What follows here is spoiler-riffic, so if you’re not into that kind of thing, don’t read below the break. I’m in the midst of working on Epsilon: Redeemer for NaNoWriMo, and in doing so have ended up looking back at some scenes I scribbled out a long time back, when I was tooling around with a project called Resistance, which was a story mostly about Korea Cooper and Lucas Ross. I have a .doc file full of scenes that were a mix of background scenes and sequences that might end up in later works in the Epsilon universe.
More ramblings (and one of those scenes) below the break.
It should come as no surprise to anyone who’s read Epsilon: Broken Stars that there’s some connection between Lucas Ross and Daniel Taylor, Aaron Taylor’s father. One of Ross’s big secrets, though, is exactly how he knows Daniel–and how well. A lot of this will be revealed as part of the story of Epsilon: Redeemer, though the exact mechanisms and methods remain to be seen. The NaNoWriMo version of the project is just the first draft, after all.
The scene below depicts the last time Lucas saw Daniel before meeting Aaron, and coincidentally also explains why Lucas defected–and how he defected.
“Go,” he hissed, wincing at the rough sound of his own voice. “Get out of here before they figure out what you did for me.”
Lucas stared at the other man, trying to ignore the fact that his head was swimming, that phantom G-forces were wreaking havoc with his digestive tract. “What do you mean? I did this so you could run, too. Get back to your wife.”
Daniel looked at him bleakly. “Madeline is dead, Lucas. Was the last straw, the thing that landed me here, to get reprogrammed again. I killed my father. I killed Adonis for it. He killed my wife and made sure that I knew it, too.” Pain briefly contorted the lieutenant general’s expression and he looked down. “I won’t endanger another living soul because I ran away. Never again. I have to stay. But you’ve got a fighting chance.” He took a deep breath. “We will make Antellis in three hours. Be on one of the station-bound shuttles. I don’t care how you do it. Just be on one and get the hell out of here.”
“You have to come with me,” Lucas said stubbornly. “I’m not going to leave you here for them to destroy you again, Dr. Taylor. It’s not right.”
The biochemist smiled briefly. “You’re a good man, Dr. Ross, but don’t be naïve. They’ll chase me if I run, even if I run all the way back to Epsilon. They found me there once and they’ll find me again. You might have a fighting chance of getting away. Alone.” The smile faded as Daniel shook his head. “Besides, they won’t destroy me. I hide back in a place they can’t touch, can’t reach. I try to stop the monster they turn me into from causing too much damage. Someone has to. Somehow.” He took an unsteady breath and the smile returned. “I know the other me, in some ways, better than I know the real me. And that’s a good thing. Know your enemy…even if the enemy’s you.”
“It doesn’t feel right to leave you, Doctor,” Lucas said quietly. His vision was starting to double. Daniel put a hand out to steady him.
“I don’t intend to give you a choice in the matter,” Daniel said quietly. “You can’t see straight anymore, can you?”
Lucas managed to shake his head, slowly leaning against the wall. Daniel moved quickly to a cabinet, jerking open the door and scanning rows of pill bottles. He took out one and lofted it toward Lucas, who fumbled his way unsteadily through catching it.
“Swallow two now, three when you make it to the station and another three when you’re clear of Antellis.”
Lucas tried to read the bottle. “What are they?”
“Just do it, Ross.”
The medic startled, then nodded slightly. “Yes, sir,” he murmured, uncapping the vial and swallowing two of the large greenish pills.
“It’ll take a few minutes for them to kick in,” Daniel said, watching Lucas as he struggled to straighten. “They should help, though, if I’m right.” He pinched the bridge of his nose and took a long, steadying breath. “I’m sorry you’re mixed up in all of this.”
Lucas coughed, looking askance at the other man. “You say that like it’s your fault. You didn’t recruit me into this. You didn’t get me assigned here.” He managed to smile. “It’s not all about you, Doctor.”
Daniel managed to laugh weakly. “There’s a lot I could tell you, Dr. Ross…but in the long run, I think that it would just get you killed.”
Lucas stared at him until his vision normalized. Daniel shook his head. “You need to get out of here while you still can,” he repeated quietly. “I can fake being the other me until you’re clear—I hope. If I stop again as we’re refueling, after you’re away, that might buy some time…” His voice trailed away and he smiled. “If there’s time…I may have a message to send with you. If there’s not…promise me something.”
Lucas frowned. “What is it?”
“If you ever make it to Epsilon—and don’t go just on my account, either—please…go see her for me. Leave some flowers.” His voice hitched. “Please. I don’t…I don’t know that anyone’s seeing to that for me, and she deserved far more and better than I was ever able to give to her. Please, do that for me.”
He swallowed and nodded. “I will.”
“Good. And for God’s sake, don’t stay there long, or I’m afraid they’ll find you like they found me.” Daniel clapped him on the shoulder. “Good luck and Godspeed.”
“Thank you, sir,” Lucas said quietly. They were the last words he would say to Daniel Taylor in a long, long time.
Scene copyright 2011 Erin M. Klitzke.
Just a little treat while I’m deep in working on Epsilon: Redeemer. Broken Stars is available on Smashwords, Amazon, and Barnes and Noble (other venues coming soon!).
You can find Erin on GoodReads these days @ http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5211226.Erin_Klitzke
And on Smashwords @ http://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/EMBKlitzke