Fanatic’s Bane


Title: Fanatic's Bane
Series: Malbane Chronicles #1, Spacefarer #1
Release Date: June 11, 2016
Genre: ,
Pages: 247

Agent Emma Malbane has to deal with terrorists, a homicidal priest, race riots, and invading aliens. It's just another day in the life of a Free Agent in the service of the Interstellar Trade Commonwealth.

Get ready for a thrill ride to the next frontier.

 

Meet Free Agent Malbane. She's a tough as nails government agent capable of doing whatever the mission requires.

Her latest mission is to quell racial strife on the largest space station in the Interstellar Trade Commonwealth. The Human and Narath races have been at peace for over 300 years but horrific killings could spark a new race war. This should be a simple task for a seasoned professional like Malbane.

But life is never simple - even for a Free Agent. Standing in her way are bureaucrats, terrorists, corrupt cops, religious zealots, a former lover and possibly the vanguard of an alien invasion.

It's high action space opera with the gritty feel of a spy thriller. Climb aboard and meet the new face of action-adventure in outer space.

If you like the fast action of Jason Bourne or the military space adventures of Honor Harrington.

If you love the high-speed thrills of the Aliens franchise, Spacefarer is the universe for you!

Chapter 1

A short humanoid shape scuttled from shadow to shadow; his pursuers close behind.

Total darkness never falls on Barbo Transfer Station. Many shadows blanket the alleys of the city when the night cycle is engaged in the torus. Someone can be furtive if they avoid the lights coming from the buildings crammed cheek to jowl.

Dim light reflected from the day side of the torus filtered through the roof panels a thousand feet above. The figure paused and looked around for signs of his pursuers.

The back door of an all-night noodle café gaped and a rectangle of light illuminated the figure. His bald head reflected the light. The bulbous head had green skin coated with a sheen of sweat. The green man panicked and ran down the alley to return to the safety of the darkness. His body was a block, almost half as wide as he was tall but he moved with a light agility remarkable for such a bulky form.

 Brother Cassius smiled from a darker patch of shadow. He watched the Narath sprint away, escaping the revealing purity of the light. Cassius hugged the concrete wall. He focused his senses until he felt every imperfection in the wall and became one with it. The fleeing alien’s efforts at evasion were wasted. The Narath’s pursuers were too skilled to lose their quarry in the darkness. Even Cassius ebony skin alone would not be enough to hide in the darkness. Skill was required—a skill he possessed. He pulled the cowl of his cassock lower over his features. Detaching himself from the wall he walked after the running man. He had followed the Narath for over an hour trying to learn where he was heading. Cassius heard the sounds of others in the darkness. He was not the sole observer of the running man. His concealing robes and years of training in stillness rendered the priest invisible. Neither the hunters nor the pursued noticed him. He remained unmolested; a witness to the drama playing out in the alleys.

Irregular flashes of yellow, white, and blue light created a confusion of shadow and color. The scent of rotting garbage almost masked a more rancid scent—fear. The air was ripe with the sour scent of the pursued. Over that laid the more pungent, predatory aroma of his stalkers. The men hunting the Narath smelled of sweat and alcohol. A metallic scent clung to them, almost as herald to the blood they wished to spill. The smells tickled Cassius’ nose. Scent revealed both the Narath and his pursuers better than any of the faint lights.

 “Where you goin’ greenie?” A nasal voice cut the darkness.

They found the Narath. Cassius moved forward by inches. The drama was reaching climax.

“Leave me alone,” the Narath’s voice shook with terror. “I haven’t done anything to you.”

Brother Cassius reached the edge of a building and pressed himself against the wall. He forced his heart rate to slow, becoming one with the darkness before peering around the corner. The Narath’s desperate race had ended. Seven Human men surrounded the shorter alien. Light glinted from pipes and knives as they circled their hapless victim.

“Hey boys,” a pinch-faced man with a knife longer than any of the others said. “The freak thinks he hasn’t done anything.”

The men laughed. It was the laughter of hyenas circling their prey, devoid of humor and lusting for blood.

“Oh you did something greenie,” the man stepped closer to the Narath. “You came to my station.”

“Please,” the Narath whimpered. “Don’t hurt me.”

“That’s not the way this works. You and the other alien freaks think you’re better than us. You insult us by daring to mingle with Humans.”

Pinch face was within an arm length of the Narath. His left hand struck like lightning. He grabbed the cloth of the man’s shirt and pulled him close.

 “I can’t allow that,” he drove his knife to the hilt into the Narath’s belly.

The green skinned Humanoid howled in agony as the blade violated his torso. The sound of his pain released the rest of the Human pack and they rushed forward. Knives, pipes, fists, and feet slammed into the Narath’s body.

The shorter alien was more powerful physically than any one of the Humans. But even a lion can be brought down by a pack of hyenas. His strength was useless against the gang. He collapsed to the ground. The Human predators continued their assault. Sprays of blood, black in the darkness of the alley formed a mist around the violent huddle. Cassius heard the panting of the attackers, almost sexual in its intensity. The cries of the victim soon stopped. The only sound that came from the Narath was a sickening, wet sound as they slashed and beat his body. Soon it bore little resemblance to a humanoid.

In a short time, which seemed to last forever, the attack ended as abruptly as it had begun. The Human hyenas backed away from the ruin that had once been a living man. Pinch face spit on the corpse.

“Tag him Rico.”

The smallest member of the gang pulled a canister from his pocket. He sprayed paint in three sweeping motions over the corpse. The thugs laughed and joked as if they had just shared a friendly game of chance rather than a bloody massacre.  The gang walked away from the corpse and disappeared into the night.

Brother Cassius detached himself from the concealing darkness and walked up to the corpse. He threw his cowl back revealing a bald head with an encircling tattoo of thorny vines. He wanted all his senses unhindered as he examined the scene.

The Narath was barely recognizable as having been a living thing. His head was a shattered egg and every inch of his body was covered in gaping wounds. Blood covered the body.

If Cassius had not known the man was green skinned he would assume it was dark red instead. The blood spread like a lake around the corpse. Cassius stood unconcerned in the lake that was the man’s life. Bright orange paint was the only color on the corpse other than blood. The paint formed two arcs, almost half circles. The arcs met at the apex of their curves. A smaller circle rested above the intersection of the arcs. The arcs formed a stylized Human shape. It was the calling card of the Armia Razvod Chelovechestvo—the Army for Species Separation.

ARCh was a xenophobic Human group that harassed and killed alien races whenever they could. This bloody assault was exactly what would be expected of them.

“Stipendium peccatum mors est.” The wages of sin is death.

He reached into his robe and withdrew a bottle and pipette. He deposited a small amount of the blood into the bottle and returned it to its hiding place. He then stood and turned from the corpse.

 Cassius raised his cowl once more. He looked down the alley where the hyena pack departed. He turned in the opposite direction and walked away from the scene of the attack.

 

 

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