Sex, Drugs and Cyberpunk, Book One
By: Brie McGill
Beaten to a pulp, drugged into a daze, and brainwashed into oblivion, human experiment Lukian Valentin gambles his life to evade another eviscerating afternoon with his trigger-happy superiors. Fifty stories of a maximum-security building and hundreds of trained special operatives can’t hold a candle to his will to escape. Beyond the laser bars of his holding cell, Lukian must surmount the even greater challenges of repairing the fragments of his broken mind, forgiving himself for his unwilling involvement with the Empire, and learning what it means to live on his own.
The sassy and commanding Naoko Nai wonders just what to do with the soft-spoken, socially awkward, and totally ripped guy she was assigned to train for employment. She knows nothing else about him, other than the fact he was granted asylum, is great with a knife, and his little white apron gives her distinctly unprofessional thoughts.
When the Empire comes to collect, Naoko unwittingly provides the perfect bait to reel Lukian back to headquarters for a fresh series of brain implants and repair.
To save the woman he loves, Lukian must summon the deadly powers implanted in him by the Empire—powers he fears he can’t control, powers he struggled to forgive himself for using, powers that may drive Naoko away forever—because no ordinary man has struck a blow against the Empire and lived to tell the tale. To save Naoko, Lukian must emerge victorious from the battle against himself.Excerpt:
“Let’s begin.” Chase Brigham, a sturdy man old enough to be his father, with waist-length silver hair, loomed over Kain and spit the booming command: “Aadima.”
Mind abruptly blank, Kain opened his eyes. He tilted his head to one side, feeling a metal helmet shift on his head. Posture stiffening without his control, Kain nodded, making a fist, unable to beat his chest in salute. “Commander Brigham, Sir!”
Brigham glanced at the winking display of computer monitors beside him, and then at his watch. “Thirty-seven seconds.” He nodded to Skirra. “Note it.”
Skirra fumbled with an electronic notepad, alternately typing notes and chewing her nails.
Kneeling down on one knee, Brigham signed an intricate series of hand gesticulations to him. “Greetings, Kain.”
Kain could think of nothing to do. Feeling nothing, wanting for nothing, he remained rigid in the chair.
“Dvitiiya.” Brigham paired his command with a symphony of motor signals. “Disable.”
“Secondary Dvitiiya functions.” Kain echoed him in an empty voice. “Disabled.”
“Kain.” Brigham climbed to his feet, sauntering behind the chair. “Tritiiya.”
Kain froze. His mind froze.
“Damn you!” Brigham whipped a flat remote from his pocket and pointed it at him, pressing a button.
Violent tremors wracked Kain's body; he moaned, convulsed, flopped in his chair.
The unforgiving bonds subdued him, fixing him in place, subjecting him to further torture.
Skirra lifted her hands to her head, watching in horror as graphs spiked and numbers soared on adjacent computers.
“There are no uses for faulty machinery!” Brigham leaned into Kain’s face, hissing his words. “None. You remember that.”
Skirra glanced at the clock and chewed her nails.
“Kain.” Brigham cleared his throat. “Load Tritiiya.”
Shifting his posture, Kain’s breathing slowed, and he sat upright. He stared ahead with empty eyes and spoke in a monotone. “Tertiary Tritiiya functions loaded, Sir.”
“Kain.” Brigham waved his hand and spoke in a thunderous voice. “Load Caturtha.”
“Identification confirmed: granting access to restricted Caturtha systems.” Kain mechanically rotated his head toward the floor and closed his eyes. “Proceed with instructions.”
Skirra plunked an unwieldy pair of goggles over the bridge of his nose, fitting the frames one at a time over his ears with a gentle touch. Compulsively grabbing the tufts of flaxen hair that poked from his helmet, Skirra thumbed his temples affectionately before jerking her hands away. “Sir, goggles are ready, Sir!” She threw her hands into the air and blushed.
A hypnotic lightshow of flashing colors entranced him.
“Kain, do you recognize the image of this man?” Brigham drummed his fingers against the chair.
Amidst the lights, Kain saw flashes of an elderly man, with thinning hair and age spots. “Recognition affirmative, Sir.” Kain knew him: he was a senator.
“Spectacular.” Brigham joined his hands in a deafening clap. “Execute primary Caturtha commands, and target this man.”
“Target confirmed, Sir.” Kain remained hypnotized by the goggles. “Requesting variables of mission duration, Sir.”
Brigham pealed his final command. “Caturtha functions will terminate when his Glorious duties are fulfilled.”
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Doctors suspect Brie developed an overactive imagination during childhood to cope with the expansive corn maze known as rural Pennsylvania. Unable to afford an operation to have the stories surgically removed from her brain, she opted instead to write them down.
Brie currently lives in British Columbia with her boyfriend and naughty black cat, somewhere not too far from the sea. She enjoys trips to the local farm, chatting with her long-distance friends on a rotary phone, and roflstomping video games from the nineties.
Brie’s favorite storytellers include Anne Rice, George Orwell, and Hunter S. Thompson.
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