Wednesday, July 31, 2013

WIP Wednesday – Clans of Kalquor 8: Alien Caged

Zemos fixed him with a steady look.  “The war is over, Captain.  You need to surrender your vessel.  Not to Kalquor.  Go to the Galactic Council and surrender to them.”

Despite the care etching worry lines, Walker’s features were still those of a young man, and he looked almost like a child to the Dramok as he shifted uncomfortably from one foot to the other.  “It would make life simpler wouldn’t it?  I let that option go three years back when the war ended, though.  It’s too late.”

Miragin spoke, his tone gentle.  “It is never too late to listen to your conscience.  It’s obvious you’re a good man with high values.  You can still end this useless madness of fighting our destroyers and taking us prisoner.”

Zemos added, “Earth is dead.  Your people scattered.  Why are you still fighting?”

Walker scowled, his shoulders hunching defensively.  Yes, at just over 30 years of age, he was only a boy compared to Zemos, and he certainly looked the part right now.  “Because that’s what a man who’s backed into a corner does.  He fights or he dies.”

“Somehow we’ve become a weapon for you.”

Walker gave him a startled look.  “Why do you say that?”

Zemos stepped close to the containment field so he could be closer to Walker.  He folded his arms over his chest and looked down on the Earther, doing his best paternal attitude.  “There is no other reason to keep us alive.  You plan to use us somehow.  As weapons – or as bartering objects.”

Walker’s gaze skittered away.  Aha, thought Zemos.  That’s what’s going on then.  We’re some sort of bargaining tool for the Earthers.

Unfortunately, his discovery had rattled young Captain Walker.  He took a step back and glanced down the corridor, apparently ready to leave.

The Earther said, “I’ll see what I can do to have the tactical officer move personnel around so you don’t have to deal with Remington anymore.”

“Joseph—” Zemos started, trying to keep the young man from leaving.  He needed to know what the Earthers had in store for him and what survived of his crew.

Walker interrupted, talking even as he walked away.  “I have to get back to the bridge.  I’ll check on things again soon.”  He nearly ran out of the cell block.

Tentative release in October.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Sunday’s Serving – Clans of Kalquor 8: Alien Caged (WIP)

Walker was a young man, even by Earther standards, but he had an old look on his face.  As usual, Zemos felt an unwelcome stab of pity for his captor.  Walker was the enemy, but he was the nicest enemy the Dramok had ever encountered.  It seemed odd to wish the man who had demolished Zemos’ destroyer and taken his surviving crew prisoner was an asshole.  The Kalquorian wished for nothing more than to be able to hate Walker as easily as he hated Remington, but the damned man wouldn’t grant him the luxury.

Walker looked at Remington with tired disgust.  “You were reminding them of their place by killing them?”  He snorted with derision.  “I’m sure after they’re dead they’ll accord you all the respect you can wish for.  Get back to the observation post.”

Remington looked aghast.  “You want me to leave you alone with them?”  As if he hadn’t done that very thing with the much more helpless Elisa.

Walker tapped the containment field, and a flare of bright yellow light made Zemos squint.  “Since you weren’t foolish enough to drop the field, I think I will be fine.  Out, Ensign.  At the end of your shift, you may report to your superior for disciplinary measures.  I will inform him of your dangerous actions with the prisoners.”

“Yes sir.”  His face angry and embarrassed, Remington holstered his blaster and field disruptor.
Walker watched him slouch out of the room, waiting for Remington to get out of earshot before turning his attention to Zemos and his clan.  He sighed as he met the Kalquorian’s eyes.

“My apologies to you and your clan, Captain Zemos.  I am glad none of you were hurt.”

Zemos spoke to him much as he might a member of his own crew who had committed an infraction.  “That one should be watched most carefully, Captain Walker.  He is trouble not only to us but to members of your own crew.”

Release tentatively set for October.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

WIP Wednesday – To Protect and Service: Ravenous Virtue

The two men turned to her.  Daagiis said, “No camouflage for this exercise.  We’ll go hand-to-hand and test your abilities.”

Raven looked from one to the other.  She was used to being the smallest kid on the block, but she was still up against two muscled men who had unknown fighting abilities.  She scowled.

“So, no weapons.  Me against the two of you.  And this is fair because—?”

Daagiis grinned at her grumpy tone.  “Because I am going to load a program into your interface.  It contains all the information you need to defend yourself against two larger, stronger assailants.  Hold still.  You’ll go offline for a few moments.”

Before Raven could ask him what he meant by going offline, the face-changer grasped the underside of her jaw, holding her still while he plugged something into small port at the base of her skull.  Daagiis had pointed it out to her as he’d braided her hair.  The idea she had an actual computer port in her head plus a computer had been surreal, to say the least.  

She was definitely not in Kansas anymore.

The instant Daagiis plugged his device in, Raven couldn’t move.  A strange buzzing, felt more than heard, filled her skull.  Her mouth fell open and in a voice not quite hers, Raven said in a monotone, “Download successful.”

Daagiis unplugged what looked like a slender rod from her port.  Raven could think and move again, and she staggered a little.  Vendeen grabbed her shoulder to steady her.

Raven shook her head.  “Holy shit.  That was not pleasant.”

Vendeen thumped the back of his hand against her abdomen, letting her feel a slight thud from his knuckles.  “Your bodysuit is flexibly armored.  It will record any kill blows we land, but other than extreme pain—” he grinned evilly “—you will not truly be harmed.”

Daagiis added, “Head shots to you are off limits, but you are free to attack us in any way you wish.”

Raven gave him the meanest look she could summon.  “You don’t think I can do any harm?”

Daagiis rolled his eyes.  “Of course you can.  If we are foolish enough to allow it, we don’t deserve to live.”

Raven stared at him in shock.  The two men were serious about this.  The grim looks they gave each other told her they meant business.

Vendeen narrowed his black eyes at her.  “Let’s see what you know, my protector.”

Releasing in August

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Sunday’s Serving – To Protect and Service: Ravenous Virtue (WIP)

Daagiis provided Raven with a sleek, one-piece garment like his and Vendeen’s.  He referred to it as a ‘camosuit’.  She wasn’t sure why it was called that since it had none of the olive and green or desert splashes of color she’d come to associate with camouflage clothing.  The iridescent black that shimmered beautifully in the light.  It had attached feet, the soles of which were made for serious traction like hiking boots.  It also had a hood to cover her head with, along with the attached gloves.

When she pulled it on, she discovered the thick padding over her torso and back.  At her questioning look, Daagiis nodded.  “Body armor, similar to the Kevlar vest you weren’t wearing the day you got shot.”

Raven scowled at that dig, but Daagiis was absolutely right.  Arizona desert heat or not, she should have been better protected.  Not wearing her vest had been a stupid mistake, one she’d very nearly paid the ultimate price for.

As soon as she had the bodysuit on, Daagiis said, “Say, ‘activate camouflage’.

Raven did so and gasped to see her body disappear.  Well, not quite disappear.  It simply showed everything behind her.  Her long, black hair seemed to float in thin air.

“If you put your hood on, your head will be camouflaged as well,” Vendeen said.  He demonstrated with the suit he wore.  Other than a slight distortion in the air when he moved, he had become invisible.

“It even works for the face though there’s nothing over it,” Raven noted with awe.

“It emits a field that takes care of that part of you.”

“Cool,” she breathed.

Vendeen said, “Deactivate camoflage,” and reappeared.  Raven followed suit.

“Anyone wearing thermal goggles will still pick up your body heat, but you’ll escape most detection by the naked eye,” Daagiis said.  He pulled out one of the dining chairs.  “Sit down.”

Releasing in August.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

WIP Wednesday – Clan Beginnings: Clan, Honor, and Empire

            Gegra looked at him with visible pride.  “My son, Dramok Rajhir.  Here you are, a young man on the threshold of his life.  Schooling and internships completed, ready to begin your journey into a life of service to your people.  I have offered my congratulations?”
            Rajhir bowed his head in respect.  “Yes, my father.  Even if you had not spoken them, the new shuttle you gave me would have sufficed.”
            “Enjoying it, I presume?”
            Rajhir thought of how impressed his recent Imdiko dates had been with the sleek vehicle, the newest model fresh from the factory.  He thought the Matara he planned to enjoy the night with would be quite delighted to be escorted in such finery too.  He couldn’t help the grin that spread over his face.  “I’m enjoying it very much.”
            Gegra snorted.  “I thought so.  Imdiko Iresh’s father contacted me two days ago to remind me his son, as infatuated as he is with you, is already promised to another Dramok.  He requested you stop turning the young man’s head with expensive dinners and fine shuttles.”
            “He’s not clanned yet.  Iresh can enjoy his freedom while he has it.  Besides, I’m not chasing him.  We were only having a night out as far as I’m concerned.”
            “Good, because it’s now time to get serious about your future.  While we’re on the subject of Imdikos, you have been of clanning age for two years now.  No valid prospects yet?”
            “Nothing of note.”  Rajhir was in no hurry to settle down quite yet.  He greatly enjoyed the few Mataras available, both their company and their bodies.  His family’s connections and high rank had allowed him the rare opportunity to bed the scant few in the territory.  Rajhir knew six such women, and to judge by how they always commed him when they visited the area, he knew they enjoyed him too.  One of them had contacted him just today to let him know she expected to see him tonight, and he looked forward to the diversion.
            To gain a female as a permanent mate, to even court one seriously, required Rajhir first clan a male from each of the other two breeds, a Nobek and an Imdiko.  He had not yet met many men he was particularly attracted to so far, certainly none he wanted to spend the rest of his 200-plus remaining years of life with.  Besides, he was having fun with the various men and women he took to dinner, events, and his apartment.
            Gegra had other ideas.  “You need to get to work on that.  Those Imdikos become almost as rare as the women in a dozen years or so.”

No release date set.