Saturday, March 9, 2013

Excerpt: The Empire



Thank you for stopping by and joining us for our stop on the Read-A-Long portion of The Empire by Elizabeth Lang virtual tour. We are excited to post this segment of the story and we hope you enjoy it too!

The Empire - Chapter 6

Bryce burst with enthusiasm as he juggled two large metal luggage cases, one in either hand, and a smaller one jammed against his body. “I’ll be the best PA ever! You’ll see. You won’t regret it.” His bright, cheerful voice and ingratiating attitude brought a grin to Kali’s lips.

“I already do.” Adrian’s attitude was a douse of tepid water, but nothing was going to dampen Bryce’s thrill at being assigned to the Trykor.

Being a Personal Assistant to a Firster was a privilege for a lower leveller like him.

Adrian’s face was strained. The medical unit had released him in time to board the Fleet Admiral’s ship and he had steadfastly refused any assistance.


“Where’s the rest of your things? Should I get a cart?”
“That already looks like a great deal,” said Kali, holding her own metal, narrow ribbed case. She stayed out of the way, standing just behind Adrian.

“Oh, these?” Bryce’s head indicated the two large ones. “These are mine. This…” He angled his body to show the smaller case, “…is his.”

“Adrian,” her gentle voice asked, “don’t you have any more luggage? I’m sure Bryce will get it for you.”

“There is none.” His plan to remain detached had seemed simple. He’d barely nodded to her when they met each other in the docking bay— like two people with a passing acquaintance.

“All he needs is a squirt of oil occasionally to keep the gears running.” Bryce smirked. “Didn’t you know?”

Turning frosty eyes in the young man’s direction, Adrian asked, “Should I request a replacement Personal Assistant?”

“Now, let’s not be hasty here.”

“I thought so.”

“I’m sorry I called you a machine.”

“An ancient machine.”

“Eh?”

“Gears are Pre-Invasion.”

“Maybe in Firster grids where the rich people live, but not down in the slums. We were lucky to have gears.”

“You’re exaggerating,” Adrian said dismissively, as the ear-scraping sound of metal on metal announced the connection between the two ships.

A black-clad trooper checked the safety readings on his panel and flipped the first in a line of yellow buttons. “Seal secure.” He pressed the next button. There was a sliding, scratching sound and a thump against the wheeled hatch. “Clamping locks engaged. Docking tunnel pressurizing.”

A whoosh of stale recycled air raced through concealed pipes in the bulkhead.

Captain Tarn came down the corridor towards them. Adrian’s eyes narrowed.

Normally the senior officer on the ship did not concern himself with the minor matter of crew transfers. Either he was there to gloat over his accomplishment or it was to be a formal handover at the Fleet Admiral’s orders, the passing of a prize from one hand to another.

Of course, this was all a game of dominance. The Trykor had teleport technology. They could easily transport someone over and provide them all with teleport bracelets for the transfer, but forcing them to go through the labor intensive process of opening up the hatch, made a point that had little to do with efficiency.

“Captain.”

Eyeing the nervous-looking Bryce with displeasure, Tarn nodded in acknowledgement, “Lieutenant.”

“The docking tunnel is pressurized and ready, sir,” said the black-clad trooper.

“Open her up.”

The resisting wheel creaked complainingly but rotated slowly and then with increasing speed as the trooper turned it. He released the final catch and pulled the hatch open. A hiss of air and the faint creaking sound from the other end of the tunnel announced the opening of the Trykor’s
hatch. Lighting strips in the tunnel glowed an eerie green.

“Let’s go.” Tarn stepped into the tunnel, the green light bathing his face, making him look ill. “Fleet Admiral Verel is waiting.” He led the small procession to the other end, Adrian next, then Kali and Bryce walking faster to keep up with the Captain’s longer strides.

~~~

The Trykor’s docking hatch led to a corridor somewhat similar to th e Sedener’s, but comparing the two would be like saying a tiger is just a bigger cat. It was considerably wider, enough to drive a few tanks through, and someone who wasn’t color blind and completely without taste or imagination, had chosen dignified shades of blue and gray to color its walls.

The greeting party, if that was what it was, outnumbered them by two to one. The Fleet Admiral—it was hard to mistake the row of stars on his ranking strip—immediately caught their attention. He had thinning white hair and shrewd, judging gray eyes. Beside him was a tall, impressive looking man, a Captain by rank, plus a lieutenant and an assortment of troopers wearing side arms.

Captain Tarn stood to attention as his own small party lined up behind him. “Fleet Admiral.”

“Captain Tarn, is it?”

“Yes, sir.”

Verel’s eyes raked the line behind him, homing in on Adrian’s impassive face. “And Stannis?”

Tarn turned and introduced his men. “This is Lieutenant Stannis and—”

The Admiral said, “The Lieutenant will follow my First Officer, Captain Chell.”

“I don’t understand, sir.” Tarn looked uncertainly at the Admiral.

Verel was no longer paying attention to Tarn. His voice was like tempered metal as he addressed Adrian. “I expect my orders to be followed immediately, Lieutenant.”

Chell towered over Adrian by half a head. “This way.”

There was no reaction on Adrian’s face as he followed the First Officer. Four guards fell into step behind him. Kali was about to go after them but Bryce blocked her way with a case and whispered, “You can’t do anything for him. You’re just going to get us in trouble. We can help him later.”

She flashed him an angry look.

Tarn said, “Fleet Admiral, the Lieutenant has agreed to cooperate, you don’t—”

“Are you presuming to tell me what to do?” In the Fleet Admiral’s eyes, the rest of them were faceless nuisances, without even benefit of rank.

“No, Fleet Admiral, I would never presume. It’s just—” Tarn was a prudent man, though less charitable, narrow-minded people might have a different name for him. “Nothing, sir.”

“Good. I was afraid you had something further to add.”

“No, nothing.”

“You’re dismissed.”

“Yes, sir.”

Captain Tarn looked briefly at Adrian and Kali before turning and going back down the docking tunnel, a lonely figure fleeing the scene.

Verel glanced at Kali and Bryce, looking through them as if they were invisible. He turned on his heels and left, taking the rest of the contingent with him except for a short, baby-faced lieutenant.

Bryce eyed the remaining officer warily. “What do we do now?”

“I don’t care,” said Kali. “I just want to know what they’re going to do with Adrian.” She made a move towards the exit.

The lieutenant’s words were rushed. “I’m supposed to show you to your cabins.” Now that the Fleet Admiral was gone, he had relaxed noticeably and there was an open, friendly expression on his face.

“Do you know what they’re going to do with Lieutenant Stannis?”

“Just a routine exam in the medical unit. You’ll be getting yours soon enough.”

“Do medical exams onboard your ship usually come with armed guards?” she asked with sarcasm.

“Not usually.” The lieutenant shifted uncomfortably on his feet. “But we heard your lieutenant was difficult. The Fleet Admiral doesn’t like people saying no to him.”

Bryce said, “Well he’d better get used to it. Adrian says ‘no’ all the time.”

“You forget yourself, crewman. This isn’t your science vessel anymore. You will refer to your Lieutenant by his proper title at all times.”

“Course, sir. Sorry, sir.”

“The name’s Lieutenant Sanderson. I’ll show you to your cabins.”

~~~

The medical unit doctor, Grift by name, was a raven-haired man with a gruff manner. “Take off your jacket and shirt, and lie faced down on the surgical table.”

Adrian did as ordered and draped them neatly over the back of a chair. He climbed onto the impersonal metal surface, it was like lying on a sheet of ice. The armed escort stood nearby like silent sentinels and Captain Chell’s eyes were unreadable.

“They did quite a number on you,” noted the doctor, when he saw the angry red scars. They looked like the work of a deranged artist. “Hold him down.”

Before Adrian could react, the four guards pinioned his arms and legs to the table in vice-like grips. Every fiber of his being flinched at being touched but he forced himself to be a cold, unfeeling machine. Panic rose from the depths of memories that were too new to be forgotten. He forced himself to stay still but could not control his pounding heart.

“Just relax. It’ll be over quickly.”

Adrian’s mind told him it was pointless to struggle. What could he do against so many? He pulled against the arms holding him down but they might as well have been bands of steel as they constricted tighter around his wrists and ankles.

“Don’t make this any harder than it has to be. You’ll only hurt yourself.”

Hands forced his head facedown and held him in place. Something cold, hard, and metallic was placed flat at the base of his skull. Adrian struggled again, this time more as a gesture of defiance than a genuine attempt to escape. He felt a prick as something penetrated his skin, a
faintly itchy feeling spreading behind his neck, and then he screamed. Something had been inserted into his head and was burrowing deeper. The pain was excruciating and his breath came in shallow pants. He moaned in agony as the object burrowed deeper. His violated brain fired off flurries of erratic impulses.

Adrian! Kali’s panicked mental voice broke through the storm of pain inside his head. Her strength and comfort flowed into him and he grabbed onto it like a man drowning. When they finally let go of him, the pain still remained but had lessened.

“It would have hurt less if you didn’t fight us.” Doctor Grift sighed. “I’m going to be seeing a lot of you, aren’t I? As if I don’t already have enough to do. All right, get him up.”

The guards manhandled Adrian off the table until he stood on swaying feet. He stared blankly at the doctor. For the first time, the man of the mind wanted to put his hands around someone’s neck and squeeze the life out of him, as they were doing to him. His hand went to the back of his head, expecting to feel wet, sticky blood, but only encountering a sealed cut where the device had punctured his skin. There was something small and hard beneath the surface, at the base of the brain. “What did you do to me?”

“A sub-dermal tracer. It should finish attaching itself to your brainstem in a few hours.” The doctor’s voice was clipped and factual, as if he was reciting a list of items he’d remembered just for the occasion. “You’ll experience some discomfort until then. Don’t try to remove it or interfere with its function. Pain will be the least of your problems if you do. It has safeguards against tampering. You can put your clothes back on. I’ll check it tomorrow when you have your physical exam. Do remember to come back. I don’t want to have to chase you around the ship.”

Adrian’s jaw tightened in anger. It was an electronic tether. The Admiral wanted to make certain that his prize would never be able to escape.

“You can put your shirt back on,” said the doctor, snapping a case closed.

Uncooperative fingers made his motions arthritic as Adrian put on his dark gray uniform shirt. No one helped him. They only stared, as if he were an exhibit behind an energy field, or they simply didn’t care, which was more likely.

Stabs of pain at the back of his head made him wince as the tracer continued its invasion of his brain. It took all of his self-control to stop himself from reaching back and try to dig it.

“Is it in?” Fleet Admiral Verel strode in, his presence immediately filling the room.

Adrian’s spine stiffened at the commanding voice. He shuddered internally, as if a thousand snakes were slithering over his body, ready to sink their poisonous fangs into his flesh if he made a wrong move. Lifting his jacket from the chair, he slid a stiff arm into the sleeve.

Captain Chell said, “Yes, sir. It’s in.”

“Good. Good.”

Adrian pulled the ends to straighten the lines and stood rigidly, waiting for a command.

“Lieutenant Adrian Stannis.” The Admiral crossed into his line of sight. “You belong to me now and I expect great things from you. If you disappoint me, you will not find me a forgiving master. Do you understand?”

Adrian’s jaw tensed in anger and his eyes flashed in dark defiance, but he was a realist. With the device burrowing into his head and the only person he might give a damn about in their power, he had no choice.

“Yes.” He made a slight but deliberate pause before adding. “Sir.”

The Admiral’s eyes narrowed. He plunged his hand into his pocket and brought out a small rectangular control unit that fit in the palm of his hand. On its face was a small screen, various buttons in red, orange, green, and two slider controls. He held it up to Adrian’s eye level. “Do you know what this is?”

“A transceiver.”

“This is for the device in your head.” His thumb slid one of the bars up a notch and he pressed the red button.

Adrian hissed at the shot of pain in his head. His fists tightened and teeth clenched, fighting the need to cry out.

The Admiral pressed the button again and the pain stopped. “It isn’t simply a tracer. It is a sophisticated behavior control device. If you disobey me or anyone of my people, I can bring you to your knees.” His thumb hovered threateningly over the red button. “If you do not produce
regular results, I will turn this on full and leave it on until I feel that you’ve learned to be more cooperative. If you leave the proximity of the main device, the slave unit inside your head will begin to burn out your brain. I understand it is quite painful and produces madness. As long as you are on this ship, you should be safe. Do you understand?”

This time the response was quicker. “Yes, sir.”

“Good. I like my people to understand what I require from them. Then you have no excuses.”

Admiral Verel circled him like a ruthless predator looking for the best place to strike. “You’ve caused a great deal of trouble for the Empire, Stannis. Wasting years of work and a considerable fortune in resources when you tampered with the materials relating to the Neutron Wave Project.”

He stood behind Adrian now, close to his ear, his voice low and menacing. “You thought you were smart. You thought you could get away with it. But no one can defeat the Empire. We always win in the end.” Every word blew hot air straight onto Adrian’s ear. “In my eyes, you are nothing more than a criminal and should be treated as such. You’re lucky we don’t ship you to a penal colony and leave you to die. But you’re too useful, or so they tell me, and I intend to use you to the fullest extent. Do you understand?”

There was a sinking weight in the pit of Adrian’s stomach; he understood completely. They were not going to kill him after he finished the Neutron Wave Project. He was trapped in this hell for as long as they found him useful. The only way to end it—

“And don’t think you can terminate yourself.”

Adrian’s eyes flickered.

“The device in your head also acts as a limiter. You cannot kill yourself. Now, Captain Chell will show you to your cabin. You will go to Science Lab 4 at 0800 tomorrow and report to the Tech Commander. You will obey all instructions given to you.”

~~~

Bryce ran his hands lovingly across the light blue bed covers. They w ere silky to the touch, a guilty pleasure. “Oooh, I could use a few like this. I might never want to get up again.”

Everything in the cabin was made of rich materials he’d only seen on entertainment vids. The drawers and cupboards recessed discreetly into walls, sliding open with a slight tap. One could almost believe that you could put dirty clothes in and they’d come out clean, pressed and in whatever colors you wanted.

Kali said absently, “Don’t you already have enough problems getting up?” She sighed at the few items of clothing in Adrian’s case. Except for an advanced personal data unit, there was nothing personal, nothing to indicate he had a family or interests beyond work. There was also a tool kit and a box of slotted, wafer-thin data crystals marked in letters she didn’t understand.

“That’s not the point. At least, I’d be comfortable.” Bryce flopped backwards onto the bed and wriggled, enjoying the auto-fit mattress forming gently around his eager body. His eyes were half-lidded in pleasure. “Ahhh.”

“Are you quite finished?” Kali asked acidly, glaring at his audacity.

Bryce popped off the bed quickly. “Sorry. It looked so good. I just had to try it. I would never take liberties.”

Really?”

“Honestly, Kali. I wouldn’t dare. The Lieutenant would probably stare me to death. Besides, if it weren’t for him, I wouldn’t have this assignment.” His eyes were sly as he asked, “You wouldn’t know why he picked me, would you? It’s not like we’re friends. We can’t stand each
other most days.”

“I keep asking myself that.” She smoothed the ridges on the covers where Bryce had been lying. “My only answer is temporary insanity.”

“You’re worried about him, aren’t you? That’s why you’re here.”

“That’s none of your business.”

His eyes rested on the wide comfortable bed, the stuff of dreams and eye-popping commercial advertisements for a low leveler like him. “You know, there’s only one bed in this room.”

“That is also none of your business.”

“Just thought it was strange was all. I didn’t think that you and he, I mean, I can’t imagine the Lieutenant getting close enough to a woman.” His eyes widened, “You don’t think he’s a—”
“Bryce!”

“Sorry, I have a big mouth.”

“Yes, you do! And if you want to continue being Adrian’s PA—” Her face scrunched up and she groaned, her hand going to the back of her head.

~~~

After working out the far-too-complicated looking dispenser taps in t he bathroom, Bryce came back in and handed Kali a glass of water. “You all right?”

She accepted it in shaky hands. A sip was all she managed before she gave it back to him. “It’s Adrian. They’re doing something to him.

They’re hurting him.”

“Bastards!” Bryce put the glass down, looking at her helplessly.

“I thought once he gave in and did what they wanted, it would stop.”

Shaking his head, Bryce said, “It never stops. He’s got something they want. They never let go of people like him. Not until they get every last drop of his blood and then some. That’s why I never do anything good enough for them to notice. All of this.” He waved his hand expansively at the riches surrounding them. A moment ago, they seemed like something that belonged in a palace, but now he realized they were just worthless trinkets to make the prison more comfortable. Compared to Adrian, he had the better life. At least the people in authority, the big-wigs, would never give him a second thought. It was much safer that way. “It’s not worth it. Not for what they make you pay for it.”

She bent forward, hugging herself and repeated, “I thought they would stop.”

“He has to give them what they want.”

“But what do they want?”

Bryce shrugged. “I wish I knew.” He wondered what he’d gotten himself into.

~~~

The cabin door slid open noiselessly. Adrian was framed in the door way, behind him stood the bulky First Officer.

“Tomorrow, 0800. Don’t forget,” Chell said curtly, before he left.

Adrian stepped inside, his feet dragging on the carpeted floor. His eyes registered Kali and Bryce but there was no other reaction. He stood in the center of the room, and for a brief moment, his eyes seemed lost before the mask returned.

“Get out.” He seemed like a computer lacking the programs that made its voice sound human and not like a soulless synthesized voice.

“I know something happened.” Kali reached out a hand towards him. “Did they—”

Adrian’s voice became steely and full of controlled anger. “Get out!” He could not stand the pity in their eyes or the soft compassionate voice that reached in to warm the coldness he used to protect himself. “I don’t need you. I don’t need any of you. Get—” His jaw tensed as a stab of pain pierced the base of his brain. On the outside, he only looked angrier. “Out! Get out!”

“I know when I’m not wanted.” Bryce picked up his two metal cases and headed to the door. “Going to find my own room. I’ll be back tomorrow.” He took a last glance at the two of them before stepping out and letting the door slide closed behind him.

Another wave of pain made Adrian clench his fists. The look of concern in Kali’s eyes was just as painful as what was happening inside his head. “I need you to leave.”

“I want to help. You can’t do this alone.”

“I am alone. Now get out.”

“This is my cabin too.”

His hand gripped the back of a chair as another wave of pain made him nauseous. It took all his strength to keep it from showing on his face.

“I know. Come back later. I need to be alone.”

“All right. I’ll go, but not too far.”

After she left, another stab of pain made him double over and he gripped the back of the chair with both hands. His knees buckled and he slid to the ground.

~~~

Sub-B deck was a busier place compared to the officer’s deck. Mo re people rushing about on important business. The colors consisted of a variety of grays, producing a graduated shading effect, and a rich royal blue trim. Much more interesting than the institutional gray of the Sedener.

Even bare metal was more interesting-looking than the yawn-producing gray paint that some non-descript quartermaster must have ordered by the ton.

Bryce was still jumping with joy over the fact that he was getting his own room and wasn’t going to be joining the communal quarters of the
lower ranks. Seemed PAs for Firsters and senior officers were of a higher level than your ordinary PA was and had special privileges. He was going to enjoy this.

“What are you doing here, crewman?”

A woman!

He turned around slowly and was blinded by a vision of perfection in a black uniform with an engineer emblem on one collar and junior lieutenant marks on the other. She had dark brown hair cut short like most female officers, though hers was a tasteful bob. Her lips were full and had a deep red shade like a rose he’d seen once in a nature vid. The eyes were light hazel to match her hair and she was regarding him with curiosity.

There were beautiful women on a flagship. He knew it. All other thoughts dribbled from his preoccupied brain.

“Do you speak or do you normally stand with your mouth open?” The vision’s bitingly sarcastic voice made him realize he’d been staring at her like a star struck gold fish.

“S-sorry,” he stuttered, still stunned by her beauty. “I think I’m lost.”

“I’d say you were. Crew quarters are three decks down.”

Bryce wasn’t sure he liked the tone in her voice. He hoped she wasn’t another one of those officers who looked down on those who weren’t. That would put a crimp in things, but he was never one to give up that easily.

“Well, I was told to come here.” He fluttered a small plasti-sheet at her, which was difficult since he was only crimping it between two fingers while trying to keep a hold on his luggage. “Here’s my order sheet.”

“Oh, you’re dropping luggage off? Why didn’t you say so?”

“Well, yes and no. It’s my luggage I’m dropping off and I’m trying to find my cabin.”

“Your cabin? Here? Yeah, right. Your crew. You sleep in the Lump.” The Lump being the slang term for the 10-crew rooms where the lower ranks were ‘lumped’ together.

Bryce bristled. This woman might be beautiful but his taste had limits. He wasn’t sure he liked her. “If you don’t believe me, look at the orders.”

She grabbed it out of his hands and peered at it closely. “You’re right; it does say deck B, corridor seven.”

“Told ya.”

Her gorgeous hazel eyes narrowed and her voice was chilly. “B7-11. That’s next to my room! This must be a mistake. This corridor is only for JGs.”

“Just Guys? Then what are you doing here?”

“Oh, very funny. Don’t quit your day job,” she snarled sarcastically. “You’re…” Her eyes swept him from the top of his disheveled head to the bottom of his gray jumpsuit legs. “…not a special, are you? You don’t look all that special and you’re wearing crewman drab.”

“Did anyone ever tell you that you’re rude?”

“Only the people who really like me.”

He snapped back, “Haha. You must be a real laugh at funerals.”

“You plan on dying any time soon?”

“You’d like that wouldn’t you?”

“If I gave you a thought, I might.”

Bryce stopped for a moment, biting back a scathing remark. This was his first day here. He didn’t want to mess it up. Trying to sound friendlier, he asked, “Where’s your cabin?”

“Don’t try to get fresh with me, crewman; you won’t be here that long. Not once I sort out this mistake.”

That did it. There was only so much a body could take. “If you were the last human being in this universe, I wouldn’t date you!”

“Then that would make you an alien, wouldn’t it?”

“But, but—” His first meeting with a beautiful woman onboard this ship was not going the way he’d planned. “That’s not fair!”

The woman smirked. “Now, let’s see about putting you in your real place.”

“D’you think they made a mistake?” His voice rose in uncertainty.

“What do you think? An ordinary crewmember like you? It has to be someone’s idea of a bad joke. Probably someone in Admin division. If I find out who did it—” Her eyes were no longer hostile. “It’s not your fault crewman. Someone was trying to use you to get to me. We’ll sort this out. Follow me.”

Bryce went after her as she led the way to the next corridor. He knew it was too good to be true. Why would anyone give someone like him a cabin? “You said before only JGs and specials live in this corridor?”

The lieutenant turned her head to look at him, her hazel eyes sparkling when they caught the light at the right angle. “That’s right.”

“Who are the specials?”

“We have all kinds on board. Top scientists, VIPs, of course the really high people live on the officer’s deck. We get the medium levels here. And Firster PAs, but those are rare. Only the Fleet Admiral has one.”

Bryce stopped. “I’m one.”

“What?” She turned to him in surprise. “What do you mean?”

“I’m a Firster PA for Lieutenant Stannis.”

“You?” The level of incredulity in her voice was insulting.

“Yeah, me.”

“But Firster PAs are educated, usually Level 2s. You can’t be more than a Level 3.”

“Yeah, well.” He wasn’t about to tell her that he was a Level 4. “I am.”

She studied him, even more carefully this time, noting every crease and smudge on his uniform.
Bryce felt naked under her intense gaze.

“Goes to show you, can’t judge by appearances. Sorry, I shouldn’t have treated you like that.”

He grumbled under his breath. “Shouldn’t treat anyone like that.” He was used to it though. That was the way of the Levels.

“What’d you say?”

He was going to say, “Nothing,” as he normally would have, but he found himself blurting out, “You shouldn’t treat anyone like that. Even if I wasn’t a Firster PA. I’m still a human being.”

She stared at him, making Bryce feel even more naked and wondering what in the universe had possessed him to make trouble. He might be a special PA but she was an officer, even though she was only a junior grade.

“You’re right,” said the young woman.

“I am? I mean, of course I am.”

Her voice lowered to a bare whisper. “You’re not a resister, are you?”

“Of course not.” The suggestion of it sent fingers of fear up and down his spine. “I’m not crazy.”

“I’m glad. I don’t like associating with crazy people. They’re—”

“Crazy?”

The woman chuckled. The light mood softened her face. “Yeah. I would never endanger my family.”

“I don’t have any.”

“Oh. I’m sorry about that.”

“It’s nothing. I never knew my parents,” said Bryce, a lump forming in his throat. He hadn’t thought about them in ages. “They died in the Algar III plague.” It had been the first nasty surprise from the Andromedans; bio-warfare that wiped out half the population of a rich farming planet. His parents had been on the team sent to help the devastated populace.

“Damned aliens. We’re still dealing with their germs.”

“Yeah.” He shrugged. “I don’t like talking about it.”

“Let’s get you settled then.”

“Next to your cabin?” he asked with a hopeful grin.

“Don’t get your hopes up. I’m Kerril by the way. Lieutenant Sealey to you.”

“Kerril Sealey.” He rolled it around his tongue like a delectable morsel. “That’s got a nice ring to it.”

“Don’t wear it out. What’s yours?”

“Name’s Bryce.”

“Bryce? Is that a first name or a last?”

“Well, if you must know, it’s Vilane Bryce.”

“Villain?”

Bryce sighed. He always had this problem; it came from having parents with an odd sense of humor. Too bad, he never knew them long enough to give them a piece of his mind. “No, no, no. It’s Vi-lane.”

“Still sounds like villain to me.”

“Now look here. If we’re going to be neighbors, can you at least be nice?”

“Why?” Then Kerril smiled and the corridor seemed to flare up with the light of a thousand stars. “I’m just kidding.”

“Is it always going to be like this with you?”

“If you’re good.”

“Lucky me.”


Also Elizabeth Lang has shared with us an exclusive picture from The Empire Series



To read more of the Read-A-Long please follow the tour schedule…

03/03/2013 - Tribute Books Reviews & Giveaways - 

04/03/2013 - Vixie's Stories -

05/03/2013 - Decadent Decisions -

06/03/2013 - Reviews From Beyond the Book - 

07/03/2013 - Great Alpha Speaks -
http://atrussell.com/Blog/  - Excerpt - Chapter 5

09/03/2013 - The Edible Bookshelf -

10/03/2013 - Independent Writers Association -

11/03/2013 - Self Publish or Die -
www.selfpublishordie.com            Excerpt - Chapter 8

12/03/2013 - Natasha Larry Books -

13/03/2013 - Michelle Anderson-Picarella -

17/03/2013 - Sheenah Freitas -

18/03/2013 - Castle Macabre -

19/03/2013 - My World -

20/03/2013 - Reading, Writing And More -

21/03/2013 - Ami R Blackwelder -

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About Elizabeth Lang:
 
I'm a science fiction writer who started off life as a computer programmer with a love for reading, especially science fiction, fantasy and mystery.
 
Being in computers, I found my writing skills deteriorating so I decided to take up writing. It became a joy to create characters, stories and worlds and writing soon became a passion I couldn't put down. As a writer, I like to explore, not only the complexity of characters but the human condition from differing points of view. That is at the heart of the Empire series, of which 'The Empire' and 'The Rebels' are the first two of a four books series.

You can connect with Elizabeth Lang at the following places:



About Page Turner Book Tours:

Page Turner Book Tours is fronted by the face behind Read2Review Kate. Page Turner Book Tours has been put together to help promote authors and give something back to the writing world. Kate has put together a team of incredibly talented people to help with the project by incorporating their individual skills into making new, fresh and exciting promotional plans that we hope you agree are amazing. If you would like to book a tour with Page Turner Book Tours please check out their tour packages. If you would like to become a tour host with Page Turner Book Tours please check out their Tour Host page. You wont be disappointed!