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Promise Tide
2nd Edition
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ISBN-10: 1-55404-162-7
Genre: Science Fiction/Fantasy/SF
eBook Length: 186 Pages
Published: July 2011

Total Readers: 8

From inside the flap

The Terran/Martian Wars are over. Earth has been devastated by sixteen years of asteroid bombardment. Civilization on Mars is gone. Civilization on Earth is teetering on the brink. Three hundred and eighty-five million dead. Billions more emigrated to other planets.

Into this quickly degenerating situation steps a savior; NATech. Within five years they repair the ice caps and replenish the ozone layers. The Gulf Stream, destroyed by molten asteroids that plunged into the oceans is being restored. Salvation is at hand.

But at what price? Deborah Mariner, the last survivor of the homo Marinas branch of humanity, knows the price is great. It has cost her race their existence and it will soon cost mankind their freedom. All that remains is the final step: NATech’s formal takeover of the faltering world government.
And yet all is not lost. With her partner and lifelong companion Chrissy DuPries, Deborah is catapulted into a series of attacks and schemes that may yet see the end of NATech’s bid for utter power. But only if she and Chrissy can forge the factions of resistance and unite them against a common foe.

Promise Tide (Excerpt)

Chapter One (Excerpt)

    The fourth one was the worst yet.
    "Hey, Deborah!" Chrissy shouted over the dull murmur of the market place. The noise didn't justify her yelling so loud. That she was Chrissy did.
    I looked away from the lady who was carefully painting my nails and toward my best friend. We'd known each other for years, so I'd long since gotten used to her attracting attention. I was convinced she did it to draw that attention away from me.
    "Over here!" I yelled back, though not as loud. "What did you find?"
    Before she could answer, the lady firmly tugged my hand.
    "Ma'am," she reminded me for the fifth time, "this Sofglo permeate looks best if the user remains _still_ during its application." She looked at me sternly. "_Quite_ still."
    "Sorry," I replied sheepishly. She was a Bloomingdale's assistant and proud of it. While I was her customer, she would serve me only on Bloomingdale's terms. I kind of liked it that way. She nodded and returned to applying the Sofglo.
    "Scan this!" Chrissy stepped beside me and showed me a long, slim nightgown, shimmering with each movement and smelling of sweetest pine. I scrunched my face.
    "That's definitely _not_ you, Chrissy."
    Chrissy laughed and opened it against my back. "Goose. It's for you! Happy nineteenth from me to you!" She kissed me on the neck, just in front of my gill.
    "Chrissy!" I complained weakly. I didn't want to get the assistant mad at me. Too late.
    "Perhaps you two ladies would prefer a more robust venue for your shopping." She paused. "Might I suggest a tractor pull?"
    We laughed, not at all bothered. We got this a lot.
    "No, thanks," I said, still laughing. "I always come to Bloomingdale's when I'm in Edmonton." I inspected my fingernails, then gasped. Gentle swirls of softest light drifted in and out of a myriad of colors. Living art. "This is fantastic!"
    I showed them to Chrissy and she nodded dumbly, transfixed by the undulating waves of light and color.
    Satisfied I'd stunned her sufficiently, I smiled back at the assistant. "This is wonderful! I'll take a half dozen bottles, please."
    She blinked.
    "Each bottle sells for twelve hundred credits."
    "Okay. I'll take a dozen then. They'll make great presents." I leaned forward to the retreg and it scanned my retinal patterns. I held very still, knowing retregs often struggled to read my oh-so-pale blue-gray eyes.
    Very doubtful as to my credit, she nonetheless submitted the scan request. She smiled at me, a look of tolerance on her face. She had pegged me as a tourist pretending on the rich side. Chrissy and I exchanged private smirks. The retreg pinged softly.
    "It appears you are from the Eastern Wildlands," she offered with a raised eyebrow.
    "Yes. Maine, to be precise."
    "Deborah Mariner."
    "Thank you. It will only be..." Her face went from politely bored to terrified in a heartbeat. She screamed, looking beyond me.
    Not again! I spun around quickly and moved to my right, bringing my left hand up and ready to defend or attack.
    It was a man. He had a black head of hair and equally black beard. The smell of the sea was on him, but it a polluted odor. He charged me.
    "Unholy aberration!" he shouted, drawing a knife.
    I slipped to his side and smacked him on the back of the head. Not hard, just enough to let him finish the trip into the cosmetics table.
    He and the cosmetics crashed to the floor. I winced. I should probably pay for that. He had trouble getting to his feet, so I took a moment to find Chrissy.
    She had faded into the gathering crowd. Good. She was human and blended well with the others. She always wanted to help me when things like this happened, but knew her disappearing was the best thing to do. It let me focus.
    A focus I had let slip. A guttural snort brought me back to the task at hand. The maniac, covered in bright pinks and reds and smelling of roses, was charging again.
    His knife flashed from side to side, threatening to disembowel me. I couldn't back up without endangering the people, so I vaulted lightly into the air. He passed under me and I tugged his shirt back. I'm fairly tall, but slim, so I don't look to be strong. My ancestry put the lie to that.
    He jerked back like a fish on a hook and crashed to the floor. Using his mass for a counterweight, I stopped my forward movement and landed over him, my foot on his throat.
    He writhed under my foot, his arm slashing back and forth. A startled - frightened? - gasp came from my audience as they watched him vainly try to cut my legs. They saw only a blur as I moved and replaced each leg, dodging the knife as easily as I dodged the razor sharp coral of a reef in the darkest waters.
    I needed to end this, so I applied more pressure to his throat.
    "I can snap your neck right now," I said quietly, "And no court in the country would prosecute me." Then with an even quieter voice, I added, "And since you know who I am, you know that I will."
    He stared at me with seething hatred, a hatred only expressed by racists, and nodded. I relaxed slightly. Maybe I could avoid a mess as bad as the last time. That one had no... A scream. He'd flipped the knife in his hand and thrown it at the crowd.
    I dove at the knife, seeing it move through the air. One step. Two. My left hand shot out and pulled it from its flight. Sliding to the floor to avoid running into a well-dressed woman frozen in terror, I spun around and jammed the knife into the floor, braking hard. That bastard!
    I rose quickly, but a new problem had reared up. He'd cleared a gun from his jacket and brought it to bear. I moved to my left slowly. If I moved too fast, he'd panic and begin firing indiscriminately.
    He didn't even stop to make a speech or gloat or anything. He simply pulled the trigger.
    There was a loud explosion and I heard the slug whip by my head as I jerked to my right. It ricocheted against something and whined off in a different direction. He saw his mistake and lowered his aim to my body. I tensed, hoping I could move faster than I ever had. For a second, the scene was utterly motionless. The hunter enjoying his moment, the prey preparing her defense, the onlookers frozen by the spectacle of life's end.
    A massive hand thrust from the crowd and clamped onto the maniac's gun hand. The gun fired, the loud discharge accompanied by a splintering sound. Whether from the floor boards or the gunman's wrist, I didn't know. I did know that this fight was over. Stanworth had arrived.
    He stepped clear of the crowd, twisting the man's arm grotesquely over his own shoulder. He screamed, but not in anger. Stanworth looked impassively into the man's eyes.
    "Miss Mariner told you of your precarious legal situation, no?" He twisted the man's arm harder, threatening to tear it free. "I'll take your scream as a yes. A mistake, friend." He shook his head sadly. "I am her protector."
    Stanworth released the man's arm and seized his throat. Moving his great mass in a single fluid motion, with one arm he spun the man over his head and smashed him to the floor. He hit full on his back and choked out a wail of pain. Stanworth pushed his arm down and the man's neck snapped. It was over.
    Silence and shock hung over the scene. Stanworth calmly searched the man for identification. There came a quiet ding from the retreg, the only undamaged part of the counter. I'd been approved for the purchase...