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COLLATERAL OF TIME, Space Opera - J. Scaralia

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Book Titles: Collateral of Time; Bounty of Tarres; Dilation Effect

Genre: Space Opera

Comparables: A Memory Called Empire meets Red Rising

Hook line: Upon completing a journey of centuries to colonize a new star system only to shockingly discover a strange human civilization has preceded them, a disillusioned and desperate young woman learns that the secret to the survival of humanity depends on joining the right side in a war fought with weapons of dark alien magic.

­­­­­­­Short Pitch:

Victoria Cortez saw the four-year journey to colonize Tarres as a perfect escape from her dead-end life on Earth. How could she know that humans on Earth, where a millennium passed, would develop wormhole tech that brought them to Tarres centuries before she arrived? What’s more, be locked in a savage war using newly found magic?

Victoria finds support among the Tarrean Dukes when they realize that she can restore the Earth technology they have long abandoned. This technology, they say, will swing the war in the Republic’s favor. However, Victoria’s ascension into the elite circles alienates her Earth friends. Marooned in a duplicitous society, Victoria delves into dark secrets of the war and is met with escalating threats from those she thought allies.

These threats could cost her life when she discovers an apocalyptic plan from a centuries long hidden alien power. Victoria alone understands the threat to Tarres. She must regain her friends’ trust and destroy the tech she restored or all human civilization will perish.

Prose Sample:

The thunder of one-hundred thousand feet stomping in unison barreled through the coliseum’s fourteen-foot-tall stone tunnel like a galley drummer at easy speed. Irregularly placed stones that made the floor created pockets of water that Vic imagined to ripple with each successive DOMM! Eight sconce-mounted pillars, four feet in diameter, lined the walls. Blue hooded guards and their green caped raptors stood between them unaffected by the rumbling. Vic thought that the nearly 1,000-year-old coliseum would cave under the frenzied attendees, yet the guards held chiseled stares upon which the sconces' flickering flames cast shadows like shifting topographical maps.

As opposed to Mendax standing calmly on her right in her typical, stately manner, Vic flexed her hands, tapped her feet side to side. She stared wide eyed at the white Kian symbols etched into the gunmetal doors at the tunnels opposite end 110 feet away. The symbols on the left underscored a red scaled bat, the ones on the right a horned crocodile.

She slowly inhaled. The air smelled like overgrown algae and tasted just as dead. The same air may have recirculated into the tunnel for years. Perhaps even centuries. Each stained breath felt incomplete. She prayed that she would not collapse onto the coliseum’s sandy pitch when she stepped through the doors.

Each pillar had a frieze of a legendary Kian Games champion along its top. Vic tried to distract herself with the one on the pillar to her left. Vic’s stomach dropped. This one depicted a barrel-chested woman riding a web-footed rhino with an outstretched hand. Her hand emitted bees with 3-inch stingers.

Vic shivered as a damp breeze hit her back. It felt like a searing arctic gale as it played on the goosebumps that flushed her arms and legs. Spider webs dressing the sconces flitted as the flames flared. Vic’s eye caught a web on a sconce to her left. An unwary fly had flown into it and now violently seized in futile attempts at escape. The most dangerous traps are often laid in plain sight.

The coliseum suddenly began to quiet. Lone drunkards yelled final brazen inspirations as an announcer’s voice sounded.

Vic cursed under her breath.

“WELCOME TO THE 701st KIAN GAMES SEMI…” it came over the air.

Mendax broke the tunnel’s tension. “The wait before always seems longest,” she said in her typical monotone.

“Yeah, how do you know?”

“I’ve been you before. Lifetimes back, at this point.”

“So, you don’t get nervous anymore,” Vic stated.

Mendax turned toward Vic. “I do.”

Vic’s hammering heart accelerated. She always appreciated Mendax’s candor.

But a little lie every now and then would be nice.

Mendax turned back toward the doors. “And you should hope you keep your nerves, too.”

“Because they give you a reason to drink?” Vic said with a forced laugh.

“Because they are a good safeguard against negligence.”

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