Zero Gravity Outcasts - Kay Keppler *Genre* Science Fiction*Rating* 3.0*Review*Minka Shokat was once an up and coming officer in the Elite Air Corps of Central Command. She was one of the best female pilots in the Corps. After a mission against the rebels that left her crew as the only survivors, she was branded as a traitor, disgraced, and kicked out of Central Command. Now, five years later, she flies a fourth generation Wayfarer ship carrying all sorts of cargo, even for Central Command, so that she can continue to fly and buy parts for her hodge podge ship which she has put together with amazing new and unknown technology. She carries a mini pine tree on the dash of her spaceship to remind her of a period once upon a time when people celebrated a holiday and gave each other presents.Her crew consists of her best friends Anjali Tilak and Tex Arcana. Anjali stood by Minka when Minka was tossed out of Central Command, losing everything she ever wanted in the process including her reputation with cargo shippers and her parents. Tex was purchased by Minka from a workhouse where he was beaten and treated like pond scum just because he was different from others. Anjali, as the scheduler and accountant, agrees to take on a mysterious cargo from Central Command that Minka isn’t all that thrilled about. Since the CC pays extremely well, and Minka and company need the money to continue to fly and purchase parts, it’s really a no brainer that they would accept the cargo.When Minka’s former love interest Reyne Jallomy shows up, she’s not too thrilled to see him, or the fact that they are in a rush to get to some secret meeting. The surprise is that the cargo is the person most responsible for ruining Minka’s career; General Icarus Toten. Toten is supposed to be at a super-secret hush-hush meeting with the rebel Sarid Calno and Minka’s ship is the only one readily available.This story really could be considered an off shoot of the Sirantha Jax series by Ann Aguirre. Minka is Jax since they were both disgraced after going up against the big bullies of the stories and losing everything. Reyne could be March even though he remained with CC and didn’t bother keeping in touch with Minka. Tex and Anjali are Dina and Hit respectfully. Tex, as the mechanic, gets the role of the necessary gay character in this story and the most outlandish as well.This novel is extremely short at 25,000 words. It’s pretty much straight forward and ends just as you would imagine. I like Minka’s character since she is definitely the person you can relate to if you’ve ever been screwed over by your former employer. For a Carina Press supported novel, I was suprised that there was no romantic interludes involved between the characters. I guess you can only put so much into a short story like this.Overall, I would consider this a worthwhile read if you are into science fiction with a little comedy thrown in for laughs.Expected publication: April 30th 2012 by Carina Press