sequel

Excerpt: IACTA ALEA EST – Mr. Gae Is Expecting You

A little bit of Shalon from the sequel to LEX TALIONIS, to keep you company as you go into the weekend.

Framed in that archway, directly across from the lift, stood a hovercar, its dark blue curves iridescent as a beetle’s wing.  Shalon strolled over to it, careful to keep her body as relaxed as possible.  She was almost to it when the back door on her side faded, letting out the smell of fresh car polish on a breath of cool air.  She recognized the form seated next to the opposite door, and climbed in without hesitation. 

The seat beneath her felt butter soft.  When the door solidified again, complete silence descended. A yellow light came on, illuminating the beige interior and the tinted panel in front of her that extended from floor to ceiling.  Shalon noted the not unexpected fact that there was no way to open the doors from the inside. 

“I didn’t expect such luxury,” she said to Luc, leaning back and wondering why the car had not moved yet.  She shifted so that her right side was turned toward him and kept her hands within easy reach of her gun-belt.  Remember, he isn’t Orgalian any longer.   

“Mr. Gae wished you to be comfortable.”  In one easy movement, Luc’s hand dipped into his sleeve and reappeared holding a small dark gun that Shalon recognized as far more deadly than its size would indicate.  “Perhaps you could start by removing your gun-belt.”  

Did you really expect anything less?  Shalon sighed.  “I’m very attached to these.  What if I just promised not to shoot Mr. Gae?” 

“They will be safe in my possession until I return them, should that become necessary.” 

Shalon arched an eyebrow.  “Not a betting man?” 

Luc did not reply, he just held the tiny gun in a very steady hand.  Salon slid the belt off and handed it over.  “Anything else?” 

“No need.”  Luc tapped at the door and a compartment eased open next to him.  He dropped the gun-belt in.  “You were scanned as you entered the vehicle.” 

Of course.  She watched as Luc returned the gun to his robe.  “So now what do we do?” 

He leaned forward and knocked once at the panel.  Shalon felt the smooth tilt of the vehicle rising and turning. “Now,” he replied, “we go to see Mr. Gae.” 

interesting animated GIF

Stay thirsty, my friends!

Excerpt from LEX TALIONIS Sequel: Iacta Alea Est – Analise Mentions An Old Friend

I allowed myself to become completely distracted by “So You Think You Can Dance” so my post is late today. And because I’m being lazy, I’ve decided to give you a little excerpt from my other Work In Progress. This is from the sequel to LEX TALIONIS, which I’m calling IACTA ALEA EST (The Die Is Cast) for now. In it, we meet Shalon again, and one of her new friends. It’s not perfect (lots of editing passes to go) but I hope you have fun with it.

Analise Macon swept his wet, orange tongue over his broad face and black-bead eyes before gracing Shalon with grin.  “Shalon, how nice of you to call.”

“Analise.”  Shalon propped her foot up on the console in front of the captain’s chair and settled back into her seat.  “How have you been?”

“Not as good as you.  A Kaag freighter?  You are even more blessed by the Will than I thought.”

“God had nothing to do with it, Analise.”  Shalon smiled at the holo, which had been set to show Analise as he relaxed on the pillows in his office.  It was impossible not to like the rotund Roulon factor.  Even if he had proven himself to be one of the cleverest and most ruthless black-market operators around.

“Like the wind against a flag, the Will moves all things, even those that are unaware of its existence.”  Analise stretched his small jaw, revealing pointed teeth, cream in his mottled pink and brown face.  “But enough of this existential poctae.  One of my clients is very interested in the weapons shipment the freighter was supposed to be carrying.”

“How lucky for me.  I’m very interested in selling.”  Shalon flicked at some dirt under her thumb-nail. 

“Would an hour’s time be too soon to begin negotiations?”  

Damn it.  “Actually, yes.  I have a prior engagement.”

Analise made a grating noise that sounded like the prelude to an attack, and meant that he was surprised.  “More important than my offer?”

“Much more important.”

The Roulon waved a six fingered hand.  “I am saddened by how little I mean to you.  I count you amongst my true friends, yet see how you brush me away.”

Shalon rolled her eyes.  “You’ll get over it.  I’ll come by the hotel with an inventory tomorrow, so don’t go anywhere.”

“I would not miss your visit for all the wealth in Sudamin’s palace.  Wherever it is.”

And before I forget…  “By the way, Sojo said you linked me earlier?”

“Yes.”  Analise cocked his head.  “I have a visitor at my hotel who asked to see you.”

Shalon frowned.  “Me?  What is he, a mercenary? Soldier?”

The Roulon coughed, an expression of amusement.  “You would not ask that if you had seen him.  No, he is not of our world.  He is a doctor.  Colin Mayfeld?  He said you would know who he was.”     

Shalon covered her start by gathering her hair behind her neck.  My God.  She took a breath, forced her heart to stop racing.  Colin Mayfeld.  A name out of a past she had thought gone for good.  Colin had saved her life years ago, in more ways than one, but she’d only contacted him a couple of times since then.  In the last few years, her network had checked up on him now and again so she could make sure he was okay and remained well clear of her enemies.  So why is he here now, and asking for me?

“Did he tell you why he wants to meet with me?”

“He said it was private.  That he could only speak to you.”

Stay thirsty, my friends!

Luc – An Excerpt From The Sequel To LEX TALIONIS

Yeah, you read that right. I’m in a good mood because the writing is flowing these days, so you get another little peek.

Luc is a small but important character in IACTA ALEA EST (The Die is Cast). Here’s the introduction to him. Extra points if you can guess who he’s waiting for.

The man who had sold his name and his life stood against the wall of the spaceport terminal and watched streams of people and aliens move past in front of him.  No-one looked in his direction.  Not because he could not be seen, but because he did not wish to be seen. 

Even in the bright light of the busy terminal, even with the main doors on his right placing him near the path of all the comings and goings, the simple dark wrap he wore seemed to pull all regard into the black hole of its existence.  He stood within the concealing layers of his hood and cloak, motionless but for the never-ceasing movement of his eyes.  They were amber as a cat’s, startling in the harsh, unapologetic angles of his coffee-brown face. 

His hands folded across his chest, his fingers thrust into the soft warmth of his sleeves, he watched the row of disposable comm patch booths along the terminal wall opposite him.  Above the white half-dome booths and chairs, the transperiwall rose to a ceiling that showed a darkness deep enough to touch.  Tiny lights sparkled and winked within it like stars.

Below this, the spaceport bustled and resonated with hundreds of voices from hundreds of organs.  Grey, flat-headed Algarans lumbered through the crowd, swinging powerful arms.  A group of Kaag mercenaries, cocking their ears at each other in an animated fashion, brushed through the door, snapping at passersby stupid enough to touch them.  Environmental protection suits–most tinted to keep stares out–rolled or floated past, an array of exotic shapes and colors.  

Seconds after a clutch of Wensts females passed him, so well hidden by their clothing they looked like moving bundles of sparkling cloth, he spotted her.

She strode through the main doors, hands buried in the pockets of a grey jumpsuit, and headed for the comm booths. She looked neither left nor right, but he knew she had seen him.

Dark hair hung loose to her shoulders, obscuring her profile.  She forded the constant movement of those around her with practiced ease as she moved across the main terminal floor, never giving the roving security duos of blue clad Troopers so much as a wary glance. 

When she reached the booths, she took up a position next to the last one on his left.  As soon as the user–a human male–exited, she entered, closed the door and activated the tint.

He gave her ten minutes, made sure they had not been noticed, then leaned away from the wall and headed toward a booth in the middle of the row. 

Hope you liked it. Drop some lines from your latest work in the comments, if you like, and join in the fun.

Stay thirsty, my friends!

Still Here and Still Working

I know I’ve been gone forever. I have a great excuse. At the end of October, I came down with Chik V. This was just before a very important week of meetings at my job during the month of November. I managed to get my work done, but I was lucky enough to be one of those people who suffer from the chronic stage of the disease, which means even now I still have lingering pain, numbness and other symptoms. I’m not alone, of course. Lots of Trinis have the same problem. The virus has spread like wildfire here. And let me tell you, this virus is the sickest I’ve been since I was a child.

November and December then became consumed with catching up on the work I had to drop for two weeks, trying to write every day, cleaning the house and generally getting ready for Christmas. Christmas turned out great and I’m finally enjoying my vacation. But the plan for the new year is to get back to working out and writing every day again. The fatigue has let up enough for me to return to my regular schedule, I think.

I want to thank all of you who came by, followed me, or just commented. Sorry I haven’t been around, and I will be by all of your blogs before the end of the year to remedy my absence.

I’m currently cleaning up the first part of the sequel to LEX TALIONIS, which I’m calling IACTA ALEA EST (The Die is Cast) for now, so I can get some more forward movement on it. I’m pushing on with THE NIGHTWARD (also known as the ‘Hand of Gaia’) because it’s in my head right now. But if you read LEX TALIONIS you’re probably wondering what the sequel looks like. It’s rough right now, and there’s stuff that needs to be edited, but have a sneak peek at the opening below:

The C.S.S. Invincible

The technician screamed, the smoking stump of his hand smearing his lab coat as he held it to his chest. Through watering eyes, he looked up at the two soldiers standing over him, their faces hidden behind the wavering diamond reflection of distortion masks. The ship’s flashing emergency lights limned their black armour, turning the figure-hugging contours scarlet, then black, then scarlet again.

He could smell his own flesh cooking, and vomit scratched at the back of his throat even as pain tore his nerves to shreds. If he turned around, he knew he would see what was left of his hand lying on the floor of the corridor behind him. But there was no point in turning around. His hand was gone for good. And he was a dead man.

The one on his left lowered the massive lasrifle to his waist, still keeping it at the ready. The soldier on the right held his weapon with the business end pointed at the floor. The soldier was silent for a moment longer, apparently studying the tech, though it was hard to tell through the distortion masks.

“Are you ready to speak to me now?” he intoned, his voice flat and expressionless through the mask.

“I told you, I don’t…”

The rifle came up again, sighting on him. He screamed and felt warm piss trickle down his leg.

“You waste our time,” the soldier continued. “If you will not help us, there are others. Doubtless they will want to live more than you.”

The tech heard the soft whine and click of the lasrifle and could not stop his tears. Above him, the computer informed them that Decks Five through Ten had been breached by intruders and that the Fire Squad should report to a blaze in progress in the Dining Hall. It was a detached report on a dying ship and he knew that if he did not do as they said, he would only suffer more pain.

He was a tech, a lowly tech, not crew and certainly not one of the fearsome security personnel who–inexplicable as it seemed–were dying in droves at the hands of these relentless attackers. Soldiers, really. Soldiers who were better than the best that Conway Enterprises had to offer. Better than men genetically bred to protect and kill. It was unthinkable.

As unthinkable as what he was about to do. Because the only thing he wanted as much as a way off the ship right now was no more pain.

“Shoot him in the–”

“Wait!” He felt every breath that left him as if for the first time.

“I…know where it is. I know where the room is. I can take you there. Please…let me take you there.”

The solider did not move for a moment, then he raised his rifle.

“Lead the way. But be warned–-if you attempt to mislead us, you will die. Slowly and in great pain. Get up.”

That’s all for now. I’ll post more from both books as I go along.

Have a great season and see you again soon!