QSFer FT Lukens has a new sci fi book out:
Ren grew up listening to his mother tell stories about the Star Hosts—mythical people possessed by the power of
the stars. Her beloved stories caused Ren to dream about leaving his backwater planet to nd his place among the neighboring drifts. But when soldiers for a despotic Baron capture and enslave him, Ren must plan his escape under the nose of a general who suspects that he is something out of one of his mother’s stories.
He nds companionship in the occupant of the cell next to his, a drifter named Asher—a mysterious and charming member of the Phoenix Corps. Asher is exactly the person Ren needs to anchor him as his developing technopathic ability threatens to consume him. Together, they must warn the drifts of the Baron’s plans, master Ren’s growing power and try to save their friends while navigating the growing attraction between them.
Broken Moon Book One
FT is giving away five copies of the book on Goodreads here. :)
Whatever this was. Whatever Ren could do. He was going to master it and he was going to use it to escape.
Ren chuckled and folded his arms behind his head. He squinted up into the deepening blue, and spotted the broken moon of Erden hanging low, emerging slowly among the wispy clouds. Liam dropped beside him and shook his head, spraying Ren with icy droplets.
“Ugh. Stop it,” Ren said, pushing Liam on the shoulder. “Go shake like a dog over there.” “Why do you always do that?”
Ren dropped his hand to the sand. “Do what?”
“Look up at the stuff in the sky. You’re never getting up there, you know.”
Ren frowned. “I might.”
“Not likely,” Liam answered. He lay down next to Ren, their shoulders touching.
Ren was older than Liam by two years. They shared a mother, but not a father. Ren’s father was gone, a member of a Phoenix Corps regiment which passed through their village eighteen years ago. Ren never knew him. And where Liam took after their mother, short, stocky, and fair, Ren was his father’s child, tall and gangly with dark hair and dark eyes.
“You’re so sure of that, are you? One day, I’m going to be on one of those ships and find work on a drift.”
“Doing what? Harvesting their nonexistent fields? You can wish on the stars all you want, Ren, but you were born a duster. Dusters don’t leave their planets.”
Ren sighed. His brother was too pragmatic for his age, too stuck in the way of things. Ren could dream. He always did, of a place among the stars.
“We’re not meant to be planet bound. We’re part of them, you know.”
“You’re not seriously quoting the bedtime story Mom always told us.”
Ren elbowed Liam in the ribs and earned a grunt. “It’s not a story. It’s a legend.”
“Legends have truth in them.”
Liam sat up, brushed away the sand clinging to his arms. “You honestly believe we’re made of stardust?”
“It’s better than believing we’re made of dirt.”
Liam rolled his eyes. “And do you believe there are men so powerful they broke the sky? And in women who can tell the future? And humans who became machines? And meteorites can grant wishes?”
“Open a channel,” Rowan commanded. “On screen.”
The connection was immediate and before them, displayed across their viewing screens, was a cold, calculating smile. Abiathar loomed, with piercing blue eyes, and a long nose and a severe expression. The wrinkles around his eyes and mouth spoke of long years but certainly not frailty or senility.
The other members of the bridge held their breath.
“I am Abiathar,” he said, his voice deep and hard. “You have something I want.”
“What right do you have impeding our passage on this trade route?” Rowan demanded. “We have nothing of yours. This is a gross obstruction and violation of the Trade Route Protection Act of…”
“Good to see you again, Asher. Though you do look different not cowering behind bars. How’s the shoulder? All right, I hope.”
Asher didn’t flinch, though Ren did. He tried to make himself as small as possible, but his presence didn’t go unnoticed.
Abiathar’s eyes brightened and his lips pulled wider, his gaze settling hard on Ren. “There you are. I’ve been looking for you. Your presence is requested on this ship within ten minutes or I will take action.”
“He’s not going anywhere.”
Once at the hangar, Ren broke away from the two guards and entered the lancer, walking up the stairs, irritation a heavy feeling in his chest.
“Reporting for work,” Ren said, his tone heavily laced with annoyance.
Janus popped up from a console she had been working under, goggles on her face, gray hair sticking up everywhere. “You!” she snapped. “I told you not to come back.”
Ren rolled his eyes. “It’s not my choice. I don’t want to be here anymore than you want me here.”
“Where are your guards? I told the dumb one not to bring you back, Abiathar’s orders be damned. I don’t want your kind working on these ships.”
She poked a finger hard into Ren’s chest and he staggered back, and rubbed his hand over the spot.
“What the stars do you mean by my kind?”
Her eyes grew comically large behind the goggles. “You don’t know?” She laughed, bordering on hysterical. “You’re more dangerous than I thought. You can’t try to control it if you don’t even know what you are.”
Ren frowned. His tolerance for the cryptic nonsense everyone had spouted since he arrived was gone. He took a step toward the hull and
“Don’t,” she barked.
“Don’t what? Touch it? What will happen, huh?”
Her face paled and her chest heaved with panicked breaths. “You don’t know what you’re capable of.”
Ren laughed. “I’m capable of nothing. I’m a duster, planet-born with very limited experience with tech. You have no reason to be frightened of me.”
He moved closer to the hull, hand outstretched, fingers splayed.
She whimpered. “Please, don’t.”
Ren slammed his hand against the hull, his fingertips leaving greasy marks on the shiny surface. As he predicted, nothing happened.
He turned back to Janus. “See? Nothing–”
His word tangled in his throat, cut off, because suddenly, Ren was consumed with power, rushing from his toes to his fingertips. A blue tint clouded his vision, and his body suffused with golden warmth. And then he was floating amongst the wires, connected to the ship, to the energy source, to everything. The lancer pulsed under his skin, tangling in his veins, its systems integrated with his senses.
It was freeing and frightening.
His consciousness raced along the circuits and he could fix it. He could fix everything. He found the tangle of wires in the artificial gravity system and bypassed it. He found the broken circuits in the air recyclers and with a pulse of power, refurbished them. He saw the static in the com system, a physical entity, and he cleared it away with a brush of his metaphysical hand.
The longer Ren floated through the ship, the less connected he was to his physical body. And if he thought about it, he didn’t need his body. Why would he need his body? He was free here. He moved around with ease, the wires and the systems his route, and the more he pushed, the more he felt the other ships too. They were nearby, on the edge of his perception, and he could go to those, he could jump to the other ones and repair them too.
He could. He could.
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F.T. wrote her rst short story when she was in third grade and her love of writing continued from there. After placing in the top ve out of ten thousand entries in a writing contest, she knew it was time to dive in and try her hand at writing a novel. A wife and mother of three, F.T. holds degrees in psychology and English literature, and is a long-time member of her college’s science- ction club. F.T. has a love of cheesy television shows, superhero movies, and science- ction novels— especially anything by Douglas Adams.