Naldo Is My Home Too-NaNoWriMo excerpt

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Posted by Jodi | Posted in Novel excerpts | Posted on 22-11-2014

A blue sparkle of awareness, broke through the cold and pressure of the deep to touch Chandhyi. It wasn’t that of the keepers, those of her kind who took care of the soon-to-be’s. Warm and innocent this intelligence, and yes she felt he was intelligent, reached out for someone to belong with. Not me, she had been tutored to accept only those of her kind. This was someone of her birthworld. Naldo they called it.

It’s not your choice. My name is Handaln. 

That’s almost like mine. Chandhyi felt comfort in the difference.

It is yours. As am I and you are mine. The only difference is our individuality. We are joined now, so together we are one and more than one. And now you are C’Handyi.

Why does that feel so right? Before C’Handyi accepted her new name, she tried to stretch, to reach past the protective sack of her prebirth, but it was hard and unforgiving. Understanding touched her.

Not to worry. We are the same, but different.

Why was there so much friendship in the words? Comfort she could barely understand eased her anxiety and she relaxed. Needed sleep enveloped her as her new friend drew close. Within that sleep was a change. A protective shell built around them. It was not visible or even feelable by the others. That was a good thing, a very good thing for what came next.

What are you doing? Harsh words struck C’Handyi.

She tucked into a ball of still gooey liquid. Her insides and outside squished. If only there was someplace else she could be. But the confines of her current prison would not let her escape the protectors. Or at least they called themselves that. Mostly they were there to make sure that Plebians remained separate from the native inhabitants of what ever world was chosen for the collection of the embryos.

Then without warning or any notice the protection they offered was gone. Strange, C’Handyi didn’t miss them.

That is because we are one. The sweet voice reminded her. Now you need to get into someplace where you will be safe.

But I have my shell.

It is not enough. Here let me burrow a hole for you.

Bu… Before she could form her resistance, C’Handyi felt herself pulled away from the main gathering. Then darkness enveloped her. Pressure of soil and rocks pressed into her. It was like a cushion from all sides.

Then without warning everything turned hot and stifling. The liquid that had been gooey started to bubble. Heat so intense it could not be natural surrounded her. There was only one thing to do. That was to ask her friend to burrow deeper. Please. She sent out the thought.

No worries.

Deeper and deeper they burrowed, until the heat evened out. Then cooler and cooler the outer layer of her pre-birth once more stiffened. Chill crept in robbing her of conscience choice.

Not Too Late Forever-Shepard’s World

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Posted by Jodi | Posted in Novel excerpts | Posted on 20-12-2011

A halo of doom hung in the air.  Ghostly walls of an abandoned fort, with large chunks missing, shimmered in the near distance.  The few left of the fighting group struggled along the path of defeat.  Not the first time Baret C’Hase had failed, but the first time it had been at such a cost.  He moved up the line, then back, motivating his exhausted troops.  Humanoids from various worlds, their similarities overpowered their differences.  Their bipedal attributes had served them well, until now. 

“Come on, the transports are waiting.”  Baret shivered.  Not from cold.  It was oppressively hot here.  Near and far, screams of pain stabbed the silence.  Groups, much different than his, shuffled toward the gaping holes of the stronghold.  At regular intervals a red glow grew from inside the compound.  It faded, then began again.  Small blue globules sprinkled across the landscape blended eerily with the cold dark.  Their glow spread up into the atmosphere.  . 

“Stupid squirts.”  A crewmember, with a single stripe imprinted on her tunic in bright green, kicked a bunch of cerulean pods.  They broke and spewed against Baret’s leg and up the front of the female’s uniform. 

“Don’t,” his command betrayed nothing of the tension that rippled through the ranks.  “Just get to the departure point and get out of here.  If you keep doing that, we’ll be the last to transport.”

The color of her eyes indistinguishable in the faint light, tears that spilled down her grimy cheeks reflected to him.  “I… I just want to go home.”  With a roughness he understood, she wiped her face.

“We all do.”  His tone softened.  “Move on.”

“Yes, sir.” Her back stiffened. 

“Keep going,” he called to each member of his group.  He moved back along the ranks encouraging their forward progress.  The strength in his voice surprised him.   At the wall he motioned everyone closer.  “Inside, put your packs in the circle with all the others.  Then wait for the order to advance.”

Pride in his troops swelled as they obeyed.  Injured helped over the barrier by their comrades, were pushed to the front.  Inside, they grouped together to wait. 

“Squad 135 come forward.”  A metallic voice commanded.  “Injured first.”  

“That’s us.”  Baret motioned everyone ahead of him.  Before he could make sure his command passed through to the interior, a bright flash lit the darkcycle. Sparksdrifted down around them.  “Troop 135.”  The metallic voice whined, grinding to silence. 

“Hurry.”  Baret motioned everyone toward the now glowing circle.   Outside the shell of shattered walls, embers fell all around.  Inside was no less chaotic.  A shower of sparks grew in a cone against one wall before it collapsed. 

Pop.  Pop.  Puffs of soil billowed from small explosions. 

“Drop your packs now,” Baret hollered.  “Get to the debarkation point.  Over there.”  He pointed deeper into the enclave.  Everyone did as he commanded.  Dark green lights circled from head to foot of each his command as one followed another through the transport sequence.  Each faded from sight.  

The final member of his troop stepped into the circle.  Her single stripe glowed brilliant green, as the transport process began.  Before the light could proceed down to her legs, her face twisted in agony.  She held her arms out to Baret.  Her mouth tried to form words, but no sound came out.  She grabbed her chest, where the goo from the globules had splattered.

Is that the cause?  Baret’s thoughts were drowned out.   

Even though her form faded, screams lingered in the silence.

Naldo Calls

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Posted by Jodi | Posted in Novel excerpts | Posted on 13-12-2011

“Ursel R’Gina you are exiled for life.”  The judge’s words slammed into her as nothing else ever had. 

“No.”  Mother’s scream echoed through the small courtroom. 

Ursel stood, numb, unable to move. 

“Furthermore.” 

What more can there be than never being able to go home again.  Forbidden to return to the only life she had ever known. 

The judge’s words droned on.  “Before serving confinement and work detail for six hundred-seventy-five combicycles you will be taken to a surgical unit.  There the symbols of your heritage will be permanently removed. 

 Ursel’s hands went to her forehead.  “N…not the bands.”  The whisper tore out of her throat as if scalded liquid bubbled there.  The pink bands of Naldo marked on the forehead of all native Naldonians were to be taken from her.  “Please,” she begged. 

The gavel slammed against the wooden surface.  Everyone in the room stood.  A guard on either side of Ursel supported her weight, forcing her to remain upright and face her punishment.

“My poor baby.”  Ursel heard mother try to push forward.  “Let me talk to my daughter.”  Words ignored, the guards pulled Ursel to the back of the room.  Through the exit they took her to the holding cell she’d occupied before the trial started this last lightcycle of her life.

How can I go on?  Once in the cell, she fell to her knees sobbing. 

“Look at her now.”  The guards stood outside the bars, each sneering at her.  “Thought she was going to get off easy.”

“She did.”  The second guard laughed, his long tail brushing the floor behind him.  “If I had my way she wouldn’t be going on anywhere.”

“Yeah.  Serves her right.”  The first guard kicked at the solid door with a heavy booted paw.  He let his long serpent like tongue pass between the bars, then retract back into his mouth.  “If you don’t learn from this, nothing will teach you.”  Both guards left, laughing and joking about what she had to look forward to.

“My baby, my baby.”  The voice announced her mother long before she stopped outside Ursel’s cell. 

Ursel stood and tried to control the shudder that racked her body.  “Do…don’t come in.”  She turned her back on her mother. 

“Please.  Can’t you let me help you now?”  Mother’s voice trailed off in a harsh whisper.  “I loved your father, but he’s gone.”  The plea went unheard. 

If Papa was here, this wouldn’t be happening.    “Leave. Me.  Alone.”  Ursel sat down on the bench.  The shackles on her legs clanked against the solid surface. 

“She’s only getting what she deserves.”  Thoran Armandu, the commander who had arrested Ursel sneered.  His long antennae waved with the bright orange eyes on the ends blinking in amusement.  He leaned down to point the left one up at her.  This served to emphasize his words.  “I’ll be back to take you to the surgeon.”  He laughed.

“She tried to hurt members of my family before she came under the evil influence.  As far as I’m concerned, she got off easy.”  Thoran said to her mother, but Ursel knew the words were meant for her.  Mother’s sobs matched her own.    

“That’s enough Commander.”

“Sir.”  Thoran’s voice stiffened into respect.  “I only meant-“