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Written in Light and Other Futuristic Tales

by Jeff Young

Written in Light - Jeff Young
Editions:Paperback: $ 14.95
ISBN: 9781949691375
Size: 6.00 x 9.00 in
Pages: 178
ePub: $ 3.99
ISBN: 9781949691368
Pages: 178

Eighteen stories that span from the near future to the far, from next door to the deeps of space. Meet aliens who struggle to determine if we are a threat or equals. Discover what really makes us happy. Join the war effort to free the outer planets. Find out how far a man is willing to change to gain a true talent. Uncover the gift and the danger of memories.

Includes the Writer’s of the Future award-winning story “Written in Light.”

Publisher: eSpec Books
Imprint: eSpec Books
Cover Artists:
Tropes: Benevolent Aliens, Cross-Species Friendships, Fish Out of Water, FTL, Galactic Civilization, Humanity is Dangerous, Interstellar Travel, Powerful Artifact, Reluctant Hero, Space Battles
Languages Available: English
Tropes: Benevolent Aliens, Cross-Species Friendships, Fish Out of Water, FTL, Galactic Civilization, Humanity is Dangerous, Interstellar Travel, Powerful Artifact, Reluctant Hero, Space Battles
Languages Available: English

From "The Janus Choice"

“Make a hole!”

Danvers heard as he was pushed out of the way by a medical tech leading a stretcher team up the ramp to the transition index. He caught brief glimpse of the body they were carrying and recognized his superior’s black-striped tunic. Angry red burns, seeping yellow fluid covered Brandiwicz’s face. The arriving duty team scattered to either side of the platform to let the medical crew pass. Danvers saw the medics forms elongate as they entered the index’s wavering line and disappear from view.

“You Danvers?” asked a woman as she moved down the ramp, her eyes following the second wave team as they offloaded additional supplies.


Still in shock, he nodded once. Upon further inspection, he decided she had the look of a traveler, skin worn down by the suns of other worlds, hair bleached and brittle from odd radiations. The tag on her red-striped pullover said CERDAIN. He wracked his brain trying to connect the name to any details concerning new shipments scheduled to arrive today.

“Well, how long will it take you to get me to Brandiwicz? I’m not exactly blessed with a lot of time,” she asked.

He took a breath and said as evenly as he could manage, “Ma’am, they just took him out on a stretcher. His condition did not look good.”

“Huh,” she sighed, turning about to look at the transition point. “That turns this whole situation to recycle.” Her head snapped back to him. “You’re his second in command, right?” She barely gave him a chance to nod in confirmation before continuing, “Well, I hope you’re up to it, because we need to find out why the Kamanti have suddenly decided we need to leave their world. That transition index will be open for just 24 more hours. The next one isn’t scheduled until next month.”




“Brandiwicz never had any trouble with the natives before.” Danvers shut the gate behind him as he ushered the woman forward. “You're not implying that one of them attacked him, are you?”

“I have no idea. The one person I needed to speak with just went where I can't reach him.” She shrugged. “As for a Kamanti harming Brandiwicz, our behavioral model has issues,” she added swinging up into the passenger seat of the skim. Cerdain leaned forward eyeing the spidering cracks in the windscreen. “We wouldn’t be on the verge of packing up the entire setup and leaving if he were here to give us some idea of what’s happened. This has turned into a colossal fiasco that keeps getting worse.”

Taking a moment to choke back the less-than- respectful replies that came to mind, Danvers managed, “It’s easy to look at this in a certain way when you are part of the second wave. We’ve achieved something here with the Kamanti that’s been the envy of other first contact teams. Now, with no warning, everything we’ve put together is going to just vanish. As Brandiwicz’s assistant I’ll do everything I can to figure out how he was injured and if it is related to this situation.” He threw the skim into gear without so much as a glance at her.

Danvers felt her glaring at him and ignored it, pushing the skim out of the rear exit of the embassy compound onto the flat plains and their dark red grasses. The greenish sky was full of pollen clouds and the winking jewels of the enigmatic light sail farms.

Humanity was struggling to understand the machines, making them a prime source of interest to the contact team’s scientists. The power they generated was distributed across the planet by what the researchers believed were wormhole threads. Since it took a massive amount of power to generate transition indexes, the only kind of wormholes humanity knew how to make, there was a definite focus on understanding how the energy was transferred from the solar farms to the city below.

With a wide arc, Danvers brought them around the exterior of the Diplomatic Compound to the edge of the urban sprawl that surrounded the Kamanti city of Tuanach. Maybe it said something about humanity that they were placed beyond the outskirts of the city and, for the most part, forgotten. Danvers liked to assume it was an honor. He put the errant thought out his head and guided the skim into Tuanach. The wide streets of the city gave him plenty of room to maneuver, and he focused on his driving instead of his passenger’s ire.

The outpost’s director, Weavir, was still trying to find a way back into the good graces of the loose association of Kamanti leaders. Danvers wished him luck. For eight weeks, Danvers had enjoyed the pleasures of this world and its unusual people. It looked as though that time was about to come to an abrupt end. Center had punched the transition index through and gave the envoys three months to determine if it was worth the energy cost of making it a permanent settlement.

Now that Cerdain was here, she acted as if she were going to single-handedly clean up the situation. “Where are we going, Danvers?” she asked, her annoyance clear. “I have plenty to take care of back in the compound, now is not the time for a tour of the city.”

“Well, ma’am, I thought you might want to see where Brandiwicz lived. Maybe there is something there that might offer you some insight into the situation.”

“Look, Danvers, why don’t you make things clear for me. I talked to Weavir before I got here. I talked to everyone. I even talked to that damned archaeologist, Pergman, I still can’t get a clear answer. Why are we being asked to leave?”

Since they had almost arrived at the set of rooms Brandiwicz was given by the Kamanti, Danvers considered his reply and drove on in silence. After he’d pulled the skim to one side of a low building, he turned to her. “The most difficult part of the situation, ma’am, is that we’re not being told to leave. Instead, we’ve been told we can’t stay. It is an odd conundrum. Weavir says that he gets the feeling that the Kamanti are acting as if they don’t want us involved in something. It’s frustrating everyone who’s been working here.”

Cerdain slid out of the skim, her footfalls kicking up the city’s ever-present yellow dust. She stood for a moment looking at him across the hood, her arms crossed over her chest. “I know plenty about disappointment, Danvers. Being relegated to clean up someone else’s mess is never going to sit well with me.”







About the Author

Jeff Young is a bookseller first and a writer second – although he wouldn’t mind a reversal of fortune.

He is an award winning author who has contributed to the anthologies: Afterpunk, In an Iron Cage: The Magic of Steampunk, Clockwork Chaos, Gaslight and Grimm, Phantasmical Contraptions and other Errors, By Any Means, Best Laid Plans, Dogs of War, Man and Machine, If We Had Known, Fantastic Futures 13, The Society for the Preservation of C.J. Henderson, Eccentric Orbits 2 & 3, Writers of the Future V.26, TV Gods and TV Gods: Summer Programming. Jeff’s own fiction is collected in Spirit Seeker, Written in Light and TOI Special Edition 2 – Diversiforms. He has also edited the Drunken Comic Book Monkey line, TV Gods and TV Gods –Summer Programming and is the managing editor for the magazine, Mendie the Post-Apocalyptic Flower Scout. He has led the Watch the Skies SF&F Discussion Group of Camp Hill and Harrisburg for seventeen years. Jeff is also the proprietor of Helm Haven, the online Etsy and Ebay shops, costuming resources for Renaissance and Steampunk.