Saturday, December 10, 2016
HALCYON by Demelza Carlton
Available on Amazon, and Free with Kindle Unlimited: http://smarturl.it/B01MXN7KKWA Lone Planet. One Complex. Unlimited Chaos. Catch a siren. Stop the storm. Whatever the cost. Allie, sick of war and grief, signed up as a lowly maintenance worker for the Complex in the hope of securing a lasting peace between the Metas and Humans. However, the girl has her own secrets, not least of which is her assignment from the Lorn government to monitor the Complex for signs of a suspected saboteur. Galen, the only survivor of the Poseidon shipwreck, didn't join the Complex for peace. He wants vengeance on the siren Halcyon, the mysterious Mer whose terrorist tactics single-handedly killed more humans than any other Meta. His sources say that Halcyon is on Lorn, and he'll happily kill every Mer in the Complex until his parents' murderer is dead. Can they catch the terrorist before the Complex is destroyed? The Complex Book Series: A Lone Planet. One Complex. Unlimited Chaos. After a brutal war between Humans and Metas an uneasy truce is declared in the Seldova solar system. At the conclusion of the treaty signing, the Complex is created on the lone planet, Lorn. The Complex is a blended community of Humans and Metas, all sent to test the waters of a more peaceful existence between the two races. Living under a domed community can only mean one thing for the Humans and Metas. Chaos. A taste of what's in store: Galen unclenched his fists and stepped out of the cab. It zoomed away, leaving him alone in the corridor outside his door. Outside what would be home for the next two years. Galen took a deep breath, palmed open the door, and stepped inside. Only to discover the apartment was already occupied. "…I repeat, restrict temperatures within all living spaces to a lower limit of two…no, make it five degrees above the freezing point of water. Anyone who wants lower temperatures than that will have to apply to Maintenance and only if appropriate insulation is fitted to all the apartment's pipework will it be allowed," the woman said. A floor-cleaning robot hummed around her feet, siphoning water off the floor. An electronic voice protested, "You do not have authorisation to impose controls on all living spaces, or this one. Resident number – " "Space that!" the woman snapped. "My authorisation is ALI-407102 Maintenance override. Stick that up your circuits and do as you're told." Galen liked her already. "Processing," the recorded voice replied. "Authorisation confirmed. Any further orders?" "Give me a damage report. How many apartments are affected by the burst pipes?" A pause, then the electronic voice said, "Just those on this side of the inner ring of this level. No other apartments had sub-zero temperatures for an extended period." The woman sighed, her shoulders relaxing along with her voice. "Good. I want temperatures matched to those in 407 until the ice has melted in all affected apartments, and I want floor cleaning robots activated in all of them. Get me every Maintenance worker we have in the Complex, and a load of replacement pipes. This is urgent." "Implementing orders now," the voice said. As if on command, Galen's communications device sounded an alert. The woman whirled around, so her surprised eyes met his. She wasn't more than a girl, really, despite her authoritative orders to the building management AI. Yet her dark eyes seemed to x-ray his soul, if he believed in such a thing. Galen tried to shake off the effect of her hypnotic stare. Did that make her a Meta like the Intra at the entrance? "How many apartments have burst pipes?" Her eyes widened for a moment. "Enough to keep me busy all day. Some idiot set these rooms to temperatures below freezing, without realising that some other idiot had forgotten to insulate the water pipes against freezing. Probably someone who'd never seen snow before, or what ice can do to pipes. My money's on a stupid ship-born Meta." Her brows drew so low they nearly met over the bridge of her nose. Hating Metas made her Human, then. Just a really pretty one. Galen blew out a breath he hadn't known he was holding. Human and his type and here. Whoever she was, he wanted her. "Aren't we supposed to be trying to get along?" Galen said. "You know, us and the Metas, now the war's over?" The girl snorted. "Oh, sure. The war's over and we live under a peace treaty, so we're not supposed to kill each other, but there was nothing in the treaty about banning stupidity. So I guess we'll just have to live with that." Galen laughed. She wasn't stupid, that was for sure. "I'm Galen," he said, extending a hand in greeting. "I'm supposed to be the environmental engineer responsible for the Complex, and while I don't think I've officially started work yet, I think your AI just conscripted me." He pointed at his right hand, which hid the chip implant that held his communication device. "I've changed a few pipes in my time. I did my apprenticeship on shipboard environmental systems. Nothing as state of the art as this place. Our ship was falling apart, cobbled together from spare parts and scrap metal in the first place. You'd replace one thing, only to find something else had fallen off while you were working. I can handle pipe replacements." Her cool fingers meshed with his as she shook his hand. Her eyes lit up. "So you're the genius engineer Lennox told me about. I thought you'd be older." Her mischievous grin did things to Galen's insides. "I'm twenty-four, and I've been working as an engineer for a decade. Plenty old enough to know what I'm doing," Galen snapped to hide the tumult inside. She couldn't be any older than he was. In fact, she looked younger. And she was a Maintenance worker, which made her his subordinate. "How many apartments need replacement pipes?" he repeated. The girl lifted her eyes to the ceiling. "Answer him." "Fifty-two, not including the two already repaired," the electronic voice said. "Twenty-six each, then," the girl said. She flashed another impish grin. "How fast can you fix pipes, genius? Want to wager something on it? Loser has to make the winner dinner." How had she known he'd wanted to ask her to dinner? Galen shook his head. She hadn't. "You're on. One condition, though." She raised her eyebrows, waving for him to continue. "Tell me your name." She let out a peal of laughter. "Sure thing, Galen. I'm Allie, and it's good to have you on board. Genius or not, anyone who can fix pipes is a good man in my book." Allie winked. "I'll go left, and you go right. I already fixed the pipes in your next door neighbours' place. A wolverine shifter family. Good thing the ventilation's still working well." Galen watched her head down the corridor, unable to take his eyes off her. Allie glanced over her shoulder. "Staring at my arse won't win you your wager, genius. Nor will it get you any closer to getting your hands on it." Feeling his face grow hot, Galen turned away, but not before he heard her laughter ring out down the corridor. He had to win this wager, he swore. His reputation depended on it. And maybe more besides, he thought, envisioning what she looked like without her standard-issue coverall. One day he wanted to find out how well fantasy matched the reality.