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A Whisper From Shadow - Shadow Gods Saga: Book Three [MultiFormat]
eBook by Stefan Vucak

eBook Category: Science Fiction/Fantasy
eBook Description: In old Mexico the gods were real, or so it was believed ... and they left a terrible heritage. Working on a remote dig, archaeologist Lauren Hopkins discovers an extraterrestrial craft buried in an ancient Mayan pyramid. Instead of being a boon to mankind, the discovery triggers a global confrontation. The country that can seize and control the alien technology can control the world. The Serrll Combine, embarrassed that one of their old scoutships got mislaid, knows that it must act quickly to avert open warfare on Earth. The newly promoted First Scout Terrllss-rr, and on his first mission as a Diplomatic Branch agent, is sent to destroy the craft and avert a global catastrophe. It should have been a simple mission, but Terr did not count on Lauren being in the ship when he planted the demolition charges. About to make his escape, Terr and Lauren are shot by patrolling guards. Lauren recovers, but Terr faces disciplinary action for bringing the humans to the Serrll Moon Base. For Lauren, the aliens turn out to be much more than the Mayan gods of old.

eBook Publisher: Double Dragon Publishing/Double Dragon eBooks, Published: Double Dragon Publishing, 2011
Fictionwise Release Date: October 2011


2 Reader Ratings:
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Prologue

In a burst of scintillation the ship emerged from subspace.

It was high above the planetary plane, beyond the gravity well of the small yellow star. The ship's secondary shield grid flared in violet discharge, then stabilized. It paused, oriented itself and moved deliberately down into the inner system toward the bright points of a double world. It slowed as the twin horns began to resolve out of blackness - one gray the other brilliant blue-white. The ship made one terminator orbit around the moon before moving toward the dark side to hang above a narrow valley of the north pole where it waited. Below, twisted masts reached up amid the radial pattern of the base. Shrouded in shadow the base was dark and silent, cold like the cliffs that surrounded it. After a time the ship rose and slowly moved away.

It climbed above the horizon and was greeted by a blue crescent of a sleeping world. The northern ice cap was enveloped under untidy cloud that stretched its angry whorls into night. In a burst of speed the ship vanished into the black shadow of the waiting world. It moved into a polar orbit as the planet shifted ponderously beneath it. It made a single circuit, looking for the sentinel cruiser, noting the scanning sensor probes from the ground. It found the cruiser hanging above the equator. The ship maneuvered until both flew silently side by side in a locked orbit.

* * * *

"Status?" Kukll-nn demanded with an impatient growl.

Oryana lifted her head gracefully and looked where he stood before the high window, hands clasped tightly behind his back.

"They are sending down a landing boat," she said, her voice soft and musical, now slightly breathless. Her black eyebrows were arched and traced a thin line above large brown eyes. She pulled at her small pointed chin with a slim delicate hand and turned back to the main display plate positioned above the sloping consoles. The tactical grid dissolved and the image reformed into a wide-angle pattern. She glanced absently at the small repeater plates and sighed dreamily.

"A ship from home! I wonder how much things have changed," she mused, eyes misty, lost in memory. Absently, she fondled the long, white tresses that spilled across her shoulders. Down the middle of her head the hair was streaked with twin bands of dark gray of a mature Deklan female.

Kukll-nn stood silent beside the window, his eyes far in another reality. The observatory gave him an excellent view of the city below. The lake, its black waters lapping softly below the massive stone walls, stretched north and west as far as the eye could see. Shrouded in blue haze the mountains arched toward a violet sky. Ice and snow capped the peaks, shouldering the lower slopes. How fragile, he thought, almost brittle in their stark and serene beauty. So much like his native Kaplan. He shook his head, surprised at the nostalgia that had overcome him.

"Recall acknowledged?"

"All continental stations reported in two minutes ago," he heard Oryana say behind him. "The intruder has matched with our ship and is maintaining neutral status."

The Center was quiet, waiting, the stillness interrupted by the whisper of computer reports and an occasional shuffling of feet from the watchstanders.

"Sachmm-nn?"

For a few seconds there was silence. Oryana stared at Kukll's back, then climbed out of her seat and walked slowly to the window to stand beside him. Following his gaze, she watched the natives busy at their work. He was lord of this world and now it was all ended. They had been expecting this and some of them probably even welcomed it. But as the years marched the waiting had not grown easier.

She looked at his reflection in the window and the face she saw was hard. It was a rough face full of slabs, chiseled with deep lines of power and determination. A face used to command. His hair was rusty, shot through with patches of white. It had lost some of the gloss that used to make her breath catch. But the years had been kind to all of them, she thought, as she gazed at him with deep affection. And there have been so many years. Too many perhaps to face what they have left behind.

"Do you really think that is necessary?" she asked gently and reached up with her hand, hesitating before touching his shoulder.

He tensed at her touch and turned to look at her, faintly amused. "Don't you? Yes ... I can see it in your face. All the years we have spent here has not removed the longing. You still yearn for the worlds of Deklan. And me..." The fire in his black eyes waned and his jaw lifted with resolve. "Those worlds are no longer ours," he grated, each word a blow and she flinched. Slowly, he raised his hand and pointed a stubby finger at the ceiling. "That ship up there hasn't come to help us, remember that. You ask if Sachmm-nn is necessary. We shall see. Now, order it to power up and stand by."

Hurt, she turned to the operator behind one of the consoles. When he nodded to her, she looked at Kukll-nn.

"They have acknowledged," she said stiffly, torn with warring emotions.

They watched the city in silence. After a while, he turned to stare into the deep pools of her eyes and gently brushed her cheek.

"I am sorry, Oryana. I should not have spoken to you like that. It's only -"

"Don't." She clasped his hand and held it. "I understand. But..." She left it unsaid. What was there to say when the yesterdays suddenly came crowding.

"We better go and meet them," he said at length and managed a faint smile that did not touch his eyes.


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