GORILLA REVIEW – Introduction to Shu

Rather than put together a traditional synopsis we like to introduce novels by quoting their prologue, if they have one. What follows is the prologue to the novel, “Shu.”  This is Book 2 of the Continuum Series (preceeded by Book 1, “The Armageddon”).  If you like an old fashioned SciFi tale of good guys vs. bad guys – you’ve come to the right place!

(Are the hieroglyphics real?  Oh yes, and they’re more than 2500 years old.)

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A Region of Space-Time Near Alpha Centauri

The blue mist condensed rapidly, its cloudy substance forming in a region of positive Bradyon space-time, within the Milky Way galaxy, very close to the triple star system of Alpha Centauri. At the peak of its opacity the cloudy energy flattened and compressed into a thin fiery line. Blue ball lightning discharged at random intervals along its length in a dazzling display of raw unchained power.

The energies gathered and intensified until the very fabric of space split down the length of the anomaly, opening a vent into the nether-region of 2 Tachyon space . Above and below the opening the stars of Alpha Centauri shown brilliantly. Within the opening there was true nothingness, a place where only the two dimensions of mass and velocity held sway.

Through this portal in the fabric of perceivable space-time emerged the massive spherical body of the battleship Seth, its outer surfaces a shimmering miasma of energy generated by the annihilation of antimatter in the spaces between its hull and the force fields surrounding it. The exterior of the behemoth craft was pock marked with battle damage, and in more than one location the hull had been breached and hastily resealed. The Seth’s damaged drives strained against the pull of 2 Tachyon, faltered momentarily, then flared again into brilliance; with agonizing slowness the wounded battleship completed its shift into normal space-time.

In the smoke-filled bridge area, warning alarms told of the dull red corruptive fires in the central crystals of the battleship’s drives. The ochre glow of battle lanterns flickered, illuminating the twisted wreckage of bridge stations – at first there was no movement and no sound, then slowly the crew began to recover, digging themselves out of the debris.

“Temu-san!” Lieutenant Commander Neter called as she moved her seven foot frame through the remnants of shattered equipment. She was looking for the battleship’s Commander.

“Here.” The response was distant and weak.

Neter advanced steadily toward the sound of Temu’s voice, using her immense strength to clear a passage through the debris. She was covered with grime and her long sweat-soaked brown hair stuck to her face, hiding the classic features of her beauty.

“Here,” the weak voice called again, followed by the gurgling choking sound of a person drowning in his own blood.

Neter stopped and looked around, and in the dim ochre light she saw the Seth’s Commander buried beneath the heavy frame of a Cryan workstation that had fallen on its side. “Ren,” she yelled, “I have found him! Come quickly.” Bending on one knee, she placed her hand on the ‘s forehead. The pulse at his temple was weak and her heart sank. He was badly injured. “Temu-san,” she said gently.

Blood oozed from Temu’s nose and mouth and soaked his long grey chin beard. His hooded eyes fluttered, then opened partially. There was a momentary struggle to focus through the haze of pain, then a measure of awareness. “Neter, take command of the Seth.” The whisper was barely audible.

“You still live.” Neter’s statement was not only one of fact but a fervent prayer, for, as long as there was breath in Temu-san’s body, he was the commander of the Seth.

Temu shook his head weakly. Even though his body would fight for every second of life, he knew the remaining time was short. He could feel the blood filling his lungs; even now it bubbled in his throat as he breathed. Since the Seth was the sole surviving battleship of the uprising, it was critical that the chain of command be preserved. The others must hear him bequeath the authority upon Neter. “You are now the Commander of the Seth,” he whispered with the last of his strength.

“How is he?” Ren asked from behind.

“The Cryan is crushing the life out of him,” Neter replied without looking back to see who had spoken. “Quickly, we must move it!”

Ren turned toward the gathered bridge crew and said, “Help me lift the node.”

Three dusky figures moved in the ochre light of the battle lanterns, positioning themselves around the massive crystalline structure.

“Now! Lift!” Ren ordered as he strained against the mass of the device.

“It will not move,” a crew member grunted between gritted teeth.

“Try again,” Neter urged. “It must be moved!”

With a coordinated effort, the crew members strained against the mass of the node, but it refused to budge. As the men released their hold on the Cryan its full weight came back down on Temu and he groaned as bright blood foamed at the corners of his mouth.

“Bring a grav unit,” Ren ordered between heavy breaths.

“No, there isn’t time,” Neter said as she rose and turned toward the bulk of the Cryan unit. She had never moved such a weight before, but if she did not do so quickly, Temu would die. She tore off her battle armor, as well as the confining tunic beneath. Rising to her full height she lifted her arms above her head and filled her lungs with air, building up the oxygen reserves within her muscle tissue. The hammered silver half circle that was her personal symbol hung from a chain around her neck and fell between her breasts, catching the warm light of the battle lanterns.

After a half dozen deep breaths Neter bent her knees and, keeping her back straight, gripped an edge of the device. Exhaling slowly, she began to straighten her legs. The muscles across her shoulders and back corded into knots as she steadily increased the pressure. The great mass of the device refused to move. It was a dead weight crushing the life from Temu-san.

With mechanical precision Neter increased the strain on her muscles. A patina of sweat glistened across her bare back. Long moments passed and still she pulled against the stubborn mass of the Cryan. She closed her almond shaped eyes and concentrated her very soul on the task. Another long moment passed in silence, then something groaned and the massive unit shifted imperceptibly. Encouraged, she hissed softly through pursed lips and expended the last of her strength. Slowly, the node rose a few inches.

Ren quickly slid the Commander free and Neter let go. The Node fell heavily, crushing the raised semi-metallic plates of the bridge decking where Temu had been just moments before.

Temu coughed blood spasmodically as he clung to the last few moments of life.

Neter moved to his side and whispered, “Temu-san, what is your command?”

Temu’s blood smeared lips moved soundlessly as he tried to form the words.

Neter leaned forward and whispered softly into Temu’s ear. “I shall destroy the Ra. This I swear.”

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