A blend of cyberpunk, post-apocalyptic, and fantasy.
FREE PREQUEL NOVEL
Marci, a super soldier and escapee of the Astral’s bio-enhancement military program Zedger, has found new purpose in rescuing others like her. But she can’t do it alone, and not without parts. In need of special supplies to repair the soldiers the Astrals discard, Marci must travel to the last standing city of Tellurians.
There, in EsoTerra, she must fight for her right to trade with others for what she requires. She tries to hide her identity, mask her skills, play down her expertise, but too many have heard rumors of her. Soon, she finds herself helping other soldiers that have been dumped from Zedger. Recently disposed soldiers have lost their minds somewhere in the Genesis Hub.
Marci must deep dive their cerebral enhancements to figure out why and salvage everyone she can. What she discovers when searching the Genesis stream alerts Astrals to her position. Lead rain falls from the sky in the form of BloodTitans.
Can Marci save the soldiers and her people?
Or is this the Tellurians’ last stand? Features cursing and violence.
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BOOK 0: RECLAMATION, EXERPT FROM CHAPTER 1
Copyright © 2021 Elysia Lumen Strife
All Rights Reserved.
For the little girl
Who once knelt to Darth Vader.
I AM NOT WITHOUT MERCY. I think it until it’s all I hear.
On my exam table lays a shivering, blistered soldier, the whites of his eyes as red as our irradiated homeland, his irises the blue of the shields protecting Astrals’ High Cities. He’s young, not quite twenty, and the Astrals already discarded him—a failed subject of their military bio-enhancement project: Zedger. I’m out of sedatives and painkillers. I’ve coated his sunburnt skin in homemade lotion, but it isn’t enough for the agony he’s in.
I should’ve gone for supplies last week but couldn’t. My latest surviving patient was in no shape to be left unattended. Lenny leans in the doorway, now on crutches, watching everything.
“Marci— Let him go.” Houston, my assistant, has been with me the longest of what normal Tellurians would call friends. He stays close to Lenny in case he needs help.
“You know I can’t,” I say, adjusting the cerebral uplink band on the soldier’s head.
“Won’t.” Houston’s the one person who knows my secrets. All the others are dead, or they’re Ingrid, the Astral who redesigned me into a soldier over a decade ago.
Whatever. My recent rescue twitches and jerks on the table, constantly throwing the positioning of the sensory band off. I need to know what the splay tech the Astrals inserted into the back of his brain is doing.
I get a decent connection and see what I usually do, to my relief. On-screen, I get a readout of the man’s splay which is snugged to the occipital lobe in his brain. The pin at the center of the unit is lit like an overclocked CPU.
Typical. Genesis programming is trying to shut him down. It happens to every soldier when Astrals are done with them. Some survive the disconnect. This is what happens. This is my life. I snatch up my port-to-port cable and clip one end to the connection just below his splay at the top of his neck.
“Again?” Houston scratches his balding head.
I trust Houston because he’s older, he’s lost everything like us, and he’s stuck by my side no matter what I ask of him out here in the red zones. Houston has no agenda, no stake in the Astrals’ war. Survival and defiance drive him like most Tellurians.
I check the bio-stats on the array of screens around my exam table. “He doesn’t have any damage to his splay, but Genesis is trying to kill him like it always does. I have to. You know that.”
If this man rips out the plug that will join our minds and let me deep dive his system, I’ll lose any progress I make. He’ll likely die from the trauma. I must strap the soldier’s head into a brace on the table.
His eyes burst open when I do. He claws blindly in the air. The heart rate monitor beeps its warnings.
“I don’t have to like it.” Houston worries what deep diving a soldier’s mind does to me. Unless the person is already dead, I have to try. I’ve seen too many of us die at the Astrals’ hands and mine when I was indentured. My guilt won’t let me quit.
<< END EXERPT >>
Book 1, Zedger: Edge of Zion
They haven’t had a Crisper in months. When a man’s body is dumped in the basalt flow south of Marci’s mountain cabin, she knows something is off. Stealth vehicles patrol the area, preventing her from rescuing the newest victim of the Disconnect. Unless she wants to risk exposure.
In a post-war, irradiated, future Earth, Marci is the only one of the test subjects strong enough to escape the experiments of Project Zedger—the Astrals’ bioenhanced military designed to protect what’s left of humanity in the Free Territories of Zion. The six High cities that remain create all law and order, enforcing it upon the wildlands at the cost of all others. Zedger soldiers are their main weapons: mutated, spliced, and cybernetically restructured to do the most damage, without objection.
The Genesis hub controls everyone. Marci knows she must take it out if she is to free her people. But this Crisper is different. He was sent to her with a message. When Operational Cybernetic Corps Snipes come after them, Marci knows her time is up.
Zedger must fall.
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Book 2: Oblivion: Fractured Empire
Available on Amazon:
Transcendence is not what the media portrayed. It is not a place of hope or new beginnings. It hides a secret project the Astrals intend to use to eradicate Tellurians and Alluvials.
The soldiers are free thanks to Marci’s virus. Genesis Hub is down. Zedger has cracked.
Marci, Levi, and Mason take on the duty of caring for escapees from Project Zedger, including the consciousnesses Marci saved from Abrogation. The only way to truly set the acquired minds free is to find a way to Transcendence and merge them with Pellucid models in need of hosts.
Transcendence, the city orbiting Earth, is heavily guarded by BloodTitans. Marci’s team is hunted for what they’ve done. The mind drive she’s wired into her splay to preserve the active algorithms of the consciousnesses is draining her energy. Their team’s desperate fight for survival takes a dour turn when Marci is captured, and a new enemy surges in from the outer rim.
Astrals aren’t the only ones who want to harness Marci’s mind to control armies in battle. Alliances shift. The fight among Astrals for control of Earth takes to space and sends Marci and her crew in a perilous direction. To save her and the children of Zedger, it will take all of her team, new and old friends, pulling together. But the new enemy has weapons Marci’s team aren’t familiar with and an armada far greater in size and power than anything Astral.
Will Marci and her team be able to free indentured Tellurians and the children of Zedger? Or will Marci lose everything and succumb to the control of a new kind of mind jack torture, leaving her crew without its commander?
Book 3: Renascent: Starborn Blood will release in 2023.
Genetic Dust – Side Story to Hybrid Genesis
This short story explains the background for characters like Marci in the series.
You can check out the first publication of this story in The Expanding Universe anthology, Volume 8.
Come 2023, this story will be made available separately.
Prefer Sci-Fi Fantasy with more aliens and romance? Check out the Infinite Spark Series here.
Hoping for Steamy Scifi? Check out the Hunted Relics series.
Like shorter sci-fi stories about cyberpunk dystopias? The Dead Cell Series will go live on Amazon’s Vella program soon. Make sure you’re signed up for Science Fiction and Fantasy Fleet to find out the moment the stories are live and to get other early copies of books before they publish!