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Might Makes Right – Snippet 03 of xxx

UNEDITED

CHAPTER TWO

QBBS Meredith Reynolds, Guardians’ Office

Peter looked at his two subordinates, and then at Todd and his two. “Guys, we need more recruits. We can’t just shanghai people willy-nilly into the Guardians.”

He leaned back. “It’s time we started accepting others if we are going to implement our own version of Death Dealers to another planet.”

The sucked-in breaths from around the table amused Peter as they realized who he was talking about. “She isn’t that strange, Tommy,” Peter told him.

“Sir,” he nodded, “all due respect, she is fucking frightening.”

“Well then,” Todd told them, “I guess it’s a good thing she’s on our side, isn’t it?”

The four men and two women nodded their agreement.

“Ok,” Peter asked the group, “who’s volunteering to ask Gyada if she is ready to take point again?”

“I think that kind of risk belongs at the top.” Todd smirked, looking at Peter. “Besides, you heal quicker.”

He eyed his friend. “Yeah, I figured as much. Just seeing if I had any abnormally courageous individuals here.”

“Sir, she isn’t going to hurt you, right?” Tina , his second, asked.

Peter shook his head. “No, she’s actually very pleasant. However, I can tell you she is Walking Death and I’m the one who is going to potentially be sending her down a road that is going to cause her pain. And frankly,” he looked at them all, “I hate to ask a friend to go there.”

“But needs must when the devil is driving,” Todd quoted.

QBBS Meredith Reynolds, Open Court, Level Seven

Sarah recognized the three who appeared in front of her office and a whisper escaped her lips. “Empress?”

She was surprised when the Empress turned towards her. “Sarah!” She wore a smile.

Sarah’s internal voice was screaming, Oh shit, oh shit, oh shit! She’s coming in here!

Sarah stood up from her desk and stepped out from behind it, calling to her son over her shoulder. “Johnny?”

Bethany Anne winked at Sarah as the little boy came out of the back of her office. He was playing with two model spaceships, using his hands to fly them around. “PEW PEW, TAKE THAT YOU SKAINE SLAVERS!” He twisted the first ship in his hand, then flew it into the wall and bounced it off, dropping it with a shouted, “KABLOOIE!”

He bent down to pick up the ship and stepped forward as he looked up. His mouth opened and he couldn’t speak.

He stared at the Empress, who was smiling down at him with a glint of humor in her eyes. “Hello, Johnny.”

Beside her, Sarah surreptitiously wiped her eye. This woman was everything she could ever wish for in a monarch, and then some.

About three months before, she and Johnny had been guests on a tour of the ArchAngel II, the preeminent ship in the Etheric Empire’s fleet, conducted by the head of the Empress’ Rangers, Barnabas himself.

Sarah was a single mom, and she hadn’t told Johnny much about the military side of the Etheric Empire. The fact that Johnny’s dad had been killed in an operation back in human space was all she could share before her heart folded in on itself. She didn’t hate the military; it was just too hard for her to talk about it.

Even to her son. Someday, she had promised herself, she would tell the young man all about his father—just not that moment. The someday moment hadn’t yet to occured.

Until Barnabas had stopped in front of her little business and rented a chair from her son.

The visit to the mighty ArchAngel il had captured Johnny’s attention, and she could see Earl’s, her husband’s, blood flow through her son’s veins as he soaked it all up. God, she felt like she had let Earl down.

But it was so damned hard.

Sarah had thought the tour would be a fast thirty minutes, but Barnabas seemed to know exactly what Johnny wanted to see and he found the right people each time to explain things to the young boy. Her heart broke as she realized Barnabas was providing the kind of detailed explanation Earl would have given their son had he been alive.

He had always been the teacher, no matter the subject.

About an hour into the tour Barnabas had turned to her and pursed his lips. “Sarah,” he had asked, “may I show Johnny a video we have on the corporal?”

Sarah’s mouth had hung open for a few seconds. “You have footage?” she had finally asked. She had quickly nodded her agreement before Johnny figured out whatever Barnabas had decided to surprise him with.

She noticed when Barnabas reached up to his collar and spoke softly. A full hour later the three of them entered a small theater with a table at the bottom. They took seats in the bottom row as a voice greeted them.

“This is ArchAngel. I have a video of your father, which ADAM compiled at the direction of the Empress for you to see, young Master Brunner.”

Johnny turned to his mom, his eyes glistening. “Dad?” he whispered, and she nodded.

“Would you like to see it now, or would you like to wait until you are older? The Empress says it is your choice,” the AI asked him.

“Please?” he asked. “Please, ArchAngel, Empress?”

It wasn’t a short video. It ran for over twenty minutes, showing Earl first as a young man going to college to be a teacher, before he received that fateful phone call.

One that informed him his friend Samantha had been killed in a terrorist attack in France. He had told Samantha’s mother that he understood and appreciated her call.

He slowly hung up the phone and grabbed his keys. He didn’t have class for another four hours, but his classes had become irrelevant to him now anyway.

He never went back to that college. Rather, he left his apartment and went to the Navy/Marines recruiting station. Standing in front of the two doors, Navy to the left, Marines to the right, he looked at their posters. Pressing his lips together, he realized he wanted…no, he needed to be on the sharp end of the stick.

He had turned right into the Marines’ office and never looked back.

Two years later, in a nowhere little dirt town protecting a group of civilians who probably didn’t appreciate his support, Earl’s vehicle ran over an IED and in the blast that tore up their vehicle, he lost a leg. When he woke up on a stretcher, he could see his sergeant’s face and knew something was wrong.

“All I want to know,” he ground out through the pain that the meds were nowhere near taking care of, “is can I go back?” A moment later he pressed his eyelids together as the sergeant shook his head.

A knock on his apartment door a year later changed his life. It was an invitation to visit TQB’s medical ship, which was based in France at that time. He hadn’t been sure it wasn’t a joke, but thank God he had taken them up on the offer.

When they told him he could get back into the game again against the foes of Earth, he couldn’t agree fast enough.

Sarah had been his physical therapist, and had gone with him to France. When he had healed, he asked if she would marry him.

She had questioned him before answering, and he had admitted that he wouldn’t have asked her when he wasn’t a whole man. She had told him he was beyond stupid for thinking something like that would matter, then given him an emphatic yes.

His story, including the tale of his lost leg, unfolded on the screen to their son’s rapt attention.

An eternity and a few seconds later the film ended and the lights brightened. During the film Johnny had slid out of his seat and sat on his mom’s lap as she wiped tears away, reliving the love she still felt for Earl.

Johnny had given her hugs during the video to comfort her, and she had returned them.

In the aftermath of the footage the two of them were blankly watching the white screen. The next second they both were shocked when the Empress and John Grimes appeared in front of them.

Johnny couldn’t figure out which of the two he had wanted to look at first as John walked towards him, “You can handle this, Johnny. Your dad’s story is incredible. You were damned lucky to have had him, both of you.” He nodded to Sarah, then stepped out of the room to take up his position outside.

That left only the Empress, who had once again smiled at him.

Just like she was smiling at him right now as he clutched the two forgotten spaceships in his hands.

“Are you playing Rangers?” Bethany Anne asked him.

Johnny nodded.

“Well, Barnabas is going to be happy to hear that,” she told him, then winked. “But I’ve brought two other people who want to make sure they get a word with you before you make any choices for your future, young man.” She stepped aside and waved to the two men behind her. “Let me introduce you to General Lance Reynolds, Military Commander of the Etheric Empire, and Admiral Thomas, Space Navy Commander of the Etheric Empire.”

Both men smiled and they playfully jostled each other to be the first to shake his hand.

Johnny stepped forward, moved the ship to his left hand and reached up. “I’m honored to meet you both, sirs. My name is Johnny.”

Sarah had groped to try and find some tissues as she watched. When someone handed her a handkerchief, she used it to wipe her tears. Realizing it was soft, she saw that it was made of silk. She turned to see a young-looking woman in a purple dress, wisdom in her eyes, smiling at her. “Keep it. I bought it for Lance, but I think maybe it would be an excellent marketing tool to offset Barnabas’ influence.”

And she was right.


FROM MICHAEL>>>  Hello!  This snippet was encouraged by Robert Tonkiss on the Facebook Page.

So, we have the 10th (and final) Terry Henry Walton Chronicles book written with / by Craig Martelle released yesterday, but actually on the Amazon servers early this morning for sale (click here if you want to grab it at $0.99 pricing).

It rather sucked, actually.

BUT, all of you fans who rallied to the cause helped us get through the mess with our own sanity in check, as well. So, thank you for helping a couple of us make it through the day. Martha Carr (Oriceran Universe) was re-releasing something on her own account and said she seemed to be stuck, as well.

So, it wasn’t just us.

Now, for those who were freaking out with Ell Leigh Clarke’s comment on her FB Page, she is totally just being mean 😉

So, go ahead and go back and release the kraken on her 😉

Days away from releasing Bethany Anne!

 

 

About the author

manderle

Michael Anderle (ok, weird talking about myself in the 3rd person) (1967-Hopefully a long time from NOW) was born in Houston, Tx. A very curious child, he got into trouble – a lot. What to do with an inquisitive mind when he was grounded? Read!

Ok, done with all of that 3rd person stuff.

In the first 20 years, I mostly read Science Fiction and Fantasy. In the last 10 years I have enjoyed Urban Fantasy and Military Fiction. With this background, I’ve been blessed with creating The Kurtherian Gambit series, a well-selling, and fan loved, collection of stories.

The fans have propelled these stories beyond my wildest imagination and they should get all of the credit for sharing with friends, family and occasionally the random person on the street. They are fantastic!

See all of my books on Amazon Here – Michael Anderle on Amazon