My guest blogger today is Dreamspinner author Alicia Nordwell! Alicia’s got a super cool sci fi book to share that I can’t wait to read. Alicia’s also got a very nice contest going for an Amazon gift card, so be sure to comment and leave your email to be entered. Congrats, Alicia, on your new release and welcome! -Shira
Shira has kindly invited me to visit and share more about my science fiction universe first shared in The Experiment. I’m also doing a contest. Every person who comments will be entered into my contest to win a $10 Amazon gift card. Don’t forget to leave your email, because if I can’t contact you… you can’t win!
Where do I go from here? I made up my world, I wrote and shared it, went the publishing route… so what now? Well, keep going of course! And many of my fans have been following the sequel to The Experiment, titled Adverse Effects, over the (extremely long, whoops) serial online posting.
The next story does share more of what happens with Ryker and Seral’s world… but not their story, exactly. At the end of The Experiment we are unexpectedly introduced to some new experiments who also suffered at the hands of the scientists. Many expected the story to follow Nicklaus next, but no so, not so! Over the next few months, to put a human timeline on it, Dade’s life was going to go through changes. He’s been through more at the hands of the military than Ryker, even.
Writing Dade’s story brought me so much fun! I added trips into the jungle, more aliens, another planet, further plots and plans from nefarious characters… and a really cool twist on the experiments Dade’s suffered through.
That’s right, I said experiments! He’s got a very special reason for why he acts the way he does in The Experiment. Many people have bought The Experiment and want more. That’s been amazing. For now, you can still read Dade’s story, as it’s not quite done, but it will be soon. When it’s done I’ll edit it with a lot of the feedback I’ve received on the Caeorleian world/ways, and sub it too, so there’s a limited amount of time to read The Experiment if you haven’t already and get the sequel for free. Of course, the published versions are far more polished, but it’s a novel… free!
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.
THEY’D LIED to us.
We weren’t working on an experiment. We were the experiment.
I shivered in my bed, the measly blanket that covered me not nearly enough to keep me warm. The effects of what they’d done had changed the others’ bodies more than mine, but the sadistic bastards enjoyed torturing me more for some reason. Maybe it was because I was the only one left. Maybe it was because I’d killed one of them. I’d fought so hard for the first year.
I didn’t have much fight left in me.
I’d lost my savings and my family. With only days left on the lease of my cardboard box of an apartment in the slums, I’d desperately scanned the ads. I’d seen one for scientific service that seemed promising.
They’d said we’d be locked in the dome for five years. It was supposed to be an ecological study to see if humans could adapt to a new environment. There had been a viable M-class planet discovered just outside of populated space, and there apparently were creatures on MC-214-XXV that were slaughtering the human troops they sent down to the surface to explore. Our job was to make sure the planet was worth the effort of subduing them. We were supposed to be alone, no outside contact, the entire time.
That was just another lie.
They wanted the planet. On Earth, what they wanted, they got. The nameless faces had stood behind thick clearplaz, watching the experiments they performed on me. Four of the others had died immediately. Two had gone insane and damaged themselves so severely the doctors had to put them down.
Not before they dissected them, though. It was more than cruel—it was inhuman.
They made the four of us still living watch while they did it. That was when I attacked, biting and clawing at the guard who’d twisted my arm behind my back and faced me forward with a punishing grip on my neck. The guard had spasmed with convulsions, blood leaking out of his ears, nose, and eyes.
I’d never killed anyone before.
I was fiercely glad he was dead, but they made me pay for it. I don’t know how I survived the things they did to me. Somehow, I still felt sane, but I wasn’t sure if I really was. The other three survivors disappeared. I tried to find out what happened to them. I wanted to help them even when I couldn’t help myself. It was all for nothing, though. I wasn’t going to be alive much longer.
I’d discovered that if I held my ear against the metal door of my six-by-eight cell, I could feel the vibrations of anyone speaking in the corridor. Somehow I could understand what the vibrations were, and I could translate them into human words when I heard the guards speaking as well. The most interesting news I’d heard before yesterday was whispered talk of an original specimen.
One of the aliens that so confounded them was here.
The five years the other nine desperate souls and I originally agreed to was up. But they had never planned to let us go. Not home, at least.
I’d learned we were on a ship heading for MC-214-XXV the whole time. It had taken five years to get here. I was going to be sent down to the planet. The experiments they’d done on me were an attempt to alter my DNA to mimic the aliens’, to change me into someone that could survive and spy for them. The doctor had taken great pleasure in telling me of my guinea-pig status, due to my great failure. My lack of full alien adaptation apparently made me expendable, or I could have been the only experiment left. I had no idea.
Now that I knew what was going to happen, I pulled out the one secret I’d managed to keep. I palmed a small sharp point I’d made from a screw that I’d dug out of my bed, slipping it under the waistband of my pants. It wasn’t much, but I’d rubbed the three-inch bolt into a minidagger, which could be a lethal weapon.
I had a feeling I’d need it.
However, I didn’t expect the dart that came through the small slot in my door. I slumped to the bed, unable to move. They hadn’t darted me in a long time. They’d liked to see me struggle before I’d lost the will to do so and began to submit to their tortures to avoid worse punishment.
The door opened. There was more than the usual pair of guards standing outside. “You’re about to go on a little adventure,” the head doctor said. His smirk made me sick to my stomach.
I tried to struggle when they stripped me, but my limbs were completely numb. Something bounced on the metal floor of my cell. One guard held up my screw, and the doctor laughed. “What did you think you were going to do with that, hmm? Kill yourself? Don’t worry”—the doctor smirked—“odds are the inhabitants of MC-214-XXV will be more than willing to oblige.” He drew a silvery-blue liquid into a huge syringe and then injected it into my neck.
The pain was overwhelming. It felt as if acid was eating into my body. The pressure in my eyes and head made them feel like they were going to explode.
I whimpered. “Why?” I forced out, panting at the effort speaking took.
“Science requires sacrifice.” The doctor winked at me. “And you’re the sacrifice.”
My body swayed as the guards hauled me out of my cell and through the freezing corridors that made up the bowels of the ship. I jerked spastically, but I couldn’t even blink, much less move on my own. I was carried through the cargo hold and onto a shuttle. They dumped me onto a metal slab, and webbing came down over me. My head slumped to the side, but my right eyelid twitched uncontrollably, making my vision jump.
I wasn’t the only person strapped down. I couldn’t see him clearly, because of the twitching, but there was an alien from MC-214-XXV strapped to the bench across from me. He looked like a character straight out of a vampire novel but for a few twists. He was pale, almost white, and his skin was covered in blue marks that were traced all over his body, possibly designs or maybe his veins, I didn’t know. But….
His markings looked like mine.
Or mine looked like his. I wasn’t sure which.
His eyes were dark, almost solid black, as he stared back at me. His mouth dropped open, and I could see his needlelike fangs. I would have gasped, if I could. I jerked, and my head slammed back against the slab, and I finally managed a faint whimper.
The doctor leaned over me. “Don’t worry, he can’t kill you. His life depends on yours. The nanos we put in you are the antidote to a poison we injected him with. Without your living blood, he’ll die. You should live long enough to gather some interesting intelligence that we can use to eradicate the disgusting creatures.
“Remember, science is sacrifice. You will die for the greater good of mankind.”
I wanted to smash his smug, sanctimonious face.
I was naked, weaponless, and locked on a small shuttle with an alien. We were about to be sent down to the alien’s planet, a place where no human had ever lived more than a single hour. The guards’ stories I’d overheard about the fate of any soldier sent down there had been gruesome.
I was so dead. Maybe that would be a good thing. Dead meant no more pain, right?
The trip down to the planet was rough. My head slammed against the metal slab during one turbulent roll, and after that it was all a blur.
THE PROTECTIVE flight webbing around me retracted when we hit the ground, and I slid off the slab to lie in a boneless heap on the floor. I was able to move just enough to turn over, but my arms slid out from under me when I tried to sit up.
The alien was on me in seconds. A humming sound reached my ears, but whatever changes they had made to my DNA that allowed me to translate the vibrations I felt when the guards spoke in the hall must be the way his species communicated. My practice understanding the guards paid off. I was able to translate his sounds into words I could understand as well.
“What are you?”
“I’m a man,” I said. “A human.” My heartbeat pounded in my head. I was so dizzy.
“You don’t smell like a nelho. You don’t look like a nelho.” The disgust was palpable in his voice. Claws on his hands dug into my shoulders as he stared down at me. “You can understand me. You have isitziu.” One claw traced the blue lines that all swirled around the mark just above my left nipple.
That hadn’t been there before! What had they done to me now?
I didn’t have claws. “They did it to me.” Or fangs like he was baring at me.
“The men in the ship?”
I nodded. I didn’t struggle. “Are you going to kill me now?”
“No. I am not stupid. I understood that nelho’s words. If I kill you, I die too. If I die, my people would suffer. So… we will keep you alive, I think.”
The question was unnecessary after just a moment. Hot, humid air swirled around our naked bodies, warming my chilled flesh. I heard the sound of the inner capsule door being opened, and barely clothed aliens swarmed inside. The small space was soon packed with their bodies. They were all pale and carried the same markings of the alien from the ship.
“Seral, you live!” I heard one cry. His hum was so high-pitched, it was almost painful, but he didn’t make any sound through his mouth.
The humming babble was too much for me to translate after that. Seral, if that was the name of the alien who had been on the ship, did not get off me. My blood, tainted blue after the experiments, began to seep from the wounds that his claws had made in my shoulders. Between that injury, the near starvation I’d been kept in, and the effects of the fluid they’d injected into me, I was fading fast.
The frantic humming was hard to translate while I was so tired, but I managed to understand Seral’s order for the men to bind me and carry me with them to their city.
“We shall study this creature.” Someone poked my side with a sharp claw.
I wasn’t going to die. I was going to be locked up in another cage.
Despair filled me.
I was going to become another experiment, this time for the aliens. What would they do to me? Would the one called Seral want revenge?
“Kill me now,” I whimpered, “please just kill me.”
“Oh no, little tziu, I won’t do that.” His face loomed in my vision, and his fingers traced the marks on my skin again. “I will discover everything that is in you, and then we will see just who you are to me. The nelho may have given us a gift that has great worth, one they can’t even begin to imagine.”
I shouted and shoved at him with my arms, trying to squirm out from underneath his lean body. I closed my eyes, hiding the tears that threatened to fall when I couldn’t even move him an inch. He said they were going to see what was in me.
They were going to dissect me like the doctors had done to the other men on the ship, and I couldn’t get away from them!
I moaned in fear. I shook so hard it felt like I was going to fall apart, my arms and legs drumming against the metal floor. My back arched as my heels rapped an offbeat tattoo on the hard surface.
“Tziu? Tziu, stop it!”
I couldn’t move the alien male off of me when I’d tried, but he was barely able to stay astride me while my body was beyond my control. I couldn’t have stopped even if I wanted to. I was going into shock.
Maybe the doctor on the ship had been wrong. Maybe his needle full of nano-rich alien blood would kill me.
The pain was indescribable. I could feel muscles all over my body locking and then releasing randomly, each contraction an agonizing spasm of pain. My jaw froze and then fell open, the scream swelling in my throat finally free to emerge.
The sound bounced off the walls, a shrill cry that sent every alien in the shuttle to their knees. The scream went on and on until my lungs burned from lack of air. Seral’s face loomed over me, his black eyes glittering. His mouth was open in a harsh snarl, and I saw a flash of his fangs before my neck muscles tightened and drew my head back. My hands scrabbled at the floor as I choked.
Like a bolt of lightning, a new pain penetrated my consciousness. My exposed neck was locked between the alien’s jaws. Hot and sharp, the fangs slid out, and his full lips sealed over the puncture wounds. A humming sound vibrated the bones of my throat as I felt him take a sucking mouthful of my blood. The vibration increased along with the pulls. The convulsing spasms slowed and then stopped. The hum seemed to be a circuit that flowed back and forth between the alien and me.
The vibrating call from the alien who had been the first to burst into the shuttle broke the connection, and Seral ripped his teeth out of my neck. I saw shock on his face combined with anger and confusion. I opened my mouth, not sure what I was going to say but knowing I had to say something. I tried blinking away the darkness so I could focus on the face of the male creature above me, but once my eyes closed, I couldn’t open them again.
My body went limp.
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!