The Rebels Virtual Tour Blog Stop: Chapter 13

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Thank you for stopping by and joining us for our stop on the Read-A-Long portion of The Rebels by Elizabeth Lang virtual tour. We are excited to post this segment of the story and we hope you enjoy it too!

The Rebels – Chapter 13

The hover bike ran silently under a blanket of darkness, dropping out of the skies from upper lanes restricted to Security personnel and emergency vehicles. The bounty hunter twisted the handle accelerator and the bike jerked forward. In the back, trussed up like a piece of luggage, a sullen Adrian grunted as the wind whipped around him, flapping his loose jacket. Lights and buildings flashed by in an upside-down blur. He was getting light-headed.

The bounty hunter avoided the general traffic, weaving behind back alleys and side streets. He parked in a dark corner behind The Sleepy

Goat, next to a green garbage disposal bin. The stench of rotting meat and spilled alcohol mixed with a generous splash of human waste.

Not an efficient recycling system if they dispose of biodegradable materials in this fashion, thought Adrian. Boisterous sounds from the bar covered their approach.

“Couldn’t you find some place less repulsive?” he asked, trying to breath as little as possible as the bounty hunter untied the ropes and lifted him up. He was propped against a faux redbrick wall and the cuffs were removed. It was hard to believe there was someone less talkative than

himself, and he was finding this increasingly irritating.

He might have appreciated the irony of the situation more if the man wasn’t about to sell him back to the Empire.

“Are you going to untie my legs?” asked Adrian.

Rummaging in the saddle bag, immune to his attempts at conversation, the bounty hunter shoved the black databand at him. “Do it.”

“This will take time.”

“Ten minutes.”

Adrian stared at him. “Then you might as well kill me now.”

“Don’t tempt me.” The man positioned himself in the shadows. From here, he watched the mouth of the alley and the back door of the bar.

Adrian scowled, leaning against the wall, his bound legs tiring. “Breaking through the security protocols alone will take ten minutes.”

A cheer erupted from inside the bar and a band started up. It had a polka beat, which made Adrian grimace. “Your chances of succeeding without my cooperation are minimal.”

“I don’t need you to succeed.”

“Then why are we here following my plans?”

Taking a deep breath, the bounty hunter expelled the noxious air in a violent puff. A brief flare from a passing transport outlined the hard lines of his face.

“How long?”

“Half an hour. Assuming they have standard encryption and security protocols.”

“And if they don’t?”

Adrian clamped the band to his forearm and blew warm air into his cupped hands before activating the computer. “Then it will take longer.”

The Security panel appeared with the Orasis crest. His fingers moved quickly and menus blinked past.

The bounty hunter slid the gun from his holster, checking the charge for the umpteenth time, and aimed at a light standard beyond the alley.

Adrian flipped through a rogues gallery of wanted men and women. There were a thousand names on the Wanted roll and growing by the minute, but he was only interested in one in the top ten.

A soldier in a commander’s uniform appeared: clean cut, a square jaw, hulking shoulders, and with a military correct buzz cut. Severe dark brown color. The face was nothing like this scruffy, disheveled bounty hunter with the long black strands spilling past his shoulders and a perpetual days-growth on his face. The body was hard to hide, though, even with the concealing shell-like jacket. A man of granite and hard steel.

“Argus, Drel. Convicted of—” he read from the file.

Argus reached back and grabbed his arm in a steel-crushing grip. “I did not tell you to access my file.”

Adrian’s jaw clenched. “I had to tap into the Empire lists.”

Shoving Adrian’s arm against his chest, he growled, “Don’t try anything else.” The light of the screen flashed across his face in eerie ripples.

“How can I with you watching?” He brought the screen back up when Argus let his arm go and he scrolled through the rest of the faces, gathering several in the top right corner. Expanding one to fill the screen he tapped the holographic screen. “The physical dimensions are similar.”

Argus grunted. “Not as irritating as you are, but close enough.”

That resulted in a glare from Adrian, but he kept his voice even. “A bruise to distort the features perhaps. We don’t look that much alike.”

“Make the switch.”

Adrian tapped the virtual keyboard, bringing up a key icon. The screen became an unreadable mess of symbols.

“What is that?” Argus asked, leaning closer. “I can’t read it.”

Filing away the information that the bounty hunter could read, Adrian said, “I’m accessing the underlying code to break through the encryption barriers.” It was the truth, but not the whole truth.

“I hope you know what you’re doing.”

His fingers paused. “So do I.” He continued with the coding.

Argus turned to stare at him, his eyes narrowing. “I thought you’ve done this before?”

“As a hobby, not outside of test conditions.”

“You—”

“You never asked for credentials. I never provided any.”

“I thought you were a genius?”

“Even geniuses have areas of expertise. Mine is in the field of physics and energy dynamics. Not computers.”

The bounty hunter watched him working for a few minutes before returning his attention to the street.

Adrian delved deep into the Orasis Planetary Security Network. The encryptions were as he expected. Standard. Meaning straight out-of-thepackage security protocols. Passwords were likely scribbled on coffee-stained bits of plasti-sheet and tucked in a drawer. It never ceased to

amaze him how lax people were. And speaking of surprises, he glanced over at Drel Argus’ broad back. Adrian knew who he was now, despite the difference in appearance.

The Butcher of Kentara Three.

The trial had been broadcast throughout the Empire, a military showpiece to appease an increasingly rebellious citizenry.

Glancing over several times to make sure the bounty hunter was preoccupied, he made a few side ‘trips’ into the system. Minutes later he requested, “Your ident key.”

Removing the thin wafer from the chain around his neck, Argus handed it to him. Adrian touched it to a stud reader on the side of the band.

Information flashed on the screen and his lips thinned with disapproval with each scrolling line. “An amateurish effort. I can see why you stay on the Outer Rim.”

“Identity forgers don’t come cheap.”

“That won’t be a problem now.” He slapped the ident marker back in his hand. “Will it?”

Argus snapped it back onto the chain. “Not once I cash you in.” He tucked it inside. “Well?”

“It’s done. I will be identified as Chednu Varick, convicted of bank fraud on their computer systems.”

“But only—” Argus pulled him back in the shadows when the back door of the bar swung open.

A sleek man with a pony tail and a ruby-lipped woman appeared. The man’s hand snaked around the woman’s waist. “How about—”

She pushed him away. “What is that smell?”

The man stuck his tongue out. “It’s not me. I took a shower this morning.” He nuzzled her neck and Adrian wondered if all men were supposed to act this boorish with a woman. This one certainly had a one-track mind. Kali never mentioned it and she didn’t seem to mind that he was

different.

“Let’s get out of here,” said the woman, pushing him away. They hurried out of the alley to a more pleasant locale.

Argus let go of Adrian’s arm. “Our turn.”

“I have also taken the liberty of booking us on a freighter leaving in four hours.”

Argus snarled, “I told you not to try anything.”

“I assumed you meant nothing detrimental to your health, which this isn’t.” He drew a square in the air and the screen popped on. "Do you wish me to cancel the booking?"

“Leave it.” Argus glared at him and then, without warning, punched him in the face.

Adrian’s head snapped back and he fell, his legs still tied together.

The bounty hunter grabbed him. “That is for the disguise. And for not following my orders.”

“The bruise was meant to be cosmetic,” said Adrian, covering his right eye. The growing bruise was already squeezing it shut. It was a good thing he was making alternate plans, the bounty hunter seemed to enjoy hitting him far too much.

“It’s more realistic.” Argus brought the handcuffs out. “And so is this.”

~~~

The Security officer yawned and his lanky arms stretched towards the ceiling.

He quickly put his legs down from the counter when two disreputable characters entered. The leather-clad man looked like he hadn’t shaved in days and was big enough to knock over a few hardy trees. The other man was tall and slender and had a freshly swelling bruise reddening his right eye. His hands were bound behind him. The big man shoved him in the back, making the man stumble and glare, wincing from the bruise.

“Don’t move,” the leather-clad man rumbled. He removed an ident crystal from his neck and tossed it on the counter. “Here to collect a bounty.”

The officer picked up the marker and slotted it into his computer. His name badge read, “Teeserin.” He compared the clean picture on the screen to the unkempt face staring at him. The man in front of him looked like a bounty hunter. “Who’s the…uh…” The bruise looked painful.

“Bounty?” He hoped that was the correct term.

“Chednu Varick, convicted of bank fraud. Number four fifty-one.”

“Oh, here he is.” Officer Teeserin studied the picture. “It looks like him, I mean, without the…” He motioned to the swollen eye. “Shiner.”

“He resisted arrest.” The bounty hunter pushed the prisoner’s shoulder.

“I did not,” said the prisoner, glaring. “He assaulted me without provocation.”

Officer Teeserin brought up a gray-backed form on the screen. “Would you like to raise an official complaint?”

“No.”

Teeserin eyed the bounty hunter with suspicion, but the man hadn’t moved. “Are you sure?”

“It was a misunderstanding,” said the prisoner.

“It says here you’re supposed to deliver him to the Woltan outpost.”

“That’s why I’m here.” the bounty hunter explained. “I need clearance documents.”

“That’s easy.” Teeserin smiled broadly and slotted a blank wafer into an impression slot. He entered the data. “Clearance for the transport of bounty four fifty-one across Orasis space under extradition treaty nine dash seven. Done.” He handed him the crystal. “Anything else?”

“Nothing else.” The bounty hunter pushed the prisoner towards the door. “Move it.”

~~~

Back in the alley behind The Sleepy Goat, Adrian leaned against the wall. His eye throbbed and each pulse flared through the bruise. “Are you satisfied?”

Argus flipped the clearance crystal in the air and caught it. “Good performance in there. I almost believed you hated me.”

“It came naturally.”

The bounty hunter chuckled. “Now, can you do that with Empire computers? These are backwards systems. Obsolete. I could probably fool them.” “I doubt it. But to answer your question, I have accessed Empire computers before.”

“As a hobby?”

“Relief from boredom.”

“And your relief from boredom causes you to break into high security computer systems?” he asked, snapping the crystal onto the chain around his neck.

Adrian shrugged. “I needed a challenge.”

Duty on the Sedener, in the most boring sector of space, had been extremely trying for someone of his intellect and insatiable curiosity. The museum-quality of its technology spurred him to update virtually every system on the ship. If Security knew the extent to which he had breached its protocols, they would have suspected him far sooner.

The bounty hunter swung his leg over the bike. “It’s a wonder you haven’t been killed yet. Get on.”

“You’re not going to tie me up?”

“I will if you don’t get on now.” He jerked his thumb, indicating the spot behind him.

Carefully positioning himself, Adrian settled on the half-seat and squeezed his legs against the sides of the bike. It seemed like a hazardous method of travel. “I’ll fall off.”

“I wouldn’t recommend it.” They eased into the laneway and headed to the spaceport.

~~~

Kali stared at the reflective surface and a stranger glared back at her. The cold made the room feel emptier. Adrian hadn’t had time to unblock all the vents, and they had curled up together at night.

It was only last night that…

Her hands balled into fists. Last night had been the first time that his back had healed enough for them to be more intimate. They had started slowly and she had introduced him to a Tellaran flavor of closeness, sliding her consciousness past his thinning barriers.

He was out there somewhere. She could feel his orderly mind thinking hard, most likely finding a way to escape. Such control and concentration for a human. Even for a Tellaran, it would be remarkable without training.

She remembered that first day arriving on the Sedener, still fresh from the Empire Military Academy and tightly shielded against the rolling flood of emotions that would drown her if she wasn’t careful. Despite her training, it had been harder than she expected to be among humans, to feel every shade of sentiment that passed through their consciousnesses. To be alone on a ship full of humans.

Until she had been assigned to work with their resident science officer, a task, she later learned, that usually fell on the newest and most junior officer on the ship. It was considered a punishment of sorts, or at least tough luck. She had stepped into his perfectly organized lab and nearly jumped when he stuck his head around the corner of a cabinet. His mind was so quiet, so controlled, her psi senses missed his presence.

He had a beautiful mind for a human—when he allowed her in—teaming with creative thoughts, yet ordered, not muddied with uncontrolled and half-formed ideas and emotions. She had to find him.

“Hey, Kali. You ready?” Bryce barged in and stopped abruptly when she turned around. “You’re a man!”

“It looks convincing then?” She touched the makeshift beard that covered half her face and looked at herself in the mirror again. Bits of her hair had made the sacrifice for the disguise. It didn’t look bad as long as people didn’t get too close.

“You make a really ugly man if that helps.”

“At least they won’t be thinking I’m an ugly woman.”

Bryce grinned. “Where are we going?”

“Assuming they were Hunter teams, they would be bringing him back to Empire space.”

He made a face. “I was afraid you were going to say that.”

“We don’t have a choice.”

There was a flicker of disagreement on his face and he said half-heartedly, “Yeah. I guess we don’t.”

“Adrian doesn’t have a choice.”

Despite his intelligence and brilliance, even Adrian couldn’t fight the Empire on his own. She knew he would risk everything to find her if their situation were reversed.

Kali flashed off a quick message before they left, Adrian, we are going to the spaceport. I hope you’re still there. Bryce sighed.__

Also Elizabeth Lang has shared with us an exclusive picture from The Empire Series

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To read more of the Read-A-Long please follow the tour schedule…

02/03/2013 – The Edible Bookshelf –

http://www.theediblebookshelf.blogspot.com/  –

Chapter 1

03/03/2013 – Vixie’s Stories –

http://vickiejohnstone.blogspot.co.uk/  – Chapter 2

04/03/2013 – Decadent Decisions –

http://wlynnchantale-decadentdecisions.blogspot.com  –

Chapter 3

05/03/2013 – Independent Writers Association –

http://iwassociation.com  – Chapter 4

06/03/2013 – Self Publish or Die –

www.selfpublishordie.com  – Chapter 5

10/03/2013 – Reviews From Beyond the Book –

www.reviewsfrombeyondthebook.blogspot.com  –

Chapter 6

11/03/2013 – Great Alpha Speaks –

http://atrussell.com/Blog/  – Chapter 7

12/03/2013 – The Kat Daughtry –

http://thekatdaughtry.wordpress.com/  – Chapter 8

13/03/2013 – Sheenah Freitas –

http://sheenahfreitas.com  – Chapter 9

14/03/2013 – Natasha Larry Books –

http://natashalarrybooks.com  – Chapter 10

27/03/2013 – Castle Macabre –

http://castlemacabre.blogspot.com  – Chapter 11

28/03/2013 – My World –

http://stephsgrn.blogspot.co.uk/  – Chapter 12

29/03/2013 – The Cro’s Nest –

https://p45crok.wordpress.com  – Chapter 13

30/03/2013 – Tink’s Place –

http://myblog2point0.blogspot.com/  – Chapter 14

31/03/2013 – Reading, Writing And More –

http://stephsgrn.wordpress.com/  – Chapter 15

Page Turner Book Tours and Elizabeth Lang have teamed together to set up an amazing contest, be sure to enter today for your chance to win a KOBO MINI!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thank you for joining us and Page Turner Book Tours and Elizabeth Lang today on our stop.

About Elizabeth Lang:

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I’m a science fiction writer who started off life as a computer programmer with a love for reading, especially science fiction, fantasy and mystery.

Being in computers, I found my writing skills deteriorating so I decided to take up writing. It became a joy to create characters, stories and worlds and writing soon became a passion I couldn’t put down. As a writer, I like to explore, not only the complexity of characters but the human condition from differing points of view. That is at the heart of the Empire series, of which ‘The Empire’ and ‘The Rebels’ are the first two of a four books series.

You can connect with Elizabeth Lang at the following places:

Author Page on FaceBook | Blog | Twitter | Website

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About Page Turner Book Tours:

Page Turner Book Tours is fronted by the face behind Read2Review Kate. Page Turner Book Tours has been put together to help promote authors and give something back to the writing world. Kate has put together a team of incredibly talented people to help with the project by incorporating their individual skills into making new, fresh and exciting promotional plans that we hope you agree are amazing. If you would like to book a tour with Page Turner Book Tours please check out their tour packages. If you would like to become a tour host with Page Turner Book Tours please check out their Tour Host page. You wont be disappointed!

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2 Comments

  1. Thanks for hosting Chapter 13 of The Rebels. If anyone has questions about the Empire stories, the characters, writing or anything else you can come up with, I’m available today.

    • Hi Elizabeth 🙂 you’re welcome, I’m happy to help. Best of luck with your book tour, all the best!


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