If you haven’t read any of my award winning Badari Warriors series, here’s the background:
Genetically engineered soldiers of the far future, the Badari were created by alien enemies to fight humans. But then the scientists kidnapped an entire human colony from the Sectors to use as subjects in twisted experiments…the Badari and the humans made common cause, rebelled and escaped the labs. Now they live side by side in a sanctuary valley protected by a powerful Artificial Intelligence, and wage unceasing war on the aliens.
When I thought about what elements went into writing my latest Badari Warriors novel, I realized there were several threads coming together that influenced Reede’s adventure. I really hadn’t done much with him since he’d been introduced in the first book as being the Alpha’s second enforcer and then in MEGAN AND MATEER’S BABY I showed how fierce and unsympathetic he could be as he tracked down the human accomplices in Megan’s kidnapping. He had no mercy.
But of course being the author, I knew there was a sweet guy well-hidden at the core of the intimidating enforcer. I started thinking about how life in the Khagrish labs would have affected him as a boy – what if he’d had other dreams for himself but was forced by the alien scientists to accept the deadly role they’d genetically engineered him to fill? How would that affect him and his actions as an adult, especially now the pack is free of the labs?
The Badari treasure their freedom but as I’ve alluded to in previous books, they have found challenges they never expected.
On the bigger series arc, I thought it was also time for the Sectors to have sent someone out to look into the message that was sent way back in book three, JADRIAN. Of course nothing can be simple on this planet, so the scout crashed and was captured…and is a woman.
The romance is at the core of everything for me, although the action and adventure are important as well, and I’d been thinking for a while since having a mate is the most wonderful thing that can happen to a Badari, what would cause a man who met the woman who could be his mate to resist that bond. And what other complications might there be?
I also liked making Fallyn, the Sectors scout, an active duty military officer on a specific mission because she took a different view of how the Badari operate and what her priorities had to be than the rescued civilians might. Jill, the heroine in AYDARR, book one, was a retired Special Forces tech and a badass, but not active duty. In addition Jill was really the first human to encounter the Badari and the Khagrish so her experiences were vastly different than anyone else’s.
And of course because I write romance, there had to be a Happy Ever After ending for Reede, within the series arc that is ongoing.
So I took all of those thoughts and ideas and sat down to tell Reede and Fallyn’s story. Usually I write a book in chronological order, start to finish but in this case I felt strongly compelled to write a specific scene, which occurs toward the end of the book and is a long conversation between Reede and Timtur, the pack’s healer. Doing that scene, which runs about 8K words, really unlocked the character of Reede for me, as he and Timtur discussed some of their past, and then I was able to go back to the beginning of the adventure and write Reede as the complex person he is. It was unusual for my Muse to want to work that way but I always give in to whatever my creative impulse might be!
Readers have asked me with some concern if REEDE is the final book in the series (no spoilers here!) and let me hasten to assure you there are quite a few more books to come. The series arc is nowhere near wrapping up! I already have the cover for my next book in the series, DAEGAN (with the human pilot Flo as the heroine) and hope to release it in late November/early December 2019.
(REEDE is the 10th book in the series, although the cover says book 9, because TIMTUR was book 2.5 and Amazon won’t list it as part of the series. Sigh.)
The blurb: Lt. Fallyn Damara was sent by the Sectors to investigate a strange transmission from an isolated planet and determine whether the residents of a vanished colony had been transported there by alien enemies. Fallyn’s ship crashes and she’s taken prisoner by the Khagrish scientists, to await her fate in the slate of horrifying experiments being conducted.
Reede, the second ranking enforcer in the Badari Warrior pack, volunteers to be recaptured by the Khagrish in an effort to locate and rescue Fallyn inside the deadly lab complex.
While a prisoner Reede discovers Fallyn is the woman destined to become his fated mate but the moment is bittersweet because Fallyn will be leaving their world at the first opportunity, to report back to the Sectors. He refuses to complete the mate bond, believing to do so will lead to nothing but lifelong misery for them both, separated by lightyears and interstellar politics.
For her part, Fallyn wants to shake up the rule-bound enforcer and persuade him to take a chance on love.
But first they have to escape the Khagrish.
The excerpt (Fallyn has been sitting in her cell at the Khagrish lab and hasn’t met Reede yet): Two guards came by, one stopping in midstep as if struck by a thought. Fallyn stayed slumped against the wall in an attitude of unconcern but she listened intently.
“What about this one?” The first guard gestured in her direction.
“She’s a special prisoner. Waiting for pickup by the main security detachment at central. I guess the death of Commander Parryfilmunn at the hands of the escaped animals must have messed things up. He was supposed to be the answer to all the security problems and now no one knows what to do over there since he died.”
“Well she’s human and she’s female so she’s covered under our orders.” The second man sounded impatient. “Do you want to explain to Dr. Enishiggama why we left her out of whatever crazy test the old red hair is running now?”
“Not especially, no. She’s terrifying when she gets upset. One of the worst I’ve ever seen in fact and I’ve been stationed at more of these so-called science centers over the years than you can imagine. But the pay beats anything I could earn on the Home World so I shut up and stick it out.”
“I hear you. So, we taking this one with the next group or not?”
The guards studied her and Fallyn watched them, keeping her face blank. Being out of the cell could mean opportunity. She was trained to resist and escape the enemy whenever possible. Of course she’d only practiced those skills in simulations.
“Yeah, bring her. No harm done if she wasn’t supposed to be included. The animal’s not reacting to any of them anyway.”
Fallyn kept her excitement from showing in her face or her demeanor as the guards opened a gap in the force barrier and gestured for her to join them. One stood with his neurocontroller aimed at her while the other put her wrists into force binders behind her back, quelling any hope she’d had of attacking them. If she could get her hands on a weapon…
With the guards, she walked further down the corridor, past a few empty cells and then stopped in front of a large space full of humans.
Pushing her against the wall, the guard yelled, “Next ten females, in order of your number, assemble on the muster line. All others will retreat to the cots.”
Fallyn watched with interest as the prisoners obeyed. She was surprised the group didn’t try to attack the Khagrish, since there were only two guards, but the captives behaved quite passively. One or two mustered up the strength to glare at the enemy but no one made a move as the ten women left the cell one at a time through a narrow gap in the force barrier, were put into restraints like the ones on Fallyn and assembled into a line.
“Where are you from?” she whispered to the woman next to her.
The other prisoner stared. “Taken off a ship, the Galaxy Cluster Swan. Most of us here are from the same ship. And you? I haven’t seen you in here before.”
“I was working a freighter.” She lied. Maybe the aliens knew who and what she was but no reason to admit it. Prisoners had been known to betray others for special treatment and her active duty military status was no one’s business. “Where are we going, do you know?”
With a shrug, the woman shook her head. “Another experiment. Sometimes you get lucky and it’s nothing too bad. Sometimes you get luckier and die and this nightmare is over.”
Portions of this post first appeared on Pauline B. Jones’s blog…