Part Two of Chapter One

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Here is part two of Jalnuur – Chapter One, where the action begins…

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Akhen opened his eyes and looked about him in the dim light of the dormitory. All around him, the others were beginning to stir for another long shift in the mine. He shook his neighbour’s shoulder to wake him. Mentep lashed out in his drowsy state, missing Akhen’s face with his fist, yelping in pain when it struck the rock wall beside him. “Come on man get up!” Akhen said, as he went through the routine of binding his hands and feet with the stinking rags from under his bed. The two friends sat in silence eating the meagre breakfast of hard bread followed by fetid water, liberally laced with Negan dust.

“Where’s Hoetep?” Mentep asked, dipping his mug into the water barrel.

“How should I know? He’s your brother, not mine,” Akhen replied, pinching a piece of crust from Mentep’s plate while his large friend’s back was turned. “He and Seti were sent to the eighth level yesterday. Perhaps they’re still there,” he added, as he swallowed the stolen morsel.

Across the darkened passage in the women’s dormitory Nefer was stirring the women from their slumber. She had been awake for what seemed like hours. By now most of the occupants of the two Nephile dormitories were awake, or at least on their feet. Nefer’s best friend, Mintaka, sat on the bed coughing up blood. She had been there the longest of all the Nephile inmates, nearly five months. One could be forgiven for thinking there was a large age gap between the two lifelong friends, but in fact they were born within minutes of each other. They had grown up together and it seemed as if they just may die together as well. The Drana guards marched the weary band of men, women, and children from all parts of the empire and beyond towards the turbo-shaft, passing below the latest ‘example’ who had been temporarily crucified on a beam above them. The guards averted their eyes not wishing to see their disgraced Drana brother.

The turbo-lift stopped at the lowest level of the mine. Akhen and the rest made their way to the equipment bay, a small disused mineshaft close to the turbo-lift, and were each issued with a pick and a phosphor light. Dividing them up into work crews, the Drana guards sent them off to the Negan veins. Down there, time meant nothing. The only way to tell its passage was when the food break occurred. Those too sick to do the hard physical work at the mine-face delivered the food. The sharp pain from the Khaz discharge whips on their heads and backs signalled the resumption of mining.

Children were used to push the heavy trolleys back to the turbo lift where the Negan ore was sent to be processed on the second level of the huge underground complex. Being sent to work in the crushing facility absolutely guaranteed an early death. The dust created by the process hung in thick choking clouds in the foul air of the huge cavern. Just walking around the place made life unbearable. Many tried to prevent breathing in the dust by covering their mouth and nose with a piece of torn cloth, but the rags quickly clogged up making breathing practically impossible.

Akhen and Mentep worked together at the face while Nefer and Mintaka loaded the Negan ore into the waiting trolleys. Amunat and Iset were responsible for shoring up the shaft, and laying the tracks for the trolleys as the shaft extended deeper into the planet’s surface. Both women struggled with the large pit props and heavy trolley rails. The raw Negan ore prevented the Nephile from using their natural powers, in this case levitation. Since Hoetep and Seti were sent to the eighth level, the two women were forced to take their place in the crew.

After the shift, the group of friends collapsed on their bunks totally exhausted after the day’s work. Nefer washed Mintaka’s face and hands, wiping away the blood from her mouth and nose. She was getting weaker by the hour. Nefer knew her friend would not survive much longer. Amunat and Iset helped to make Mintaka as comfortable as they could. Young Sekhmet brought a bowl of food over, holding it while Nefer fed Mintaka. Children like Sekhmet should never have to be in a place like this! When her parents were taken, she was arrested along with the others. The Drana officer had his orders and when it came to Nephile, there were no exceptions. If one was guilty, the whole family shared in that guilt. Besides, just being Nephile was justification enough in the Drana’s eyes.

Across the passage, Akhen and Mentep were deep in conversation when Seti arrived. “What have you stolen this time?” Akhen asked, as Seti sat down beside him on the bed.

“Found—not stolen!” Seti laughed. He opened the rag bundle and produced a Drana passkey.

“They’ll miss it,” Mentep said, inspecting it.

“They’re always losing things,” Seti replied, tipping out the remainder of his ‘finds’ onto the bed. “Take a look at this,” he said holding up a charge unit for a disruptor rifle.

“Seti, one of these days you’ll be caught!” Mentep growled.

“So what are they going to do? Throw me into prison?” Seti replied, sarcastically.

Akhen carefully inspected the charge unit, turning it over in his hands. In the dim light, his friends did not notice the smile slowly creep across his face. “What else have you found my friend?” he asked, searching the rest of the plunder. Maybe there was a way out of the mine after all!

It would not be easy. The problem was the Khaz had eyes everywhere, thanks to the surveillance cameras. In comparison, the Drana could be evaded. They were bored out of their tiny minds most of the time, considering their deployment in that godforsaken place as an insult and punishment.

Akhen thought that one particular prisoner might be interested in what he had to say. But could he be trusted? After all, he was Drana…

~~~

Next time – Chapter Two – Rebellion

😉

Part One of Chapter One

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Here is the first part of Chapter One in my science fiction space opera Onet’s Tale.

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Chapter One – Jalnuur

An escape pod sat alone in the vast hanger deck after it was detected on a routine patrol above Dranaa. Its battered outer hull bore scars from countless impacts from micrometeorites and other space debris. The barely legible identification letters indicated its mother ship and battle fleet. The recovery caused great excitement on the orbiting base. The base commander reported the find to the Imperial Council on the home planet.

Technicians conducting a routine scan of the escape pod found a body in stasis. When the stasis unit was opened, the body was found to be desiccated due to the damage to the unit, caused by micrometeorite bombardment. A forensic medical team worked for hours on the lifeless mummy. DNA tests revealed the house it belonged to, and after contact was made with the family, funeral rights were carried out with a small delegation from the family as witnesses. Finally, the house of Hanseer could bury its long lost son Shanath. After several days of analysis, the audio recording made by Shanath all those centuries ago, before he placed himself in stasis, was played to the Emperor and his Imperial Council. Together with his family, he grieved for both their revered ancestors. A statue to honour Commander Shanath Hanseer was erected in front of the Imperial Palace. A lot had happened since he and the imperial fleet had disappeared.

Hanseer’s descendant, General Nagesh, had led the imperial guards uprising on Dranaa. Rumblings of discontent throughout the conquered planets had escalated into open revolt. The house of Ashah, led by Dranaa Nazir, collapsed once the imperial armed forces led by Nagesh surrounded the Imperial Palace. Dranaa and its people had a new ruler—Dranaa Nagesh.

The Negan mine on the barren planet in the twenty-sixth sector of the disputed outer reaches was the birthplace of the miners’ rebellion. The frozen surface of the planet, together with its extremely thin atmosphere, forced both the miners and their Khaz and Drana guards to live and work beneath its inhospitable surface. The mined Negan ore, once processed, was used to construct the outer hull for ships in the imperial fleet. Its shielding effect enabled the ships to survive most impacts from meteorites and weapons. People making up the mining community came from all parts of the empire that had fallen foul of the impossible rules and regulations imposed by the former Dranaa Nazir, and adopted by Nagesh.

Each planet paid tribute in the form of men and boys conscripted for military service, young girls destined to become servants or concubines, plus food, textiles, and raw materials, which were sent to Dranaa. When anyone protested, he or she, were immediately banished to the mines. The miners greatly outnumbered their Khaz and Drana guards, but because of the cruel punishment regime, remained docile. Those who tried standing up for themselves were flogged mercilessly with discharge whips, administered by the Khaz, encouraged by the Drana guards. Occasionally a miner was chosen at random and made an example of to the community, which meant he or she would be flogged then taken up to the surface and cast out into the frozen wasteland. The only escape from the mines was death. The average lifespan of a miner was six months. Combined with the harsh working conditions, Negan mining produced toxic dust particles that entered every pore of a miners’ skin, attacking all vital internal organs. The Khaz and Drana guards wore protective environmental suits, rotating every month when the cargo-ships made a call, bringing more victims to their frozen, poisonous new home.

Within the ranks of miners were many young Nephile from the warrior houses of Cydon in the far off Andromeda galaxy. Akhen from the house of Horus was fiercely proud of his ancestor Hor. When Lord Hor and his family returned to Cydon, the whole planet rejoiced. Hor’s brother-in-law, the Human-Nephile Tom, was made welcome and honoured by the ruling council. Tom’s wife and sister of Hor, the Lady Auset, had written a history of the Human-Nephile defence of the small blue planet where I live, called Earth, here in the Milky Way galaxy. Auset and Tom’s daughter, Auramooth, was of greatest interest as the first true Human-Nephile. It’s from her that Akhen was descended. Auramooth had inherited her mother’s beauty and her New Zealand father’s ways. Many young Nephile men vied for her affections. Only one young warrior serving in the guard, responsible for the safety and security of the ruling council, stole Auramooth’s heart. Akhet and Auramooth were married, and in time, a son was born of the union, named Horus in honour of his great-uncle Hor. With his birth, the house of Horus began. While Auramooth, Akhet, and their son Horus remained on Cydon, visiting Earth from time to time, Auset, Tom, and Hor returned home to the valley at the bottom of New Zealand’s South Island.

Akhen and his men were captured two months prior to being sent to the mine, in an abortive rescue attempt on the planet Andras, a thorn in the side of the empire. Nephile led underground units continually sabotaged Drana installations and armed camps across the planet. Right from the start, things were going wrong for the latest incursion on Andras by the Nephile warriors and their underground units. The Drana stepped up security by imposing curfews on the local inhabitants. More and more Drana commando patrols were put in place to ‘discourage’ local support for the Nephile troublemakers. Security pass checks were carried out at random, day or night. Anyone found to be in breach was taken away by the Drana, never to be seen again. Whenever a sabotage operation was successful, the Drana carried out reprisals by rounding up the nearest group of inhabitants and executing them in public to discourage local participation. Inevitably, the population caved in under the pressure. The identities and location of the underground units were revealed. Akhen and his men found themselves trapped by a carefully laid ambush thanks to information given under torture by one of his own men. Outnumbered fifty-to-one, he had to surrender. He and his gallant team of Nephile found themselves in the hell-hole that was the Negan mine.

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So there you have it – the first part of chapter one. The story proper, begins in part two of the chapter.

More later

😉

The prologue for my science fiction space opera Onet’s Tale

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As I promised in my blog post on Tuesday, here is the prologue from my space opera Onet’s Tale.

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My name is Onet, my kind are the Khaz. We are the oldest species across the cosmos and because of our greed and ambition, we are nearly all wiped out. Unlike you, and all other sentient species, we do not live short lives or need to breed with one another. We self-replicate, a painful process that takes months for each of us to endure. We are a cerebral race, able to communicate collectively across vast interstellar distances. Many dominant species still continue to underestimate our machinations.

We were the stuff of nightmares here on Earth in the twentieth century, despite the fact that the ill-informed among your ancestors always depicted us as tiny benevolent grey visitors in your pictorial entertainments. Nothing could be further from the truth. Most of my brothers are pure evil.

This is the story of how evil grows and spreads its tentacles, corrupting the innocent. I know, for it was I who unwittingly set it in motion eons ago…

I have lived for more millennia than I care to remember. Since I came to these caves after the great holocaust nearly eight hundred years ago, when this small blue planet was quite literaly turned on its head, and all life across the cosmos changed forever, I have remained hidden from the violence of the world beyond these mountains. I am still waiting to go home, but until the being I seek finds me, I cannot return, so I content myself by writing this tale. While he will not be born for years to come, I already sense who he is. When he finally arrives, the celestial event I also await will occur and we shall return together to my home among the stars.

Unlike the rest of my kind who have turned to evil thoughts and deeds for their own ends, I do not now deliberately interfere with the lives of others. Because of him and what he might become, it is necessary for me to protect the cosmos as best I can from the meddling of my cousins, despite knowing that they will contribute to his creation. Above all, it is my duty to bring peace once more. There is a valuable lesson to be learned from this tale. No thought, deed or action is ever random.

One of your scientists summed it up best when he said, “For every action there is a reaction.” The truth of that statement is contained within these pages. While I continue to wait for him, and for you to understand the tale you are about to read, you need to know something of the background leading up to the events I have witnessed over the many years of my exile here on Earth, which I will lay before you in these pages. It is not a story you would wish to tell your children at night in the comfort of your home; but in a way you are all my children, so dear reader we shall begin.

It is not necessary for you to know a great deal about the many personalities who are and were involved in the tale about to unfold. The six men from different nations throughout the cosmos, who became a band of brothers, are a different matter. They are the ones you should you be concerned with. They are the berserker warriors, Akhen, Khan, Besal, Seti, Max, and Akkad, who you will meet as the story unfolds. I shall reveal why they were irreversibly transformed as you read. In their own way they also indirectly contributed to setting in train his creation by their deeds.

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So, there you have it Scifi fans. You’ve just read the prologue to my science fiction space opera Onet’s Tale written back in 2003 and published, albeit briefly in 2010. The next time, if there is one, I will give you the first part of the first chapter of part one of Onet’s Tale. All you have to say is “more please” in a comment…

😉

 

That’s All, Folks! (For Now)

That’s All, Folks! (For Now)

Lucy gets interviewed 😉

Secret Diary Of PorterGirl

Head Porter got the girl but it’s not a case of happy endings all round – where is Head Porter?

The answers to this and many more questions (for example – who ate the cake?) will be revealed when we return once more to Old College for yet another highly unlikely adventure. Quite when that will be, I wouldn’t like to say. These things take time, you know.

In the meantime,  I am very excited to be working with BAFTA actor (and great friend) Paul Butterworth once again. It is an unrelated project but the results may well sneak onto this blog. As much as I love writing PorterGirl, the opportunity to explore other avenues is always a delight.

Paul1 Paul Butterworth – phwoor! Right, ladies?

There is also the new book, of course – well, just don’t ask about that. If there is one sure way to suck the…

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Redemption Road

Redemption Road

More from Lucy 😉

Secret Diary Of PorterGirl

In a fetid communal stairwell of anonymous council flats, I find myself wearing the other hat. The air is laced with urine and recent violence and my chest heavy as up, up, up I go. On the third floor there is a door ajar; it wasn’t the reason we came here but it is the reason we are here now.

We.

Harper is at my back and I have never felt so safe. You could feel safe anywhere if you knew Harper had your back. The open door seems an inevitable destination and through it we go, announcing our presence in the familiar way. 

The flat is pitifully bare. Dust and filth fight for purchase on the meagre possessions. Yet the place is oppressively full with a rancid stench that is worse than that of death. It is the smell of the very worst of life. And then all…

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Oh what might have been…

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Back in 2003 while I was briefly back in New Zealand, I stayed with my best friend Graeme Norgren and his family. Each day while they were both at work, I decided to write a sequel to the first book I ever wrote back in 1995 – Turning Point. And so the two-part space opera Onet’s Tale was born. Here are some of it’s reviews:

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase

Imagine slaving in a mine on a distant planet, where each swing of your pick throws poisonous dust into the air that will kill you in a few months time from breathing it. This is where “Onet’s Tale” opens, but it doesn’t stay there long. This epic sci-fi tale from Jack Eason includes a large cast of characters from various planets, including the human/nephile Akhen and Khan, who is a Drana. Once enemies, the two band together to escape the mine and start a rebellion that eventually leads to a war that spans years and galaxies.

The story itself is narrated by Onet, who happens to be a Khaz. Think little gray alien guy that might land in Area 51. Except Onet is albino and has red eyes. He’s watching all this unfold, waiting for his chance to stop the evil that his own kind started, which spread through a goddess-type being called Shu, and continued through her horrible creations of berserker warriors.

Murder, war, and mayhem reign throughout this book, while the main characters try very hard to live normal lives. Their efforts are always ripped out from under them, and I sympathized with the tortuous events they lived through. On the other hand, I kept wishing for more character depth. I’m really partial to character-driven novels, and this one seems mostly plot-driven. For me, I would have liked to have been inside the characters’ heads more, really feeling what they feel.

If you like sci-fi packed with battles, futuristic weapons and modes of transport, you’ll like “Onet’s Tale”.

 

Format: Paperback

To say that this epic saga / odyssey contained in just one book is breathtaking in its scope would be an understatement! It could easily have been done in two parts, which, combined with a previous book, would have made a fine Trilogy.

Beginning 800 years after the events of the authors earlier book, ‘Turning Point’, the story starts with an ancient Dranaa escape pod arriving in the Dranaa Empire territorial space.

The reader soon discovers that even after 800 years, descendants of the victorious human/nephile survivors of the battles with the Dranaa on Earth, are still engaged in war with the Dranaa – and things are not going too well for them.

Although labelled as Science Fiction, the story also contains some Conan the Barbarian / Xena the Warrior Princess type characters whose technology / evolution is so advanced it seems like they have magical powers.

For those who like Action, there are battles aplenty, in space and hand to hand. Did I enjoy it? Emphatically Yes!

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase

Wow! Hang on tight for a roller coaster ride. This novel moves at such a fast pace it’s like you’re on one of the spaceships. There is so much in it, it could easily have been expanded to three trilogies! The story line is great, and the characters good though lacking a bit in definition. As always in these types of stories I find it hard to remember who everyone is from the unusual names. Where there is detail, it is fantastic, but I would have liked a lot lot more.

A New Journey on June 29, 2010
Onet’s tale truly takes you into a new journey of adventure new characters and keeps you wanting to read more and more. I recommend this novel to any Sci-Fi reader who enjoys good story telling and wants to get lost in new worlds and exploration. The Author did an amazing job in creating a new adventure for all of us to enjoy.
”A triumph of modern science fiction. A wonderful story of Fantasy anchored by Science”.
This is the first work by Jack Eason to be published and yet this book has the feel of a seasoned Author. The consideration and detail in which Onet’s tale is written never allows the reader to wonder about anything for too long. Every plot twist, each character and every action they take is just one small brush stroke of a much larger painting. All actions have consequences and all consequences are vital to the story. The web of intrigue, spun so subtly by the Author, unravels with each turn of the page. The bigger picture only begins to come into focus when all the other pieces are in place.
I find it very difficult to say exactly what Onet’s Tale is about, because it isn’t solely about one thing. The story has many leading characters and many different reasons why each would be where they are and why they are a part of the story. I could condense the entire story to just a few words..”A tale about the struggle for survival against all odds”..but this doesn’t do it justice.
The battle for survival isn’t confined to just one person, nor even to an entire species. It encompasses all life in both this world and in many others that wish to live without fear and oppression. A species that come from further away than most can imagine are hell bent on the complete annihilation of all others, forsaking none. The ensuing struggle spans the face of our galaxy and the lives of each and every living being within it.
The fate of future history is in the hands of a reluctant few. Out numbered and out gunned, the battle begins.
This is grand tale. The tone is that of a storyteller recounting the past. There are a host of characters caught up in intrigue, action and a fascinating story that spans worlds. A struggle against all odds in an epic battle for survival. An excellent read.

~~~

Once I had returned here to the UK at the end of 2003, my personal circumstances took a turn for the worse when I had a complete mental breakdown, resulting in me sleeping rough on the streets for a few months. After getting the psychological help I needed, I was eventually placed in a homeless hostel in Lowestoft, nine miles to the east of where I now live in my home town of Beccles in the English county of Suffolk.

It was to be seven years of searching and constantly being turned down before I eventually found a publisher.

Thereby hangs a tale. The small publisher I dealt with is a one man band, who fancies he is an editor. Had he been any damned good, I’d still be with him. In reality he is, or was, a senior executive for a large computer company. Like many in our game who set themselves up as a small press owner, after failing as a writer, he is on an ego trip.

My good friend and fellow writer Derek Haines knew and warned me about him. But in my still fragile mental state, I was desperate for Onet to be published and signed the contract. It was the worst decision I ever made!

I won’t go into any details, except to say that after putting up with being constantly dictated to by a martinet, we eventually parted company. To be rid of him once and for all, as part of the deal to leave I agreed that Onet’s Tale be immediately withdrawn from the market. Judging by the above reviews, chances are it might have been a best seller. But my sanity came first!

The problem was that in his capacity as my then editor he always insisted he knew best. Going against my express wishes he added a ‘curriculum vitae’ of all the characters for both parts of the space opera. It was as if he considered the readers could not possibly work out who is who for goodness sake.

Then to add insult to injury, on the e-book version he added his and his former business partner’s names as co-authors. That was the last straw as far as I was concerned!

So a hard lesson was learned. Never allow any editor to dictate to you or control your story, especially a wannabe editor!

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While I’m not about to try to republish it in the market place, for the simple reason that I have no doubt whatosever that he would sue me. Instead, what I intend to do is to serialise it here on my blog, once I’ve finished working on the third edition of Goblin Tales that is.

Which reminds me, I’ve seen the rough sketch Duncan Boswell is using as a basis for the finished family portrait. Here it is:

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Well I’d better get back to Glob and co. Otherwise two ladies I know, Adele and Kate, will have my hide. I’m working as fast as I can ladies, really I am…

😉