RELEASE: THE SPLITTING

I can’t believe it’s already the big release day of The Splitting, but it’s here! You can get your copy on any e-reader.

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Excerpt from Chapter One of The Splitting:

“Things are getting really bad over here!”

The voice crept up in register as it reached the end of the sentence. A medical saw buzzed in the background and a loud banging and thumping sporadically drowned out everything else.

“Put pressure on it, and I’ll get there as soon as I can!” That voice was baritone.

My eyes flicked open. I hoped it wasn’t me they were talking about – or Roman.

Roman?

All at once, I remembered that our connection was lost. Now that the Empire had declared us mortal enemies, I’d probably never hear my body guard’s thoughts again. A horrible sick feeling filled my stomach.

I still had my implant. They couldn’t remove it without rendering me catatonic. Otherwise, they would have stripped me of that little gem in a second.

It wasn’t me they were talking about, thank God. It was a ruined man held down on a metal table. His leg was mostly severed and spurting blood. A wild-eyed woman held a cloth pad to the wound, applying pressure.

“I can’t stop the bleeding. He needs you, right now!” she yelled.

She grabbed for more cloth pads, but her movements were uncontrolled. They spilled out over the table and were quickly soaked crimson.

“Keep pressure on it.” The baritone sounded distracted, but authoritative.

I tried to turn my head to find him in the room, but my head wouldn’t move.  My last clear memory was of being dragged away from Roman with the Emperor’s sentence still ringing in my ears. Where was I? I couldn’t quite remember.

“He’s going to bleed out!”

She wasn’t lying. The man looked half dead already, his thrashing had stopped and only one finger was still spasming. I tried to help, but my body was immobilized by something.

“For the love of God, help him!” the woman said, her body rigid.

“I can’t!” the baritone snapped, “I have four others in critical condition. I have to follow triage protocol.”

Where was I? Why couldn’t I move? Was I dying, too? I tried to call out for help, but it came out as a faint moan.

What time is it? I asked my implant.

The time is 06:45 planetary time.

The woman was shoving soaked pads into a garbage receptacle. She rubbed her drawn face with the back of her forearm and then locked her eyes on mine.

“Another one’s waking up.”

“Reinforcements,” the doctor muttered. “How far along is she?”

“Just starting to wake up.”

“Press her button.”

She stripped a set of latex gloves off, pulled wisps of blonde hair off her forehead and then fiddled with something at my knee level. She left smears of blood behind her. She couldn’t have been proper medical personnel. They’re trained better than that.

With the press of the button a female voice spoke with the calm of a recording. The message was eerie against the activity of the room.

 “Welcome to the planet of Baldric, Planet 70010563 of the Syver System. We are so pleased to have you, colonist. You may be experiencing temporary short term memory loss. This is normal, and you should not worry. Your memory will return as you wake up.”

The bulkhead across from me crumpled inward with a boom. We must have been in the medical bay of a starship.

“They’re at the doors!” the woman yelled – somewhat redundantly. “Where’s Captain Vincent?”

“Busy. Hit all their buttons. We need them lively.”

“You may also be experiencing temporary muscle stiffness. This is also normal. Try not to panic. You are safe and in a controlled medical environment. Our colonists are important to us.”

“Oh my God, have you seen the monitor? They’ve got us surrounded!”

“What about Sergeant Cross and the security team outside our door?”

“Dead.”

“So’s this one. Take him. I’m moving on.”

“Forget them! We need to get out of here.”

“I’m a doctor, Charlene.”

“Your doctors are nearby and will soon aid you in your recovery from cryogenic sleep. Don’t worry, you are their top priority. Your muscle stiffness and fatigue will soon fade and you will begin to be able to move. Please remain calm and avoid stress or worry. You need time to transition slowly to your new home.”

“How long until we can get them out of those medical cocoons?” Charlene asked.

“Who knows. Some will be able to move sooner than others. You can’t rush the process. Damn.”

“Another one?”

The doctor didn’t bother answering.

“As we have said, you are a valuable colonist. The planet Baldric is a challenging environment, but you will ease slowly into your new role here. You have been selected for the role of…” another voice, more harsh and bored than the first, cut into the recording “…Native Relations…” the voice cut back out and the canned script resumed. “Don’t worry, you will be fully briefed on your duties before you are asked to fulfill them. Now, let’s go over some basics.”

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