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eBook by William Powell, Jr.
eBook Category: Science Fiction/Fantasy
eBook Description: Washington, D.C. the present: Human-insect hybrids known as the Locusts, once part of the U.S. Armed Forces, have carved out and established East America. Supremely gifted Ebony warrior Myla Henderson, fights the Locusts as a member of the Valkyries, an insurgent sub-unit of the Underground, the Locusts' only serious resistance.
eBook Publisher: Echelon Press, Published: 2007, 2007
Fictionwise Release Date: February 2007
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11 Reader Ratings:
Available eBook Formats [MultiFormat - What's this?]: eReader (PDB) [286 KB]
, ePub (EPUB) [269 KB]
, Rocket/REB1100 (RB) [247 KB]
, Portable Document Format (PDF) [795 KB]
, Palm Doc (PDB) [275 KB]
, Microsoft Reader (LIT) [231 KB]
, Franklin eBookMan (FUB) [290 KB]
, hiebook (KML) [622 KB]
, Sony Reader (LRF) [359 KB]
, iSilo (PDB) [226 KB]
, Mobipocket (PRC) [284 KB]
, Kindle Compatible (MOBI) [322 KB]
, OEBFF Format (IMP) [402 KB]
Reading time: 242-338 min.
Microsoft Reader (LIT) Format: Printing DISABLED, Read-Aloud ENABLED
Portable Document Format (PDF) Format: Printing DISABLED, Read-Aloud DISABLED
All Other formats: Printing DISABLED, Read-aloud DISABLED
Myla Henderson woke to the sound of Minister Dojo telling Washingtonians that unless they paid an exorbitant fee, their cars would be confiscated by midweek.
She'd left the big screen on all night-again. A waste of electricity.
Myla blinked her vision clear. Minister Dojo's skin looked a shade lighter today, she thought. Many Washingtonians thought of Dojo as a monster-both inside and out. His eyes resembled large, red bulbs; his mouth an, ugly, yellow-green flap from which black drool sometimes dribbled.
Myla smiled to herself; she liked Saturday, a day not to worry about work. Myla didn't have to worry about her car either. She didn't have one. She had sold it a year ago.
Her cell phone chirped notes from Wagner's Lohengrin: Prelude to Act III. She answered.
"Let's hit the stores today, Myles," the caller said.
"I don't know about that, girl," Myla told her friend Amy. Myla didn't like 'Myles.'
"Oh, it's like that," Amy said. "Who is it? Brad? Luther?"
"Stop it," Myla said laughing. "It certainly isn't Brad, and Luther is too fat."
"Well what's your excuse?" said Amy.
"Let's say I have some errands to run," Myla said.
"See you Monday."
She hung up and thought about the errands she had to run-including a particularly critical one. She would run the errand that night. She wished she could have told Amy the true nature of her errands-the reason for her secrecy. She belonged to an elite sub unit of an organization known as the Underground. She served as a member of the Valkyries. Their business, counterintelligence, insurgency, sabotage.
The bus ride to the 11:45 Club took about an hour. Their eclectic musical menu, alternative, rock, blues and jazz. Myla looked at her watch, 10:05 p.m. She stepped off the bus and buttoned the top of her leather jacket. Weirdos, druggies, hipsters and even a few true music fans filled the 11:45 Club on this night, rock night. She ordered a club soda, looked around and waited. Some geek rock band called the Chimp Burners sang loudly and badly-figuratively killing the sound system on stage. The rock band consisted mostly of orange hair, pogo sticks, guitars, and nose rings. Several guys wanted to buy Myla a drink. She turned down their charity.
Eventually, Horace showed up. Horace looked fat, out of place and ten minutes late. Horace's spectacles cut into the sides of his face above the ears.
"Sorry it took so long," Horace said. "I think we're safe now. Let's go."
"I hope this doesn't take too long."
They went outside. The wind blew as if the end of the world had come, and Myla hunched her shoulders and rubbed her elbows. They turned down a dark alley and walked several yards. Horace looked behind them every few yards. They passed an enormous poster of a green-suited Locust officer on a brick wall. It read, Here to Help: The Locusts. Myla walked briskly, ignoring the sight of several detainees being herded into 18-wheelers-an increasingly common occurrence. The locusts made people disappear, shipping detainees to prison camps in Canada, a country allied with East America. Robot cameras aided the Locusts. Shaped like stick figures and usually placed on street corners, the cameras honed in quickly on anyone and anything.
They approached a small door that appeared to be welded shut. Horace looked both ways, like a kid checking traffic in the street, withdrew a set of keys from his coat pocket, and opened the door.
In the dim light they walked down the stairway. The stairway proved steep and hard to navigate. Horace led Myla through two more doors, using a magnetic-strip card. They reached the inner chambers, The Headquarters of the Underground.
The environs of the Underground looked unimpressive. A bunch of hackers hunched over laptops. Their furniture consisted of old couches and beanbags on the floor. A few refugee families lived in the bunker as well; a boy and a girl, their faces unwashed and grimy, ran past Myla, followed by their marshmallow-bellied mother.
"Is he here or do I have to wait?" Myla asked.
"He's here," said Horace. He produced another set of keys from his overcoat and opened an orange door in the back of the room.
"Good luck," he said.
Myla came in and sat across the desk from a Black, heavyset, bald-headed man with a beard. He wore a burgundy suit with a solid orange shirt and tie. His surrounding office didn't match his clothes in excitement. Fewer than one hundred people in the world had met him face-to-face since he had come to power. Friend and foe alike called him by his code name: Napoleon. No one knew his real name. A historical portrait of his namesake hung behind him under his own picture.
His big eyes bored into Myla like those of an angry bull. For the first time in many moons, Myla locked her fingernails together and flicked one over the other. She began to sweat, and she swept thin braids away from her brown cheek. She feared she would be reprimanded, maybe even flogged and interrogated as a mole. Maybe someone had accused her wrongfully. Napoleon repeatedly jammed his pen into the palm of his huge left hand. His plump fingers carried gold rings. He said nothing for about two minutes.
"I'm proud of you." He grinned large. "Damn proud."
Myla nodded. Wise people who knew him generally let Napoleon talk.
"You're not simply our only Black Valkyrie, but you're one of our best," Napoleon said.
"Two of our agents got killed last week trying to get into the Locusts' regional data center," Napoleon continued. "They posed as electrical technicians. They got themselves fried."
Napoleon paused. Myla wondered if Napoleon had joked when he mentioned the "fried" technicians.
"Like the next good soldier, child, you'll be next to advance. We need an elite member. Someone who has been trained, and ... someone with your special capability. You still have your special ability?"
"I do," Myla said. "I practice it every week."
Divine Providence had delivered an awesome power to Myla Henderson, about the time the Locusts took over. She had been a physically fit, five-foot-eleven knockout of a dark brown woman, with a tennis-star body. She had been twenty-three when she started seeing the glowing, blue diamond in her dreams. Soon after it appeared in her mind's eye-at the most inopportune times. She had seen it during workplace meetings. Some days, the blue diamond made it hard for her to finish her spreadsheets.
Myla didn't realize the blue diamond had any significance until she nearly became the victim of a violent crime. One night a thug chased her two blocks, and had nearly caught her when she saw the blue diamond in her mind and focused on it. She turned the color of night-invisible. The thug stopped, dumbfounded. He cursed and ran the other direction. She started to call her power the Diamond of the Blue.
After she realized she could do extraordinary things, she became an even greater asset to the all-women Valkyries. Napoleon had every right to call her the best; Myla had never failed a mission. The other eight Valkyries couldn't make that claim.
"I know you can make us smell like a rose on this," Napoleon said. "We've got to get rid of the Locusts' data on all the gun owners in the area. See, it's like when Robert Heinlein said, "When only cops have guns, it's called a 'police state.'" Now when the bugs first took over, D.C. wasn't much of a struggle for them. Maryland wasn't much of a challenge either. Virginia's a real problem for them right now. You're going to take out their data center down in Suitland. Wipe out all their gun records. Horace will give you the plans to the center. I have every confidence that you can't and won't fail. Is that a problem?"
In just a few years, Locust judges had thrown out the First and Second Amendments. Myla's raid would be a blow in the other direction.
"Not a problem sir," Myla said.
Napoleon grinned, a middle-aged version of Shaquille O'Neal. "We know you will."
As her foot landed before the door, a hand landed on her shoulder and another hand slipped Myla a sliver of paper. She turned to meet Napoleon's intense eyes. His gaze communicated that the paper held instructions to her not to be uttered. Myla nodded her understanding and left.