“DISSENT” RENEGADES – Sneaky Peak

After many battles, I seem to have now copied and pasted this across correctly…YAY!!

So, here it is…

A sneaky peak at some of the prologue from the first Dissent story. This snippet is from the first book in the series, which is due for release on 1st November 2017.

It will be available for pre-order very soon 😀😀😀😀

As with the ebook, I have started you off with a map…

********

The Union Map jpg

The Great Freeze changed everything…

PROLOGUE

Ice shelves broke the surface of the ocean, shimmering in the moonlight off the shore of Port Harmony. When darkness came, the busy harbour town would always fall silent. To escape the cold, people would move indoors; and this night was no different to any other. The cobblestone streets had emptied steadily, until everywhere lay still. Everywhere, except on the wharf, where an animal trotted along the harbour wall. In the creature’s saddle, a solitary rider examined a large supply store. The heavy snowfall made it hard to distinguish the buildings bordering the wharf.

Opposite, a warden known as Ermine pulled open a heavy timber gate twice his height. He was unaware that he was under surveillance. As squadron leader, he was there to assess the progress of his crew. A job he had done for many years—since The Union’s formation—which was evident by the tired way he handled the gates. He was certain someone kept making them heavier.

Within the supply store, an enormous Land Transport dominated the vast open space. The scarlet, torpedo-shaped vehicle looked immaculate, and towered above Ermine. Scattered around it, his squad were busy preparing heavy crates of seafood; six wardens in total. They were getting ready for their thirteen-mile journey inland, to Scorr Tanta. Each member of the squad wore a fleecy, dark-grey cloak, made from thick animal skins for insulation. These garments flowed to the floor, and covered the wardens’ crisp, white tunics. It was the standard uniform for a warden, and the same as Ermine’s; although he also wore a purple band on his arm, to signify his rank.

A seventh warden—the pilot—inspected his vehicle. He seemed to be paying close attention to the two large sets of wheels at the front. Yet, it was more likely that he was studying the caterpillar tracks that encased them. These were crucial for the transport to travel across the thick ice and snow, and the pilot knew it was essential to check for any damage that may hinder his journey. Scorr Tanta wasn’t far, but Port Harmony was situated on a steep hillside leading to the ocean. The frozen terrain wasn’t the pilot’s only challenge. His machine would have to travel through the meandering streets, up the hills and away from the coast. Those sharp gradients always proved treacherous.

Stepping away, the pilot seemed confident, but didn’t notice Ermine approaching.

‘Magnificent, isn’t she?’ Ermine spoke loudly to announce his arrival. His nostrils filled with an overpowering stench of fish. Eating it was one thing, but Ermine hated the smell, and already wondered when he would be able to get clean. The transfer of seafood to Scorr Tanta wasn’t his favourite part of his job. Luckily, he didn’t have to go out to sea and catch it.

‘Yes sir…sorry…didn’t see you arrive,’ the pilot replied. He swung around to greet his superior and almost stumbled on his cape.

‘Renegade proof?’

The pilot grinned, patting his dirty palm against the solid rubber tracks. ‘Won’t get in our way this time! Nothing is going to interfere with this…’ he said.

Ermine moved closer, his eyes wandering across the tapering frame of the impressive vehicle. ‘It would be wise…to not underestimate these Renegades,’ he said. ‘This thing may offer more protection than moving the crates with orgo. But we shouldn’t be over-confident…not until we’ve reached Scorr Tanta.’

Nodding, the pilot acknowledged the warning. ‘Yes sir. Of course, sir.’ He then shifted his focus to the small rudder wheel at the rear of the transport.

Conscious of his schedule, Ermine studied the room. He counted more than a dozen containers, each marked with the Scorr Tanta insignia. The dominant, bright green S-shape, overlaying the greyish-T, looked glorious. Pimples ran all the way up Ermine’s arms every time he set eyes on the metallic emblem. Each of the marks reflected the hazy light, cast from the pendants in the ceiling.

The wardens struggled to haul the containers despite the tough metal runners fixed beneath. Time was precious, and they needed to work more efficiently.

‘We need to be ready to leave…soon!’ Ermine bellowed to his squad. ‘The sooner, the better. Time to get those crates loaded. Rada isn’t known for her patience, and we have a Bicentenary to prepare for. Scorr Tanta is depending on us.’

Ermine acknowledged that he feared Rada. As both ruler of Scorr Tanta and head of The Union, she was formidable. Her lack of tolerance for anyone who disappointed her was well-known. It had been, twenty-seven years since Rada’s ascension; a time which had created divisions in Scorr Tanta and resulted in people leaving. Those that departed built Port Harmony, whilst The Union itself had only been created once a peace evolved between the two colonies. At that point, Ermine’s squad were posted by the harbour. He had done everything possible to win Rada’s approval since then.

One of the wardens looked up. ‘I was thinking sir,’ she said, gasping for breath whilst going about her work. ‘Two hundred years since people got together to build our city. Two hundred! And twelve years since The Union agreement too, isn’t it sir? Incredible! To think…how far we have come. Before that…before Scorr Tanta…our ancestors barely survived. Well…if you believe all that. I mean…it’s fascinating. Now look at us…three colonies working together. Us…the people here…those folk in Eklips up the shore. Sometimes, I wonder if there’s more…you know people and—’

‘What’s your name warden?’ Ermine intruded, marching toward his subordinate. She appeared young for a warden and much too inexperienced. Not to mention that she obviously talked a great deal. Wardens were not recruited for their ability to think for themselves—or to talk quite that much.

‘Er…Dee Nine…sir.’

‘Well…Dee Nine!’ Ermine spoke in the sternest tone he could master. ‘It isn’t our job to be thinking. It is our job to be moving these crates to Scorr Tanta.’

Nonetheless, Ermine had also heard stories about their human ancestors when he was an infant. People said that centuries earlier, they colonised almost every part of the land—only to be driven close to extinction during the Great Freeze. Tales about the creation of Ermine’s home city, Scorr Tanta, often got shared with children too. But, they were just stories. Ermine gave little consideration to how much truth they held.

With her spindly fingers fiddling with her plaited hair, Dee Nine’s face crumpled. ‘Yes sir…sorry sir…I was just thinking—’

‘Well don’t!’ Ermine shouted. ‘You are Dee Nine…and your job is more important than your thoughts. Your job…is to make sure this lot gets to Scorr Tanta for the Bicentenary. That is…if you’re happy to do your job? Maybe you would prefer to discuss your career with the commander?’

Dee Nine bowed her head and carried on with her work. ‘No sir. Happy to do my job sir,’ she said, understanding her place.

‘Now,’ shouted Ermine, ‘unless anyone else has some…erm…thoughts they would like to share…let’s get—’

His orders cut short when the shelter gates flung open, and an animal charged inside. Stopping in its tracks, the beast observed its surroundings. It was an orgo, and its bulky body was taller than any of the squad members. The snow clinging to its thick, black fur, dripped onto the floor creating a small puddle.

More than any other animal, orgo coped well with the cold. A dense mass of wool kept their plump frames well insulated. Their distinctive shape, short stumpy excuses for tails and long slender necks, made orgo easily identifiable. Two powerful legs toward the rear of their frame formed the source of their agility. This meant that they could outrun any man-made vehicle with ease. Having such unrivalled capabilities, most orgo were domesticated by the people living in Port Harmony, including some of the wardens employed by Scorr Tanta. Orgo were undeniably useful.

Tapping its razor-sharp claws against the solid floor, the beast watched the wardens with interest. Tiny eyes set deep in its head, flickered intently. Then, the creature shook to loosen the snow that invaded its fleece. With caution, it began moving further inside the building.

‘Sir…’ Dee Nine said, staying as still as her colleagues. ‘Did…did someone forget to tell them…that we don’t use orgo to move supplies anymore?’

Ermine stared at the animal, refusing to take his eyes away for even a second. ‘Lances…now!’ he said, in a soft but commanding tone, trying not to unsettle it. This animal wasn’t one of theirs, and Ermine was certain that it wasn’t alone either.

In a ridiculous attempt to go unnoticed, the pilot started clambering up his vehicle. He had barely taken a step before the orgo snorted and turned to face him. Panic took hold, and he frantically clutched at handrails, heading toward the cockpit. Few feared the orgo; they were generally docile creatures unless they felt threatened. The pilot must have felt differently.

The rest of the crew edged away from the transporter, closer to their weapons. With each step they took, the orgo moved closer toward them, lowering its head and stretching forward with curiosity. In turn, each warden removed their lance from the rack on the wall, preparing to defend themselves.

‘Hold position,’ ordered Ermine, when the orgo took a step away. For a few seconds, he tried to anticipate it’s next move. He refused to let the orgo out of his sight. But then, unexpectedly, its neck swung around and it hurried back through the gates.

‘What was that all about?’ Dee Nine asked as the orgo vanished into the night.

Ermine screwed his face and shivered. For the first time, it seemed cold inside the building.

‘Wait…’ he said, wanting his squad to remain on alert. They would be stupid to assume this was a random intrusion.

‘We need…to get finished…now,’ the pilot said, spluttering over his words. He had managed to clamber into his seat.

‘No…’ said Ermine, ‘Wait—’

Interrupted, he stood in horror as three more black orgo exploded into the building. Each animal was saddled and they were accompanied by their owners. Ermine recognised the crimson cloaks and bizarre animal skulls that concealed the intruders’ faces.

‘Renegades!’ mumbled Dee Nine, stating the obvious.

********

That’s it for now, but there will be more sneaky peaks closer to publication day. I hope you enjoyed it, and please let me know your thoughts.

Your feedback would be most appreciated!

© R.J. Furness, 2017. Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material, without express and written permission from this site’s author, is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to R.J. Furness, with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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