Read Ghost of Mind Episode One Online

Authors: Odette C. Bell

Tags: #romance, #mystery, #aliens, #space, #action adventure

Ghost of Mind Episode One

BOOK: Ghost of Mind Episode One
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All characters in this publication are fictitious and
any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely
coincidental.

 

 

Ghost of Mind

Episode One

Copyright © 2013 Odette C. Bell

Smashwords Edition

 

Author’s Note: I previously published this series
under the pen name JC Luck. I am now republishing it under Odette
C. Bell.

Cover art stock photos: Calligraphic design elements
& page décor © S-e-r-g-o, Earth From Space © Dean Neitman,
Woman\’s face with black hood © OlivérSvéd. Licensed from
Dreamstime.

 

For free fiction and details
o
f current
and upcoming titles, please visit

www.odettecbell.com

 

GHOST OF MIND

EPISODE ONE

 

Chapter 1

Alice pushed
herself up from her cot. Her arms were tense, the skin along them
warm with sweat. She hadn't slept well last night. Then again, when
did Alice ever sleep well? She had a lot going on in her mind, a
lot going on in her life.

She was the
last of her kind, the last of her race. And what was worse, she was
the last of the Old Ones.

And no, that
did not mean that Alice was a geriatric. She was young for her
species; it just so happened that her people were considering
ancient. The ones that had come before. Those aliens that had been
responsible for crafting the modern universe.

Alice stood up,
taking a deep breath as she did.

Then she padded
across the room, her bare feet soft against the cold floor. She
headed towards the console in the corner. Letting out a heavy,
rattling sigh, she pushed herself down onto the broken flight chair
she had salvaged from one of the dumps outside.

Biting very
hard into her bottom lip, she tried to muster up the confidence she
would require to do what she needed to do next.

Check the
news.

Alice pushed
her fingernails into her hand as she tried to garner enough
confidence and courage in order to bring her hand up and let the
sensor in the console register her movements so she could command
the holographic images.

For most
ordinary people, checking the news would not be a big ordeal. For
most ordinary people, they were not the last of their kind. They
were also not on the run from a universe, that if it knew they
existed, would be after them with every single ship and warrior and
weapon they had.

That was
Alice's life. That was the secret behind her desperation, her fear,
the reason she was stuck in this tiny apartment, in his tiny room,
on her tiny cot.

No friends, no
family, no one to rely on. Just Alice. And one hell of a history
chasing her down.

The galaxy had
not always been this way, and neither had the universe. For
billions upon billions of years everything had been separate. Every
race and every cluster had been kept apart by the vasts of space,
just the way nature intended it to be. Then the Old Ones had come
along. They had not been one distinct race, but a group of many.
They had seeded the universe with technology so powerful and
incredible that it managed to connect even the furthest reaches of
reality to one another.

But more than
the technology and incredible devices they had created, it was the
power source that had kept it all running that was truly
remarkable.

Beyond words,
beyond concepts even. Possibly the greatest invention in all of the
history of the universe.

Alice's race
had been behind that invention. It was her fingers as they scrolled
up and down, the computer console picking up on the movements to
move the holographic images displayed before her, that were the
true key to modern civilization.

Power. Energy,
beyond people's wildest dreams. Enough to enable the most fantastic
of technologies, the most incredible of capabilities.

Sighing, Alice
pressed her fingers further into her head. She'd learned that off
the humans; apparently massaging your brow helped relieve
tension.

It didn't work.
If Alice wanted to release her tension, she would likely have to
hop a transport and travel to a completely abandoned galaxy with no
sign of any other race to bother her. Then and only then would she
be able to relax. With no one around her, there would be no threat
that someone could find out what she was, use her abilities to
rekindle the Old Technology, and no doubt lay waste to the modern
universe as it was known.

She wasn't
going to get that opportunity.

Not now, not
ever.

Winking one eye
open very slowly, Alice looked at the holographic feed in front of
her. As her hand moved slowly from left to right, thousands upon
thousands of images flickered for just long enough for the human
mind to pick them up. Alice was not human though, and her mind was
capable of processing so much more. As the images flickered past,
snippets of sound clips accompanied them. It was a heady, strange
experience. And if it was not one Alice had lived thousands upon
thousands of times, it would confuse the hell out of her.

A lot of modern
society confused the hell out of her.

Alice's race
may have been foundational in bringing the universe to the level of
civilization it now had, but there was still a part of her that
wanted a simpler, easy life, closer to nature and as far away from
technology as she could get.

Again, despite
how much she yearned for simplicity, she was never going to get it.
The universe was connected now and drenched in technology, and
unless a catastrophic event occurred, it would remain that way.

Bringing a hand
out, clutching it onto the edge of the console, letting her fingers
tense as they pressed right into the metal, Alice finally found
it.

The exact news
she was looking for.

News of the
Rim.

The war. Or at
least the impending one. The one that the Government weren't
exactly comfortable with admitting to yet.

Her eyes darted
quickly over the information that appeared on the screen.
Processing the images and sound clips at a speed most races would
consider incredible, Alice found out exactly what she needed
to.

It relieved
her, but only just.

Stretching back
in her chair, taking an uncomfortable breath, Alice couldn't help
but reflect on how very pitiful her life had become.

She was in a
strange, horrible world of her own. Despite the fact she knew she
could never let anybody else find out what she was, that did not
mean Alice couldn't feel the guilt of doing nothing.

So much was
going wrong in the universe these days, especially in the Milky
Way. Alice's race had not only been technologically deft, but they
were physically strong too, fantastically powerful by human
standards. They had been a race of warriors, of peace keepers. But
Alice could not run off to join the Union Forces; she would be
found out. She could not run off to protect the colonies along the
Rim; she would be found out. And if she was found out, something
far, far worse would happen.

Forcing herself
to stand up, Alice walked around the room several times, clutching
her hands behind her back. She had once seen that exact move in a
video from Old Earth. It had been a movie of some sort, some kind
of fictional description of ancient Earth history. Anyway, the main
character in it, a captain of some sort, would always walk around
his troops with his hands held behind his back, his chest puffed
out, his neck receded slightly. It gave him, apparently, according
to humans at least, a measure of gravitas. Of controlled force.

Well Alice
would really like some of that. For a creature that was incredibly
powerful, that had the key to most of the Old Technology scattered
around the universe, she often felt so small and insignificant that
flecks of space dust would have better self-confidence.

‘Come on,
you've got to get up, you got to go and get to work,’ she said
through gritted teeth, staring down at the holographic newsfeed
before her.

Again her eyes
darted from left to right, processing the information at an
astounding rate. As they did, her hands clutched tightly by her
side, the fingernails pressing further and further into her palms.
An ordinary human might have bled by now, even one of the other
softer races of aliens too. She was not going to bleed. It would
take a hell of a lot more to try and cut through her skin. It would
also take a hell of a lot more to damage her in any way.

Despite her
incredible abilities though, Alice always lived life on a
precipice. If someone found out what she was capable
of . . . her life would end. All the energy she had
left inside herself would be sucked out.

Closing her
eyes, shaking her head, Alice stepped backwards several times. Then
she keyed a number into the pad just by her door, and waited with
her arms outstretched as clothes were knitted over her bare
body.

Then, pushing
her thick black and blue hair against the base of her neck, Alice
told the door to open and she walked outside.

 

Chapter 2

John Doe

It hadn't
always been this way. The universe had not always been connected.
Many years ago, hundreds of thousands of years before the great
Universal Union had been formed, the stars had been separate and
life had remained unconnected. All of those millions and millions
of races throughout space had lived their own lives, suspecting but
never knowing the extent of how populated and vast their dimension
was.

That had all
changed. It had all changed because of incredible technology.
Because of the Old Ones.

Leaning back
and yawning, John Doe stretched his arms out, letting his shoulders
push his tired muscles out, lengthening them as best as he
could.

‘Do you wish to
stop the playback?’ an electronic voice sounded out from the
console before him.

John made a
face. He was lucky he had turned off facial recognition, otherwise
the computer would be asking him what exactly that expression
meant. And even though he knew it shouldn't be capable of this, it
would no doubt have a sarcastic edge to its tone.

John played
with his jaw for a bit and then he mumbled a no.

He needed to
know this stuff, didn't he? It was part of the mission. Hell, it
was part of his job description.

‘No, but pause
for a couple of minutes while I get a drink,’ John mumbled as he
pushed himself up and walked over to the other side of the
room.

The quarters he
had been given were quite roomy, fantastic even. They were far more
comfortable than his own quarters on his ship.

Becoming
distracted by the view, John walked over to the huge windows that
offered an unrivalled perspective on the city below.

When he had
first come to Orion Minor, John Doe hadn’t been expecting much. He
knew from the Great Universal Database that Orion Major was a real
power in the system, and that Orion Minor was, well, where they
sent everybody else. John didn’t like to use the word scum; he’d
been around the galaxy and the universe long enough to realize that
some people were just unlucky. Get born on the wrong planet, get
born during the wrong war, get born where there aren’t enough
resources around, and you’ll find yourself turning towards crime
just to survive.

Still, Orion
Minor was not a nice place.

As John waited
for his drink to be manufactured by the computer, he rested a hand
over the glass, pressing his palm right into it. Shifting his jaw
from side to side again, which was somewhat of a habit of his, he
stared down at the dilapidated buildings below.

It was a
strange world. The tops of the buildings were all sparkly and clean
and nice, and everything else was junk. Slums. Dark, dirty, dank,
and full of the people the rest of the galaxy wanted to forget.

BOOK: Ghost of Mind Episode One
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