Read a sample : Destination Oblivion
On this page you can read the first Chapter of my third Sci-Fi book “Destination Oblivion”, available since December 2015 on Amazon kindle. If you like it, please don't hesitate to share via the social media buttons at the bottom of the page.
The text on this page is near to its final form; some slight changes might happened happen on the final version.
SPOILER ALERT! If you haven't read the first book, Earth - Last Sanctuary, or the second book, Fury to the Stars, reading this sample can spoil some of the story line, which I don't recommend.
Chase swiped his index finger under his nose and looked at the blood. He rubbed the blood between his index and thumb and got back up.
He looked at the tall Droxian standing in front of him. A mix of cheers and boos came from the crowd outside the laser-illuminated arena. Some of the public were waving and flailing their arms; others gave him the thumbs down sign.
The Droxian launched himself at Chase with a powerful right kick. Chase dodged the blow, caught the leg on his right shoulder and locked it in place. With empty eyes he crushed the leg at knee level with a quick wave of his left hand.
The Droxian shrieked in agony as the blow dislocated his knee cap. Chase then threw the leg back at him. He fell to the ground with a loud thud as the crowd cheered uncontrollably.
“Chase! Chase! Chase!” they chanted now.
He took no pleasure from this, none at all. But he needed to feel the pain these fights brought. At least when he was letting himself be beaten to a pulp, which wasn’t the case much tonight. This was his fourth and last opponent for the evening, and while he let himself get injured on purpose and for the show, patience wasn’t a welcome guest in his thoughts today.
The Droxian was on the ground, holding his leg, clearly regretting landing the previous blow that had made Chase’s nose bleed.
This is utterly useless, thought Chase.
His opponent wasn’t in a position to cause Chase the physical pain he craved lately. But in his soul he knew that no amount of pain from these fights would cover that within his heart. A tear escaped his left eye but he quickly wiped it away.
“Finish him!” demanded the crowd.
Chase took two steps towards the Droxian, still on the ground, and the anticipation from the crowd intensified. He hated this, but this was how the fights had to be conducted on board the Obsidian station Ponos One. To the death.
He didn’t know what made the Droxian react—adrenaline and impending death, probably—but he was glad he did. He punched his own knee back into place with a painful, cracking noise and then stood mostly on his good leg, resuming a fighting stance.
Why did it have to be a Droxian? thought Chase. Of all the scum roaming these rings. It had to remind him of his past, a past he wanted to forget at all cost. But there was no brushing away the weight and pain of these memories as they rushed back into Chase’s mind, reigniting the deepest scars within his soul. He could obliterate his opponent with a thought; there was no challenge . . . But Chase wasn’t looking for challenge, only pain.
He ran toward the Droxian, who thrust his elbow towards Chase’s head. The impact threw him to the ground, sending a cloud of sand around him. Chase launched himself feet first towards the Droxian’s jaw. The impact sent the Droxian flying high in the air. Chase performed a somersault in midair and landed back on his feet before the Droxian fell heavily to the floor a second later.
The crowd went crazy. They were loving this shit. Sometimes Chase would feel like letting his Fury rage get the better of him and destroy everything and everyone around him, but there was already too much blood on his hands. Too many innocents had died.
It took a good minute for his opponent to muster the strength to rise to his feet. Chase looked at the holographic, real-time gambling screen. His odds had started at two to one on, but they had soared to fifteen now. He turned back to the Droxian. He looked deep into his eyes. He could see fear in them, and that sent him back in time. To that moment when he had the chance to kill his brother Argos but didn’t. The single, most excruciating mistake of his entire life. The one with the most painful consequences.
He looked towards the bar, deep in the back of the hall in which the fights were taking place, past another three fighting cages—in one of which a Gorgar was beating the shit out of a Brin at lightning speeds. His look settled on an interstellar newscast by the bar. He closed his eyes and projected his mind there.
“The Earth Alliance has been reported winning yet another battle against the Zarlack Consortium around the ringed planet Zarthos Seven. This only three weeks after the Obsidian Empire officially broke their alliance with the Zarlack forces. In other news, the Obsidian Emperor has officially opened negotiations to join the Earth Alliance,” said the presenter with a smile.
At least Chase could take a small—very small—amount of comfort with each announcement of Argos’ forces’ new defeats. It had been three months now since his fight with Argos on Damocles-3. Three months that felt like an eternity. In that time, five major battles had been won by the Alliance and only one lost.
It no longer mattered to Chase who won the war. The only thing that mattered was to cross paths with his brother Argos, and unleash all the hate and anger he had bottled up deep within himself. That day would come, sooner or later and, when it did, this time he would finish the job once and for all.
Chase’s train of thoughts was interrupted when a powerful knuckle hit his face and made him lose balance. Perhaps he should get his head into this fight for the time being. There would be enough time to plan his revenge later. He had to finish this to get paid. That or die; but that wasn’t happening until after Argos’ heart stopped beating.
He dodged a poorly executed uppercut, grabbed the Droxian’s arm and used the momentum of the punch to slam him against the ground with the painful sound of multiple ribs breaking. This fight was getting boring. He dragged the Droxian back to his feet and decided to end it. He launched a lightning-fast, fivefold series of punches. He was so fast that, to the naked eye, it seemed the impacts on the Droxian’s body happened before Chase was upon him, and again the crowd cheered and chanted his name. The Droxian’s heart had stopped, but by a miracle he was still standing, a look of terror still locked into his eyes.
When Chase couldn’t take hearing his name being chanted anymore, he impaled the already dead Droxian through his ribcage, grabbed his heart and tore it out. The lifeless body fell to the ground like a flat board, and Chase held the purple-blooded, engorged heart high above his head. He squeezed it and heard the familiar winning sound played over the sound system.
“Chase wins!” added a theatrical voice as the cheers intensified.
Then everything changed. Darkness filled Chase’s vision.
“What have you become?” said Aphroditis, standing in front of him in the dark.
“What you made me.”
“No, what you are now is your own doing!”
“And if you were in front of me in the flesh, you’d get the same treatment.”
Tears flowed down Aphroditis’ face.
“This isn’t gonna work. I don’t want anything to do with you or Ares anymore. Please leave me be.”
She faded into the darkness with sadness in her eyes; then the darkness faded back into reality.
Chase collected his winnings and went to the bar. He ordered a Jur’Ran’s Blackhole. That drink packed the punch he needed to get his mind away from tonight’s fights and unpleasant memories. The drink was appropriately named, a dark-red base liquid with a hovering black pill in the center that seemed to syphon the color out of the drink towards it.
As he took a sip a woman came and sat next to him. He looked at her briefly. She had beautiful, long green hair, blue eyes—humanoid. With a pretty, round face and adorable smile.
“You fight well,” she said. “Mind if I join you?”
“Sure, just don’t expect fun company.”
“Alright, fair enough I guess.” She turned to the barman and ordered a drink, before adding, “What I have trouble understanding is why you let your opponents think they have a chance.”
Chase exhaled . . .
“Look, I don’t want to annoy you or anything, but I can tell you are letting them hit you. Or am I wrong?”
“You aren’t. I need the pain, but no matter how tough they are, they can’t deliver enough of it.”
“What was her name?”
Chase took another sip of his drink.
“I don’t want to talk about it.”
“It’s still too fresh. I get it. Like everything else, you’ll get over it in time, but I know how painful it can be to lose someone we love.”
“I really don’t want to talk about this. I should go.”
She put her hand on his shoulder. Her palm was soft, and it reminded him of Sarah.
“I’m sorry, Chase. I didn’t want to bring back old demons. Please don’t go on my account.”
Chase finished up his drink and ordered another.
“That’s okay,” he said, after a couple of sips from his second drink.
“May I ask why you’re fighting, though? You clearly don’t enjoy yourself, unless I read it all wrong.”
“Well, for one I need the pain; but lately it’s to correct a mistake I made. You see I need to . . .” He stopped himself for a moment and decided to rephrase it. “I have something to do but I need a ship, and I lost mine, stupidly.”
“How did you lose your ship? If you don’t mind me asking.”
“Gambling,” said Chase, looking down.
She playfully pushed his shoulder. “Hey, don’t get yourself down. It happens to the best of us.”
“I can’t believe I did this, you know. I never gambled before, but I got the bug really bad. And one night, I bit off more than I could chew.”
“I understand. So you fight to buy your ship back?”
“Yeah, except the player I lost to said he would only play the ship back, not allow me to buy it back. That puts me in a shitty position, since I need a lot of credits to even enter that game.”
Chase felt really silly. How could he have done this? Not only had he lost the StarFury he stole from his friends when he decided to leave everything behind. But he also allowed this advanced technology to potentially fall into the wrong hands.
“Look, you need your ship. I understand. What if I could help you?”
Chase raised an eyebrow.
“Why would you help me? You don’t even know me.”
“Look, in my line of work, I’ve been in similar situations and I recognize a broken heart when I see one.”
“What is it you do?”
“I’m a bounty hunter.”
“Really? I never met a bounty hunter before and I must admit I had a completely different mental image. Not in a million years could I have guessed that’s what you do.”
“That’s because you are down at the moment. Take a closer look,” she said, pivoting on her chair and changing her posture.
She was wearing a really tight, leather, black outfit. A closer look revealed interweaves in the fabric, perhaps some sort of ultra-thin body armor. He saw the holster on her left hip, and soon noticed different places in her attire where she could be holding blades or knives.
“So?” she said.
“Yeah, now that I look at you, I see someone ready for anything.”
“But don’t sweat it. My physical appearance is often the first thing people see. In this business it’s an edge. Many people don’t see me coming until it’s too late.”
Chase nodded and took another sip of his drink, slowly feeling the effects of the alcohol. He didn’t know if it was his Fury genes, but he would need a lot of Jur’Ran’s Blackholes to get seriously inebriated.
“So, why would a bounty hunter help me?”
“It’s not a selfless act. I propose more of an exchange of services here. I help you; you help me in return. Who has your ship?”
“A card player named Tron’Tak.”
“I know him quite well. He most probably played you.”
“What do you mean?”
“Let me guess. You played a few nights together and won almost every time, then, all of a sudden, you lost it all in one night.”
Chase’s expression darkened. “Yeah, that’s exactly what happened.”
“He played you. When an experienced card player smells a rookie—no offense—that’s how they prey on them. They give you a sense of confidence so that once you start losing, you actually don’t realize what’s happening and you think it’s just bad luck; until your luck is actually so bad you lost it all trying to shake the bad streak.”
“So he cheated?” asked Chase, pissed off.
“Well, he might have; but he might just have played badly on purpose, and then played well when he knew you would go all the way.”
Chase exhaled deeply, frustrated at being taken for a fool.
“Lighten up, Chase. You’re not the first or last who will fall for such a tactic.”
“Doesn’t really help my ego right now.”
“Fuck the ego. It’s good for nothing. You need to learn from this and then be aware, so it never repeats. That’s what life is, isn’t it? We make mistakes and learn from them.”
Chase didn’t know if it was the alcohol slowly taking hold of him, but this last comment hit home harder than he wanted it to. He felt a pain in the heart he was not ready for. A tear fell down his cheek.
“You’re alright? I’m sorry. Did I say . . .? Oh, me and my big mouth have brought back some painful memory.”
She rose from her chair and embraced him.
“What are you doing?” asked Chase, clearly not prepared for a show of affection from a complete stranger.
“I’m sorry. I didn’t want to bring bad memories to the surface. That’s my way of apologizing. Does it make you uncomfortable?”
In fact, it did, but it also brought back happy memories of when Sarah took him in his arms. One part of him wanted to brush the stranger’s arm away and another wanted nothing more than to embrace her back. Before he could make up his mind she sat back on her chair and looked at him with what seemed like genuine compassion. Something he hadn’t seen in anyone’s eyes for quite a while.
“You’re good, soldier?” she said playfully.
“I’m . . . I’m okay. Thanks, I guess.”
“Don’t sweat it. Now, back to your ship problem. I know Tron’Tak very well. In fact, the little weasel owes me. So getting your ship back shouldn’t be a problem.”
“That would really be helpful, but . . .” He let the words hang.
“What do I want in return?”
She took a long breath, something Chase decided right there wasn’t a good sign.
“I may need your muscles; at the very least, for protection. This new warrant I took is probably the biggest and most dangerous I ever tried to cash in. On the other hand, it pays so well, I could very well retire after that job.”
“I see. Must be dangerous, then?”
“Yeah, probably more than I can fathom. I mean . . . I’ve been at it for more than ten years and never saw such a sum on any warrant. This guy has pissed the wrong crowd; in fact, so much so that he is more valuable dead than alive.”
“I have a mark I also want to kill . . .”
“Oh? Well I doubt it’s the same guy, unless he is called Argos.”
“WHAT? What did you just say?”
“That’s the name of my warrant, a certain Argos.”
Chase’s blood ran cold first, and then melting lava ran through his veins. His eyes glowed purple and the bounty hunter was startled.
“What’s with your eyes?” she uttered, her voice trembling.
Realizing he was letting his Fury out and his anger consume him, he tried to calm himself, but it was getting really difficult.
“I’m sorry. That name. That name . . .” Chase was unable to finish his sentence.
“What’s with it?”
“My twin brother is called Argos.”
“Oh? If this is the same dude, I clearly knocked at the wrong door. I’m sorry.”
“What’s the last name on the warrant?” said Chase, not sure he wanted to know.
“Yeah, that’s my twin brother alright.”
What were the odds of this? wondered Chase. None, he decided. While he had learned the hard way not to gamble, he found this extremely suspicious. In fact, he immediately started thinking of possible scenarios. This woman was proposing to help him catch Argos. Was it a ploy by the Olympians? He had been less than courteous with them lately. Perhaps they needed a fresh face to deliver their messages, in an attempt to sway him back towards them. Or was it an attempt from Argos himself to lead Chase back to him? Chase had no doubt that Argos wanted him for something, otherwise he would have killed him before. It wasn’t as if he didn’t have opportunities to do so. On multiple occasions, in fact. The first when he was helpless inside his disabled F-140. The second on Hellstar. And the last when the Alliance strike force had been trapped in the shipyard at Gatos Nebula.
Obviously tonight was not the night for drowning his sorrow in alcohol and forgetting the past. But the cry for revenge, the absolute hatred he harbored towards his brother, was tickling way too much within his soul to just ignore all this. It could very well be a trap, a clever setting designed by Argos to get his hands on Chase, for whatever reason he needed him alive. Chase decided, however, that knowing this could be exploited in his favor.
“I’m in,” said Chase coldly.
“Seriously? You seemed really pissed a moment ago. I thought you might just lose it and destroy the bar with your bare hands.”
“The thought had crossed my mind,” said Chase, calmly now, “however, I know better now than to let my rage dictate my action. Most of the time, anyway.”
“I’m not really sure I want to ever witness the moments where you do let rage control you.”
“Then you really have to ask yourself if I’m the right partner for the job. Because if we meet Argos, you will see much worse than you can possibly imagine. I will kill him, as brutally as possible and no matter the cost.”
“Wow! I’ve never met someone so determined to end the life of his own brother. What in the blazes did he do to you?”
Chase’s eyes started blinking again, but he tried to not let his rage unleash the wave of emotions currently overwhelming his soul.
“Forget I asked,” she said.
“Still want me along?”
“Well, if you can take the beatings I saw you take and still stand like nothing happened, and still kill some of the ruthless fighters I’ve seen in a place like this without breaking a sweat, you’re probably the right man for the job. But let me ask you this.”
“Will you be able to do it without killing me in the process?”
Chase looked into her eyes. He could see genuine concern mixed with fear, though she was good at masking most of it.
“Let’s look at it this way. If you get me to Argos, believe me, the only being in the universe that could protect you from him is sitting in front of you.”
“Why don’t I like the sound of that?”
“Look . . . Huh, I realize I don’t even know your name.”
“My name is Keera, Keera Hawking.”
“Look, Keera, I want you to understand that you were right to question your warrant. Argos is the most dangerous man in the universe right now.”
“Looks to me you could be a close second.”
“I only live to kill him. That’s my goal in life now. So yeah, I could very well be. But if you help me locate him, I will do everything in my power so nothing happens to you. But you need to understand that I can’t guarantee it. I . . . I already lost . . .” Another tear ran from his eye.
“He killed someone you cared about, didn’t he?”
“Worse. He made me kill the most important person in the world.”
Her eyes widened. “Damn! This is seriously fucked.”
“You may want to reconsider this mission if you value your life, Keera.”
“Yeah . . . I don’t know why, but the pain I see in your soul is so strong, I actually feel like this meeting was no accident. It’s like I needed to meet you to even attempt this. Like the universe brought you on my path.”
Chase felt like commenting on that one. His faith in the universe had been shattered beyond repair of late. He no longer cared if the universe went up in flames right now, as long as Argos was one of the casualties. But if this was an elaborate trap to get at him, the less he showed his doubts the better.
“Perhaps it is,” he said, attempting a smile. “I just want you to understand the danger you would be putting yourself in.”
“I get it. And perhaps there will come a time when I will want to reconsider. But right now I feel compelled to go ahead. That is, if you’re willing to partner with me? I can give you half the warrant. I was more inclined to propose twenty percent at first. But it looks like you’re gonna be the one to take him down and do the heavy lifting, so that’s only fair.”
“I don’t want money. Just get me my ship back and let’s track my brother. Once I’ve killed him—making sure he suffers as much as possible—then you can take his body and cash in your warrant.”
“Look, I get it, you hate the guy, and under the circumstances I can’t blame you. But we’re talking millions here. You may want to reconsider.”
Chase didn’t care for money. It was something he had never really needed or used before he lost Sarah. Sure, the Alliance had to trade on rare occasion, when they needed to acquire something from the outer worlds, but money had no value to him personally. However, it was perhaps better to show some interest, just in case Keera wasn’t who she said she was.
“Perhaps I will. I’m not doing this for the money, though.”
“I get that. It’s actually refreshing for once.”
“When do we get out of this hellhole?”
“I need to get your ship back. Shouldn’t take long. I also need a few hours to get some supplies and cash in my previous warrant. Meet me in docking bay seven tomorrow morning, 0800 sharp, okay?”
“I’ll be there.”
“Great, see you soon then . . . partner?” she said with a smile.
“Yeah, see you soon, Keera.”
He watched her walk away. Her figure was stunning. Her long, green hair flowed down her back. She walked with a sexy allure, but also a determined assurance that Chase found endearing.
I sure hope you’re not in league with my brother, or there will be hell to pay, Keera. I would really hate to hurt such a wonderful creature.
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Artwork by Christian Kallias