Saturday Musings - Sneak Preview, Book Two of the Mindwars

Saturday Musings - Sneak Preview, Book Two of the Mindwars

I just received a great email from Jeff Sass from .CLUB. He just finished reading my first science fiction book, “Battleframe” and I thought that I’d wet everyone’s appetite with the first chapter from book two.

Just as a warning…..this may end up not being chapter one or it may not even make the cut. It’s unedited so it may be a little rough but it should provide some insight into the exciting world of Battleframe.

For those of you that were wondering, you can buy either the physical copy of book one on Amazon, either as an ebook or physical copy. Here is the link.

I hope you enjoy it!

Book Two of The Mindwars

Esther cried out in alarm as her body spun out of control through the air. The roaring wind assaulted her ears as she plummeted through the air. With a sudden snap of glowing blue wings, everything righted itself and her descent slowed. She tried to look around but it was if someone else was controlling her body. Flashes of purple hued lightning leapt with a crack of thunder and revealed a solid bank of clouds far below.

Where was she?

Her head turned on its own accord and she looked back at five other pilots forming up on her left and right. Each of them wore a unique battleframe that she recognized from her recent study of Concord technology. A trim lightly armoured recon Raven looked tiny against the massive Rex next to it and the Bio was completely different again.

Why were their five? Who are these people?

Something in the back of her mind suggested that she should know each person but an impenetrable fog clouded her mind. Like in a dream, she could not quite focus on what was happening around her. The previously distant clouds suddenly rushed towards her just as she lost sight of the others in a purple pyrotechnic crackle of electricity. She seemed to know what to do and with a press of a button, a display appeared before her vision that penetrated the clouds surrounding her.

A sudden wind shift buffeted her from the left side and a quick adjustment of her weight kept her gliding on the path forward. She instinctively knew what to do and how to fly through the twisting air currents.

Was she doing this? Who was she?

As quickly, as they had entered the cloud top Esther and the five pilots punched their way through the bottom, revealing a spectacular mountain landscape far below. Giant snow-capped peaks raised their sharp jagged edges towards her. Looking down she could make out a river cascading off a cliff face and plummeting thousands of feet to the valley floor below.

Her arm passed across her vision as she pulled a Charge rifle out of its back harness. She was wearing a Raven battleframe like the pilot next to her. “Why was this important?” Esther knew that she should know what she was looking at but she still could not puzzle it out.

Looking forward, the Charge riflescope appeared before her eyes and she peered through the augmented lens into the distance. The scope revealed a huge fortress nestled against a cliff face

What is this place?

Her fingered squeezed the guns trigger and a beam of blue energy lanced out and dropped her target. Silently as death, she glided over the fortress’s outer wall and landed with a few quick steps. Her head turned to the left and for the first time she saw her own reflection in a window. For a second, Russell’s kind eyes stared back at her and then moved on.

Esther’s dream world suddenly swirled around her and everything collapsed into place. She knew that somehow this was really happening and that her loved ones were attacking a massive Scourge base. Somehow, she was seeing through Russell’s eyes and she knew that he was in mortal danger. Even as her view of the dream world clouded, she tried to reach out to her husband to offer her support. Anything to help him see the enemies surrounding them. He was her love, her life.

Her head turned towards one of the other men and she recognized James incased in his enormous Rex battleframe. Her mother’s heart cried out towards her son that was thrust into a war at such a young age. He smiled back at her and deep within she felt Russell’s pride for their son.

The dream faded and in desperation, Esther cried out, “Russell, Russell, Russell!”

And then it was gone.

 

Esther sat bolt upright in bed, panting heavily with the impact of what she had witnessed in the dream. Now that she was upright, the sweat that beaded her brow ran down into her eyes, stinging them with its saltiness. She wiped her face on a corner of the sheet and was just about to step out of bed when there was a knock at the door just before it flew open.

Marie stood in the doorway dressed in her pajamas and her red hair in a complete riot. She took one look at Esther and said, “You had it too.”

Esther nodded in reply.

Closing the door behind her Marie walked over and sat on the edge of the bed. Her eyes looked haunted, almost gaunt from the experience. “I was inside Mihaley’s head and saw everything through his eyes. And you?”

Esther whispered back, “I was with Russell.”

“How is this possible?”

“I don’t know.”

“How could we both dream the same dream?”

“Marie, it’s impossible and we both know that it wasn’t a dream. We were really there.”

“Have you read anything about this sort of thing with Concord technology? Maybe we’ve been exposed to something.”

Esther shook her head. “No, I’ve read a lot since our husbands left and this isn’t something that the Concord has done.”

“So what do we do now?”

Before Esther could reply, a knock sounded at the door. Esther cocked a questioning eyebrow at Marie who responded with a shrug.

Her voice was firmer by now and Esther called out, “Who’s there?”

A female voice replied, “Sergeant Eltivia. I was doing my rounds and saw your light on. Is there anything that I can get for you?”

“No, I’m fine thank you Sergeant.”

Despite her reply to the negative, the door opened to reveal the Sergeant dressed in a standard issue Concord grey uniform. Her blond hair was perched in a bun atop her head but what struck Esther and Marie was the Sergeant’s radiant blue eyes.

Esther was a little annoyed at the intrusion as she said, “Sergeant, I said that I did not require your help.”

Sergeant Eltivia smiled warmly to both women opposite her. “Of course you both need my help. You’ve just experienced your first synaptic co-joining. It goes far beyond mental rapport and it can’t really be controlled. We were concerned this would happen.”

Her previous annoyance gone, Esther felt strangely at peace and relaxed in the presence of this stranger in her private quarters. She thought that she should be alarmed but it really did not seem appropriate. Stumbling across her words she said, “Synaptic what?”

“Synaptic co-joining.”

“What’s that? Who are you?”

The Sergeant pulled a couple of clips out of her hair and let it cascade perfectly down her back. As if smiling sweetly to a child she said, “I can’t stand putting my hair up. I don’t know what woman on this planet see in it.”

In the deep recesses of her mind, Esther felt an alarm going off. There was something wrong here. She should be concerned about the sergeant not relaxed and at ease. Like building blocks that form the foundation of a house Esther unknowingly began to construct a mental barrier between her and the Sergeant. The woman’s blue eyes looked deeply into her own and became all encompassing.

“Don’t do that dear. I’m not here to hurt you. Quite to the contrary. I needed to make sure the link didn’t expand and start broadcasting your presence to the entire galaxy.”

Like a child dismantling a house built from a plastic toy, Esther felt her mental wall disintegrate under the other woman’s scrutiny.

“Who are you?”

The Sergeant looked at Esther and then Marie. A look of concern reflected in her blue eyes, “It doesn’t matter who I am. What does matter is that you must return to Australia. There are things happening right now that are going to change the balance in the galaxy and it all hinges on you being home.”

“We can’t”

“And why not?”

“Our husbands asked us to work with the Concord team here.”

“Don’t worry about that I’ve already dealt with them.” The Sergeant strode forward and before the two women could react she placed one hand on each of their foreheads and half mumbled to herself, “I just need to erase a few things from your memory and enhance a little bit of desire. That seems to have it.”

Dropping her hands, she took one look at Esther and Marie as they stared blankly into space. Just one last thing to do. Taking out a clear vial from her pocket Creativity, masquerading as the Sergeant, dropped it into a pocket in Esther’s suitcase before she vanished from the room to report back to Wisdom.

Esther yawned as if she’d just woken from a deep sleep and blearily looked across at Marie. “What was I saying again? That’s right, I suddenly feel like we need to get the girls and head home.”

“I couldn’t agree with you more. We need to get going straight away.”

1590 Hits
0 Comments

Personal Musings - My SciFi Novel Sample

Personal Musings - My SciFi Novel Sample

As many of you know I've been writing my very first science fiction novel. Writing the book as been one of the most enjoyable, rewarding and stretching things that I've ever done in my life. Over the years I've written a lot on my blog, technical manuals and for a number of different magazines but nothing prepared me for my first book.

It's been quite a journey for me and the characters in the story over the past 18 months. At times, I've found myself typing furiously on my laptop just to find out what was going to happen next. It almost seemed like the story was unfolding before my eyes but I couldn't see the next part until the words were on the page.

The first draft was finished about twelve months ago and then I began the many rewrites. My father is a great science fiction buff and he spent a lot of time reading the book and a lot of his suggestions are embedded in the pages. My wife has read the first hundred pages and added her unique insights in how the story could be improved. So knows nothing about science fiction so it was great getting her thoughts.

When our son Timothy was home recently I shoved a few pages under his nose to read. His comments and suggestions were all about the characters and how they could grow and gain greater depth. That added another 3 months of rewriting....sigh.

So after all the work I'm now relatively happy with the setting, plot and characters. I plan on doing a final clean-up of a few minor issues in my last rewrite before finally publishing.

Below is the prelude and the first chapter in the story. I hope that you enjoy reading them as much as I did writing them. Please feel free to leave comments (good and bad).

Cheers!

--------------------------------------------------------------------------

Prelude

With a surge of mental energy Wisdom energized the form of an elderly English gentlemen. Gold rimmed round spectacles and a greying goatee adorned his face. A brown tweed jacket and pants were complimented by a matching soft hat that was reminiscent of mid twentieth century Earth. A planet that was light years away from where he now stood. For some reason he had grown quite accustomed to this shape and drew a sense of comfort from resting his hand lightly on the walking cane at his side.

Wisdom looked around the dark alleyway created by the surrounding soaring skyscrapers. Around him abandoned old wooden pallets, cardboard boxes and several small clear plastic containers littered the area. The refuse of a burgeoning civilization. High above he could make out a small blue patch of sky where every now and then a flitter-car would scoot into view and just as quickly vanish from sight.

Chuckling to himself as if at a jest only he could hear, Wisdom walked to the end of the alley and stepped out into a huge open square at the centre of a bustling city. He loved this place and remembered when the builders had first paved the area in the blue stone tiles that seemed to mirror the cloudless sky above. The square was so large that even with the number of workers employed it had taken them years to complete the task. Like a fence around a yard the open area was surrounded by buildings similar in size and magnitude to the ones that created the tiny alleyway that he’d just stepped from. Everything appeared to be on a vast scale in the capital.

Wisdom let his gaze wander across the square to the eight large water fountains positioned equidistant from each other along the circumference of a giant circle. Each fountain represented one of Kaladon’s eight continents with a single larger fountain in the middle symbolising unity. The sounds of the spraying, trickling and gurgling water provided a soft undercurrent of tranquility as it gently echoed off the surrounding buildings.

Kaladon IV, was the fourth planet out from the binary star system and teemed with over twelve billion inhabitants. It was also the home world of the fledgling human Concord of planets and the birthplace of a society that had only recently developed interstellar travel.

Across from Wisdom a teacher led a procession of primary aged school children, holding hands, to one of the fountains. Families collected in groups, the adults enjoying each other’s company while their children ran around like satellites orbiting a planet. Despite being in the centre of a city of some forty million people it was beautiful and peaceful.

As Wisdom wrested his hands lightly on his cane he stopped for a minute to enjoy the warmth from the twin distant suns on his face. As he gazed upwards the sunlight highlighted his unusually bright blue eyes. All his ancient race had similar coloured eyes and his seemed to sparkle with eagerness behind his spectacles. It had been quite some time since the three of them had met in this fashion and only now because the plan was nearing a critical juncture.

The people going about their business subconsciously made way for him as he strolled across the blue stone pavers towards the bench directly opposite him. There was a calmness and surety about him as he settled on the seat between a young man and a middle aged woman.

The young man had the look of a university student from the college on the far side of the square. His ruffled unkempt hair mirrored his rumpled pants and t-shirt that was emblazoned with the university’s motto of, “Think, Plan, Act.” The final word was disrupted by a smudge deposited from his last meal. To their loss, many had made the mistake of judging him by his disheveled appearance. In one hand he held a reading tablet as he digested the latest scientific news from the inhabitants of this world.

In sharp contrast to the young man the woman was stunning and would be a head turner at any party. Her long blond hair cascaded down her back while her white blouse revealed just a little of what was discretely hidden underneath. Her fingers thrummed rhythmically on the outside of a black violin case that rested on her black neatly pressed pants. Sitting on the ground beside her was a dark leather briefcase with a collapsed silver music stand sticking out the end.

Unnecessarily clearing his throat Wisdom asked, “So Intellect, what do you think of Kaladon?”

The young man’s bright blue eyes looked up from his tablet and paused briefly as if to ponder the question for a moment. “I’ve been scanning the latest scientific research papers and it appears that all is in order. No one has detected our influence over the last several thousand years.”

Wisdom smiled and turned towards Intellect beside him. “I didn’t ask for the results of the plan. I asked what you thought of this world and its people.”

“It’s wonderful.”

Wisdom raised his eyebrows to encourage his colleague to continue. Intellect sighed and reluctantly put his reading tablet down. “The humans here have passed through so many obstacles; war, famine, environmental problems and economic disparity to name but a few. With a little help from us they’ve now started colonizing the stars in this sector.”

Wisdom nodded. “And you Creativity?”

Creativity shifted on the bench so that she could get a better view of her two strange companions. Each of them indulged in energizing a form they felt the most comfortable within but she always wondered why Intellect liked to wear unclean garments. Her intensely blue eyes sparkled in remembrance as she replied in a voice that was like a perfect, pure instrument. “I played with the Kaladon orchestra and Balnarth’s music brought me close to tears. The highs and the lows pulled at my heart. Wisdom, the way he managed to bring the audience with him on the journey was close to remarkable. The arts, education and health are everything that we could have dreamed.”

Wisdom again sighed deeply, “That is good. Although young, the Concord of planets is strong. I’m sure that it will survive.”

Creativity lovingly opened her violin case and smiled as she again remembered her last performance. Concern entered her voice as she said, “Wisdom, at your request I’ve ensured that the discovery of nano-technology has taken place. That will surely help them.”

Intellect picked up his reading tablet but paused just before he started to devour the next scientific article.  “For all their technological advances they need the others. It’s the genes combined with the technology that will give the galaxy a chance.”

Removing his hat to reveal thin grey hair Wisdom mopped his brow with a handkerchief that he’d pulled from his inside jacket pocket. “The meeting will happen soon but not here. It won’t be long before the Concord and the people of Earth will come face to face.”

“And what of Kaladon IV?” Intellect asked.

Wisdom shook his head from side to side as if struggling with what he was about to say. “We can do nothing for them without disrupting both streams. For the sake of their development and the galaxy the Concord and the people of Earth must not know of our influence yet. They will become psychologically dependent upon us and that will mean the end.”

Creativity looked across at the families admiring the fountains dotted around square. The sounds of children screaming in delight as water suddenly sprayed from the sides of a pyramid shaped sculpture cut across the general hubbub.  “So this will all be gone?”

Wisdom perched his hat back on his head and replied in a somber voice, “Yes.”

Blue eyes turned to look into blue eyes and a tear trickled down Creativity’s milk white cheek, “Is there anything that we can do?”

The concern of eons suddenly etched across Wisdom’s face, “No, they are doomed.”

Part I
Friendship

Chapter 1 - The Past

“Get back in here and finish those dishes young man!”

“Oh Mum. Can’t I skip them just this once? I really want to build the lean-to with Dad in the woods.”

Ray’s mother quickly wiped her hands on her apron and glanced out the window to gauge how long it would be until the first sun set and the second rose above the horizon.

“Please Mum?” Ray whined.

“Oh get going you scoundrel!”

“Yeah!”

Without looking back in case she changed her mind the blond haired, blue eyed ten year old rushed out through the fly wire door and slammed it behind him. The red barn was on the other side of the old flitter car sitting at rest in the driveway and it didn’t take Ray that long to reach the huge double front doors. As he pulled the left one open he could hear his father rummaging around for what they’d need for building the lean-to together in the woods.

“So your mother let you off the dishes.”

Ray pulled the door of the barn closed behind him just like he’d been taught to do since he was little. “Yes sir.”

A broad grin crossed his father’s face. “You’d better do something special for her tomorrow. Come here son.”

Ray ran up to his father and was immediately lifted off the ground in a bear hug. “Oh, my you’re getting big and heavy.”

Ray hugged his father back even harder to show off his muscles. He loved being told that he was growing up. One day he was going to be as strong as his dad and wear overalls and a checked shirt just like him. They both ended up laughing as Ray’s father gave his son a little tickle under the ribs before putting him back down.

“OK, I’ve got the saw and the nails. What else do we need?” Ray’s father said half to himself.

“A hammer! We need a hammer Dad!”

“That’s right, we need a hammer.”

Ray laughed at his dad for forgetting the most critical tool. After packing their things into a bag Ray’s father grabbed his rifle and they both headed out of the barn and down fence line that separated the wheat from the woods.

Behind them Ray’s mother smiled to herself as she placed another dish in the rack. Flipping a strand of hair out of her eyes she looked lovingly out at the two most important men in her life walking side by side away from the house.

After reaching the edge of the forest a few hundred meters from the house Ray’s father asked, “So have you picked a place?”

Ray screwed up his face in concentration. “I think just through there looks good.”

His father replied seriously, “I think that’s a good choice as well. The trees are bent at just the right point to help us with the construction.”

Ray clambered through the white fence cross-bars while his father climbed over the top. They could still see the house not far away through the trees and for the next few minutes they cleared the area around the base of the selected tree. Ray’s father bent down to check that the tree didn’t have any spines like many of the species in the woods.

Just after he’d married Ray’s mother they made the decision to be one of the first farming colonist of this world. The vast wheat fields helped feed the Concord’s core worlds and it wasn’t long before their little farm began to prosper. Soon after arriving Ray was born and the planet felt more like home every day.

“Dad, what’s that noise?”

“What noise son?”

Just as he asked the question Ray’s father turned his attention to the sky as the screeching wail of something falling reached him. Through the trees he watched it slam into the ground next to their flitter car, sending a cloud of dirt into the air.

At the top of the pyramid shaped object an energy orb begun to pulse faster and faster.

His father’s voice was strained as he said, “Son stay by my side and don’t leave it. Do you understand?”

Ray knew that his dad was using his very serious voice and only replied, “Yes sir.”

Skirting along the edge of the woods they both ran back towards the house. With his rifle in his right hand and his son’s hand in his left all thought of the lean-to was forgotten.

Ray’s mother stepped out onto the porch to see what all the commotion was about. She’d heard the awful whining sound and the thump as the object fell from the sky. A shimmering purple haze formed at five distinct points around the machine.

Within the haze, sparks flashed like small lightning back and forth until the vague shape of men in some sort of strange armour could be seen forming.

She recognized those shapes and dropped her tea towel as she fled along the porch in the direction where her husband and son had gone.

As he ran to keep up with his father Ray watched as his mother jumped down to the ground and ran towards the fence line.

A brilliant beam of red light lanced out and seemed to pin her in the air mid-step. Her face contorted in agony as she collapsed to the ground dead. Ray watched as his father screamed in a way he’d never seen before. He’d seen his dad angry with him or yelling at a contractor but he’d never seen his father like this.

With tears pouring down his face Ray’s father dropped to one knee and lifted his rifle scope up to his eye. Ray heard the brief build-up of energy and watch in grim fascination his father’s blue beam fled the guns muzzle. The man that had hurt his mother dropped to the ground.

The ground in front of them suddenly erupted in a rapid series of puffs of dirt. Looking up at his father Ray watched as his shirt was torn open as the man he aspired to be like was tossed backwards by what seemed to be an invisible force. Crawling over to his dad Ray looked into vacant staring eyes.

Ray was confused and bewildered. He’d never seen anything like this before. Was this a new game that his mum and dad were playing? When was the happy part? He then looked down at his father’s rifle and he knew how this game needed to end.

He’d fired his father’s rifle a number of times before. All children that grew up on a farm in one of the colonies learned to fire at targets with their dads. Picking up the rifle in his small hands Ray lay in the grass and looked through the telescopic sights.

He saw the ugly pale faced man that had hurt his father and squeezed the trigger. The man died and Ray felt a little better for it. Just then Ray’s home and barn exploded in a ball of fire. A really big bad man had hurt Ray’s house so Ray looked through the scope like his father had taught him and squeezed the trigger again. The big bad man fell to the ground and then stood up again and turned in Ray’s direction.

The bad man smiled with sharp pointed teeth and lifted a much bigger gun toward Ray. That was when Ray’s angel arrived.

The undergrowth next to Ray suddenly parted and a man in a uniform that Ray recognized from the tridee-reels at school fired his gun at the bad man. The bad man fell backwards and didn’t get up anymore. Like before, Ray felt even happy about that. Ray’s angel rushed forward to and quickly touched all of the bad men with his blue beam. He then focused on the horrible black pyramid until the ball on the top stopped glowing. Ray was going to have a great story to tell his Mum and Dad at dinner that evening! Why was he crying? What was happening?

That was when he noticed the boy about his age lying beside him. He too was crying. His mother had always told him to help anyone that was crying so he said, “Hi, my name’s Ray. What’s your name?”

The boy looked back at him and like all brave boys quickly wiped his tears. “My name’s Thomas. Good to meet you Ray.”

“Thomas, do you want to be my friend?”

“I’d like that Ray.”

By this time Ray’s angel returned, bent down towards him and asked, “What’s your name son?”

“My mother told me not to speak to strangers. What’s your name?”

“Gasp.”

“That’s a funny name. I guess that now I know your name then you’re not a stranger. Mister, my name’s Ray. I think that my Mum and Dad’s hurt, can you help them?”

“I’m sorry, I can’t help them but I think that I can help the both of you.” Looking at Ray and Thomas, Gasp said, “Here take my hands.”

Ray and Thomas looked at the smiling face of their angel and reached up to hold Gasp’s outstretched welcoming hands. With his other hand Ray held firmly onto his father’s rifle.

Recent Comments
mgilmour
You raised some really good points.....I've now updated the story to not show that Ray thinks that his mother is dead. I debated ... Read More
05 October 2014
2317 Hits
3 Comments