Premonition

The New Dawn: Book 7

by V. J. Mikles

Seeing the future is not the same as saving it.

When the first premonition hits, Amanda thinks it’s a hallucination. She doesn’t have psychic power; she echoes the powers of others. No one on the ship has that power, but the Confluence stones they acquired on Terrana seems to have extended her range. Her sudden ability to see the future has done little to help her crew prepare.

Led off course, their ship finds Nola, a peaceful farming town celebrating their annual Festival. The moment she enters the city, Amanda feels more echoes of power than she can control.

Overwhelmed by both the Festival and the spirit power in the city, Amanda begins a hunt for a powerful human-spirit half-breed that can help her, and finds herself at the center of the city’s battle to purge spirit-kind from their midst.

Can Amanda’s borrowed powers give the crew the edge the need?

Find out in this epic sci-fi thriller, because knowing the future is only half the battle.
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Excerpt:

The streets of Nola were bustling, the music rising, the vibrant multi-colored banners glittering in the evening light. The air smelled of perfumes, pheromones, and alcohol, the scent getting thicker as Festival-time approached. Prince Corin Toulane hated Festival.

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“Corin, you look like a walking tapestry in these robes. I don’t think this style will catch on,” his friend Judith said. She greeted him by the Palace gate with a friendly swat on the arm, causing the beads on his sleeve to rattle. As Prince of Textiles, he enjoyed watching the fashion trends he created sweep through the city, but his Festival robe was one-of-a-kind. After his first Festival, he went around collecting the fallen beads and gems, and decided to make a robe that captured the spirit of the event. He’d been adding to it for two years now. The left sleeve was purple and gold, the right green and silver. The reds went down the back, creating an ombre effect. 

“I’m hoping it makes me unapproachable,” he grinned, kissing her on the cheek. He and Judith had been friends since childhood. She had come of age for Festival a year before him and seemed to love the energy of it. Her purple, blue, and pink robe was shorter than his, cinched at the waist, and adorned with rhinestones and sapphires. The spray-on dyes in her hair matched the three colors of the dress, creating a marble pattern when swept into an up-do.

“I’m taking you to a new venue opened by the Prince of Metallurgy. It’s smaller. More intimate,” she said, clasping both her hands around his. 

“I’m following you,” he said.  

When she smiled, the Festival lights caught the glitter on her lips. Before he came of age, he used to help his father plan for Festival. He loved choosing the color themes and designs. Then he’d attended one. The city-wide party was little more than an attempt to bolster the population through drunken copulation. The realization had killed the magic of the event. Now he dreaded seeing the Festival banners fly. He stuck close to Judith and prayed for the night to end quickly.

“I had to make reservations two weeks in advance. Final selection was by lottery.” 

“Lottery,” Corin huffed. “They see the name Toulane and there’s nothing random about that selection.”

As the son of the town magistrates, Corin was accustomed to selective treatment, especially for solicitations to Festival venues. Corin had trained hard to achieve his rank, but his appointment to the office of Prince meant next to nothing, because he lived in his parents’ shadows.

“Small venue,” she said. “No one is there for show. No one is making fake conversation.”

“It’s fake as long as it’s Festival,” he said, pulling a bottle from his side pocket and taking a sip. He kept a bottle of non-fermented pomegranate juice handy because he didn’t like losing his mind to the aphrodisiac-laced Festival wine. To others, it looked like he was drinking.

“You know who gets to skip Festival?” she asked. “Your sister. Get me pregnant and—”

“You know who doesn’t get to skip? My sister’s husband,” Corin interrupted. “If I get you pregnant again, who am I going to spend my night with next Festival? I couldn’t get through this without you.”

Judith giggled and kissed the back of his hand, leaving a trace of glitter on his skin. He felt their inevitable future—one day, he’d have children with her. There was no one else he loved. And he wished he loved her as more than a friend.

“Try this,” Judith said, producing a pinky-sized purple vial from her cleavage. “It’s Kan. It’s a new one.”

Corin sighed. Festival drugs were called recreational, but they were far more than that. They didn’t lower inhibition between couples; they fueled lust. Last year, he and Judith had tried Etna, and Corin couldn’t remember anything after that first drop. Judith got pregnant and then miscarried a few weeks later. The loss was devastating, and no amount of Etna could make him forget that pain.

“You don’t have to,” she said, tucking the vial away. She slid her hand up the sleeve of his robe to rub his arm.

“What’s it do?” he asked.

“No fertility enhancers, pheromones, or mood-shifters. It heightens your sense of touch,” she grinned, her hand sliding farther into his robe and across his back. Festival robes were designed to double as a covering in the event of public sex.

“Sniff, mix, drop?” he asked, checking her eyes for permission before sliding his fingers down the front of her dress for the vial.

“Drop,” she said.

Corin unscrewed the lid and let a single drop fall on his tongue. A tingle spread through his body, the warmth pooling where Judith’s hand touched his skin. But it didn’t set his body aflame or make him feel out of control. He felt content and comfortable.

“I’ll have some more of that,” he decided, unscrewing the cap again.

“At the party,” Judith promised, taking the vial from him and tucking it away again. “I’m saving a drop for Alyssa.”

Corin pressed his lips together. Alyssa had joined them at Festival before, but she was interested in Judith, not Corin. At Festival, same-sex coupling was taboo, but Alyssa and Judith could get away with it as long as he was there. Corin would rather the women kiss each other than him, so he didn’t complain.

Judith kissed his cheek, and he shivered at the heightened sensation. The Kan didn’t just amplify physical sensation, it amplified his hesitance. His nostrils burned, too.

“Do you smell that?” he asked, pushing her hand out from under his robe.

“Yes,” Judith whispered, her eyes darting about. Then she pointed to a plume of black smoke rising into the dome not half a block away. “Fire!”

Corin swore and ran toward the smoke. Flames rose from the third story of a metal and wood manor. Someone inside threw themselves against the window but was unable to break the moon-slate reinforced glass.

“Call for help,” Corin told Judith, searching for a way to get to the upper levels. There was a faded outline where the escape ladder should have been bolted on.

“Who? Everyone is at Festival!” Judith cried.

“Anyone can haul water!” Corin said. This was the venue he and Judith had been heading toward. They would have been trapped inside!

A uniformed officer came around the building, his jacket pulled up to shield his nose and mouth from the smoke. Corin recognized the him from the Palace.

“Officer Belgard!” he called.

Belgard’s eyes widened and he dropped the jacket, looking from Corin to the building. “How did you get out?” he snapped.

“I was never in,” Corin said. “The escape ladder is gone from this side. Is there one around back?”

Belgard looked up at the building, his cheeks twitching, his expression unreadable. “No. They’ll burn,” he said, seeming disconnected from the tragedy of his words.

“We need a ladder—”

“We will do nothing. The venue is filled with Fotri. Good riddance,” Belgard spat, the numbness giving way to vitriol. 

Corin’s jaw dropped, his blood boiling. Fotri was a name for people who chose same sex partners. People like Alyssa and Judith. Even Corin’s mother expressed anti-Fotri sentiments.

Suddenly, Corin felt a club bash him across the shoulders and he fell to his knees, stunned. Belgard grabbed him by the robe, dragging him toward the burning building. 

“What are you doing?” Corin cried.

“You wanted a way in. Burn with your Fotri friends,” Belgard growled. 

“But I’m not—” Corin began. Even if he were Fotri, that didn’t justify Belgard throwing him into a burning building! Pulling a canister from his robes, he sprayed the Festival drug in Belgard’s face, disorienting the man.

The people trying to escape the upper level could not crack the glass. Corin needed a ladder and a hammer. If he were in the textile district, he’d know exactly where to go. 

“Judith!” Corin called.

Someone jumped on his back and clamped a hand over his mouth, hissing at him to be quiet.

“It’s a good thing you were late,” Alyssa growled, sliding off of him. Her exposed skin was smeared with soot. “Come on!” she said, dragging him away from the fire. She hopped on one leg, favoring an injured foot.

“What? No!” Corin cried, jerking away from her. He quickly shrugged out of his robe and wrapped it around her bare shoulders. “How did you get out?”

“I was on the balcony. Suddenly, all the locks clicked, and I couldn’t get back in,” Alyssa said. “Festival robes do not make reliable escape ropes, but at least... there’s no way in, Corin.”

“We have to try. We can’t leave them to die,” Corin stammered, pointing to the sealed building. The smoke had to be getting out somehow.

“A service officer just killed a house full of Fotri,” Alyssa hissed. “There was no random lottery, Corin. That fire was meant for us.”

She sprayed something in his face, stunning him the way he’d stunned Belgard, then she shoved a pill in his mouth and forced him to swallow. She was getting him out whether he wanted to go or not.

*~*

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COLLAPSE

The New Dawn is a science fiction action adventure series. The plots are episodic and don't necessarily have to be read in order.

Humans have moved away from this solar system and colonized a new planet and that planet's moons. They think they’ve hit a gold mine – an uninhabited water planet – but something strange evolves the longer they stay. Humans developing super-human ability. Not great strength or power, just something to suggest that there once was life on this planet, and that life shifted to another plane of existence.

You will love this science fiction adventure series featuring found families, supernatural aliens, and hope for tomorrow. Get it now!

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About the Author

I am an astronomer who defected from academia to work on weather satellites for NOAA. I’m the author of The New Dawn science fiction series, so named because every new dawn is a new chance to make things right. While developing my novels, I wrote and produced a series of comedic films about asexuals surviving the hypersexual world, inspired by my own journey. My motto in life is that I can be everything I want, just not all at the same time.


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