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Authors: Alex Albrinck

Tags: #Fiction, #Science Fiction, #Hard Science Fiction

Ascent of the Aliomenti

BOOK: Ascent of the Aliomenti
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Contents

Title Page

Prologue

Argument

Emigration

Scouting

Abrecan

Northwest

Ambrose

Isolation

Separation

Wall

Planning

Heat

Bunker

Research

Gears

Factory

Gift

Expansion

Terraforming

Water

Grief

Immortals

Hopeless

Financier

Island

Power

Vessel

Orphan

Fracture

Battle

Bonds

Schism

Author's Note

Ascent of the Aliomenti

The Aliomenti Saga — Book 3

by Alex Albrinck

 

Copyright (c) 2013 by Alex Albrinck. All rights reserved.

 

Cover by Karri Klawiter:
http://artbykarri.com

Other Books by Alex Albrinck

 

The Aliomenti Saga

Book 1:
A Question of Will

Book 2:
Preserving Hope

Book 3:
Ascent of the Aliomenti

Book 4: Coming in 2013!

 

For new release notification, plus access to the free prequel and short stories, sign up at:

http://smarturl.it/c49mzo

 

 

 

Prologue

 

They met in secret once more, a couple betrothed, promised to each other in a future one had not yet lived. Circumstances forced them to live apart, for one man would seek to destroy her should he learn she’d survived an apparent violent death. Their knowledge of the future, a future in which that evil man still lived, prevented them from eliminating him first.

The journey would be a difficult one, fraught with risk, and the greatest risk was that anything they might do would alter their chances to bring forth the children both so desperately wanted.

They’d both need to survive that long, and though both were now immortal, it did not mean all those they knew and cared for in the eleventh century would join them.

“I didn’t meet Eva in the future, Hope,” Will said. “I don’t know how long she lived. That doesn’t mean she’s not still around in the future, though.”

Hope nodded, but she looked uncomfortable at the news. Eva had been her constant companion, and though the course of thirty years had changed their actual if not their public relationship, the two women were still close, still bonded by the secrets they shared.

Hope took a deep breath, and he caught a strong emotion from her, of a type he couldn’t identify. “I think I need to branch out on my own, Will. Somewhere completely different. And I think I need to learn to survive without Eva.”

He was surprised, though he quickly understood what she was trying to do. Her childhood had been a disaster, and Hope had been in desperate need of someone to show her she was loved without qualification. Eva had provided that in her own fashion, just as Will had in his. But in many ways, her relationship with Eva had prevented Hope from developing a true independence. The understanding that Eva might not always be around further necessitated that development, and Hope had the wisdom and maturity now to understand what she needed to do.

“How did she take the news?”

She looked at the ground, her only response silence.

Will sighed. “Do you want me to break the news to her?”

Hope shook her head. “No, I need to be the one to tell her, and I know that. It’s difficult to share news like that, isn’t it?”

Will smiled. “Having been on both sides, I can only say that in my experience, it’s best for both parties that the news be delivered without delay. The message will come out, no matter what. It’s best to let the person receiving the news know without delay so that they can prepare themselves and comport themselves as necessary.”

She nodded. “I know.”

“Where do you think you’ll go?”

“Back to the island, initially. Then I’ll decide. The world is large, and most definitely not flat.” She smiled, and Will remembered the global tour he’d taken her on decades earlier. “I think I’ll travel a long way this time, and put a very large distance between us.”

Will winced involuntarily. “That’s... probably for the best.”

She grimaced, but then her face turned to stone, and he recognized that something else was coming, a message causing her far more distress. “This whole situation is very difficult for both of us, Will. Unless we change our minds, and risk the fate of history and our children, we must live through a chaste millennium-long betrothal. Distance helps, but if we make it simple to see each other with teleportation... at some point, we’re going to fail at that.” She took a deep breath. “My traveling to a far distant locale solves that dilemma as well.”

He felt as if he’d been slapped, dealt a blow that crippled him, and stepped back.

It had been a long series of discussions, merging the practical, knowledge of future history, and Hope’s own strong beliefs. She would do nothing which had any chance, posed any possible risk, to the children she’d not bear for over nine centuries. And that meant she would not consent to marry him, nor engage in related acts, until the appointed time. He’d protested, noting that there was no risk of other pregnancy now with the ambrosia’s corrupting influences on both of them.

“We won’t know that, Will, until it’s too late,” she’d replied. “Then what happens? What if our children don’t exist anymore because we make that decision? Will you disappear immediately? They won’t be around to rescue you from those men, will they? You’ll probably die in that fight, just as I would have died eventually if you’d not been there to rescue me, mentally and physically, from Arthur’s schemes and mobs.” She’d shaken her head, her face resolute.

They’d still seen each other, still shared in those Energy-enhanced embraces. And though it wasn’t what he’d become accustomed to in their days of marriage, it was, somehow, enough.

Now she was leaving, severing even that bond.

He couldn’t keep the look of shock off his face.

“A thousand years is a long time, Will,” she said, and he could see tears rolling down her face. “We can each help half the planet in our own way. Don’t forget, that in the end, I will always be there for you. For now, though, at this point in this journey, I must be much farther away.”

She put her fingers to her lips, then reached out to trace them across his. “I love you, Will.”

And then she vanished.

 

 

 

 

 

I

Argument

 

 

1021 A.D.

The last screams of the dying had finally faded, the horrors carried away with the smoke rising from the still-smoldering remains of the inferno. Fifty men and women had perished in the blaze, their deaths ensured as the arsonist used his special skills to ensure they’d remained in a deep sleep, unable to awaken and escape their fate. Only in the final moments of life, as the voracious flames began to consume their very flesh, were they permitted to regain consciousness. Their final minutes were a nightmare of terror and agony, pain the entirety of their existence for those final smoke-filled breaths they inhaled.

Adam stood, alternating his gaze between the flames and the man whimpering on the ground at his feet. Arthur had deserved to die more than any of those executed in his stead. They’d suffered judgment and penalty at Adam’s hands for partaking in the deaths of three women, allowing their raw emotion and greed to goad them into destroying what they themselves could not have... or could not have
first
. Adam might have overlooked the death of Arthur’s late wife, Genevieve, a woman he’d not seen in a decade. But the beating death of the only child the village had known was unforgivable. The cold-blooded murder of his sister, Eva, however, had sent him over the edge of sanity into a mindset focused solely on vengeance. Eva had been sent away from the village, only to be stabbed in the back at Arthur’s command by a man whose body was now ashes.

Adam had gotten the truth of what had happened in this fledgling village from Will, the only one who’d worked to improve and then save Eva and Elizabeth’s lives. Will had been spared for that reason, sent out of the village on an errand in the middle of the night before Adam unleashed the inferno of death upon the others. Adam had elected to spare Arthur’s life as well.

“Why?” Will asked.

“Why?” Adam snorted. “Men and women who cannot bear to see anyone get the better of them, who so easily allow themselves to be sold a story of scarcity in a village grown so wealthy? Men and women who speak of learning, of sharing knowledge, who have a building named for just such a use, who then destroy those who are making progress? Men and women who will commit murder and stand by to allow others to do the same?” He shook his head. “Such people do not deserve the answers they seek, for their judgment in small things suggests they would be untrustworthy in large things. Better to eliminate them now, both as punishment for past wrongs, and to prevent the future tyranny they’d impose if given what I’d returned to provide them.”

Will stared at Adam. His experience and impressions of the man had come from a thousand years in the future, when Adam still lived through the advances they were now unlocking, when Adam would teach a confused, distraught Will how to mold and manipulate Energy to do as he wished. Will knew Adam as a patient man, a kind man, a practical man. Those impressions had not prepared him for Adam as he was now, an angry and impulsive man who acted upon his anger to murder the guilty.

“They all acted because
that
man” – Will nodded toward Arthur, prone and writhing on the ground – “manipulated them into their behavior. But for him, they would have done nothing of the sort. Genevieve, Elizabeth, and Eva would still be alive.”

Adam shook his head. “They were weak-minded, fearful people, Will. Had Arthur not come along, someone else would have manipulated them just as he did. Theirs were minds begging to be molded to another’s vision. Before, that meant cruelty. What might happen when such people developed sufficient power to do something like
that
?” He nodded toward the fire, and then leaned in closer, to whisper in a conspiratorial fashion. “Or do what
you
are capable of doing?”

Will knew all too well the answer to Adam’s rhetorical question, for he’d seen the future Aliomenti, under Arthur’s direction, work to stifle human innovation and progress in his own time and in his own future. They’d amassed incredible wealth, wealth Will had seen evidence of during his visit to their Headquarters. He suspected they’d infiltrated human governments and businesses as well, seeking to control, seeking to stifle, seeking to keep the mass of humanity downtrodden in order to raise their own absolute and relative stature and influence in the world.

“Many of them were slaves, Adam. They were men and women accustomed to living their lives at another’s whim, for another’s pleasure. They’d tasted freedom, and their greatest fear was somehow losing that freedom, having to once more bow to another. They knew the power that would come with the successful completion of the experiments they’d all forced upon Elizabeth; failure to be the first to acquire the power they expected her to discover would mean being a potential victim yet again.” He quieted as that realization hit him. “She never had a chance, did she?”

He’d seen through most of Arthur’s manipulations. Arthur’s facial expression during Elizabeth’s first public display of Energy showed Will that Arthur’s supposed dream, a dream of a future where they’d all developed “magical” abilities, was nothing but a facade, a straw man to make himself of critical importance in the village. Only Arthur, through Elizabeth, could unlock the code. That meant Arthur would be the first to reap the rewards... along with the special few he chose. It had been a decade-long accumulation of influence and power over the villagers, who had willingly handed over their gold and human compassion to Arthur to ensure they’d be an early adopter. When Elizabeth finished unlocking the code, they believed, she would tell Arthur, and Arthur would tell his inner circle. They’d be the leaders of a powerful new alliance.

BOOK: Ascent of the Aliomenti
5.69Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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