Descent Into Darkness
by Zanne Raby
GENRE: Science-Fiction / Space-Opera
Descent into Darkness: Mayhem follows the Mayflower in the second book of The Chronicles of Deneb series. Journey along with the crew of the Space Ark Mayflower as they adapt to their new home on the planet Deneb. But along with their struggle to integrate into an alien culture, a new battle sweeps across the planet with the arrival of the human-transmitted Chimera bactovirus, bringing war and fanning the flames of racial intolerance. With a bloody conflict raging across the planet, the crew of the Mayflower is split between the two factions and embroiled in the chaos and destruction. Descend with the crew into darkness, where the only survivors of a global war will be on the right side of the border.
“Pallav? You alright?” Tara’s voice broke him from his reverie and he pasted on a phony smile.
“Sorry darling, I was a million light years away. I’ll be fine,” he promised. Sweat trickled down his back in the unrelenting heat of the Denebian day, his disruptive pattern shirt already sticking to his body as he shrugged into his rucksack.
“Daddy, I’m gonna miss you.” The chirpy sing-song voice of little Jolanta gave him cause to smile at the child as she held out her arms to him. Swooping her up, Pallav dropped a kiss on the little girl’s rosy brown cheek, her eyes glistening with tears.
“And I’m going to miss you too, little one.” Hugging the orphaned girl to his chest, he burrowed his face into the cloud of dark hair that was as soft as a feather before pinching her cheek and gently setting her down. Guilt pierced his heart at the sad resigned look on the child’s face. Had it not been for him, Jolanta would be snug as a bug with her biological parents and not in lockdown high above the capital city living with a pair of humans.
Poor little thing… she’s known so much loss in her short life, he thought. Surrounded by death as the human Chimera bactovirus raged across Deneb, Jolanta had been cruelly abandoned by her mother after Tara retrieved the fallen child from the cobblestoned marketplace in the centre of the capital city. He could still picture his wife walking through the door with the tiny tot in tow. Shocked, surprised, but then captivated, Pallav let the child into his heart. It wasn’t like his two teenagers wanted him around anymore. No, Luke and Isabella were busy chartering their own course in the Wessel world with Gomalan insisting that they attend the best boarding school in the nation.
Taking advantage of his position, Pallav had initiated a thorough search for Jolanta’s parents only to get confirmation that they were amongst the thousands in Styria who had succumbed to the pandemic. Since her arrival, the young orphan had been his little shadow, never leaving his side, following the big man’s movements with her luminous opalescent eyes. He smiled inwardly at the thought of Jolanta climbing into her little cot and begging her new daddy for a bedtime story. Guilt-ridden he realized that he’d miss her more than his own children who were so immersed in their new lives that even their weekly holotalks were rushed and awkward. Laughing at himself, Pallav knew he was totally under the child’s spell.
“I promise to be back in time for market day, so no tears, okay?” Taking the little urchin’s chin in his hands, Pallav stared into her eyes. “And you have a promise to make to me too young lady, don’t you?” The little brown head nodded up and down, serious eyes acknowledging the responsibility her adopted father had assigned to her.
Guest Post by Zanne Raby
Hello to all and my thanks to Sybrina, unicorn author and entrepreneur, for having me on her blog. I’m going to divulge some information today that sheds a bit of light on both my series, The Chronicles of Deneb, and myself. Let me start with what I know best: me! When I was in my mid-fifties, I decided it was time to find a new purpose in life. Up until then, I’d been working in the Canadian military and had an interesting and rewarding career. It was getting harder to be excited about changes that were, to me, repetitious or not well thought out. Being with the same organization for almost four decades meant that I saw the wheel turn back to where it was every five or ten years. Yes, it was time to move on.
That decision brought with it a lot of uncertainty. I still had tons of energy and a desire to work, but I wanted it to be something I truly enjoyed. Leaving the military was difficult. Everything had been structured for me and I understood the system extremely well. Suddenly, I was on my own. I had to navigate this confusing civilian world and I didn’t have anyone to turn to. I felt like I was lost and adrift. What was worse was that there wasn’t much support for female veterans. Anyhow, it was up to me to sort this out and think it through. I gave myself space to contemplate life. I questioned my life before the uniform – what excited me in my teen years, what ambitions did I have – and then I thought about my hobbies and likes as an adult to see if there was any overlap.
Amongst a whole bunch of interests, I realized that I always turned to reading and writing throughout my life. I’d started novels, historical and fantasy, and filed them away unfinished. One year I even took a vacation to a place I was writing about,although that novel never made it past a few chapters. The vacation, by the way, was fantastic! I got to travel for a month across Ireland, living in a cozy thatched-roof cottage within a stone’s throw from a twelfth-century Cistercian abbey. Writing was calling to me. So my mind was made up and with that decided, I began to question what genre to write. My real loves are historical fiction and fantasy, but for a gag I began to write a space opera. Nothing cerebral, just pure escapism. The type of book you buy for the beach and finish in a weekend. That’s what I wanted to write.Space operas are fun, quirky, and just plain enjoyable. They speak to everyone, women and men, young and old.
The truth is I never set out to write a series. The Chronicles of Deneb kind of came about on its own because the original work was heading into the thousand-page category and it was nowhere near finished. Even I knew that wasn’t the best thing for a brand-new author. Set in the near future (2080CE), the plot originally revolved around a young woman who worked for the Interstellar Collective for Peace and Security (kind of like the United Nations, but with planets instead of countries) and was sent on a mission to mediate between warring factions on an alien planet. I wanted to build a back-story, and that led to the creation of first two novels: The Flight of the Mayflower and Descent into Darkness. By the way, that young woman I was mentioning… she’s just a baby in Descent into Darkness. It’s her parents who are two of the main characters in the second novel.
At the moment, I’m working on the third novel in the series, Fires of Fury. I figure there’s probably two or more novels waiting in the wings before my young heroine scores her job with the Collective.Then world, look out, because that young mediator is set to change the Galaxy!
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Since the days of the Napoleonic War, there has always been a member of Zanne’s family in uniform. Choosing to follow in the footsteps of her ancestors, Zanne joined the Canadian Armed Forces in 1980, and was selected to attend the Royal Military College of Canada – the first year that women were accepted into that prestigious academy of learning. After graduation, she studied to become a Transportation and Movements Officer in the Royal Canadian Air Force.
During a career spanning 38 years, some of the most memorable experiences involved command of 8 Mission Support Squadron as part of Joint Task Force Afghanistan, leading a study on support to the Canadian Arctic involving several trips to Northern Canada, including Canadian Forces Station Alert (the most northern settlement in the world), a three–year tour with NATO at Joint Force Command Brunssum, a deployment as the NATO Liaison Officer to United States Central Command, and finally a nomination as the Deputy Commander for the Canadian Forces Recruiting Group.
After hanging up the uniform and putting away the combat boots, Zanne bought a small acreage in Central Ontario and designed her own house. With an office overlooking the picturesque shores of Georgian Bay, surrounded by maps and images of alien worlds, she is pursuing her life-long ambition to become an author. Enough of the reports and returns that littered her desk over her career, now she could turn her attention to unleashing the creativity that had taken a back seat to the analytical world of logistics. The time had come to shake the dust off and begin a new career. The winds of change had called.
Zanne is currently crafting The Chronicles of Deneb, a sci-fi series that will take the reader from a dystopian earth on a voyage across the galaxy in search of a safe haven. But the planets the team discover provide anything but the sanctuary they sought. In her spare time, Zanne enjoys travel, photography, hiking, and gardening. And always, a good story to pass the time.
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