May 2021 Archives

1. Go ahead and introduce yourself.

I'm Joe. Husband of Asina, father of three adult children we don't get to see as much as we'd like

2.Tell us where and when were you born

I was born in Virginia Beach while my father was stationed there, but don't remember it at all.

3. How would you describe yourself?

About two ififths forty five, two square seven. Roughly five foot eleven and 220 pounds by the Earth measure I grew up with; I'm a Second Order Guardian so I'm heavier than I look.

4. Tell us about where you grew up.

The place I lived in the longest was Temecula, a suburban city of about 100,000 at the time in Southern California, before Imperial Contact with Earth. We moved there after my dad retired from the navy and went to work at NWS Fallbrook as a contractor.

5. How old are you?

I am 174 Earth years old. That's 249 Imperial years, or 438 of the short years of Calmena, where my wife and I live.

6. Did you have a happy childhood? Why/why not?

Very happy, even by the standards of the United States I grew up in. Married parents who loved me, four siblings and we all got along, huge extended family with plenty of money.

7. Past/ present relationships? How did they affect you?

A few girlfriends, nothing serious. Bed buddies, most of them. My aunt was the first person to have real contact with the Empire; I went to work for her about a year before official contact. Since what I did had to be secret, no real opportunity for a relationship for that year. Then VSC hired me as engineer and legal commander for the first voyage of Golden Hind. We stubbed our toes on Calmena, and I met Asina. With one thing and another, here we are, 150 Earth years later.

8. What do you value above all else in life?

My wife Asina and our children.

9. What are you obsessed with?

Obsession is a mental defect. But my wife and I have been working to rid Calmena of the fractal demons most of the last 150 Earth years.

10.How do your beliefs make life better for yourself and the people you care about?

I was raised Catholic, but am mostly lapsed. Haven't been to church or confession since I left home, but it's still a large part of my moral framework.

11. Biggest fear?

That the Empire loses the upcoming war.

12. What line will you never cross?

I will never ever do anything that betrays Asina.

13. What is the best thing that ever happened to you? The worst?

The best thing has been Asina. The worst is harder. Getting caught with marijuana on my Aunt's dog farm was embarrassing, but she handled it. Getting caught violating an Imperial Interdict was stupid, but it worked out into my current career and Asina finding me again. The various demonic counter-assaults have been ugly, but we got through them.

14. Most embarrassing thing that ever happened to you?

The day my mother happened to find out that Asina had been shagra-my and understood what it meant - basically a breeding slave. Mom is straitlaced, and didn't understand it wasn't Asina's choice. I was embarrassed about my mother in front of my wife, and had to threaten to cut her off from our kids to get her to calm down.

15. Biggest secret?

The Calmenans cannot know that the Empire exists, or that there are people here helping them learn to free themselves from the demons.

16. What is the one word you would use to define yourself?

Making the transition as a grown man from pre-contact Earth to an Imperial citizen, the word that enforces itself is 'responsible.' It was rare to so much as hear the word on pre-contact Earth; the Empire runs on responsibility.

17. What is your current goal?

Help the people of Yalskarr and the rest of Calmena survive the coming war

Copyright 2021 Dan Melson. All Rights Reserved


"Are they gone?" A young girl peeked her head out of a back room at the far end of the hall, then came into the hall when she saw the three of us.

I saw Makis tense, and understood why. There had been fur on the back of her hands and partway up her arms. The 'little girl' was a shapeshifting likahn. Once she came inside my usual perception range, there wasn't any doubt. 'She' wasn't even a three dimensional being.

Ghent, however, was clueless. "Hello, what's your name?"

Why they let that idiot fly a fighter is beyond me, Asina remarked, can't think his way out of a paper bag and doesn't notice what's right in front of his face.

Maybe that's why, I told her, He qualified as a pilot, but here and now, fighters are the easiest and least important planes, and the first chance they got, they fobbed him off on us.

"Talana," the 'girl' told Ghent. It wasn't a common name, and it meant 'hidden treasure' in demonic.

Makis couldn't contain himself. "Ghent, get away from that thing! She's a likahn, not a human! She's got fur on the back of her hands, her hair can't make up its mind whether it's blonde hair or brown bristles, and the damned thing has hocks on its legs!"

"Nonsense! She's a normal little girl, just a bit frightened is all!"

"Makis is right, Ghent," I joined in. "She's a shapeshifting demon! Don't give it a chance at you."

"They're scaring me! Guardsman, don't let them hurt me!"

"See, you're frightening her! Stop it this instant! Poor kid's been through enough!"

"Girl, what were your parent's names?" Makis asked.

"Mommy and Daddy, of course!"

I thought the 'of course' should have been a giveaway for even the densest of jocks, but it didn't register on Ghent. "See, she's just a little girl!"

"Ghent, this is not the city," I told him, "People who live out here have to be alert to the differences and nuances. She's given herself away eight times over, and if we weren't here, you'd be dead already. The only thing keeping you alive right now is this 'little girl' knows if she attacked you, the two of us would kill her immediately."

"Preposterous!"

"Ghent, you don't have any children, do you? A real little girl would have just said 'mommy and daddy' if she didn't know their names. Which at her current age, she would. She's heard other adults call her parents by their names their whole life."

"What would it take to convince you this is a little girl?"

"A blood sample that looks human," I said.

"Barbaric! She's already been through an invasion of demons and you want to hurt her?"

"Just a couple drops from the end of a finger should be enough. If she's human, it will be red and stay red. But she's not human, are you 'Talana'?"

Her jaw set, and distended just enough to spoil the illusion. Ghent gasped, Makis drew and fired in one smooth motion, splattering blood everywhere. She fell, tried to rise, but opening her mouth showed a mouthful of sharp needle-like teeth. She lost control of the shape-change at that point, as her body began returning to its default state, but it didn't get very far before Makis fired a second time, this time a head shot that served for an immediate kill. The body twitched and resumed its natural form, a low-slung vaguely wolf-like creature, but the likahn was dead.

"It seems I owe the two of you my life," Ghent acknowledged. Give him that much. Most people would still be in denial and blaming us for killing a supposedly innocent girl who was in reality a demonic scout.

"I'm glad you understand that now, but it's not getting us out to the main road where Asina will find us."

"You still haven't explained how your wife even knows we've been shot down," Ghent accused.

I'd known we'd have to face the music on that one since the beginning. "We're both agaani. We've been together a long time. Our minds connect, even when we're apart. I think someday we're going to find out agaani can do a lot more than we know about yet."

If that's not the most comprehensive understatement I've heard in a while... Asina observed drily.

Not helping, my love.

"It can't hurt to see if the farm truck starts," Makis opined, "But it's time to get moving before any more scouts find us."

Mark Jackson's problems begin when he wakes up with his ex-wife's mummified corpse.

Seven years ago, she walked out on him and vanished. Now she's back desperate for help. She claims a cult cured her cancer. Now they want to kill her.

Sceptical, Mark agrees to help. But when she knocks on his door, she looks like a teenager. They patch things up and one thing leads to another...

In the morning, she's a mummified corpse and LAPD thinks Mark did it. The solution to his problems can only be found in The Gates to Faerie.


******

"Hello Mark?"

It had been seven years since she abruptly served me with divorce papers and promptly disappeared. "What do you want, Diane?" I replied, not bothering to conceal the hostility I felt. It had been a decent enough day until now.

"I'm sorry, Mark. I know I hurt you, but it was the best thing I could have done. You don't owe me, and I don't have any right to ask, but I'm desperate and there's nobody else to ask. I need a place to stay for a few days. Is there any chance I can borrow your couch? I'll sleep on the floor if I have to. You're not with anyone are you?"

"I pay you plenty to afford a place to stay, Diane. What's this really about?" Being an ex-husband in California wasn't quite like being a field hand in Alabama before the Civil War, but it wasn't far off, either
"Mark, if I go home, they'll kill me. If I use a credit card, they'll find me."

"And this is bad because...?" I asked, callously. I mean, no more alimony.

"I suppose I deserved that," she admitted, "Goodbye, Mark. I wish I could have explained, but I didn't want to drag you in. For what it's worth, I'm sorry."

"Wait, Diane," I told her. It was close to ten already. "You can stay here tonight. Tomorrow, you need to find something else." She had to have another friend somewhere. I'd put her on a bus if I had to. I started to give her my address, then stopped. I'd changed my cell number when she left. "How did you get this number?"

"Mark, I'll be there in half an hour. I can't explain much without dragging you in, but what I can, I will. I know where you live. Thank you!" She hung up.

Well, shit. She'd suckered me again. Seven years since she just vanished (well, except for the lawyer that worked the divorce for her). I hadn't been able to make a go of any relationship since, and I knew exactly why, and she'd still suckered me.

Damn.

She'd said half an hour, but it was only eighteen minutes before she knocked softly. I didn't even finish berating myself for my own stupidity and lack of balls to tell her no and make it stick.

I wanted to just sit there and pretend I wasn't home. But I'd told her she could stay the night. Reluctantly, I levered myself off the couch and slouched my way to the door.

At first I didn't recognize the woman standing there. Honey-blonde hair where Diane had always been a medium brunette, a face that looked like it might have been eighteen but probably belonged to someone younger. Then I took in the green eyes, the pert nose that was somehow smaller but still hers, the immaculately perfect eyebrows, the lips I'd kissed so many times. It was her.

The rest of her looked somehow younger as well. The breasts were perkier and smaller than I remembered, she'd shed a few pounds and looked even more stunning. I knew this woman was forty-two - three years older than me - but she looked like a teenager and I didn't know how.

She saw the recognition in my eyes. "I can't explain, Mark, but it's me. It's been a while."

Copyright 2021 Dan Melson. All Rights Reserved.


I apologize for being a little late with this. We got some bad news about Julia, our oldest dog and only one we raised from a puppy.

Copyright 2021 Dan Melson All Rights Reserved

******

Undertime or' not, entering striking range of the six-armed demon struck me as a very bad idea. Not only were there six arms holding six weapons, she outmassed me at least ten to one. I'd seen how that worked out with ScOsh. My chances were better keeping my distance and fighting with mindbolts.

It's not a basileus, love! It doesn't have the same ability to accelerate! Asto could be counted on for helpful information. And it gave me the idea for a plan.

The spraxos even began playing into it, starting towards me as if to box me against the wall. Silly when I think about it now - I'd just demonstrated that I could teleport. Maybe she thought she could damper me, I don't know. But she came towards me, brandishing her six swords. She also summoned two more nephraim, which I dispatched with my needler before they could orient themselves to the situation. Four more brakiri also entered through the one door to the rest of the building, but brakiri had no special defenses. Ffsshht-PLOW! Ffsshht-PLOW! Ffsshht-PLOW! Ffsshht-PLOW! Four needles, four dead brakiri. I was starting to wonder if I'd brought enough ammunition, but I hadn't used half of my first magazine yet and I did have a spare. The laser that was my backup weapon was only good for about sixty shots, and one shot with a laser might not kill.

I pulled energy hard with matra, and let go with a bigger mindbolt than any I'd thrown earlier. WHAM! It impacted the spraxos' shields. It staggered her a little. I could feel her mind 'fuzz out' for a moment. Maybe I just needed to try a little harder. If victory really was that easy, I'd take it. But I suspected it wouldn't. Battle plans not only didn't survive contact with the enemy - the enemy was just as capable of springing more surprises as you were. Judging by the spraxos' likely age and experience level, she was probably more capable of that than I was.

That wasn't going to stop me from trying, though. I shot twice at the demon with the needler, only to have the shots pushed off target to impact upon the walls behind her. Ffsshht-PLOW! Ffsshht-PLOW! Dust and debris erupted from the impact sites, further hampering visibility and adding a hint of chalk and burned insulation to the already foul air of the room. But I used the time to good effect, pulling hard again with matra, saving up enough for a really good mindbolt. She continued to advance, while I moved to evade - intentionally poorly. I wanted her to think she was outmaneuvering me.

Unfortunately, she hit my shields with a mindbolt of her own as I was almost ready to let mine go, but it was poorly focused - 'fuzzy' in the parlance of the operant - like she hadn't had the endless practice in focusing her bolts to a fine point for maximizing the mental damage it could do. It impacted too broad an area to penetrate my shields and do any damage. I kept pulling another half-beat and hit her with everything I had saved up. WHAM! Perfect placement, blew right through her shields and bored into her brain. I kept pulling more power with matra, building my power reserves.

It didn't kill her, but I could feel her mind crumple for a moment. Which meant it was time for the main surprise. Shift into full undertime, use my augmented muscles at full strength to bind the demon's weapons with my own, roll off when I had them pushed out of the way, and remise right through two of her arms and into her head, slicing the brain-case neatly in two as well as dropping two severed forearms onto the ilestar flooring.

Well, a little too neatly. Damned demon actually started to heal from that - so I brought my weapon around for another strike before she could recover either physically or mentally. This time I turned the sword in the wound, making sure to disrupt brain function. Then I shot her four times in the head with the needler, just to make sure. Ffsshht-PLOW! Ffsshht-PLOW! Ffsshht-PLOW! Ffsshht-PLOW! Gobbets of demonic flesh and ichor fountained outwards as the antimatter exploded in what had been her brain. Scratch one spraxos.

Unfortunately, that wasn't the end of the fight. Two more brakiri and a nephraim entered the room as I was coming down from undertime. I wasn't done, and I wasn't safe yet. But brakiri weren't really threats, and nephraim weren't in the league of a spraxos. Ffsshht-PLOW! Ffsshht-PLOW! Two needles took care of the brakiri, and wham! another mindbolt dropped the new nephraim in its tracks. I didn't really want to use mindbolts more than I had to, but this one had his defenses up. The goat-horned demon's body joined the growing pile on the floor.

I wanted to capture Jonilo.

I get requests for which books follow which, or in which series, so here they are. All of these are available in either e-book or paperback, from either Amazon or any of the Books2Read retailers.

Set in The Empire of Humanity

Rediscovery Series (complete)
The Man From Empire
A Guardian From Earth
Empire and Earth
Working The Trenches

Preparations For War
Preparing The Ground
Building The People
Setting The Board
Moving The Pieces (will be the final book)

Politics of Empire
The Invention of Motherhood
The Price of Power
The End of Childhood (forthcoming)


Set in the Connected Realms: (multiple worlds fantasy)
Connected Realms
The Fountains of Aescalon
The Monad Trap


Set in Gates to Faerie: (urban fantasy/crossover)
The Gates To Faerie


My non-fiction

What Consumers Need To Know About Mortgages
What Consumers Need To Know About Buying Real Estate

 



Buy My Science Fiction Novels!
Dan Melson Amazon Author Page
Dan Melson Author Page Books2Read

The Man From Empire
Man From Empire Cover
Man From Empire Books2Read link

A Guardian From Earth
Guardian From Earth Cover
Guardian From Earth Books2Read link

Empire and Earth
Empire and Earth Cover
Empire and Earth Books2Read link

Working The Trenches
Working The Trenches Cover
Working the Trenches Books2Read link

Rediscovery 4 novel set
Rediscovery set cover
Rediscovery 4 novel set Books2Read link

Preparing The Ground
Preparing The Ground Cover
Preparing the Ground Books2Read link

Building the People
Building the People Cover
Building the People Books2Read link

Setting The Board

Setting The Board Cover
Setting The Board Books2Read link


The Invention of Motherhood
Invention of Motherhood Cover
Invention of Motherhood Books2Read link

The Price of Power
Price of Power Cover
Price of Power Books2Read link

The Fountains of Aescalon
Fountains of Aescalon Cover
The Fountains of Aescalon Books2Read link

The Monad Trap
Monad Trap Cover
The Monad Trap Books2Read link

The Gates To Faerie
Gates To Faerie cover
The Gates To Faerie Books2Read link

The Book on Mortgages Everyone Should Have!
What Consumers Need To Know About Mortgages
What Consumers Need To Know About Mortgages Cover
What Consumers Need to Know About Mortgages Books2Read

The Book on Buying Real Estate Everyone Should Have
What Consumers Need To Know About Buying Real Estate
What Consumers Need To Know About Buying Real Estate Cover
What Consumers Need to Know About Buying Real Estate Books2Read

Dan Melson's San Diego Real Estate and Mortgage Website

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