QSFer T.A. Venedicktov has a new sci fi book out:
Together, they can change the rules of the galaxy and the definition of humanity.
When Damion Hawk is offered an opportunity to escape the destitute life of a miner on Mars and become an elite Alpha Fighter pilot, he jumps at the chance. Within the Chrysalis Corporation, Damion must learn to work with his Core—a man with computerized implants, no human emotions—and no rights. But unlike other Fighters, Damion can’t treat Core 47 as a tool. He sees 47 as more than a machine, and he’ll take deadly risks to help 47 find the humanity inside him.
Fighters and Cores are designed to work together and enhance each other’s strengths in defense of their employer. Damion and 47 will need each other’s support as suspicions about the all-powerful Chrysalis Corporation arise. Someone wants Damion and 47 gone, and they need to find out who and why while hiding 47’s growing emotions and the love forming between them. If they can succeed, they might save not only themselves, but all Cores enslaved by the Corporation.
Mars Recruitment Center
0726 GMT (Greenwich Mean Time)
DAMION HELD one bag. One bag that contained his entire life—nothing more than a few chips full of pictures and vids, as well as Stim cigs, spare clothing, and enough money to get him here. Chrysalis Corporation Military Recruitment Center. He was standing in line for the second day with countless other candidates, waiting their turn to sign up and get physically assessed before being approved for entry. The Recruitment Center only took in a certain number of candidates a day, and yesterday he had arrived too late. Today he made sure to arrive before sunup, and despite that, he was still behind twenty people.
The Chrysalis Corporation brand displayed one long wing stretched outward from a perfectly cut crystal. Damion had seen it everywhere since he was a child. He assumed it was supposed to inspire hope, which was appropriate since this was his only hope to get off Mars. The Corporation kept their primary boot camp here on Mars, but if Damion made it through the ninety-day brutal treatment, he’d then be transferred to another planet for more training.
The idea of going off planet was surreal. Damion had never been off world before. No reason to, since his entire family was here and they didn’t have enough money to rent out a shuttle to take them all. Despite his mother’s constant trips to the temple and laying offerings to Ploutos, they had never been blessed with riches. His family had settled on Mars before his father was born, and they made a meager living off the dangerous mining of Red Ore—the ore that was used in all spacecraft engines. His mother’s family had been part of it, Damion’s brother was part of it, and his sister would also be when she was older. However, he didn’t want to follow the family trade. The mining hazards included cave-ins about once a year, frequent equipment failures, and for many, a progressive lung sickness from breathing in the red dust. They lived near starvation, on the precipice of hope that their situation would become better over time. Damion knew it never would.
When Damion left home, he knew that feeding two children instead of three would be easier on his family. And if he graduated from boot camp, he would be able to send his mother part of his military pay, which would make up for the lost wages the family was out since he quit the mining job. His father had told him not to worry about it, but Damion knew that meant the old man would just work ten extra hours a week trying to make up for the gap in the family income. His mother worried more about him being killed, even if there was no true war going on at the moment, only skirmishes against rebels who attacked numerous colonies across the solar system and, from the media coverage, continuously attacked Corporation shipments. The rebels would steal supplies, ships, and at times people. The rebel propaganda Damion had come across urged people to turn their backs on the Corporation. Damion, as well as many other people, considered that suicide. The rebels’ habit of putting innocent civilians in the way of their attacks was not gaining them favor.
Damion’s gaze lifted higher, past the tall building, toward the stars. He let his mind wander away from the sweat pouring down his back and chest. Each star was supposed to be surrounded by planets, and Damion’s heart raced with the awe-inspiring thought of seeing different colonies.
The sound of a large speeder roaring to a stop behind the long line of hopeful recruits broke his introspection. It appeared to be a private transport from the sleek look and lack of red dirt on the sides. He couldn’t quite make out who got out of the speeder, but he wasn’t a naturally nosy person. Damion Hawk had one person to worry about… and that was Damion Hawk.
He let out a small sigh of relief as he passed through the doorway and into the climate-controlled building. The air inside was easier to breathe and the temperature a good twenty degrees cooler. Corporation Infantry soldiers stood at attention, barely moving a muscle, their stances rigid. Living on Mars, Damion had seen the infantrymen get away with a lot of shit. He had a great distaste for the way they used their affiliation with the Corporation to break the most simple laws in his colony, such as night curfews and alcohol consumption on working days. Their presence would be tolerated by the locals as long as Red Ore was flowing from the mines and there was a chance of a rebel attack on the Corporation’s main source of clean engine fuel.
Damion had no desire to join the Infantry. He wanted to be a pilot. He had seen the vids of ships chasing off rebels since he was a kid. He had no clue how to fly a spaceship, but he would do anything to learn.
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T.A. Venedicktov is in reality two people.
A, Ariana Juno, is a full-time working single mother with a love of chai tea lattes and tumblr. When A is not working or raising two amazing children she is plotting with her co-author. A has been in the medical field for fifteen years and has a love of travel. She lives in the Midwest and has an ice cream habit which calls for an intervention. A daydreams most of the plots of the T.A. novels—daily, hourly, nonstop, which drives T nuts at times.
T is a full-time mom with a background in theater. T has traveled outside the USA to multiple countries. The main headliner in regards to editing and keeping their writing in order as well as trying to untangle all of A’s random ideas. T lives in Florida with her fiancé and three human children as well as three cat babies. She’s been battling Sjogren’s Disease while drinking coffee and kicking ass.
The duo has been writing unprofessionally for over a decade together and hope to share their characters with the world.