Every story has a villain. Trouble in Mind, Book Two of my Interstellar Rescue series, has three. One of them, though, has some redeeming qualities. In fact, by the end of the book, you might even say he’s a good bad guy, my favorite kind of villain.
The being who calls the plays for Team Evil is Ren Sennik, Minister of Labor for the Minertsan Consortium, one of those little Gray aliens who have been haunting the common consciousness of humans for at least the last 70 years. Sennik aims to take over his planet’s government and a young human boy is key to that plot. Unfortunately for Sennik, his prize slave has been freed in a raid by the cursed Interstellar Council for Abolition and Rescue. So the Minister hires two Thrane hunters to retrieve the boy.
|From NIGHTMARE (directed by Rodney Ascher)|
Brothers Kinnian and Trevyn Dar are among the most proficient trackers in the galaxy. That’s a trait they share with their half-brother Gabriel Cruz, the bastard son of their brutal father, Kylan. But there the similarity ends. These two are bloodthirsty and relentless, with fully developed psi talents which Kinnian, in particular, never hesitates to use to rip open minds to find what he wants. Once they track the boy to Earth, they will destroy any number of vulnerable humans to run him down, slicing through their minds like so much sofra cheese.
Kinnian and Trevyn are enraged to find that their quarry is in the hands of black ops kidnappers on a mission to acquire a different target—his mother, Asia Burdette. What’s worse, their own half-brother Gabriel is on the boy’s trail, too. Kinnian sees this as the opportunity he’s been looking for to eliminate his rival for power in the family once and for all. But Trevyn . . . well, let’s just say he sees this unexpected reunion with Gabriel in a completely different light.
Meanwhile, back on Minertsa, other elements of Sennik’s plot are coming together. But someone quite close to him is secretly working against him, and the results of his scheming will not be quite what he’d planned.
And now, an excerpt:
The Minister of Labor opened his mind in summons and waited until he saw his second-in-command appear in the doorway of his office.
--You needed me, Director Prime?
Sennik let the female be aware that he approved of her prompt appearance. In fact, he approved of Ardis’s appearance in all aspects—her smooth, light skin, her long-fingered hands, her large, liquid, black eyes. Her aura, as usual a delicate lavender shot through with deeper tones of violet and midnight blue, communicated just the right combination of respect and ambition, of eagerness and ruthlessness. Then there was that intriguing hint of sexual interest that sometimes seemed to curl around the edge of his perception.
He monitored his own vibratory emissions and was pleased to note none of his observations had colored his aura. He remained an even-toned silver-gray.
--What is the status of our search for the slaves stolen in the raid on Del Origa?
--We have identified all those taken, sir, and we have begun reacquisition of all the test subjects who remain in accessible territories.
--Excellent. When do you anticipate completion of this task?
Director Second Ardis’s aura blushed with an uncomfortable salmon. There are many who have been resettled on Terrene. Taking them all at once would raise questions. The teams have been forced to be discreet.
--Blast Terrene! Nothing but a poison pool where fang-eels slither to hide! Take the slaves or kill them outright if taking them is impossible. Sennik noted the boiling black in his aura and struggled to calm himself. He amended his order. Except, of course, the immature ones. Those we must have. We have too much invested in them to lose them. What news of the coordinator?
Ardis’s aura flashed green with fear. The Thranes report he may have been among those who have been sent back.
--You are aware the abolitionist organization Rescue often tries to send the slaves back to their home planet?
Sennik waved a hand. It’s not as if that ridiculous speck of dust they all come from—what is the name of that stupid place? Erp?
--Yes, well. It’s not as if the place is at the far end of Zfar’s Galaxy. The ball of dirt practically sits on top of one of our busiest jump nodes. It should be a simple matter to get my property back. I sent Thrane hunters after the boy for a reason. Contact the Bloodstalker and tell Kinnian Dar I am waiting for him to earn the credits I’m paying him.
Trouble in Mind launches February 16, 2016. You can pre-order your Kindle copy NOW on Amazon