I’ve written a new short story centered on Magnus Black called “Exit the Dragon”. This will be incorporated into my new novel The Dragons of Andromeda. Please take a look!
Below is the first scene from The Dragons of Andromeda, Chapter 2. The rest of the chapter is available for patrons on my Patreon site here.
Sub-basement 31 was over three hundred feet below the Regalis starport on Aldorus. Magnus Black found this useful for two reasons. First, it was too deep for someone to transmat in or out, including transmatting Magnus without his permission. Second, it was too deep for weapons fired from orbit to reach, even if someone wasn’t timid about destroying the thirty floors above sub-basement 31 and whatever happened to be sitting on the starport surface.
It was also dimly lit. Magnus liked that most of all.
Positioned in the shadow of a rusted storage container, Magnus waited. His head and face were shaved to a mere stubble and he wore a dark leather coat. Inside the coat, a blaster pistol hung by a shoulder holster.
Down the line of other containers, an elevator door opened with a cheerful ding and a man in uniform stepped out. His name was Colonel Hugo Grausman, a man Magnus knew very well.
In his fifties, the colonel wore a green uniform with black, spit-shined boots. His dark brown hair was cut high and tight revealing a large scar running along the side of his head.
Colonel Grausman held up his hands and turned completely around, showing that the holster at his hip was empty and no other obvious weapons were visible. Magnus let him stand there for a full minute before saying anything.
“I didn’t expect to see you again,” Magnus said, “unless I was going to kill you.”
Following the assassin’s voice, the colonel took several steps in that direction before stopping.
“I get that a lot,” he said.
“I hope this isn’t just the Intelligence Service luring me into a trap,” Magnus said, emerging from the shadow.
“They’re still looking for you?”
“If I’m still breathing, they’re still looking for me.”
“Maybe I can help you with that…” the colonel suggested.
“Is that why you’re here?” Magnus asked. “To do me a favor?”
“I’m hurt,” Magnus replied.
“There’s been a terrorist attack on Marakata,” the colonel said.
Magnus shrugged. “That’s a daily occurrence…”
“A suicide bomber got into the green zone and blew himself up, taking out half the officers’ quarters,” the colonel went on.
“The Draconians aren’t going to stop until the Imperials leave their planet.”
“I know that!” the colonel said angrily. “I’ve been fighting them for over twenty years.”
“So why’s this attack different?”
“Because my wife and kids are dead! They died in the explosion!”
Magnus arched his eyebrow, but said nothing.
“We killed off the terrorist cell responsible,” the colonel continued after collecting himself, “but the leader’s still at large.”
“Who is it?”
“Do you still remember General Ekavir?”
Magnus glared. “You know damn well I do.”
“Then you won’t mind going after him for me.”
“He’s not my problem any more,” Magnus replied.
“A lot has changed since you were there,” the colonel said. “Ekavir has lost most of his people from reprisal raids. The rest don’t want to be anywhere near him. They say he’s lost his honor.”
“I guess killing kids will do that for a person.”
“The two of you have unfinished business. This is your opportunity to finish him off once and for all.”
“Are you sure he’s still on Marakata?” Magnus asked.
“The planet’s been under blockade since the attack,” Colonel Grausman replied. “I haven’t allowed anyone off the planet except myself to come here. He’s got to be in the jungle somewhere. It’s just a matter of finding him.”
“On a world covered in jungle. That shouldn’t be hard…”
“Some of your old contacts are still alive. I’ve made sure of that.”
“What about payment?”
“Five hundred thousand credits,” the colonel replied.
Magnus shook his head slowly. “Not enough.”
“Like I said, I can get the IS to stop looking for you.”
“Now, how would you do that?”
“I’ve made new friends,” the colonel said. “They might do me a favor if I ask nicely.”
“The IS was pretty pissed when I quit,” Magnus replied. “It didn’t help that I killed their agent on my way out the door…”
“Is that a yes?”
Magnus considered for a long minute but finally nodded. “Okay.”
Take a look at the first chapter of my next book, The Dragons of Andromeda. It’s still a work in progress, but I wanted to give a taste of what it offers. Note, this is on my Patreon page. For only $1/mo you can get additional access to new, patreon-only content including other chapters of my new book.
The current word count for Dragons of Andromeda is at around 40K, or about half of my goal. I have thirteen chapters done and hope to complete 26 to 30 before the book is complete.
I hope everybody’s having a good holiday (Christmas, Hanukkah, Cthulhu Eve, etc.)! As for me, I’ve been working on a chapter for Dragons of Andromeda set on Diavol, the Magna home world, in their capital city Oras Dracilor. Like the Magna themselves, their architecture features uncompromising shapes and lines:
Along Embassy Row, on the West End of Regalis, the Magna consulate stood like a mausoleum as dark as Magna blood. Built from volcanic basalt from their home world Diavol, the embassy was a series of straight, right angles forming a monolithic structure without windows. – Arks of Andromeda, Chapter 24
I used Brutalist architecture as inspiration, but instead of concrete, I envisioned everything built from the basalt of their volcanic home world. It’s a hellish landscape to be sure.
I was delighted with the interactive dialogue style enabling me to involve myself by anticipating replies and giving me opportunities to mutter humorous asides to Mitchell’s droll wit and sarcasm. His intereactive [sic] style guarantees fast and energetic reading. Mitchell’s novel offers swirling action, specific descriptions, curious ethical dilemmas, and foreboding clues to his future work.
I’ve begun the next big story arc in Dragons of Andromeda, which I call “The Slave Pens of Oras Dracilor”. It revolves around Sylvia Flax, famous news anchor of VOX News. While investigating a story, she gets captured by Celadonian Corsairs, a race of “goblins” and rivals to the Pirate Clans. They attack ships, keeping the cargo and selling the unfortunate passengers to another race called the Ougluks (“hobgoblins”). These brutes are slave traders who supply the Magna with captives to be sold on their home planet.
The story arc will take Flax across the border of the Magna Supremacy and it’s up to the crew of the Wanderer (Ramus, Fugg, and Gen) to find a way to bring her back. I expect this to be one of the larger arcs in my new book so I’m glad to be finally working on it.
This is from a five-star review of Arks of Andromeda on Amazon:
My first impression of Arks of Andromeda is that it is kind of a blend of Joe Haldeman (Forever War series) and Douglas Adams (Hitchhiker’s Guide). There is the revolutionary intrigue of Forever War with the irreverence and creativity of Douglas Adams. I did like the intentional and non-intentional sarcasm of the various robot characters. That’s an unusual fixture in most efforts at stories.
If you like some good old fashioned irreverent humor packaged with a story of bureaucracy and revolution, this is very much worth your time.
I got a shipment of my paperbacks so I’ve been able to hand out signed copies to those who’ve helped me along the way. It feels good to finally have something physical in my hands to say “I actually wrote a book!” It’s also nice to give people something as a token of my appreciation for all their help.