Saturday, July 21, 2012

THE FIREBORN CHRONICLES: RESONANCES


Back when the economy tanked it took with it many small publishing houses. Swimming Kangaroo was one of them. Though Dindy has kept all the titles previously published available in both eBook and trade paperback, she no longer takes any more submittals and even closed down the SK website. So the second book, Resonances, had to look for a new home.

Up to that time, I had never written so much as a summary, much less a synopsis. So it took me a while to get all that down. With much instruction and advice from Lea and the MuseItUp groups I submitted to a couple of places but they didn’t pan out. So there I was with book II in my hand when Lea decided to open her own publishing house. I was so excited when she accepted the manuscript. I think I had already Facebooked, Tweeted, and sent out a wave of email before I even had coffee or signed the contract that morning.

== Excerpt ==

  THE FIREBORN CHRONICLES: RESONANCES
(Book II)

* * * *
Commander, Overlord, Godhead Rael Pointe chose to ignore the gentle chime announcing the beginning of yet another workday. Instead, he relished the sounds in his still darkened room, and refused to open his eyes at all. They’re all workdays now, anyway. He listened for the familiar pulses around him. The little ones, like light switches, thermostats, and intercoms, barely clicked or crackled, or even trilled beneath the normal sounds aboard the great mothership. But the big ones, like computer terminals and links to main systems, pulsed, sometimes even purred. The rhythms might vary, but together they throbbed, a living entity whose tendrils reached everywhere.
A gentle presence touched his mind apologetically before Gabriel’s golden tenor voice began. “Overlord?”
“I thought we agreed not to begin business in the morning until I summoned you.” Rael grimaced knowing the toll his displeasure would have on his assistant. Gabriel lived to serve him, but the business of running a universal corporation had become routine, and Rael was starting to feel more managed than manager.
“You have received a call from the Universal Government’s Dark Ops Commander. She insisted—”
Rael’s eyes popped open. A technopathic flicker of thought activated the lights while he hurried from his comfortable bed and began scrambling for fresh clothing. “I’ll be right there.”
“Yes, Overlord.”
Rael paused at the dismal tone of his servant’s thoughts. “Uhh, Gabriel, since it’s gonna take me couple of minutes to clean up, go ahead and feed me today’s stats from the dailies…and maybe some coffee¾your choice of blend.”
“Of course, Overlord.”
Rael shook his head at Gabriel’s enthusiasm as an overlapping flood of statistics scrolled across his mind into a precise overview of business accomplishments, trends, and requirements throughout the corporate universe he now controlled.
The status quo seemed to be doing nicely until he noticed a sharp decline in production at one of the new mining planets. “Argos,” Rael murmured as he splashed some water across his face. He tuned into the Seraphim’s computer pulse and linked to it. At the speed of thought, the Universal Hive Network opened, allowing him to delve into the tiny world’s resources, and he located the problem. Rael allowed the link to drop and finished running a comb haphazardly through his unruly platinum hair.
“Gabriel.” He spoke aloud, knowing the wondrously strange young man would always hear his master’s voice whenever his name was spoken—no matter where they were.
“Yes, Overlord.”
“Find out more about our mines at Argos.” He tossed the comb onto the dresser and headed for the door. “I’ll take the Government call in my private office.”
“Yes, Overlord.”
Rael stepped into his office and headed for the heavy desk in the room’s center. Given to hours of physical inactivity, whenever he did business or compu-linked, all of Rael’s quarters were furnished with the most comfortable furniture possible. He dropped into a recliner near the desk and activated the view screen. An angry redheaded woman sat drumming her fingers on her desk.
Rael smiled. “Lythia. I’ve gone to great lengths to set all my clocks to Government standard time, but this is awfully early. What’s so important you had to terrorize my poor aide into waking me?”
“One of our operatives is missing.” She leaned into the screen. “I believe you know her—Alandra Haze.”
The hallway door chimed and its monitor announced Ira and Tristen’s arrival.
“Looks like it’s going to be one of those days, doesn’t it?” He signaled for Ira and Tristen to join him at the heavy desk, and then he swiveled the screen to include them. “You’re going to want to hear this for yourself, Ira. Pull up a seat.”
It would have been impossible for Ira not to recognize the small redhead watching him from the desktop screen. He had met Lythia Lyconza when Rael’s foster mother lay dying. Ira repressed an uncomfortable surge of emotions, not wanting to take the time to sort out where they had come from.
“I see you still have your Wall Master with you, Rael.” Lythia’s light voice rang out from the screen. “I was hoping you would. This concerns him as well.”
Ira felt his stomach knot up; Tristen flinched at its severity.
“Alandra is in trouble,” Rael interjected.
“We know,” Tristen thought to him.
“She has been reported missing while on assignment,” Lythia continued. “I assumed you and your team would want to follow up on this.”
“Definitely,” Rael stated flatly. “Download your files to me. I’ll dispatch a team immediately.” He reached forward to disconnect.
Lythia’s blue-green eyes glared from the screen. “Damn, Rael, what’s gotten into you? I’m not one of your corporate flunkies you can just brush off to save time. And don’t speak to me in that tone of voice.”
“I’m...sorry. I didn’t mean...” Rael paused, temple plates flickering from beneath his hair.
Lythia threw her hands into the air. “For the fifteen years I’ve known you, you haven’t changed. You do realize I’m the head of Dark Ops now, and if I give you this assignment, you report to me. The Universal Government doesn’t—”
Rael sighed in resignation and leaned his head back onto the headrest of the plush chair. “This Corporate Overlord thing comes with a never-ending dialog in my head. My attention is always divided. There are so many different aspects of business that need tending to. I—” Rael flinched, recognizing another surge of anger overtaking Lythia’s fine features. “I’m sorry, Lythia. Laynald was just returning my summons—I mean, call.”
The still new Corporate Overlord paused again, drawing a deep breath before continuing. “Lythia, I do a great deal of business with the mining planets. Even before Laynald’s call, one of my emissaries had debriefed me on the situation at planet Argos. He thinks Alandra’s abduction is attributed to the House of Deridia—local nobility gone terrorist. They’re assumed to be doing this in protest against Hive-drug mining.”
Lythia looked perplexed. “How could you know that? Your temple plates didn’t as much as flicker earlier. I’ve barely had time to read this report myself.”
Rael smoothed his hair away from his face wishing it would, at least, grow thick enough to cover the damned things. “I didn’t have to compu-link with the Hive for that. This ‘corporate empire’ I inherited came with its own personal broadcast system. It’s a telepathic thing, of sorts. I don’t understand it myself. It just…works.”
Lythia looked flustered. “All right, I’ll leave you to it. I’ve already downloaded the files.” She reached for the disconnect switch and paused. “Rael, will you be sending the Nemesis Dark Ops team or a corporate inquiry group to Argos?”
Rael sighed and shook his head. “Both. Ira’s team will rep Gov interests, and I’ll send an
Archangel to address the Hive mining problem. I’ll stay in contact with both teams from the Seraphim,” he added....

Excerpt of Book Three coming up shortly

1 comment:

Rosalie Skinner said...

Mary, another great excerpt. Resonances is where I joined the Fireborn. You introduce a couple of cool characters here, who do amazing things. I can safely say this is before things get really interesting. hehe.