domingo, 27 de febrero de 2011

A Leap Of Faith - Chapter Five

Planet Goldburn
3rd Eclisiarch Protectorate

Soldiers filed silently between the eerie remains of the city. They had been dropped at first light, their Regiment tasked with investigating in detail a disturbing report. The city appeared empty, devoid of any human life. Papers tumbled aimlessly in the wind, calls echoed without answer and now the men and women gripped their weapons tightly, more in fear than readiness. A shutter banged and a volley of laser fire followed. Officers called their men to order and the anxious procession continued.


Trooper Toni Alcaraz spat the dust from his mouth, grinned at his companions and followed the non-com’s hand signals. Men and women took up defensive positions, rifles scanned the surrounding area and they waited. There was nothing. The square in which they had stopped, the blank windows of buildings and the darkened alleys stared back at them.

“Come on...”

Alcaraz mouthed his words silently, his vigilance high as around him his fellows began to relax. A Captain approached, spoke with their Corporal and people began to relax. Not so Alcaraz, there was something ....
Boiling plasma erupted from a nearby doorway, cooking the Captain into cinders. It was followed by the crump of grenades, the bark of high-explosive rounds and the screams of dying men.

“Frak!” Toni cursed, as he tracked a flitting shape. Two quick squeezes of his trigger and he was rewarded with the disappearance of movement. He could not be sure he had hit his target, but this did not dissuade him. All around there were the cries and moans of injured soldiers. His appeared the only rifle spitting venom towards the enemy and a quick glance confirmed his worst fears. The platoon had been decimated.

Again he saw something and fired, more out of reaction than intent and scuttled backwards under cover. His leg thumped into flesh and was answered by a groan. He could see a free hand which he grabbed, dragging the unfortunate with him. They took cover behind some burning wreckage and he squatted next to his erstwhile colleague. It was the Corporal. One side of his body had been melted away and Toni gagged. His heroics had been useless. She was dead, the groaning only the air trapped in her lungs escaping.

More dark shapes snapped his head back and he unbuckled the pistol from the Corporal’s waist. It seemed as though he was definitely on his own. He flipped the body over and a quick search of the dead woman’s backpack revealed a couple of fragmentation grenades. These he hung from his combat harness and turned to the front.

What he saw shocked him. Strange, winged creatures skulked in the shadows. They hugged the protection of the darkness, using the scant cover religiously. Alcaraz stifled a gasp when he saw they faces; taut yellow skin clung to their skulls, it looked as though it had been added as an afterthought. Long teeth filled their grinning mouths and clod eyes surveyed their kill. He took careful aim at the first to reach the human corpses, held his breath and then released it slowly. His shot was instinctive, the brilliant beam searing through the hideous visage and the monster collapsed to the ground. Now for the first time he heard new noise, a weird whooping call which attracted all attention to him. En masse they came and Toni rose from his shelter, rifle discarded and with a grenade in each hand.

“Come to Poppa.” he said, as he casually primed and threw.

Blood and brains, bones and gore. Toni laughed manically as he was showered with the detritus of the explosion. A torn wing whistled above him as it span away. He unslung his rifle and on semi-automatic cut his foes in half. That they would kill him never entered his mind, he was submerged in the joy of battle. Bolts whizzed by him, exploding brickwork, metal and glass. Alcaraz did not care.

Step by step he advanced, dropping charges, reloading and killing in numb fury. When there were none in front of him, he span left and continued. It was then shells started to drop, he though, was oblivious. His rifle clicked empty and he drew his pistol, the rifle tossed aside. The roar of engines was lost on him, shouts of command and volleys of laser fire followed. He dodged a flailing arm, swayed and then clubbed the stock of his now empty pistol down onto an alien head. A hand grasped his arm and he whirled.

“Whoa, Trooper!”

Reality returned with a bang as a meaty hand slapped across his face. The red mist of battle evaporated and Toni saw the Officer in front of him with his flanking troopers.

“Sir! Sorry, Sir!”

The man grinned and glanced around at the carnage wrought by this single man.

“Been busy, haven’t we?”


Toni too gazed silently at the shattered bodies, both alien and human. Reaction set in and he began to shake. The hand on his shoulder felt heavy and unwelcome. Alcaraz had survived but could not lose the resentment which flooded his senses. They had been sent in here, their task obviously to flush out whatever was waiting for them and the grinning Inspector represented the worst of the Command structure. A low growl started deep in Alcaraz’s throat and his fists clenched. Fear crossed the dark-coated figure in front of him as Toni took a step forward. Something crashed against the back of his skull and he crumpled to his knees, before falling headlong into the dirt.

“Another one,” grumbled the Inspector, “take him to the Staging Post with the others. There’s a smell of demon about this one.”

The Inspector sniffed and then studied the corpses. This scene had been played out in other areas of the city, men and women turning into mad beasts as they slaughtered. High Command had been right about this place and it would be best if the rest of the troops knew nothing more than the heroics of their comrades. A quick execution should take care of everything, but not here in front of the cheering Guards. No, it would be done quietly when they had gathered them all together.

High upon one of the buildings nearby, wreathed in shadows, a miniscule figure watched the scene being played out. A communicator was raised to thin lips and commands barked. The plan was working, the Seeding having its required effects. Soon they could begin the Harvest.


When Alcaraz woke, he found himself in a small dark cell. The smell was rich with sweat, vomit and fear. He rolled to one side and pushed with his hands. It took a little time, but at last he rose to his feet. Mumbled curses greeted him and he was bumped to one side, his shoulder finding the wall.

“Where am I?”

“Hell.” came the mumbled reply. A woman, the chevrons on her uniform identifying her was knelt next to him.

“What happened?”

“You were too efficient, like the rest of us. It doesn’t pay to stand out from the crowd. At least not in a coin we were willing to be paid.”

Alcaraz squinted, the woman Sargeant was small and lithe, yet the scar on her left cheek spoke of experience.

“I remember the firefight, then a frakking Inspector and … nothing.”

“Yeah, we did a lot of killing and were given a lovely reward too. We’re behind the front lines and waiting for judgement. It’ll be quick, final.”

“Why?” Toni was confused.

“Stop whining man. We’ve seen something, done something, screwed up somehow. Who cares?”

Toni cared. He remembered the aliens, their horrid faces and their blood. The Inspectorate were rigid in their ways, but this did not sit right. Whatever plan they were following, Toni did not agree. He was not prepared to wait for an arbitrary decision. Getting out of here was the priority.

His hands fumbled against the rough walls, eventually finding the bars of the cell. There was always one opportunity and Toni was determined to take it. He felt down into his boot top and found the handle of his hidden blade. A grunt of satisfaction escaped his lips and he hunched down, waiting.

Time passed slowly but he was patient. He was rewarded by the clink of metal against metal, as soldiers approached. Tense, coiled, he let himself relax. A buzz of energy filled his muscles, the knife how concealed in his hand, the blade tucked flush against his sleeve.

Voices snapped and the door was opened and they were herded out into the daylight. Alcaraz squinted as the bright light struck him and a surreptitious glance showed him the soldiers lined up, rifles at port as they waited for their orders. A pock-marked wall was their destination and Toni knew that they had been judged and found wanting.

“Frak this!” he cursed, exploding into action. His right hand lashed outwards, splitting the skin of one of his Guards. A swift kick to a knee was rewarded with the crunch of bone and he was free, a rifle in his hand. Pandemonium followed and he fired, determined that he would not be the only one to die today.

No-one heard the hum of the engines until it was too late. The fighters had risen slowly from their concealment, boosters kicking in with a roar. Plasma bolts announced their arrival to the struggling mass of soldiery and their indiscriminate fire followed. They screamed across the sky in run after run and laid down a curtain of fire. Alcaraz and the other prisoners had once more devolved into their murderous state and were oblivious to the unexpected aid.

Without conscious thought they were drawn together, those survivors of the first encounters with the enemy. Where rifles were unavailable, they used nature´s own weapons and their mad attacks sowed fear amongst the Guard around them. They did not flinch but pursued their violent attack until there was a partially cleared area around them. Toni heard the call, which started as a low buzzing which tugged and gnawed at him. Like a wild animal his head rose questing for the source and at last he saw the small craft settle to the ground nearby.

Fighters streaked past, carving a clear path for the vehicle. The buzzing became more insistent and marionette-like he lurched towards the opening door in its side. The others followed, ignoring the shouts of the Guard as they reformed and prepared to attack. Laser bolts struck some of Toni’s new companions but they ignored them and one-by-one walked crawled or dragged their way into the beckoning darkness of the craft’s entrance. With a clunk the metal cover fell into place, engines whined and they took to the air, the fighters forming a protective cordon all around.


Toni regained consciousness in the darkness once more, he could feel the movement beneath his feet and hear the whimpering of injured men. He remembered little but the all-consuming rage. His skin itched and burned and he had an almost irresistible urge to scream. He scratched at his arms, his face and his neck in monotonous repetition until he bled.

Bubbling through everything came his anger as he searched the darkness for more foes. It was then he saw the red lights begin to appear; small intense pin-pricks of brightness, evenly spaced. The others looked back and cowered until they too were overcome. None approached Toni, even when they changed. They could clearly see his face and the flames which crackled deep within his eyes.

sábado, 26 de febrero de 2011

FREE e-Book for One Month ONLY

As the title says, SDII A Guiding Light is available FREE from Smashwords for the next month ONLY.


domingo, 20 de febrero de 2011

A Guiding Light - Smashwords

Seven sources of power, demons, unknown heroes and an all-powerful religion clash in a titanic struggle.

Men have become beasts. Some by choice and others by an unknown design. A galaxy-spanning battle has begun and not all yet know their part.

The Fortress has been reduced to rubble, the Taurans swept aside and the snarling K'ran's head banner flies in secret pride. A strange signal is received, a vast Tauran Fleet assembled and Walters and his men must again stand against both religious intolerance and Dark Magic. An unknown power calls to them all in a deadly race against time.

Cover Art by Diggory Steele-Perkins.

miércoles, 16 de febrero de 2011

Plasma Pistol or SRM's?

Thank goodness I can write my frustrations away. Plots to stories can appear from within the mundane, the frustrating and even the earth-shatteringly annoying. We all experience new things every day. For example:

That televison show with the annoying person spinning the wheel and guessing some conundrum. You can throw something at them can write The Dark Wheel...

The Dark Wheel

Shinzen City
Mai Ling
First Ecclesiarch Protectorate

“Roll up, roll up!"

The hawker reeled in his prey. It was his job, and his pleasure. There was always someone; the gullible, the brave and the foolhardy were all attracted to The Wheel. He saw them approach and was glad. A quick adjustment of his hat, a twirl of his cane and he was ready.

“Welcome to the Dark Wheel, a unique and life-changing experience..."

Adam DeVries half-heard the spiel, although the firm breast pressed against his shoulder drew more of his attention. This was their last night; tomorrow the transports would leave for the war-zone and these memories would remain with him, blur a little the horror and despair which awaited.

“Hey, Adam," Johnny Colso broke into his thoughts, “what about in here?"

Adam looked up, the garish neon sign drawing his attention. It was a crude representation of a wheel, held in place by a scantily-clad young woman. Strange sigils marked each of sixteen points on its edges and as he watched it span dizzily. What the...? He blinked, it was again only a sign.

“Yes Sir," wheedled the hawker, “why not make this a night to remember?"

The young woman on his arm squeezed closer and Adam assented; it was probably dark inside, and just maybe the evening could start early.


The two couples entered into the damp interior of the tent; three rows of chairs were placed parallel to, and slightly below a crude stage. On which stood the wheel itself; a shabby structure held its stained and flaking body. From the rear of the stage a woman entered; more naked than clothed as excess flesh poured from her tight costume.

“Ah, what do we have here?"

Her voice was low, sultry and in contrast to the seedy costume she wore. Adam felt a strange attraction and in response to the woman’s allure, the girl at his side pressed closer.

“You!" a grimy finger stabbed towards Adam, “A likely looking boy. Would you care to spin The Wheel?"

He started to reply, but an imperious waggle of her digit, stalled him.

“Not so hasty, My Pretty, there are things you should know, before you answer. Sit, whilst I explain."

All of them obeyed her command and she rested one hand against the mechanism before speaking.

“The Dark Wheel comes to us through the mists of time. It is a powerful artefact whose very existence is an abomination. Each spin cuts reality with the screams of a thousand condemned souls. Those who failed its test, who faltered when faced with fear, were consumed by the evil which resides within. It can show you your heart’s desire or torment you with your innermost demons. Do you still wish to continue? This will be your one and only opportunity to refuse..."

Johnny laughed, “At least we'll get our money's worth. You going first Adam, or shall I?"

“Whatever you like," Adam said, grinning in return.

“Okay," said Johnny, stepping onto the raised platform, “but please be gentle, it 's my first time."

The woman merely smiled and bowed him graciously forward, indicating where he should place his hand. With a heave, Johnny started the wheel spinning, the clacking of its spokes rapidly joining in a single note. Adam could not look away; the sigils blurred into one hypnotic line and a weird keening began.

“Can you hear them?" cackled the woman, “The souls, can you hear them?"


Johnny's cry faded into the background noise as Adam lost consciousness; each spin of the wheel pulled him in closer, ripping him screaming from his body...

You can read the rest of it on SW...if you dare

viernes, 4 de febrero de 2011

AGL - Chapter Two

Argent III
Disputed Zone
Second Church Protectorate

The world of Argent III, sat innocuously in its usual place, revolving quietly around its particularly uneventful sun. Nothing ever happened here, in fact nothing had ever happened out of the ordinary as far as the inhabitants of the planet were concerned. That is, until this one fine morning, when war came slowly yet resolutely to the system.

Ships winked into real space, taking up their predetermined positions. Shuttles began to ferry Church troops to the planet’s surface, irrespective of the local Governor’s complaints. Regiment after regiment was deployed, and the Guardsmen began to dig themselves in.

Shortly after the final troop transport was once more safely in the arms of the fleet, the main body of vessels jumped once more. They had other worlds to find, other fortifications to build and time was running out.


Stiv Viker was among the first to make planet fall. Somehow Johns and his platoon had been adopted by the gruff Leftenant Krantu. They had been relieved of their more mundane duties and put through some special training. Little more had been said about the unusual treatment meted out to the Inspector, but truth be told, none of them were particularly upset about Ivanov’s predicament.

An APC roared past, spraying mud into the air and Stiv delicately wiped the front of his tunic. He, like many of his fellows, took an inordinate pride in his Regimental emblem. It instilled confidence; he always felt ready for anything when he was dressed in his uniform. Even with his body armour in place, he could feel where the snarling head sat over his heart, and was comforted.

He laughed uncontrollably as he saw Alana misjudge her step and fall backwards into a muddy puddle.

“Viker!” screamed Corporal Johns, “Don’t just stand there! Give her a hand!”

The thought of clapping appreciatively did briefly flit across his mind, but it was not advisable to display too much humour in front of the testy non-com.

With a wave of agreement, he trudged forward, better positioning his backpack to make sure he did not overbalance and join her there in the middle of the road.


“Him there,” said Krantu softly to Walters, “he’s the one.”

“Why him?” asked Walters enquiringly, not for a moment doubting the K’ran’s judgement, rather his question was out of curiosity.

“He’s different,” replied Krantu, even after all of this time and the modifications his body had undergone, he still found it hard to talk in long sentences.

Smiling to himself, Walters insisted, “How is he different?” he asked.

“Hard to say,” replied Krantu, “but trust me, he’s the one.”

Walters watched the young soldier struggling through the mud, his hand outstretched in order to help his companion. With a heave she dragged him down beside her and they both collapsed into helpless laughter. Perhaps he is the catalyst, thought Walters to himself, only time will tell.

His attention was drawn away from the two young soldiers, as his enhanced senses felt a disturbance in the ether approaching. Whatever it was, it wasn’t friendly.

Closing his eyes he reached out and felt the wrongness and with a snarl he turned to Krantu.

“They’re here already!” there was a snick of claws extending, as the K’ran grinned wolfishly.

“Good!” was his only answer, as he waited for further commands.

“Warn the men,” snapped Walters, his mind already calculating what they might have to do, “Ours that is!” he cautioned Krantu, “the others will just have to look after themselves!”


Something was going on, of that Stiv was sure. There was a new purpose in the older men, they seemed to bristle in excited anticipation. He could have sworn he had heard some of them growling to each other in low undertones, and their walk! They prowled now, like hunting beasts ready to be slipped from their leashes, hands flexing subconsciously, forgotten weapons slung on their backs.

Viker stared closely as the Colonel exited his Command Tent, Major James and Leftenant Krantu with him. A group of the men from his pinnace approached, their bodies encased in their strange power armour. They were huge men, fully as big as any of the Immortals, yet still wearing the characteristic snarling beast emblazoned on their shoulder guards.

One of them raised his visor and Stiv tried to get a better look. A rough hand jerked him away by the back of his tunic, spinning him around and there behind him was the ever present Johns.

“Stop gawking!” he hissed, “and get the rest of the platoon together. For some reason, the Leftenant has taken a personal interest in us and none of you are going to let me down!”

With a shove in the back, he was propelled rapidly across the road. Stiv risked one last glance at the group of officers and found himself staring into the unblinking green eyes of the Colonel. He felt pierced through by the Colonel’s gaze; it was as though he were being weighed on a very strict pair of scales. Smiling slightly, the Colonel turned away and Viker felt immensely disappointed, as though he had lost something and involuntarily he cried out.

Walters looked back briefly and an electrical charge seemed to pass between them, Viker feeling energised, invincible. The Colonel nodded and continued on his way, the others following meekly behind him.

The Galleon
Unknown Space

Arn rose from the Command chair and looked across at Berbatov, “Can you feel it?” he asked excitedly.

Berbatov nodded and swung a foot at a passing crewman who skipped easily out of the way. His hand reached down and touched his halberd where it lay propped against the wall. The shaft was reverberating slightly, as though in tune with some strange music.

“About time!” he grumbled bad-naturedly and then he grinned, “I was getting just a little bit bored with all this waiting. Why don’t you tell them?”

The shipboard communication system sprang into life, Arn speaking softly into the transmitter, “Our Lord calls us!”

His voice echoed around the Galleon and there came an answering howl of pure joy. Messages were passed across to the other ships and after a short wait, as one they winked out of real space in answer to the long awaited summons.

Geosynchronus Orbit
Argent III
Second Church Protectorate

Admiral Baynes had stayed behind with his cruiser and two destroyers, his orders to protect the best he could the troops on the planet below. Further sealed instructions had been given to him in private; if the threat was overwhelming he was make all speed to rejoin the fleet, the information of the enemy disposition was more important than the hundreds of thousands of lives below.

He had privately questioned these orders and had been curtly rebuffed, there would be no discussion allowed. So, it was with trepidation he received the reports of multiple vessel signatures. It looked as though a fleet were due and he would have to run. Perhaps he might get the chance to at least reduce the odds before he fled, although he would only do so if the risk to his ships were minimal.

It was in an awed silence he heard the details of the estimated number of enemy vessels dropping in real space and not waiting any longer, he ordered his ships away, leaving the troops below to their potentially terminal fate.


There was no escape for the Church ships, a vast fleet winked into existence all around them, effectively corralling Admiral Baynes and his men. His only option was to fight and take some of the enemy with him. He ordered gun batteries charged, missiles readied and fighter craft launched. In a tight formation his three vessels ploughed onwards, directly into the centre of the opposing forces.

On his command the ships fired into unison, their concentrated fire intended to punch its way through the vessels before them. Shields flared in opposition and counter missiles were launched.

He felt his cruiser reel under the power of his enemy’s attack, three times as many of them engaged him and from all sides. No time was given for him to communicate with his destroyers as their shields were torn apart and enemy fire sent them screaming to the Prelate’s Bosom.

Alone now, he continued to fight, data streamed in of batteries overheating, missile hits against enemy ships and more against them. Hull integrity had been breached on three separate levels and there was now no return for the fighters, the launch bays having been ripped into shreds by incoming missile strikes.

Baynes saw the indication of their failing shields and the exact moment their tenuous protection disappeared. Shortly afterwards he heard reports of enemy vessels clamping on to their hull and new breaches being blown. Reports flooded in of fighting on all decks and that his men were losing, their resistance futile.

His decision taken, he ordered his Exec Officer to join him in the destruction of his once mighty vessel. An explosive detonation stopped him short as he saw the poor man reduced to a liquid spray and he knew that all now rested on him. There was no time to do this properly and he raced to ensure that this failure at least would not fall at his feet.

It was, and always had been from the moment of the enemy fleet’s arrival, too late. A backhanded blow sent him reeling backwards in his chair and he screamed in pain as a whirring blade was pushed slowly into his stomach. The owner of the weapon calmly held the Admiral in place with one booted foot and proceeded to turn the man’s entrails into a horrific soup.

Still alive, Baynes looked up into the scarred and piteous face before him, pleading for release.

“I will give you release,” sneered the man, leaning forwards and kissing the Admiral on the lips, a vile spittle passing between them. He laughed even more as Baynes’ mouth began to blister and boil, “You are welcomed,” he snarled, “into his ever-loving embrace!”

miércoles, 2 de febrero de 2011

AGL - Chapter One

Regimental Command

Rank upon serried rank of soldiers stood in review, the recruitment was complete and they waited to board the descending transports. Commands roared across the parade ground, feet stamped in unison, banners flared and the 7th Lutheran Infantry Regiment boarded the waiting vessels.

Engines sparked into life, farting fumes into the still air as APC’s, aircars and tanks patiently awaited their turn.

The cleansing of Luther had been brutal and it had been nothing less than miraculous that the Inspectorate had found Colonel Walters to lead this Regiment. He had appeared one day, when they had called for blooded officers. Apparently he had been stuck in some outpost, his small contingent more than happy to follow him.

They had quickly assimilated the new troopers, his command organisation rapidly incorporating the new volunteers. The Regiment had easily taken him to their hearts, their loyalty at times bordering on heresy. If it had not been for the urgency of the recruitment, many more questions would have been asked. Particularly the Church Guard had raised numerous complaints at the accidents befalling their personnel, although the Colonel’s reports had been scrupulous in their content.

None could complain at the generosity of the man; he had brought his own pinnace with him, his men crewing the vessel at no extra expense. No-one had seen the full crew; they had remained on board, their bodies covered in a strangely fashioned armour. Some of them appeared big enough to be Church Elite, but everyone had of course dismissed that as a ridiculous notion.

Colonel Walters had been presented with the Regimental colours in a particularly strange ceremony by his huge and forbidding looking Leftenant, the stylisation of the screaming wolf’s head unique in its depiction.


“We are ready, my Lord!” carolled Krantu, his pride in the soldiers obvious.

“I’ve warned you about that,” admonished Walters, smiling.

“Yes, my L… Sir!” replied the K’ran, snapping to attention.

“Are the others on board?” asked Walters, squinting upwards at the latest transport to depart.

“They’re waiting for you, Sir!” said the strange Leftenant, indicating the two platoons of soldiers; their khaki fatigues blazoned with the snarling emblem of the regiment, their tunics uniquely piped with green.

“Very well,” commented, Walters, turning for one last look around.

He knew that he had the best of the people from Luther with him. Men and women made up his new command, their close families and hangers-on had already been ferried up to the awaiting ships. It was true that he was leaching vital resources from this world, but he had promised himself that they would all reap the benefits of their sacrifice a hundredfold.

Silently he prowled forward, Krantu and two other huge soldiers trailing in his wake. If only the Churchmen knew, he thought to himself, they would certainly not be so accommodating.


Major ‘Jimmy’ James tapped his fingers impatiently on his desk, the Inspector in front of him had presented him with a real problem. He had arrived only today, with a small entourage; two junior inspectors and three cadets.

“I do not see your problem,” insisted the man in a whining tone, “my orders are clear and it will go ill for you to delay me longer. I will present myself to your vaunted Colonel, and woe betide him if he tries to thwart me in my task.”

James smiled quietly to himself, thinking of this puny individual, threatening the Colonel. Inspectorr Ivanov noted the smile and his hand reached for his sidearm.

“I wouldn’t if I were you,” growled a new voice, and the Ivanov started as Walters pushed roughly past him, a huge Leftenant sauntering in his wake.

“This man is impeding me in my duty, as an Inspector of the Holy Prelate, I do not answer to you!” he sneered.

Walters waited patiently, the silence lengthening uncomfortably. He glanced once at his Leftenant and the Inspector was driven to his knees by a tremendous blow. The boot placed into his back pinned him to the floor, his cheek pressed firmly against the metallic decking. His men made as if to reach for their weapons but the look in the Colonel’s eyes stayed them; it was chilling, deadly in its promise and brooked no defiance.

“You will address me as Colonel or Sir,” said Walters calmly, “you will never threaten myself or any of my men again. This is my Regiment, not yours and I will accept nothing less than obedience. I think you need a little time to yourself to reflect on this, to pray to the Prelate for guidance.”

He nodded to Krantu, who roughly pulled the Inspector to his feet, other soldiers entering and dragging the rest of Ivanov’s team away, after disarming and roughly searching them.

“Lock them in the cells on the pinnace,” he ordered Krantu, “I want no contact between them and the rest of the transport’s crew. Not for the present anyway.”

Krantu turned away, his silence signifying his acceptance, his large hand firmly gripping the Inspector by the hair.

“You’ll be sorry!” screamed Ivanov as he was bundled out of the office.

Grinning at James, Walters spoke, “I already am, my dear Inspector!”


Stiv Viker was feeling lost, lonely and pretty awful. Last night’s party had somehow managed to continue over until this morning, at least that was what his body was telling him. He felt like somebody was trying to pound their way out of his head, his mouth dry and furry, his lungs still choked with smoke and he certainly wasn’t open to conversation.

Not that there was much small talk in his platoon, everyone would rather kill themselves than upset Corporal Johns. He was one of the older soldiers, found somewhere by the Colonel and readily accepted by the rest of their strange leader’s unit.

It had struck Viker, the same as many of the other new recruits, that there was a sameness to the older men. A shape of body; muscles seemed to burst from new tunics, shaggy hair; which seemed to cover every part of their bodies, and those eyes. Like the Colonel they each had piercing green eyes, whose depths seemed to promise raw, animalistic anger.

Shivering, he turned to his bunkmate, Alana and prodded her with a grimy finger, “How you feeling?” he asked as quietly as he could, although it still sounded like a roar to his pained skull.

“Leave me alone!” she snapped, then groaned as she was roughly tossed out of her bunk, by the passing Corporal.

“Up and at ‘em!” roared Johns, a wide grin splitting his face.

“What?” replied a befuddled Alana.

“Leftenant Krantu has a job for us,” he said cheerfully, “and you know better than to keep him waiting!”

As one the recruits moaned in dejection, if there was one person more terrifying than Johns, it was the big Leftenant; he didn’t even look human!


Inspector Ivanov was apoplectic with rage, he had never been treated this way by any Church officer. They knew their place in the scheme of things and had always been terrified of what the snivelly little man could do to them.

This Colonel Walters though, he showed a disdain for the badge and rank Ivanov carried, there was none of the requisite fear, rather an all powerful belief in his own right to command. It all smelled of heresy to the Inspector and in his cell he delighted himself with the thought of what he would do to the Colonel when he got out.

The clanging of the cell door brought him back to reality, and he shrank back against the rear wall at the sight of the hulking Leftenant. Behind the man stood a group of curious soldiers, delight at the predicament of the Inspector written plainly upon their faces.

“Arrest him!” screamed Ivanov, pointing at Krantu, “I command you!”

No-one moved a muscle. Instead they looked at the Leftenant as he began first to chuckle and then roar with laughter.

Finally he stopped his unseemly behaviour and pointed at the Inspector, “This,” he said flatly, “is your first lesson. The only person you owe your unquestioning loyalty to is Colonel Walters. You can see his benevolence and thought for you. This Inspector and the rest of his breed will rot here in this cell unless they are converted to our way of belief. Any who feel the same as this scum will join him here, praying for release from his God.”

There was absolute silence, except for the mutters of heresy from the cowering Inspector. Then, Viker’s tremulous voice was heard, “His God, sir?”

“Ah, yes,” responded Krantu, his eyes flashing, “that would be lesson number Two!”

Outer System
Second Church Protectorate

A straining of fold space announced the vessel’s arrival, it burst into normal space in full view of the Tauran ships. There was a poised danger about the strange three-masted alien craft; the Galleon had arrived.

One cold transmission was heard, “We warned you!”, and then with no further communication, gun ports slammed open, rapidly followed by a broadside of plasma which tore through the two lead Tauran vessels.

Two more ships appeared, their design that of more familiar Church origin, but they only sat waiting. Desperately the Tauran Commander tried to bargain with his attackers, against whose shields his plasma and rail guns had zero effect.

It was in vain; the Galleon ruthlessly destroyed vessel after vessel, each broadside smashing through ineffective shields and vaporising metal instantly.

When there was nothing left except space dust, a broad band transmission was beamed down to the planet.

“This is the Lost Company, we apparently were not clear enough for your liking. Please receive these gifts on behalf of our Lord. Perhaps others will learn from this lesson and respect the sovereignty of our protected worlds in future.”

The cold voice disappeared, never to be heard by anyone living on the Tauran planet. Objects spat from each of the three vessels, their flight programmed to perfection. They cut into the planet’s atmosphere and screamed down towards their carefully selected targets. Shortly afterwards, small extremely bright suns began to burn in each of the world’s major cities.

Without another word, the three ships once more jumped into anonymity of fold space..

martes, 1 de febrero de 2011

Sudden Dearth Book II - A GUIDING LIGHT

Seven sources of power, demons, unknown heroes and an all-powerful religion clash in a titanic struggle.

Men have become beasts. Some by choice and others by an unknown design. A galaxy-spanning battle has begun and not all yet know their part.

The Fortress has been reduced to rubble, the Taurans swept aside and the snarling K'ran's head banner flies in secret pride. A strange signal is received, a vast Tauran Fleet assembled and Walters and his men must again stand against both religious intolerance and Dark Magic. An unknown power calls to them all in a deadly race against time.

Coming to a Smashwords near you....real soon....