Hello my loves!
The first of three novellas is ready for your eyes, heart and maybe a few other places. 😉
Remember, depending on how much love there is for the stories, a follow up feature length sequel will be written.
Onto the story!
Alric was leading a happy life until he braved the streets outside of his tower for a small, illegal procedure.
Jenna Whisper is a rogue of the streets, famed assassin and warrior.
When the two meet, their lives will be forever changed.
Chased by orcs, sentries and a madman with an obsession for RPGs, the pair will be unlikely allies in a cybernetic future of monsters and mayhem.
Can they outrun the shadows chasing them and understand what it means to live in this changing new world?
A wild and sexy adventure, Quantum Rogues will leave you breathless, bloody and wanting more.
If you’re still on the fence, please take a look at the first chapter.
The doors opened and a foul stench drifted in. Alric’s nose wrinkled as he forced his legs to move. Stepping out beyond the main doors, the young man’s heart beat like a jackhammer. Thoughts swirled as he made his way into the dirty street. Thick shafts of light burned through the thin layer of smog, illuminating the street in subdued brilliance.
Alric lifted a hand up to shield his eyes from the sun. Heart thumping like a freight train in his chest, he tried to admire the outside world of the towers and found its dirty glory seriously lacking. Used and crushed cans laid about while something that looked like a rat scurried away with trash in its mouth. Grime covered walls and windows along the street as filthy neon signs glowed, even in the midday light.
Alric turned his attention upward, still shielding his eyes. Magnificent towers rose into the partly gloomy sky, shiny and wondrous. Measuring hundreds to thousands of stories tall, they stabbed upward with the promise of comfort and security.
Alric wanted to turn around and step back in. If he made it to the elevator, he could be back in his place and pretend this was all a faint nightmare. Lowering his gaze to the grimy street, he knew he was already here. He simply had to walk two blocks and he would be at Dr. Neon’s office.
The young man took a deep breath to calm his nerves and immediately regretted it. He coughed and choked before an alert filled his gaze.
Activating filtration implant.
A swirling symbol appeared in the corner of his gaze, and his breathing became normal. The small implant at the entrance to his lungs worked, filtering toxins from the air and allowing scrubbed oxygen to fill them. Breathing easier, he pushed away the nagging doubts and began to walk.
Thoughts rained down like mad harpies as he tried to regain control of his anxiety. First time out of his tower was like entering an alien landscape. A man lay in a gutter, eyes closed and a stupid smile on his face. He was covered head to boot in filth, but the simple smile told Alric all he needed to know. The man was lost to a nano drug called Pure. It created euphoria by stimulating and converting serotonin while keeping you in a dream state. With one injection, it could last for an entire year. The nano-drones would only wake you for activities for survival, but once you ate and drank, the user would fall back into a stupor until they needed to survive again.
Alric walked by, hating the knowledge filling his mind. He spent weeks researching the lower levels, watching vids and gathering every piece of information he could. The worst of humanity lay at the bottom levels and the streets. Either genetically inferior or unwilling to work for the systems in place, they were sent to the lower floors. Those who didn’t follow the government mandates were forced to relocate as well and sometimes, driven to the streets. It created a system all citizens had no choice in. You worked and earned your way up to nicer floors and added security or you were relocated to levels where crime was rampant and human life was worth less than zero.
Wisps of smog drifted by along Alric’s ankles as he looked to a corner and saw a humanoid Sentry drone. Its black armored body stood, plasma rifle magnetized to its chest and forever watching electronic eyes scanning the area. Alric lifted his trench coat’s collar but gave the drone a head nod. The Sentry continued to scan the area as if he didn’t even see him.
Moving along, the young man put a little more energy in his step. Focusing on his goal, he quickened his stroll. Thoughts turned jagged as he tried to calm his beating heart. It was just a small procedure and he would be out in an hour. An image of Lana touched his mind and his pulse slowed. She would be waiting for him to return and then he could talk all about his harrowing journey in the slum streets of York City.
Alric smirked to himself as he walked along. The city’s name was changed over a hundred years ago as it grew taller and larger. Like a hungry mold, it grew over land and water to accommodate the growing populace when it was no longer safe to live in more rural areas. The drifting poisonous clouds ate through small areas, killing all living things without effective filtration systems. If there was a power outage, families faced a chance of falling asleep and never waking up again.
The young man cursed under his breath, his mind a kaleidoscope of random thoughts. He had a safe home and loving partner. He may not be considered for the Mars Relocation groups, but he could still live his life in safety in the mid-floors of the Blue Sky Tower. The Mars Relocation initiative was nearly fifty years away, but Alric was fine living out his days in security while the world continued to die.
Waking up from his muddled thoughts, Alric smiled as he saw a neon sign with a doctor in a white lab coat with sunglasses greeting him. When he took a step closer, a holo image appeared of the doctor, pointing the way in. A metal shuttered door slid upwards as darkness greeted him.
Alric took a deep breath, knowing his small journey was only at the halfway point. Taking a step forward, he froze as an outline of a large man stepped into view.
Alric’s heart fluttered in fear as a thick, green-skinned humanoid stepped out. Slightly pointed ears covered each side of the bald head as tusks jutted from behind thick lips. Small eyes narrowed for a moment, sizing Alric up while a white triangle was painted over one eye. Thick muscles pushed out against thick skin as the humanoid stood at about six foot three. Alric was not small, standing at six one, but to stare at the thick shouldered monster of a creature before him caused him to feel smaller.
The green humanoid huffed in annoyance as he saw Alric was not a threat. Alric was quick to step aside as the thick creature stepped past him. Alric was sure the orc would have bashed him out of the way if he didn’t move. Once the orc reached the street, it turned and walked away without a second glance back.
Alric found himself struggling to breath and let out a big exhale. He had no idea he was holding his breath. Turning to the entrance, he hurried in and the metal door shuttered down behind him.
Neon lights glowed red along the corners of the corridor. A sinking feeling pulled down on the young man’s spirit with every step. The red light gave the hallway an otherworldly feel, like marching into the abyss itself. Alric firmed up his resolve and pushed on. Hand reaching into his coat, he touched the handle of a small plasma pistol in a hidden holster. Remembering the amount of credits he paid for it, he at first felt it was too much. Now that he was here on street level, it was worth every credit. If it came down to a fight for his life, he would be armed and go down shooting.
Reaching the end of the corridor, a metal door slid up and white light spilled out. Alric’s eyes squinted as he stepped in. The door shuttered behind him and a sliver of gloom wrapped around his spine.
White tile glowed along the walls, ceiling and floor. A man in a lab coat stood next to a terminal and several hovering tables with instruments on them. A worn-out chair took up the middle, several robotic arms above it. The room was medium sized and smelled of cleaning chemicals. It was enough for Alric to wrinkle his nose. Gaze floating down, the young man noticed a barred drain with crimson streaks along the metal and spots around it. Another tendril of anxiety caressed his nerves as he took a deep breath.
“Alric Vine,” Dr. Neon asked while he placed tools and equipment on the floating trays.
Alric nodded. “Yes, Dr. Neon.”
The Doctor held out a hand, but didn’t turn around. “Your payment went through. Undress and take a seat. The procedure shouldn’t take longer than an hour.”
Alric hesitated, mind drifting to his trench coat and the pistol hidden within. The Doctor was going to put him under, but he hoped the strange man didn’t rummage through his belongings. It was one of Alric’s many worst-case scenarios, several of them also involving his organs being harvested or waking up in the sub-levels as the main course of flesh eaters.
Not wanting this to take any longer than needed, Alric began to undress. A large metal tray floated next to the chair and Alric began piling his clothes on, making sure the coat was on top. When he was fully nude, he climbed onto the chair and sat back, muscles tight.
Dr. Neon turned around and Alric’s eyes widened a hair. The man wore dark glasses but the rest of his face was pulled back like a tight tarp. Cheekbones pressed out at the tightly pulled skin. Lips were stretched, giving him an almost demonic grin. Black hair was pulled back like his face, giving him an almost alien appearance.
Dr. Neon stepped closer, floating trays staying at his sides like trained servants. Alric found himself talking just so he didn’t vault from the chair and run out into the streets naked.
“I saw an orc leave your office. I didn’t know you served mythics here.”
Dr. Neon stepped closer as the trays surrounded Alric. “I cannot discuss doctor patient privilege, but I can tell you, I help all for the right price.”
Alric nodded a little too quickly. “I understand, but I thought all mythics were dangerous rebels? I mean, wouldn’t he be arrested on sight? Are they allowed to move around on the street and sub-levels?”
Dr. Neon moved tools on trays, rearranging them for better access. “First time on the streets?”
Alric nodded again.
“If I were you, I wouldn’t ask too many questions unless you want sentries questioning you. Now, how many hours do you have on your access request before your considered missing?”
“Twenty-three hours,” Alric said a little too quickly. Every tower citizen had to put in a request to access street level. If he didn’t return by the end of the designated time, a drone retrieval unit would be activated and search for him. It was a way to ensure safety for valued citizens, even one like Alric who had no real future prospects.
Dr. Neon nodded. “I’m sure you hear all kinds of stories. Many of them are not true. We don’t harvest organs and no one is going to eat your flesh, at least not on the street.”
“That sounds like something someone would say and was going to do it anyway,” Alric smiled nervously.
Dr. Neon nodded as he picked up a breathing mask. “You’re funny, very funny. It would hurt my business if patients went missing so you have nothing to fear. I’m going to put you under now. When you wake, you should feel fine, but give it an hour before you use the implant.”
“Yes, Doctor,” Alric said in a soft voice before the mask was placed over his nose and mouth.
The edges of the mask suctioned on and gas began to flow. Alric mentally commanded turning off his filtration implant, but activated a subroutine to filter out the gas should his body began losing blood or organs were being removed. Despite the Doctor’s reassuring words, Alric didn’t want to take any chances.
Dr. Neon picked up a tool. Alric’s eyes grew heavy, lids sliding down and darkness consuming him.
The abyss yawned as Alric floated. Serenity coiled around his body like a snake and he found himself smiling. There were no doubts or worry. He was free of all earthly bonds. It felt magical until a beeping sound touched his senses. Lana’s face appeared in the darkness before it melted away, shafts of light stabbing into his eyes.
Alric blinked as he tried to regain his senses. Not sure what was happening, he turned on his filtration implant. The fogginess lifted after a few seconds and his eyes began to focus.
Dr. Neon stood, cleaning a tool. Alric gazed down to a spider drone as it cauterized the small incision just over his groin. The spider drone finished its work and leapt onto a tray before curling into itself and forming a tight ball.
Alric reached over and dug out his pants, slipping them on as Dr. Neon continued to clean his instruments.
“The operation was a success. As I said before, give it an hour before activating it. You’re free to go and be sure to tell others about my services. It will be greatly appreciated.”
Alric slipped his shirt over his head, gaze darting to his coat and sitting on the edge of the reclined chair. “Thank you, Doctor.”
Dr. Neon turned around with a wide, toothy grin. Alric knew the sight of his pulled back face was going to give him nightmares for a few weeks.
“If you need anything further, please contact me through the usual channels. I have upgrades for your implant to enhance your experiences.”
Alric touched his coat, wanting to run back to his tower and forget he was ever down here when the very air wrinkled. The oddness slowed him down as he turned his head to the Doctor. Ripples shimmered behind the Doctor as he stood with his demonic grin. The edges of the grin slowly fell to gravity’s pull as he slightly turned his head. A dark flash filled the chamber before a cloaked woman sprang forward, a short sword swinging around and the edge touching the good Doctor’s neck. Another hand grabbed his hair and held his head in place.
Alric was frozen, staring at the woman as shadows of her black hood covered most of her face except for her chin and dark purple lips. Gloved hands held the Doctor as lips curved into a wicked smirk.
“Dr. Neon, so glad we could meet again,” the woman’s voice floated into the air like velvet.
“Whisper, please, we don’t need to behave like this,” the Doctor said nervously.
“Yes, we do. You know who I’m searching for and your name came up on one of my hunts. Which is strange since you told me last time you never had contact with him.”
“I haven’t had any contact with him,” Dr. Neon nearly stuttered. “It was coded messages, asking for advice. That is all. He sent them to many of the network doctors.”
The shadows receded and an eye stared into Alric’s soul. The young man stood still, watching with wide eyes.
“I’ll need to see those messages to confirm,” Whisper said slyly as she pulled the sword back.
Dr. Neon nodded as he stepped to a terminal. Fingers tapped at the keyboard and the screen glowed on. The cloaked woman in black leather stood to the side while Alric continued to stare.
Dr. Neon tapped at a few more keys before stepping back, standing between Alric and the woman in black.
“There are the messages. Please scan them and go.”
Whisper stepped closer to the terminal. Left hand up, she began tapping at keys while her eyes scanned the information.
Dr. Neon rubbed at his head as a bead of sweat dripped down from a stretched temple. The only sound was the tapping of the woman in black with a sword in her hand. Alric couldn’t believe what he was seeing and looked to the door, planning his own quick exit.
“Whisper, he will only be found when he allows himself to be found,” Dr. Neon said as a hand reached for a cutting tool on a nearby floating tray.
Whisper recorded the messages as she kept her wicked grin, “I’m not playing his game anymore and neither should the rest of the world.”
Shadows lengthened under Dr. Neon’s eyes as his hand gripped the sharp tool. “He is the Master. He dictates the adventure.”
Whisper’s grin faded away. “He doesn’t dictate me,” the woman in black said as she whipped around, short sword out.
Dr. Neon’s eyes widened as he raised the cutting tool, only for Whisper’s blade to slice across his throat like a hot knife. Blood spurted as his left hand went up to clutch at the wound. A blink later, his face exploded outwards. Gore, brain matter and crimson streaks bounced off Whisper’s leather clad body. Pieces of white skull hit the tiled floor with a clatter.
Whisper stared from under her hood, Dr. Neon standing for a second, what was left of his head flopping to the side before it collapsed. Behind his crumpling form, Alric stood, plasma pistol in hand and eyes as wide as saucers. When the dead Doctor hit the ground, Alric’s pistol hand began to shake.
“Thank you, but I had it under control,” Whisper said as she wiped blood splatter from her porcelain white cheek.
“I…I…never…killed…anyone before,” Alric said as he lowered his pistol.
Whisper wiped blood off her leather covered chest. “You get used to it.”
Alric looked down on the cooling body as bright red leaked out onto white tiles and down the metal drain.
Whisper stood straighter, shadows still covering her face as she looked on the paling young man before her.
“Thank you for helping,” the woman held out her gloved hand, “I’m Jenna Whisper. Pleased to meet you.”
*Reviews help so please, leave those wonderful reviews.
Thank you my loves!