Snippet – Knife Edge (The Empire’s Corps VII)

22 Apr

Prologue I

From: The Dying Days: The Death of the Old Order and the Birth of the New.  Professor Leo Caesius.  Avalon.  206PE.

In hindsight, Earthfall was pretty much inevitable.  We saw it coming.

I suppose we should have wondered, when we finally realised that all hell was going to break loose, who else might have reached the same conclusion.

It wasn’t as if anything was secret.  Sure, it was hard to get a completely accurate picture of what was going on, thanks to lies being written into the official record and prevalent official censorship, but enough leaked through for me to see it.  The Terran Marine Corps saw it.  I should have wondered … why not others?  Who else knew – or guessed – what was coming?

But I’m getting a little ahead of myself.

As we saw in previous volumes, the Terrain Marine Corps saw Earthfall coming and took steps to preserve themselves and – hopefully – rebuild the Empire they’d sworn to serve.   Small groups of marines were assigned to isolated worlds at the edge of explored space – including Avalon, a story explored in my earlier volumes – with a mandate to protect and preserve what remnants of civilisation they could.  Others were withdrawn from more populated – and inevitably doomed – worlds to await the final end.  And, when Earthfall finally came – somehow catching us all by surprise despite years of planning and preparations – the corps started liberating and recruiting the trained and experienced workers who would assist the marines to preserve civilisation.

All of this did not take place in a vacuum.  Earthfall led to utter chaos, to wave after wave of destruction sweeping across the Core Worlds.  Planetary governors seized power, only to be consumed by the chaos as uncounted billions were swept out of work and unemployment benefits came to a sudden end.  Imperial Navy officers declared themselves warlords and started building empires of their own, most falling prey to ambitious subordinates or supply shortages within a very short space of time.  Old grudges burst into flame, unleashing a cycle of attacks and revenge attacks that ended with entire planetary systems burning to ashes.  We do not know how many people died in the first few months.  It remains beyond calculation.

It was during a recruitment mission, as detailed in the prior volume, that the marines discovered they had a major rival.  The Onge Corporation, previously ruled by Grand Senator Stephen Onge (who died during Earthfall), had established a major base on an isolated world, Hameau.  This alone would be concerning, but further investigation revealed that Hameau was a corporate paradise, a seemingly-ordered world held in stasis by a combination of extreme surveillance and a cold-blooded willingness to remove and terminate troublemakers before they became a serious threat.  It was clear, to the marines, that Hameau represented the future … as seen by the Onge Family.  The upper classes would have considerable freedom, while the lower classes would be trapped within a social system that would keep them from either rising or rebelling.  If this wasn’t bad enough, the sociologists believed the long-term result would be utterly disastrous.  Hameau would either stagnate to the point it entered a steep decline – not unknown, amongst worlds that refused to permit a degree of social mobility – or eventually be destroyed by a brutal and uncontrolled (and uncontrollable) uprising. 

The marines therefore decided to intervene.  Landing troops on the surface – the planetary defences were strong enough to keep the starships from securing the high orbitals and demanding surrender – the marines carried out a brilliant campaign that ended with the capture of the capital city, the effective destruction of the planetary government and them being firmly in control.  Everything seemed to have gone their way until the enemy reinforcements arrived, too late to save the world … but quickly enough, perhaps, to destroy the marines.

Now read on …

Prologue II

Paradise Island, Paradise (Ten Years Prior To Earthfall)

Commodore Nelson Agate had heard the expression killing someone with kindness, but he’d never realised it might be applicable to the Imperial Navy.  The Admiralty had plenty of ways to deal with officers it didn’t like, from assigning them to dead-end desk jobs or dispatching them to asteroid mining facilities in the middle of nowhere.  Nelson had expected some kind of punishment for daring to disagree with Admiral Valentine, but being ordered to take a long shore leave on Paradise wasn’t quite what he’d expected.  And yet, the more he sunned himself on a remote island, the more he wondered if his career hadn’t been cunningly destroyed.  Who’d take a complaint about being ordered to go on leave seriously?

Paradise Island lived up to the name, he admitted privately.  The beaches were utterly pristine.  The water was warm.  The local girls were beautiful and willing.  The bars never ran out of alcohol.  The games weren’t rigged.  If he’d wanted to have a long holiday, he wouldn’t have wanted to go anywhere else.  But three months of paradise had left him bored and jaded, convinced he’d sooner go somewhere – anywhere – else.  He’d almost pay for an assignment to an asteroid facility.

He lay back on his deckchair, wondering if he should signal the waitress for another beer.  It was too early in the morning to be drunk, but … there was little else to do.  He’d swum, he’d played beach ball, he’d … he’d done too many things, all of which bored him now.  The waitress was pretty, but … all the waitresses were pretty.  It was funny, he reflected sourly, how quickly one could grow sick of something when there was an unlimited supply.  There was no longer any thrill, let alone pleasure in victory.  What was the point of playing when the game was rigged.

I’m wasting away here, he thought, morbidly.  In Paradise!

A shadow fell across him.  He looked up, at a pretty young woman wearing a throng bikini and little else.  She looked like another guest, yet … there was something in the way that she held herself that set alarm bells ringing in his mind.  Nelson forced himself to sit up as she knelt beside him, her bare breasts somehow … unnoticeable.  She might have dressed to fit in, he noted, but she wasn’t one of the staff.  She was something else.

“Commodore Nelson Agate, is it not?”  The woman’s voice was calm.  She spoke with a corporate accent.  “I’m Julia.  Julia Ganister.”

“A pleasure,” Nelson said.  He shook her hand firmly.  “What can I do for you?”

Julia sat next to him.  “Why are you here, Commodore?”

“I was ordered to go on leave, an all-expenses paid leave,” Nelson said.  “Why are you here?”

“I’m looking for people who interest me,” Julia said.  “And you do.”

Nelson frowned.  Julia held herself like someone with authority, which meant … what?  An intelligence service?  A military unit?  She didn’t look as muscular as he would expect from a uniformed woman, but that was meaningless.  Standards had been slipping for years.  He’d been in the Admiralty’s bad books well before they’d found a way to get rid of him, just by complaining about officers who hired their staff based on looks rather than qualifications and experience.  Bad enough in a staff office, sheer fucking disaster onboard ship.  He was tempted to say as much, just to see what Julia made of it.  If she was collecting information for the Inspectorate General …

“I see,” he said, neutrally.  His career was already on the rocks.  Better to say nothing incriminating until he knew the lie of the land.  “And how do I interest you?”

“A competent officer,” Julia said.  “A cadet who graduated top of his class, when the rating system was stripped of all ID tags.  A midshipman who saved his ship, when his drunken supervisor nearly crashed her into an asteroid.  A captain who stood against a rebel militia and defeated them, despite being outnumbered five to one.  And a commodore who dared to tell Admiral Valentine that his planned operation was going to fail and fail spectacularly.”

Nelson sat up.  “Who are you?”

“Julia.”  Julia smiled, as if she found his question amusing.  “Tell me something, Commodore.  Where do you see your career going in the next few years?”

“Nowhere,” Nelson said, sourly.

“We agree,” Julia said.  “And where do you see the Empire going in the next few decades?”

Nelson blinked.  It was treason to even suggest the Empire might be going through a very rough patch.  He dreaded to think what it might be to suggest the Empire was falling to destruction.  And yet, he’d heard enough whispered rumours, seen enough failing sectors, to know something was deeply wrong.  He’d kept that thought to himself, not daring to utter it aloud where anyone could hear, yet … it had plagued him, in the dead of night.  The Imperial Navy that had fought the Unification Wars would not have tolerated Admiral Valentine.  The officers would have rebelled against him and the spacers would have used him for target practice.  It was hard to escape the sense the entire universe was heading for a fall.

“I’m not a traitor,” he managed, finally.  He studied her face, noting – for the first time – that it was pretty yet bland.  A few minutes with a cosmetic set and she’d look very different.  “And I …”

Julia rested her hand on his arm.  “We’re not asking you to be a traitor,” she said.  “We’re asking you to think about the future.”

Nelson swung his legs over the side of the deckchair.  “And what do you want me to think about the future?”

“I’m not here to lead you into saying something incriminating,” Julia said.  Her voice was so calm that Nelson found himself believing every word.  “Believe me, your enemies already have enough lined up to ensure your career hits a dead end.  Admiral Valentine has spent the last three weeks making certain you’ll be on your way to the deep black once your leave finally comes to an end.  I’m here to offer you an alternative.”

“Like what?”  Nelson felt ice congealing around his heart.  “Who are you?”

Julia stood.  “There are some people you should meet,” she said.  “Will you come with me?”

“Perhaps,” Nelson said.  “And I ask again – who are you?”

“Julia,” Julia said.  “Julia Ganister-Onge.  And we’re trying to salvage something from the ruins.  Perhaps that answers your question?”

“It does,” Nelson said.

Julia nodded, then turned and walked away.

After a moment, Nelson followed her.

Chapter One

It is often said, when discussing communist, fascist, theocratic, corpocratic and other unpleasant regimes, that they might have survived if they’d possessed computers and – at the same time – avoided a dictator.  This is, for better or worse, untrue.

– Professor Leo Caesius.  The Right to be Wrong: How Silencing People Hurts You

Captain Kerri Stumbaugh kept her face under tight control as she stared at the display

One of her instructors had told her, years ago, that if things started going suspiciously well it was a clear sign she was about to lose.  Experience had taught her there was a degree of truth in that statement.  Things going well wasn’t a sign of incoming trouble, but the mindset it bred was.  The idea that she could relax, that she could assume the matter was going to end without further intervention from her … she shook her head, dismissing the thought.  They’d been caught with their pants down.  They were in deep shit.

Her eyes narrowed as the red icons took on shape and form.  Nineteen warships, led by the missing battlecruiser; nineteen warships and seven troop transports, probably crammed to the gunwales with soldiers itching for a fight.  Nineteen warships … more than enough to destroy her squadron in a straight engagement.  She wanted to believe her superior training would give her the edge, if push came to shove, but it was clear the enemy ships were manned by trained and experienced personal.  Her lips curved into a grim smile.  They weren’t Imperial Navy officers, then.  They’d been skimping on training and exercises for years, mothballing ships and discharging crewmen while pocketing their wages and skimming billions of credits from the budget for ships and facilities that only existed on paper.  These guys knew what they were doing.

“Captain,” Lieutenant Tomas said.  The tactical officer sounded grim.  “They’ll be within engagement range in thirty minutes.”

Kerri nodded.  The enemy was playing it safe.  They were advancing directly towards Hameau, forcing her to either block their path or get out of their way.  If she did the former, they’d crush her; if she did the latter, she’d be unable to help the groundpounders on the planet’s surface.  She forced herself to think, her mind racing as she tried to find a way to even the odds.  But she knew, all too well, there was none.  She didn’t have the time or equipment to do more than delay the enemy ships.

“Prepare for a long-range engagement,” she ordered, coolly.  An exchange of missile fire wouldn’t slow the enemy ships for long, if it had any effect on their plans, but the only alternative was withdrawing and waiting for a chance to regain control of the high orbitals.  She doubted they’d give her that chance anytime soon.  Hameau had been important … was still important.  They’d be fools to let her retake the planet.  “And pass the warning to General Anderson.  Inform him that we cannot delay the enemy for long.”

She felt a surge of frustrated rage as the squadron rapidly prepared for battle.  She knew, better than most, the role sheer random chance played in human affairs, but … she gritted her teeth in silent fury.  They’d won, damn it!  They’d defeated the enemy forces, they’d occupied the enemy cities, they’d taken out the enemy government … only to have a relief fleet arrive to undo all they’d done.  She knew they’d screwed up by the numbers.  There’d been no hint the enemy possessed that many ships until they showed themselves.  It was agonisingly clear Hameau was merely a tiny fragment of a much greater operation.

And in hindsight, that shouldn’t have surprised us, she thought, coldly.  There was no time for recriminations, but even the Terran Marine Corps was not immune to people using hindsight to score cheap points.  Thankfully, they’d probably wait until the campaign was over.  Probably.  One world might preserve something of civilisation, and an industrial base, but it couldn’t hope to retake the galaxy.

She wished, suddenly, that she could communicate with someone higher up the chain of command.  Major-General Anderson was in command of the operation, but the communications lag would ensure he wouldn’t receive her messages until it was too late for him to countermand her orders.  There’d been times, in her career, when that would have seemed an advantage.  She’d met too many Imperial Navy officers who’d been promoted because of connections or bribes, rather than merit.  But Anderson was an experienced officer.  He might have something else in mind for her ships.

“The enemy ships are sweeping us with tactical sensors,” Tomas warned.  “But they’re not altering course.”

“They don’t have to,” Kerri said.  Whoever was in command of the enemy fleet knew what he was doing. It was tempting to think she could lure the enemy ships onto a stern chase, forcing them to push their drives to the limit in a fruitless bid to run down her command, but she doubted they’d take the bait.  “They know they can force us to fight on their terms.”

She keyed her console, bringing up the latest sensor reports.  The enemy fleet hadn’t opened fire – yet – but she’d be astonished if their weapons weren’t in full working order.  Their sensors were certainly top of the range, military-grade systems that shouldn’t have been in civilian or corporate hands.  She wondered, idly, how they’d secured them, then dismissed the thought.  The Onge Corporation had built ships and weapons for the Imperial Navy.  It would have been simplicity itself, back then, to produce a handful of extra units – and hulls – and squirrel them away.  The Asset Tracking department on Safehouse was going to have to look at the data and try to deduce what had happened, as if it mattered.  The only important thing, right now, was that the enemy ships were bearing down on her.

And some of those ships might have non-typical configurations, she mused.  Starship design had plateaued over the last few decades – the enemy hulls looked like standard navy hulls – but tacticians had been talking about fitting the ships with newer or different weapons for years.  Her ship’s configuration owed much to their planning.  The enemy might have been trying to hide an ace or two up their sleeve too.

Her eyes narrowed as another report flashed up in front of her.  The enemy transports looked more like colonist-carriers.  Repurposed transports?  Or … or what?  She doubted it mattered.  The transports would be sitting ducks, if her ships closed to engagement range.  It was the enemy warships that posed the real threat.

She felt an icy hand clench her heart as the range steadily closed.  There was no hope of doing more than delaying the enemy, if that.  There was nothing she could do for the marines on the planet.  They controlled enough of the PDCs – she thought – to keep the enemy from simply smashing their positions from orbit, but … if nothing else, control of the high orbitals would give them a chance to land troops and retake the world.  Or simply let the marines writher on the vine.  Supplying the invasion force had been a problem even when the high orbitals were firmly in their hands.  She cursed under her breath, then smiled.  Hameau hadn’t been an easy target.  Hopefully, the factors that had made the planet a difficult world to invade would protect the marines long enough for reinforcements to arrive.  The Commandant would dispatch them as soon as he knew the invasion had gone off the rails.

And if he doesn’t, she thought as the enemy ships glided closer, a hundred thousand marines are going to wind up dead.

***

Admiral Nelson Agate, Onge Navy, allowed himself a feeling of grim satisfaction as he watched ONS Hammerblow’s tactical staff perform their duties.  It hadn’t been easy, even with the combination of headhunted officers from the Imperial Navy and very enthusiastic recruits from Onge itself, to escape bad habits and turn the Onge Navy into a lean mean fighting machine.  He’d relished the challenge – it helped that his budget had been immense, practically unlimited – but he’d been all too aware that the navy had yet to face its first real test.  Now … the staff were performing well, even though they knew they were going into battle.  The red icons on the display weren’t simulated.  They were very real.

He studied the long-range sensor reports thoughtfully.  He hadn’t believed the reports when they’d first arrived, even though they’d come from unquestionable sources, but now … the marines were invading Hameau.  He shook his head in disbelief.  He’d heard the Terran Marine Corps had been destroyed, that the Slaughterhouse had been turned into a radioactive hellhole and the remainder of the corps had been scattered to the four winds.  And yet … the display was very clear.  Four giant MEU troop transports held position near Hameau itself, while a small squadron of warships sought to block his path.  And yet, they had no hope of stopping him.  They were going to die for nothing.

Know when to fold them, you fools, he thought, coldly.  He’d known enough marines to know they had the sense to know when they were fighting a losing battle and withdraw before it was too late.  Or is it already too late.

His lips curved into a smile.  The marines were renowned for travelling light, but they’d have problems packing up and retreating before his forces took the high orbitals.  They’d have to abandon all their equipment if they wanted to get their men out, if they had time to do even that!  He checked his console, silently contemplating the problem.  They’d have to get very lucky to pull even a fraction of their men off the surface before it was too late.  He didn’t think it was possible.  The last report from Hameau had warned the marines were advancing on the capital, with little standing between them and victory.  There was little chance they’d regrouped before it was too late.

“They shouldn’t even be here,” Julia Ganister-Onge.  The corporation’s commissioner – and his lover – sounded astonished.  “What are they doing here?”

“Invading, it seems,” Nelson said.  He shared her astonishment.  The Terran Marine Corps was a formidable force, but … what were they doing?  “The corporation might not be the only people who planned for the future.”

Julia gave him a sharp look.  “They shouldn’t have invaded our world.”

Nelson shrugged.  He didn’t see the logic either, but … no one would have gone to all the trouble of invading a heavily-defended world unless they thought there was a good reason.  The marines were hardly unthinking brutes, whatever the media claimed.  And they’d been at the sharp end of every conflict for the last few centuries.  They might have realised Earthfall was coming and planned for it.  Why not?  The Onge Corporation had been laying its plans for decades.

He felt an odd stab of guilt as the range continued to close.  He’d rarely questioned his decision to leave the Imperial Navy, yet … he shook his head.  The Imperial Navy had been doomed.  The Terran Marine Corps were doomed too, doomed by lack of supplies and – he supposed – a cause.  What were they fighting for?  Did they intend to put their Commandant on the throne?  Or did they think they could find the Childe Roland and put him on the throne?  The last reports suggested the young emperor had died during Earthfall.  Even if he hadn’t … what throne?  The Core Worlds were burning.  By the time the fighting died down, there would be little left of the once-great civilisation.  The Empire was gone.

“Prepare firing solutions,” he ordered.  “Engage them as soon as they enter medium-range.”

“Aye, Admiral,” the tactical officer said.  “Preparing to engage.”

Nelson smiled, coldly.  Julia had made sure he’d had a fairly free hand.  And he’d done his best to create a fleet that could go toe-to-toe with the best in the galaxy.  His officers were highly-trained, his crewmen drilled until they could perform their duties in their sleep and his maintenance cycles run to ensure peak efficiency.  He had no intention of letting standards slip, even now the principle threat was gone.  His crews would never have the chance to pick up bad habits.  He’d shoot anyone who so much as suggested an outdated component could be left in place because it hadn’t failed yet.

Julia glanced at him.  “Shouldn’t we be trying to defeat the enemy fleet?”

“No.”  Nelson spoke as much for his own benefit as hers.  She was no naval officer – he was all too aware that her duties included keeping an eye on him as well as everything else – but it helped, sometimes, to discuss issues out loud.  “They have the edge, when it comes to speed.  They’d just keep the range open while trying to lead us into a minefield.”

His eyes narrowed.  The ships – he smiled suddenly as he remembered the marines weren’t supposed to have any real warships – were clearly in peak condition, handled by crews who knew precisely how to get the best out of them.  If they’d had more than three heavy cruisers, he might have feared the worst if he’d taken Hammerblow against them alone.  He’d have made them pay a heavy price for their victory, but … he shook his head.  He had nineteen wardships against twelve.  Odds like that didn’t care if the weaker side had a slight edge in training.  Unless the marines had some kind of superweapon he’d never even dreamt existed, he had the edge. 

They might be nearly unbeatable, man for man, on the ground, he mused.  But we’re facing them in space.

He indicated the display.  “Right now, the folks on the planet know we’re coming.  They’re frantically running around, trying to work out how to evacuate what they can before we take the high orbitals and start shooting holes in their transports.  They’re doing to have to get the transports moving in fifty minutes if they want to get them out of range before we run them down.  If we can get there before they start running, we might just trap them on the ground.”

“I see,” Julia said.  “And you are sure they’re frantically running around?”

“They’re caught in a bind,” Nelson said.  He doubted the marines were frantic – he’d never seen marines panic under fire, which was more than could be said for many other military formations – but they were in deep shit.  “They have to save what they can, yet they simply don’t have time.  If we take the high orbitals, they’re screwed and they know it.”

Probably, his thoughts added.  They’ve almost certainly taken the remaining PDCs by now.

“So the whole operation becomes relatively simple,” he explained.  “They have to get those troop transports moving before we get there.  Therefore, their ships will try to either slow us down or lead us away.  I have no intention of letting them do either.  The ships aren’t important, not now.  The real priority is the planet, not so much because of the industries as because the enemy has thousands of troops on the ground.  We retake the high orbitals and land troops – we win.”

He grinned as he looked at the display.  “They have to try to slow us down,” he repeated.  “And if they want to do that, they have to come within weapons range.  We’ll blow hell out of them.”

And if the marines refuse to surrender, he thought with a cold smile, we can blow hell out of the planet too.

He sobered.  They had strict orders to preserve what they could of the planet’s industry and trained workforce.  Hameau had served the corporation well, first as a training zone for everything from starship personnel to technical experts and then as a relocation centre for trained and experienced personnel from all over the Core Worlds.  The Corporation had done everything in its power to recruit trained personal, often trying to remove them from worlds and systems that were already starting to collapse into chaos.  Nelson had devoted two-thirds of his life to the Empire.  It was chilling to watch it fall into ruin, even though it had betrayed him well before he’d turned his back.  At least the Corporation was trying to save something.  It wasn’t much, but it was all they had.

“Just remember we need to recover the industries intact,” Julia said, as if she’d read his thoughts.  She might not be a naval officer, but she was very skilled in her field.  “We can’t replace them.”

“Not in a hurry,” Nelson agreed.  The Corporation had gone further than anyone else – as far as he knew – in creating an entirely separate technical base, but losing Hameau’s industrial nodes would hurt.  It would take years to rebuild, even if there were no further glitches along the path to galactic domination.  “We’ll do what we can.”

He leaned back in his chair.  He’d already done everything he could to ensure success.  The crews were trained, the ships were in good condition … they’d simulated the coming engagement, running through hundreds of variants in a bid to predict what the enemy was going to do and devise countermeasures.  He was entirely sure his squadron could engage and defeat an Imperial Navy squadron twice its size.  But the marines?  He didn’t know.  They understood the value of good training, preventive maintenance and prior planning.

But I still have the edge, he told himself, firmly.  And that’s all that matters.

“Admiral,” the tactical officer said.  “The enemy fleet will enter engagement range in ten minutes.”

“Good,” Nelson said.  The enemy had to know their attempts to lure him astray – and perhaps onto a minefield – had failed.  “Stand by point defence.”

He smiled, coldly.  It wouldn’t be long now.

11 Responses to “Snippet – Knife Edge (The Empire’s Corps VII)”

  1. Kenneth April 22, 2020 at 7:28 pm #

    Updated ebook available?

  2. William Ameling April 22, 2020 at 8:40 pm #

    Your website is still down (suspended). I only got this through a copy sent directly to my email account.

  3. steven house April 27, 2020 at 12:06 am #

    The Artful Apprentice, came out some time on the 25th Hear you go guys enjoy it as much as I am.

    • steven house April 27, 2020 at 12:12 am #

      Sorry just copy paste B087PLWL5V in the search box on the Amazon page and it will take you right to the book

  4. William Ameling April 27, 2020 at 5:14 am #

    I found it myself when I checked Amazon.com just after Midnight by my local time (Eastern USA timezone, Daylight savings time).

    Then I checked his/this Web Site and found that it is finally back up again after being blocked for about a week.

    Finally and farewell to the rest of the world!

  5. William Ameling April 27, 2020 at 12:42 pm #

    Well, I spent about 7 hours to read all of Artful Apprentice.

    I do not want to be it to be a complete spoiler, so I will not say the her Name, But I think I know who Nanette’s is in this Book, her very strong reaction to seeing the Death Viper on Emily’s wrist (in NON bracelet form) is what confirmed what I was already suspecting even before that point in the story. Then the Epilog just confirmed my reasoning, only if Nanette is who I think she is, would she know where to find him.

    Chris does a good job of drawing upon events and lessons learned from the previous Books, to build upon and resolve the problems of the new Book.

  6. William Ameling April 27, 2020 at 1:25 pm #

    Who I think Nanette is, is only a GUESS, but I think that evidence leans that way.

    • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard April 27, 2020 at 2:50 pm #

      Agree, I guessed that as well but Chris could fool us. 😉

  7. Kenneth Dick April 27, 2020 at 4:13 pm #

    Glad for those that follow the series that “The Artful Apprentice” is the latest entry. I’m sure it’s as excellent a series as the ones I follow – just never got in to it. Hopefully the next Corps will follow shortly. Any guesstimate when it’ll show up on Amazon?

  8. William Ameling April 27, 2020 at 8:00 pm #

    I am having trouble to get my other message to actually post in response to the release message of the Book.
    Any devoted reader of the SIM series ought to recognize who Void’s family is, Emily has heard the same story before from someone else

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