Science Fiction/Romance, 100K words
Kinship spy JANA RANDALL is yearning for a mission to redeem herself and her career after the suspicious death of her partner. When she’s captured on a black ops mission to distant Ico, Jana is forced to share her mind with the memories of a long-dead queen and redemption seems beyond her grasp.
Once escaped, Jana finds herself thrown between a far-reaching conspiracy to reclaim a lost golden age and a bid to control a narcotic that could enslave or liberate the Iconnu. Randall must team up with religious leader BRANNON BAYNE to seize command of a particulate matter shield before the planet’s periodic variable star flares. A dynastic invading group, a drugs and arms cartel, and a secret cabal all struggle with the Iconnu to control the bloodstar plant, whose super anti-oxidant properties affect all life on Ico at the molecular level and whose life-cycle is tied closely to the solar flare.
THE KINSHIP tells the story of a spy’s redeeming mission, a revered leader’s desperate journey, and a warring planet’s only hope.
LOCUS: UONRA, ANTENOR PRIME
“You know we’re breaking mission protocol.” Lieutenant Jana Randall yanked up her sleeves.
Tang of alcohol, stab of a needle in each arm. The medtech at the rundown clinic hooked Jana to the cell separator that would remove the microscopic markers from her blood, tools the Kinship used to track its agents.
Her partner Rodrik ignored the medtech. “And your point is?”
“Without the Kinship nanomarkers, we’re off the Grid,” she said. “If anything goes wrong–”
“Domek’s scanners will pick up our signatures.” Rodrik slapped microderm patches on his own IV nicks, his dark brows knit together. “Then we’re dead anyway.”
The Domek Cartel sold weapons and drugs all over the quadrant. She had been working with Rodrik to infiltrate the organization for months.
He leaned in close. “They’re starting to trust me. I can’t do this without you.”
Jana nodded. If they closed the deal and secured the information on the cartel’s trading routes, then the Kinship could shut down Domek in the whole sector.
“You can re-inject when this is over. Enjoy the freedom for a change.” Rodrik smiled and kissed her, a quick slip of tongue over lip laced with a note of ginger from their last meal.
She never could say no to Rodrik.
The medtech glanced over and Rodrik glared back at him. “I gave you enough illegal stim to keep your mouth shut permanently. It’s time for you to leave.”
The tech nodded and walked out, but it didn’t make Jana feel any more secure.
“Even a stim bribe won’t be enough to keep news of two AWOL Kinship operatives under wraps,” she said.
More than just the espionage arm of the Commonwealth, the Kinship was a way of life for its agents and to break from it, taboo. Removing the microscopic robots from their bodies and disconnecting from the “grid,” the network that bound the Kinship together, made Jana feel rudderless and alone. Rodrik, however, obviously felt liberated.
“I need just a little bit more time. You know I’m right about this,” Rodrik whispered, his voice so low it felt like deep water. The warmth of his breath caressed Jana’s ear. “It’s the only way this op will work.”
Jana didn’t expect Rodrik to understand. He always pushed the limits of Kinship control, always counted himself against the group instead of part of it. Jana stood between them, and kept Rodrik from veering too far away from home. If she held on just a little while longer, Jana could bring Rodrik back in line. She could save him.
She’d trust him one more time, just one.