Ill Wind_Chaos Witches, page 1
Chaos Witches : Book Two
By Tal Turing
All characters appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.
© Tal Turing 2016
Published at Smashwords
Smashwords Version 1.0
All rights reserved
This ebook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This ebook may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each recipient. If you’re reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then please return to Smashwords.com and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.
Table of Contents
Cast of Characters
Prelude to the Series
First Techview Interlude
Miriam and the Bugs
Second Techview Interlude
The Transom Asset
Third Techview Interlude
Fourth Techview Interlude
Notes from the Author
Cover artwork created by Marin Atanasoski and used with permission.
This work is dedicated to a woman whose name came to me only through her death – Jyoti Singh. If you don't know the name, please google it at some point.
Warning: This work contains some adult themes including depictions of violence, sexual assault and sexual behavior, thus is suitable only for adults who are not easily offended. Any apparent political or religious endorsements are unintentional.
The Witch is dead. Or did you simply not recognize her?
The consequences of book one, The Assets of Techview, play out in a new setting: the colony of New Berlyn, itself a domed city, a younger and rasher version of its sister city of Techview.
Cynnamon, bonded to Transom Industries, has no choice in this return to her childhood home, it was part of a promise she made, a barter to save her friends. She must complete one assignment before she can return, but what does it entail?
Miriam, freed of her corporate chains, now finds herself fettered to a sociopath, a bond forged by the strange viral colony which lives and grows inside her. One which she helped to create.
Annabelle comes to New Berlyn of her own free will, determined to find a missing member of the Seven Sisters Sanctuary, dead or alive. With few clues to start, can Ann succeed or might she also disappear?
New Berlyn welcomes them and any whom it can ruthlessly use in its frantic, desperate rush for power and fame, a desire to be the brightest jewel in Las Joyas.
The Domed Cities
Miriam, Junior Officer, Humantis (former asset)
Donyden Cabb (Donnie), Senior Officer – Corporate Strategy, Humantis
Dr. Maximilian Petyr, Senior Officer – Director of Special Projects, Humantis
Paul Harilla, Executive – Operations, Transom
Steve Harilla, Senior Officer – Strategy, Transom
Edwyrd Harilla, Senior Officer – Security, Transom
Bradley Harilla, Officer – Operations, Transom
Lysander Barrett, Executive -Security, Transom
Tym Matheson, Executive – Strategy, Transom - Techview
Sams, Junior Officer – Security, Humantis
Mother, Director of Operations, Transom - Techview
Annabelle Paige, Techview
Pol Gente, New Berlyn
Lynda Thorgen, New Berlyn
Pur Sarkov, New Berlyn
Cynnamon CC34F, Operations, Transom
Carla K342G, Corporate Hospitality Services, Transom
James D3T12, Operations, Transom
Prelude to the Series: Chaos Witches
Witch. Such a silly word, so useless and infantile that I could have gone a lifetime, several lifetimes without ever uttering it, a term used by children and story tellers.
But it sprung into my mind one day as she arrived. As I watched, the door opened and she stepped through, like so many times before, but this time my subconscious puzzled and wondered and unable to do any better, spit out that single word. Witch.
I never saw her bend the fabric of space or vanish into thin air and all the strange occurrences which manifested in her presence could be explained rationally. Still, I questioned and I wondered.
I can't claim to have made the connection myself, it was offered in a dream. She rose from a black pool, the sea of the cosmos, the inky drops of liquid stardust sliding off her skin as she emerged and walked onto a rocky beach, a mysterious smile on her face.
Still, I am not sure, and I have known her and of her all these years, but have kept her secret of my own free will. Or so I believe.
The dark, thick clouds moved rapidly over the valleys and foothills of what was once the North American Midwest, bringing pelting rains and obscuring the light of the moon, the stars, the milky background radiation of the Universe itself, sights precious to those who had lived before the age of Maltiempo.
The thunder boomed and lightning ripped through the air, burning it in its intensity. The winds raged, stressing the trunks of the trees which remained standing, not yet broken, and pushing the limbs and leaves of the fallen further into the muddy earth.
A strange object appeared at the rim of a valley, undaunted by the storm. It is long but not rigid, segmented, like a snake, and it moved quickly, above the ground, its belly sparkling with a strange white-blue static. The creature moved through the air, like an eel through the water, but it does not fly, it does not rely on air pressure to keep itself aloft, rather it is somehow held to the Earth itself; myriad invisible, paradoxically rigid tethers stabilize the vehicle on its path. The ground beneath trembles and shudders as it passes overhead.
A large tree branch, torn loose by the storm, is hurled toward the thing; which does not react, does not evade. Upon reaching the murky envelope of air cloaking the strange machine, the projectile is shredded and dispersed as the vehicle moves on its way.
The segments of the eel-like vehicle are the cars of the train, those in front holding the living, while those in the rear are configured for storage. But the last one is currently at cross purposes.
The last car of the Earth Hugger train was claustrophobic and dimly lit, the various metallic canisters and containers, stacked and bundled to each other, filled the chamber leaving only narrow aisles and tiny spaces. The terrible lightning from the storm illuminated the room with an eerie, greenish glow.
Cynnamon's olive skin seemed almost blue in the strange environment but that was the least of her worries. An announcement had been made - they were nearing the valley of New Berlyn, their destination. Time was r
On one side, blocking her exit, was the impostor. He was speaking but his lies no longer mattered. Although omnaudient, she could ignore even though she heard. Beyond, his partner was leading a disoriented female out of the chamber.
Worse, on her left was a large container, cracked open like a lunch box on its side, revealing its contents - an evil-looking machine consisting of a padded chair surrounded by an array of digital displays and translucent tubes. The arm restraints were clearly visible, opened to release its previous occupant.
She was familiar with the test it would perform, a fertility assessment, a painful one, so much so that the subject would be injected with a non-anesthetizing paralytic, its purpose to reduce damage to the machine by the otherwise frantic and desperate escape attempts of its patients.
Cyn looked back at the man, he had moved toward her slightly, still relying on his words to further his purpose. And there was the mystery - what was his purpose? And why this awful medical procedure? It was more than likely that he did not even know, only those who would pay him understood the reason.
The exit door closed shut, abruptly ending the whimper of the other female, a human asset just like herself, a corporate slave, but younger, less experienced. She would not be the last. That made up her mind.
Take care to wander where you wonder
Cynnamon hummed to herself a song of her mother as she maintained a trusting and passive demeanor, allowing him to lead her to and into the chair. But she looked away as he quickly, expertly, closed the guards on her arms.
Still there was time, there was still a way out. Her strong legs were within striking distance of his head and if she knocked him out or worse, it wouldn't be long before they had arrived and the unloading began. But she allowed the thigh bar to be lowered and now there was nothing even she could do.
“Get back to your damn seats!” snarled the guard, a behemoth clad in a strange, black armor, its surface rough, sharp and irregular as if fused by a lightning strike into bitter glass edges. The frustrated voice from the human within was distorted into an evil hiss, just as intimidating as his appearance. And in response, the many curious and alarmed passengers scattered like roaches.
The angry guard lifted a figure, also armored but unconscious and bare-headed; the motors inside his stibnite armor whined softly as the load was lifted into the air. Then, the lead guard walked off, leaving large bloody footprints, noticed only by the third guard who hurried afterwards.
“You fucking traitor,” the lead guard snarled at the delirious and bleeding man when they had gotten him safely into a private security compartment. “You are a disgrace to the uniform, to your city, to your family!” He spat the accusations as his large, gauntleted hand closed in on the man's unprotected head, squeezing.
“He was acting strange, Dwyn!” the other guard insisted, “Did you hear his voice? It didn't sound like him. Maybe it's not his fault...”
“Or maybe he was showing his true colors and he had the nerve to call us traitors in front of those people” the lead guard snarled as the motors in his armor hummed. Suddenly the man moaned and began to scream. But that ended when the room was filled with the dull crack of a human skull.
The other guard watched the now-dead man's head flop back, the muscles in his neck proffering in the air. It was then that he saw the puncture wound near the carotid artery. Or perhaps it was just a drop of blood. What did it matter now?
Hiding the Evidence
Annabelle pushed the taller, younger woman in front of her as they fled the scene. The other girl did not resist but neither did she completely obey, turning her head back toward the large hulks who were bellowing, locked in combat against one of their own.
“Enough, Miri, back to your seats like the nice men asked...”, Ann pleaded.
“He doesn't sound so tough now, does he?” The bombshell whispered with obvious joy.
Ann pulled Miriam into an empty compartment, vacated by bored passengers anxious to view the commotion. She bent in back of one of the large SkyTran Hi-G turbulence chairs, retrieved the spent needle and pushed it into the fabric of the chair, where it would spend the rest of its inanimate life.
“You did do something!” Miriam challenged her in an excited but girlish exclamation.
“Did not,” Annabelle replied slipping past her and taking a furtive peek into the aisle. There was no one there. An automated voice implored:
Please return to the protection of your berths and activate your harness. We will arrive in New Berlyn soon. When you purchased your ticket you agreed to abide...
“We should do what it says,” Ann suggested. It was to be her first trip to this city and she had been dreading it but now she couldn't wait to get off this train.
“You shouldn't have done anything, I can handle myself,” Miriam spoke simply, frankly as she looked into Ann's practical, blue eyes and gave her hand an affectionate squeeze. “I am tougher than I look. But where is that Cyn girl? We should make sure she is okay...”
Ann bristled. If any of them would avoid a domer jail, it was that one. Why would they imprison their own slave?
“That one? Don't worry about her. We will be arriving in New Berlyn soon, you should get back to your Doctor, right?”
“Yes...I should,” Miriam replied mechanically as if the word triggered a trance, her lithe frame suddenly stiffening. Then, after a moment, she returned and spoke quickly. “But wait for me in the station, the Doctor has a ride arranged. We'll all go together. Promise me you'll both wait for me. For us.”
Ann sighed. Anything to get her back to her seat.
Miriam slipped into the large, private compartment, one of the few of its kind on the train, a pricey corporate accommodation, arranged by her benefactor and lover. Maximilian Petyr was a rising star at Humantis Corporation thanks to the spectacular successes he had achieved...with her help.
The Bugs bristled at her proud thought, she let the feeling seize her and pass, like an allergic reaction. She knew they were there but she could handle them, although it was increasingly tiresome to do so.
“Did you enjoy yourself my Dear?” the older man called, his eyelids heavy on her, like a snake, “Celebrating your promotion, your liberation from the shackles of Sponsorship?”
Miriam's outrageously feminine figure walked gracefully to him, despite the shudder of the train. She slid into the berth nearby, her beautiful green eyes sparkling.
“Thanks to you, Petyr...”
“Thanks to us...consider that we are no longer two, but one. Even I did not realize my own genius. We are joined in a much more significant way than those fools who speak of soul mates, bonds and becoming 'one'.”
Her eyes widened, was he going to propose? Or was he mocking marriage? She was clever enough to not react to the idea. The Bugs might not like it, she was not the marrying kind. But he was right. They were connected and in more ways than he realized.
“As you say, Petyr,” she smiled.
“Did anything interesting happen?” he asked. “Why all the announcements to return to seats? When I was out there I could find hardly a soul away from their berth.”
Miriam could not deflect that question, the Bugs would not allow it, they were awake, watching her. She could feel them, their collective attention piqued like prairie dogs.
“There was a fight...among the guards, can you believe it? One of them went crazy and attacked the others.”
“That is unfortunate, but you had better get used to it, my dear, these Berlyners are animals.”
It was not enough. The Bugs insisted on further disclosure and for a moment she fought them.
“They are pigs. I had words with one of them, right before the fight.”
“You had better keep that to yourself, my dear.”
Excellent. That was exactly what she wished to do. She closed her eyes as the train swayed and the interior chambers rotated and twisted, minimizing the i
Questions of a Child
The pre-teen girl watched the angry storm through the view port, and felt the vehicle bank to the right and her chair shift in the opposite direction, softening the jolt to her small frame. Even at her young age, she had experienced the phenomena many times; her Uncle used to intentionally rotate his dome vehicle in order to show her how the seats worked.
But that had been within the safety of one of Techview's many domes. Now they were miles away from their city, in the middle of a storm, within Maltiempo itself, and although she wanted to be brave, she was worried, it seemed the storm got worse the longer they traveled.
She spoke out in an effort to calm her nerves.
“I'm not afraid of Maltiempo, are you?” She asked looking up at her mother.
“No, Dear, there is nothing to worry about. We are almost there.”
“I'm not worried. It's a silly name, right?. Mal-tee-empo, what does it even mean?”
“Shhhh, I think some people are still sleeping, the lights are dim.”
“But what does it mean, Mommy?” the girl complained.
“It means bad weather, that's all,” her mother assured her.
“It means bad times,” declared a voice from another berth within their compartment, a brash, young male. “Bad as in 'bad man', a guy who doesn't like you. Everyone knows...”
A gruff male voice spoke out and the boy stopped in mid-sentence.
“Think of something pleasant dear,” the girl's mother instructed with a squeeze of her hand.
“Okay, why do we have to travel so far just to go to another city?”