Mar 29, 2015

The Empire and The Rebels Book Tour and Blast




The Empire


All Adrian Stannis wanted was a quiet corner of the galaxy where he could work on his beloved scientific experiments, but unfortunately, he was born into a world at war, where his people are struggling for survival against a vastly superior alien invasion force and he is a genius who was trained for the very thing he hates, the creation of deadly weapons.

Not to mention, he appears to have been genetically mated to a telepath by his government and he doesn’t find her…uninteresting. In fact, she appears quite intelligent.

So what will happen to this solitary man when his peace is shattered in every way possible and there is nowhere left to run?

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Excerpt

Why does time seem so slow when you’re waiting for something to happen? Is it simply a trick of the mind or is there a dimension you enter, a special mocking place, where time expands just to drive you crazy?

Ensign Kali Mirren didn’t care if it moved faster or slower, or if all the laws of physics broke down in a messy heap; she only wanted to know one thing, where is Adrian?

Lt. Adrian Stannis was their resident Science Officer and computer expert. His preferred epitaph, if he bothered to have one, would be “Leave Me Alone—or Else.”

She drummed impatiently along the edge of the control panel, unconsciously following an old marching tune. They’d arranged to have this shift together—or rather, she did, and he didn’t object—but his tactical station was conspicuously empty. A quick call to his cabin produced nothing. She checked the log for the medical unit. Still nothing. Her fingers tapped harder. Adrian is never late. Something must be wrong.

Stars stared at her from the main viewscreen, sprinkles of light moving sedately past their antiquated ship. Don’t worry, he’s fine, they seemed to be telling her, but she didn’t believe that for one minute, not in this galaxy.

The bridge was quiet, always too quiet for her. It was the curse of being a Tellaran on a ship full of humans—their minds closed to each other. The Sedener was an old science and exploration vessel with a complement of under two hundred. Everything was well past its expiration date but was meticulously kept in good repair. The institutional gray walls were well-scrubbed, with the golden fist symbol of the Empire stamped at appropriate intervals.

She closed her eyes, placing blunt-nailed fingers to her temples, and pushed her mind out, concentrating on an image of the missing man. Liquid hazel eyes stared back at her, chestnut brown hair, regulation short, and a cultured face with a faint boyish quality that tempered his normally serious demeanor. He might have been handsome if he bothered to look agreeable instead of staring coldly at people.

Sighing, she pushed harder, stretching her mind to its limits, feeling the tension like a band ready to snap. Adrian hated having his privacy invaded, but she had no choice. Whispers of emotions from the crew licked against her consciousness like gentle waves.

Adrian had been agitated today. Tightly held emotions, normally strangled into submission, had escaped his control more than once. She hoped to ask him about it, but now, it may be too late. She couldn’t delay any longer; the shift required a Duty Officer.

It was the last thing she wanted to do. Once she reported him, Adrian would be in trouble with First Officer Barker, a thin whip of a man with a perpetual twist of a sneer on his lips. Her own lips curled in distaste at the thought of the most detested man on the ship, the head of Security Section, the one who meted out discipline. He was the ‘Eyes and Ears’ of the Empire on the ship. Even the Captain was wary of him. Barker didn’t like people who were smarter than he was, and he positively hated Adrian.

The Security personnel loved their work, more so because they were a sadistic lot, Kali suspected, than for an actual love of the Empire. On the Sedener, there was little scope for their ‘talents’. Infractions tended to be minor. The only one immune to their attentions was the Captain.

Adrian had not felt the ‘wrath of Barker’ yet. His mind was far too valuable to risk the ‘retraining’ methods employed for officers. He was a First in the Privilege Levels, someone considered genetically valuable, to be treated with care. Without a gross breach of discipline, Adrian was untouchable. Unfortunately, not fulfilling one’s duty was a serious offence.

Security and Political Officer. Adrian had said it with a faintly cynical sneer when she expressed shock at Barker’s behavior after she had been on the ship a few months. Her home world, Tellar, was nothing like the Empire, but alien invasions from the Andromedan galaxy had forced her people to abandon neutrality for the sake of survival.

An interesting combination, don’t you think? he had added in his characteristically flat voice. There had been a flash of interest from him, quickly suppressed. He regarded her with sharply intelligent eyes, always searching for something, and she immediately felt a strange connection to this mysterious man.

Why had he spoken to her that day? She never found out.

Banks of status lights read green. Environment, navigation, weapons, scanners, all fine, except for Adrian.

“Kali!” Bryce, their ship’s weapons specialist raced in, his shock of burnt-orange hair, just a little too long, waved like flames on top of his head. He came to a wheezing halt and gave her a bright smile, his out-of-shape lungs protesting the increased demand for oxygen. Even without the ability to read human minds, she knew that he admired her physical form. Flashes of images from his mind sparked from his mind like firecrackers—her fine midnight black hair, gray eyes that changed from dark to delightfully soft with her mood, to the fine athletic build that was curved in all the right places—along with the intense over-sexuality of human males. Of course she was also an officer, wearing the authoritative black uniform with the golden fist emblem of the Empire over the right breast. Technically untouchable for a low-leveler like him, but Bryce was a dreamer.

“I’m trying to find Adrian.” She tapped the side of her head in emphasis. “Trying to contact him. He didn’t show up for his shift.”

“Oh yeah, that’s why I’m here. Thought you should know.” Bryce wore the gray jumpsuit of the lower ranks, a color he hated. They didn’t go with his eyes, which were a deep sea green and usually full of mischief.

She said in a rush, “What’s wrong? Where is he?”

“He’s in the brig.”

“What?” As far as she knew, Adrian had never been in the brig before. “What happened?”

“Beats me.” Bryce shrugged, his thin eyebrows lifting briefly. “Saw two of the bullyboys dragging him off.”

She asked in a stuttering voice, “Did they do anything to him?”

“Didn’t see any bruises if that’s what you’re asking,” said Bryce. “‘Sides, he’s a Firster and an officer; they wouldn’t dare lay a finger on him.”

Kali’s lips thinned. She wasn’t so sure that Adrian wouldn’t be hurt. The security staff might not dare, but the First Officer was a different matter. “Was Barker there?”

“Oh, you mean old grom…I mean, our esteemed First Officer?”

“One of these days they’ll throw you in a punishment cell.” An orange light blinked briefly on her panel. She tapped it. Nothing major, just the air recycle system switching tanks.

“What do you mean, one of these days? I was there two weeks ago.” He shivered involuntarily and in her mind, Kali saw a red-tinged flash of a cramped cell and the distorted, ghoul-like face of one of the Security men.

“I thought you said you were on leave?”

“Yeah, well…” Bryce’s light green eyes lowered in embarrassment. “I was supposed to be. I sort of started early.”

“You didn’t?” she asked incredulously.

He shrugged. “I didn’t think anyone’d notice.”

Kali’s gray eyes darkened slightly. Their weapons specialist had a reputation, and following the rules wasn’t one of them. “You’ve done this before, haven’t you?”

“Well, if you must know, yeah. Never been caught though. And what’s a few extra hours? It’s not like we’re doing anything important. I haven’t had anything to shoot in ages.”

“I hope you’ve learned your lesson.”

“Oh, was I supposed to learn something?” asked Bryce, an unrepentant grin on his lips. “Good old Adrian. I knew he was alright when Barker didn’t like him.”

“We’ve got to help him.” She knew it would be hard convincing anyone to help Adrian. He had a natural tendency to alienate people.

“Why? It’s not like we’re friends.”

And there it was. She had to try though and she knew the young man’s penchant for heroic entertainment vids. “Bryce, he only has us.”

Bryce grimaced at the tone in her voice. “What d’you want me to do?”

“I must stay here until my shift ends.”

“Oh. You want me to do some digging ‘round?” He gave her a conspiratorial wink.

The Rebels

Adrian, Kali and Adrian’s personal assistant, Bryce are finally free of the oppressive Empire. They hide on a planet called, Orasis, a tech-4 world on the Outer Rim whose only usefulness is a low-grade source of Tri-Iridium ore. Not the kind of place to find the most advanced weapons scientist in the galaxy. Things go well, relatively, and Adrian and Kali finally have time to develop the relationship they didn’t think possible. Adrian and Bryce even start up their own fix-it business.

Then a stranger arrives on the planet.



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About the author:


Elizabeth Lang is first and foremost, a geek with the obligatory love of science fiction and fantasy. She spent most of her life in the computer industry designing computer systems for world domination the mundane industry of life insurance, which is surprisingly, not as exciting as it sounds.

Now she creates enchanted worlds of magic, explores the human condition in the light of future technology and civilizations, and dreams about world domination. Or at least, some of her characters do.

Her first book, The Empire was fortunate enough to be a finalist in the Next Generation Indie Book Awards and she has never looked back.

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