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This idBot program is invading everything #Excerpt from A Stolen Heart by Kayelle Allen #SciFi #MFRWhooks
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Is it true that idBot sees everything?
In this scene, Luc is about to enter an elevator/lift in the Thieves' Guild. The elevator car moves up, down, and sideways to traverse the huge building. He's on his way to an important meeting.
After Luc left Tonio's office, he visited the Arcane Level library on the thirtieth floor, checking data to prepare for his meeting with Ms. Lexius. He headed for his office, but when the elevator opened, Grand Master Aerlray de Clare stood inside.
Focus, not dwell. Move forward.
Gathering his patience, Luc entered and pressed the button for his floor. "Aerlray."
"Luc Saint-Cyr." The man smiled like a predator. "The man I'm looking for."
"Oh?" Luc kept his back to the doors. "Why's that?"
"It's been brought to my attention idBot's poking its nose into our files."
"Is that so?" Floor numbers in idBot green scrolled around the top of the car as it moved downward. Ten floors to the first turn. "That phrase 'idBot sees everything' is literal."
"But it's scanning confidential data. Contracts. Personnel. Sealed adoptions."
And why was he trying to hide those? "IdBot needs to know what it's protecting."
"A lock on a door doesn't need to know what's behind the door."
"IdBot's more than a lock. It gathers intel about its surroundings. It's a living, breathing system that can actively protect its owner." He owed Shohn Lexius for that tidbit.
"I don't care about any of that." De Clare puffed himself up. "I want it to stop. Now. Pull idBot back from this invasive search, Saint-Cyr. It's setting a dangerous precedent. The Guild won't tolerate it."
He'd switched to using last names. Interesting.
"Aelray, if you think a threat will deter me, you don't know me."
"No threat." De Clare held up both hands. "But this idBot of yours is meddling where it doesn't belong."
"Oh?" The car slowed, shifted direction sideways. "What is there to hide?"
De Clare pointed at him. "I'm not the only councilmember who dislikes these invasive searches. This could have serious consequences if it came to a vote."
Good. Let it. "Why are you telling me this?"
"Because you own idBot."
"Let's say a tech company hires one of our people. Signs a contract for corporate espionage, but it's bungled. Things go badly. What's the procedure for a complaint?"
De Clare stepped back. "Why are you asking me? You know the procedure."
"That's right. I do." The car slowed, headed down again. "Procedure doesn't say 'go to the Grand Master and whine."
"What's your point?"
"When the Guild installed idBot, it came with a book of procedures in case anything went wrong. I didn't write the book, but I can guarantee you that nowhere in it does it suggest hassling members of the board or the owner."
The man stiffened, mouth set in a straight line. His usual cocky self had deteriorated into a petulant boy. "Are you going to stand there and tell me this isn't your doing?"
"What isn't my doing?"
The elevator made the last turn to the side, bypassing the Heart of the Guild. Not unlike de Clare, who could not seem to grasp the heart of the organization.
"Look, Saint-Cyr." De Clare arranged his robes of office. "This idBot of yours is poking through employee files, intake records, and financial statements. It's rifling through everything."
Excellent. More proof. Luc bared his teeth in a pseudo-smile. "You mean it's searching databases in order to back them up and provide security for every aspect of the facility?" The car slowed. "What the system was purchased to do?"
"That's exactly what I mean!" Spittle showed at the corners of de Clare's mouth.
"Why is that a problem?" The doors opened and Luc took one step outside. He wedged a foot to block the elevator from closing. "Got something to hide?"
De Clare took a full step back, shoulders against the wall. "I want it to stop." He jabbed a finger toward Luc. "Now!"
Luc released the doors. "Then call the Help Desk."
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It's true. Six is a ghost. But not the kind you're thinking...
You thought your bootcamp was tough? Before you enlist in the service known as Ghost Corps, you have to die. Because if you're fighting immortals who always get back up, you'd better have a way to do the same thing.
Otherwise, it's Lights Out...
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I'm a visual person. I like having an image of something I'm writing about. In fact, I frequently comission the book cover before I've finished writing the story. Sci-Fi concept art is a must for me, and I have a ton of it.
The ring in this image belongs to Pietas, the immortal king in A Stolen Heart and the Bringer of Chaos books. Here's how it looked in its various stages of design. Music in the video is Video Game Blockbuster, licensed via Dual Horns Media Ltd. The concept art is by Nano-Core.
In this scene, the immortal king Pietas and his general, Luc Saint-Cyr, are hashing out an issue. This is the first mention in the book of the ring Pietas so often wears.
"I'm touched." A playful smile lit Pietas's face. "You worried about me?"
"I worry whenever you do something different."
"Let's see." Luc ticked items off his fingers. "Send troops over a border. Incite a riot. Invade a planet. Invade some king's daughters. Or his sons... Shall I go on?"
Pietas chuckled. "You worry a lot."
To increase his personal space, Luc adjusted the hang of his jacket. "You're in a good mood."
"Yes, yes." Pietas brushed a dismissive hand through the air. "I haven't triggered a war, if that's what you're fretting about. I'm not sending you out of the Empire, and I'm not planning to feed you to my cat."
"No," Pietas agreed, with a bemused expression. "Although if there's someone you want to be rid of..." He lifted one brow.
"No, no, quite capable of making people disappear on my own, my lord, but I'll keep a personal dose of panther justice in mind."
"Panther justice!" Laughing, Pietas laid a hand on his chest. "How I've missed your sense of humor. I don't recall the last time I laughed out loud." He looked down, toying with a turquoise ring.
The fat nugget of fractured stone occupied his left forefinger. The silver setting evoked a dragon's open mouth, a gift from Luc hundreds of years ago. Pietas rarely removed it.
Did he cling to their past relationship, or wear it to show Luc he hoped for the future? Either way, Luc could not reconcile being with this man with the desire for freedom. To give birth to one meant the death of the other.
"You know," Pietas twisted the ring, "I think the last time I laughed, I was with you."
Pick up a copy of A Stolen Heart, now live on Amazon.
Welcome to Kelthia
Using the list below, click the name of a world to visit.
From each world, you may click the Tarthian Tour Company (TTC) logo to return to the tour page, click a world name to visit another planet, or click Kayelle Allen at the top to return the main website. In whatever part of the empire your journey takes you, the TTC wishes you a pleasant stay.
The planet Kelthia is one of the original worlds of the Tarthian Empire. Planetary shielding used in the empire has the effect of making some planets appear green. This is caused by HFO [harmonic frequency overlay], a simplistic way of saying the shields bend light. Inside the atomosphere, color variations are invisible to the human eye but Tyrans perceive it as shifting sky-colors or aurora borealis.
Click planet and tour images to open full-sized in another window.
Kelthia holds the distinction of being the wealthiest world in the Empire, Tarth only slightly behind. This is due in part to Kelthia's natural resources, but a large portion is earned through a most unusual source.
The Thieves' Guild has existed for centuries, and is a union-operated business. There are forty-six levels, each attainable only by rigorous testing. Kelthian law protects members of the union by granting immunity from prosecution for thieves operating under valid contracts. Thieves from this union are in demand on all worlds in the empire, and are especially useful in corporate environments. Pilfered trade secrets, gained under the auspices of a valid thief-contract, account for nearly twenty percent of the gross income for the planet.
Members of the union pay taxes on only the first ten percent of their earnings, hence the common slang term for getting away with something, "He pays a thief's taxes".
Prostitution is legal throughout the empire, but it is lauded here, and Kelthian sex workers are often the epitome of beauty. Kelthia is also known for the manufacture of fine liquor, jewelry, and high fashion.
Kelthian natives are almost all dark-skinned, with jet-black, tightly curled hair and brown eyes. Only a small percentage have fair coloring.
One of the best-known Kelthians in the empire is Luc Saint-Cyr, aka "the Man," or the Harbinger, so-called for his ability to spot trends and influence. At one time he served as the Grand Master of the Thieves' Guild, but retired and turned his hand to business on Tarth. He is the wealthiest man in the empire, and is considered second in influence only to Empress Rheyn Destoiya, the Conqueror. The phrase "a harbinger of wealth" refers to earning power, and is a direct reference to him.
The impressive front of the Kelthia Thieves' Guild is shown. Note the size of the people compared to the building. Level Sixteen members and above earn an exclusive entrance. There is a separate entrance for the public.
The Thieves' Guild Council is considering opening for the first time to non-humans such as the Kin, Tyran, and Chiasmii, this will undoubtedly be the subject of much debate.
A skeleton key has always been the symbol of the guild. When wearing their cloaks (earned at Level Fifteen) thieves are able to enter through the wall bearing the giant key symbol. The cloak enables disruption of a special field which then allows its wearer to bypass what seems like solid marble. The cloak is activated by the wearer's DNA, thereby preventing its use by anyone other than the true owner. It has many other features.