. The spaceship seems to hiccup before compressing like a swallowed breath. We fall into the wormhole, and the windows outside the storage bay spin like coins. I don’t move and only look at Cassia. I refuse to believe that there is no way to end this, and I refuse to believe her denial.

She was my last hope, and I refuse to believe that this is it.

- An excerpt from After Stars Fall