Here is a short snippet from Book 3: Crow – Vindication. There are those who desperately want to exclude Steven from the paradise that the Cooperative represents. There are ominous signs that hint at the destruction of the Cooperative either by Steven’s hands or vicariously through him. But there is growing support for him. Steven is the only deviant who is not a monster and there is intense curiosity about him. Orin, a Keratian gatekeeper and Guildmaster and the primary head of the Chaser guild that is responsible for hunting deviants, recognizes the danger of this curiosity and takes matters into his own hands to eliminate this threat. This snippet is first-draft form. As Book 3 is revised, it will no doubt be adjusted and tweaked. Enjoy:
Orin visits Laurence
The shockwave was hardly noticeable on the blustery winter evening. Keratian physiology actually dampened the shockwave significantly. No one was expecting anything to sneak in through the gate from Endard. After all, it was the Cooperative. The greater number of sensors were pointed away from the homestead, trying to detect any Sadari craft trying to enter through the gate to Endard.
It was easy for Orin to pass through, therefore. He reached his maximum speed and passed by the homestead in a blink, leaving only a furrow in the snow to mark his passing. It blended with other similar furrows that disturbed the snow as supplies were brought in for the small contingent of aliens staying at the homestead.
As he passed by the quaint little town, he turned East towards the mountains, and towards the Order base. He had an offer to make to a certain man who was obsessed with Steven. One that would benefit both of them. As he sped towards the base, he gated repeatedly, jumping from micro-eddy to micro-eddy in the fracture. It wasn’t perfect. The Sadari had true gating locked down hard on Terra. Only the deviant, Steven Crow, could freely gate there. But it did speed his progress up significantly. He was in enemy occupied territory on a mission crucial to the future of the Cooperative and success was of paramount importance.
Orin found the Order base easily. It was a spent galena mine that had hundreds of miles of tunnels that had been converted for the purpose of developing weapons that would hopefully be effective against the aliens. Orin smiled at their futile efforts. The thought of these backwards Terrans actually posing a threat to the Sadari was humorous in the saddest way.
He walked up to one of the old vents. It was heavily armored and welded shut excepting for a grid through which exhaust was steaming out. Without hesitation, Orin gripped the edge and tore the lid away, tossing it to the side as he looked down. The base was several hundred feet below and the quickest way was down the vent. He jumped in feet first and dropped straight down, keeping himself centered in the vent shaft with his hands. He landed hard in another armored section of the atmospheric control system. Looking around, he found a hatch and pushed it off it’s heavy, metal hinges and stepped into a hallway.
A rain of bullets found him and he raised an eyebrow at the dozen soldiers that had taken up a position against him. Shaking his head, he continued casually down the hall, ignoring the soldiers as they reloaded and continued to shoot him. He knew who he was looking for. A man who had been a very particular thorn in Steven’s plans. He could sense that he was close. As he focused, he could see almost him even. The Sadari could not suppress the fracture that far. Gathering himself, he exploded forward down the long hall, leaving the soldiers behind.
He found Laurence in the linear accelerator lab. As he nonchalantly walked in, Laurence immediately drew his weapon and emptied it at him, causing several of the other techs to duck as shattered bullets sent fragments every which way. Smirking, Orin walked up to the equipment and looked at it. They had identified many of the exotic particles that gating produced and were trying to learn more about them with the accelerator. He looked down the tunnel in both directions. The accelerator went on for miles either way. Laurence picked up a large tool and hit him in the head with it. Without looking, Orin grabbed Laurence’s neck and slammed him down on the counter while he continued to leisurely examine their equipment. He had thought to subdue Laurence’s anxiety in the same way Keratians subdued the rodan when they feed, but decided to let Laurence stew a bit in his growing panic.
“This is fascinating.” Orin said as he pulled up the computer readouts on the primitive computer screens. Orin tapped the screen and looked around behind it. He was amazed that Terrans had not developed cerebral stimulation user interfaces yet. Shaking his head, he returned his attention to the screen. “It’s a bit misdirected, however. You’re only reading the matter you can detect.” He looked at Laurence. “It’s like looking at a large cavern with a tiny candle.” Laurence squirmed, trying to get out of Orin’s grip. He had hurt his fist by hitting Orin but still tried to hit and kick him. “You are a stubborn one, aren’t you?” Orin smiled, revealing his canines. Laurence’s eyes got big for an instant, but he didn’t stop trying to escape Orin’s grasp, and most interestingly, didn’t stop trying to attack Orin. Orin found that curious. He blinked. “You smell familiar. Venda? But… not quite.”
Laurence wrapped a leg around Orin’s arm and braced himself as he kicked at Orin’s face with his other foot. The blow glanced off painfully and Laurence winced, but the pain didn’t stop him from trying.
“You do have the tenacity of Venda, however.” Orin sighed. “Relax. I have a proposition for you.” Orin said as he focused and removed Laurence’s anxiety. Laurence immediately calmed down, still pinned by Orin’s grip. “Much better.” Orin let him go and Laurence slipped down to the floor, holding his neck. “Now, let’s see just how far you’ve gotten.”
“We will find a way to stop you.” Laurence said, hoarse.
“Doubtful.” Orin looked sideways at him. “But I am not the one you want to stop.”
Laurence pulled himself back to his feet, looking around for anything he could use against the vampire alien. He wondered if he could set off the accelerator by defocussing the magnetic fields. The rupture would be catastrophic.
Orin shook his head as he continued to scroll through the data. “Still so… primitive.” He looked at Laurence. “How can there be so many of you and yet you be so…” He looked back at the equipment, “…so small minded?”
Laurence shook his head, still affected by Orin’s calming.
Orin turned to face Laurence. “You live your pathetically short little lives in such a hurry, never taking the time to think, to create. It is no wonder this world is forbidden to us.”
“Forbidden?” Laurence asked.
Orin smiled. “You have an itch, Laurence.”
Laurence looked at him.
“Young Steven Crow.”
Laurence opened his mouth, then closed it.
Orin nodded. “I have a proposal. A… trade.” The concept of trading was still foreign to him, but he was quickly getting the grasp of it. Terrans holding debts against each other.
The last effects of Orin’s calming wore off but Laurence remained still, his curiosity piqued. Just what can that alien offer him regarding a prize he had become obsessed with?
“You are about to lose your Steven forever.” Orin said. “He wants to leave… Earth.” Terra was their preferred word for Earth but he questioned Laurence’s intelligence to recognize what he was talking about. “Some of us don’t want him infesting our home. And I know you want him here.” Orin played with the steel counter, peeling a section of the metal up and rolling it over into a tight little coil absentmindedly as he talked.
Laurence nodded. He rubbed his neck again as he against the counter. “Then just… keep him from moving.”
“It’s not my decision.” Orin said. “But those who do decide can be brought to their senses if they see Steven… behaving badly.” He smiled widely, looking at Laurence. Laurence shivered, feeling all the prey under the hungry gaze of the predator.
“Just what are you proposing,” Laurence asked, rubbing the back of his neck.
“You are going to kill Asherah.” Orin said, still smiling.
Book 3: Crow – Vindication is still under revision and editing, however Book 1: Crow – The Awakening is available at…