First Contact

The Chaos Station website has a page of extras that includes playlists, excerpts, interviews, trivia, and cut scenes from the series. Some of the links have expired, though, due to the sad disappearance of many review blogs. Because I dislike the idea of lost links, I thought I’d repost some of the missing content here, on my blog!

First up, I have an exclusive excerpt from Inversion Point, the fourth book in the series. Spoiler Alert! If you haven’t read this far in the series, reading this excerpt will spoil certain developments in both Zed’s character and his relationship with Felix.

To view a full list of excerpts and extras, visit the Chaos Station website


First Contact

Zed stood on the bridge of the Jitendra, watching the movement of ships milling near the border of Species Four space. No matter how sophisticated spacefaring technology got, humanity never failed to put windows on their ships. In the case of a tiny vessel like the Chaos, the windows might be little more than glorified portholes, but they were there. Probably out of some weird human need to see where they were going. Right now, the view distracted Zed from all the bullshit careening between his temples—only part of which was nervousness about what he was about to attempt. Communication with Species Four. 

The rest of it was nonsense about Theo Paredes. 

Zed was generally a logical guy—he prided himself on his control over his emotions, control he’d earned through a ton of work, mastering himself so his troops would have complete confidence in his decisions and leadership. There was no logical reason for his hackles to rise whenever Theo looked at Flick—they were old friends. More than friends once, yeah, but… 

Just…but. It shouldn’t matter. 

And he sure as hell shouldn’t be thinking about it now. 

“Are you ready, Major?” 

He looked down at the young communications officer. Dear God, were they recruiting kids out of high school these days? Was the AEF that desperate? She looked all fresh-faced and eager—and why shouldn’t she be? The galaxy was at peace, shit was good. 

Unless, of course, he was about to find out that Species Four had been communicating a declaration of war. That would suck. 

“I’m not sure this is something you can really prepare for,” he told her, a rueful grin quirking his lips. 

Flick nudged his elbow. “I thought you were doing your meditation thing.” 

“Hmm?” 

“Looking out the window.” 

Right. Of course everyone had been watching him. Having eyes on him all the time was something he should be used to, wasn’t it? At least this crowd wasn’t getting any closer or reaching for him, trying to get a piece of him… 

Not helping. 

“I’m clear. I’m calm.” Zed repeated the mantra a few times under his breath, willing it to be true. 

“T-minus two minutes,” the communications officer announced. 

“All personnel, clear all channels. Repeat, clear all channels.” Theo’s voice rang with authority through the bridge. He wasn’t the commanding officer of the Jitendra, but he was the ranking official aboard. What he said, went—unless they found themselves in a combat situation. 

Really not helping, Zander. 

“I’m right here,” Flick murmured. “Not going anywhere.” 

Zed wanted to grab Flick’s hand, brush a kiss to his lips, but he didn’t dare do either. Not with something like ninety seconds left before the Species Four message sounded across all channels. He settled for shooting him a grin over his shoulder. “Thanks. Step back, though, okay? Just…you know. Being paranoid.” 

Flick’s brows drew low but he did as Zed asked, backing up a pace. 

“T-minus sixty seconds.” 

Silence descended on the bridge, interrupted only by the soft susurrus of officers manipulating holo interfaces. Someone shuffled their feet. Someone else coughed. 

“T-minus fifteen seconds,” the comms officer reported. “Ten, nine, eight…” 

Zed followed the count in his head. His mind was as clear as it was going to get by five. At two, he triggered the Guardian cuff, making sure it was open to all channels and frequencies—just in case part of Species Four’s message was getting lost on a previously unknown layer of communication. 

At zero, the message blared across the bridge’s speakers. Nonsense words, nonsense rhythm, all known languages mashed together into a nonsensical belch of sound. The Guardian cuff vibrated—then the nape of his neck tingled. Buzzed. 

And the bridge of the Jitendra disappeared. 

On some level, Zed knew he hadn’t moved. All the AEF officers were still there, Flick was standing less than a meter away on his left, Theo was nearby, and Elias, Ness and Qek were all hovering at the back of the room. He could not quite…sense them, but almost. His consciousness, his self, had expanded, opened. 

No sooner had he realized it than something slammed into him. A force, a presence, something that seemed to recognize him. Not physical, but—oh God, there and overpowering and he couldn’t stop it, he couldn’t stop the invasion, the flood, the massive influx of alien thoughts and feelings, concepts and ideas. 

It was like the Guardians, how they communicated. Images, layers. But where the Guardians employed restraint—and he could understand that now, they had always held back to ensure they didn’t overwhelm him—this barrage didn’t stop, it didn’t let up. It battered against him, like a spring-swollen river. He was little more than a bit of flotsam being carried away by it— 

“Zed! Get the fuck off me, he needs—” A grunt, a growl, and then a hand jerked his arm, pulling him out of his ramrod-straight posture. “Breathe, damn it!” 

The spell shattered. Zed sucked in a hard breath, as though he’d just escaped the grip of deep water. He sucked in another and another—but he couldn’t seem to get enough air, there wasn’t enough air— 


Want to read more? Inversion Point is available at your favourite online retailer!

UNIVERSAL BUY LINK

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