Inspector of the Cross
Across four millenna, Turtan, our greatest hero, battles to save all humanity from invincible aliens.
Genre: Sci-Fi Action Adventure
Tags: Science fiction, space opera, action, romantic adventure, intergalactic war, hero, betrayal, aliens, planet, forever war, courage, Space, computers, AI
Thanks to suspended animation, Turtan is over 3500 years old and travels on freeze ships to distant worlds. His mission is to investigate weapons to help humanity turn the tide against their ancient nemesis…the Cenknife. Vicious aliens, the Cenknife seek to conquer the universe and enslave humanity.
When Turtan discovers just such a weapon, a beautiful, seductive woman stands in his way. He must use all his skills, abilities, and courage to meet the crisis and save untold billions of lives.
“Here.” Yori placed a glass of rare Zontenian wine in his hand. “Drink this and maybe you can get some rest. So tomorrow…”
“So tomorrow I’ll be in shape to resume my Flying Dutchman chase amid the stars?” he finished. “You think getting drunk is what I need?”
“What do you need, Tan?” Her dark eyes implored him. “Tell me.”
He raised the glass, his throat tight with terror. “Make me young again, Yori. As when I started.” He managed to find his mouth with the glass, only he was shaking so hard, half of the wine sloshed down his body. He dropped the glass.
“Oh, Tan, I’ll make you young again. Take away all your pain.” She dropped wet-eyed to her knees and kissed the wine from his belly, licking him dry. Gradually she worked lower and despite the way he was shaking, he felt himself respond. Respond as he always did with her. He closed his eyes as she clasped him in a frenzy, hearing her words muffled by his flesh. “I’ll make you new again, Tan. Take away all your pain.” She rose and led him to bed, where he knew she would bring him love and warmth but no youth or Lethe of forgetfulness. All he knew was for this moment, he must try to find them.
Kingdom of the Jax
A man sacrifices everything to save humanity, politics and emperors be damned.
Tags: Hero, galactic hero, galactic war, militaristic, emperor, romantic adventure, science fiction, science fiction adventure, science fantasy, romance, black hole, cosmic, God, divine, universe, betrayal, court intrigue, conspiracy, aliens, alien sex, inter-species relationships, extraterrestrial, planet, rogue planet, intelligent life forms, microorganisms, mine, mining
Accompanied by Yaneta, his beautiful alien bride, Turtan travels across the stars to Cross Imperial Station. The Jax, Overseers of the universe, have given him an amazing navigational device which can enable the Cross to quickly defeat their seemingly invincible enemy, the Cen, and end their five-thousand-year-old war.
But will the Emperor welcome him to the station or order the execution of both him and his wife? Turtan is, after all, endlessly resourceful and may learn the emperors’ terrible secret and act of betrayal concealed these past five hundred years. Even if spared, Yaneta is still a member of the enemy and may be killed later.
To succeed in his mission, Turtan faces an almost impossible task, one requiring not only luck but the full range of all the skills he has acquired in four thousand years as an elite agent.
It is his greatest challenge ever.
“Kit, what’s the quickest way out?” he asked.
She pointed to the right. “This way,” she said as they left the tunnel. She turned to the settlers behind them. “Stay alert,” she called. “Watch the children.”
No casualties so far. Turtan held his laser ready, wondering if he’d need it. So far the Radiants had been fifty times more efficient than when he’d fought Assan. They shot out, killed the enemy, and returned to him. An endless, inexhaustible supply of ammunition.
Caves and tunnels, crannies and dead ends, and hidden nooks built to ambush—deadly confusion was what this place was made of. It was an intricate warren of mind-warping turns and corridors which seemed to go somewhere and often didn’t. He sensed the flights of stairs he’d entered this puzzle place by were above and to his left, but despite the indispensable compass he carried in his head, he wasn’t sure he could find them readily. Maybe he couldn’t find them at all.
They climbed toward the surface, sometimes gradually, sometimes mounting steep grades. As they moved from room to cave and slipped down tunnels between them, Turtan acquired increased respect for the pioneers who’d anticipated the Cen’s arrival and spent nearly three quarters of a century digging this maze in preparation. It must have been hard. It must have been a tedious, hellish, soul-draining challenge. He hated to think of the number of times their determination must have flagged, and they’d wanted to lie down and quit. Yet against all odds, they’d persevered, and their prolonged survival since had been made possible in the crucible of this grand and courageous project.
Had there been a master architect or designer? Someone who sat down in advance and drew a blueprint of this labyrinth? Somehow, he hardly thought so. At any rate, such a visionary could hardly have anticipated the divinely beautiful cave waiting at the bottom in payment for their efforts.
There were no beautiful caves here though. Kit led them to a dark cramped hole where they had to walk hunched over and to a slightly larger one smelling like an armpit. Something in the dim air made his eyes sting. They passed through it into a narrow tunnel and turned left onto a slight incline.
Several Cen soldiers leaped out from hiding and opened fire. As settlers fell around him, Turtan returned their fire with his laser. His real attack, though, was through his eyes, where the Radiants zeroed in and launched forth with deadly effect. Half a dozen Cen stiffened abruptly and did a dance of agonized delight, fighting to control their weapons as they aimed them away from their enemy and toward each other. Rapturous screams rent the air as they died one by one.
When the enemy lay still, Turtan glanced around. They’d lost as many men as the Cen. Sky and the kids, thank God, were still alive.
“You love her more than me, don’t you?” Kit asked.
You picked a swell time to bring this subject up, he thought. Look, you’re a sweet girl, but I just met you. Besides, I love Yani. I will always love Yani. He decided not to answer.
“It’s all right,” she said. Ignoring the dead bodies, she raised her eyes toward the world above. “It’s her I have to worry about.”
As it turned out, they all had a much bigger concern. Turtan heard an explosive rustle of movement in caves far below and behind him.
Kit cupped her mouth with both hands. “Bats!” she hissed to nearby settlers.
The communal code word was passed down the line. Tense faces swung to each other. Turtan saw Albert hold Sky closer.
A moment later, he heard bat wings beat the air and furiously take flight, accompanied by high-pitched squeaks. Hundreds, thousands of bats, probably flying around and around before escaping through an air vent into the sky. Seconds later, the earth began to rumble deep in its bowels as if straining to give birth. It continued for a minute then died out. No reprieve, though! Soon the walls of the mine creaked and shivered, vibrating underfoot. Turtan glanced at Kit whose lips formed their common fear.
Now the whole mine shook and trembled. Rock dust sifted down, glinting in the air and scratching his eyes. He had a vision of boulders crashing down on their heads, crushing them to pieces, of God’s Jewel Box collapsing in a Satanic shambles.
A rock half as large as his head bounced off the side of his boot. He bit back the pain, hearing other fragments fall. One settler gasped as a rock struck his chest. He was lucky. A few meters away, a black shard larger than a man crashed to the floor.
Turtan waited for the quaking to subside. It didn’t. Several settlers lost their footing and fell. Like the born mine dwellers they were, not a single settler looked afraid.
A stone spear split from the wall to his left and shot directly at his eyes. He ducked, barely saving his sight.
“Let’s get away from here!” he shouted. With Kit’s help, he led the settlers back to an open tunnel, hoping it would be safer.
“Has this ever happened before?” he asked Kit, aware Cen soldiers might be nearby.
“Six months after I was born. Nine of us were killed, including my grandpa. Some enemy, too.” She panted. “God’s Jewel Box wasn’t even touched. It was a miracle.”
What a pity. Maybe this time, the quake will smack everybody, human and Cen alike, and end this stupid subterranean war. He imagined himself lying dead with Kit in his arms, his quest ended forever.
Defender of the Flame
Turtan, Inspector of the Cross, defends the flame of hope against the alien menace.
Genre: Sci-Fi adventure
Tags: defender, flame, cross, galactic hero, galactic war, militaristic, emperor, romantic adventure, science fiction, science fiction adventure, aliens, futuristic, inter-species relationships, extraterrestrial, planet, orbit, intelligent life forms, microorganisms, mine, mining, homecoming, space station, art, painting, acrobatics, martial arts, hero, emperor, romantic adventure, science fiction science fantasy, love, romance, black hole, cosmic, God, divine, universe, betrayal, court intrigue, conspiracy, alien sex
Escaping the enemy-infested mine on Lauren with his wife Kit/Yani and Sky, Turtan flies toward the First Station where he graduated four thousand years before. Using Radiants, intelligent submicroorganisms in his brain, he hopes to train cadets to defeat the Cen and ultimately win the war. On the way to achieving this goal, however, he encounters serious problems.
First, after passing through Atlas, a black hole, they enter a new or unknown part of the universe with no clear way back.
When they do manage to reach the First Station, Turtan not only finds love and adoration, but a cruel killer.
And everywhere he finds dark secrets, betrayal, and worst of all . . .
FAILURE as again and again his efforts to train cadets result in tragedy. It seems there is no hope for humanity and we are doomed. Can’t anything save us at all?
Home or Bust
At his first sight of the distant Academy, Turtan felt as if someone had seized his heart and squeezed it. His eyes filled with tears, and he felt unspeakable joy and longing.
Thanks to viewport magnification, he soon realized how much the Academy had grown. It must be five times larger than when he’d known it. But then memory was so unreliable. Surely, though, Secuna hadn’t been red and angry. What had happened to it? He was certain it had once been a beautiful green planet everyone on the station, including lowly cadets could visit not only for tactical exercises but for extracurricular activities. He remembered once enjoying the favors of an eager young cadet in a mimara grove. The girl had been even more lush and fragrant than the flowers.
Though he was days away from his destination, Turtan leaned forward for a better look. Could one ever go home again?
In the next three days, a terrible problem developed. The viewport dimmed, most of the ship’s systems broke down, and Turtan realized he had sat on loose piles of straw with more cohesiveness than this scarred and shaking ship.
The vibrating, wounded craft threatened to dissolve like a giant wafer in water. Doc’s efforts to maintain the ship’s integrity were a losing battle. The question was, could she keep the Argo together long enough to reach the station?
Maybe that wasn’t the most vital question. Even if Doc could, would the station let them dock? Perhaps—irony of ironies—the very Academy he’d graduated from would blast them to pieces before they even got there, assuming his silent, mangled, unidentifiable spacecraft to be an enemy bomb of some kind. After all, in this bloody, terrible, losing contest of a war, it was usually far better to shoot than to take chances.
Dust in the air almost made him cough. He fought down the urge, straightened his shoulders, and squeezed his fists tight on the console before him. Doc said she’d been successful in sending out garbled vid, so the station, which must be enhancing and filtering the feed at their end, should be able to see him, although not clearly. Even if the Argo had no sound, he could have tried speaking anyway. After all, there must be plenty of lip readers on the station. Doc, though, had been adamant. “Under the circumstances, with the sound impaired and the ship damaged and perhaps unrecognizable, there’s a sixty-two point three percent likelihood they will misunderstand you and be suspicious of any attempt to communicate, even in writing. I recommend you just sit and stare and let them recognize you. Sometimes silence is golden.”
Silence is golden. Another of Doc’s idioms. Her calculations, though occasionally strange, usually made sense. So he sat and gazed out the ruined viewport at the station he could barely see, hoping the station could see him. Doc informed him of the approach of two scout ships.
Please don’t shoot. I’m Johnny marching home again. Hey, guys, I’m your favorite son.
Silence is golden. Unfortunately, it gave him time to focus again on his plan’s greatest flaw. Even if he somehow arrived safely at the Academy and convinced its leaders and cadets to cooperate, and even if a sufficient number of cadets miraculously learned to host his dear friends the Radiants…
“Where in creation are you going to find Cen hosts for them to practice on?” Over ten billion Radiants answered his thought.
Exactly. Turtan had been acutely aware of this problem. He himself had possessed only Yaneta to practice on, and she had been a willing Cen. Beyond that experience, his explanation of what had worked with the Cen soldiers in the mine on Lauren would go only so far with willing Cross cadets. An attack plan of this magnitude and delicacy demanded live Cen subjects to practice on if there was any reasonable chance of Cross success.
Feeling a twinge of arthritis in his left leg, Turtan forced his worry away. Oddly, this new affliction was a memento of their successful passage back from Nowhere with a pouch carrying ultra-quarks. Logically, there was no reason his hunch should have worked. The Synthesizer was not being used to pass through a black hole; instead, it contained a hundred million ultra-quarks in its belly when Doc swung the ship around and fired it up again. Yet, against all reason, the method had succeeded.
But at what a cost. The Argo had shaken, rattled, rolled, and emerged from the strange, uncharted galaxy, universe, or whatever it was, weirdly transformed and disfigured. To quote Doc, it looked like it had “Gone through the Devil’s ringer.” Somehow she had then managed to use the Synthesizer to shoot through Atlas, a raging maelstrom of a singularity which they had passed through before, only with mad and inexplicable results. This time the passage was successful, and Turtan and his companions emerged from the suspension chamber to find they had actually arrived where they were supposed to be. The universe was familiar, the galaxy was familiar, the planets were familiar, and they were mere days from their objective.
Despite Turtan’s wishes, Kit/Yani and Sky stayed out of sight in the ship. Turtan had argued that even with garbled vid, two women would reassure station security and improve their chances of being welcomed. Doc demurred. “Two strange females and a man who pretends to be you in a monstrous mystery ship appearing unexpectedly from nowhere. Better keep it as simple as possible. Trust me, you don’t want to know the odds against it.”
According to Doc, the scout ships had reached them now and stationed themselves on both sides. Turtan exhaled in cautious relief. No, they probably wouldn’t fire and risk hitting each other.
“They’re trying to com us,” Doc said. “I can’t make out the message, but I can guess what it is.”
“So can I,” Turtan whispered.
“It’s like a buzzing. Here it comes again.”
Turtan waited. After a minute, the ships eased closer.
Doc said, “They want us to follow them in at their pace. What’s your pleasure, Skipper?”
“Keep ’em happy.”
They continued on, flanked by their escort.
“View it as an honor guard. Hopefully, we won’t all be shot.”
Turtan smiled. “How long till we reach the party?”
“Forty-five minutes, give or take.”
His left leg gave a twinge. Damned arthritis. He gazed out at the station and resisted the impulse to wave.