The Prodigal Emperor, Snippet Three

Here’s the third snippet from The Prodigal Emperor.  It seems that Alanis Giovanni is in a bit of trouble…

Faraday System

United Colonies

December 1, 2403

Alanis used a word that the daughter of the nobility and the sister to a head of state probably shouldn’t use in public. Unfortunately, it didn’t have any effect on the incoming fire from the crew served weapon that had her pinned down behind a rapidly eroding structural bulkhead.

“Alpha team, this is Sigma, what is your situation?” Sigma’s voice was dry and calm in her ear.

The rest of alpha team, as far as she knew, were already down, including her team leader, caught when the ambushers opened up from their concealed emplacement down the corridor. She had managed to return fire and move to cover, but she was the only one. The Cy-Tek Railgun down the corridor opened up with another burst to remind her of that point.

“Sigma, this is Alpha Five,” Alanis responded. “I’m pinned down and the remainder of Alpha Team is down.”

There was a moments pause and then Sigma spoke again, “Alpha Five, we need that target secured, the rest of our assault is depending on you.” The assault against the station would fail, she well knew, if she couldn’t take and hold the reactor room. Cutting power there would open the security doors and allow the rest of her company to secure the station.

She swore again as the remainder of her cover began to disintegrate. Nothing for it, she thought, as she vaulted out from cover and used her combat armor’s thrusters to augment the armor’s enhanced strength.

She – briefly – flew up along the ceiling of the corridor, the sharp arc of her trajectory momentarily throwing off the aim of her attackers as she managed to down one of them. She struck the ceiling with her back hard enough that it knocked the air out of her lungs and made her see spots despite her armor’s protection. She maintained her fire, though, and she saw the other gunner go down.

A moment later she bounced off the floor hard enough that she blacked out for a moment.

She pulled herself up, though, and ran a quick functions check of her armor and weapon. That done, she spoke up over the radio, “This is Alpha Five, continuing to target.”

***

 

The Prodigal Emperor is the third book of the Shadow Space Chronicles and is available for pre-order now.  It will be published on 19 September, 2015.

Baron Lucius Giovanni has done the impossible: not only has he held the alien Chxor at bay, he has taken the fight to them and liberated human worlds.  Yet humanity’s implacable foe has drawn a line in the sand.  They will hold Nova Roma at all costs… or see it a scorched ruin.
Lucius must aid Nova Roma’s Emperor and liberate his homeworld, but along the way he must also deal with old and new adversaries and with a conspiracy that seeks to usurp control of his fleet.
 
Nova Roma’s Emperor is going home, and Lucius will go beside him, for if he cannot overcome these obstacles, then humanity’s last hope will be overcome and the Chxor will enslave and exterminate the remaining free worlds.

 

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The Prodigal Emperor, Snippet Two

Here’s another snippet from The Prodigal Emperor, available for pre-order now on Amazon.  This is a short one, from the perspective of “Stavros.”

Halcyon Colony, Garris Major System

Contested

November 23, 2403

“While it has been delightful to train together,” Captain Montago said, “I’m really getting tired of this shit. When do we get to the fighting and looting?”

“Soon enough, my friend, soon enough,” Mason said in the guise of Commodore Stavros Heraklion. It is rather disturbing how easily I’ve pulled off this role, Mason thought, and even worse in that I enjoy it a bit. He put his boots up on the table and looked around at the other commanders present. Each of them represented a ship or squadron of light ships. A couple of them, like Captain Mantago, were pirates who had signed on with Halcyon’s government for a safe base of operations and a cut in the overall profits. Others, like Captain Oronkwo and Captain Garret Penwaithe, were guild mercenaries, hired by Halcyon’s government from the Tannis system.

Though I have a low opinion of mercenaries, even guild mercs, Mason thought, I will say that Oronkwo seems pretty solid and that Frank Pierce picked a damned good officer in Garret Penwaithe… even if I did have to save his ass in that bar fight.

“President Monaghan has put special trust in my capabilities as a squadron leader… and Councilor Penwaithe as our direct representative from him has told me that our last training performance showed we’re ready,” Mason smirked. They had run a simulated exercise against some of Halcyon Defense Fleet. Most of them were decent enough, but they didn’t have enough leadership or experience. His squadron had won a very one-sided victory, another embarrassment for Admiral Moore. Councilor Penwaithe’s angry diatribe about building relationships and teamwork between privateers and military had been punctuated by her informing them that they were ready for active raiding.

And since embarrassing Admiral Moore makes both Mannetti and Collae happy with me, Mason thought, that was two birds with one stone, so to speak. His whole purpose here was to find out what the two rogue military commanders wanted in this tiny system. So far he had hints at some greater conspiracy and a notion that there was some recovered alien technology that the locals seemed to have tight control over and that the pair of them wanted it. Given the fact that both of them had grudges with Baron Giovanni and his United Colonies, it seemed prudent to thwart them.

While the notion of a greater conspiracy bothered him, Mason felt more concern about the alien technology. He had lived under Amalgamated Worlds and as a military officer he’d seen how the Agathan Fleet had developed from a handful of wreckage and the genius of a single man able to figure it all out. For that matter, the Kraken was of possible alien origin, and the real Captain Stavros had ran amok across a dozen star systems with the heavy cruiser until Mason had finally put an end to the man’s bloody swath of destruction.

The various commanders seemed eager at Mason’s declaration, so he shook off his thoughts and put on his best Stavros leer, “We’ll be leaving in a few days, our target is another Nova Corp facility. It should be a lot of fun, boys and girls. And trust me, we’ll be seeing a lot of profit off this one.”

The smiles on the pirate and privateer captains were all that Mason could have hoped for. The frowns and worry on the faces of the two mercenary Captains was also what Mason had hoped for. He had already worked things out with Commodore Frank Pierce, the commander of the War Dogs and Captain Penwaithe’s superior, but they had kept his subordinates in the dark. Captain Oronkwo had no ties to Mason, though, and Mason wanted him to be uneasy about all this. He was here to do a job and while he wouldn’t turn up his nose at profit, he was uneasy about the pirates he had to work with.

That was good, in Mason’s eyes. If both mercenaries were suspicious and on edge, then if Admiral Mannetti or Admiral Collae made their plays, then Captain Oronkwo and Captain Penwaithe might very well see it coming and take appropriate action. That might just swing things in Mason’s favor and prevent the two rogue Admirals from getting their way. And that is essential, Mason thought, or else all of this Stavros routine is just me playing dress-up for no good reason.

***

 

The Prodigal Emperor is the third book of the Shadow Space Chronicles and is available for pre-order now.  It will be published on 19 September, 2015.

Baron Lucius Giovanni has done the impossible: not only has he held the alien Chxor at bay, he has taken the fight to them and liberated human worlds.  Yet humanity’s implacable foe has drawn a line in the sand.  They will hold Nova Roma at all costs… or see it a scorched ruin.
Lucius must aid Nova Roma’s Emperor and liberate his homeworld, but along the way he must also deal with old and new adversaries and with a conspiracy that seeks to usurp control of his fleet.
 
Nova Roma’s Emperor is going home, and Lucius will go beside him, for if he cannot overcome these obstacles, then humanity’s last hope will be overcome and the Chxor will enslave and exterminate the remaining free worlds.

 

The Prodigal Emperor, Snippet One

Here’s the first snippet from The Prodigal Emperor:

Halcyon Colony, Garris Major System

Contested

November 20, 2403

Captain Garret Penwaithe swished the cheap liquor around his mouth for a moment, just long enough to numb his taste buds enough that he could swallow it without gagging.

“This is your idea of a date?” Ensign Abigail Gordon asked – shouted really – over the raucous music that rattled the rickety table at which they sat.

“This is not a date,” Garret growled, irritated as much with himself as with her for the statement. The War Dogs were a mercenary organization, so they were quite a bit more lax on things like fraternization than the military. Even so, he was not about to date the little sister of his ex-girlfriend. Especially since his ex-girlfriend was now married to his older brother. For one thing, he thought glumly, even if it wasn’t wrong in so many ways, Jessica would kill me.

“I mean,” Abigail shouted, “the food is terrible, the setting is worse, why even come here?” She wasn’t wrong. The bar was a dive, one which was overrun by mercenaries and privateers of the worst sort, brought here by the call of loot to be taken in the fight against the Colonial Republic. Few of them cared that Halycon Colony fought for freedom. Fewer still had any real loyalty to the government that had hired them. Many of them were the type of scum that followed Admiral Mannetti. Almost on cue, across the room, he saw the pirate, Stavros Heraklion, step through the door, followed by two women from his crew.

Great, he thought, when this goes down, I’ll need to remember to watch my back, especially with his grudge against the War Dogs. He wished that the Commodore had told him more about why he and Stavros hated each other so much.

Abigail cleared her throat impatiently and Garret sighed, “You mentioned nightmares, problems sleeping? This is the best way I know to blow off some steam and get your mind level.” Well, he thought, not the best way, but I’m not going to tell you to go get laid. He might give that advice to some of his other recruits, but he didn’t want Abigail to take that the wrong way.

“Hey,” a voice growled from behind him, “pretty girl, what you doing with this loser? Me and my friends are a lot more fun.”

Right on cue, Garret thought. He glanced over his shoulder to see one of the privateers he had seen at the bar earlier. “Get lost,” Garret said.

“Yeah, get lost,” Abigail echoed. She looked back at Garret, “What do you mean by blow off some steam?” Her upturned nose and freckles made her look absurdly young.

“Heya, girly, I don’t think you understand,” the privateer leaned over the table and even over his unwashed stink of body odor and sweat, Garret could smell the alcohol on his breath. “That wasn’t an invitation, it was a warning. This worm here is wearing War Dogs uniform. You set with him much longer and you might get grouped with him.”

“The War Dogs are great!” Abigail said, her voice far louder than she had realized. “How about you get lost, asshole!”

Garret heard stools scrape across the floor behind him as the privateer’s friends stood up. The privateer leaning over the table gave a snarl and pushed Abigial, hard, so that she and her chair fell back. She rolled to her feet and brought her hands up defensively. Good reflexes, Garret noted.

Garret slammed his elbow into the man’s midriff and as the privateer grunted and bent over, he grabbed him by his dreadlocks and smashed his face into the table top. The flimsy table collapsed, but the privateer went down with it. Garret wiped his hands on his pants, he hated dreadlocks.

Garret saw the man’s friends start forward out of the corner of his eye. He stood from his chair in a smooth, easy motion. His two meter tall frame rose over the other men and his black face split in a grin that showed them even, white teeth. He saw a couple of them step back in fear. Well, Garret thought cheerfully, I can be one imposing son of a bitch when I want.

Abigail came up beside him, “What’s going on?” she asked.

“A good way to work some of that out is a nice bar fight,” Garret said just loud enough for her to hear. He cocked his head as he recognized the purple uniforms of the privateers. “Say, you’re from the Damien Walters, eh? Should have known a bunch of cowards who’d stand by and watch their captain gunned down wouldn’t have the balls for a real fight.” Garret didn’t know the details, but he had heard that Stavros had gunned down their captain in a duel.

Imposing or not, they came at him. I guess that was a sore point, Garret thought as he caught the first man and used him as a shield against two of the others. After a moment he threw his man into another and watched them both go down.

“How is this supposed to help me?” Abigail said as she ducked under a wild swing and then smashed the bottle of cheap liquor across the man’s head. Someone cut the music and the shattering glass carried clearly through the bar. Garret winced as the pungent brew stung his nose and eyes in a way that only rotgut liquor could.

Garret caught another man’s swing and swung him into the other two as they struggled to their feet. The three stayed down and Garret grunted in disgust, “Eh, not much of a fight anyway…”

He heard tables and chairs shifting behind him, then and glanced over to see a lot more of the purple uniforms come out of the crowd. “Or… I could be wrong.”

Garret lost track of Abigail as a wave of purple uniforms washed over them. Garret was a brawler and though he’d some hand to hand training, that always seemed to go out the window in a fight like this. He caught up his chair and used it to fend two of his attackers away and kicked another man in the crotch as he came at him from the side.

Garret didn’t see the fourth man until the blow caught him from the other side. His attacker hit him again, this time in the side of the head and Garret stumbled to the ground, his ears ringing. He grunted as someone kicked him in the ribs.

He had time to shake his head and clear it a bit, just as he saw one of the privateers draw his pistol. A few meters away, he saw two others held Abigail by her arms. The one with the pistol gave a “He’s one of the War Dogs, you heard what Admiral Mannetti said, some of them dies in a bar fight and she might well cut that crew some extra shares.”

Garret felt his blood go cold. Suddenly this had escalated far beyond a friendly bar brawl. Stupid, he thought, I shouldn’t have forgotten about the politics down here and now not just me, but Abigail will be paying the price too.

“We can have a bit of fun with this one, first, eh?” One of Abigail’s captors said as he ran a hand through her blonde hair.

She spat in his face and almost pulled her arm free.

Garret saw his arm go back to strike her. Before he could finish the blow, another hand caught his. A tall man, dressed in skin-tight, red leather pants and a white button-down shirt, open to the waist stood behind the privateer. Garret instantly recognized Captain Stavros Heraklion although he had no idea why he had stopped the blow. The privateer tried to free his hand, but Stavros held him with little apparent effort, “Ah, I see that striking women is something that Captain Walters trained your crew on, eh, boys?”

The tone of threat in his voice was enough to penetrate the drunkest of the bar crowd. The handful of patrons that hadn’t backed away or cleared out made for the door. Behind Stavros, the two women from his crew stood, hands on weapons.

The privateer with a pistol glanced down at his weapon, as if to reassure himself. “Stavros,” he spat the name like a curse. “This is none of your business.”

“Oh, I think it is,” Stavros said. He gave a nod at Garret, “Now, while I can appreciate getting the upper hand in a fight like this, well, he’s been assigned to my squadron. As much as I… dislike the War Dogs, well, you put him down and it’ll take his gunboats out of the fight. You do that, and it’ll make me look bad.”

He released the privateer’s hand and stepped to the side. “And as for her… well, slapping around a woman is something I think it best to discourage, unless they’re into that sort of thing.” He leaned in towards Abigail, “I dunno, are you into that?”

Abigail flushed, “No – no,” she stuttered.

Stavros turned back to the leader of the privateers. “Well, then, see? There’s two good reasons for me to put a stop to it… plus I think any men who worked for a ball-less fuck-puppet like Damien Walters are cowards and cretins.”

The man with the pistol flushed red and Garret saw his hand tremble on his pistol. Yet the easy way that Stavros’s hands had come to rest on his own pair of pistols seemed to take the wind out of him. “Admiral Mannetti will hear about this.”

“Oh, dear,” Stavros said, his eyes wide. “Well, do give her Commodore Stavros’s regards, eh?”

The privateers began to clear out and after a moment, Garret managed to stand, though his head still spun a bit. He gave Stavros a slow nod, “Thanks.” The gratitude burned a bit, for there was no doubt that the man would brag about it at some point later. Commodore Pierce is going to be angry about this too, Garret thought.

“It is nothing!” Stavros said with an extravagant wave. “I just like to tweak those men in their ridiculous purple uniforms. Have they no sense of style? If I hadn’t already killed Damien Walters, I would shoot him again for crimes against fashion.”

Garret looked over Stavros’s tight red leather pants and the oiled chest hair that showed from his open shirt and just shook his head. Not worth saying anything, Garret thought, besides, he did just save my life. That his life had depended upon the flighty pirate at all almost made Garret want to throw up. Stavros was a womanizer, a philanderer, and a card cheat. He was also a pirate of the worst sort and whatever self-interest had made him step in was all that prevented Garret and Abigail from dying.

Garret wasn’t certain if it was possible for the night to get any worse.

Abigail looked over at Garret, her face a bit pale. “Well,” she said, “as first dates go, this was pretty terrible. You really better make it up to me.”

***

The Prodigal Emperor is available for Pre-Order on Amazon and will be published on September 19th, 2015.

Baron Lucius Giovanni has done the impossible: not only has he held the alien Chxor at bay, he has taken the fight to them and liberated human worlds.  Yet humanity’s implacable foe has drawn a line in the sand.  They will hold Nova Roma at all costs… or see it a scorched ruin.
Lucius must aid Nova Roma’s Emperor and liberate his homeworld, but along the way he must also deal with old and new adversaries and with a conspiracy that seeks to usurp control of his fleet.
 
Nova Roma’s Emperor is going home, and Lucius will go beside him, for if he cannot overcome these obstacles, then humanity’s last hope will be overcome and the Chxor will enslave and exterminate the remaining free worlds.

The Prodigal Emperor Now Available for Pre-order!

I’m excited to announce that The Prodigal Emperor, book III of The Shadow Space Chronicles will go live on September 19th, 2015.  This is the third book of the series and concludes the starting trilogy.  I’ll be posting some snippets and samples on the blog soon!

Baron Lucius Giovanni has done the impossible: not only has he held the alien Chxor at bay, he has taken the fight to them and liberated human worlds.  Yet humanity’s implacable foe has drawn a line in the sand.  They will hold Nova Roma at all costs… or see it a scorched ruin.
Lucius must aid Nova Roma’s Emperor and liberate his homeworld, but along the way he must also deal with old and new adversaries and with a conspiracy that seeks to usurp control of his fleet.
 
Nova Roma’s Emperor is going home, and Lucius will go beside him, for if he cannot overcome these obstacles, then humanity’s last hope will be overcome and the Chxor will enslave and exterminate the remaining free worlds.
The Prodigal Emperor is available on Amazon for pre-order here and will be published on September 19th, 2015.

Kal’s August 2015 Forecast

Things are pretty busy for me right now, let me tell you. I’m doing the final edits for The Prodigal Emperor, with the publication date projected at 18 September 2015. This will be the third book of the Shadow Space Chronicles and it ties the story of Lucius Giovanni’s war with the Chxor Empire to a close. I’ll have The Prodigal Emperor available for pre-order sometime in the next couple of weeks.

I’m also working on a novel for Henchman Press, the Eye of Odin, which will be the sequel to Fenris Unchained. My goal is to have the book finished by the end of the month, though the publication date will be sometime near the end of the year, I understand.

Lastly, I’m also working on the next set of Renegades stories. This series has close ties to the Shadow Space Chronicles but is more focused on a small team of misfits rather than large-scale military operations. My goal is to have Renegades: Out of the Cold finished by the end of September.

I’m also outlining the next Eoriel Saga book, Fate of the Tyrant and getting the audiobook for Wrath of the Usurper ready to to go live. The narrator, Eric Dove, did an amazing job of it and I can’t wait for people to be able to listen to it.

Lastly, the July Newsletter went out on Friday, July 31st. If you signed up but didn’t receive your email, please check your spam filter. I’ve also sent out the T-shirts from the winners who contacted me as well as the signed copy of Wrath of the Usurper. If you missed out on those contests, don’t worry, there will be more giveaways, so sign up for my newsletter today!

That’s all for now. Thanks for reading!