Thursday, November 16, 2017

Dryden evolves - The Demon's Eye

I dipped my toe into the waters of the Dryden Universe in A Matter of Trust. In that book I’d established an essentially Human Empire; an aloof, distant enclave of humanoid Jorts; and the warlike bad guys of the galaxy, the Yrmaks. But in a 30k novella, they were line drawings, without backstory and color. That would come later. And did come later, when I fleshed in the backstory and culture of the aliens, as well as where in our galaxy all this action was taking place.

For now, when I decided to write a second Dryden story, I included the Empire and the Yrmaks, but added a level of complexity to the Empire. After all, the Roman Empire wasn't a homogeneous society. It had its own problems with its far-flung provinces, which eventually led to its downfall. There will always be elements of civil war in any empire - Asimov's Galactic Empire in his Foundation series is a good example. Yes, I probably got some inspiration from there - and Rome, as did Asimov.

So... unrest in a distant province, far from central Imperial support and not much more than a hint of Imperial Fleet presence. A germ of an idea took root. I’d already established the Yrmaks as mercenaries and pirates. How about a planet where civil war has erupted, a ruler gets his daughter out on an Imperial warship on a routine visit, but then there's trouble... 

It sounded like a plan.

The Demon’s Eye

Krystina Merkos is reluctant to leave her home planet, but agrees it's best that her father doesn't have to concern himself with her safety while he fights a civil war. But it's not all plain sailing. The captain wants to seduce her – and pirates want to sell her to the murderous sect waging war on her father.

The journey on an Imperial warship becomes much more palatable when she discovers that Ben Paulsen, an old flame from her high school days, is a senior officer on the ship.

When the frigate is attacked by a pirate fleet intent on capturing Krys, she faces impossible choices. If she hands herself over to the pirates, she will die a painful death. If she doesn't, everyone will die.

Unless she and Ben can contrive a way out for them all.

Here’s a short excerpt.

Krys flopped onto the couch, kicked her shoes off and propped her legs up on the low table. She was tired. Sneaking out of the city and getting onto the ship had been exhausting. But her brain wasn't tired.
Ben Paulsen. He'd certainly grown up to be quite a man. He'd been tall at high school, but all arms and legs and skin and bone. He'd filled out, adding bulk to that framework. She wouldn't mind finding out what was underneath that dress uniform now. The material strained just a little across his chest and the slope on his shoulders hinted at solid muscle. Now she thought about it his response to her had been in character. He'd always been a bit distant. Not shy exactly, more self-contained, a loner. That used to annoy some of the alpha male bully boys.
Krys cast back, trying to remember the name of the good-looking boy everyone but her wanted to date. Lex somebody. Not that it mattered. Lex tried to tease Ben, but Ben never reacted, just stared back with a faint smile on his lips. Krys had intervened once, in the library, when Lex and his gang had Ben in their sights. She'd asked him for help with her math homework, even though she really hadn't needed it.
Lex had loomed next to her, hanging over her. "I can help you. You don't need to waste your time with this loser." He'd spat the words, his lip curled as he eyed Ben.
She’d told Lex to fuck off.

 The Demon's Eye is a longish short story. Buy the book at  Amazon Inktera B&N Kobo iBooks

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