Now that I’m done with the Golden Threads Trilogy, I had to decide what to do next. I have a number of story stubs hanging out. I could roll on with Ticca, Lebiun, and Ditani in Niya-Yur. They do have a lot of fans, and there are hundreds of stories that need exploring. I’d also love to start up the fantasy detective/mystery series set in Niya-Yur I introduced with “Volnun and the Deep Wood.” Rolling the clock back a little, just fifteen thousand years, would let me write some fun hard science-fiction stories that would eventually end with the catastrophe that created the world of Niya-Yur.
When I say “hard science-fiction,” I do mean that, at least mostly. The universes I imagined are all related in time, and there is a type of energy that most would call magic. However, in the pre-migration sci-fi universe, there is so little of this energy that any mystical elements are relegated to the status of “quack charlatans,” “delusional nut jobs,” and of course, “those free spirits” that the majority of the universe just smiles at and then ignores.
With all the options, I needed to make a choice. Well, I have received a number of email requests for specific stories. Right now, the majority are asking for Duke’s backstory. As I need all of my great friends (meaning YOU) to be happy so you keep pushing my books to all you meet, plus I’d really enjoy getting into a hard science fiction story, I’m happy to announce that I’m working on “Infiltration” Book One of the Duianna Chronicles.
This series is tied into all my Niya-Yur novels but predates the creation of the Niya-Yur universe. No magic, lots of space marine stuff, almost entirely from Rolly Duke Bensur’s point of view. This is not a trilogy; there are, as yet, an undefined number of books in this series. Naturally, I’ll publish “Immortalities Price” which is about half complete and the story of Admiral Bensur’s adventure that ends with him being changed into the Duke you can get to know and love in the Niya-Yur novels.
Here is the beginning of “Infiltration.” Let me know what you think!
An explosion rocked the cabin violently. More red lights blazed at Rolly from the near-dead control panel. Thankfully, more alarms didn’t get added to cacophony. Rolly didn’t kid himself; he knew the only reason for that small blessing was the fact that every alarm and warning buzzer was already cutting the air to ribbons.
Corporal Skora, who went by the name of Mallet, crawled into the cabin, sweat pouring down her slim cheeks. Her mahogany hair was cut short in front, buzz-cut on the back of her head, leaving two triangular wedges to dangle over her ears and just barely into her heart shaped face. She claimed it was the perfect cut to be stylish and yet not have to worry about getting hair in her eyes. Rolly wasn’t sure about the stylish part, to him it looked like she had accidentally sat backwards in a barber’s chair. But, as far as the imperial marines were concerned, it was an acceptable hair style.
She was practically swimming in the antiquated space suite. It was technically the right size for her, but she just didn’t have the mass needed to fill it out. He bit his tongue to stop the comment about playing dress up in her dad’s suit. She was one point seventy-five meters, only six centimeters shorter than Rolly, but she was almost half his mass at almost precisely fifty kilograms to his one hundred and two.
She was dangerous in a fight but far from being the best fighter he knew, a fact that Rolly was still worrying about. The Brenull Demesne only allowed the absolute best warriors to be assigned to their secret bases. It had taken the Duianna Imperial Intelligence Agency over two solar cycles just to confirm the existence of this particular installation. Then, another half-cycle to discover the solar system it was in. Rolly was pretty sure he, and every other imperial marine, would be pissed to learn exactly how DIIA managed to get the coordinates so fast.
None of that mattered now. The Emperor had issued a secret decree that a strike team discover what was going on. Apparently, a lot of debate by the brass was involved in selecting Rolly and Mallet. He was sure most of that was on sending him in. In spite of the fact he was supposed to be treated like every other imperial marine officer, the brass still felt compelled to protect him. They were all long time family friends and had known Rolly since he was born twenty-four cycles ago. More than that, friendship was the concern over losing the next Duke of Wellingshire and the son of one of the three privy counsels to Emperor Athren Rolly Duianna, whom Rolly was named after, much to the Emperor’s delight.
Mallet maneuvered as quickly as she could, keeping at least three points of contact at all times. She looked more like a spider than an imperial marine. She had a netting of ropes wrapped around her waist all tied off to small boxes of tools and, thankfully, both of their outdated, but functional, helmets.
“Urdu, Rolly! That was the lateral stabilizers.”
“Really? I didn’t notice, what with everything else on this is ship burning out or exploding.”
Grunting under the strain, Mallet pushed into the seat next to him and clipped one restraint across her chest.
A thunderclap accompanied another lurch, throwing both of them up. A long string of curses came from Mallet as she held the back of her head as blood floated around her for a moment, indicating two important facts. The first being they’d just lost what little artificial gravity the ship had been providing. The second, that she had taken a serious head wound.
Rolly grabbed her arm. “Are you okay?”
“Your diurdu helmet hit me in the head. Why the hell are they still shooting at us? It should be obvious we are going down hard already to even the dullest idiot, Brenull Neanderthals included.”
“I’m sure they haven’t had the chance to shoot down a mining scout in a while. Probably taking turns at the guns so they can all get a commendation.”
“Great, I get a gashed head, and someone else gets an urduing medal.”
“Yep, that’s what you get for volunteering; you’re officially a shiny chest hanger for some Brenull ensigns. Speaking of that, are you still bleeding?”
“No, it’s stopping. The nanobots are doing their job. Thanks for asking.”
“Actually, I needed to know if I had to bind your head with a tourniquet before you put your helmet on. Having blood floating around, or smearing the inside of your helmet, can be dangerous. And I need you to survive long enough to override the security system on that bunker. After that, you can bleed all you want.”
“Wow, your concern really touches me.”
Glancing at the console, a large blob was moving towards his smaller blob on the proximity screen. He sighed; he only liked large blobs when they were moving away from his ship at someone else’s small blob.
“Hand me my helmet, and get yours on.”
Mallet raised an eyebrow but quickly handed him his helmet.
“Aren’t we still a little high?”
He slammed his helmet on as he ripped off the steel panel hiding the secret controls. His helmet’s heads-up displays came to life illuminating his field of vision with data. The suit’s computers tied into the old mining surveyor ship’s remaining systems, and the shiny new, nearly indestructible, sealed computers under his and Mallet’s butts craftily embedded into the escape chairs they were sitting in.
“Yes, but they’ve stepped up from plasma weapons to torpedoes. Someone wants a confirmed kill badge for their chest.”
Mallet’s eyes widened as she rapidly slapped her helmet on and handed him his supply pack.
Rolly braced the pack between his knees as he maneuvered the craft. They were both pushed back into the chairs as the engines gave a last burst of thrust before dying completely. The torpedo missed by a small margin but started to arc back towards them.
“That last shot took out the engine supply lines. We’re running on inertia now.”
“We should abort.” Mallet’s voice came from the small speaker behind his head.
He took a moment to give her his best grin.
“Absolutely not. This is just a small step up of our timetable.”
She frowned at him as her hands worked rapidly, connecting all the bracing straps.
“Small? We are almost a hundred kilometers off course, two hundred too high for even a zero safety margin free fall entry, and our shields are not designed to hold against torpedoes tearing the ship apart.”
The big blob was approaching again. He triggered the automated systems that would, in theory, activate and deactivate the individual escape shields with just enough margins to protect them from the ship being ripped apart but still not be detected by the Brenull forces.
“Radio silence from here on. I’ll meet you at the closest rendezvous point. Follow the plan.”
Mallet grimaced but nodded; she understood her orders.
Together, they turned off all their electronics. The click-click sound of the antediluvian breathing system in the suit reassuring him he had breathable air. The big blob merged with the small blob. For half a heartbeat, he thought they might get lucky, and it was one of the many Brenull duds from their forced labor factories. Then, fire engulfed him as the escape shield came on. He couldn’t see where Mullet went or if she had even survived.
The explosion battered him into the familiar blackness of unconsciousness.
I hope you enjoyed the beginning of the Duianna Chronicles. I plan to have the first few books out late in 2014. When they come out you’ll be able to find all of them on Amazon at http://amzn.to/16fsOUI. I appreciate your interest and am grateful for your time. If you liked this article please leave a comment below with your thoughts.
Of course you might be interested in seeing Duke as he was first introduced to the world in the Golden Threads Trilogy. The series has been a regular top 100 bestseller since it came out in early 2013. Book one Thread Sliverswas the #1 bestselling classic fantasy for three weeks, and has remained in the top 100 bestselling fantasy books on Amazon for over a year. (It is best to start with book one, click here to go to Amazon to get it: Thread Slivers.)
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“It’s hard to believe my books have been bestsellers for over a year! I guess that makes me an honest to goodness fantasy/sci-fi bestselling author. Which feels great! Thank you to all my fans! You can find and read all my books at http://lartra.com/author/lartra.“