Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Random page from Siren's Call

Hey all! I've chosen a page at 7.13pm (UK time) so it'll be from page 13 of my latest release, Siren's Call.

Blurb:

United Alliance starships have been sent to evacuate the population of the ocean world, Zalaban, in an attempt to save them from total annihilation by the Loreto Asteroid.

Drawn by the siren's call of the beautiful Alarija, Captain Gerano Lasalle learns she has been left behind as a sacrifice to the Sacred Eye. But he is determined to save the woman he has already joined with in his mind...

Background to the excerpt...
Gerry and Alarija's servant, Marsalir, are on their way to bring her back to the starship but are stopped by The Elders of Zalaban before they reach the shuttle.

Excerpt:
Gerry glanced at Marsalir. “Your ... servant is accompanying me on a rescue mission. I have been informed there is one person left on Zalaban. I plan to retrieve her.”

The Elders looked at each other in alarm. The plumpest one snarled at Marsalir. “You have betrayed us. Betrayed your people.”

“My Lords, Alarija must be--”

“Silence!” the eldest man roared. “You dare to speak her name among se’kaanae?”

Se’kaanae. An odd choice of word, Gerry thought. It’s meaning lay between infidel and heretic.

“There has been no betrayal,” Gerry said coldly. “He’s merely my guide.”

“You lie.” The skeletal one glared at him. Then he pointed at Marsalir, who had visibly started to shake. “Whatever he has told you is a lie.”

Gerry’s hand tightened on the handle of his phaser. A cold fury swept over him at their insubordination. Godammit, this was his ship!

“Who’s the liar? Do you deny Alarija remains on Zalaban?”

The plump Elder’s face turned puce. “You dare to speak her name?”

“I dare to bring her back with me.”

Marsalir took a step towards them, hands outstretched imploringly. “My Lords, we cannot leave her--”

The skeletal Elder flung out his arm. As though he weighed only more than a matchstick, Marsalir’s body was thrown up in the air and hit the hull of the shuttle with a sickening crunch. He fell to the ground, his huge body crumpling.

Gerry ran to him, knelt at his side. He had only to look at his unnaturally twisted neck to know that Marsalir was dead. Killed by his own people. On his ship.

Still crouching, Gerry turned, pulling out his phaser and aiming it at them. Immediately the weapon flew from his grasp and clattered across the launch pad.

The Elders faced him, their eyes blazing.

Gerry rose to his feet, stood proudly as fury coursing through his body. “You have contravened the laws of the United Alliance. I can have you up for charges of murder. For mutiny. Both punishable by death.”

He spoke coldly, fearless in his authority. “There are witnesses enough,” he swept his hand around the launch pad where three squads of soldiers and more than two dozen technicians observed them. “Surely you can’t mean to kill all of us?”

For the first time, something like fear swept over their faces. The Elders turned to each other uncertainly, conversing quietly for a moment. When they were done, the plump one turned to him and said nervously, “We apologize. We have overstepped the mark.”

Suddenly Gerry knew what he had to do. “You murder someone and think an apology will fix that atrocity?” He pressed home his advantage. “I demand a life for a life. It’s my right.”

“No, you cannot--”

“As captain of this starship, I claim Alarija’s life in exchange.”

“No!” the Elders stared at him in horror.

It was an ancient law. Before the Univesal Alliance had established firm order in the galaxies, pirates and rogue mercenaries posed a problem to every trade ship, cruiser and colonial outpost on rim planets. Murder, sky-jackings, and kidnappings had been rampant. After a series of high profile kidnappings for ransom by pirates, negotiations had turned on a life-for-a-life--the release of the kidnap victim in exchange for the freedom of criminals in captivity. Later it was expanded later to include all lives taken accidentally during close confrontations on spaceships. It had fallen into disuse as the UA exerted it’s control over most of the known galaxies, but as a law it was still the right of any spaceship captain to legitimately claim, with the Universal Alliance’s full backing.

3 comments:

Skylar Masey said...

Great page Cassandra!

I especially loved the political way you solved Gerry's ethical problem to overstep the bounds of the Elders. Brilliant if I do say so myself!

Lynda K. Scott said...

I agree with Skylar. Gerry used his wits and that counts for a lot!

Cassandra Kane said...

Thanks guys! I had no idea that was going to happen until I wrote it. ;-)