Kate Novel Finally

This is from the extreme rough draft I’m working on concurrently with the fantasy novel. Fantasy needs a complete rewrite, this one does too but it’s in better shape off the bat. So, just be aware you will find issues since it’s not finished.

 

 

Pale blue light illuminated the dimly lit room, creating the optical illusion of someone looking at blue walls instead of the gunmetal grey. A small walkway allowed the visitor to walk around the room without going down to the lower level. It also gave anyone who wished to, the ability to glance at the soft lit tube on the lower level.

He grasped a handrail, not because he needed to, but due to force of habit. The sound of his boots hitting the metal stairs echoed in the quiet room, easily drowning out the soft hum of the machinery to his right.

The stasis tube proved to be the biggest advancement in medicine that mankind ever achieved. Patients who were near death, or even dead, could be kept in cold, zero gravity conditions, thus preserving the body until medicine could either heal them or find ways to replace the things that were diseased or damaged.

Claudio Reyes approached the tube and then stopped short of it. A part of him couldn’t believe how things turned out in the end. After everything he’d done; all the people he’d manipulated to get his hands on this very special girl and the results of his efforts floated in space before him.

It’d be so easy to walked over to the machinery and, with the push of a button, shut it down and she’d been gone forever. And the temptation to do just that tried hard to overwhelm his intellect, willpower and training. For that reason, he pushed it out of his head and looked down at what was left of the girl.

He rubbed his upper lip with his index finger and let his mind race on possibilities. Never could anyone call him an altruistic person; in fact, most people described him as self-seeking and manipulative. And they’d be right, of course, but he took it all in stride. The job of Intelligence Chief wasn’t for a shrinking violet or anyone faint of heart. Things that happened in the shadows were more violent and extreme than anyone ever knew, and he hoped it stayed that way.

The girl possessed the best instincts, and raw talent, he’d seen during his long career. Once he had her under his control, she’d’ve been the best field agent he ever had and now, due to some jackass who didn’t even think before acting, ruined it.

However, it didn’t have to end like this, but would he be willing to risk what remained of his black book budget on her with no guarantee of success. Trained soldiers, highly decorated men and women, hadn’t acclimated to what happened and ended up killing themselves; each one taking over 200 million credits in gear with them.

If they couldn’t handle it, he thought, could she? She’s not a trained soldier.

Perhaps, just maybe, that was the answer to the puzzle before him. Something about the mental makeup of soldiers didn’t allow them to adapt to the situation they found themselves in and it created a fatal psychosis. The girl, on the other hand, spent her entire life adapting to situations that would’ve caused most people to crack under the pressure.

It was a hunch, something he couldn’t substantiate, so he couldn’t really explain what he sensed until there was more time to think about it. Until then, he’d run with his instincts, which never steered him wrong before so he had no reason to think they’d start now.

What if they are wrong? He asked himself. I will have used almost 250 million credits. The Pentagon and Congress would be hard pressed to hide another amount like that. Failure could end this program.

Had fate left him any choice but to roll the dice and hope not to get snake eyes? Soldiers didn’t work out, so they were off the list. The idea of using civilians was something he and the medical staff had thrown out but that wouldn’t work either because the was no guarantee that they’d find someone with the skills, or potential, that the girl had.

He turned around then them thumbed on the intercom. “Reyes to Doctor Thomson. Please report to medical bay four. And make it fast.”

Lisa Thomson sighed. “I’m on my way.”

Lisa Thomson was one the private little coups he pulled off that no one knew about. A medical doctor by training, the younger woman had been experimenting on cybernetics and testing on animals and with people on a very small scale. There was just one problem: her avenue of research, trying to replace parts, or an entire human body if necessary, was illegal under current law. The punishment, if Thomson had been tried and convicted was 15 to 20 years on a penal colony.

Which explained the young woman’s willingness to cooperate with him and use her talents to help him advance a black book project. Like he did now, she didn’t have any choice at the time, really. It was work for him or be jailed and she was smarter than people thought.

The hatch slid open and Thomson entered the room. A tall, but painfully thin, woman, the doctor stood nearly eye level with him, which meant it took a lot to make her back down-not that he didn’t mind the challenge mind you. Her slightly rounded face and gentle cheekbones drew attention from her thin frame and to her blue eyes. He’d learned very early on that staring into them for long periods caused one to get lost in them and the Doctor loved taking advantage of those periods.

“Damn, what a mess,” Thomson said.

“I know. I want you to fix her.”

“Fix that? Are you out of your ever loving mind?” The Doctor said as she walked around the tube. “There’s no way conventional medicine could repair that damage. Besides, she’s dead!”

Trouble Seems To Follow Chapter 1 Part 2 Revised-Serialized Novel

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The blue glow from a stasis chamber was the first thing he noticed when he entered the room. What floated inside its antigrav field could only charitably be called a human being. Muscles hung in tatters from bones and entire sections of flesh covering the girl’s chest and ribcage were missing and Claudio could see her pale red heart.

“Doctor,” he said. “How long before we can do the procedure?”

The tall, thin woman looked at her portable computer for several moments before wiping a lock of blonde hair out of the way. It was moments like this, when the Doctor seemed to ignore him, that drove the Admiral crazy. Sometimes, he reminded himself, Thompson forgot who recruited her, paid for the medical training and gave her everything she needed.

“I’m not sure if I want to do this,” Lisa Thompson said.

“Doesn’t matter whether you want to or not,” he reminded her. “I call the shots around here.”

“Yes, sir, Admiral sir!”

He chose to ignore her. “When can you rebuild her?”

“I can do the operation at a moment’s notice.”

“Then get cracking.”

Thompson sighed. “Fine, I’ll get the team together.”

One hour later, Claudio was seated in a comfortable chair while observing the operation from the sealed gallery. Thompson and her teamed moved efficiently, he had to give them that, but this procedure would take many hours, in fact it would probably end sometime tomorrow. And since it was his money, Claudio would observe things from start to finish.

Kate Almir, he mused as he picked up his portable computer and opened the file he had on her, was a dangerous woman. The youngest gladiator to make Master Champion in Arino’s history. Coupled with nearly ten thousand kills in the seven years she’d been in the arena, and he couldn’t help but take notice.

The girl proved to be both smart and a capable killer who could end a life without remorse or emotional reaction. This made her a perfect person to be a Special Ops Agent. Part SEAL, part secret agent, each operative were the most dangerous people in both Fleet and Intelligence. In fact, despite all the holovid movies about his people, they proved to be far deadlier than the public believed.

Of course if she ended up on Arino, then the girl didn’t have any family he’d need to worry about. No, she would be a perfect specimen, which proved why he’d traveled to meet with her. Instead, she’d run into a buzz saw of guards employed by her Master and Owner, Ferini.

And look what happened, he thought many hours later as he watched a pair of nurses wheel Almir’s form out of the operating room. She’s going to be better than she was before.

Thompson entered the room and then sat down before laying her head on the headrest before she closed her eyes. “Thank God that’s over.”

“That took longer than usual. Any complications?”

Thompson snorted. “Complications? There was nothing but them!”

“Will be make it?”

“You tell me. You’re the one with the plans.”

And uncomfortable silence settled over the room until Thompson spoke up again.

“Either way, it’d going to be touch and go for a while.”

“I want to be notified if there is any change,” Claudio said as he stood up. “Got it?”

“Got it.”

“Good night.”

 

#

 

The grenade tumbled through the air, a pineapple shaped symbol of death and destruction.

Time slowed to a crawl as she watched it continue to close in on her. Wasn’t any point in running, the blast would kill her just as easily as if she didn’t. Either way, things were going to come to an ending right there on the dirty, burnt orange ground of the landing field for incoming shuttles.

I can’t believe it that I made it this far only to fail, Kate thought bitterly.

A brilliant flash lit up the afternoon and Kate raised an arm to protect her eyes from the light before an invisible hand lifted her off the ground and threw the girl backwards. Pieces of metal, each burning hot, struck her body, tearing muscles, shattering bones, and a wave of agony washed over her.

The world tumbled wildly as Kate flew through the air for several seconds before she slammed into something solid. She tried to scream but no sound would come from her mouth yet the pain continued to grow…

…Kate’s eyes snapped open, and darkness was all she saw for several seconds. Panic threatened to overcome her until the darkness slowly changed to a lit room. Relief replaced the fear and the gladiator slowly worked on getting her self-control back.

 

Kate novel Chapter 1 part 2

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Now the money for his black book project was running out so all of Claudio’s eggs rested in the girl’s basket. If she didn’t work out, then he’d have nothing to show for the money spent and it’d be difficult at best to request more from Congress. This time it would, no it had to, succeed or else the entire house of cards would crash down.

Late night proved to be the one shift at Intelligence Headquarters that the building didn’t teem with life. Given the nature of both obtaining information and analyzing it, this made perfect sense. This gave Claudio the time to check on the girl before going to bed. With any luck, she wouldn’t awaken for another couple of days, which would give them the time to figure out what to tell her.

That’s going to be the fun part, he thought as he approached the door that lead to medical. But it wasn’t like I could consult her before doing things either.

The blue glow from a stasis chamber was the first thing he noticed when he entered the room. Even though the surgery had been completed three days ago, the resulting tests and monitoring of systems were best handled while the girl was unconscious and in stasis. This way Dr. Thompson and the remainder of the medical team could get baseline readings that weren’t influenced by emotion or other variables that could corrupt the data.

“Doctor,” he said, “how’s she doing today?”

The tall, thin woman looked at her portable computer for several moments before wiping a lock of blonde hair out of the way. It was moments like this, when the Doctor seemed to ignore him, that drove the Admiral crazy. Sometimes, he reminded himself, Thompson forgot who recruited her, paid for the medical training and gave her everything she needed.

“Things look ok,” the woman said finally, “but we won’t know for sure until she wakes up.”

“We need her to work out,” Claudio said, “or this program is shut down.”

“Far as I can tell,” Thompson said, “the systems are working perfectly. But you know how that turned out before.”

Yeah, Claudio thought, I haven’t forgotten. Oh, no, I haven’t.

Trouble Seems to Follow (Kate Almir Serialized Novel) Chapter 1 part 1

 

The sound of his footsteps echoed down the deserted corridor, their lonely tune matching the depression and desperation in his heart. Five years and three hundred million credits and he were reduced to hoping that a nineteen year old girl could succeed where others failed.

It proved to be fantastical, a turn of events that Rear Admiral Claudio Reyes, head of Fleet Intelligence, would never had dreamt of. Several men and women, all soldiers who’d been critically injured, had volunteered for the program, which lead to each failure eating at Claudio until a black hole filled his heart and it’d swallowed all his emotions.

Not that he was without them, mind you, otherwise he wouldn’t wrestled with the decision on whether or not to risk one of his newest bodies on a former gladiator slave. No, the question about what to do with her and her ruined body had become a priority and that’d taken over his life for the past week.

Of course, he chided himself, none of this would’ve happened if you’d not approached her in the first place.

Lord only knew how ridiculous he looked on Arino when he asked for, and received, a private meal with her. It was something almost unheard of, an event reserved for only the greatest of the gladiator Master Champions…and one that she’d earned many times over.