Yesterday I shared with you the release of the Andromedans, the third book in the Empire Series by Elizabeth Lang. Be sure to check out that post. It has a chance for you to win singed copies and a Boogie board! Today, I’m sharing an excerpt from the Andromedans, so you can get a little taste!
The Andromedans Excerpt
The Ore Shack had never been Kali’s home, not even a temporary one. It was a means to an end.
“Kali!” The cheerful face of Adrian’s former personal assistant greeted her when she shimmered into view on the teleport platform. “Can you read my mind yet?” he asked with half-joking nervousness.
“If I could, yours wouldn’t be the first one I’d read.” She smiled, surprised how easy it was to fall back into their old routine even though she no longer felt like the same woman she was before.
“Good. Because I’ve been making a killing in the poker games.”
It had never taken psi abilities to know Bryce was hiding all manner of tiny secrets, usually of the faintly larcenous kind, but now she ‘saw’ them in vivid colors, like a second sight. “Did Tucker make any progress on finding Adrian while I was away?”
“Does rescuing a rebel leader count as progress?”
Long suppressed frustration burst into flames. “Not when Adrian’s life is at stake.”
“Hold on. Don’t shoot the messenger.”
“Then get out of my way.”
“Now, that’s cold.”
“I don’t care.” As she spoke, she advanced, cornering him against the wall. “It’s no colder than where Adrian is now. If we don’t rescue him soon, he’ll die. Don’t you care about that?”
Bryce threw his hands up in surrender. “I’m on your side, remember?”
“Then act like it. Where are the others?”
“On the bridge with Kearvon, the rebel leader they rescued. Thick as thieves they are.”
“Planning more rebel actions no doubt.”
“Not sure. They don’t confide in the likes of me, not that I’d want to know.”
Her eyes unfocused as she reached for the bridge and registered six distinct minds, one unknown. She withdrew quickly. The mental taste of them was different from what she remembered, sharper and more intricate. This would have to be done slowly until she acclimatized to her new mental surroundings.
“Do not let impatience rule your mind, Kali,” Gellentier had told her during her first weeks of training.
Unfortunately, impatience was one of her dominant characteristics. She had spent days sitting under a waterfall, with freezing water crashing down on her, trying to wash her from the rocks. It wasn’t real of course, nothing she did at the Th’sai Institute was real, only constructs of highly disciplined and powerful minds. Day after day she sat under that blasted waterfall, trying to calm her mind only to become more frustrated.
The water chilled her to the depths of her marrow, but it wasn’t the kind of cold that choked anger, it was the kind that fueled and transformed it to a dangerous, ice-bladed edge. She tried to calm herself, to think of peaceful skies, still waters and fluffy clouds, but it never worked for long, not with Adrian’s screams echoing in her head. Rushing waters pummeled her. She refused to be beaten anymore, to be manipulated, to face another person who would lie to her. Helping someone should be straight-forward. You either do it, or you don’t. Adrian understood. In many ways, he was a simple man, but with a complex mind.
She missed him so much it hurt and sleep seemed a luxury she couldn’t afford.
Didn’t these people care that Adrian was suffering? That he might die? Or was he too far away for them to care? If the Andromedans were able to take the information about the jump gate from his mind, their entire galaxy would be in danger. Didn’t they care about that even if Adrian had been relegated to the bottom of their priority list?
“How is anyone supposed to be calm with this thing falling on them?” she asked angrily, grabbing the outstretched towel offered by Gellentier, and scrubbing herself with it. She never thought the Th’sai were a bunch of sadists.
“We haven’t done anything to you, child.”
“What do you mean you haven’t done anything? You’re making me sit under that freezing waterfall. It’s been six bloody days. How am I supposed to help Adrian if you don’t teach me anything?”
“You’re free to leave whenever you wish.”
The calm of her mentor washed over her and she bit back a harsh reply. She reminded herself that Gellentier was trying to help. “What did you mean when you said you haven’t done anything to me?”
“I’m the one who created the backdrop, but I did not create the waterfall.” Gellentier’s eyes picked up the waning orange glow of the sun in the distance. “You did.”
The truth of the words had shocked Kali into silence and the frenzied liquid sputtered.
She saw it clearly now. The water represented her lack of control, her impulsiveness, the undercurrent of anger that fuelled her since the Andromedans took Adrian.
“You all right?” Bryce asked with concern. “You must be tired from the flight. Are you hungry? I might be able to scrounge something from the kitchens.”
It took another week of sitting under the waterfall before she controlled it enough to satisfy her mentor. She never fully mastered it. That kind of discipline took a lifetime of meditation, but she wasn’t there to become a master, only to take enough away to help Adrian.
Gellentier reluctantly passed her on to the next stage of training. Kali suspected someone influential intervened on her behalf and she was grateful to Ren Dastrin.
The next phases of training flew by with the swiftness of an automated freight barge barreling through the atmosphere. Sometimes her teachers gaped at her in wonder, but increasingly, being Tellarans, they could not hide their trepidation at the speed and eagerness at which she picked up the skills to influence people’s minds. It should have concerned her; it should have made her ill but she didn’t allow herself to think about it. Enough time for that later. Sester was right, sometimes it was about necessity.
Kali never told them about her initial efforts with Don Rio.
Time warped by in an exhausting blur, with years of knowledge squeezed into ten weeks of mental hell known as the Th’sai disciplines.
We’re sorry it has to be this hard,” Gellentier had apologized, “but these disciplines are begun in youth before the psi-neural pathways have been established. We have to break them down to rebuild them or the chance of burn-back would be high. High psi energies are dangerous for the user as well as for the target.”
After all she endured, after all she accomplished, to come back and find that Adrian had become a side-note on the rebel ship was a rude awakening.
“I’m not hungry,” she answered Bryce’s question.
“Maybe you should be.”
The orange of worry fringed her perceptions of him. “Thanks for your concern, but it isn’t necessary.”
“I’m not so sure about that. You’ve changed, Kali. What did they do to you over there? I thought you were working on your psi abilities?”
“I graduated,” she said curtly.
“Well, I’m glad you’re back.”
Her exit interview with Gellentier had been tense and the others in the room silent as ghosts.
“We have trained you to the best of our ability in the limited time available,” said her mentor. “Under normal circumstances you would not have reached the advanced training levels until you fully passed the waterfall test.”
“I’m glad you changed your mind.”
“These are unusual times and you have friends in high places. Go and rescue your Adrian, but when you’ve finished, come back and finish your training the proper way before you end up hurting the people who matter to you the most.”
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