***** Please note. This teaser chapter was pre-released before the official launch date. What you read below may not be in sequence with the story as published to date. *****
Dr. Nico Crede
Dr. Nico Crede’s eyes struggled to adjust to the brightness. She had been blindfolded for what felt like hours, while her captors shoved her body inside and outside, down echoing hallways and into crowded rooms. No one had talked to her except to swear at her, or offer her food or water. Nico had tried to speak to her fellow captives, and was quickly smacked across the mouth for the effort. The hot, sweaty anonymity of blindfolded captivity, and her desire for it to be over, had convinced her that she was really not that important to these terrorists. These crazed Rodians would kill them all soon, or they would get what they wanted and let their captives go free. Whatever their fate, they would all share it together.
So Nico was unprepared for her eyes to focus on the leader of the miner terrorists, the one who called himself Krul te Rosin. She jolted and felt the restraint belt hold her to her chair, hands behind her back. Glancing around nervously she saw that they were in a large atrium. A high three-story ceiling towered over them, with menacing guards gazing into the atrium from the first, second and third floors.
Pale light pooled around her. Holostream droids floated about, their casting lights blinking, blinking, blinking. Meaning that they were holostreaming live on the holonet, right now.
Krul’s bulbous, black eyes stared into her. “Dr. Nico Crede. Do you know why you are here?”
His calm command of Basic made Nico’s gut sink. She felt rage pulse through her and her lip started to quiver as she spoke. “I’m here because you - you terrorists are - are ruining our lives!”
A sob broke out of her and tears streamed down her face. Krul waited patiently for her to regain composure.
“No, Doctor. That is not why you are here. You are here because...” Krul’s voice trailed off as one of his lieutenants whispered in his ear; Krul glanced at the broadcasted holovid of the trial in his lieutenant’s hand and then whispered back. “Dr. Nico, wait a moment. A hacktivist is sabotaging our holostream.” Sabotaging was an understatement. The hacker had digitally warped the holostream, such that Krul appeared as a spastic demon streaming fire from eyes and mouth. As Krul spoke, the hacker modulated Krul’s voice to fluctuate wildly from a deep baritone to a shrill soprano.
“You consider me a terrorist, Doctor. But I am not a terrorist - for a terrorist seeks only to sow terror in the hearts of his enemies, as this hacker seeks to intimidate us. A terrorist lacks vision, and more importantly, fails to mawala fosh - inspire.”
“What will you inspire? More senseless murders?” Nico’s voice cracked.
“Revolution, Doctor. Revolution. A revolution that erupts like a supernova and cannot be stopped. Those caught in its wake will be transfixed by its flames.”
The miner guards shoved two other blind-folded captives onto their knees in the pool of light. Krul removed their blind folds, but left the dermaplast muffling the captives’ mouths.
“Before you kneel Senior Accountant Davo Keelin and Secretary Margo Wata. Tell the galaxy Davo and Margo, would you like to live?”
Davo and Margo nodded vigorously and muffled cries through the dermaplast.
“Look at this young woman and middle aged man. So full of desire to live! To while away their lives serving the cajala chupa.” Krul stared long into a holostream droid’s camera eye, then calmly walked behind the captives and patiently activated his blaster pistol. “I assume that you watch us, hacker. Know then, that it is you who ended their lives.” In one smooth motion, Krul seared blaster bolts into the hostages’ skulls. Nico shrieked as the smoking heads slumped at her feet.
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