QSFer Erik Schubach has a new FF sci fi tale, book one in the Worldship Files: Leviathan.
When the Earth is threatened by a slowly expanding sun, mankind embarks upon a mission to send a mammoth Worldship to settle a new planet across the stars. The preternatural races step out of hiding to work with the humans to save what they can from their dying world. With the aid of the Fae, shape shifters, Vampires, and other creatures of supernatural lore, the Worldship, Leviathan, is complete one thousand years later.
Lotteries are held and only twelve million souls are selected to make the ten thousand year journey to the new world aboard the multi-generational starship.
The Worldship Files follow the cases of Knith Shade, a human law enforcement officer of the Enforcers Brigade aboard the Leviathan, five thousand years into her journey.
Knith must investigate a series of grisly murders, where the victims organs are harvested in the back halls of the bulkhead decks of the massive habitation rings of the Leviathan. Where others have failed, she has discovered leads that lead her to the unthinkable, when all signs point to a Fae Lady, and not just any lady, but the daughter of Queen Mab herself.
Driven to solve the murders and bring the perpetrator to justice, even though she knows that merely even suggesting a Fae could have anything to do with the crimes would cause retaliation against Knith’s habitation ring, as the magic of the Fae is what is keeping everyone alive on the Worldship. It could be more than simply career suicide.
Enforcer Shade finds herself almost irresistible drawn to her main suspect, the Winter Maiden, Princess Aurora herself. Secrets are revealed and treachery uncovered, while even more mysteries and questions are unearthed.
I navigated my hovering Tac-Bike through the streets of Irontown on C-Ring, Beta-Stack. Another disturbance was reported in the bulkhead corridors. People moved out of the way as my warning beacon strobed. Air traffic was light and I considered heading above street level. This inner ring, like most of the inner rings, was inhabited mostly by Humans and a few unsavories like Sprites, witches, and a few shifters. Which is why I get dispatched here.
I usually get the shit calls, since I was Human too. Why should the Enforcers Brigade be any different than anyone else on the Worldship? Equal opportunity bigotry is the one thing leftover from the old world, that old home called Earth that is just a legend to most of us here on the Leviathan.
I’ve always thought the stories were just old folktales to keep us lower races in line, that idea that there ever was a place of Open Air, where machines and the ship’s oxygen processing systems were not needed to keep us breathing, to keep us alive. But I have questioned it a few times when I’ve met a couple of the Old Earth Fae who say they were there on the day five thousand years ago when the Leviathan left the orbit of that dying planet.
And Fae… well everyone knows that the Fae cannot lie. Which makes them the best deceivers of all the races, they can spin the truth to make you believe anything they wish and not tell a single lie while doing it. And being in the Brigade, I’ve seen the outer rings, the lush forests and villages, and rivers that they modeled after Earth. I can almost imagine what it would be like if those forests went on forever instead of being constrained to just a mile wide strip in the fifty-mile diameter torus of the A-Rings.
It is hard to believe that each of the four A-Rings has almost two thousand square miles of space, four times that of the crowded C-Rings. Even more than the surface of the seven-mile diameter asteroid encased in the Heart sphere located… well located in the heart of the Leviathan. The workers and ore extractors there have virtually no gravity, so they can’t even come farther out than the small D-Rings without requiring exoskeleton support or magic buffs to support their brittle bone structure in the higher gravity of the spinning rings.
I went past the outer markets then parked and mag-locked my Tactical Bike at one of the many entrances to the labyrinth of corridors, living, and working units of the slums in the bulkhead spaces, assigned to the people who couldn’t afford to live outside in the cities and villages crowding the ring’s environmental envelope.
An advertisement for cybernetic eye implants was playing across the door, damn taggers with their interactive graffiti were getting so commercial lately. Whatever happened to simple gang tagging or art expressionism? Now it was all about making an extra token chit or two.
I tapped a code on my wrist panel, to inform engineering to come out and strip the programmable paint from the structure as I just shook my head. It’s no wonder us humans have such a bad reputation for being slacker trash that’s only good for reclamation for fertilizer for the farms, or sucking hard vacuum in space.
It wasn’t worth reviewing the surveillance footage to track down the tagger, it was a minor offense and wasn’t worth having his or her meal cards set to rationing mode for a month. That sort of thing just promotes the rash of homeless in the lower rings when they can’t eat properly to stay healthy enough to work. Not everyone had jobs that made enough chit to supplement their meal cards with fresh food if needed.
Sometimes as an Enforcer, we have to choose our battles. The others from Beta Squad, either call me soft because I let minor infractions like that slide, or null because, like all humans who weren’t witches or shifters, had no magic of my own. Ahhh there’s that Leviathan bigotry in action again.
Speaking of… a large tiger saw me step into the bulkhead corridors and it hissed and backed off as it changed to human and slipped into a living unit. Ok, maybe the Brigade isn’t as popular here in the lower rings as elsewhere on the ship, or ‘on the world’ as we locals say.
I checked my wrist unit again, and muttered, “Oh go suck vacuum, Bulkhead J?” Of course, it would be the maintenance corridors out by the Skin. I sighed and started jogging through the semi-crowded corridors, people moving aside as I started the quarter-mile journey. I should have just taken my Tac-Bike like the entitled asses of the other squads do, siren wailing and forcing people out of the way.
The deeper I went, the fewer people I passed, until it was only the back hall vagrants. I kicked the hoof of a Satyr just to make sure he was still breathing. What the hells was he doing down here? When he groaned and opened his eyes, he started cursing me in Old Fairy. Who used Old Fairy anymore?
I snapped at him in the same tongue, “Get up, get out, and get sober.”
He staggered to his hooves and took the bottle of spirits with him, muttering, “Fuckin’ null.” Ok, apparently he spoke Ship Common too.
I snorted and sighed, then started jogging toward the reported disturbance. Could they at least have classified it? Was it just someone shitting in the corridor or someone threatening to open a breach in the Skin?
On that thought, I paused at one of the massive breach seal blast doors as I passed from the section, at a sound. I saw flickering lights around the door seams of the emergency manual door release. I stepped over, shook my head then pulled the small door open and growled out, “Hey, get out of there, now! I’ll pin your wings and haul your little asses in right now if you don’t make yourselves scarce. And hey! Put that linkage back! We’d all be sucking vacuum if there was a meteoroid strike and this section decompressed without us being able to operate the door.”
One of the glowing, five-inch tall humanoids with large moth-like wings hissed at me and waved me off. “Get lost, null.”
I muttered to myself, “Sprites.” Then I said as I pointed back toward the exit, “Out now, you filthy scavengers.”
Two of the trio looked up from where they were trying to pull a linkage free, their eyes shooting from my face to my scatter armor to the badge and guns at my waist. They looked at their companion then took flight, leaving a trail of that damn itchy wing dust in their wake.
The third called after them in his… or her… or its squeaky voice; I always got pronoun headache with a three sex-species like Sprites, “Cowards! We can get ten chit for this!” Then it looked at me, harrumphed, then slammed the little access door in my face. The cheeky little shit.
I got my start writing novels by accident. I have always been drawn to strong female characters in books, like Honor Harrington. And I also believe that there is a lack of LGBT characters in media. So one day I came up with a story idea that combines the two… two days later I completed the manuscript for Music of the Soul.
My writing style may not be the most professional nor grammatically correct, but I never profess to be an English major, just a person that wants to share a story. I maintain that my primary language is sarcasm.
Each of my books features strong likeable female characters that are flawed. I think that flaws and emotional or physical scars make us human and give us more character than simply conforming to some “social norm”.