Category Archives: SFR Brigade Presents
It’s been a few weeks and I’ve forgotten to sign up with my usual snippet group, Science Fiction Romance Brigade Presents, but here’s a snippet from my SFR, Passages. Quinn, the hero, is at odds with himself over making the woman he’s fallen for his bodyguard. Yet, he needs her in this role.
Eve blocked me. “There’s a reason you have a bodyguard,” she said coolly. “Let me perform my function.”
Good point. I had to get used to using the protection, which was saving our asses.
She peered around the door. A moment later she ushered me into the sealed walkway. The long, dimly lit corridor curved, so we couldn’t see the end. I paced far enough back to duck at Eve’s signal, which did come.
I hid, and even after I polished a port in either direction, the minutes dragged by.
Damn, what had happened? I’d never forgive—
Footsteps marched down the walkway. A guard appeared. He passed through me, then disappeared. It killed me, but I waited to hear the door slam, then dashed for where I hoped my guard waited.
She was there, at another set of double doors. My breath exploded out.
“This guard wasn’t so willing to trade to out there.” She put her finger to the keypad, and it flashed green.
She was so nonchalant—an act? I didn’t dare ask if she was okay.
This time when Eve checked inside, her body stiffened. She closed the door to a finger gap. “It opens into one of the bays. There’s a transport ship between us and the Conducer, with three ‘torgs working in the open hold at the back. They can see this door.”
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Thanks for stopping by to read my science fiction romance Passages, as part of the SFR Brigade Presents.
Passages is a completed novel. The first two chapters are featured under ‘My Novels’ in the bar above and I’ve just updated a few recent changes. Here’s an excerpt from Chapter Two, in the heroine Eve’s POV, during a tense discussion with her electorg run-mate, Evard.
He cleared his throat. “Once they give us the transfer location, I’ll set up another of my Conducer shortcuts so you can visit here easily.”
I wiped my fingertips over my eyes. “Thanks for the offer, but I’d rather not risk your illegal shortcuts.”
“Illegal doesn’t mean impossible, and if it’s possible, it’s permissible.” His blue eyes sparkled. “Why would Basic-runs like us be equipped with the same hardware as the Elite-run ministers if not to use the circuits?”
Not this again. I pushed off of Evard’s chest before he launched into his favorite topic of restricted electronics. “The Docga limit our use of them, same as they’ve allowed this new batch of ministers to place us B-runs at their beck and call. What’s the point of settling into a home and career in my so-called second life if I’m forced to leave?” I poked him in the shoulder before leaning on a work island. “Can you focus on something else, please? Like why a ‘new protocol’? What’s that about?”
“Rather vague, I agree. And why ban travel? Previous ministers didn’t when the Leads traveled for those ridiculous morale-boosting seminars.”
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Thank you for visiting me through Science Fiction Romance Brigade’s Presents!
I’m pleased to share a snippet from my SFR, Passages. Quinn, the hero, is also getting used to having—and placating—his bodyguard, an emotional woman only somewhat suited for the job.
I handed Taior his copy and shook his hand. “As promised we’ll do whatever we can to help, but I’m afraid we have an equally pressing problem if we’re to have the staff to help Aarde. Earlier Evard and I visited Dome—”
The others gasped, but Eve rounded on me. “How dare you leave without me.”
“Easy, Eve.” Evard stopped her with a hand to her shoulder. “Hear him out.”
She crossed my arms and stared at me.
“Evard was available to guard me. We avoided the Conducer guards by cross-leaping directly onto Level Two and used Lacuna to hide as we investigated.” I had to make her understand. “Time’s running short and you were down for repair. Besides…you wouldn’t have liked using Lacuna repeatedly. Evard did.”
Her lips pressed thin for a moment before she inclined her head. “Fine, you’re the minister. But…”
“But you made the decision in consideration of my feelings, function be damned, as Evard would say.”
Evard laughed. “In other words, she’s saying she feels bloody lucky.”
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Thank you for stopping by to check out my snippet from Passages, my science fiction romance…which may need a genre label shift. SF also stands for ‘speculative fiction,’ right? Seems my novel might fall into the ‘science fantasy’ genre. Still looking into it.
Anyhow, here we go: Quinn has never experienced small town life before, and now that he’s in hiding, it’s all he’s got.
I shot a glance at the blond girl slipping into her coat. Eyes closed, Eve rhythmically lifted the steaming cup to her lips. I sidled next to her and whispered, “She can’t tell anyone I’m here.”
Eve rolled her eyes. “Mylta, what’s the news this morning?” She raised the cup to her lips again.
“Winds gusting at a steady thirty with the moons tracking each other, so DeLentes should be within the day. The first kidding occurred last night at my brother’s, twin whites. They’re pleased,” she said with a grin.
“Goats,” Eve filled in.
Mylta continued, “The trade ship supplies arrived short on coffee—”
Evard groaned. “It’s that bloody under-planting policy they’re implementing.”
“—but I have secured your portion and Malk assures me the ship will return in three weeks rather than the usual two.”
The local gossip was too tedious for my liking. I caught Eve’s eye. She took another sip of coffee before asking, “Anything else, Mylta?”
“Yes, the last concerns a stranger in town. Two boys saw the scruffy young man with dark curly hair stow away in one of the lifeboats on the trade ship. Appears he arrived and left the same day. Alone, everyone agrees. Will that be all, Miss?”
“Yes. Be sure to stock in extra for our guests.”
Mylta left and Eve shrugged in answer to my raised brow. “You were never here.” She took a long draught of coffee.
“Still aren’t,” laughed Evard.
I rounded on him. “You—you arranged this while we were gone. But you can’t get an entire town to lie.”
“Care to place a bet on that?” He plopped into his chair, ripped a muffin in half and dunked one side into his coffee. Eating it, he eyed Eve. She studied him, the coffee finally forgotten as she chewed her lip. This explanation was going to be good.
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Another week, another bit of Passages, my science fiction romance.
When Quinn finally finds his missing ‘brother’, he discovers those memories of their fights weren’t exaggerated. Eve is afraid she might have to put her bodyguard function to use.
“That’s not the only detail you left out,” Quil snapped. “Why wasn’t I told the Cavvert lab vats had been converted to grow crystals?”
The tenor of the room changed with that one remark and Quil’s reddening checks.
“I didn’t?” Quinn frowned. “But I told you about the boxes on my way up the stairs.”
Evard cleared his throat. “I’m only getting the full story now myself.”
His effort at easing the neglect earned a glare from Quil. “Maybe you didn’t need details but I did. I’m the one working on the hornwort.” He swung back to Quinn. “Didn’t you think my efforts warranted a mention that crystals had replaced hornwort in those vats?”
I edged out of my seat. Evangeline gave my hand a squeeze before letting go. I moved up beside Evard, shutting my gift away to avoid a repeat swamping by Quil’s intense anger.
Quinn noted my position with a glance, but gave his controlled attention to Quil. “How did you think they were getting them?”
Quil threw up his arms. “I assumed the guards were breaking off crystals or pick-axing them out of the rock. Isn’t that what goes on in underground mining? And after I’ve run three megabytes of hornwort data through not one but four versions of analysis to give us the best possible comparisons on the six most rapidly changing lab results, I hear the worst lab hasn’t been functional for weeks. More likely, it’s been down the entire two and a half months we’ve been here. And all you spare time for is her rather than your duties when you dashed through.” His flashing eyes flicked to me for a second before returning to Quinn.
Quaene stepped forward. “Of course we see to our people first.”
“Except we have a minister who makes a habit of seeing to his women before considering—”
“Look, just get over it already,” barked Quinn. “I was worried about Eve. A head wound—”
“She’s a ‘torg for god’s sake. We’re repairable—”
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I’m guilty of a gap in postings. *sigh* But I’m back again with another excerpt of my science fiction romance. My hero Quinn discovers his new bodyguard Eve is not a happy camper when he disappears before she’s had her coffee.
I’d gone to the sideboard to pour a second cup when the door swung open and slammed the wall. Helmet in hand, Eve strode in, fury boiling from every inch of her tall black figure.
“You left without notifying me,” she snapped.
Her armor was fully hardened, accenting every curve. I lowered my cup to the counter, keeping my eyes on her face. It was a struggle. Between that and coming up with a response that was both authoritative and not off-putting, I didn’t have a chance.
“If I am to guard you, Minister Quinn, you cannot wander willy-nilly. Communication is key to safety. Not just telling me what to do, but including me in your plans.”
Evard rose and came to fill his cup. He elbowed me. “Best course of action is to say you’re sorry. And ‘It won’t happen again.’”
Eve shot him a look of pure disgust, but I parroted, “Sorry. It won’t happen again.”
The disgust shifted to me. “Have you nothing to say for yourself?”
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In the opening scenes of my science fiction romance, Passages, the hero, Quinn has no idea the woman he thinks is his grandmother is actually an electorg. Eve, the heroine, is the unlucky one to discover the masquerade, and tell Quinn.
I slid a fingernail under one crusty end and lifted. The scab moved, exposing—“Wires. Why didn’t you say she’s an electorg?”
My tight shoulders relaxed. This wasn’t the tenuous life of an endangered native we were dealing with. I slipped a vial from my bag, probed my finger into the shallow cavity and collected a spark of her power to identify her from the Corps files. “Since she’s a ‘torg, this changes everything. I suspect a loose or damaged—”
“What are you talking about?”
His hostile emotions hit me before I saw his strangely boyish look of confusion and defensiveness. This had all the signs of a ‘torg raising an orphaned native—years ago, judging by Quinn’s mature physique—but without explaining how we electorgs were altered. She probably had strong mothering instincts from her organic years. Instincts, urges and compulsions all against Docga policies here on G47, though following them served the mission. I wasn’t going to be the one to point a finger at her.
I drew a breath. “Circuitry is subcutaneous, so shutting down to prevent further electrical short-out isn’t unusual. Let’s get her back to—”
“You don’t know what you’re talking about,” Quinn growled.
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Hello and welcome to my SFR contribution, a snippet from my novel Passages. Just as in real life, some science fiction machinery never works like you think it ought to, which my hero Quinn discovers in this excerpt:
I passed the packed shelves and glanced at the book bindings. Some titles stood out. A few seemed to glow, and then fade.
An uneasy feeling came over me. Something told me I should stop, but I kept on reading the titles, searching for another with that brightened lettering…
“Mirror of Her Dreams,” I whispered and in uttering the words, I knew. I’d done this before. Flashes of déjà vu were my friends. Graen always said follow the lead and by doing so I’d brought back skills I’d had before. Skills like quick analysis. Mechanical and electrical aptitude. Accessing Lacuna. Altering a system like the Conducer. And the cross-leap.
I walked a few paces, looking for the next glowing title. “Roadmarks.”
Another old Earth book. The memory became clearer. Reading these titles would turn the key—no, not quite right. Open the door. Lead me to…what? I shuffled forward.
“Journey to the Center of the Earth.”
How did I control this phenomenon?
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In this installment from my science fiction romance Passages, the hero Quinn receives a surprise from one of his newly converted guards.
I cracked the door. Noise came from below. Palming my knife, I crept down the stairs. A peek through the kitchen door revealed a stranger. The small blond woman was measuring water into a pot, an innocent enough activity, but… I decided to get Eve.
“Don’t even think of messing with our cook.”
I whirled but a shoulder lock trapped me. My knife clattered to the floor.
“Right-o!” boomed Evard. “Self-defense never felt so good. If only I could meet that measly Liege Orton now.”
A squeak sounded in the kitchen. “Mister Evard? Is that you?”
“Yes, Mylta, have no fear, my fair nymph. I’m just working up an appetite for one of your delicious breakfasts.”
I forced my automatic defenses to relax. Neither Evard’s tone or phrasing was that of a hostile attacker. “Do you mind?”
He released me. “Ah, my man Quinn! How’d you like that move? Did I surprise you?”
The newly converted Level 1 Minister’s Bodyguard was playing?
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