For more than three centuries, the ancient city of Vasiriah has been cut off from the rest of the world by a deadly magical barrier. Graduate mage and scholar Jaas Senneco finally finds a way through it, but quickly realizes she’s trapped.
There are hundreds more barriers inside absorbing her magic, forcing her to rely on wits and determination to survive. When Jaas allies with a local named Arico, it becomes clear that they must learn from each other. He's one of the few people who can pass through the barriers safely, a talent which could get him killed if discovered by the Sustained.
Together they're swept up in a plot for control of the city, encountering unending dangers: a relentless assassin, a monstrous giant, an inescapable spymaster. While fighting a guerilla war alongside dwarven allies, they must find crucial answers to free the city from the Sustained.
How could people be alive after all this time with no magic? Why can Arico cross the barriers while others can't? Will Jaas be able to escape before the city tears itself apart?
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Alliance is only avaliable upon personal request because it contains copyrighted materials. Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org to request a copy.
This was the first book I wrote, starting years and years ago. Because it's based on copyrighted material, the chances I'll ever get it published are pretty low. Still, I think you'll enjoy it, especially if you're a fan of the Stargate franchise.
For those of you who don't know what it is, here's all you need to know in 3 sentences: There's a bunch of ring-shaped things on thousands of different planets, and people can travel between them in just a few seconds. The galaxy is ruled by a parasitical alien race that uses humans as host bodies, slaves, and genetically modified soldiers called jaffa. A group of Air Force people based in Cheyenne Mountain use one of these rings to explore the galaxy and fight these aliens.
There. Now you know all you need in order to read the book.
For those of you who have watched the series, this book takes place during and after the events of Window of Opportunity, the most popular episode of ALL THE FRICKIN SERIES put together. Don't worry, I don't write in any of the main characters except for a 1-line cameo near the end. This is almost entirely from the perspective of characters I created myself.
Colonel Tony Marcus and his team are on a recon mission to another planet, when they’re suddenly cut off from Earth. Without support or intel from his superiors, Tony has to protect his people in a galaxy dominated by hostile aliens. He’s able to make contact with other teams that were also stranded off-world, working with them to find out what happened to Earth, and how to undo it.
Finding a way home while staying hidden from the supremely powerful Goa’uld is no easy task, and Tony has to recruit help from other planets. Most of these allies are primitive and eager, while some are technologically advanced but hesitant to get involved. Others are inscrutable even as they help, with their own agendas which might spell disaster for his people. When one of the most dangerous Goa’uld takes notice of his people, Tony is in a fight for his life just to stay one step ahead.
"Stand ready." Hargrove ordered softly, and he and Cayo took positions on both sides of the passage's exit, covering it with the lights attached to their guns. Suna herded the others into cover behind one of the broken machines and turned off her own tactical light.
Heavy footsteps came up the passage, and a creature of nightmare stepped out and into the light. It was tall, at least seven feet, and looked only vaguely human. Its bald head tapered back to a point, and pronounced horns jutted from its chin. Hargrove could also see a series of tattoos on the left side of its face, extending down its neck. Green, leathery skin could be seen through its tattered robes. As Hargrove realized what it was he was looking at, its eyes glowed.
"Take it down!" He called out by reflex, and he, Cayo, and Suna all opened up on it.
As they fired, a shimmering wall of energy appeared in front of the monster, absorbing shot after shot after shot. The plasma energy continued to impact and then dissipate, spreading out over the barrier, as they kept shooting.
"Hold your fire," he ordered, a little stunned. The creature gave him a predatory grin as Cayo and Suna reluctantly stopped as well.
Then it raised an arm towards him and he saw light and heard a growing hum come from the elongated metal glove it wore.
Before he could move, the air in front of the glove seemed to 𝘤𝘰𝘮𝘱𝘢𝘤𝘵, and a compression wave blasted out towards him. The impact was incredible. He was thrown backwards like a rag doll, and felt rather than heard himself hit the ground. Bits of rock from the edge of the passage showered him, and he could hear yells of pain from his people.
His vision failed him for a moment, and when he could see again, the creature was leaning over him and reaching down towards him with its other clawed hand. It took him by the throat and lifted him up off of the ground, as if he weighed nothing. He grabbed its arms to keep from choking. Despite himself, he could feel panic creeping up in the corners of his mind.
[Unimpressive,] it sneered, if such an expression could be recognized on its demonic face.
Code is modern sci-fi, a significant departure from what I'd written previously. I think I wrote it mostly in response to learning just how crazy we've all gotten in this so-called age of enlightenment.
Vicky Brandt is a dedicated bioengineer, designing pain-relief implants for a medical supply company. When she finds out her employers used her designs to control and effectively torture people, she reaches out to her old college friends Amir and Tom for help. They get the media and legal system involved, but they’re unable to control the spread of her technology.
Determined to find a better way, Vicky quits her job to start her own research. Amir’s medical expertise and Tom’s connections in politics and business are both necessary, and the three of them strive to develop a new implant. This new code device is self-regulating, allowing its users to live confidently, knowing that the code will keep them from doing anything they know is wrong. Unfortunately that also makes it controversial, and powerful corporations will do anything to alter her work for their own ends.
How would a viable behavior-altering implant affect our society? How many people would be tempted to get a code, knowing how much it could improve their lives? How many others would react with fear and mistrust, as change is always greeted? This story explores the results of the code as well, with the beginning of a new, and entirely different society of people.
Amir watched with fascination as Tina finagled the information from the truck driver. Even though she was talking with the driver over the phone, and even though she wasn't a part of Etani's corporate structure, she was friendly, she was disarming.. and she was effective.
It seemed she had been right. The driver hadn't been told the details of the box he'd mailed, so he obviously didn't know it was meant to be a secret. Tina convinced him that there had been a mixup at the office, and she just needed to confirm the address he had used, to make sure it was right. A minute or two later, she handed Amir a scrap of paper with an address on it, and called Vicky again using the burner.
While she updated Vicky, Amir looked up the address, and felt a sense of gloom settle over him. "It's a prison," he said despondently.
"What?" Tina was at his side in a moment, and then grimaced. "I thought that address looked familiar. That's no ordinary prison. It's Bellstock Penitentiary!"
Amir gave her a curious look, and she explained. "In 2005 a Supreme Court ruling cut down on the number of federal supermax prisons. Most facilities were ordered to downgrade their security measure to meet standard security for normal prisons. Unfortunately, the ruling didn't really have any teeth. A lot of places kept almost all of the little boxes they stick people in for 23 hours a day. Bellstock is one of them. It is a supermax, if not in name. A buddy of mine at the Crime desk has done multiple stories based on what goes on in there."
"Oh, God!" Vicky's voice filtered up through the phone.
Amir felt a stab of concern. "Vicky? Are you all right?" Images of Etani security people colluding with supermax prison officials hauling her off into the night flashed through his head.
"What? Oh. Yeah, I'm fine," she said after a moment, and he let out a relieved breath. "I'm looking at the altered BT102 schematics that Andrew sent me. I designed the circuitry for pain management in extremities. It was meant to cut off nerve impulses for a few hours, to help patients sleep. That explains why each BT102 has a radio receiver. Basically, you'd turn on a remote, and your aching arm or leg would just fall asleep, and you wouldn't feel the pain for a while. But what if they were redesigned for.. prison control? With some minor adjustments, a device like this could be used to torture a prisoner with the push of a button!"
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I've long believed that there's much more to this world than what we can see, and what science can explain. Defining these things in religious terms is questionable, but I can see why people do it. In a way, that's what inspired me to create this story.
When she stumbles across evidence of an apparently ageless man, photographer Petra Hildebrand takes it upon herself to look into the matter. She befriends Didi Halstaff, someone who’s been investigating the same person for much longer. Together they track this man, 'Darius', through southern Vancouver. When they’re captured by some of Darius’ enemies, Petra is attacked and nearly killed by something that she can't identify.
Petra finds herself thrust into a world beyond anything she could have imagined. Invisible, intangible creatures called fades are suddenly aware of her, and some of them see her as a threat. Darius and other members of his organization train her, ultimately so that she can help keep the peace between humanity and the many fade factions. What drives these beings? Why are they so afraid of her, and what kind of destruction could they cause if the peace should fail?
When Petra woke, she was in yet another strange room. This one was much more modern, except for the lighting. A single gas lamp flickered at her from next to the door, illuminating the white walls. The room was square, about five meters on a side, and utterly empty except for the cot she was lying on.
Anxiously, she got up. At least her headache was gone, and she wasn't trembling anymore. So far so good. When she tried to gauge her breathing though.. she realized she wasn't breathing at all!
Hastily, Petra put two fingers to her neck. She didn't have a pulse either! After a moment she willed herself to breathe, and took in a long, ragged sequence of air. Then, torn between horror and wonder, she held it. She had no watch, and there was no clock in here, but she could tell the passage of time. The lamp continued to flicker as she kept going, feeling no pressure at all to exhale!
"What have I gotten myself into?" She asked herself, finally letting out a breath. At least she could still speak. Apparently the urge to inhale before speaking was still hers.
That brought up another question, and she looked down at her arms. From the outside, she didn't look any different. She had no pulse, but she could still see veins in her hand. Her hand was still warm to the touch. The blood was still there, but it wasn't flowing. What the hell had they done to her??
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