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  1. Six Weeks There

    Thank you. I have an excellent editor who works with me here on Gay Authors: Rockcys
  2. Six Weeks There

    Jack couldn’t sleep. The silence that had wrapped itself around him like a cocoon was overwhelming, frightening - the knowledge that all that separated him from the vacuum of space was the metal walls of the Endes Thebes. He hadn’t been on the ship for a day and he already felt homesick. At least back home he had the sounds of the city just outside his window to help lull him to sleep. He crawled out of bed, deciding that he would take a shower. A hot shower always helped to calm his nerves. But as he walked down the corridor of the ship he continued to feel uneasy. For a moment he stopped just outside of Redric’s room. The door was open. Redric’s was laying in his bed, facing away from Jack. Jack felt a strong temptation to crawl in bed with him - fuck what Julisa thought. And why shouldn’t I? Jack thought. What’s Julisa going to do, tell Sheathia? But Jack already knew that he wasn’t going to. He was too stuck in the habit of keeping things under wraps. One day soon we won’t have to keep things secret, he thought. One day soon we’ll be able to love in the open. But when was that day? A year from now? Two? Jack knew that Redric was starting to get restless, and so was he, He wanted to be able to touch Redric whenever he wanted, without having to worry about someone from the Precinct seeing them. Or was there a strong sense of appeal in between those moments of forbidden passion that neither of them were man enough to admit to? He sure hoped to God not. He hoped that their love for each other was more than just a game. In the bathroom there were six separate shower heads on the right side of the wall, six sinks on the left and two stalls at the end of the room. Jack stripped out of his clothes and folded them neatly on the end of the sink. He turned the water on and tested the pressure. When it was warmed up enough to his liking, Jack stepped underneath the warm spray. He could feel the warmth already starting to work its way into his body, unstretching the kinks. He closed his eyes and pressed his forehead against the tiled wall. His bangs hung down before his face, touching the bridge of his nose. After a moment Jack felt fingers gently entangle in his hair. The simple brush of contact made his scalp tingle and a shiver race up his spine. Goosebumps broke out across his shoulders and collarbone. There was only one man that could make his skin tingle as if electricity was racing through it with touch alone. Redric gently pulled Jack’s head and kissed the corner of his mouth. “You weren’t really asleep, were you?” Jack asked with a knowing smile. His eyes were still closed. “No. I know you too well. I figured you couldn’t sleep and that you’d come in here to take a shower.” “Guilty as charged, detective. You caught me.” Redric wrapped both of his arms around Jack and pressed against him. He dropped gentle kisses on Jack’s neck. He could still smell yesterday’s shampoo in Jack’s hair - something with mint in it. The smell made him think of a snowy mountain top, of a clean, cool wind brushing up against flesh. Just having the smaller man close made all of the blood in his body flow down to his cock, making it hard. So hard that it ached. Jack’s right arm was looped around his neck, showing the hollow of his armpit, and the small bush of silver-blonde hair that covered it. His other hand groped at his own hard length. Both men were gearing up for one thing, and one thing only. It was inevitable. After several minutes of foreplay, Redric spun Jack around, lifted him off his feet, and pressed him up against the wall. With the grace of an acrobat, Jack moved with him, wrapping his legs and arms around Redric. They kissed each other furiously as Redric ground against him, his muscles tightening and rippling like a wild jungle animal. His lips nibbled and sucked and pressed against Jack’s flesh, roaming wherever they wanted. Jack let him, putting up no resistance. One of the things that made Jack such an amazing lover was that he had no problem keeping up. “This is your first time fucking somebody off planet,” Jack whispered; he pressed his lips to Redric’s ear as if he was giving away his greatest secret and he didn’t want anyone else to hear it. “It’s kind of like losing your virginity all over again. Make it count.” Redric tightened his hold on Jack almost protectively, his brown eyes boring into Jack’s crystal blue ones. He pushed his cock inside of Jack and began to fuck him up against the wall. He went slow at first, taking his time. Jack’s eyes became soft, his mouth hanging open as he let out soft gaps of pleasure. Their bodies glistened with beads of water. When Redric picked up the pace Jack had to bury his face in the hollow between Redric’s neck and shoulder to muffle his cries for fear that Julisa would hear them somehow. It was somewhere in those next few moments that Jack realized he was tired of hiding his affection for a man he’d fallen in love with almost three years ago. It was ridiculous. After their passionate lovemaking was over, both men wrapped towels around their waists. Jack followed Redric to his room. “What are you doing?” Redric asked. His broad frame filled the doorway. He nodded in the opposite direction. “You’re bedroom’s that way.” “I’m sleeping with you tonight,” Jack said. “What if the pilot sees us sleeping together?” Jack shrugged carelessly. “So what if she does? It’s just for tonight.” After a week of being in the company of the two detectives, Julisa found herself sinking into a routine that was different from the one she was normally used to; which presented a nice change. Not to say that there weren’t interesting moments every now and then. It didn’t take her long to pick up on the fact that they were a couple, or at least sleeping together. It wasn’t hard to discern; they weren’t very good at hiding it. She could see it in the way they looked at each other. There was something more there than just the camaraderie of a long work history. It was the same heated, affectionate look that she’d seen her parents exchange. Julisa didn’t mind. For one, it was none of her business, and for two she thought it was kind of hot. She often wondered who was the top and who was the bottom. She’d watched enough man-on-man porn in her spare time to know that at least half of the time the big muscle guys turned out to be the bottom. Keeping the fact that she knew a secret was starting to make her uncomfortable. She wanted to get it off her chest but she couldn’t think of a proper way to break it to them. She’d never been very good at keeping secrets. She was the type of person that said what was on her mind. Most of the times she saw that as a good thing - she never let anyone push her around. When someone did something to her she didn’t like she read them the riot act. But in cases like this it wasn’t such a good thing. For the last few days they’d made a habit of playing card games. It turned out that of the three of them, Jack was quite the card shark. He always seemed to have the best hands. He had them the most times, therefore he’d won the most money. Julisa wondered how much of that was from his being psychic but Jack claimed that he didn’t know what was in her hands, though he grinned everytime he said it, making Julisa think otherwise. There were a few times when he lost, and Redric or she won - but then Jack could have been letting that happen just to be fair. Still, Julisa enjoyed their company, which was a great surprise. And yet, underneath it all there was a tenseness. No one was bringing up the subject on why they were really there. When it was brought up, Jack’s face would grow a shade or two paler and he would become very quiet. Then there was the fact that Jack and Redric were trying to hide the fact that they were sleeping together. On the fifteenth day of their journey to Aanstad Station, Julisa woke up and went into the kitchen to get her morning coffee going, only to find Jack sitting at the kitchen table with a steaming mug of coffee. There were dark circles under his eyes and his face was pale. Apparently Redric was still asleep. He was always the last one to get up. “Can’t sleep?” she asked. “No,” he said miserably. “It’s been three days...I think. Three days since the last time I slept.” “Probably because you’ve never been on a ship this long. It takes some getting used to. It took me a couple of months.” Julisa sat across from Jack with her own cup of coffee. “That and the silence. There’s not a soul out here but yourself. But I’ve grown to love it. I’m not much of a people person.” Jack gave her a tired smile. The smile disappeared almost as quickly as it had appeared. “I know what you mean. I’m not either. But that’s not what’s bothering me. It’s this whole thing with my father. It gives me the creeps.” “You must be worried about your father and all?” “Not really. I know I should be...but I’m not.” “You hate him that much, huh?” He chuckled bitterly. “Hate is putting it lightly. Let’s just say I wouldn’t piss on him if he was on fire.” “And you don’t know where he is?” “You mean have I had any dreams or visions that hint at where he’s at?” Jack asked. “No, nothing.” “Have you tried...I don’t know if meditating is the right word,” she said uncertainly. “I can’t control it if that’s what you mean,” Jack said. “There’s no real mechanics to it. It comes and goes as it pleases.” “And did you inherit your abilities?” “Through my mother. It ran through her side of the family. That’s really all I know about them.” “Would you be able to get some rest if you could sleep with Redric?” Julisa asked before she could stop herself. Jack, who had just raised his cup to his lips, spat his coffee out. It splattered across the table. “What?” he said wide-eyed. “You know about us?” Julisa winced, kicking herself silently. Very subtle, Temerance, she scolded herself silently. Reluctantly, she said, “Yes, I know.” “How?” Jack got up and grabbed a paper towel from one of the cabinets. “A girl can pick up on these things,” Julisa said casually. She grinned. “We have psychic powers of our own, you know? Plus you guys aren’t very good at hiding it. Don’t worry, I’m not going to say anything to anybody.” “You promise you won’t say anything to anybody?” Jack asked, sounding doubtful. “Because if you did we could lose our jobs. You understand that, right?” “Scout’s honor. Once we’re done with this investigation my contracts over and I’m moving on so what would it matter to me anyway?” Jack smiled. He had a beautiful, quiet smile. “Thanks. I appreciate it.” He finished cleaning up his mess and threw the coffee-stained paper towel in the trash can. He yawned, stretched. “I’m going to try and get some sleep then. Good night.” She raised her glass to him. “Good night.” During the fourth week enroute to Aanstad Station, Jack received a message. He was at the desk in his room when the notification popped up on his computer screen. It was from Uncle Charlie. Curious, he thought. According to the information on when the transmission was sent, Charlie had sent the transmission two weeks ago. It had taken two weeks for the transmission to travel through space and reach Jack. He went to touch the link and hesitated. What was it that Charlie wanted after all these years? While Jack felt no ill will or held any past grudges against Charlie, it had been several years since his mother’s funeral. There were still old wounds that Jack needed to lick, there were dark times that he needed to shed light on. He was tempted to go and find Redric. Redric was probably in the gym, working out. The man was an ox, always lifting weights and trying to stay fit. Don’t be ridiculous, Jack told himself sharply. You don’t need Redric’s support to deal with family matters. You’re a big boy. You are perfectly capable of dealing with it on your own. Jack took a deep breath and tapped on the link. His uncle’s jovial face popped up. He was sitting in a computer chair, dressed in a suit and tie. Behind him was a large window, with sunlight streaming in. Earth sunlight. Jack thought he could see a slice of bright blue sky. His uncle cleared his throat and said, “Hey Jacky-boy. I’m sorry we didn’t get a chance to catch up back on Mars. With your father missing things have been hectic at the company as I’m sure you can imagine. Once this whole thing clears up and the dust settles I would like to make it up to you. I know you still have some hard feelings with how things went with our family and I can understand that - but we are family and as the saying goes, ‘Blood is thicker than water.’ I hope one day we can set things right. Before I forget, here’s this.” A video popped up. The video was from Jack’s fifth birthday party. Melania Aansted was walking down the pier of Sea World in San Diego, with a young Jack sitting on top of her shoulders. A sea breeze blew through their sun bleached hair. The young Jack in the video held a bright red balloon in his little childs hand. Someone stood behind them, filming them. There was only one person that it could be: Uncle Charlie. Of course Jack’s father, Erik, wasn’t there. Jack remembered that birthday well. He remembered every birthday that his father had never shown up for. There had been quite a few of them. It was impossible for Jack to remember his father was a solid flesh-and-blood person and not a spectre that could only be seen standing in the background of photos and home videos. But Melania and Charlie had always more than made up for it. They always threw him a big birthday bash at the Aanstad Estate and then took him for his own private celebration with just the three of them. It was at that age that Jack had been fascinated with dolphins specifically - long before he had ever wanted to be a cop. The job title in those days was somewhere in between rock star and marine biologist. “Jack,” Charlie said on the video. “Jack, look this way...Smile for the video camera...” Melania stopped and turned so that she and little Jack was facing the camera. She wore a pair of sunglasses and a beautiful blue-green sun hat with a matching dress. Both she and Jack smiled and waved at the camera. We look so happy, Jack thought, closing the lid of his laptop. We were happy that day. He thought of Melania and a terrible sadness engulfed him. Though he knew he wasn’t, Jack suddenly felt incredibly alone. Ding...ding… Somewhere Jack could hear the tinkling of a bell. It was the very bell his mother had to use when she’d gotten so sick that she couldn’t get out of her bed on her own. I’m coming, Mom. Hold on I’m coming. Jack sat up and looked over. He could see the bulky outline of Redric’s sleeping form next to him, hear his peaceful breathing. They were on the Endes Thebes. Jack frowned. He was sure that he had heard the sound of a bell - his mother’s bell. Which meant that it was just a dream. Melania was dead, had been dead for almost a decade now. Ding...ding… There it was again. This time he knew that he wasn’t dreaming because his eyes were open and he was wide awake. Jack felt the hairs on the back of his neck stand on end. A trail of cold sweat dripped down his back. He reached over to shake Redric but stopped, deciding that he didn’t want to wake the other man. Whatever it was, dream or no dream, he could face it on his own. He crawled out of the bed and stepped out into the hallway. Ding ding. There his mother stood at the end of the hallway, in the red nightgown that she had died in. It was not the beautiful white dress that she’d been buried in. Her hair and skin gleamed and she was surrounded by a circle of blue light. There was something about the light itself that was eerie...alien. “Jack,” she said. She looked so beautiful, and frail, the bones in her face defined. Just before she had died she had been little more than skin and bones but she had still been beautiful. She would always be beautiful, even in death Jack thought. Jack realized that she was afraid. She held the small, silver bell in her right hand. “Mom,” Jack gasped, no longer sure if he was dreaming or awake. She reached out for him, her face lined and desperate. “Help me. Please help me.” Tentacles started to come out of the floor, wrapping around her legs and waist. Like the blue light that surrounded her, the tentacles were black, slimy, and alien. It was not of this world. The tentacles were dangerous, malevolent. Jack was as afraid of them as he was of the light. Still, the need to save his mother was stronger than the fear. He’d already lost her once. He would not lose her again. He ran towards her, his heart pounding in his throat. Melania tried to say his name but a tentacle slithered down her throat, cutting the sound off. Her eyes bulged out of her head as the tentacle traveled deeper and deeper down her throat. There was a puddle of the alien blue light just beneath her feet where the tentacle was coming out and the tentacles were dragging her into the puddle of light. Like a drowning person she flailed with her arms, struggling against the tentacles, but to no avail. Though Jack knew that he would never be able to reach her in time, he ran anyway, reaching for her. He was almost there. Their fingers were almost touching when the top of her head and the tentacles disappeared into the light… Someone was shaking him awake. He opened his eyes, and sat up. Redric was standing over him, framed in the light. Not the alien blue light that had taken his mother but regular yellow light, Jack was relieved to see. “What is it?” Jack asked, his heart still hammering away in his chest. “We’re here,” Redric rumbled, kissing the top of Jack’s head tenderly. “We’re at Aansted Station.”
  3. The Endes Thebes

    Redric Cortez stood at the entryway of the tube station. He scanned the crowd, hoping to spot his face. Where the hell is he? They had thirty minutes to get to the hangar bay. The tube would be leaving in the next few minutes. If they didn't catch it then they would be late. He rubbed at his eyes. He hadn't been able to sleep all night. He'd spent the entire night tossing and turning, his mind spinning nonstop. All of yesterday had seemed like a dream. He was still trying to process the fact that Jack's father was the Erik Aanstad. The creator of Aanstad Corp. Erik Aanstad. How had he not figured it out before? They had the same last name. But surely there were plenty of people between Mars and Earth with the last name Aanstad. He thought of all the times he'd seen Erik's face on the cover of magazines. In fact just a few feet from where he was standing there was a magazine stand. He picked up both of his suitcases and went over it. Sure enough there was a picture of Erik Aanstad on Times magazine. He was grinning at the camera, looking sort of bemused. The man was handsome. Even though he was three hundred he looked as if he was in his mid thirties to early forties. I hope I look that good when I reach his age, Cortez thought. At the moment he was exactly half of Aanstad's age: a hundred and fifty. The resemblance between Jack and Erik was uncanny. They had the same ice-cold blue eyes, silver-blonde hair, high cheekbones, and narrow nose. The only difference between them was that Jack's hair had curl to it while Erik's was straight. Erik kept his hair short and Jack had let his grow down to the nape of his neck. Jack had beautiful hair. It was soft. When they were in bed together Cortez like to run his fingers through it and along Jack's exquisite jawline. Cortez put the magazine back on his rack. He thought back to their conversation at the dinner. He kept thinking back to when Jack said, He left my mother to die and I had to sit by her bed and watch. He tried to picture a young Jack sitting by his mother's bedside. She would be deathly pale, laying in a huge four poster bed with the blankets pulled up to her chin. For some reason Cortez pictured the blankets as being red. Jack's mother was beautiful. Perhaps she was silver-blonde too and came from Switzerland like Erik. Jack was small as an adult, short and thin. As a boy he would have been smaller, still growing maybe. Did he have the same silent strength that he did as an adult? Were his eyes just as steady? Jack was pretty good at hiding his feelings when it came to interrogating murder suspects. He was good at sounding calm and looking reassuring. Cortez on the other hand was too emotional, too quickly tempered. They were the exact opposite of each other. It was a wonder they were sleeping together. Still he couldn't imagine having to be a child and watch your mother die, having to carry it on your own. Still we've known each other for three years and have been sleeping together for two. He hasn't mentioned any of this. Not once. But I've told him everything there is to know about me. Cortez was a Martian, as were both of his parents, first and second cousins, aunts and uncles. His father had been a lawyer, his mother a teacher. They lived on the east side of Mars City in a huge house. They had paid for Cortez to go to college. His whole life he'd always wanted to be a cop, to throw the bad guys in jail like Clint Eastwood or John Wayne. His parents had met Jack several times and seemed to like him. Though they never said anything Cortez suspected that his parents knew there was something going on between Jack and he. When Cortez had told them he was gay at the age of sixteen they had been perfectly understanding. "We always thought you were," Henric Cortez had said before collapsing into a fit laughter. Before long Cortez's mother had joined in. Cortez had stayed on Mars to be near his parents and the rest of his family. He was a family man. His whole life he'd been taught that family and friends were important. They were your heritage. Whatever heritage Jack had on Earth he'd left behind. His father was the richest man on Earth which meant that Jack could have inherited everything and still very possibly could. God knew how big Aanstad's residence on Earth was. He could have become a scientist like Erik and Charlie and made a thousand times more than what he made at the Precinct. He could have had anything his heart desired. Jack was obviously fond of Charlie and yet they hadn't seen each other for as long as he hadn't seen his father. The death of Jack's mother must have been more devastating than what Jack had described; that along with the anger and resentment towards his father. Several times Cortez had imagined what would happen if Jack and he were to become an actual couple. What if they got married? Was that card in their future? One of them would have to quit the Precinct probably. Then what? Would they move to Earth, take different jobs? He'd never once contemplated moving to Earth before but for Jack he supposed he would. I would do anything for Jack. Anything to make him happy. Or was this all they had together, an affair? Something they did behind closed doors? The mere possibility made Cortez hurt. He had fallen in love with Jack six months after Sheathia had assigned them together. Since then that love had only grown until it was an obsession. On the nights they were apart he couldn't sleep. Speaking of Jack there he was right now, coming Cortez's way. Where Cortez had two suitcases Jack only had one. I think I overpacked, Cortez thought. "It's about time you got here," he said. Jack grinned broadly. He seemed to be in a much better mood from the day before. "What are you talking about? I'm just on time as always. I'm surprised you're here so early. Usually you're the one that I have to drag out of bed. C'mon, we've got a missing persons case to solve." Pilot Julisa Temerance sat on the boarding ramp of the Endes Thebes waiting for the two detectives that she would be taking to Aanstad Station to show up. Mars’ docking bay was big enough to cover a whole city block. Ships of various designs and sizes were constantly coming in and out of the hangar bay. Workers wheeled stock on and off the humongous Aanstad Corp. shipping vessels on dollies, swerving to stay out of each other’s way. She couldn’t help but wrinkle her nose at the Aanstad Corp. shipping vessels and was glad that she was piloting the more compact Ende Thebes. A group of young people that appeared to be in their twenties or so, around her age, was leading a parade of people off the shuttle transport that had just landed. Something about the way they looked around and their body language told her that they were tourists who had never left the great gravity well of Earth. She could imagine the amazement and excitement they must be feeling for she had felt it once too the first time she’d left Earth. Since then she only went back to Earth to visit her mother and father on the holidays. She glanced at her watch. Her boarding party would be arriving any minute. This was a good thing. She didn’t like Mars’ over crowded, noisy, docking bay. She wanted to sit in the crash couch, piloting her beloved Ende Thebes through the vacuum of space with nothing but her own thoughts to keep her company. Julia had never been much of the people person that her parents had tried so hard to mold her into being. It wasn’t that she didn’t like people - she just didn’t like huge overwhelming crowds of them. Tomund and Elisa Temerance were everything she wasn’t - they were at the forefront of every humanitarian group there was on Earth. They smoked marijuana, had been arrested several times for breaking into slaughterhouses in the middle of the night to release all the animals inside. They dyed their hair every color you could think of and camped in nudists colonies. That was fine with Julisa but she didn’t want any part in it. She liked all things mechanical, whether it was computers or vehicles. She loved cars, boats, and ships and most of all she like spaceships. Ever since she was a little girl she had dreamed of piloting a spaceship, exploring the ever-expanding galaxy, and seeing sights that stretched beyond the atmosphere of Earth. For the last five years she’d filled contracts with various companies, trying to pay off the debt that she owed on the Endes Thebes. For the last two years she’d been with Aanstad Corporation. This was her last job with them before closing the contract - and paying off the debt she owed on the Endes Thebes once and for all. Those must be the two cops coming this way now. She stood up and brushed a strand of her bright red hair out of her face. The two cops were a curious couple. They were the exact opposite of one another. The one on the left was tall and broad across the shoulders and chest. He was actually quite intimidating at first glance. His head was completely shaved and his eyes were a warm brown. The one on the right was shorter, skinner, and younger. He had white-silver-blonde hair and a heart-shaped face. His eyes were bright shade of blue, very pretty. He must have been Erik Aanstadt’s son because he looked just like him. She had never met Aanstadt personally - few of Aanstad Corp.’s employees had been given the honor - but she’d seen his face on the cover of magazines and advertisements enough to be able to remember what he looked like. Putting on her best smile, Julisa decided that this was going to be a very interesting trip. For the past two years her passengers were always highly regarded scientists that were in transit between Earth, Mars, or one of the several star cities floating in space. Even when she had a half dozen to a full dozen passengers on board, most of the times it was still pretty quiet. She was always cordial with them and they were always cordial with her, but underneath that cordialness was a line drawn in violent red: she was not on their level and they were not her’s. They were the scientists, the smartest, richest men and women in the world, and she was just the pilot that took orders on where to go from higher up. She was inferior to them. That was okay. She preferred it that way. Julisa sat at the table in the dining area with a steaming mug of coffee and listened to the hum of the ship around her. It was in these moments of silence that the Ende Thebes seemed to have a life of its own. This was her first time transporting two detectives. Something was going on, something big. The head of Aanstad Corp. and eleven other scientists who were under his employ were missing - had just vanished as if they had never existed at all. She couldn’t wait to have regular passengers aboard her ship, doing boring routine missions. “Hi,” the smaller cop said, squinting uncertainly down at a small piece of paper in his hand; he gripped the handle of a suitcase on wheels with the other. “You’re Julisa Temerance of the...er...Ende Thebes...right?” He looked up at her. “Did I say that right?” “You did,” she said with a nod. “Most people get thrown off by all of the e’s. And I am the Julisa Temerance that you’re looking for. I will be chauffeuring you around, so to speak.” Both detectives pulled out their badges and opened them so that she could read their credentials. “I’m Jack Aanstad and this is Redric Cortez.” “Please to meet you both.” She turned her smile onto Jack. “You look just like your dad. It’s an honor to meet you. Up until a few days ago I didn’t know he had a son.” “Most people in the solar system don’t,” Jack said. “That’s how I want it to stay.” “Hey,” she said as she mimed zipping her mouth shut. “My lips are sealed. Anyway, enough chat from me. I’ll take you aboard, give you a quick tour around the ship, and then we’ll be on our way. It’s going to be a long trip.” The exterior design of the Endes Thebes resembled a firefly: round in the front with a long tail, wings sticking out at the sides. As Julisa showed Jack and Redric around the ship, Jack couldn’t help but think of his father. Like his father, every aspect of its design was meant to draw praise. On the outside the ship was so compact looking that it was hard to imagine that all of this was fit into it. The Endes Thebes could house up to a dozen passengers, the pilot included. There was a full dining room, a kitchen, a men’s and women’s bathroom, a gym, tanning room, and an observatory lounge at the front. Then there was of course the fusion drive. Then at the front was the bridge. As soon as Julisa was done showing them around the ship Jack went into the room at the end of the corridor and folded the few outfits he’d brought with him into the drawers underneath the full sized bed. Redric would no doubt be picking a different room. The idea of being on this ship for six weeks, in separate rooms, boggled Jack’s mind; and it wasn’t just six weeks. It would be twelve after they returned to Mars from Aanstad Station. He sighed, frustrated. There was no telling how long this investigation was going to take. For the third or fourth time since his Uncle Charlie had dropped the bomb of his father’s sudden disappearance, Jack got the creeping feeling that there was something deeply wrong with this whole situation. The wall of numbness that he had built over the years since he’d come to Mars was starting to crumble. The dread was seeping in, the dread of seeing his father, the anger that Jack had never been fully able to let go of. It was all coming back. There was an odd metallic taste in his mouth. He found that he didn’t want to be by himself at the moment. He almost bumped into Redric on the way out of the room. “Hey I was just coming back to tell you that Julisa said we fire up in ten,” Redric said. “We should strap ourselves in for lift off.” “Right,” Jack said. The two men leaned towards one another and kissed each other on the lips before heading up to the bridge. Julisa was already strapped into the pilot’s seat. Jack and Redric strapped themselves into their crash couches. “You gentlemen ready to go?” Julisa asked, looking back at them from over her shoulder. “The sooner we can get this whole mess over with the better,” Redric grunted. Julisa eased the Endes Thebes into the air and floated towards the doors of the boarding ramp. They opened to show a range of red Martian mountains and a bright afternoon sky. As soon as they were clear of the docking port, she willed the Aanstad Corp. vessel to go faster. Already Mars’ capital city was beginning to shrink as the Endes Thebes rose higher and higher into the air, flying past misty clouds. The whole time Redric kept his eyes shut in silent prayer.
  4. Daddy Issues

    For the next three days a gloomy cloud of depression came over Jack. It was inescapable. He couldn’t sleep without waking up in the middle of the night, screaming his head off. In his dreams he kept seeing the crawling severed limbs, the screams of Modt’s victims drowning out his own. For the two days he had off he did nothing but sleep. Unless it was to piss he did not get out of bed. For those two days he saw no one and did not answer any calls. On the morning of the third day he was woken by someone knocking on his door. The Martian sun was just starting to rise above the horizon. He climbed out of his bed, a patch of silver-blonde hair sticking up in the air. He was wearing nothing but a pair of briefs. He was still half asleep. Redric was standing at the door. He looked unusually grim. “What is it?” Jack asked, starting to feel afraid. Something wasn’t right. He could feel it in the air. “You better come with me,” Redric said. “I’ll explain on the way.” The morning train was crowded with people commuting to get to work. It was so crowded that there was no place for Jack and Redric to sit. They had to hold onto the metal bar above their heads. “What’s going on?” Jack asked. He couldn’t stand the suspense any longer. Redric leaned to the side so that only Jack could hear him. “You never told me that your father was the founder of Aanstad Corp.” Jack’s hair bristled. For a moment he just stared at Redric, unsure of what to say. His icy blue eyes were wide. For a reason he couldn’t explain he felt guilty. You’ve got some explaining to do. He said the first thing that popped into his head. “You didn’t know?” “That Erik Aanstad was your father? No, you never told me that. You just told me that you and your father hadn’t talked in ten years.” “I thought my name made that obvious.” “Not really.” Jack decided to take a defensive stance. “I didn’t think it was important. So what’s the big deal?” “Someone’s here from Aanstad Corp. I just showed up at the Precinct when Sheathia called me into her office. There was a man there. He said that he came here from Earth.” “Did he say what his name was.” “Charlie. He said that you would know him.” Charlie. Yes Jack knew the name. As a boy it had been Uncle Charlie. The name hit him like a slap in the face. Jack wondered if he was dreaming. The train dropped them off at the Orbital Street station two blocks away from the 39th Precinct. Jack's body made the journey without his mind being present for it. Part of his mind was still asleep, trying to process what was happening. His insides felt like a hive of churning insects. The sights, smells, and sounds of Mars' capital flooded his senses. To make matters worse he could sense that Redric was upset with him. Hurt. He feels like I betrayed him because I didn't tell him who my father was, he thought. So what? So what if I didn't tell him which Aanstad my father was. He glanced at Redric who was looking directly ahead. Was he trying to ignore him? What is your deal? Why are you acting so pissy? Jack wanted to ask him. But he bit his tongue. They could discuss this later behind closed doors. Right now they were out in the open. The facts of what was going on would present themselves in a few moments. Ten minutes later they stepped out of the lift and onto the 39th floor. Sheathia's office door was open. Jack was the first to reach her door. He knocked. Sheathia looked up from her desk. She looked grave, very grave. "Yes, Jack please come in. You too Redric." It was then that Jack noticed the man sitting in the chair opposite of Sheathia. His head was turned so Jack couldn't see his face. His tongue felt incredibly thick. He felt as if he was choking on it. "C-Charlie?" he stammered. The man stood up, turned around. It had been fifteen years since he'd seen Charlie Aanstad the man had changed very little. Like Jack, he resembled Erik Aanstad. The only difference was that his face was slightly rounder and more cheerful. His eyes were bright and flashed with a sense of humor that Jack's father had never possessed. When his arms enclosed Jack as if they had never been apart, as if Jack had never fled from Earth and his broken family, Jack remembered the million times that he'd wished Charlie had been his father instead of Jack. Charlie's cheek brushed against his and Jack was overwhelmed with a feeling of love. Not just his love for Charlie but Charlie's love for him. But somewhere deep inside of him, underneath the happiness, the love, the surprise, was the guilt and the pain. The last time that he'd seen Charlie had been at Coralina's funeral. It had been a confusing and painful time. An angry time. A dark time. He pushed those memories away and clapped Charlie on the back as Charlie was clapping him on the back. "Redric said you were here but I didn't believe him." "Yes, well I'm sure it must be a bit of a surprise for you." Charlie looked Jack up and down and studied him intently. "Well you're all grown up. I remember holding you when you were just a baby. I bet your captain and partner here would love to hear stories all about that." And then he shifted, becoming more formal and businesslike. He sighed. “Jack, I’m afraid I have some bad news.” Jack, Redric, Charlie, and Sheathia moved to the conference room. Apparently the situation was more serious than Jack thought. This became more apparent when Charlie slid a data file across the top of the polished wooden table to Jack. Jack skimmed through the file, not rushing to read through it, and tried to make himself feel something. But he felt nothing. Cold, numbing, nothing. The numbing darkness scared him. He should have felt something. Jack’s father and his crew of eleven had been looking for a way to discover “what came after death.” It was an experiment that was done in secret. No one else knew about it but the higher ups at Aanstad Corp. Jack suspected that Charlie was one of the few who knew about it. For years Erik had been meeting with the government official of both Earth and Mars trying to get them to fund the project. When he was tired of being denied, Erik decided to take matters in his own hands. He had Aanstad Station built. There he could oversee his project and work on it without limitations. It sounds like something straight out of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, Jack thought. “How long have they been missing do you gather?” he asked “Six months, maybe longer.” “And you haven’t found anything to suggest that they were murdered or kidnapped?” “Nothing.” Jack handed the data file to Redric and stood up. He went over to coffee maker and poured himself a cup. He poured several packets of sugar and cream into the black liquid - he couldn't stand drinking black coffee and didn't understand how anyone else could. He sat back down, took a sip from his coffee, and studied Charlie. All the joy he'd felt at seeing his uncle had dissolved minutes ago. Now he wished that the man had never come. The numbness he'd felt evaporated leaving behind a cold, dangerous anger. "You want us to investigate their disappearance, don't you?" Jack asked. He only had eyes for his uncle. In his anger he'd forgotten that Redric and Sheathia were in the room. Sheathia cleared her throat. When she spoke her voice was soft. It was the voice she used on personal matters, not the strict tone she used when it came to business matters. "Your uncle feels that you and Redric are the only ones that are qualified to handle the case. Usually I'm disinclined to let an officer investigate matters involving a family member but I have to agree with your uncle." "Because of my abilities?" "That and because of the nature of the case, with it being classified." "Aanstad Corp. wants the investigation to be quiet," Charlie said. Though his eyes were red he was no longer crying. It was as if he was in a routine business meeting. "So why not just have the security of your company run the investigation?" "Because none of them are experienced when it comes to homicide investigations." But Jack was no longer in the room with them, in the present. He was at the Aanstad estate in Sweden. As a child he'd grown up in a large mansion; he remembered running through its halls barefoot, the carpet soft beneath his feet. The house had been so big that it was easy to get lost in. In the winter when it was cold and drafty, the foundation itself seeming to come to life. Life had been so different from the one he was living now. When he thought back to it, it seemed to belong to someone else, like a past life only vaguely remembered. For three years his mother, Melania Aanstad, had fought leukemia. She'd held on until she couldn't hold on any longer. In the end she gave up, fed up with the treatments and the hospitals and the doctors. If I'm going to die then I want to die in the comfort of my own home, she had said. He could picture her lying in her massive bed, blankets pulled up to her chin, pale arms hanging over the bed. He could hear her whisper loving words in his ear: You are my white star, Jack. My little white star. "When do we leave?" Redric asked. He put the data file down on the table and looked up. "First thing tomorrow," Sheathia said. "A pilot contracted by the corporation will be taking your vessel to the station," Charlie said. Wonderful, Jack thought. Jack and Redric went to a diner across the street from the Precinct. Redric was working on a bacon cheeseburger deluxe and a large chocolate shake. Jack on the other hand wasn't hungry so he just ordered a Coke. "Your face was blank," Redric said. They hadn't spoken since leaving the Precinct. "What?" "I watched your face the whole time you read the file. It hasn't hit you yet has it?" Jack blinked. It took a moment for his mind to catch up with what Redric was saying. "I don't know. I don't think it makes much of a difference." Redric's eyes widened. He looked as if Jack had just slapped him. He looked around sheepishly to make sure that no one was eavesdropping and leaned forward so that only Jack could hear him. "Of course it makes a difference. Your father found an extraterrestrial spaceship. That and he was murdered." "He was already dead," Jack said. "What happened between you two to make you feel that way." "He left my mother to die," Jack said, watching the carbonation fizz in his glass. "While the cancer was eating her alive he was off on some fucking business meeting. I sat by her bedside and watched her die, telling her that it was going to be okay even though we both knew that it wouldn't. I hate him for that. I'll never be able to forgive him." "Hate is a very powerful word," Redric said sadly. Yes, Jack thought. And it's the only word that fits. When he thought about it he supposed that his mother had known that she was going to die long before the doctors told her that she had terminal cancer. She'd known the way he sometimes knew things. While Jack had inherited his father's looks, he'd inherited his mother's psychic abilities. Melania Aanstad, whose last name before marrying had been Larrson, came from a long line of fortune tellers. The gift ran like water through the women in her bloodline. As far as Jack knew he was the only male on the side of the family to have inherited the Larrson's psychic gift. He didn't know much about his mom's side of the family, had never met them or seen photos of them. He only had the few scraps of information that Melania had given him: She had left the dysfunctional prison of her blood family to be with Erik. The day before she died Melania had been delirious, floating in and out of madness. As he'd done everyday for almost a full year Jack had sat at her bedside. He remembered her grey, pallid face, and dead blue-grey eyes that made him think of candles being blown out. He remembered how she'd looked at him without really seeing him and said, I left one prison only to find myself in another. "I'm sorry, Jack." Redric reached out to take his hand but Jack pulled it back before he could. He didn't want to be touched right now. Not by Redric, not by anyone. "I never had a chance to be a kid," he said. "Even when my father was around he wasn't really around. He was thinking about board meeting and future projects and quantum physics and God knows what else. And when my mother died he didn't shed a tear, not one. So I won't shed a tear for him." Jack looked down at his duffel bag. He'd packed six outfits, his toothbrush, deodorant, several novels for the six week journey to Aanstad Station, his license and of course his firearm. But there was the feeling that there was something missing. The knowledge of what it was danced at the edge of his mind just out of reach. Weren't people always bringing something personal with them? A photo album full of good memories caught in time, or a talisman? Jack didn't have any of those things. No photos, no talismans. When it came to being a homicide detective there was no time for sentimental pleasantries. He'd left behind a life of riches and luxury and excess back on Earth, for a much simpler one. The path of that life, the directions in which it would have taken him, were straightforward. He would be an employee of Aanstad Corp. like Uncle Charlie, working under his father, perhaps even serve on the board. He would work regularly with government officials, brilliant scientists and God knew who else. When looking at those possibilities from far away it would seem like the perfect life. Why in the world would anyone want to give it up? But in the long run he knew that he would have felt like a prisoner. Just like his mother had felt. In the end, Jack hadn't really left all that much behind. The only thing that had truly mattered to him on Earth was dead, buried beneath Earth's soil. To say that life on Mars was simple would have been a lie, but he felt more at home on the ugly red planet than he ever could have on Earth. He looked at the alarm clock sitting on the bedside table. He had another two hours before he had to meet Redric at the docks. From there they would be boarding an Aanstad Corp. vessel. Flying first-rate Uncle Charlie had called it, as if Redric and Jack were going on a cruise instead of solving a case to catch the murderer of Jack's father. It seemed that the bullshit of the corporate world had rubbed off on Jack's uncle. In such an environment no one was safe, not from the sharks in suits. Six weeks there, Jack thought. Six weeks back. And the time in between that. He looked around his apartment. Redric and he would be gone for over a month. Something about the situation didn't feel right. Jack didn't know if it was a premonition or just his nerves. Thinking about it made him antsy. He paced around his apartment, looking for something to do. I need to stay occupied. The last thing I need is to think about things. But there was nothing. There were no dishes to be washed and he'd cleaned the bathroom just the other day. The bed was made. Everything in his apartment was neat. Too neat even. Before locking up he hesitated, looked at the shadowy interior of the apartment, and wondered if Redric and he would be coming back.
  5. Ghost of the Father

    The future is a dark place. When Erik Aansted and twelve other scientists come up missing, Detective Jack Aansted and his partner Redric Cortez must find out what happened to them. The answers or more terrifying than they could have imagined!
  6. Prologue: Beyond

    Erik Aanstad looked out the window. His crew knelt on the floor behind him. In the reflection of the glass he could see their faces. They were afraid, wondering what he was going to do with them. He almost pitied them. Almost. Soon they will see things the way I see them now. Beyond the window of Aanstad Station was vast and infinite space. Blackness sprinkled with stars. He pondered them. It was hard to believe that most of the stars before him were dying. They were so beautiful. But then he supposed every dying thing possessed a quality of beauty; it just depended on what angle you were looking at it from. It took billions of years for a star to die. Some of them simply turned into dwarf stars and others went supernova - that was what made them so fascinating. All of these stars had been dying since before the dinosaurs came into existence, long before the cosmos invented Planet Earth. The time it took for a human being to die was the flickering out of a candle; it was the equivalent of an ant being crushed under the boot of a giant. He studied his reflection. Not for me, he thought. I have discovered what no other human being has discovered. I have seen what was only believed to be theoretical. He supposed he looked like his mother, Linnea. He had her light silver-blonde hair, high cheekbones, and icy blue eyes. If he was being honest with himself he had inherited more than just her looks, but her demeanor as well. She possessed the same coldness. Not once as a child could he ever remember her showing any sort of affection. When she had died of lung cancer from smoking far too many cigarettes he had not cried for her, not even at her funeral. Science was his real mother, the real reason for his existence. He didn’t recognize his own face. He was looking at it with new eyes. The eyes were the only thing that had changed. They were no longer blue but white. There was no pupil, no iris. Just white. He turned away from the window to look directly at his crew members. There were twelve crewmembers of the Revelation 5S77, Erik himself included. They were all from different races and different backgrounds. There were only two things that they had in common: Their love for science and discovery, and that they were employees of Aanstad Corp. It just so happened that Erik Aanstad was the founder of Aanstad Corp., the man who was solely in charge of the expedition. It was he who was credited for the greatest scientific discoveries over the last three centuries. Aneke who was Swedish like him. Hassann, Aleister Romanov, with whom Erik held a grudge that was perfectly mutual. John Tui; he was here for security enforcement. Peter Bellamy. Henry Chen; he was the youngest person on the team. Patel Evenson; she was a mathematician and the best one that Erik had ever encountered. Martin Blomkvist, like John Tui, was security enforcement. Lars Bronson and Yesenia Diaz were both astrophysicists; Luciana Coil, and Brittney Hale were both geneticists. He smiled. “Do not be afraid. There is nothing to be afraid of.” “W-What ha-happened to you?” Aneke stammered. “Two days ago you were fucking dead. There was no brain activity.” Erik spread his arms out. “We succeeded in doing what we’ve been trying to do for the last two years: to not only see what is beyond death but to bring a person back from the dead, to make record of their experience. I saw what was beyond death. I went somewhere else.” “Where did you go?” Henry Chen asked. His almond-shaped eyes were wide with a mixture of fear and wonder. Erik closed his eyes and pictured all that he had seen. “It wasn’t heaven or hell. I don’t think heaven and hell exist. Where I was, it was blue. And I was there for a long time. Wherever there was time runs differently than here. I was there for years. Centuries. An eternity. All of that crammed into a few moments. But that wasn’t the most amazing thing.” He paused for the moment so that his words could sink in. “We were created by a higher power but it wasn’t by God.” “So you’re saying there is no God?” Yesenia said. She was clutching her silver crucifix so hard that her knuckles had turned white. “That’s not what I’m saying at all. I’m saying that God doesn’t appear in the shape that we thinks he does. They don’t look human, not at all.” “Then what does God look like?” Chen asked. “There are no words that can describe Him. But I can show you.” Erik outstretched his hand. “All you have to do is take my hand.” Chen hesitated for a second and then rose to his feet. “Don’t do it!” Romanov spat. He was looking directly at Aanstad; his eyes were full of hate. “He’s not Aanstad anymore. He’s something else! Tui, Blomkvist! Do something! Shoot the motherfucker!” It took a second for Tui and Blomkvist to remember that they were holding their rifles in their hand. “I wouldn’t do that if I were you,” Erik said. “If you shoot me then you would blow out this window and we’d all be floating out in space. But that’s on you. It’s your loss - not mine. And you’d be missing out. If you want what I have then all you have to do is take my hand. The Puppeteer has granted me the gift of being His Disciple. I can channel his power.” “What will we become?” Chen stammered. “Better. Better than you could possibly ever imagine being.” Everyone froze as Chen approached Erik slowly. He stopped, frozen. “Don’t be afraid, Henry,” Erik whispered almost affectionately. “Just take my hand and you will have infinity.” Chen swallowed and took Erik ’s hand.
  7. Silent Killer

    When Jack Aanstad kicked in the door and charged into the room, gun out, he knew that it was already too late. The killer stood on the other side of the bed, facing the window. Beyond was the rugged Martian landscape and Mars’ industrial city. The actress lay in the bed naked. Her blood covered the sheets. The killer, too, was naked. His arm pistoned back and forth as he jerked himself off furiously. “What is it that you woman fear most?” the man said to himself. What he was saying was perfect nonsense and made no sense to Jack; whatever his meaning was it was only clear to himself. “Do you fear blindness, or perhaps the ability to speak your mind? What is it that you miss the most? The way things used to be?” His head fell back and he moaned as he ejaculated. All Jack could see was the blood. It was everywhere. Everything about the scene before him was exactly how it had been in his dream. He’d been so sure that he could stop it, that he could save the actress from her terrible fate. But he hadn’t gotten here in time. Somehow he failed. The knowledge that he’d failed, the guilt that came with it, dug into him like barbed wire. Worse was the emotions in the room. Her emotions. They assaulted him at once, flooding his mind. At first, excitement. She had known him, they were supposed to meet. He was a regular customer of hers. And then surprise that quickly turned into terror and confusion. She couldn’t understand why he was doing this, what she had done to deserve this. And then the pain as he took the knife and cut her open like a fish. So much pain, so much blood. In the end Daphne hadn’t cared if she lived. By the end she just wanted the pain to end. A helpless fury engulfed Jack. Killing the man would have been easy. All he had to do was lift the gun, put a bullet in his head. But he didn’t just want to kill him he wanted to hurt him. Torture him. Blood is blood, he thought. It’s only fair. He screamed and launched himself across the room. The man turned to look at Jack. His face was splattered with blood. His black eyes gleamed with a satanic evil. He didn’t try to step out of the way or defend himself when Jack struck him. The feeling of his fist connecting with flesh felt good. With an understanding he didn’t wish he had Jack understood the thrill of drawing out pain. He understood it more than most detectives did. Because when he got into a murderer’s head he really got into them. It wasn’t just a figure of speech. He struck the man a good four times, four quick jabs right to the face, before his partner Redric came in and stopped him. “You got him good,” Redric said three hours later. They stood shoulder to shoulder like David and Goliath, watching the killer from the observation room. The man’s name was Robert Bowerman and he was a serial rapist and murderer of women. The fifth and final woman he had murdered was Daphne Hawthorne, a prostitute. Daphne had had a classic beauty borne from a French mother and a German father. She had her mother’s curly black hair and high cheekbones and emerald green eyes but had inherited her father’s tall, slim stature. Her skin had been like porcelain. She would have been any man’s wet dream. Any straight man’s wet dream, Jack thought wryly. “It isn’t your fault,” Redric said gently. Jack both hated and loved the look of sympathy and love on his partner’s face. The observation room was filled with their need for physical contact but they couldn’t do it here, not while they were at work. They would have to wait until they were behind closed doors. “Bullshit. I saw it happen and we didn’t get there in time.” “He can’t hurt anyone else anymore.” “Try telling her and the other four women that. I failed. Not we. Me. Some fucking psychic, huh?” “Don’t be so hard on yourself. You’re only human - just like me. Why don’t you go home? I’ll finish things up here and check on you later.” Normally Jack would have objected but this time he was too tired to argue. Redric was right about one thing: Jack was only human despite being psychic. But that didn't ease the guilt he felt whenever he failed. Jack was working on his third beer when Redric knocked on the door. Jack wasn’t much of a drinker but today he needed something to calm his nerves. He’d cried for the actress, buried his face in his hands and felt actual grief for her. It had always been like this for as long as he could remember. Whenever he walked into a room he felt the emotions that had been left behind, felt memories. He had premonitions that often came true. They were most often about something bad. Most of the times he would try to stop them and most of the times he was too late. I don’t know why I have this curse. It’s not like I asked for it. “Come in,” he called hoarsely. Redric closed the door behind him. He looked tired. Jack knew that he was tired; burned out might have been more like it. They both were. It had been a long day. Redric nodded at the beer. “Have any more of those?” “I picked some up on the way home. Help yourself.” Redric went over to the fridge and grabbed a beer. He dumped himself in the chair and heaved out a sigh, running a hand over his shaved head. As he had done almost every night for the last three years Jack studied and relished Redric’s features as if it was for the first time. Redric was biracial. His mother was Greek, his father was Filipino. He had his mother’s warm brown eyes. He kept his head shaved at all times. He was head taller than Jack and had the build of a wrestler. It was to his benefit, Jack thought. Redric could look pretty mean and intimidating. Most criminals didn’t fuck with him. But Jack knew Redric enough to know that Redric’s looks were deceiving. For the most part Redric was a big teddy bear. “You’ve been crying,” Redric said. He reached across the table and entwined his fingers through Jack’s. His fingers were thick, his hands large, almost like paws. His skin was warm. Just this simple act of affection helped Jack to relax. They were alone, they could show their true feelings for one another. Of course they still had to be careful but at least they could let their guard down a little. “That room was awful.” Redric nodded. Jack didn’t have to say anymore. “I struck him. I shouldn’t have done that. If you hadn’t stopped me I would have killed him.” “It happens.” “Did Sarge say anything?” “No, he understands.” Jack chuckled. “I’m so fucking tired.” “Me too.” “Will you come to bed with me?” “You know I will.” They set their empty beer bottles down on the table and went into Jack’s bedroom. He owned an average sized one bedroom apartment. It was nothing fancy. On his salary he could have afforded a nicer apartment but this one was just fine with him. After leaving his father’s home and going out to face the world as a man he’d vowed to live a simple life. He refused to be like Erik Aanstad, pompous and self-serving. The two men stripped out of their clothes until they were both naked. The bed springs squeaked as they climbed into bed and crawled under the cover. Jack reached over and turned out the light. He kissed Redric good night, rolled over on his back. Redric nuzzled up against him and hugged him to his chest. Normally they would have made passionate love but tonight they were both too tired. That was okay with Jack. The simple act of having his partner both on the job and in life to hold him and comfort him was enough. “I want to see him one last time,” Jack said. The 39th Precinct was located on the top floor of a one hundred story skyscraper made of steel and glass. From where he stood the city of Mars was a miniature toy model surrounded by rusty-red ridges of mountain. The streets of the city were packed with rush-hour traffic. People were heading home to be with their families, with their pets, to move on with their life. But for Jack his job was never done; there was no such thing as leaving it at home. Sergeant Sheathia Carter took off her glasses and sighed. She did this when she wanted to drop the formalities of rank and get more personal. “Do I even want to know why?” He turned away from the window and gave her a dry smile that had no humor to it. “I want to know why he did it and I want to see exactly what he did.” In her youth Sheathia had been a beautiful woman and she was beautiful now at two-hundred-and-fifty-four, which in this age was the new forty. Her silver-blonde hair ended just at the collar of her shirt. She could have been an actress. Instead she was what held the 39th Precinct together and there was noone Jack could think of that was more qualified the job. “Are you going to hit him again? He already has a black eye.” “I’ll try to keep my composure this time.” She shook her head, continued to study his face. “Why are you so intent on torturing yourself? You caught him. Yes, you didn’t save the girl but you stopped a killer from being able to harm anyone else. So what if you couldn’t stop your vision from coming true? He won’t be able to hurt anyone ever again. Isn’t that enough?” He saw Daphne’s naked, bloody body. He could taste the black taste of her terror on his tongue. It tasted like terminal cancer, the kind which there is no cure for. He thought of the names of the other four girls. Natalia. Elizabeth. Dorthy. Munei. Heidi. He never forgot the name or face of a victim. Never. “No,” he said after a moment. “It’s never enough. Not for me.” Sheathia smiled sadly and slid her glasses back on her face. “You know me, I’m not one to show favoritism. I am a woman who stands strictly by her principles, same as I know that you are a man that stands by yours. We stand by them even when it means pushing everyone away. Our loved ones. The world. That’s why I consider you to be my best detective. Not because you’re psychic but because you care so much. I will let you see him.” Not ten minutes later Jack sat in an interrogation room with Daphne’s killer, Adam Modt. Modt’s face. He looks like a rat, Jack thought. And it wasn’t just because Adam Modt was a killer. He literally looked like a rat. Modt had long greasy black hair, a long narrow nose, and wide thin lips. The bottom lip was even thinner than the top lip. And the eyes were dark brown, so dark they might as well have been black. His arms were stick-thin. There were track marks all over his arms. Heroin addict, Jack thought. “Are you here to punch me again?” Modt asked with a sneer; he was a young man, hardly considered an adult. Jack instantly pictured Modt as a cockroach skittering across the floor, and taking his foot and squashing it. He could even hear the crack as the cockroach’s exoskeleton broke apart, its guts oozing everywhere. He looked at Modt’s eye. It pleased him to no end to see that it was black. “No.” Jack stood up. “I wanted to see how you were.” Modt sneered. “How the fuck do you think I feel? They’re shipping me off to Shantic on Pluto. That’s the worst prison you can be sent to. And they’re putting me in general population for the rest of my life. Do you know what they do to skinny guys like me? I’ll be butt-fucked everyday for the rest of my miserable life.” Jack did his best to look sympathetic but couldn’t pull it off. You should have thought about that before you killed those five women you evil fucking little shit. He stood up and came around the table. “What are you doing?” Modt tried to scoot back in his chair but the chair was fastened to the floor. His hands were handcuffed to the arms of the chair. There was nowhere he could go. “Don’t worry.” Jack sneered. He couldn’t help but sneer at the look of fear on Modt’s face. “This is going to be painless for you. For me, not so much.” And he touched Modt’s forehead with his hand. A blinding pain flashed through his head; it felt as if sharp-edged plates of steel were slicing through his skull, through his brain. He was drowning in a sea of severed limbs that danced and writhed, leaving trails of dark scarlet behind them on a canvas of endless black. He heard the screams of the five women that Modt had killed, felt their agony and fear, felt Modt’s pain. He was the kind of monster that liked to hurt small things when he was a child, working his way up to bigger things as he got older. Where human compassion should have been was a black crevasse. All of this passed through Jack’s head within a second. I don’t want to see anymore, he thought. I’ve seen enough. He smiled at a stunned, wordless Modt. “Thanks. That’s all I needed.”
  8. Planet Redemption: Episode One

    I'm writing this has an episodic type deal. I will be starting episode 2 soon. Right now there is another project that I want to work on.
  9. The Research Station

    I will be writing part 2 soon so you will just have to find out.
  10. The Research Station

    The research station was anchored into the side of a massive mountain, pipes latching onto the rock like the appendages of a parasite digging into its host. Made of steel and glass, the design was very impressive in Danni's opinion; especially since it had been built by the equivalent of backyard hicks. Of course he wouldn't have said this to Duke for fear of hurting his feelings. Danni counted four rows of windows. He could only assume that there were four floors. Still, the research station was massive. He wondered how many scientists worked inside. Surely they were all imprisoned on this planet like everyone else. Another thought that came to mind was where in the world they got their education; the information they had would probably be outdated from what was available on Earth. Questions, so many questions. But that wasn't all. There was something else. It was so quiet, too quiet. The windows were dark so it was impossible to see inside. Yet he got the feeling that Duke and he were being watched. Danni didn't like that one bit. He didn't like the idea of someone being able to see him, but not the other way around. "Hey, you wanna grab your stuff?" Duke asked. "Do you want to go in there unprepared?" "I don't like this," Danni said. "What's there to like?" "Don't fuck with me, Duke." The seriousness in Danni's voice made Duke look up. The sheriff's face softened. He put a hand on Danni's shoulder. "Look, we'll make this quick okay. We'll take a peek inside, see what we can do to help, and head back to the colony, okay?" "Whatever." Danni grabbed a gun, checked to make sure that it was loaded, and put it in the holster attached to his belt, along with several clips of ammo. "Did you ever stop to think that this is another set-up?" "What do you mean?" Danni rolled his eyes. "Diana. That's what I mean." Duke chuckled. "Why would this be a set-up?" "Are you really that stupid?" Danni snapped. "You know damn well what she's like." The moment the words came out of his mouth Danni knew that he had said the wrong thing. He felt it before he saw it, the spike of anger that rose up in Duke. Duke got in his face, towering over him, glowering down at him. When he spoke it was through gritted teeth. "Don't think that just because I like fucking you it doesn't mean I won’t knock you flat on your ass." Danni stepped back reflexively and then stepped back forward, standing his ground. He glared back up at Duke. "You want to knock me on my ass, fine. But wake up. I get that you've known her your whole life and that you respect her, but you know what she's capable of. Don't think for a second that she won't throw you under the bus to get whatever it is she wants. You can't trust her. You can't trust anybody." "I trust you," Duke said, shoulders relaxing. "Don't," Danni said gently. "Why not?" "Because on this planet power and survival are the only currencies that matter. Power is the key to survival." Duke blinked. "Who told you that?" "Your warden. C'mon, let's get this over with." Duke grabbed Danni by the back of his jacket with one hand and pulled him back. "No way, shrimp. Me first." With Duke leading the way, they marched towards the research station. Danni let his senses stretch out, trying to see if he could sense anything with his mind but there was nothing except for the persistent sense that something was very wrong. At all times he kept his hand on his gun. He didn't want to take any chances. Planet Redemption had taught him well on what could happen when you took risks. The only entrance in sight was a pair of metal blast doors at the bottom of the station. There was a black digipad fastened to the wall. Duke ran his hand over it and the digipad blinked on, glowing green. A yellow light indicated for him to press his thumb to it. Immediately the digipad flashed red. "What the fuck?" Duke growled. "How the hell are we supposed to get in?" Danni tapped him quickly on the shoulder, pressed a finger to his lip, and pointed up at something above them; he had his gun out and was in a defensive stance. Duke looked up in the direction where Danni had pointed to the round video camera that was watching them. In the center of the lense he could see a little red dot. Like that's not fucking creepy, Duke thought, a chill going up his spine. "Hey," he said, waving stupidly at the camera. "You sent an S.O.S a couple of days ago. We're from Colony 12. We're here to help." The lense widened in what seemed like recognition and the digipad flashed green. The blast doors opened revealing a lift inside. Danni and Duke exchanged looks and stepped inside. Just before the blast doors closed LED lights blinked on. Another set of blast doors opened behind them. Danni and Duke turned around and came face to face with a man dressed in a white lab coat. He was rangy with blonde hair that was grey at the roots, a long, hookish nose and grey eyes that were magnified by the thick-lensed glasses he wore. The name on the tag pinned to the lapel of his lab coat read VECTOR. Looking at him made Danni think of Alexander. He suddenly felt very homesick. “Are you the one that sent the S.O.S call?” Duke asked. “Yes,” Vector said hastily. “You must come quickly! They are coming!” Duke frowned, looking around. “Who is?” Just then something crashed through the ceiling of the elevator car. Danni had just enough time to jump out of the way. The thing that had crashed through the ceiling was a man. He staggered drunkenly to his feet and looked at Danni with eyes as black as night. Like Vector, he was dressed in a white lab coat that was splattered with a mixture of blood and a strange black fluid. Duke pointed his gun at him. “Hey, buddy, stay back.” The man let out a deafening shriek and charged at Danni, hands outstretched like claws. Before Danni could fire, the man’s hands closed around his throat and slammed him up against a wall. The force of the impact knocked the gun from his hand. Black drool spilled freely from the man’s mouth. Sensing that his life was being threatened, Danni’s mind and body immediately went into defense mode. He lashed out, his knee sinking into the man’s crotch. A blow to the groin like that would have driven any man to his knees but whoever, no whatever this man had become, he didn’t even seem to feel it. Duke dived into the conflict. He wrapped his arms around the man’s waist and pulled him off Danni. The man clawed and kicked at the air, making screeching sounds that made Danni think of a bird. With a curse Duke flung the man to the floor. As soon as the man hit the floor, he staggered to his feet and charged again, this time at Duke. Danni grabbed his gun and fired at the man three times. The shots did nothing to stop him; in fact they only seemed to irritate him. Instead of blood, more blacked fluid oozed out of the man’s wounds. Danni aimed at the man’s head and fired once more. The bullet hit the man directly in between the eyes. More of the strange black gunk burst out of the wound in his forehead. He collapsed to the floor, twitched for a few seconds, and then became very still. Danni was overwhelmed by the deafening drum beat of his own heart, the rush of his blood. His mind spun. The moment the man’s flesh had touched his own he had seen into the man’s head and what he had seen frightened him like nothing ever had before. Not even when Mike Mize had raped him and left him to die. Because there had been nothing; no thought, no emotion. Nothing. But even more disturbing than that was the black shit that was spreading around the dead man in a puddle. What the fuck was it? Danni checked to make sure that he didn’t have any of the crap on him and was glad to see that he didn’t. Duke came over to him. “Are you okay?” Danni nodded shakily “You?” “I’m fine.” Duke rounded on Vector. “What the fuck was that?” The scientist licked his lip nervously. “I’ll explain in a second but right now there’s no time. There’s more of them coming.” As if to confirm this, three more of the scientists crashed through the hole in the ceiling. “Fuck me,” Duke said. “I can’t deal with three more of those things.” Danni and he ran after Vector. Vector led them through another set of blast doors. As soon as the three of them were through, he slid what appeared to be a pass card into a console on the wall. The blast doors slammed shut and not a second later the three scientists slammed into it. “Can they get through that?” Danni asked Vector. “Not a chance,” the scientist said, running his hand through his hair. “Those doors weigh two tons each; that’s three feet of titanium steel that they’re trying to burst their way through. Not going to happen, thank God. Follow me again, please. I want to go somewhere a little more quiet. I can’t think with them making all that racket.” Danni and Duke followed Vector into a laboratory. The lab had the same smell of antiseptic and polished chrome that Danni was so accustomed to; it made him sick to his stomach. In the center of the room was a metal chair anchored into the floor. On the arms of the chair were two steel cuffs. There were two more cuffs at the foot of the chair. On the arms of the chair were two splashes of what Danni was starting to think as the Fucking Black Shit. The Fucking Black Shit looked fresh. A chill of unease went up his spine. He didn’t like this place. To their right there was another steel door that led to a cold pantry. He counted three surveillance cameras mounted inside of the laboratory. The next room that Vector took them into was an observation room. There was a large window that looked into the laboratory. The three computer monitors in the observation room were blank. Vector dumped himself in one of the three computer chairs and waved impatiently for Danni and Duke to sit down in the other two. “I didn’t think anyone would come, let alone get the radio transmission I sent out,” Vector said. “Not on this dead planet. I’ve been isolated in this place for a week. That’s not including the last three years I’ve spent living in the place.” “What were those things?” Danni said. “They weren’t human.” “No,” Vector said. “They aren’t. They used to be. Some of them used to be colleagues of mine, people that I knew and even loved. Now out of the two hundred scientists that lived here every day I am the only one that’s still human.” “You have some explaining to do,” Duke rumbled, jabbing a meaty finger in Vector’s direction. “Yes, I know that,” Vector snapped as he started to wipe his glasses with the hem of his jacket. “I’m trying to figure out the best way to do that. I haven’t slept in days, so excuse me while I try to gather my thoughts.” Danni glanced anxiously at the cameras. “Are you absolutely sure they can’t get in?” “I already answered that question. If they could get in I would have been dead a long time ago. Either that or I’d be just like them.” Vector slid his glasses back on and cleared his throat. “I am a third generation colonist. My grandfather was an arsonist. He liked to watch things burn. People too. He also had an appreciation for science. He helped build this research station but he died before it was fully complete. My father witnessed it being finished three years ago. I’m telling you both this so that you can have a general idea of the timeline. This research station is not very old, not like the Redemption Bridges. Vector cleared his throat again. “When Aethyx scouted this planet out they claimed that there were no other signs of life. Claimed. Maybe they were telling the truth, maybe not. I don’t know and I don’t care. Yet the planet is habitable to a degree. The air is breathable, it isn’t toxic. And we found something.” “What are you talking about?” Duke growled impatiently. “He’s saying that the scientists working here found the existence of alien life,” Danni said. Vector nodded. “Correct.” “Are you fucking kidding me?” Duke said. “He’s not,” Danni said. “You believe this shit?” Duke scoffed. “It just so happens that I do,” Danni answered. He sounded slightly defensive. “This station isn’t just built onto the side of the mountain,” Vector continued. “Most of it has been built into the mountain for geological purposes. The station is eight stories. We are technically on story one. There are four stories above us. Those are the living quarters. Below us are four more stories. We always called them the Negative Four because they go underground. Those contain all the laboratories and offices. The very last floor is where the power grid is located. It’s also the entrance into the mines. That is where we found the tombs.” Danni blinked. “Tombs? "You mean they're dead?" Vector nodded sadly. "Afraid so. But that doesn't make what we found any less fascinating. Just beneath our feet, buried under the ice is a beautiful temple built by alien hands. I've seen it with my own eyes. The design is amazing. It almost looks Mayan in nature." Danni thought of the dream he'd had. Could it be that he had dreamed of the very temple that Vector was talking about? "Up until now we've been working obsessively, trying to unravel as much of the mysteries as we can. Before things turned south we were able to start translating their language. Like the Egyptians they wrote in hieroglyphs, recording their history. We were only able to translate bits and pieces, just enough to assemble an idea of what happened to them." "Go on," Danni said, fascinated. "I can't believe you're letting him spoon feed you this bullshit," Duke grumbled. Danni ignored him, silently urging the scientist to go on. "We know that they're colonists just like our ancestors were," Vector continued. "Which is what we chose to name them. The Colonists. We don't actually know what they called themselves. This is not their home planet. We don't know anything about their actual home planet or their reasoning for choosing to colonize this planet." "The planet wasn't always like this, was it?" Danni asked. He was growing more and more excited. "It wasn't always just snow and ice. There used to be trees and animals, right?" Vector frowned. "Yes, it's all depicted in their hieroglyphs. How did you know that?" "I dreamt it," Danni said. "What killed the...what did you call them, the Colonists?" "The very thing that has turned my colleagues into monsters. It's some sort of virus or plague. One of my colleagues, Martin, found a dagger when we were underground. It had a strange black growth on it, much like the stuff you saw coming out of their mouths. We always left everything we found down there just to be safe but unbeknownst to us he broke protocol by bringing it up with him." Vector's eyes had grown distant. He was no longer talking to Danni and Duke but to himself, as if trying to create an explanation for how this nightmare had started. "He must have cut himself at some point, perhaps while pulling the knife out, and the fungi or whatever was got into the cut, got into his bloodstream. And then he bit Loomis and so on it went. It's also the thing that eradicated all life on the planet, altering its topography, eradicating the plants and forest life..." He stopped and looked at Duke. "You don't believe me, of course. Your young friend here does, but you don't." Duke stubbornly crossed his arms over his chest. "You haven't shown us anything that would convince me you're telling the truth." Vector's face turned beet red, his eyes filling with tears. Danni could tell that he was getting ready to cry out of frustration, maybe grief, or a mixture of things, and felt sorry for him. "Have you not been paying attention?" The scientist's voice teetered on the edge of breaking. "You shot that man three times. Three times. Three shots to the chest would have been enough to put any man down. Did it put him down? No, not until you shot him in the head. That's the only way you can kill them, by shooting them in the head." "Like zombies?" Danni said. Vector ignored him; he only had eyes for Duke. Danni could feel the frustration turn into anger. It was coming off the scientists in waves. Just when it seemed like Vector would exploded, it all deflated out of him like helium, leaving behind hopelessness and exhaustion. "I don't care if you believe me or not. Not really. I wish we never found those goddamned ruins. If we hadn't, then none of this would have happened." "It doesn't matter whether or not I believe you," Duke said. His voice was surprisingly gentle. "The whole time we've been talking about all this alien business precious seconds have been ticking by in which we could have been coming up with a plan for getting out of here." Vector gave him a shaky nod. Though he looked older than Duke in appearance, his body language made him look like a frightened child. His shoulders and back were hunched. His glasses sat on the crook of his long, beaky nose. With a long, thin finger he pushed them back up. He let out a sigh and raised his head. "We can't leave. Not yet. We have to kill all of them, whatever they are." "Why?" Duke said. Vector opened his mouth to answer but Danni beat him to it. "Because if just one of them were to get out and get to one of the twelve colonies then more people could become infected. It would create an epidemic. Considering the level of technology and medical knowledge we have it could wipe us out in no time." "Fuck," Duke said. "If what you say is true then we can't take a chance and say no - can we. Which begs the question - how do we do that. There's no way Danni and I have enough ammo to take out every last one of those things." Vector swivelled around in his chair and pointed at a large map pinned to the wall in front of him. He pointed at a small square at the bottom corridor and tapped at it. "See this? This is the fusion reactor. It's what powers everything. It's on floor Negative Four. All we have to do is blow it up. There's just one problem. I don't have the passcard needed to blow it up. I'm not head scientist. Dr. Trelawny has it, but he's infected. He should be on one of the lower levels." "Okay," Duke said slowly. "I guess we’ll just have to take it from him. Is that all?" "No. Once I use the passcard and the reactor starts to overheat I can't reverse it. There's a ten minute countdown to get a minimum safe distance from the blast radius. I don't know how far that radius is. And I'm willing to bet that the lift doesn't work anymore, which means that we'd have to scramble out of here on foot." "You said there was only one problem" Danni said. "That was more like four or five. I don't like it." Vector shrugged apologetically. "I don't like it either, but it's the only thing that I know of to do. The blast should be strong enough to kill them all. It has to be done." Duke stood up. "Okay, folks. Enough chit chat, let's just get this shit over with. You wouldn't happen to have an extra gun would you, Vec?" In response, Vector lifted the hem of his coat and showed them the .9 mm holstered to his side. It was the exact same model that Danni and Duke had. The trio went back into the laboratory. Vector pulled out his pass card, glancing at Danni and Duke. He held his gun in the other hand. "Ready?" he asked. Danni and Duke nodded silently. Duke had enough time to swallow fearfully before the scientist scanned his card and the doors slid open. The moment they left the safety of the lab Danni expected one of Vector's crazed scientist to charge at them,but nothing happened. He let his psychic senses stretch out, probing the room. "They're gone," he whispered. "Where did they go?" Duke hissed back. "They don't like to stay in one place for long," Vector explained. "They use the vents to travel in between the eight levels. They're like rats, they like to scavenge. There's a door that leads to the stairs on the right side of the room. Let's hurry." Sure enough, just as Vector had said, there was a door with a black sign next to it that said STAIRS in white capital letters. An arrow below that indicated that they were going down. Duke waved for Danni to stand back so that he could take the lead. He shouldered the door open and peeked around the corner, gun at the ready. He signalled that it was clear by giving them a thumbs up. Though Danni was doing his best to be as quiet as possible, his footfalls seemed to echo all around them. He told himself that it was just the adrenaline pumping through his body, the fear, that made it seem that way. He was afraid that the very beating of his own heart would give their position away to those things, whatever they were. And what should they be called? Not that it really mattered that much, but he had to have something to call them. He decided it was simple to name them after the scientist. "Vectors," he whispered, as they reached the first landing. Vector turned his head in Danni's direction, eyebrow raised. Danni grinned. "I'm naming them after you. Vectors." Duke raised a finger to his lips. They continued to descend deeper underground. It was as they reached Floor Negative Two that Danni's psychic senses picked up danger; it was like a mental alarm going off in his head. He looked up just as one of the vectors launched itself over the railing. He stepped out of the way as it hit the ground with a loud thud. He knew that such an impact would have killed any human being, but the very thing that made the Fucking Black Shit made them harder to kill. Before the vector could fully rise to its feet, Danni lashed out with a well-aimed kick. The kick threw the vector back against the steps. It grunted, already in the process of getting back to its feet. Danni put a bullet in its head, Fucking Black Shit splattering all over the stairs. Already two more vectors were coming down the steps. Another one dropped from the ceiling. From the thud of footsteps there were more coming. One of them slipped in the puddle of Fucking Black Shit and fell on its ass. Danni fired three times, each shot hitting a Vector in the head. "Go!" he shouted at the others. "I'm staying." "No way," Duke said, skidding to a halt. "You're coming too." "There's no arguing," Danni said. "More of the vectors are coming. I'm going to give you some time. Find Trelawny, get the passcard and set the reactor to go off. I'll be fine. I'll catch up." He turned and fired at three more Vectors. Duke cursed and shoved Vector forward. "Lead the way. And hurry." Danni's mind had become a targeting system, track the vectors. One vector, two vector, three vector, four, he thought. Where his eyes went the gun followed, and where the gun went the bullet hit. In the back of his mind he thanked Alexander Aamodt for all the "mistakes" that he'd instilled in Danni. It was those mistakes that was going to come in handy. He spun around and lashed out with a roundhouse kick that connected with the back of a vector's head and it rolled down onto the floor. He pinned its head down with his foot and put a bullet into the side of its temple, aimed in front of him, and fired twice more. One had gotten past him and was racing down the stairs. He launched himself over the railing and landed on top of it. Its skull cracked as he landed on top of its head with both feet. In the back of his mind he thought of Duke and Vector. Each monster he killed was one less they had to deal with. With each crack of gunfire he heard, it was becoming harder and harder for Duke to keep his focus on what was happening before him and what not be happening behind him. What if he gets hurt? Duke thought. What will I do? He forced himself not to think about it. He didn't know if he could think about it. Ever since the Revelation 5S77 had brought Danni, frozen in his CryoSleep chamber, Planet Redemption had become a warmer place. Duke didn't know if he would be able to survive having that warmth taken away from him. "We're almost there," Vector said. "Last bit of stairs before we get to the reactor." "Good," Duke huffed; there was a stitch growing in his side and it hurt like a motherfucker. "I don't know how much longer I can keep this up." Finally they reached a door with a sign that read CAUTION: REACTOR. They hurried inside. The fusion reactor was massive. It stood fifty feet high and was built into the ceiling. Wires and cables as thick as Duke's waist fed into the ceiling. Behind it was a bank of computers; to its left was the door to another lift. “What’s that over there?” Duke asked. He pointed to the doors of the lift. “That leads down to the ruins-” Vector didn’t get a chance to finish his sentence. A man in a white lab coat latched itself onto Vector’s back, knocking the gun from his hand. Vector screamed and spun about, trying to throw the man off of him. Duke raised his gun just as the man ripped Vector’s throat out with his teeth. Blood sprayed all over the man’s face. Vector sank to his knees, more blood coming out of his mouth. Duke had never seen so much blood at once, never… Another shot rang out from somewhere, hitting the man in the forehead. He fell onto the cement, bleeding black. To Duke’s surprise Danni ran past him and knelt down by Vector’s side. He pressed his fingers to the gaping hole in the scientist’s throat trying to staunch the bleeding. The wound was so severe that blood continued to seep through his fingers. The scientist was twitching, trying to speak. He pointed at the corpse lying just inches away. “Trelawny,” he managed to sputter. “G-Get his key.” Danni crawled over to the corpse and rooted around in the pockets. Within seconds he fished out a green passcard. He crawled back to the dying scientist. “What do I do?” “Go to the computer over there,” the scientist gasped. His face had turned deathly pale. Danni could feel the life ebbing out of him with each passing second. “Scan the passcard. A list of options will come up. You want number 9 which will say fail safe. That is the one that will blow up the reactor.” Danni moved to stand up but the scientist grabbed him with a surprisingly strong grip. “Leave my body here. I don’t want to turn into one of those things.” Danni could only nod. His eyes were blurred with tears. He didn’t understand why he felt sad over this man, they had just met a few hours ago. Perhaps you were supposed to feel sad over all dying things. He rose to his feet and glanced over at Duke. Duke was just standing there, staring at the two corpses on the floor. Danni realized that he was in shock. Danni went over to the computer console and scanned Trelawny’s card. Just as Vector said it would, a list of options came up. Towards the bottom was the command FAIL SAFE. Without hesitating he hit the 9 key. Almost immediately red lights flashed and a computerized female voice said: “EMERGENCY ALERT! EMERGENCY ALERT! THIS IS NOT A DRILL! ALL PERSONNEL YOU HAVE TEN MINUTES TO EVACUATE!” Behind him Danni could hear the reactor make a whirring sound as the temperature within started to rise. Already smoke was curling out of the vents. “Come on,” he said, taking Duke’s hand. “It’s time to go.” “Good,” Duke said. “I can’t wait to watch this place blow sky high.” They made it to the snowmobile; all thoughts on getting as far away from the station as possible. Danni threw Trelawny’s passkey into the snow and climbed into the driver’s seat, shouting after Duke. “Let’s go, let’s go, let’s go!” Duke looked as if he was on the verge of collapsing. “I need to catch my...breath.” “You can’t catch your breath when you’re dead. Get your fucking ass into the snowmobile. Now Duke!” Duke’s knees almost gave out as he climbed into the snowmobile. He’d barely sat down when Danni hit the gas and they went shooting forward. “Where the hell did you learn to drive?” he huffed. “Good question,” Danni said, keeping his eyes on the rearview mirror. “I don’t know. I just do. I’m my father’s failed science project, remember?” “Don’t worry, we’re going to be o-” Before Duke could finish saying, We’re going to be okay, the reactor inside of the research station exploded. They felt it in the ground underneath them about a second before they saw it; the ground shook underneath them, making the snowmobile bounce into the air before touching the ground again with such force that Duke’s face slammed into the dashboard, splitting his lip. Then the research station and the mountain it was latched onto went up in a cloud of flames. The sight was so glorious that Duke forgot about the pain he was in. He had never seen anything like it. The aftershock of the blast hit the snowmobile, almost making it flip end over end. Somehow it bounced back down again and kept going forward. Danni kept his foot on the gas pedal, eyes focused intently on the ground ahead. He glanced once more through the windshield and said, “You gotta be fucking kidding me?” Had Duke not sensed that the danger was not yet over he would have found Danni’s use of the expression funny. Instead he sat up and turned to look out the back window. The research station, the mountain, all of it was sinking below the ice. The ground was literally starting to sink down and the sinkhole was coming towards them. “Go, go, go, fucking go!” he roared. “I’m going as fast as this piece of shit will let me!” Danni screamed back. Duke closed his eyes. He couldn’t bear to keep them open and witness what might happen next. Would they feel the ground give way causing them to plummet into the lower depths of the planet? He prayed to the Good Lord, hoping that the Heavenly Father had enough grace for him despite all of the terrible things he’d done in his life. Then they stopped moving. Duke opened his eyes and looked over at Danni. He cheered, so overjoyed to be alive. He grabbed Danni’s face in both his hands and kissed him on the lips hard. Danni didn’t push him back so Duke took that has a good sign. “We’re alive,” he said when they parted. “You did it Danni.” Danni didn’t respond. There was a strange expression on his face, like something was bothering him. He climbed out of the snowmobile with Duke following close behind. When he saw how close they’d been to death the hairs on the back of his neck stood on end. Just two feet away the ground dropped sharply into oblivion. The hole that had been punched into the planet by the blast was several kilometers wide and much deeper. Danni went back to the snowmobile and started rummaging around in one of the duffle bags. When he came back he had a flare gun in his hand. “What are you doing?” Duke said. “Just hang on a second,” Danni said patiently. He took a few steps away from Duke and fired the flare gun. The flare exploded in a glowing circle of red light that slowly plummeted from the sky. It lit the crater just enough that they could see the bottom of it. “He wasn’t lying,” Duke gasped. “By God, I was wrong. Vector really wasn’t lying.” Below was a whole city built by alien hands. Buildings of different shapes and sizes, built out of stone, preserved beneath the ice. And in the center of it all was the temple that looked like a Mayan pyramid. The same one that had appeared in Danni’s dreams.
  11. Aurora Borealis

    The tequila burned Diana's throat as it went down. She slammed the shot glass down on her office desk and poured herself another round. Her eyes stung with tears. Inside she felt wretched and the tequila wasn't helping as she thought it would - and still she kept drinking. She had never been much of a drinker. She had witnessed first hand what liquor could do to one's mind and body. Then there was the fact that liquor didn't taste very good. She had always thought it funny that people liked to get drunk not because it tasted good, but because they liked the feeling of being drunk. At the moment she couldn't see what the big deal with that was either. Politics, even on a planet as small as Redemption, was a dirty game. In order to play it right you had to do things you never thought yourself capable of doing; to play such a game you had to have these skills: lying to the faces of the people you loved, murder, and being able to cover up your mess so that no one knew what you had done. On a penal planet full of criminals that wouldn’t seem necessary. People raped and murdered as they pleased, warden's rules be damned, and there wasn't much that the warden could do about it. But when it came to the other eleven colonies...well the game was a little more complicated. Colony 12 was the smallest colony on Redemption. It was also the poorest, and when compared to the other eleven it was on the bottom of the totem pole so to speak. Colony 12 had the least funds, produced the least products, and had the smallest population. This was reflected in the plain white buildings that made up the colony. There was no variation. It had been her father's dream to see Colony 12 rise from the bottom. Maybe not to the top, but just enough so that they would no longer be on the bottom. It had been Diana's goal to realize that dream. Diana hated herself. She'd hated herself for quite some time. She'd hated who she had become, who she'd let the job as warden turn her into. The job had done to her what it had done to her father: blackened her heart. She'd covered up things, overlooked others, and hung people out to dry for her own personal gain. Bud Jackson was another name on that list. When Diana's father had been warden, Bud Jackson had been his sheriff, and a family friend. Though he'd always been known as the insane red-eyed drunk that everyone had pitied, Jackson had always been respected for simply being a part of Redemption's first generation. He'd been among the first colonists to be sent to the ice planet. And in anyone's eyes that immediately deserved respect. Diana's father had placed Jackson on an even higher pedestal. He'd been able to see past Jackson's consumption issues, past the long list of sociopathic tendencies that ran in his family. Jackson had been more than just his sheriff, he'd been his advisor. What I did was necessary, Diana thought. What I did had to be done? She'd been trying to convince herself of this all morning. She remembered how she'd gone to the pub, knowing damn well that was where Jackson would be. "I need you to do something for me," she'd said as she slid a beer over to him. She had known that he would do it. The situation in the diner had been a setup - for the most part anyway. And in the end Jackson's compliance had cost him his life all so that everyone could see the new deck of cards Diana had to play with in Danni. The night before, after Jackson's funeral, Diana had cried herself to sleep. If there really was a hell she hoped that she had a first class ticket there. You didn't have to thrust a knife into someone's gut to be a murderer. The door opened and Natalia stepped in, dressed in full gear for the cold. She didn't see Diana tuck the bottle of Tequila under the desk. All at once it surprised, delighted, and hurt Diana to see her. The tequila had helped to tear down the emotional blockades she always had placed around herself. For a long time they just looked at one another, waiting for the other to speak. Diana felt uncomfortably exposed sitting there in her chair, her cheeks red and wet with tears. She needed a shower. She needed to brush her teeth. She didn't look like herself. She felt like an exposed nerve. "Hey," Natalia said. "Hey," Diana said. And then she burst into tears. She couldn't breathe, couldn't see. The grief and self-loathing and loneliness that she'd been feeling were all-consuming. The fucking thing of it was that she had put those feelings there herself. She had done terrible things, things that she would never be able to forgive herself for. In the clinic she had told Danni that survival and power were the only currencies that mattered on Planet Redemption; what she hadn't told him was that in order to play the game of survival you also had to damn your own soul. Natalia came to her and hugged her. She kissed the top of her head. It took Diana a moment to realize that Natalia thought that she was grieving over Jackson's death, and she was, she really was, but she didn't know that it was Diana's fault that Jackson was dead. She didn't know what Diana had done. I'm a coward, Diana thought. "I want you to come home to me," Natalia whispered, wiping the tears from Diana's face, kissing her eyelids. "I don't like you living out here like this, like a nomad. Forget all that I said, just come home to me when you're finished with everything." Diana nodded shakily. "I will." The phone on her desk rang. She answered it reluctantly, trying to keep her voice steady. Natalia opened the door to the office, a raging gust of wind and snow making her hair billow around her beautiful dark face. She blew Diana a kiss before closing the door behind her. "This is Andy Sorkis," a timid male's voice said. "Yes Andy, hi!" Diana tried to sound like she was happy to hear from him. Andy was one of the DJs working at the radio station. Another thing the job of warden required was being able to hide your true emotions behind a mask.. "It's good to hear from you!" "Yes, sorry to hear about Jackson, and to bother you at such a bad time." She chuckled. "That's quite alright. What can I do for you?" "Well there's something that I want to show you. It's really fucking strange. Can you come down to the radio station?" She frowned, not liking the sound in his voice. He sounded scared. The hairs on the back of her neck stood on end. "What is it?" "You're just going to have to come down here and see for yourself." She ignored the shiver that crept up her spine. "Alright. I'm on my way." If there was anyone that didn’t belong on Planet Redemption it was Andy Sorkis. He didn’t have a mean bone in his body. Because of this Redemption had been unkind to him - and that was putting it mildly. When he was six years old six men had broken into his house in the middle of the night and taken turns raping his mother, before executing her in front of him. Instead of turning him cruel, the traumatic event had made him even more timid and kind-hearted. The studio room was a large square room protected by bulletproof glass. He sat before a large switchboard with various knobs, buttons, and switches. Diana watched as he worked the recording machine with thin, long fingers that made her think of spider legs. He was tall and narrow, like a beanstalk. His brown hair stuck up in odd places, making him look like a rooster. “It was so strange,” he said, speaking in a rush. One hand scratched nervously at the back of his hand. The way he constantly fidgeted made Diana nervous. He was always scratching or pulling at something. “I was getting ready to grab a new vinyl when I heard it.” She frowned. “Heard what?” “A transmission.” “What do you mean a transmission?” “I mean we caught a signal from somewhere else.” “One of the other colonies, do you think?” He shrugged. “I dunno.” She turned away for a moment, thinking. They were five days drive away from Colony 11; it wasn’t impossible but it was hard to imagine getting a transmission from them. The only possibility she could think of was the research station which was just on the other side of the mountain range two days from here. “Here it is,” he said excitedly, his head cocked to the side. Static tore from the radio speakers, making Diana cringe. The sound literally made her want to come out of her skin. How he could have caught anything within all that fucking racket was beyond her. “Sorry,” he said. “Give me a second to see if I can tone down the static.” She massaged her temples. She swallowed. Her throat was parched. I shouldn’t have drunk that tequila, she thought. She felt hot. It was hard to think. She just wanted to go somewhere quiet and go back to sleep. She wondered if Natalia was home yet; the thought of curling up in bed with her had never seemed as appealing as it did now. “Do you have any coffee?” she asked Andy. “Yeah, in the kitchen.” “May I have some?” “I dunno why you’re asking. You’re the warden.” She smiled, patting him on the shoulder. “I can still be a warden who uses her manners.” The kitchen was a small square room with white tiling and grey cabinets; it was complete with a fridge and a oven. Diana could see why Andy Sorkis loved being DJ so much. He had all of this space to himself with nobody to bother him, no one to make him feel threatened. Perhaps she could even go as far to say it was the safest place on the planet. The coffee was nice and hot and the smell soothed her. Diana drank her coffee black. “Okay, let’s try it now,” Andy said, hitting the play button. The speakers crackled and sputtered with static and then: “...he....Help...” “Stop!” Diana barked, making Andy jump with a yelp. “Sorry about that,” she said more gently. “Please rewind it just a little.” He hit the rewind button for a few seconds and then hit play. “He...Help...Please...Somebody help...” Andy frowned. “What the fuck?” “I don’t know. Can you clear it up some more?” “I can try. Hang on.” He tinkered with the playback system, adjusting this and that. “Okay, taking it back through.” “Help...Please...Somebody help…research station...” Andy stopped the recording. He looked at Diana; his face was as white as a sheet. “Did you hear that? An S.O.S from the research station? What the fuck?” For a long time Diana didn’t say anything. She was experiencing the same phenomenon that she had felt when Andy first called: the hairs on the back of her neck standing on end, her palms turning clammy. There was something about the transmission that felt wrong, all wrong. There was a voice in the back of her head that told her to leave it alone, go about her business. She had plenty of other shit that she had to do. But the voice was small and it was less powerful than the part of her that hungered for control, that was always looking for something more. “How long ago did you get this?” she asked “An hour ago. I called you as soon as I realized what it was.” “Do you think there’s a chance we could respond?” Andy looked doubtful. “I dunno. Considering that the transmission has to travel all of the way through the mountain range and that there is, of course, another bloody fucking snow storm on the way, the chances are slim.” At the grim look on her face, he added, “But I will try.” He put his headset on. “Hello, this is Sorkis from Colony 12 trying to respond to your call from the research station. Can you hear me, over?” Static answered back. Sorkis waited for a few second before repeating himself: “Hello, this is Sorkis from Colony 12 trying to respond to your call from the research station. Can you hear me, over?” Almost immediately a male’s voice responded: “Yes, I hear you loud and clear. Please, I need your help. I’m the only one left alive...” Duke looked sideways at his new work partner and asked, “What are you thinking about?” Danni took a swig from his beer and gave him a hard look. The pub was quiet on this cold, cold afternoon. There were five other customers in the pub; people were still grieving over Jackson’s death. Rolling Stones was playing softly on the jukebox. Clara stood at her post, eavesdropping on their conversation while blowing bubbles with her chewing gum. Danni seemed to have changed overnight. Maybe change wasn’t the right word; maybe grow was the right word. Not physically but mentally and emotionally. Sitting before Duke was a completely different person than the one that had been dropped off by the Revelation 5S77. The other Danni had been beautifully naive and curious about everything around him. In his naivety he had been awkward and quirky. This one was darker, indifferent to everything around him. He rarely spoke. He was impossible to read. Seeing this new Danni broke Duke’s heart. Already this planet has changed him, Duke thought. This fucking planet. It’s taken his spirit away. “Why do you want to know what I’m thinking?” “Just trying to make a small talk.” “Yeah, you do that a lot.” “Do what?” “Make ‘small talk’?” “Does that bother you?” “No.” “Because I can shut up if you want.” “If I’m going to talk to anyone on this piece of shit of a planet it might as well be you.” Duke blinked twice. That was another thing Danni had been doing that was completely new to Duke. He cussed. A lot. He had grown a potty mouth. It was both disheartening and amusing. Danni smirked, baiting Duke. “I was thinking dirty thoughts.” “Tell me.” “You sure you wanna know?” Duke felt his cock twitch. The temperature in the room had risen considerably. “Uh huh.” “I was thinking I wanted you to fuck me again.” That was it, Duke had an official hard-on. He was getting ready to say something equally as dirty when Diana walked into the pub. She came straight over to them, all briskness and business. “Gentlemen,” she greeted them formally. Duke nodded back. “Warden, what can we do for you?” “Something very interesting just happened. We got an S.O.S call from the research station.” “Really? That is interesting.” “I want you two to check out what’s going on.” Duke almost choked on his beer. “Are you fucking with me?” “No, sheriff,” Diana said, smirking humorlessly. “I am not fucking with you.” “But it’s a two day drive there.” “That’s why you will be taking weapons and camping gear with you.” Duke made no attempt to hide his disdain. “Just the two of us?” “Yes.” “That’s not enough.” “Why not?” “You could be sending us into a death trap?” “If it was you and Myze I would be more hesitant.” She nodded. “But you have him. It’s enough.” Diana glanced at her watch. “I’d getting going if I were you. It’ll be night time before you know it.” Duke waited until she was out of earshot and said, “Fuckin’ bitch.” He glanced sideways at Danni again. “What do you think about all of this shit?” “I’m just a stupid clone,” Danni said darkly. “What do I know?” Duke glared at him. “Is that how you really choose to regard yourself?” Danni shrugged. “Everyone else in this shitty colony does.” “I don’t.” “One person’s opinion doesn’t make a difference.” That hurt Duke more than he cared to admit. “Not even mine?” Danni sensed Duke’s hurt and more gently said, “It’s the truth. There’s not much way around it.” Two hours later, just three hours before nightfall, the snowmobile was ready and their gear was packed. Duke hauled the last duffel bag into the snowmobile and tugged his winter hat farther down on his head. “Fuck, it’s colder than a witch’s tit.” Danni wasn’t listening. He leaned against the side of the snowmobile, looking towards the range of mountains. He was standing very still, unnaturally still. He wasn’t blinking. Duke was starting to worry that the boy had frozen to death. Then he remembered that as far as he knew Danni couldn’t freeze to death. Something else was wrong. “What is it?” Duke asked. When Danni didn’t answer or look at him, he stepped closer. “Danni?” “I don’t like this,” Danni said. Duke let out a small sigh of relief. “I don’t either. Are you getting one of your feelings?” “Oh yeah,” Danni said. “But I don’t know what it is. Your warden is going to get us killed.” Duke didn’t miss the emphasis on your. “Let’s get going. I want to get as far as we can before dark. It’s going to be a bitch setting the tent up in the middle of a snow storm.” They climbed into the snowmobile; Duke got into the driver’s seat and Danni got into the passenger’s seat. “Before I forget I made a present for you,” Duke said, reaching back into the duffel bag on the seat behind him. “What is it?” Danni frowned at him suspiciously. Duke handed him an MP3 player. It was one of the old 21st Century models. “I noticed you nodding to Led Zeppelin the other day and figured you’re a metalhead so I downloaded a bunch of a music for you. These little things are basically antiques by now but they’re still one of mankind’s greatest inventions.” A smile split Danni’s face in two. Duke was glad to see that the boy could still smile like that, that all emotion hadn’t been completely sucked out of him by Mike Myze. As Duke hit the gas pedal and steered the snowmobile in the direction of the mountain range, Danni put the ear buds in his ears, jabbed the play button and nodded off to Led Zeppelin. After two hours of driving through nothing but boring white expanse the Redemption Bridge slowly came into view; the bridge went directly over a steep cliff edge. Duke had only had the privilege of seeing the bridge twice and each time it took his breath away. Anchored into the side of the cliff, the Redemption Bridge was a mile across and made of stone. Excitedly he reached over and tapped Danni on the shoulder, imagining that this was what it was like to be a kid at the zoo. Danni sat up and looked over at him sleepily. “What’s the matter?” “Look. I wanted you to see this.” Duke pointed out the windshield. Danni’s eyes widened at the sight of the bridge. “It’s beautiful.” “My grandfather used to tell me stories about this bridge,” Duke said wistfully. “It was one of the few times the twelve colonies came together to do something like this.” “Are there any more?” “Yes. There are twelve of them in all. I’ve only ever been across this one. Once we get to the other side we’ll set up camp.” The glass of the window felt cold as Danni pressed his face up against it. He had never been up so high before. Just beyond the sides of the bridge was a thousand foot drop with a frozen ocean at the bottom. He imagined plummeting through the air and hitting that ice, the impact shattering every bone in his body, cracking his skull open and spilling his brains across the ice surface. It was a silly thing to be afraid of. Duke wouldn’t let something like that happen. But if they did fall somehow, would the billions of tiny little nanites crawling around inside his body regenerate the damage that was done? Just how much damage could they heal exactly? They went several kilometers farther before Duke shut off the engine and they started making camp. Their breathing masks and parka jackets helped to stave off the cold while they put up the tent. Putting it up was easier than Danni had initially thought it would be. Though he had never put up a tent before his body seemed to know what to do. Once again he had the sense that his brain was like a computer breaking down data and feeding everything back to him. The longer he was on this frozen ice planet the more he discovered about himself. It was both scary and exhilarating. There was just so much that he didn’t know about himself. Once the tent was set up Duke went about fixing dinner. With a small battery operated heater he was able to warm up two cans of potato hash. Danni didn’t like the potato hash much: it tasted too much like the can. It was worse than the shit that Alexander had made him eat at the facility. Still he ate it without complaint, knowing that it was better than starving. Is it possible for me to starve to death? he wondered. Or am I immune to that as well, due to the nanites? Am I invincible? He stretched out next to Duke on the full sized mattress and listened to the sound of the wind slapping against the outside of the tent. Already Redemption’s twin suns were sinking. The day is too short and the night is too long on this planet, he thought. It’s depressing. Still, he tried to look on the bright side. He’d never been camping before. That’s what he was doing now, wasn’t he? “You’re awfully quiet,” Duke said. His eyes were closed and his arms were folded behind his head. “Everything okay over there?” Danni swallowed. “I’m overwhelmed. This is all so new to me. All of it.” “I’m sure it is if you’ve been a lab animal your whole life.” He rolled over, looking down at Danni. “Are you frightened of what we’re doing? I mean we have no idea what we’re heading towards. Plus we’re alone...just you and me...” “Not at the moment. For the first time since I arrived on this piece of shit planet I feel safe.” Duke laughed. “You’re always calling it that, this ‘piece of shit planet.’” “That’s because that’s what it is. It’s a piece of shit planet.” Danni stopped. There was a bright green glow shining through the neon-orange fabric of the tent. He sat up. The light bleeding into the tent reflected the curiosity in his eyes. “Aurora Borealis.” Duke frowned. “What?” Danni grinned. “Aurora Borealis. It’s the name of the northern lights. You have them here on this planet too. I remember them talking about it on the Discovery Channel back on Earth.” He unzipped the flap of the tent. “What are you doing?” Duke said in alarm, curling under his blanket as the snow gusted in. “You’re letting the fucking cold in!” Danni stepped out into the night and looked up at the lights hovering in the sky, vivid red and green seeming to dance together. His wide blue eyes reflected Redemption’s twin suns. Beautiful, he thought. So beautiful. He thought of a commercial he’d seen once for air freshener called Winter Fresh. On the commercial it had shown a ballerina dancing under the northern lights. He heard the tent flap unzip and Duke come marching out. The snow crunched under his feet as the sheriff of Colony 12 approached. They stood shoulder to shoulder. “They’re beautiful,” Danni said. “Yes they are,” Duke agreed. “I suppose not all things on this planet are shitty.” Danni unzipped his jacket and threw it into the snow. Duke gawked at him. “Are you insane? You’re going to freeze to death out here.” Danni merely smiled, pulled off his T-shirt, and threw that into the snow to join the jacket. The pants went next. He was only wearing his underwear. His pale skin seemed to drink in the moonlight. Goosebumps broke out all over his skin. His nipples shriveled up into hard little knots of flesh. Drinking in the sight of him, Duke felt himself grow so hard that his balls ached. He literally had blue balls. Danni began to make his way back towards the tent. He danced and swayed as he did, his movements graceful. He seemed to float over the snow, as if the very laws of gravity did not apply to him. Then he disappeared inside of the tent. Duke adjusted the bulge in his pants and followed a few seconds later. Danni was lying on the mattress, his eyes seducing Duke with their icy blue glow. Duke stripped out of his clothes. He was so bewitched by Danni that he barely noticed the cold. Danni scooted over so that Duke could crawl in under the blankets next to him. This time Duke exercised all the self control he could muster. He took his time kissing Danni, exploring the inside of his mouth, roaming his skinny little body with his hand; he felt the ridge of each rib, the sharp angle of his hip bones. He sucked on the tip of his hardened penis, tasted the salt of his precum, silently relishing the moans that Danni made. Danni’s body though fragile looking, wrapped around Duke’s as if it was meant to. He was flexible and unbelievably strong. Duke mounted Danni from behind and took his time fucking him. He enjoyed the satiny feeling of Danni’s ass, clenching his butt cheeks as he pushed in and out of him. He wrapped a large hand around Danni’s skinny little throat and felt each bob of his Adam’s Apple whenever he moaned or swallowed. And when it was his time to cum it couldn’t have been anymore perfect. Under the shimmering lights it was like something out of a fairytale - or a dream. I’m falling in love with him, Duke thought as he listened to Danni’s peaceful breathing sometime later. It doesn’t matter what he is. I’m falling in love with him.
  12. Editors, editing, editors

    I have an editor who has been working on Planet Redemption. He is doing an excellent job. I would like to get another editor or two to look over it so that I can publish this bad baby. Otherwise I'm going to have to save up for professional editing. Any volunteers? I can share the edited edition with you through Google Docs that way so you can see the changes that have been made. Here is a synopsis of the story: Danni Aarmodt is exiled to Planet Redemption, a penal planet a hundred years away from Earth. Frozen for the trip, he wakes up on a new planet in Colony 12. Soon Danni learns that survival on Planet Redemption is the only currency. The only person he can trust is himself. As if that's not bad enough Colony 12 discovers something that is equally fascinating and terrifying in nature...and it's been buried underneath the ice for millions of years. Warning: This is a very dark story that tackles heavy subject matter. If you are easily bothered by such content I don't recommand reading it.
  13. I have an editor who has been working on Planet Redemption. He is doing an excellent job. I would like to get another editor or two to look over it so that I can publish this bad baby. Otherwise I'm going to have to save up for professional editing. Any volunteers? I can share the edited edition with you through Google Docs that way so you can see the changes that have been made.

  14. I have been working my computer like a Nazi trying to finish the next chapter for my next up and coming project oh since 11:00 this morning. Because I do not have wifi of my own I have been at McDonalds while parents literally let their children jump off the walls (I'm being for real). If you knew what us writers go through to get this done you would appreciate our craft more. #PlanetRedemption #McDonalds


    PS. This is not like my usual pesky 2-3 thousand word chapter but more like 4-5 thousand word chapter.

  15. Dead and Snow

    I am going through the editing process. I took out the part where he has telekinetic abilities. I figured it would be better to have more limited abilities as to create more conflict.

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