I’ll be trying something new around here and that’s something that we’re going to call “Snippet Sunday”–when I reveal a snippet of something I’m working on or have already released, depending on the mood.
For the inaugural Snippet Sunday, we’ll be paying a visit to the universe of Falling Stars and Epsilon: Broken Stars with this bit from the current draft of Epsilon: Redeemer.
Excerpt is after the break.
My boss congratulates you on your catch. Asks you confirm Seket with Subject Zero involvement.
The words hovered in mid-air, sprung to life without my consent. I stared at them for a long moment as they hung over my holotable. No one had that kind of access—it shouldn’t have been possible for that message to be there. The security on my systems was just too damned tight.
“Not entirely true,” I mumbled to myself as I got up from the couch and stumbled, still half asleep, toward the console. In theory, no one should have been able to hack my private systems, but that precludes people with a lot of time on their hands or a lot of determination. Still…there’s only one person that would try it.
But why the hell would Allyn be sending me a message about—
“Hell’s belles,” I muttered, reaching for the console. I tapped out my single-word response, muttering under my breath, “Why am I not surprised it took about twelve seconds for this to happen?”
I sent the response and waited, crossing my arms and trying to wake up a little more. He works for Wil’s boss now. His loyalties are going to be to the Alliance, not you and the Resistance—that’s what you’re going to have to assume anyway. That’s the only thing it’s safe to assume.
Sometimes I wondered where Wil Terrel’s allegiances lay—despite the fact that he was the closest thing I had to a second-in-command, he was still an black ops agent for the Epsilon Alliance—but then he’d go and do something for the Resistance that was just too damned risky to be simple duty. Acts like that erased any doubt in my mind that he was ours, body and soul.
The words continued to hover there and I kept staring, feeling the muscles of my back start to knot from tension I shouldn’t have been feeling. After all, the Epsilon Alliance—at least their SpecOps division—was our ally in the war against the Imperium, wasn’t it?
They must be, considering the gift they’ve given us.
A response flashed into existence. Does he know?
I gnawed my lower lip, keying back.
Not unless your boss told him.
Then he doesn’t know.
It was ambiguous enough that no one else who happened to be around would have had any idea what we were talking about, but I knew what Allyn was getting at—or what the chief of Alliance Intelligence was getting at, who I suspected was pulling Allyn’s strings.
He’s not ready to know the truth about his father—but I’d really like to know how the Alliance knows about “Subject Zero” when his son doesn’t have a bloody clue. My fingers twitched. I wanted to ask.
They won’t tell you anyway, Ross. Let it go. Maybe you’ll find out eventually. For now, just let it go. But why the hell didn’t someone tell Wil?
That was the question I really wanted answered.
Another message. Longshot wants you to help them.
A bitter laugh escaped me and I shook my head, staring at the words as they burned in the air. As if I ever had a choice.
Tell him he didn’t need to ask. Orders relayed; silence will be maintained.
Alliance Intelligence had given Wil and the other local SpecOps orders about the Resistance’s newest recruit, a tattered escapee from the FSS Noah Walker’s Special Projects decks. I’d gotten it on good authority that she was a good pilot and a crack shot—and that she was also an Alliance agent, like Wil. Project: Seket had left her identity shattered and her memory lost. I’d promised to help her already. Wil and his fellow SpecOps had been sworn to secrecy by the chief of intelligence. They weren’t supposed to tell her anything. They weren’t supposed to interfere with my work. Caren “Renegade” Flannery was to be allowed to remember by whatever means became available to her—whether through my intervention or the slow decay of the mental blocks I’d already sensed in her. I wasn’t sure why General Jackson Hunter had given the orders he had, but I wasn’t about to argue with his judgment on the matter because it was exactly the right thing to do.
I nodded silently. You’re welcome. Good night.
Good night, Redeemer. God help you.
I shut down the console, rubbing my eyes as I headed back to the couch. Sinking down onto it, I put my head in my hands, the weight of the past week settling on my shoulders again. It was either far too late or far too early for any of this. Unfortunately, this was my life and there was no escaping it. Not until it was over—not until the end. That wasn’t anywhere in sight.
This war wasn’t going to end anytime soon.
Leaning back against the overstuffed cushions, I closed my eyes, too tired to make it to my room but not tired enough for sleep to instantly take me. Instead, I stayed on the couch and hoped sleep would come quick and dreamless. Nightmares were the last thing I needed.
And that’s this week’s snippet. Stay tuned next week for something else.
Not sure what just happened there? Check out the first book in the Epsilon series, Epsilon: Broken Stars, available where books (ebook and print) are sold, to meet Lucas Ross for the first time.