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What motivates people to act in certain ways? Is it fear, love, hate, greed, desperation, a sense of responsibility? What happens when a threat is identified? What happens when that threat is a danger to not just one person, but an entire species?
The human world is dying. Earth has become a pit of concrete, killing off everything natural in the quest for more, more, more. What are they to do? Well, find a new, pristine planet, of course. But what happens when the wildlife on the planet isn’t willing to relinquish their home? What happens when they are far better at protecting the planet the Earth government as decided is the next stop on their wave of progress?
That’s what the crux of the conflict is for my novel, The Experiment. There is a very real threat to my character, of abuse, pain, and even death. Though, never in the way he expects. Ryker had few choices to begin with living on Earth. Soon, those choices dwindled to none at all.
But then he’s sent to Caeorleia. The rich planet, with verdant jungles and pure water is barely marred by the indigenous low-tech race. Or so everyone on Earth was led to believe. But Ryker finds something very, very different. What choices will he make based on this new information?
Could he even begin to hope for a new life, unlike any he’s ever known, or will Ryker be tricked again?
Buy at: Dreamspinner Press
In the distant future, humans wage war against the alien planet Caeorleia, with no tactic off-limits if it will help the humans get their hands on Caeorleia’s resources. Ask Ryker. He thought he volunteered for a simple experiment that would help his government in the war. He didn’t realize sadistic doctors would turn him into the experiment—by injecting him with blood from a captured Caeorleian, Seral Iorflas.
Nor did Ryker realize he’d be sent to sabotage a planet full of the very beings his world is battling, beings who kill humans on sight. But then, thanks to the experiment that irrevocably changed him, he isn’t exactly human any longer—and with each passing day, as his blood bond with Seral strengthens, he’s less and less sure as to whose side he’s on.
“We do not wear these pants,” Seral said, “they are not necessary here.”
“What about if it is cold, or you need to protect your… parts from stuff?”
I heard a hum from the doctors, and Seral turned away from me. “You want a wrap?”
I nodded. Whatever a wrap was, if it was any type of clothing, I’d take it. “Yes, please.” I’d be polite and mind my manners. I’d learned my lessons well in the last five years. Fighting just made them like to hurt you more. Seral seemed unhappy about my asking for a wrap, but he took it from the doctor with the condescending voice when he tried to approach me with a length of cloth he’d taken from a cupboard. The doctor backed away quickly.
I tried to scoot to the edge of the bed, planning to stand up.
“Stop!” Seral ordered.
I froze on my side. He rolled the cloth up and placed it along my body. It ran from my hips to just above my knees. I shivered when his hands brushed against the curves of my ass. Okay, I needed this wrap on, pronto. I couldn’t believe how I was reacting to my new captor. I’d never responded to any of the guards or doctors on the ship.
Life wasn’t fair.
His claws pricked my side but didn’t dig in when Seral pushed me over the cloth to roll onto my other side. I didn’t fight him. I was too busy fighting my own reactions, though I was unable to hold in another shiver.
“Is your skin so thin to be cold in such warmth?” Seral asked.
“Uh, yeah,” I answered. I was so not going to tell him why I really shook whenever his hands brushed my sensitive skin. That would only give him ammunition to use against me. I was sickened by my depravity. I’d never enjoyed the abuse heaped on me by the doctor; why did I feel something now? Why couldn’t I shut down like I had before?
“There.” The hum sounded a tad irritated but not angry. I looked down and saw that they’d given me some sort of sarong. The cloth was very soft, though, a white so pure it was almost painful to look at. The wrap fastened to itself, but I was so emaciated that it wrapped around me nearly twice. I’d also been away from natural light so long that the milky white of my skin under the blue marks almost matched the pale fabric.
It was much nicer than the thin, rough pants and shirts I’d been given on the ship, even if it didn’t afford me as much modesty.
“Thank you.” Thanking someone for the basic right to be clothed rankled, but I’d do it if gratitude would keep him from hurting me.
“Now I have questions that you will answer.”
Like they hadn’t just seen inside my head. What didn’t they know? The sarcastic response was on the tip of my tongue, but now was not the time to act out. I swallowed, my mouth suddenly dry with the fear of his reaction to any answers I might not have to his questions. These aliens were nothing like the news reports said back home. Hut-dwelling savages would not have the level of technology used on me. I nodded warily.
“Who are you?”
That was fairly simple. “I told you, my name is Ryker. I’m a human. I used to be a lab tech, before I lost my job, and then….” I trailed off. I didn’t want to talk about the single worst mistake of my life.
“What is a lab tech?”
I shifted, and Seral reached out. I shied away, imagining those claws coming out and slicing into my wrist, but I just managed not to fall off the bed.
“I’m only trying to sit up farther! I wasn’t trying to get away.” I watched him closely as his arm slowly fell back to his side.
I shoved down the skirt-like wrap and tried to think of the best way to answer his question. “On my planet, a lot of people believe things can be explained by science. I help by doing work in labs, tests, studying how and why things are the way they are.”
His eyes narrowed. “Did you do tests on other… nelhos?”
“Nelhos? You mean humans? No! I studied plant and animal symbiosis. I never hurt anyone or anything.” We’d colonized three other planets before the military found MC-214-XXV. I’d tested the samples sent back to the lab. After being an experiment myself, the very idea of testing living creatures sickened me. Who knew what they’d done on those other planets? I felt tears fill my eyes, and I angrily swiped them away.
“What did they do to you on that ship?”
I shook my head. “I don’t want to talk about that.”
“You will tell me!”
Seral’s hands moved so quickly as he seized my shoulders I couldn’t avoid them, their grip painful as he shook me. My teeth snapped together, and the angry bass rumble of his tone hurt my head. I felt a trickle go down my back and guessed his claws had punctured my skin again. I snapped in anger.
“They hurt me just like you’re doing!” My breathing was harsh and loud in the silence.
Alicia Nordwell is one of those not so rare creatures, a reader turned writer. Striving to find something interesting to read one day, she decided to write what she wanted instead. Then the voices started… Yep, not only does she talk about herself in the third person for bios, she has voices in her head constantly clamoring to get out. Fortunately for readers, with the encouragement of her family and friends, she decided for her own sanity to keep writing. Now you can find her stories both free and e-published! Oh yeah, she’s a wife, mom of two, and lives in the dreary, yet ideal for her redhead complexion, Pacific Northwest. Except for when she disappears into one of the many worlds in her head, of course!