Sensual Sentient ♥ Episode 2

StepPyramidRuins

Image source: pinterest.com

Surprise

Sida stared across the barren wasteland of a long-forgotten planet, her hazel eyes squinting slightly against the stagnant particles of dust. Thanks to modeling the NISS helmet, strands of strawberry blond hair had pulled free from the braid wrapped halfway around her head. She brushed them away from her face and sighed, resigned to her ongoing mission. Turning, she saluted the lecture hall of cadets one last time, before lifting her rifle and pointing it right at them. Rather than penetrating the entrance she’d just climbed through, the shot dispersed like it hit a solid wall and started frying the World Opening out of existence. The small window to Earth shrank in on itself, leaving charred marks on the small rocky hillside.

The sound of boots scraping rubble and scattering loose pebbles had her twisting at the hips. In a blink, her rifle was aimed between the eyes of the intruder, her finger switching the stream from harmless to ‘Fry the Bastards,’ her personal favorite.

“Captain,” Blake Yarring, her First in Command greeted with his usual cocky smirk hidden behind a mini-mask, not in the least intimidated by her itchy trigger finger.

Sida lowered the barrel, until it was his crotch in the crosshairs of her scope, though she never took her eyes off his face.

“Hey, if you wanted another close up,” he offered, his voice slightly digital through the comm link.

When he held up the extra mask and waved it back and forth, she powered down her rifle, propped it on her shoulder and waltzed up to him, like she had all the oxygen in the world to spare. Blake didn’t hesitate to secure the mask over the lower half of her face, when she stopped. The moment the oxygen kicked on and she could breathe normally again, she blew him a kiss and kept walking.

“Tell me you found something on this godforsaken rock in my absence,” she demanded, once he fell into step beside her.

“What, and ruin the surprise?”

Sida gave him a narrowed sideways glance, keeping the spark of excitement to herself for now. She knew the man inside and out. He wouldn’t lead her on about a mission. If he was insinuating they’d found something, they had. Sida merely hoped it was the evidence they needed to officially declare the dead planet as the missing link in Bremm history, so they could move on. She was more than ready for a change of scenery.

“You know, I’ve never seen anyone take time out of a mission to give a lecture a billion light years away before,” Blake commented. “But, you have to admit it’s pretty bad ass that you’re an actual subject of study at NASE.”

“I find it offensive,” she countered, believing herself far too young and alive to be the subject of study anywhere.

“Yet, you do it anyway.”

“I find you offensive, too,” she pointed out.

“Har,” he smirked blandly, before perking up. “Speaking of doing me, have I ever told you how much your cranky side turns me on?”

“Vrolesian heart ticks turn you on, Blake, that’s not exactly praise, so what are you buttering me up for?” Sida paused.

“Nothing, swear,” he held his hands up, sulking. “It’s just been… I mean I can’t even put a time frame on it without a calendar–”

Making sure her eye roll was profound, Sida continued onward. “How about you reveal this grand surprise to me, before I decide to drop your ass off at the nearest Mrelin colony. You’ll get plenty of action there.”

Mrelins had a taste for Earthling flesh, but they particularly enjoyed Earthling males for all their other appetites, before eating them. Again, Blake was unconcerned. Ugh, it was so annoying trying to threaten someone who knew their own damn worth. Blake didn’t say a word, as they continued toward the edge of the rise they’d been traversing. The moment they crested it, he no longer needed to.

“Eyes,” she demanded, accepting the binoculars he held out for her.

Across a fifty yard trench that looked more like the remnants of an abandoned rock quarry, stood a two-mile high jagged cliff topped by the ruins of an ancient metropolis. The air felt tight in Sida’s lungs, and it had nothing to do with the planet’s low oxygen levels.

“Are those step pyramids I’m staring at, Yarring?” she asked in disbelief.

“Sure looks that way, doesn’t it?” he replied. “Yet we’re on the fringes of the Cremylaean Galaxy and according to all of our data, and what we know of their history, this should be Molta Cremyss, the oldest planet with Bremm origins.”

“That’s not Bremm architecture, Blake,” she exhaled tightly. “It’s ours.”

The rubble they carefully picked their way across once they reached the valley floor, was more than just rock. Taking the massive amounts of debris lying across the trench and stacked against the base of the cliff up ahead, it was easy to determine that a cave-in had brought part of that city down at some point. Natural disaster was in the top five causes for city abandonment, but they wouldn’t know anything conclusive until they got topside to investigate.

They found the rest of their field team near a crude opening in the cliff wall, far to the right and partially camouflaged by natural piles of rubble. There was evidence it had originally been hacked away at with metal tools, but the elements had smoothed the roughness over time.

“This had to have been exposed to weather conditions prior to the planet’s loss of vegetation,” Sida remarked.

“Agreed,” Blake nodded.

“Captain,” her two other crew members greeted in off-key unison.

“How was Earth?” Lt. Ketha Minnows asked.

“Crowded,” she nipped the questioning in the bud, before it could get out of hand. “Tell me what we’ve found. Where does this cave lead and did it contribute to the landslide?”

“It’s not a cave, Captain,” Ensign Isiah Darling informed her, dropping a roll of thick material on the ground and kicking it open to reveal the contents. “We think it’s a mine.”

“Think?” she questioned severely.

“You weren’t gone that long,” Blake intervened, crouching to rummage through the find. “Do you really think I’d risk my ass by proceeding without you? I like sleeping with both eyes closed, thank you.”

Sida studied what little she could see of his handsome face, the rugged sensuality of it. The truth was, if they hadn’t been stuck in space together every damn day and night for so long, they never would’ve even exchanged link codes, let alone bodily fluids. They were too much alike to ever be anything more than respected colleagues, but space was cold. It was lonely and it was harsh. There had to be something to take away from that, even if it was only a handful of hot, mind-numbing hours.

“I knew there was something smart about you, aside from your mouth,” she smiled approvingly. “Where are the readouts from the probe?”

While Darling went to retrieve them for her, she crouched beside Blake and picked up one of the modified hydro-torches from the array of mining tools.

“Apparently, we’re not the first modern crew to have landed here recently. Look.” She turned the torch upside down and ran her fingers over the casing of the spent energy core where a serial number should be.

“Black market issue. Nice,” Blake commented. “None of these tools made that opening.”

“No, the mine was already here. The question is why,” she agreed. Standing, she activated the handheld remote for the probe Darling returned with and scanned the results on the central screen. “A single, straightforward mine shaft that curves down, around and up just under the heart of the city? How is that even possible?”

“I’ve been thinking about that while you were taking your sweet ass time on Earth,” Blake said. “It seems unlikely an ancient civilization would’ve had ground-penetrating sonar in order to pinpoint an exact vein of ore without divine intervention. There would be evidence of failed mining attempts, several dead-end shafts branching off the main one, but there is one natural resource every culture in history had a knack at finding with nothing more than a stick–and what typically stands in the center of a town square?”

“A natural spring or well,” Sida nodded. “Sounds probable. I like probable over divine intervention.”

“Me, too. Gods can be dicks,” he agreed. Then, his cheeks moved in a way that revealed a wolfish grin behind his mask. “So, you want top or bottom first?”

Holding his gaze for a moment, Sida addressed the others. “Gear up, crew. We’re going rock climbing, and your Commander just volunteered to take point.”

© A.C. Melody

Thanks for reading! Check out The Wicked Web link above for previous episodes. Until next time…

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#TacoTuesday

Welcome to week 3 of building our book taco… sorry foodies, this really is still a writing thing. If you’re just tuning in, you can check back to the original post to see what this is all about – and there’s no time limit for joining in. Just make sure to leave a pingback to your post in the comments below, so I can check it out! 🙂

Writers Menu

Beans: Details are a fat free way to fill out your story, whether real or fictitious, what was your favorite place to describe?

I’m completely in love with creating the fictitious world where my Thief of Dragons series takes places, because I get to blend medieval and modern elements however I want. I’m still unraveling new details as the story progresses – here are just a couple of examples from different locations:

Spires pierced the skyline, modern towers battling for most uniquely designed and impossibly tall. Skyways arched over the busy avenues, while glass elevators soared up and down gilded, mirrored facades. A giant, octagonal tower crowned a bend in the road, rising into the clouds with gold filigree trim curving down over the sides like a giant claw from the pointed roof. More gilded metals framed the elevators working at various levels up and down the tinted glass. Due to the curve in the road, it held the largest entrance of all the other buildings, fifteen yards of decorative stonework holding park benches, long planters with flowering shrubs and a fountain people could actually walk through if they wanted.

Toward the top of the building, and on every facet, was the Draea Coat of Arms glowing in colorful display for all the city to see.

~ Thief of Dragons, Episode 13

A grand staircase swept across the space from the right, creating a balcony across the back of the foyer, before curving down the left wall and finishing in a wide, angled welcome. Maplevine was woven through the decorative balustrades, sprinkled with the soft glow of fairy lights. An enormous chandelier hung level with the second story, the very light source behind the stained glass Crest visible from outside. It looked exactly like the fiery bloom of a Dragon’s Breath flower. The chain was molded into the same twisting, vine-like stem, the frosted glass stained sunset orange and crimson for the petals that curved up and then out at the very tips. The stamen spiraled down from the center, each holding a glowing orb of light. The stigma was capped with a multifaceted sconce of crystalline amber, the light dancing in simulation of an actual flame.

~ Thief of Dragons, Episode 16

Readers Menu

Beans: Which book or series had such a spellbinding knack for detail that you feel like you’ve actually been there in person? (You get extra cool points for choosing a book that has never been adapted to film.)

MagicsPawnI haven’t read a Mercedes Lackey book in too many years to count. Epic Fantasy world-building at its finest! I first dove into the Valdemar universe when I was about 15 or 16, and recall having lengthy conversations with some of my other friends and family who were also reading the series at the same time. Actually, you could say we inadvertently became our own Mercedes Lackey book club there for awhile! I accidentally read them out of order for the timeline (starting with The Last Herald Mage trilogy as pictured), but I was never confused, just utterly awed by this astounding world Mercedes had created with Valdemar being the main kingdom. Home to Haven, the city where all bards, mages, warriors, scholars and other talented youngsters would travel to take on their apprenticeship training. It was also the home to the Grove, the mysterious place where some Companions appeared (the horse-like creature on the cover) who could mindspeak with their chosen and were hinted at being reincarnations of previous Herald Mages sometime in the books – can’t recall now.

Like I said, it’s been a long time since I’ve read this series, but they’ve stayed with me my whole life and I can still picture certain events, definitely the places, that formed in my mind all those years ago. One day, I plan to sit down and re-read the entire Valdemar series, and perhaps even the hundreds of other books Mercedes has penned!

Next Tuesday’s ingredient is Cheese!

Cheese for the writer: Share a scene where one of your characters interacts with some kind of camera, photograph or video for any reason. If there are none, then share one of their funniest moments or dialogue pieces.

Cheese for the reader: Name a favorite book/series that had to do with photography, acting, reporting or any other camera-related theme – OR – where the humor was so off the charts you found yourself ‘cheesing’ through 90% of it.

#MusicMonday

Broken Pieces

by: Apocalyptica ft. Lacey Sturm (formerly of Flyleaf)

Too late – this is not the answer
I need to pack it in
I can’t pull your heart together with just my voice alone
One thousand shards of glass I came to meet you in
You cut the peace out of me

And as you ripped it all apart,
That’s when I turned to watch you
And as the light in you went dark
I saw you turn to shadow
If you would salvage some part of you that once knew love
But I’m losing this
And I’m losing you

Oh I’ve gotta turn and run
From faces that you never see
Oh I’ve gotta save my blood
From all that you’ve broken
And pack up these pieces of me

It’s too late now to stop the process
This was your choice – you let it in
This double life you lead is eating you up from within
A thousand shards of glass you pushed beneath my skin
And left me lying there to bleed

And as you showed me your scars
I only held you closer
But as the light in you went dark I saw you turn over
I wanted always to be there for you and close to you
But I’m losing this
And I’m losing you

Oh I’ve gotta turn and run
From faces that you never see
Oh I’ve gotta save my blood
From all that you’ve broken
And pack up these pieces of me

The broken pieces
Pack up these pieces of me
The broken pieces
Pack up these pieces

Maybe without me
You’ll return to all the beauty I once knew
But if I stay I know,
We will both be drowned by you holding onto me

Oh I’ve gotta turn and run
From faces that you never see
Oh I’ve gotta save my blood
From all that you’ve broken
And pack up these pieces of me

The broken pieces
Pack up these pieces of me
The broken pieces
Pack up these pieces of me

I apologize for the poor quality of this video, it was the only full-length one I could find on YouTube.

I do not own any rights to this song, video or lyrics. All rights remain with the artists and their respective agents. No copyright infringement intended.

This is actually the last of a set of 3 videos meant to be watched in order, but it’s my favorite. If you’d like to watch them in order, #1 is “End of Me” ft. Gavin Rossdale (Bush), and #2 is “Strong Enough” ft. Brent Smith (Shinedown).

Apocalyptica is classified as a “Cello Metal” band, hailing from Helsinki, Finland. Up until 2014 they didn’t have a vocalist, rather they used their classically trained cellist skills and love for heavy metal to create a ‘neoclassical metal’ sound, while teaming up with some of rock’s most beloved singers for their songs. They are extremely popular and have sold over 4 million albums since their start in 1993.

Their chart-topping songs here in the U.S. include “I Don’t Care” ft. Adam Gontier, formally of Three Days Grace, and “I’m Not Jesus” ft. Corey Taylor of Slipknot. They’ve also performed with the famous Berlin band, Rammstein. (Go ahead and sing Du hast, you know you wanna…) 😉

Truth In the Name: BDSM

It’s nearly impossible to escape the influx of BDSM themed novels since the popularity was heavily increased by a certain trilogy that will go unnamed. I’m not here to add fuel to fires on either side of the Love/Hate line – but I have seen a lot of reviews and discussions that lead me to believe not many people actually understand what they might be getting by choosing to read a BDSM novel. You might have an inkling or preset expectation due to one of these situations:

Perhaps, you’ve read a light-hearted romance that had a little kink thrown in, a little handcuffing and mild spanking? That is not BDSM.

Maybe you read that one (or all gazillion) about the Billionaire with control issues and a loosely assembled contract he/she never actually follows and set of rules he/she fails to properly enforce, because his/her love/lust for this desired-after sub is enough to have them throwing all their previous unyielding, closed-off ways out the window to become an ordinary lover with a kinky side. This, unfortunately, is the new standard in Fictitious BDSM – it is not even remotely close to Real Life BDSM. No, seriously.

However, this is not a post designed to persuade you either way. This is simply a guideline for readers. A piece of advice, if you will, that if you’re unsure what a novel tagged as BDSM might entail, the best place to start is to take a look at the name, itself…

Bondage/DSM

Most likely a BDSM novel will have bondage scenes, whether this is with traditional equipment such as a St. Andrews Cross, Spanking Bench or the good ol’ leather shackles attached to the bedposts. Sometimes the bondage will be creative and will include items that are readily at hand, such as a woman’s stockings, a man’s tie or a pair of panties.

Bondage serves the purpose of giving a dominant control over the body, while keeping a submissive in a state of vulnerability. It is equally a fetish for both parties, as much as it can be used to build trust and break down a submissive’s self-preservation walls in order to hand more control (power) of themselves over to their dominant.

At its heart, BDSM is a Fetishist Community made up of kinksters in various levels of Power-Exchange dynamics. It is all Consensual, but still takes time to develop like any other relationship. To help expedite that, kink is used just as much for pleasure as it is for forging those bonds.

B/Discipline/SM

This is the one I see people having the most trouble with. For most readers, it’s completely okay for a submissive to get sensual spankings detailed as a kind of foreplay, but the moment their bottoms are getting whipped for stepping out of line, readers are screaming abuse.

It’s difficult to address this issue without actually diving deep into Real Life BDSM, which would bore readers to tears. Discipline is an important part of Behavior Modification and every D/s dynamic is employing some form of Behavior Modification, because it is desired by both parties. Discipline comes in as many forms as you can possibly think of from the mild end of being put in a corner, to the extreme end of being ignored by their dominant, and every spanking, humiliation or orgasm denial in between.

In novels, unfortunately, a writer is limited to what keeps the readers interested, and the story from falling flat. For BDSM novels, the ‘tension’ between lovers is often expressed when the Discipline comes into play. Spankings with hands, belts, whips, floggers and riding crops are the go-to Discipline trope in all Fictitious BDSM novels – to make it worse, when used as the source of ‘tension’ between characters, Discipline only ever seems to happen when the ‘Dominant’ is angry. Hitting anyone out of anger is absolutely abuse. Also, I’d like to note here that any Kink played while a dominant or submissive is under the influence of drugs or alcohol is also crossing into an area that can be deemed as abuse – and in my own personal opinion, that goes for straight up vanilla sex, as well. A person’s mental state should not have to be altered in order to gain consent.

Neither one of these popularly used instances in fiction would ever actually fly in Real Life BDSM. A sub would walk out and never return and possibly report the Dom/Domme to their community’s authority, if not smear their name through the Kinkster social media mud.

If you find that you can’t handle reading a BDSM novel where Discipline is used to enforce/reinforce rules, not out of anger, but possibly disappointment or simply just for discipline itself, then perhaps BDSM really isn’t a genre for you, because that is a very large part of BDSM and goes back to the whole Behavior Modification aspect.

BD/Sadism/M

Not all BDSM novels touch on the extreme end of the Sadism spectrum. For instance, Daddy/Mommy Doms/Dommes don’t tend to have many Sadistic qualities. They’re nurturers and providers, they mainly lean heavily on Behavior Modification, and their Disciplinary actions tend to favor compassionate techniques, rather than straight out lashings, though spanking does typically play a big role in these novels. This is ‘typical’ not to say that a Daddy Dom novel won’t boast an extremely sadistic Daddy, so just make sure to read a book’s blurb or use the ‘Peak Inside’ feature to make certain.

As with all things, Sadism is individual and can range from mild to extreme, and it is not always a physical need to inflict pain. Sadists get their pleasures in many forms, including Denial, Degradation and Humiliation- or any combination thereof. Inflicting extreme pain is, of course, a typical Sadist’s desire in BDSM novels, so again, just make sure you read any Trigger warnings the author has taken the time to put in place (hopefully).

BDS/Masochism

Masochism plays a really small part in most Fictitious BDSM novels, I’ve noticed. It seems to be more popular for the ‘sub’ to not be a masochist at all, but still ends up craving the sexual pleasures derived from being dominated or even (mildly) disciplined. This stems from our societies belief that Masochism is a ‘Weakness,’ when all it really is, is basic biology just like any another personality trait.

Like Sadism, Masochism levels can vary and does not always have to do with craving pain. Some masochists thoroughly enjoy being degraded, abandoned, denied and humiliated, just to name a few. In the seldom BDSM novels I’ve read where Masochism actually does come into play, though, it’s typically of the pain-craving variety.

BDSMSymbol

While the truth behind the genre can be found in the name, BDSM can also depend on the rest of the genre. Supernatural/Paranormal creatures, for example, are probably going to explore the extreme ends of all BDSM, because they’re stronger, more resilient and this gives the writer more leeway to explore areas they can’t necessarily delve into with ordinary human characters – without someone ending up in the hospital or dead.

Realistically, whether an author does their research or has actual BDSM experience, it all boils down to Word Count limits and keeping the story flowing, with plenty of tension between characters – Therefore, the more a writer tries to implement Real Life BDSM scenes, the more readers lose interest. That’s the unfortunate truth, because Real Life BDSM is time consuming and everything is discussed and agreed upon BEFORE any kinky stuff even begins to happen. Before any clothing is shed – if it’s shed during a D/s couples first scene together at all, which is unlikely. Sexual intercourse is also a rare reality in an actual BDSM scene.

Just remember to shop smart, watch out for genre tags: Any time a book is tagged “Dark” or “Taboo” that means it is going to cover areas not very many people are comfortable with or can handle. Also, watch for Trigger/Content warnings and take advantage of the “Peak Inside” feature. This might not only give you a better idea of what kind of BDSM novel it is, but also an example of the writer’s style. I love that feature, really and rely on it far more than reviews or blurbs.

Hope everyone had a great Cinco De Mayo weekend and are fully recovered from the excessive Tequila consumption! LOL 😉

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Sensual Sentient ♥ An Introduction

Welcome to my latest addition to The Wicked Web. This is for all you SciFi lovers, but don’t worry Thief of Dragons will still be getting new installments. I’ve also updated the Wicked Web page, because I fell behind on episode links – you can now search by episode title! So, if you’re interested in reading some Free Content, please check it out!

Now, onto the good stuff…

Sensual Sentient

Sensual Sentient

Prologue

Captain Sida Marx stared unflinchingly at the fifteen hundred sets of eyes watching her every move. Twenty-four hours ago, she’d faced a panel of her commanding officers inside the Global Defense Command Center, formally known as the Pentagon. That had been far less intimidating.

The lecture hall was packed with first year cadets. They were eager, their gazes hungry and their minds in a state of delusion fueled by romanticized tales and ambitious dreams. Currently, they had nerves of steel and limitless drive, because they were safely tucked away behind hallowed walls on Earth. Sida knew their future. Most of them would never see space beyond the end of a telescope. Some would never make it outside of the Milky Way Galaxy and several of them would never step foot aboard an actual spacecraft.

Those who did make it into space would either quit or get themselves killed. If they were lucky, they’d manage it without taking the rest of their crew down with them. Failure was the only future for a majority of these poor, young souls. It would come academically, physically or psychologically, because the NASA Academy of Science Exploration was grueling on all counts, tolerated zero mistakes and space was the cold bastard that picked off those who still made it to graduation.

Aquacælestis Divinus,” Sida spoke at last, her voice echoing through the giant containment tube she alone stood inside of. It stretched the length of the hall, cutting her audience in half vertically. “Translates to?”

Hands shot in the air, so she chose at random.

“Divine water of the stars,” the girl answered.

“Street name: Starblood,” Sida nodded in confirmation, holding up a six-inch capsule. She could practically hear the cadets’ Interactive Ocular Attachments zooming in on it, despite the live feed projecting from giant holoscreens on either side of the hall. “Once believed to be a form of Mercury, due to its milky quicksilver appearance, Starblood is an extremely valuable alien mineral found in the veins of distant planets throughout the known and presumably unknown universe.”

Sida lifted her Xtreme World Opener–a huge upgrade from the standard issued rifle the Navy had provided–and slid the capsule into the charging chamber. A speculative murmur rose in the hall, as uniformed butts began shifting in their seats.

“Hopefully I grabbed the right batch,” she remarked, enjoying the ability to put the cadets further on edge while keeping a straight face. “Trust me, it’s no fun Opening a blackhole where a planet used to be.”

Setting her rifle aside, she climbed into her safety suit and then modeled it for her viewers, before slipping the helmet on. It immediately engaged, the inside of the face mask displaying her suit’s statistics and her own vitals, while scanning her environment.

“Full visual and activate external comm link,” she ordered the suit. The link icon blinked once, then the mask cleared of all diagnostics, allowing her to see the hall clearly again. “Who can tell me about this suit?”

Several hands shot into the air. Sida chose a girl who didn’t even look old enough to wash space dust off a ship, let alone be inside of one.

“It’s a NISS, a NASA Issued Safety Suit specifically designed for World Openings,” she answered.

Sida tilted her head. “That’s what it’s called, but can anyone tell me what it does? Just shout it out, cadets!”

“It’s capable of being a full life support system for up to four days,” one of them called out.

“Correct, what else?”

“It can withstand extreme temperatures from sub-zero to six hundred and thirty-five Celsius,” another said.

“Good, you in the back,” Sida pointed at a boy who’d been cut off by the first two answers already.

“It has an automatic center of gravity and pressurization deployment system just in case, you know, you did grab the wrong batch,” he replied, causing Sida to grin. Had to love a smart ass kid with brains.

“Yes!” she gave him a thumbs up. “Precisely. Which is where I left off.”

Much to the startled excitement of her audience, Sida didn’t hesitate to grab her rifle, power up the cells and shoot the capsule at the wall of timber someone had kindly stacked near the middle of the containment tube for her. The capsule exploded, charged Starblood feeding on the raw wood. Her mask tinted darker as the mineral glowed brighter, forcing the cadets to look away from the brightness.

“While harmless and completely useless in its natural state, Starblood’s dormant molecules need an intensely focused source of energy–such as this laser here–to become active. Once a World Opening has been established, it will remain stable until it’s neutralized by another stream of focused energy designed to disperse on contact to rapidly fry all of the Starblood’s neurons,” Sida explained. “Each capsule is a single use only. Fortunately for us, we’re scientists and have created the perfect synthetic additive that allows us to produce the same results while using less of the raw mineral, itself.”

As the Starblood finished spreading, its light decreased until it was possible for everyone to look at the wall of timber again. The hall was filled with new and unusual sounds coming from the alien world now visible through the Picasso inspired Opening spanning about four feet wide and six feet tall. What appeared to be towering vegetation in blueish-green shades nearly blocked out a violet sky. They oozed a cranberry red liquid as thick as tree sap. Veined, translucent petals floated lazily to the ground as if some giant kid were plucking the wings off insects at a steady rate.

“How do you keep the Starblood from spreading too far?” A cadet asked.

Sida smiled. She preferred blurting over hand raising any day.

“Two ways,” she answered. “One, the Opening size can be formulated by the additive in each capsule and two, Starblood will only work on a natural resource. Wood, stone, soil, clay, any natural metal ores or anything made of those things would suffice. It won’t spread beyond the size of your chosen resource. Your options are limitless and usually readily available near any newly discovered vein. After you’ve successfully completed an Opening, what’s your first step?”

“Check the atmosphere to make sure it’s breathable and non-toxic.”

“Absolutely correct,” Sida nodded. “Look, I don’t care how smart these suits are, they’re bulky and a pain to try to maneuver in for any length of time. What are we?”

“Scientists!”

“Soldiers!”

“Both,” she corrected. “We’re both, but primarily, yes, we’re scientists and our main objective is to gather data and determine if a planet produces Starblood. Mobility for your safety, as well as getting into those hard to reach places where the mineral usually forms, is vitally important to your mission. So, before doing anything else, find out if you can ditch the suit.”

So saying, Sida pulled her helmet off and rested it on her hip. “I happen to already know that this planet’s atmosphere is safe for us. Can anyone name it just by sight?”

“Everyone knows the Bleeding Trees of Lexitor Gamma,” a boy smirked, earning chuckling support from his buddies.

Arching a brow, Sida set her helmet aside so she could start climbing out of the suit. “Yes, everyone knows about them, but those are not trees. In fact, they’re not any kind of vegetation at all. Bleeding Trees is the layman’s term for a classification of Lexitorian animal, similar to our ocean’s Sea Anemones. Ignorance, my dear cadets, will get you killed in space and that’s not an exaggeration, scare tactic, or figure of speech. It is pure fact. One might even goes as far as saying, it’s scientifically proven fact.”

Free from her suit, she turned and looked at each area of the audience as she continued. “It’s our job to be informed. Ignorance can destroy entire ecosystems, risk the lives of your crew, ruin any possible hope for diplomacy with Non-Terrestrials and has the very real, frightening potential of starting a galactic war with alien races who are far more advanced and have much bigger weapons than we do.”

The lecture hall was silent, the chuckling cadets now red-faced with embarrassment and shame. It was nothing compared to what they’d endure if they survived long enough to make it into space, so Sida didn’t feel bad for it in the least. Let them learn humility now, while they were still safe and had the choice to continue or not.

“First rule of space: Learn before you think, think before you act. We’re the babies of the universe beyond our own solar system. Those NT’s out there have been doing this a hell of a lot longer than you could possibly imagine, and with their advanced weapons, technology and natural abilities, they don’t have to follow the same rules we do. That’s their playground, and we’re the intruders,” she added for icing on the reality-check cake.

Setting her rifle to a different stream, Sida aimed and fired. The single pulse dispersed in an electrical web, completely neutralizing the Starblood. She let that sink in with the cadets, as the Opening quickly shrank in on itself and an ash like substance floated into the air around the charred wood.

“Okay,” she smiled. “Any questions?”

© A.C. Melody

Thanks for reading and don’t let this prologue fool you, as the title would suggest, this is an Erotic SciFi-Fantasy, so prepare for some steamy episodes ahead and 18+ link-only posts. 😉 Until next time…

#FREE Read ♥ Forget Me Knot by Lori King

Forget Me Knot (Crawley Creek Book 1)

One look was all it took, and all Lacy’s good intentions went out the window…

Forget Me Knot (Crawley Creek Book 1) by [King, Lori]

She is a good girl, a smart girl, a logical girl. Vacation romances were never on the agenda. But from the moment Lacy Denvers’ locked eyes with the sexy ranch owner, Drannon Russo all of her good intentions flew out the window.

Drannon has one focus, making Crawley Creek Ranch a success. People depend on him, lives are a stake. He’d buried his dreams of a family of his own, knowing he had to keep his head in the game. Then Lacy arrives at his ranch.
Lacy and Drannon are soon caught up in a whirlwind of passion that leave them both thunderstruck. But what amazes them even more is emotional connection that they find in one another’s arms.

Snowbound, these two find their dance is the beginning of something magical, but as the snow melts will reality rear its ugly head or will this city girl find her heart’s desire on North Dakota cattle Ranch?

BUY HERE -> http://amzn.to/2opmcsg

Meet the Author

Lori King

Best-selling author, Lori King, is also a full-time wife and mother of three boys. Although she rarely has time to just enjoy feminine pursuits; at heart she is a hopeless romantic. She spends her days dreaming up Alpha men, and her nights telling their stories. An admitted TV and book junkie, she can be found relaxing with a steamy story, or binging in an entire season of some show online. She gives her parents all the credit for her unique sense of humor and acceptance of all forms of love. There are no two loves alike, but you can love more than one with your whole heart.

With the motto: Live, Laugh, and Love like today is your only chance, she will continue to write as long as you continue to read. Thank you for taking the time to indulge in a good Happily Ever After with her. Find out more about her current projects at http://lorikingbooks.com, or look her up on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/LoriKingBooks or Twitter: https://twitter.com/LoriKingBooks.