QSFer Valerie Mikles has a new queer sci fi book out, The New Dawn book 7: “Premonition.”
They came looking for medicine …
… he hadn’t expected to find this kind of healing.
Could Hawk find a cure to save his children, or was this new delay going to end his life and theirs?
On the surface, Nola looked like a peaceful farming town. When they invited Hawk and the crew to their palace to attend their Festival, the crew jumped at the prospect. They needed a peaceful trade partner, especially if these people knew where Hawk could find his cure.
But the Festival was not as pleasurable as advertised.
Prince Corin Toulane knew he was going to die this Festival. He knew, because his service guards—the ones who should have protected him—had threatened his life. He’d made his peace, and planned his exit from the world, but then the spaceship came. Hawk came.
Corin knew he could save Hawk.
Hawk knew he could save Corin.
It was time for them to rescue each other.
You will love this sci-fi thriller, because even when you have the power to see the future, you still have to make it happen.
Warning: suicidal ideation
“Try this,” Judith said, producing a pinky-sized purple vial from her cleavage. “It’s Kan. It’s a new one.”
Corin sighed. Festival drugs were called recreational, but they were far more than that. They didn’t lower inhibition between couples; they fueled lust.
“You don’t have to,” she said, tucking the vial away. She slid her hand up the sleeve of his robe to rub his arm.
“What’s it do?” he asked.
“It heightens your sense of touch,” she grinned, her hand sliding farther into his robe and across his back. Festival robes were designed to double as a covering in the event of public sex.
“Sniff, mix, drop?” he asked, checking her eyes for permission before sliding his fingers down the front of her dress for the vial.
“Drop,” she said.
Corin unscrewed the lid and let a single drop fall on his tongue. A tingle spread through his body, the warmth pooling where Judith’s hand touched his skin. But it didn’t set his body aflame or make him feel out of control. He felt content and comfortable.
“I’ll have some more of that,” he decided, unscrewing the cap again.
“At the party,” Judith promised, taking the vial from him and tucking it away again. “I’m saving a drop for Alyssa.”
Corin pressed his lips together. Alyssa had joined them at Festival before, but she was interested in Judith, not Corin. At Festival, same-sex coupling was taboo, but Alyssa and Judith could get away with it as long as he was there. Corin would rather the women kiss each other than him, so he didn’t complain.
Judith kissed his cheek, and he shivered at the heightened sensation. The Kan didn’t just amplify physical sensation, it amplified his hesitance. His nostrils burned, too.
“Do you smell that?” he asked, pushing her hand out from under his robe.
“Yes,” Judith whispered, her eyes darting about. Then she pointed to a plume of black smoke rising into the dome not half a block away. “Fire!”
Corin swore and ran toward the smoke. Flames rose from the third story of a metal and wood manor. Someone inside threw themselves against the window but was unable to break the moon-slate reinforced glass.
“Call for help,” Corin told Judith, searching for a way to get to the upper levels. There was a faded outline where the escape ladder should have been bolted on.
“Who? Everyone is at Festival!” Judith cried.
“Anyone can haul water!” Corin said. This was the venue he and Judith had been heading toward. They would have been trapped inside!
A uniformed officer came around the building, his jacket pulled up to shield his nose and mouth from the smoke. Corin recognized the him from the Palace.
“Officer Belgard!” he called.
Belgard’s eyes widened and he dropped the jacket, looking from Corin to the building. “How did you get out?” he snapped.
“I was never in,” Corin said. “The escape ladder is gone from this side. Is there one around back?”
Belgard looked up at the building, his cheeks twitching, his expression unreadable. “No. They’ll burn,” he said, seeming disconnected from the tragedy of his words.
“We need a ladder—”
“We will do nothing. The venue is filled with Fotri. Good riddance,” Belgard spat, the numbness giving way to vitriol.
Corin’s jaw dropped, his blood boiling. Fotri was a name for people who chose same sex partners. People like Alyssa and Judith.
Suddenly, Corin felt a club bash him across the shoulders and he fell to his knees, stunned. Belgard grabbed him by the robe, dragging him toward the burning building.
“What are you doing?” Corin cried.
“You wanted a way in. Burn with your Fotri friends,” Belgard growled.
“But I’m not—” Corin began. Even if he were Fotri, that didn’t justify Belgard throwing him into a burning building! Pulling a canister from his robes, he sprayed the Festival drug in Belgard’s face, disorienting the man.
The people trying to escape the upper level could not crack the glass. Corin needed a ladder and a hammer. If he were in the textile district, he’d know exactly where to go.
“Judith!” Corin called.
Someone jumped on his back and clamped a hand over his mouth, hissing at him to be quiet.
“It’s a good thing you were late,” Alyssa growled, sliding off of him. Her exposed skin was smeared with soot. “Come on!” she said, dragging him away from the fire. She hopped on one leg, favoring an injured foot.
“What? No!” Corin cried, jerking away from her. He quickly shrugged out of his robe and wrapped it around her bare shoulders. “How did you get out?”
“I was out already, on the balcony. Suddenly, all the locks clicked, and I couldn’t get back in,” Alyssa said. “Festival robes do not make reliable escape ropes, but at least… there’s no way in, Corin.”
“We have to try. We can’t leave them to die,” Corin stammered, pointing to the sealed building. The smoke had to be getting out somehow.
“A service officer just killed a house full of Fotri,” Alyssa hissed. “There was no random lottery, Corin. That fire was meant for us.”
She sprayed something in his face, stunning him the way he’d stunned Belgard, then she shoved a pill in his mouth and forced him to swallow. She was getting him out whether he wanted to go or not.
Dr. Valerie J. Mikles is a PhD astronomer who defected from academia to work on weather satellites for NOAA. While developing her sci-fi novels, she wrote and produced a series of comedic films about asexuals surviving the hypersexual world, inspired by her own journey. In 2017, she began publishing her New Dawn novel series, and is celebrating the release of her 7th book “Premonition.” Learn more by joining her newsletter: http://www.valeriejmikles.com