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ARC by N P Russell - A Science Fiction Novel

Introduction

This is a novel I started working on a few years, and only managed to write the prologue. I have revised it and continued it specifically for devtome. It'll be posted each week in very much an un-edited format. If you have any feedback, please feel free to contact me on the bitcointalk forum, under my username : nprussell. Thank you, and enjoy!

ADDED 31st May 2013 :

Some of the chapters are short. This is not intentional; simply how it's turned out. As they act as natural breaking points, I will continue to post them as and when they're complete, regardless of length.

Chapter 1

Kal Danem awoke abruptly, to the whistling echo of the wind outside, as it crashed into the window to his right. It forced him to jolt upright in the bed. The night was as humid as it was bright, and individual rays of moonlight spilled through the window of the cheap, rented motel room. He shivered when another bead of sweat trickled down his spine stopping just shy of his buttocks. He glanced over at the inexpensive Holo-clock on the small oak table to his right. It projected a blue, revolving, three-dimensional image of the time, ‘3:51am’.

He turned his attention over to the girl, who lay naked and asleep by his side, and gently ran his heavy hand up her thigh causing her russet eyes to open slightly. She parted her lips to form a half-smile, and whispered, “Hey”.

Danem smiled back at her, running his fingers through her shadow swept hair.

It was only in these tender moments, in the midst of the night, that they were almost able to forget that Selena Kalahari was a wanted criminal. Perseuns were anything but welcome in the city of Sphera. For months, they’d fled from place to place, hiding, surviving out of dire necessity. No money, and even less hope, all that they had had was each other, and that had been enough.

The sleep began to fade from Selena’s face and she dragged herself into an upright position. Denam reached over to the small bed side table, picking up the half-empty packet of cigarettes and tapping one directly into his mouth. He stretched over again, this time for the lighter in the top drawer of the bedside table, and lit the protruding cigarette. He took in a long drag of the nicotine laden tobacco smoke, and exhaled slowly. Selena, as always, attempted to waft the smoke away from her face, faking a little bit of a cough in a futile attempt to tell him how disgusting he was. He laughed a little, and continued to fill his lungs.

“Having trouble sleeping, Kally?” Selena had asked. “I just have a bad feeling tonight, that's all” he replied. “You always have a bad feeling!” “Which is what's kept us alive until now, isn't it?”

Selena didn’t respond, but they both knew the answer. She placed her index and middle fingers at the rear of Kal's skull, and scratched lightly with alternating fingers. He closed his eyes and relaxed a little, but it was to be short lived.

They heard it simultaneously; a metallic sound from the hallway beyond the wooden door to their left, audible even through the chaotic racing of the wind outside.

Their eyes met suddenly, and for a moment, Kal’s fear reflected back at him through Mia’s eyes.

Instinctively, they leapt to their feet, scrambling to dress themselves in whatever presented it self. Denam took three quick paces and snatched the sawn-off shotgun from the desk under the window, and tossed it to Selena, who snatched it from the air with one hand, pumping the barrel once with a typically eerie confidence. She opened the door to the tiny bathroom behind the bed’s headrest and took position behind it, aiming the double barrel of the fire-arm at the tattered motel room door. Denam hurried over to the kitchen sink to the right of the door, picking out an elongated carving knife. He took up position in the corner of the dimly lit room, just outside the view of the doorway. Sirens sounded in the distance.

“The law?” Selena asked in a whisper. “Or worse”, he replied, hastily dismissing the speculation with a gesture, in time for three thunderous knocks at the door to the hall beyond.

They turned their attention to one another… To the door… Then back again.

“Miss Kalhari”

A voice commanded from the other side of the door. Then a pause for what was probably a couple of seconds but to the pair of them, seemed like an eternity.

“Miss Kalhari. We know you’re in there.’

Denam maintained his cool as Selena began to panic. She glanced around the pokey motel room for any form of escape, already knowing that there was none.

“I love you, Kal”, she declared; turning to face him, to which he responded with a forced smile immediately turning back to face the door.

“Open the door please Ma’am”, barked the voice again, with a definite aura of unquestionable authority.

There was a smash against the door… Then another… Until the door swung open, crashing into the plasterboard wall as it reached 180 degrees, hurling the bulky locking mechanism across the room and under the bed.

There was a moment of silence.

Through what was left of the doorway, bounced a small but weighty round container, metallic in sound. Before either of them had the opportunity to find cover, the Flash Grenade erupted into a screen of blinding white. With closed fists, Denam tried to rub the pain away from his eyes. He was barely able to make out Selena's silhouette through the momentary blindness, as she desperately fired off two poorly aimed rounds from the barrels of the shotgun.

With only partial vision, Denam watched on in horror as a Commanding Officer of a Spheran Emigration Squad entered the room. Stocky in build, the officer was covered from shoulder to toe in KV86 body armour, which flickered blue with electricity. The officer was holding a Military grade rifle, which he pointed in the direction of Selena.

Before ten seconds had passed, with vision still impaired, Denam half-watched the thickly-built man as he let off a burst of the rifle through the door where Selena had taken cover.

Silence again.

Denam's throat began to swell, as Selena screamed and faced him. Black-red blood seeped from under the door of the bathroom, and from the hole that emerged from Selena's right thigh. She stepped out from behind the door, throwing the shotgun at the officer’s feet, and fell swiftly to her knees with a thud. Selena glanced at Denam straining her eyes momentarily, as if to command him not to move. He knew he had to act quickly, but he had to time it right. He knew he'd only get one chance. The officer, smirking to himself, thrust the butt of his rifle into her face, instantly bloodying her mouth and nose. Selena took it well.

The lump in Denam's throat grew larger. Right before he could act, two additional officers entered the room. The smaller of the three walked directly to Selena, grabbing her by the hair. He clenched his teeth and dragged her across the room as she screamed and kicked, out through the door to the corridor. Denam filled with rage. His fingers whitened around the grip of the blade which he tightly held to his chest, biting down on air harder than he knew he could. His heart pounded rhythmically; faster with every beat, and his hands began to tremble. Adrenaline surged through him like the wind, to the ends of his pale, pulsating fingertips. Danem was completely under the rule of his bitter emotion. He quickly assessed the situation. He had to act now.

Three officers of Spheran Emmigration armoured from shoulder to toe. They hadn’t spotted him. By his reckoning, this gave him the advantage.

Without hesitation, Danem threw himself behind the two trailing officers, and thrust the blade of the knife through the side of the neck of the officer to his left. He let out a high-pitched yelp as the blade pierced skin, then muscle - and halted against the bone beneath, causing a geyser of crimson to erupt from the gash. Then, with one swift motion, the blade retracted, instantly mirroring the stabbing motion into the neck of the trailing officer to the right. Simultaneously, they dropped like moths in a flame. Denam’s upper lip twitched and he clenched his teeth once more.

He had him now.

Before the broadened bull of an officer could turn himself 180 degrees, Denam unleashed an emotional war-cry, brutally smashing the handle of the blade into the side of his skull with such a level of force that he felt it collapse a little with the impact. He fell to the floor with all the etiquette of a plane crash.

Denam gave him a moment to come around from the blow, and walked towards him. Fuelled almost entirely by anger, he commanded:

“TURN AROUND”

There was a momentary pause, as the officer began to slowly scramble to his knees.

“I SAID, TURN AROUND, YOU FUCK”.

“Mmmm” the officer attempted through closed teeth, and instead, decided to spit a vile concoction of blood and saliva at Danem’s feet.

With every ounce of strength in his being, Denam lunged the thick black boot of his right foot into the officer’s bloody, wincing mouth. He grimaced from the pain, and rolled over, collapsing onto his back - it landed hard against the wooden floor.

Danem stepped in a little closer. Still shaking from adrenaline, he pressed the tip of the blood-stained blade against the officer’s throat. Through his eyes, he could feel his fear. Any sense of reason that remained had now dissipated into the handle of the blade he held so tightly, and his knuckles were whiter than the sun. Denam sank the blade into the side of his jugular, and precisely dragged it from left, to right - tearing the flesh between. As the officer gasped and attempted to utter something with his last breath, the sirens in the distance drew nearer.

Denam immediately released the blade, which fell to the floor with a ‘chink’. He sprinted out of the door and through the dimly lit corridor. He took the steps three at a time as he descended.

From below came a barrage of footsteps and voices from the lobby. The sirens now surrounded him.

Denam, still sprinting, approached an officer holding a pistol from behind, somehow managing to place his hands in the right places to quickly twist his neck, causing it to snap and the officer to collapse behind him as he passed. Still charging down the stairwell, he faintly heard Selena's screams as she was dragged outside. Denam's pace increased, somehow.

On approaching the bottom of the stairwell, his face was met with an almighty fist. His legs flew up in front of him, and he landed dramatically in a heap on the cold, hard floor.

“Don’t you move fucking move, son”, an officer demanded, as five or more backed him up from the rear.

Kal remained still. Perfectly silent, perfectly still. It was of course, the only option.

The lead officer stood over Denam like a shadow. He was a tall figure, with whitened hair and skeletal features, staring down at him from above. Kal flinched slightly as he felt the unmistakable prick of a DNA Reader press against the rear of his neck. It sent a cold shiver down his spine.

The emaciated officer leaned over the scanner, and nodded once to the constable holding it. He picked up his communicator which hung from his belt, and called:

“Zulu 12, this is Zulu 1; respond”.

There was no reply.

“Zulu 12, this is Zulu 1; please respond”.

The silence told the whole story. The officer didn't think twice. In an unusually calm voice, he stated:

“Kal Danem. You are under arrest for the aiding and abetting of an illegal immigrant, and the murder of three officers of Spheran Emigration”.

Denam looked up, and lifted the corner of his mouth as if to smirk; but it was not sincere.

“Four” said Denam, brazenly.

“Four?” asked the officer.

“Four officers. There were four.”

The official lifted his arm back and over his head and made a fist, then proceeded to swing it like a golf club at Denam’s lower jaw. On impact, Denam barely flinched.

“I must inform you, Mr Denam, that state policy dictates that you are assumed guilty, unless proven otherwise”.

Denam held his chin up high. Almost on impulse, he slowly moved his hands around behind him, where he felt the slap of cold-steel cuffs against his blood-covered wrists. A larger officer lifted him to his feet from behind and turned him toward the exit. The customary gag-bag was placed over his head, and he was led into the darkness of the outside.

Some moments later, his skull was met with a violent thud, and he felt his eyes as they rolled slowly into the back of his head.

He crashed to the floor.

Blackness.

Chapter 2


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