Tag Archives: dystopian

It Takes Death to Reach a Star Tour

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It Takes Death to Reach a Star cover

Sci fi, dystopian, apocalyptic

Date Published: May 22 2018

Publisher: Vesuvian Books

 

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The world you know is dead. We did this to ourselves.

The epidemic struck at the end of the Third World War. Fighting over oil,
power, and religion, governments ignored the rise of an
antibacterial-resistant plague. In just five years, the Earth was
annihilated. Only one city survived—Etyom—a frozen hellhole in northern
Siberia, engulfed in endless conflict.

The year is 2251.

Two groups emerged from the ashes of the old world. Within the walled
city of Lower Etyom dwell the Robusts—descendants of the poor who were
immune to the New Black Death. Above them, in a metropolis of pristine
platforms called lillipads, live the Graciles—the progeny of the
superrich, bio-engineered to resist the plague.

Mila Solokoff is a Robust who trades information in a world where knowing
too much can get you killed. Caught in a deal gone bad, she’s forced to
take a high-risk job for a clandestine organization hell-bent on
revolution.

Demitri Stasevich is a Gracile with a dark secret—a sickness that, if
discovered, will get him Ax’d. His only relief is an illegal narcotic
produced by the Robusts, and his only means of obtaining it is a journey
to the arctic hell far below New Etyom.

Thrust together in the midst of a sinister plot that threatens all life
above and below the cloud line, Mila and Demitri must master their demons
and make a choice—one that will either salvage what’s left of the human
race or doom it to extinction …

 

        Bronze Medal Winner — 2019
Independent Publisher Book Awards — Science Fiction

·         Gold (1st Place)
Winner — 2019 Feathered Quill Book Awards — Science Fiction/Fantasy

·         Finalist — 2018
Dragon Awards — Science Fiction

·         Winner — 2018 New
York Book Festival — Science Fiction

·         First Place Ribbon
— 2018 Chanticleer International Book Awards — Science Fiction

  

 

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Next Book in the Series

 

In The Shadow Of A Valiant Moon cover

Sci fi, Dystopian, Apocalyptic

Date Published: Aug 25 2020

Publisher: Vesuvian Books

 

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Four years have passed since the lillipads fell and Etyom slipped into
darkness. The New Black Death has mutated again, spreading to near
epidemic proportions. What little order existed in Earth’s last city has
disintegrated into chaos.

Rippers roam the Vapid, robbing and leaving their victims butchered. The
Robusts have spilled out of their broken enclaves and hide in any dark
corner that will conceal them. Meanwhile, the elite Graciles, fallen from
their pristine towers in the sky, have all mysteriously disappeared.

Demitri is a prisoner in his own mind. His demon, Vedmak—now known as the
Vardøger—is manipulating Demitri’s body to execute a secret plan far more
disastrous than even the Gracile Leader dared.

Mila, her status among the fractured resistance elevated to that of
Paladyn—a protector of the people—leads the fight against zealots intent
on destroying what little remains of Etyom. It is a responsibility she
never wanted, a calling that prevents her from doing what she truly
desires.

Yet, Mila should be careful of what she longs. Caught between
annihilation and loyalties that refuse to die, she must reconcile a single
immutable truth: following your heart comes at a price.

Universal link

It Takes Death to Reach a Star paperback

EXCERPT 

MILA

No matter how badly I want it to be different this time, in the end I still die.

We all do.

I lie on the cot, cold sweat clinging to my skin, arms raised to my face, stuck like a marionette tangled in its own strings. The dream feels so real. Another breath—count it out. In, two, three, four. Out, two, three, four. My heart slows, my mind no longer caught in the grip of the terrifying dream: a battle in which I play a critical role, yet I’m no soldier. This nightmare stalks me night after night, and even though I know I’m dreaming, I’m powerless to prevent the inevitablethe coming of Death.

The alarm on my personal electronic device, or PED, chirrups three times: 05:00. Not much sleep during the dark hours, again. I squeeze my shoulders, rubbing away the dull, muscular ache, and try to remember the fading embrace of a brother who now feels far away. A deep breath in, a slow exhale out. Get up already, Mila.

The frigid floor stings my bare feet. I shrug into a few less-than-clean garments and pull on my boots. The stale smell of the attire fills my throat. A shiver crawls across my skin. Sard, it’s cold. Gotta find something warmer. After rummaging through a pile of soiled clothes that lie in the corner of my room, I pull out a short leather jacket, its collar lined with fur—though from what animal is unclear. Shaking it hard a few times, I stare at the fur lining. I know the lice are in there somewhere. No time to try and clean it now. The jacket slips over my shoulders, the ice-cold collar snugging up around my neck. It stinks like dead rat.

My PED and my precious collection of writings go into my satchel, carefully so as not to crush the worn old picture that lies at the bottom. I fish out the faded image of Zevry and me. I can be no more than eight-years old in this photo. He’s grinning, as usual, with one arm wrapped around my shoulder. It was taken more than twenty years ago—yet little seems to have changed. Still have roughly cut short hair, now with a streak of color in the front. Still have a lean, almost boyish frame—though I’ve added some piercings and tattoos over the years in an attempt to distinguish myself. And then of course there’s my scar—cutting its pink path across my forehead and left eye. Slashed deep into my face not long after this picture was taken, it’s a permanent reminder you don’t walk the streets alone in a place like Etyom.

No time for this. I stuff the picture back into my satchel and head out the door without locking it. Anything worth stealing is already on me—and it wouldn’t take much to force the door to my closet-sized room anyway.

My boots creak on the rickety stairs leading into the bar below. It’s quiet now, a far cry from the bedlam hours earlier. Smoke hangs lazily in the air, like the memory of an old ghost.

“Come on, Clief.” I cough. “How do you breathe this stuff night after night?”

The man at the bar raises his head but continues to wipe down the counter. “Oh, it’s not that bad. Sorta like burning plastic.” He offers a tired smile. “Off so early?”

“Every day.” Still pinching my nose and squinting, I make my way toward the door. “I’m serious. Get some fresh air in here. That botchi is going to scramble what’s left of your tiny brain.”

He huffs out a laugh. “And that out there? That’s where you get the fresh air?”

“You know what I mean.”

As I push open the door, the wind hits me like a frozen punch in the mouth. Going out in this icy hell never gets easier. The streets are dark and cold, shadows upon shadows concealing the horrors of Etyom. It’s hard to believe this place was once considered a haven. Long ago, it was a vast, sprawling gulag-turned-mining community called Norilsk. Between World War III and the New Black Death, nearly nine billion people around the world lost their lives. Those who were left fled their homes and cities in search of someplace safer. For many, this barren hellhole was it. The conflict hadn’t fully destroyed the city, and the New Black Death struggled to take hold in the brutal Siberian climate. Survival was possible here.

A mass migration followed; the Russian government was helpless to stop it. Outside Norilsk, organized social structure, at least the way people understood it then, gasped its final dying breath. And then, silence. Communications with the outside world went dark. Zev said anyone who hadn’t died in the war succumbed to the New Black Death. It was then everyone here knew they were truly alone. They chose to isolate themselves, even renamed the city Etyom. My brother and I weren’t born for another few hundred years, the descendants of those who fought to survive. We’re fighters, Mil. Survivors. Nothing can keep us down. That’s why we’re called Robusts.

 

 About Stu Jones

 

A veteran law enforcement officer, Stu Jones has worked as a beat cop, an
investigator, an instructor of firearms and police defensive tactics and
as a member and team leader of a multi-jurisdictional SWAT team.

 

About Gareth Worthington 

 

Gareth Worthington BSc PhD EMBA is a trained marine biologist and holds a
doctorate in comparative endocrinology. Gareth works in the pharmaceutical
industry helping to educate the world’s doctors on new cancer
therapies.

 

 

IT TAKES DEATH TO REACH A STAR: TRAILER #1 

IT TAKES DEATH TO REACH A STAR: TRAILER #2 

IN THE SHADOW OF A VALIANT MOON: TRAILER #1 

IN THE SHADOW OF A VALIANT MOON: TRAILER #2 

 

Contact Links

Website

Gareth Worthington Goodreads

Stu Jones Goodreads

Instagram: @garethworthington @stujonesfiction

 

 

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In the Shadow of a Valiant Moon Blitz

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In the Shadow of a Valiant Moon cover

Sci fi, Dystopian, Apocalyptic

Date Published: Aug 25 2020

Publisher: Vesuvian Books

 

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Four years have passed since the lillipads fell and Etyom slipped into
darkness. The New Black Death has mutated again, spreading to near epidemic
proportions. What little order existed in Earth’s last city has
disintegrated into chaos.

Rippers roam the Vapid, robbing and leaving their victims butchered. The
Robusts have spilled out of their broken enclaves and hide in any dark
corner that will conceal them. Meanwhile, the elite Graciles, fallen from
their pristine towers in the sky, have all mysteriously disappeared.

Demitri is a prisoner in his own mind. His demon, Vedmak—now known as
the Vardøger—is manipulating Demitri’s body to execute a
secret plan far more disastrous than even the Gracile Leader dared.

Mila, her status among the fractured resistance elevated to that of
Paladyn—a protector of the people—leads the fight against
zealots intent on destroying what little remains of Etyom. It is a
responsibility she never wanted, a calling that prevents her from doing what
she truly desires.

Yet, Mila should be careful of what she longs. Caught between annihilation
and loyalties that refuse to die, she must reconcile a single immutable
truth: following your heart comes at a price.

 

 

Previous Book in the Series

 

It Takes Death To Reach A Star cover

Sci fi, dystopian, apocalyptic

Date Published: May 22 2018

Publisher: Vesuvian Books

 

The world you know is dead. We did this to ourselves.

The epidemic struck at the end of the Third World War. Fighting over oil,
power, and religion, governments ignored the rise of an
antibacterial-resistant plague. In just five years, the Earth was
annihilated. Only one city survived—Etyom—a frozen hellhole in
northern Siberia, engulfed in endless conflict.

The year is 2251.

Two groups emerged from the ashes of the old world. Within the walled city
of Lower Etyom dwell the Robusts—descendants of the poor who were
immune to the New Black Death. Above them, in a metropolis of pristine
platforms called lillipads, live the Graciles—the progeny of the
superrich, bio-engineered to resist the plague.

Mila Solokoff is a Robust who trades information in a world where knowing
too much can get you killed. Caught in a deal gone bad, she’s forced to take
a high-risk job for a clandestine organization hell-bent on
revolution.

Demitri Stasevich is a Gracile with a dark secret—a sickness that, if
discovered, will get him Ax’d. His only relief is an illegal narcotic
produced by the Robusts, and his only means of obtaining it is a journey to
the arctic hell far below New Etyom.

Thrust together in the midst of a sinister plot that threatens all life
above and below the cloud line, Mila and Demitri must master their demons
and make a choice—one that will either salvage what’s left of the
human race or doom it to extinction …

 

        Bronze Medal Winner — 2019
Independent Publisher Book Awards — Science Fiction

·         Gold (1st Place)
Winner — 2019 Feathered Quill Book Awards — Science
Fiction/Fantasy

·         Finalist —
2018 Dragon Awards — Science Fiction

·         Winner —
2018 New York Book Festival — Science Fiction

·         First Place Ribbon
— 2018 Chanticleer International Book Awards — Science
Fiction

  

 

Universal link 

 

 

 

EXCERPT from Book 2

 

MILA

 

The young man in the brown jacket spins, arms raised high, a blood-curdling
scream issuing from his lips. A few awkward steps and he falls, sprawling
headlong across a pile of slush and rubble. A crimson fan spreads out under
his corpse, staining the snow red. Another death, another friend of the
cause, gone.

He was seventeen.

All around the pop-whizz of gunfire followed by deafening explosions from
detonating grenades reminds us all the Kahangan stronghold of Nazal will not
fall easily. I slide farther into the frozen mud of the ditch and scrunch
into a ball.

“Mos.” Where the hell is he? “Mos, you with
me?”

“I’m here, Mila.” The barrel chested Kahangan with midnight
skin crawls up next to me, careful to keep his bulk below the rise.

“Who’s hit?”

“Mauricio.”

“Is he dead?”

“He’s not moving.”

“Sniper?” Mos jerks his head in the direction of the building
before us. Politsiya in faded Cyrillic letters adorns the ruined
facade.

“Knows what they’re doing too.” I pull a small mirror from the
arm pouch on my leather jacket and slowly raise it to get a better
view.

In the reflection is the form of a person, prone on the roof of the
palace—if you can call it that.

A glint of light bounces off the glass.

I snatch my hand down and pinch my eyes shut as a chunk of earth explodes
from the rim of the ditch, showering us with wet clods of cold mud. The
lingering crack of a rifle follows. He’s got a sarding scope and a
good, stable position. Guy definitely knows what he’s
 doing.

“There’s a way up to the roof on the back side,” Mos says.
“I can flank his position and approach from behind if you can keep his
attention.” He cocks his head. “That’s probably stupid,
huh?”

“It’s only stupid if it doesn’t work.”

Mos, already shuffling away, motions to a few others hiding in another
ditch to follow.

“What are you going to do?” I ask.

“Wait for my call.” Mos grins, revealing large, square, white
teeth, then creeps away and seems to vanish into thin air.

The cold seeps through my clothing, stealing the fading warmth of the sun.
My scarred Kalashnikov rifle feels like a cold, lead weight. I exchanged my
bean-bag propelling weapon for a death-dealing one some time ago. I
don’t even remember when that happened. Like everything else in this
forsaken city, it just sort of did. Yeos forgive me. I loose my canteen from
my satchel and take a shaky swallow of the nearly frozen water.

A bark, much like a wild dog.

The signal. “Now!”

I drop the canteen, roll to the left, and rise to one knee. Three more of
my fighters appear and the air ignites with the sounds of war. Dust and
stone billow around the sniper’s nest. Our suppressive fire has the desired
effect: he’s blinded by debris.

“Ceasefire!” I kneel again, the Kalashnikov pressed into my
shoulder, watching as the dust clears. “Stand ready.”

We wait in silence, a bitter wind snapping at our scarf-covered
faces.

Another flash of light from the roof.

“Get down!” I flop into the muck.

This time there is no report. No exploding clump of earth. A cry of terror
fills the air, followed by the sounds of a struggle. I chance a glance. Mos
is standing tall and proud on the roof.

“Hold your fire!” I yell.

My comrades lower their weapons. Mos reaches down and plucks up a skinny
Kahangan who drops a long-barreled rifle. The little man screams, flailing
madly against my friend’s superior strength.

“Traitor.” Mos bellows loud enough to be heard, even from down
here. With a single heave, the large Kahangan hurls the sniper over the
edge. The man’s hollow scream is cut short as he strikes the frozen ground
some ten stories below.

I force myself to peer down at his mangled corpse, twisted like a broken
doll in the ice and mud below. The Kalashnikov drops to hang from its canvas
strap across my chest. My people follow suit, relaxing their guard, their
eyes glazed over in a mixture of relief and stress. They’re all good
soldiers. Committed to the cause—peace in Etyom, the last city. The
Kahangan civil war has been going on for too long. Kapka—who somehow
managed to survive the RPG blast on the platform four years
ago—continues his campaign against the followers of Yeos with renewed
vigor, but has so far not managed to take this Musul faction. Instead, in
this desolate place, power-hungry warlords fight over resources while the
people suffer. Here, it’s not Kapka who reigns, but Nazal.

Little is known of the origins of this despot. Some say, like all warlords,
he simply rode to power on the broken backs of the Kahangan people. That
there was nothing he wasn’t willing to do and no one he wasn’t
willing to betray to claim the power he felt was owed to him. Others seem to
whisper of his evil deeds like he’s some sort of phantom—a
terrible consequence of our own divisiveness. Whatever the case, Nazal is a
plague. He’s no Kapka, but the piles of corpses he’s left in his
wake can no longer be overlooked. The resistance will stop him because
someone must.

 

 About Stu Jones

 

A veteran law enforcement officer, Stu Jones has worked as a beat cop, an
investigator, an instructor of firearms and police defensive tactics and as
a member and team leader of a multi-jurisdictional SWAT team.

 

About Gareth Worthington 

 

Gareth Worthington BSc PhD EMBA is a trained marine biologist and holds a
doctorate in comparative endocrinology. Gareth works in the pharmaceutical
industry helping to educate the world’s doctors on new cancer
therapies.

 

 

IT TAKES DEATH TO REACH A STAR: TRAILER #1 

IT TAKES DEATH TO REACH A STAR: TRAILER #2 

IN THE SHADOW OF A VALIANT MOON: TRAILER #1 

IN THE SHADOW OF A VALIANT MOON: TRAILER #2 

 

Contact Links

Website

Gareth Worthington Goodreads

Stu Jones Goodreads

Instagram: @garethworthington @stujonesfiction

 

Purchase Link

Universal link

 

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VanWest the Past Blitz

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Dystopian, Science Fiction, Time Travel
Date Published: May 2020
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VanWest The Past is the first book in the VanWest series, about an Enforcer who lives in a dystopian Earth of the year 3000 and works for an authoritarian ruler called the Universal Council. Tasked with travelling through time to stop a renegade sect, that seeks to change Earth’s past, he comes to learn about his dark origins and his unique ability.
Falling in love with the daughter of its leader, Mad Newton, he returns to the present to face a difficult choice, whether or not to save her. And be part of the New Beginning.
Coming Soon
The Present cover
In Van West The Present, he must confront his past, taking him on a new mission to Mars that brings him face-to-face with the man who created him. To be released soon.
VanWest the Past tablet

 

About the Author
Kenneth Thomas is a British author from Windsor, home of Windsor Castle. He used to live in Los Angeles where he worked for BBC News and MGM Studios, but is currently living and working in the Netherlands.
He is currently writing book 2 and 3 of the VanWest Series (The Past, The Present and The Future).
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The Thirteenth Guardian Blitz

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Sci-Fi, Post-Apocalyptic, Dystopian
Date Published: June 2019
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DA VINCI’S SECRET PALES. Michelangelo concealed an explosive truth in his famous Creation of Adam fresco in the Sistine Chapel. Eve did not cause the fall of man. She carried a far more devastating secret for millennia—one that will change the world forever.
As the modern-day world suffers the cataclysmic effects of the “Plagues of Egypt,” Avery Fitzgerald, a statuesque Astrophysics major at Stanford, discovers that she is mysteriously bound to five strangers by an extremely rare condition that foremost medical experts cannot explain. Thrust into extraordinary circumstances, they race against time to stay alive as they are pursued by an age-old adversary and the world around them collapses into annihilation.
Under sacred oath, The Guardians—a far more archaic and enigmatic secret society than the Freemasons, Templars, and the Priory—protect Avery as she embarks on a daring quest that only legends of old have been on before. Avery must come to terms with the shocking realization that the blood of an ancient queen flows through her veins and that the fate of the world now rests on her shoulders.
Listen to the Free Audio Chapters
Also available on:
GooglePlay, IHeartRadio, TuneIn and Stitcher.
About the Author:
K.M. Lewis has lived in multiple countries around the world and speaks several languages. Lewis holds a graduate degree from one of the Universities featured in his book. When he is not writing, Lewis doubles as a management consultant, with clients in just about every continent. He does much of his writing while on long flights and at far-flung airports around the globe. He currently resides on the East Coast of the United States with his family.
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Return of Anarchy Tour

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New Australia Book 2
Science Fiction/Post-apocalyptic/Dystopian
Date Published:  11/21/2019
Publisher: Chandra Press
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The thrilling sequel to Rijel 12: The Rise of New Australia.
A planet on the verge of destroying itself. A young woman determined to stop it before all is lost.
Ten years have passed since Earth invaded. The volcanic blast that turned the tide of the war has changed the face of the planet forever. What was once a scorched wasteland has been quenched by frequent rains. Farms now cover the surface. The citizens of New Australia have thrived.
Anarchy, the flagship of the resistance thought lost during the war, suddenly returns. To Admiral Slout and his crew, it’s only been 6 months since the raid on Star fantasy. But on New Australia, seventeen years have passed, and much has changed. The pirates struggle to reintegrate into a society with rules and laws. Unfortunately that’s not all.
The Anarchy brought something back with it. Something more dangerous than anyone could have expected. With the planet on the verge of civil war and leadership in disarray, can anyone stop New Australia from tearing itself apart?
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EXCERPT

From Chapter One, THE PORTAL:

“Mr. Brilly … do we have confirmation yet?”

Admiral Slout Epydidimus had just returned to the command bridge and was seated in his captain’s chair onboard the Naustie flagship Anarchy.  This had been specially made for him after the former freighter had been captured following the riot at New Australia Planetary Prison.  Originally designed for humans – and with Admiral Snout being a pig-like Suidonji – it had to be altered to accommodate his form.  He was addressing Ensign Frilbriliram who had been awaiting word as to whether the ship’s science officer had given the green light. 

His science team had been working nonstop for the past twenty hours.  They’d studied the area and discovered conditions were right for the existence of a wormhole, a space anomaly that most considered theoretical at best.  The idea of actually travelling through one had been routinely dismissed over the centuries.  The concept of a ‘space portal’ was an old one; and to ship captains more legend than reality.  A thousand years ago wormholes had been proposed by a revered scientist back on Earth.  That being said, few outside the literary community ever imagined one being traversed

Not knowing how far behind their pursuers were; not to mention whether the enemy were gaining on them, the only option seemed to be in taking a detour, even though they’d taken one already and it had cost them.  Landing on Kapteyn B had been necessary of course.  They’d had to offload female prisoners from the Chengshi.  Jettisoning them into space was not something Admiral Slout was willing to do.  Changing direction wouldn’t cut it – they were being tracked and had been for quite some time.  Once within firing range they’d be obliterated.  It was preferable to find some way to conceal their location for a time.  Disappearing inside of a wormhole – at least to Admiral Slout and his command staff – sounded immensely appealing.  Not that Minggatu didn’t have a point.

True, the ship’s spectrometer had picked up on the anomaly; but that shouldn’t have seemed unusual.  They’d been running for their lives for some time now; had activated their warheads in order to provide extra speed – thus setting up a harmonic field which caused a subspace field to be generated.  This had illuminated a corridor and the spectrometer had identified a passage parallel to the ship.  Minggatu, a soft-spoken Mongolian, tried explaining this when it had first occurred.  Admiral Slout only heard what he wanted to hear; especially when his first officer alerted him to the opportunity.  Did they have the technology to “open the door” and thus “disappear” entirely?  That’s all he’d wanted to know.  If successful – if they truly could burrow through the fabric of space and survive to the other side – the Interplanetary Fleet would have no idea where they’d gone.  Minggatu thought it to be foolhardy.

“Admiral, you need to realize – or do you already know just how risky this would be?  We won’t have any idea what’s on the other side.  Even if we can force it open … even if we do manage to keep it open long enough to pass through.  You know this, right?”  That’s how he’d explained himself – trying not to be insubordinate, yet being as honest as he possibly could.

“A wormhole, just so we’re understanding each other, they’re only theoretical – a passage through space-time that supposedly creates a shortcut between two points in the universe.  Yes, they’re predicted by the theory of general relativity but nothing more.  Predicted; not verified.  And according to Einstein-Rosen theory there is serious danger of collapse, not to mention high radiation.”

Slout did not interrupt.  He’d learned when it came to subordinates expressing expert opinions that it was wiser to let them speak their minds.  If they rattled on long enough they’d often end up talking themselves into whatever was proposed.  That was always best.  Minggatu had plenty to say.

“The first problem is size, sir.  You see, primordial wormholes are predicted to exist on microscopic levels – centimeters wide at the most.  Sure, as the universe has evolved, it is possible – remotely possible mind you – that some may have grown.  The universe is constantly expanding.  But the main issue is stability.  Even Einstein himself never considered them as a means of traveling from one galaxy to another because they collapse quickly.  That is, we believe they do.”

But that’s where Slout had him.  It was merely a matter of making the argument that the Anarchy’s warp drive was predicated on the creation of non-baryonic matter.  He too knew a thing or two about interstellar travel.  Had to.  He’d been a ship’s captain for many years; was a smuggler before he was sent to prison.  Offered a “deal” if he’d identify the mobsters he was working for, he’d wisely chosen ten years at New Australia Planetary Prison rather than cooperating with investigators.  If only he would have, he might have gotten off with a suspended sentence but Slout was too smart.  The mob would have killed him for doing something like that.

“Yes,” the admiral replied, pretending to be ill-informed.  “I’ve heard of this.  We would need some form of exotic matter, I believe it’s called, in order to hold it open long enough for us to pass through.”

“That’s right, Admiral.  You were told correctly,” Minggatu observed.  “And it’s not clear whether such a thing exists in great enough quantity within the natural realm.  True, it could work in keeping the portal open while traversing one end to the other, but ….” 

“But what?” said the ship captain.  He could sense that his science officer knew the answer.  The trick was in getting him to admit it.  

“Well, sir, it’s just that such matter … exotic matter … has only been discovered while in certain vacuum states as part of quantum theory.  Those experiments are – I mean they’ve only been conducted in a controlled laboratory environment.”

Slout decided it was time to turn the screws.  What had always been believed – though never attempted in space – was that exotic matter contained negative energy density and large negative pressure.  If it could be “created” in a lab, why couldn’t it be done now using the same technology they already had onboard?  

“I see.  And do we not have a laboratory onboard this ship?” asked Slout.  “Do we not already have the necessary facilities to accomplish this?”

“Accomplish what, Admiral?” asked Minggatu; being extra careful not to sound flippant.  The ship’s commander wasn’t just his superior officer; he was also a massive Suidonji, fully capable of snapping the man’s neck if he wanted to.  Still, he could sense what his commander was driving at and it made him terribly uneasy. Slout, for his part, was done playing cat and mouse with the disgraced former college professor.  What the little fellow really needed was to see the bigger picture; and Slout was happy to enlighten him. After a pause he stood up from the small table they were seated at and snorted menacingly, placing his front hooves on the surface and glaring at him.

“Perhaps it is me who should be doing the explaining.  We’re being chased, Minggatu … and by a force fully capable of not only destroying us but everyone – every living soul on New Australia.  It is what it is, but you need to understand just what’s at stake here. We’ve been running from the IPF for quite some time – and to be honest, we may never see our home planet again.  But if we can elude them long enough, who knows what could happen? All we know is that we’re alive today … and you, my friend, can see to it we’re still that way tomorrow.”

He then grinned his typical grin – it looked more like a smirk.  Not well-known for his humor he raised a thick eyebrow and waited for the science officer’s response.  Like any good leader he knew when he’d made his point; what’s more he knew when to stop talking and let his subordinate process what had been said.  Say too much and it allowed time for devising a comeback. Say just enough – make it clear what was required of the man – that’s all he wished to do.  Either way it was a direct order he was giving; whether implied or stated.

“Figure it out,” he added, in order to remove all doubt what he was demanding.  This he did while raising up and placing his hooves on his hips. Minggatu realized this meant it was the end of the meeting.  Slout was done with him for now. He’d either produce the results they needed in order to escape through the wormhole or die right along with the rest of his fellow crewmen.  Might be days – weeks – hours later once the Interplanetary Fleet caught up with them; but they would.

“Yes Admiral,” was all he said in reply.

About the Author

 

King Everett Medlin has been writing since 2013, when he first developed the idea for Rijel 12. It was originally designed to be a SciFi series, with the objective of creating several short installments. Instead he got a lucky break when Chandra Press from San Diego responded favorably to the original draft, deciding to publish it as a full length novel. King lives in Denver, Colorado with his lovely wife Caroline and has two grown children. He’s a graduate of the University of Oklahoma where he played college Rugby; and remains a diehard Sooners fan to this day. His specialties are Science Fiction and Mystery/Suspense novels, focusing on unusual stories with intriguing plot-lines and amazing characters.
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