My excerpt this week is from number 2, Galactic Game. This story has been a challenge because it was originally a 10k short in an anthology . The publisher and the anthology were very short lived, it never made one dime and I think 5 people (the antho authors and my editor) read it. I always loved the characters and the Protectorate Universe it was set in, and always planned to do something with it. I wrote and contracted Cybot Awakened, about the couple Sabralia and Kastril, which comes out in January with Red Rose Publishing.
Galactic Game now it is reaching the healthy novella length of 30k and I plan to sub it this fall. This story is about Kellac, one of Kaistril's brothers, and Gema who has a secret.
Some of my visual files for this novella:
The Unknown Wilderness
Gema nearly groaned aloud when she saw her partner for The Survivor Game. He was a Puregen exotic, the rarest of the rare. Tall, bronzed, beautifully proportioned and muscled, he had silky black hair waving past his ears, high cheek bones, black lashes and eyebrows showcasing his rare, DNA modified, lilac eyes.
Regular humans didn’t have eyes that color.
Even among the Puregen population he was rare. An exotic creation usually came from a very wealthy family who could afford the highest quality lab. He was probably super intelligent with teeth that would never turn dingy or decay and owned an immune system that would keep him healthy and strong for the next hundred years or so.
So how did he get here, a contestant from a prison?
The audience was going to love him—which put her survival as the ugly, non-Puregen player even more at risk. Lucky for her she had friends in low places. Friends involved in gambling, who wanted to win some big money, and weren’t afraid to cheat a little. Or a lot.
She glanced over at her partner. He totally ignored her and checked their supplies against a list. The transport took off in a flash, back to the mothership that produced the viewcast somewhere in orbit.
Golden Boy glided over to her like every woman’s dream.
Even mine, she admitted to herself.
You could earn points by doing him, her wayward brain reminded her.
Gema felt her cheeks turn pink. She was not getting naked with Golden Boy for the galactic audience’s titillation. It was just a reaction to being with a male after years in the women’s prison.
“I have checked all the supplies. Everything is here.”
“My name is Kellac. I think we should talk about our strategy while we are free of the cameras.”
They had one day without the swarm of cameras.
“I’m Gema.” She reached under her shirt and found the sticky edge of her false stomach. With a grimace at the sting, she pulled it off.
Kellac stared at her, mouth open. He almost didn’t look great.
“What is that?”
“Oh, I was given a little gift.” She dug in the foam and pulled out a small com. “One of my cell mates had a contact who has an interest in me amassing some points.”
“That’s cheating! Gambling on the game is against the rules.”
“Ah yes, the rules.” She worked on the com. “By the rules of this game, I’m the underdog. Not Puregen, not beautiful or athletic, and I’m lame in one leg. Surviving is already going to be a challenge for me. And what’s the point of surviving but not having points? I’ll just end up back in prison.”
She looked up into his lilac eyes. “I don’t want to die. Three non-Puregens died playing the game. They had no support from the audience, and sometimes even had the audience out to get them. And giving points to the partner for betraying them.”
He frowned. “I have every intention of working as a team to keep us both alive. Those players that betrayed each other had no honor.”
“I feel the same. I won’t betray you, either.” She held up her com. “This is a solar powered, memory enhanced military issue com. It has a casing to look just like the ordinary com we are allowed to have. I want enough points to get to a world that welcomes non-Puregen humans. This will help me get there.”
He squatted down next to her, eyes on the com.
“What military issue? 9900?”
He was military, then.
“Better, 9904. Plus it has flora and fauna data for all the worlds and regions used by The Game.”
His eyes widened. “That information must have been difficult to come by. But with this we can find edibles.”
“Yes, and it has a lot of wilderness survival data, also. Predators, weather patterns, housing, emergency medicine…”
He stared at her. “Do you know how to use it? I’ve been trained on the 9900.”
“I’ve been tutored. Plus, it’s keyed to my DNA, but I’m willing to share it with you. If I die, it’s useless to you.”
She went back to the foam belly and pulled out an old fashioned paper writing pad and stylus.
“We can communicate on this and burn it in the fire. As long as we shield the writing from the swarm, we’ll be able to communicate undetected.”
There was one more thing she had to tell him. Her face got hot. “I’m not having sex with you for points.”
The audience loved sexual activity and gave generous points for the same.
He shrugged. “It is an easy way to amass points.”
“I don’t want to.”
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