Preview Chapters to Book 4 of The Hannaria Series (Sci-fi) Published January 2012
When a group of serial arsonists begins attacking locations on Hannaria, Jernard and his family are brought up on charges of treason and accused of being connected to the group's leader. While making an attempt to escape the planet, Jernard evades questions about a set of similar attacks that happened on Earth in 2113--discovering the actual truth is far worse than he ever expected.
Introduction by Jernard
East Palace Grounds, Hannaria
December 29th, 2300 Earth Time
“Everyone else will be arriving soon,” my grandfather’s friend Acred said as he filled a glass with water and placed it on a stone table beside me. “Just state the truth, and all of this will be over by nightfall.”
Before I could respond, a tremor developed and began to rattle the building. I grabbed my glass to keep it from falling to the floor, watching the liquid dance up to the rim but not spill. Looking up, all of the balconies and the domed roof above us swayed back and forth before returning to their original positions—a design trait of most of our newer structures.
Once everything settled, Acred paused to take a drink from his own cup that was almost the size of a pitcher. The random seismic activity was just part of a typical morning for him, but I’d never gotten used to it.
“Can you at least tell me why you’ve cut off our communications access?” I asked, but from his expression he seemed reluctant to answer. “My grandfather went to find Covey on Aliond, but I’m concerned since we haven’t heard from either of them. Have they contacted you?”
For a few seconds, he didn’t say anything—just sighed and stared at me like he wasn’t sure what to say.
“Your family is being charged with treason, Bardin,” he replied slowly, shaking his head when I jumped up from my chair. “There’s nothing you can do about it but stay here and remain calm. Rhaynan and Andrew are under guard at your suite, and your father is being held and questioned outside the city. Please understand that I’m your ally, but I can’t help you if you resist any of this process.”
I sat back down. He seemed sincere, but I still couldn’t trust him. Since he was part of the Council, it made him obligated to share anything I told him.
“Who’s behind the accusation?” I asked, growing frustrated when he went quiet again. “If all of this is intended for me to renounce my position, I’ll save all of you the hassle and do it right now! Just tell the others to leave my family out of—“
“It’s not that simple,” he interrupted, holding out his DMR to me. “Can you please explain this? We found it in Jicah’s files the morning after he disappeared. It appears to be the last thing he accessed.”
Not knowing what to expect, I looked down at the screen. It displayed a repeating video of a burning warehouse—Earth architecture—and I recognized how the flames had ignited and spread.
“I thought there might be a connection to this and the fire that nearly killed Rhaynan and me on Kydena when we were children,” I replied, which wasn’t a lie. “Jicah told me he was having similar incidents investigated, but this happened a long time ago—just before we came back from Earth the first time.”
“But you didn’t mention these attacks in any official report. Why?”
If I had said it was because we believed someone on the Council was involved—at least through funding or otherwise protecting a group of serial arsonists—the conversation would’ve ended there. If my family was going to be treated as prisoners either way, I at least intended to keep the deluxe accommodations for as long as possible.
“We had a lot of other problems at that time,” I replied, and he nodded for me to continue. “Andrew was sick, and I had to make deals with the scum of Earth just to get transmitter parts. That also drew a lot of unwanted attention from their legal authorities.”
“I did read that part,” he replied, and I handed him back his DMR. “Jim Bainbridge, Clint Rossetti, Karen Lyons, and Ben Harris—you went to soldiers for help instead of Earth’s leadership directly?”
He’d combined their first and last names together like ours were said, and I wasn’t sure how to relate the word ‘agent’ to him—considering Hannarian Guard soldiers often held the role.
“Rhaynan and I weren’t in a position to approach Earth’s leadership directly,” I replied, but he still looked confused. “It would’ve been like a colonist approaching you unannounced. We had to start with where we had an opportunity and make our way through proper channels.”
He nodded that he understood, but then he handed the DMR back to me after a moment. This time the video displayed a Hannarian building on fire—the flames peaking blue and white. The date was three days earlier.
“My son Tyrin and his wife were in that attack,” he said, and his eyes flared blue as he glared at me. “They survived, but their recovery is going to be long and difficult. The group claiming responsibility are colonist radicals led by a man named Rishmag. Do you remember ever hearing that name on Earth?”
I shook my head.
“It’s not the same group that was on Earth,” I replied, but he gave me a skeptical look. “It can’t be.”
I thought for a moment, hoping he’d mistake the lie for just a reluctance to answer.
“Because they’re all dead.”
Introduction by Agent Clint Rossetti
December 18th, 2112
When Jim Bainbridge first recruited me to join his task force, he made all-expense-paid travel around the country seem like the major selling point. Seeing the skyline of Chicago upside-down wasn’t exactly what I had in mind.
“Who are you? Did Horner send you?”
When I didn’t answer our suspect in an illegal arms case released his grip on my left ankle—sending a jolt of pain through my right leg as my weight shifted. My eyes darted from the street about two hundred feet below to the scattered lights of the skyscrapers across from us.
“I don’t even know anybody named Horner!” I screamed back, but then I felt him start to release his grip on my right ankle. “I’m a federal agent—FBI!”
His grip suddenly tightened, and I almost passed out as he pulled me back up and over the balcony. As pressure left my head and blood filtered back to the rest of my body, I focused enough to realize he still had my own gun pointed at me.
“What division are you under?”
“What?” I asked, but he glared at me. “I’m not lying to you! Just give me a minute to think!”
I wasn’t going to say anything, but he’d left the gun’s safety on—a strange mistake for a weapon’s dealer. He was young though, and it added to my theory that he was negotiating the deals for someone else.
“What division are you under?” he repeated, almost out of breath as he pulled up a white plastic patio chair and sat down across from me. “I’m not going to ask again.”
It was a long shot that any backup was on its way, but I knew I had a better chance of staying alive if I kept talking and kept him talking.
“Look, I honestly can’t keep up with our structure anymore,” I replied in as calm of a tone as I could. “Right now we’re all pulling the workloads of about three field agents each, and they’re about to make Director Casey some sort of head over the North American IBI next month. That’s going to restructure us again as soon as President Cooper signs—“
“I just want to know why you came here,” he interrupted then glanced toward the sliding glass door. “I thought you were someone else—someone sent here to kill me.”
I groaned and pushed myself up to where my back was propped against the balcony’s wrought iron railing. My leg wasn’t broken, but it was still throbbing and swollen like something was torn. The cold wasn’t helping the pain either.
“We have proof that you’ve been buying up military grade missile and satellite components for the past six months,” I replied, but he smirked and shrugged his shoulders like he had no intentions of denying it. “What are you building?”
“You wouldn’t believe me if I told you,” he replied, but to my surprise he turned his back on me and started back inside the apartment. “Just stay there and don’t move.”
I waited and listened for him to return, but I ended up closing my eyes and putting pressure on my knee as the pain increased. About twenty minutes later, I was startled to see Bainbridge come through the doorway and walk up to me.
“Paramedics are on their way,” he said, staring out at the view then back down at me. “Are you all right?”
“Just a little conflicted,” I replied through gritted teeth, and he gave me an odd look. “I’m not going to be running anytime soon, but my back feels better than it has in years. Did you catch him?”
“No, but he called me from your phone to make sure you got some help,” he replied, shaking his head. “He also gave me a couple of aliases that matched in the database, but there’s a problem.”
“The case files are 113 years old.”
About the Author:
Sci-fi novelist Patricia Gilliam is the author of The Hannaria Series: Out of the Gray (2009), Legacy (2009), No Good Deed Goes Unpunished (2010), and Something Like the Truth (2012). She has also written over 1,000 non-fiction articles and 40 fiction short stories since 2006. Outside of writing, she operates a broadcast camera for the Christian television show "Power of the Word" in the Knoxville, TN area. She and her husband Cory have been married since May 2005. They have two dachshunds (J.D. and Turk) and adopted a retired racing greyhound named Lucius Malfoy ("Mal") in 2009.
Book 5 in The Hannaria Series, Where the Oasis Blooms, will be available in ebook and paperback format in early 2013.
Amazon Author Page
Facebook Author Page
Shelfari.com Page for The Hannaria Series
Product Links: (Note: Buying any book through these links also helps support Writing.com as opposed to going to Amazon directly. Also check for sale prices, which aren't always reflected because of how these links are generated. Thank you!)
Description information of previous books can be found at these links: