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KH LeMoyne

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· Destiny's Mark

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Publisher:  Digital Crystal Press ISBN-10:  9781937080051 Type:  Fiction

ISBN-13:  9781937080051

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SciFi/Futuristic Romance - Phoenix Book 1

 2178A.D. — One hundred and fifty years after genetically enhanced crops and livestock decimate the Earth with a lethal bacterial strain of Salmonella only twenty percent of the world’s population remains. Small pockets of civilization flourish, supported by computerized technologies and vaccinations against the bacteria, the new cities built over the ruins of the previous age. Regents, the owners of the technology, govern the interests of their individual cities—shining examples of progress and advancement. From the ashes of destruction rises the new rule of the Regents, leaders of mankind's new evolution. And a reminder of man's darkest instincts.


Job: Detention camp extraction squad of one

Analena Maresco’s cyber-enhanced arm gives her an edge, a weapon to rescue children held as organ replacements for the governing Regent’s personal use. Supported by the renegade network and augmented by her unique skills, Analena straddles the line between rebellion and anarchy. To save the children, she risks both. With an extraction too difficult to handle, Piper needs more than remote assistance. She needs the presence of the shadow entity at her back.


Job: Rogue cyber physician, Exile, Fugitive

Trace Boden, a former Regent surgeon, hides in the city ruins beneath the New Delphi Capital super structure. Providing medical advice, instruction and supplies via the Down Below renegade cyber network, he operates in anonymity, slowly paying back the debt for his part in the Regent’s atrocities. But, Piper’s call is one Trace can’t refuse. Exposed to save a child, he risks everything in a confrontation with Analena Maresco, the woman who can destroy his life forever.

Nowhere to hide, will the secrets Analena and Trace share forge a bond to combat the Regents reign of terror or cripple them both?


2178A.D. — One hundred and fifty years after genetically enhanced crops and livestock decimate the Earth with a lethal bacterial strain of Salmonella only twenty percent of the world’s population remains. Small pockets of civilization flourish, supported by computerized technologies and vaccinations against the bacteria, the new cities built over the ruins of the previous age. Regents, the owners of the technology, govern the interests of their individual cities—shining examples of progress and advancement. From the ashes of destruction rises the new rule of the Regents, leaders of mankind's new evolution. And a reminder of man's darkest instincts.

Chapter 1

2178 AD

Analena shrank against the wall and tried not to breathe. Right on schedule for their hourly check, the sentries passed the hallway intersection twenty feet from her location. Ion-charged Taser in hand, she read the signals on the inside of her vid mask and prayed she wouldn’t need to activate her weapon. It would only take one minute of the Taser’s energy signature to broadcast her presence.

If the men changed course, she’d have no choice.

She exhaled with relief as the two sentries registered on her screen, moving into the next sector. Treading quietly, she reached the corner and rechecked her sensors. Two additional sentries occupied the desk around the corner. Her target, just beyond them down the hall.

In two minutes the first detonation device would activate on the gate at the far end of this floor. Four more would activate at three-minute intervals down each subsequent floor, with a final one at the west gate.

None were her intended escape route, merely distractions to draw her enemies further away from her current location. Loud and visible wasn’t her style, but based on Radar’s warning she’d modified her standard maneuvers for tonight’s extraction. He’d delivered the floor plans and sentry schedule, but he couldn’t help her if she got caught. She needed every edge.

She needed twelve minutes to eliminate the remaining guard, find the boy, and hack through the security gates at the opposite end of the detention facility.

One quick check of her hand communicator confirmed Onyx’s standby status for medical information or a quick drop of supplies. Unfortunately, she’d never performed an extraction without requiring one, or both, of those options.

Moving two steps backward to a secured lab door, she laid her bare palm over the electronic access module connected to the building’s main systems. Her flesh tone mutated into silver striations; liquid drops of metallic gleam seeped from the pores of her right hand, replacing skin with a fabric mesh of pulsing circuits and signals. She blinked back the initial sizzle over her shoulder joint where the technology interfaced with her physical body. The intelligent interactive nanites in the artificial flesh integrated through her flesh with the security module. In a heartbeat, they’d masked her presence while extracting the information on the boy’s location and returned to her.

That she could understand the transmissions from the artificial technology without words or signals no longer disturbed her. Her body’s abilities now only left her cold and eerily confident.

The first explosion rocked the floor beneath her pressure-sensitive boots. The gray woven pants, thick utility belt, and zip top absorbed the remaining vibrations. The energy reactive fibers contained the physical backlash as effectively as they allowed her to blend in a transparent ripple against any backdrop.

On the balls of her feet, she launched around the corner. Picking up speed, she leapt. Legs raised, knees tucked high against her chest, she angled her body toward the last sentry. He took the punch of her feet to his head, the impact twisting him face first into the wall. Boneless, he slid to the floor.

To be safe, she punched a tranq injection into his neck and squeezed, buying her a solid twenty minutes.

She wouldn’t need that long.

Two yards down, her target door stood wide-open from the security over-ride programmed at the panel. She paused in the doorway. No matter how many times she did this, nothing prepared her for the barbaric treatment hidden in these sterile facilities.

Three-foot by three-foot cages lined the room, intended for human occupants. She remembered the claustrophobia of confinement all too well, though she’d never been subjected to this kind of degradation. Then again, she’d been hidden from the others in the building. Her mad scientist had been targeting her for either life or immediate death, not mutilation, and an entirely different project.

Most of these subjects sustained enough injury after their surgeries that nearly all required gurneys to reach their cages. The need for movement—pointless—they weren’t expected to survive.

In two strides, she arrived beside the last cage. A tiny pick from her belt plucked open one of the few non-electronic locks in the facility. Responding to a whimper from the corner, she issued a low, soothing ‘hush.’ It was the best she could offer. Until she’d actually cleared the grounds, telling the boy everything was okay would be false hope.

She pulled open the gate and crouched closer to the slight form huddled against the bars.

“I’m not here to hurt you.”

A visible shudder shook the child as he turned his face away from her.

“We have only a few minutes before they figure out I’m here and we need to be gone by then. Grab my shoulders. I’m taking you with me.”

She looped one arm beneath his thin legs, her other around his back. With a mental wince, she acknowledged the prominent ridges of his ribs against her forearm. The boy wrapped his arms around her neck and burrowed beneath her chin as she moved to the doorway.

A second charge shook the floor. After a quick look each way, she ran.

Feet barely contacting with the floor, she made it through the first corridor, then the second, and angled her shoulder for impact with the first gate. The door to the stairwell swung open, and then the lights flickered. Darkness rolled over them.

Good. The programming had worked.

She mentally counted the stairs as her feet pistoned down each step. Spinning on the landing, she hit the next set with the same vigor.

Four floors, eight flights of stairs. The third explosion detonated as she reached the ground level. She leaned against the wall to adjust the weight in her arms for the next longer, harder run.

A whimper, more like a groan, accompanied intense shivers.

“Hang in there, honey. Just a little further.” Sliding the last door open a fraction, she blinked at the sweep of security lights that dazzled like sunbeams. A narrow band of dark edged the perimeter along the farthest fence, just beyond stood her final gate.

Piece of cake.

Analena squatted, bracing the boy against her thigh. Upset by her change of position, he clutched tighter and angled his head up like a wounded animal, scenting for escape.

She bit hard into her lower lip to quell a curse and her body’s response to the view of his face. The copper tang of her blood assaulted her senses—an acceptable trade-off to maintain her composure. His wounds and the dark path ahead shook her confidence, for a second. Then the familiar pressure of the child at her side, his fear and his shivers, all reflected back in perfect alignment with the images she’d received from the crystal. She was on target. Just like all her previous missions.

Some would call it kismet, others destiny. She only answered the unusual calling and followed the crystal’s guide in her mind, rarely with time to question what fate delivered to her.

“We have one more run, and we’re blowing this joint. Let me cover your head so the people can’t identify you. Okay?”

He didn’t answer, but his face swiveled toward hers.

She whipped a long black scarf from her belt and wound the fabric with a loose knot behind his head. The improvised hood covered some of his head and eyes, leaving his nose, mouth and ears free.

No one would notice him in Down Below, if she could make it there. Too many people were hiding their own secrets, trying to survive beneath the structural grid of New Delphi’s glowing re-civilization success. What a joke.

“Hold on and wrap your legs around my waist. It’s going to be a long run.”


He strained, fighting to bring the soft silk of feminine thigh straddling his hips closer. Enough for the moist heat to cover him and stop the burn in his balls, to provide him the release just out of reach.

Breasts, small but firm, the hardened nipples looming before him like candy, fed the desire prickling so sharp and tight in his belly that he groaned in pain. Trace struggled to lift his head, to see the face of the body taunting him, but a white wash of light hid her features, the deprivation a final cap to his torment.

His movements almost enabled the lean, svelte figure to brush against his sweat-soaked body. If he focused on the quiver of her flesh against his lips, the slight sway of her breasts, and her frenzied gasps, he could probably will his cock to explode without direct stimulation.

The pounding of his blood matched the rhythm of his need as he strived to deliver his hardened flesh release. Throb. Beat. Pulse.

Ding. Click.

“What the fuck?” Startled as the sound tore through his dream, Trace sprang up in bed, sweat coating his body. He rubbed his hands over his face. Damn, he could even taste the sweet flavor of her on his tongue. Cruel. His dreams delivered salvation and torment with perverse repetition.

Ding. Click.

He stalked to the far side of his room and glanced for reassurance at the series of virtual screens projected against the wall. Each illuminated data and confirmed security protocols. He tapped a receipt code on a small communicator.

Piper: Onyx?

He tapped back the response. Confirm

Piper: leaving for extraction

Copy—will hold for your final status

Bending over his desk, he stretched his neck until the blood rushed back, and he confirmed he was awake. Piper was bringing out another one. The second kid in two months. With the increased number of extractions this year, Piper’s risk rose as well. Then again, the detention camps had hardly slowed down their business, a hideous contrast of devaluing life under the bright bubble of a flourishing new metropolis.

He turned away, raking a hand through his hair. Piper’s signal gave him an hour, maybe two. He’d need the time to prep for whatever problem developed. Given the surgeries and mutilations performed in the centers, he’d run through his stock of supplies one more time.

Not bothering to activate lighting, he headed to the laser cleaner, and then with a second thought, headed to the old-fashioned shower stall at the corner of the tiled utility room. Clean water for washing was a rare commodity, like so many things in this world. The main conduits for water processing only serviced New Delphi’s corporate facilities and select homes above the surface of the grid.

Trace had found the showerhead in one of his forays through a suburban ruin beyond the perimeter. Dangerous, but rummaging for parts and lost treasures ranked a necessity as much as eating and sleeping. He’d rigged a barrel on the roof of his semi-demolished lodgings at the edge of Down Below.

On a good day, the barrel filled with the daily thunderstorm’s water. On a bad day, it flooded the first level of what had served before the cataclysm, some hundred fifty years ago, as an outskirts police station. He liked to consider the extra water his own personal moat.

He skimmed antibacterial gel over his body and worked it into his skin with rough, brutal strokes, not sparing his cock and balls in the process. Undeterred by his earlier nightmare, the thick shaft stood away from his body at rigid attention.

Shoving back the images of feminine heat, he gripped himself and stroked the length hard as he pulled the chain to release the slow drizzle of water from above. The vision of flesh and feminine scent surged back. He could fool himself, pretend it was his wife that he missed and longed for. The painful fact was that her face had fled from his memories more than nine years ago, too soon after her death.

The woman of his dreams didn’t resemble the voluptuous, fragile creature he’d married, though she claimed his soul in a way no real woman ever had.

He gripped the chain tighter, angled his forearm against the shower wall, and pumped faster with a bruising grip, the punishment to his cock for betraying his sanity and tempting him with impossibilities. In the dead quiet of his barren rooms, he grunted his release and sucked in air. His hand around his genitals shook, the climax ending his torment, for the moment. There was no ease for the empty ache in his heart.

Trace released the chain and walked naked, already drying, to the lab table in the next room. Grabbing his duffel bag, he swept a space clean with his arm. He extracted every item, and with cold, clinical detachment, assessed each tool of his trade: updated chips for software, replacement energy modules inserted to ensure precision edge and depth for laser scalpels, additional needs all cataloged on his med scanner. Piper delivered fair assessments of what each situation required, better since he’d been working with her. She’d never asked him to provide more than answers and equipment, but someday Piper would reach her limit and require more. Like each other mission call, he added every contingency he could imagine. Prepared, all of his supplies were methodically stored, one by one, back in the duffel. Now for some heads-up on the fallout surrounding Piper’s latest extraction.


Shepherd: Status?

Update on sector activity within the detention center

Shepherd: No word on Piper?

Already onboard for her

Shepherd: Good—her?—you’ll be lucky if she’s not a 300lb brothel guard

Trace didn’t respond, waiting instead on Shepherd’s feedback. They’d had the debate about Piper often enough. No one but Wolf, a teenager too young to be a full-time spy, had physical access to Piper. Or so Shepherd led him to believe. The man never gave up details on other team members. A good trait, but one that frustrated Trace where Piper was concerned.

He would bet his last bit of good luck, if he had any, that Piper was a woman. Piper’s only missions were extraction of children from the camps. Six years of working remotely on her cases and five of being her first point of contact for every medical request issued, had created a phantom image in his mind. Perhaps his dreams were taking too strong a hold in his consciousness and he’d confused Piper with reality, though he doubted it.

Shepherd: Break at Facility near Med Lab #1—supplies?

Low on synthetic AG

Shepherd: meet?

Need it before 8:00 pm Trace wanted plenty of time for Piper’s update. The icy itch along the back of his neck warned him that this mission might have complications.

Shepherd: Acknowledged—will synch with supplier and send time and location


Piper’s sex didn’t matter to Trace. Man or woman, Piper’s distress calls took priority with him, that and treatment of the kids the underground rebel rescued from the detention labs. Shepherd knew it and so did the head of the underground. The work offered Trace a brief balm. But more important, this was his penance, and he refused to fuck it up.

When Piper signaled again, which he or she always did, Trace would be ready.



No acknowledgement. Delivered that response by any other operative in the underground Analena would have moved on to another option. A lesson she’d learned the hard way. But for medical issues, there was no one else she trusted. Given Onyx’s diligent attention to her missions, she suspected that he wasn’t involved in something else but unable to receive her transmission. No other explanation worked.


With a curse, Analena moved further toward Down Below’s market place and crouched behind a pile of rubble. The mound bordered one of the steel girder structures that comprised the base level for the five-mile diameter of New Delphi. A location too close to civilization for her liking and on the border of the Regent guard patrols. Desperation dictated her choices. She needed reception. Looking up at the solid ceiling of Down Below, she tried to gauge whether the structure was interfering with her signal.


She cradled the boy closer, waiting for the response on her communicator.

Twenty seconds, thirty, then a blip of letters flashed on the device covering the back of her left hand.

Onyx: Status?

2 much 2 handle. No shit. Not that she intended to send that particular message, but the thought kept repeating in her mind as she murmured words of comfort against the boy’s head. His fingers dug into her arm, feeding back his fear.

Onyx: Health?

How exactly did she gauge health for a missing eye and blindness? The boy was alive, so that put him at better than 50/50.

60%—need help And now she was rambling useless details on the underground network channel.

Onyx: I’m here, focus—age—sex—location

8?—male—? ‘Stuck out in the cold’ and hiding from guards in Down Below didn’t translate well for location.

Onyx: Bleeding?

No—maybe The boy didn’t show outward signs of wounds or lethargy. The second symptom, one she’d expect if he had internal bleeding. But she couldn’t know and worse couldn’t repair based on what the surgical monsters had done.

Onyx: Have it covered—what tools—details?

Damn it. She couldn’t even articulate what to request. The only thing she knew for certain—she couldn’t handle the boy’s problem alone. Years with Onyx’s guidance and all she could handle this time was the physical haul and comfort. She drew the line at working on head wounds, too delicate, too much room for error. At least this extraction had been cleaner than some. Swallowing back frustration, she made a quick decision.

Need hands on.

Nothing followed but dead air space. Her dealings with Onyx were always at a distance. Notorious in the underground teams for his reticence and shadowed lifestyle, he kept himself isolated, though she claimed that status as well. Frankly, she had no information on his participation with other team members. The occasional global distress call had flashed on her receiver from time to time. Her initial surprise at receiving his query on her status before responding to others had faded to a circumstance she now took for granted. Perhaps a potential error on her part.

Her second team member, Wolf, indicated Onyx delivered procedural advice and support across all the teams. He’d been known to talk people through surgery via message, but he came out of hiding for almost no one. Perhaps she’d doomed this boy and screwed her most important contact with her request.

Onyx: Your transmissions cutting out—detail Pickup zone

Thank you. Analena bent her head and released a breath of relief against the boy’s head. “Hang in there, buddy. Help is coming.”

The boy’s head twitched against her midriff. His hands remained fisted, yet his breathing had calmed.

Wolf @ Little Dipper@10 That would give her two hours to get the boy home. A risky elongated time schedule, but she’d need to weave false trails and ensure the guards couldn’t follow her.

Onyx: Confirm


Onyx: Not needed

The astrological overlay of the city worked for her security measures. Code name Wolf, or Aaron, was the oldest of her crew. He operated in the thin layer between the ruins of Down Below and New Delphi’s acceptable society above the grid. He’d made the original contact with Onyx, albeit by messaging as well, the first face-to-face contact cemented in a dive coffee shop on the middle level of the city’s framework. The shop functioned as the central coordinate for the constellations and the encrypted meeting codes. The meet point of the map shifted, based on the season, constantly moving the pickup zone with a secure option known only to the Onyx, Wolf, and herself.

Even after several more contacts with Aaron, if one could call them that, this meeting left her and Aaron confronting a virtual stranger. Onyx had always used a face shield and required the same of Aaron, a measure of distance and security she’d respected. Now past caution left them vulnerable.

She shifted the boy in her arms. “Hold on, buddy. I’m taking you home.”

Reader Reviews for "Rebel's Consort"

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