Excerpt for The Tempest by , available in its entirety at Smashwords




The Tempest




JM Dragon




2018




Back of the Book




Doctor Alana Cameron has dedicated her life to working on the family legacy, a transportation device which will change the world for everyone, called Tempest. Tragedy has dogged the project over the years taking her parents’ lives and leaving her with the only option to keep it alive. Military intervention.

Super soldier, Major Denise Tranter, who loyally defends Earth in any way possible finds herself drawn into the Tempest program. Because of her military training, emotional bonding is not in her remit although she finds herself inexplicably drawn to Alana.


The Tempest

Copyright © 2018 by JM Dragon


Smashwords Edition


All rights reserved.


ISBN: 978-1-98-854936-1


First Edition


PDF, ePub, mobi


Published: April 14, 2018


This book is Published by

Affinity eBook Press NZ LTD

Canterbury, New Zealand


E-mail: affinity@affinityebooks.com


Editor: Raven’s Eye, CK King

Proof Editor: Alexis Smith

Cover Design: Irish Dragon Designs

Production Design: Affinity Publishing Services

* * *

This work is copyrighted and is licensed only for use by the original purchaser and can be copied to the original purchaser's electronic device and its memory card for your personal use. Modifying or making copies of this work or distributing it to any unauthorized person by any means, without limit, including by email, CD, DVD, memory cards, file transfer, paper printout or any other method, constitutes a violation of International copyright law and subjects the violator to severe fines or imprisonment. Please purchase only authorized electronic editions.

* * *

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are the product of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, businesses, companies, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.




Acknowledgments



Thank you to my beta reader Mel, always a pleasure to work with you.

Nancy for her pesky comments that make the story line even better.

CK, thank you for your wonderful edit of my book, I enjoy working with you and you teach me something every time.

Thank you to my proof reader Alexis, darn you find the most interesting things, I’m glad you are a part of the Affinity team.

As an avid Sci-Fi fan I had to take the time to write one of my own, I hope you enjoy it as much as I enjoyed writing the tale.




Dedication



For Nancy, I figure you’d make a great Major Tranter!



Also by JM Dragon


Breaking the Silence

The Promise

Do Dreams Come True?

The One

Letting Go

Circus

Falling into Fate

The Fix-it Girl

In Name Only

Death is Only the Beginning

Lonely Angel

Echo’s Crusade

A Window in Time

Waterfalls, Rainbows and Secrets

The Dragon’s Halloween Collection

Incantations – A Collaboration

Affinity’s Christmas Collection 2010

Christmas Collection 2011

Christmas Collection 2012

Christmas Collection 2014

Define Destiny Series

Define Destiny

Haunting Shadows

In Pursuit of Dreams

Actions and Consequences

All Our Tomorrows

Two Steps Forward One Back

A World of Change

When Hell Meets Heaven Series

When Hell Meets Heaven

Fatal Hesitation

With Erin O’Reilly

Against All Odds

Take Me As I am

Echoes of the Past

The End Game

Requiem

Earthbound

New Beginnings

Atonement


Table of Contents



Chapter One

Chapter Two

Chapter Three

Chapter Four

Chapter Five

Chapter Six

Chapter Seven

Chapter Eight

Chapter Nine

Chapter Ten

Chapter Eleven

Chapter Twelve

Chapter Thirteen

Chapter Fourteen

Chapter Fifteen

Chapter Sixteen

Chapter Seventeen

Chapter Eighteen

Chapter Nineteen

Chapter Twenty

Chapter Twenty-one

Chapter Twenty-two

Epilogue

About the Author

Other Books from Affinity





Chapter One





Two years previously…



The immense power required for the test cycle dimmed the lighting, momentarily. A transportation crisis loomed dangerously over present-day humanity. After years—no, decades—of research, today could culminate two generations of trial and error by the Cameron family. Success could finally be in their grasp. Tempest would be the savior.

Two soldiers waited patiently inside the tunnel, laser light emitting from the lightweight bands strapped to their forearms. Their stances unmoving, their facial expressions blank, silence appeared to be a dominant prerequisite for this event.

In the control room, the military’s top brass stood at the back of the room, mutely observing the state of affairs. Perhaps silence was something they drilled into recruits at the academy. Next to them, two suits annoyingly clicked their pens, thus proving that regulators lacked patience. Several technicians sat in front of consoles, monitoring every function of the equipment and the life-signs of their guinea pigs.

“Al, are we set?” Jim Fever asked his fellow director. His voice held quiet excitement, while his hands rubbed eagerly together in expectation.



Alana Cameron glanced around, stretching her slight body in her chair. Hours of console work, especially on a test day, took their toll on the body. “Yes, diagnostics show green. DNA formulation match confirmed. We are ready.” Her confident voice resounded in a deliberate show for the suits. As ready as we’ll ever be, she thought to herself. She had to ensure the people providing the funds for the research had no reason to have any doubts in the program.

Jim Fever twisted to face the brass and signaled they had a green light. One of the men, with an impressive array of medals and other imposing insignia adorning his uniform, stepped forward. From where Alana sat, she figured he was the highest-ranking officer present.

“Major Tranter will start the experiment…she enters before Lieutenant Lane.” The man didn’t change his impassive expression as he issued the order.

Jim turned to Alana who shook her head. “Sorry, General, that isn’t possible. The sequence has begun and was programmed for initial entry by Lieutenant Lane.”

Clicking his heels was the only sign of his annoyance at the comment. He moved back to stand in line with the other military personnel. “Carry on.”

“Excuse me, Director Fever, I’m new to this program. Exactly what are we going to achieve today that we haven’t previously?” one of the suits asked. The measured, derisive glance lasered in Jim’s direction was a precise hit on target at point-blank range.

Jim looked heavenward. “We have less than two minutes before the experiment begins,” he said to them. “Why can’t they ever send the same person from the bureau? I fail to understand that on any level,” he mumbled softly. “Allow me to introduce my co-director, Doctor Cameron. She will explain everything. Please, Al, if you would be so kind as to give the eminent gentlemen from the CIA the short version.”

Raising her eyes toward the man, Alana snorted softly. Jesus, this happens every damn time! “The project is simple, really…we are trying to harness a dimension outside the ones we are familiar with and propel a person, in a matter of microseconds, distances we can only dream about.”

“Where is this team going?” The agent noted something on his clipboard, returning an owl-like gaze back at her.

“Oh, not far. Only to the perimeter of the compound where we have personnel monitoring every inch and ready to report the microsecond they appear.”

The general in charge seemed about to ask a question but stopped when the agent next to him whispered something. His mouth immediately closed like a trap door.

“Twenty seconds, Doctor,” the technician at her side announced abruptly. Alana turned swiftly back to the task in hand. This was the most crucial time of the experiment and Alana concentrated on what she did best—her work.

Ten, nine, eight, seven, six, five, four, three, two…Lieutenant Lane, now.” Her softly spoken words traveled like an echo through a tunnel in the control room, much as the personnel were about to do. For a moment, the lieutenant gave the female soldier at his side a sneer, before Alana pressed the switch to begin the experiment…




Chapter Two

The Past…







“It’s time.” Alistair Cameron pulled at his long-handled moustache, as he reviewed the final figures handed to him by his co-inventor, who also happened to be his wife.

“There would be no going back,” Faye Cameron said. “After fifteen years of research and numerous failures, today I actually believe that our idea will work. Tempest will work.” She shrugged. “As always, I am feeling cautious and must ask the only question that is important to me right now… Are you sure, Alistair? When we sent the chimp, it was a disaster. How can you be sure today will be any more fruitful?”

Alistair smiled indulgently at his wife. She was a wonderful scientist and far superior to him in many fields. Her caution at critical times like this was her undoing. It was probably why they teamed up so well. He didn’t have any trepidation toward the unknown, which to him was the most exciting part of what they were doing. “Because, my dear, we’ve designed the whole mechanism around human DNA not chimpanzee. Although chimps are closely related, it is not enough, I’m afraid, to make the prototype work.”

“We should make another model and try it out on the chimp again.”

His brow furrowed.

“I know…I know you say we haven’t the funds, but I’d rather have you alive than…we can start again somewhere else,” she said tentatively.

Alistair knew she was trying to hold back her emotions for fear she’d upset him. For the past month, she’d pleaded with him to yield. He’d been adamant. Once he had the bee in his bonnet, there was no turning back. She would have to accept his wishes. This was the next logical move and he knew she knew that too.

“Trust me, darling. Before you know it, I’ll be back. We’ll have proven our theories correct and be the toast of the scientific world. Oh! Have that champagne that we’ve been keeping on ice ready. I feel it in my bones that today is the day.” Grinning, he bent to kiss the worried frown on her forehead. She was such a worrywart and rightly so. One of them had to be because two children depended on them. This has to work, we’ve sunk all our personal savings into this project. No way did he want his children to remember him as a mad scientist who left them penniless. At the end of the day, his wife’s fears were understandable. Who else can I send? No one in their right mind would chance being disintegrated if the experiment failed. The only people remotely interested had been the military, and he refused to become their puppet. No, he was doing the right thing, and history would record it so. He was as certain of that as he was about the day he met Faye and fell in love at first glance.

Clipping on the power pack, which weighed about the same as a soldier’s complete duty pack, he left the console area and entered the vacuum-sealed entrance. Once he was in the tunnel where the experiment would take place, he waved his hand to acknowledge he was ready. Words were no longer necessary. The three technicians looked at the man in differing degrees of awe, admiration, and fear of the unknown. Each member of the team knew the potential for failure and consequential death.

For a split second more, his gaze lingered on his wife’s head. Her focus was now on the panel, making sure everything was green for go. His wrist panel flickered to life, emanating a green glow, and he smiled slowly. Tempest is my life’s work, and it is going to succeed. Confidently, he pressed the start button to begin the sequence…




Chapter Three

Present Day…







Jim Fever watched from his vantage point of an office of glass above the console room. He could monitor everything that happened without being in there. His eyes strayed to the woman who slaved endlessly on Tempest to make it work. Her devotion had proven highly successful, but a part of him felt responsible for the constant pressure she put on herself. Unfortunately, with the way things were now, he didn’t have the luxury of dwelling on that point. After the problems of two years ago, they managed to remain in charge of Tempest by the skin of their teeth. This was primarily because no one knew the technology or the theory behind the project as well as the woman scanning streams of data for any glitches before the next transport.

She had insisted that if she remained so would he. Her championing of him made him feel guilty. At the time, he had been more than happy to leave her to the baying of the military wolves. He had a scientific mind that logically told him someone had to be sacrificed. Fortunately for him, Alana Cameron didn’t believe such things. He had, remarkably, been appointed senior project director above Alana six months earlier. His appetite for success regardless of the cost to human life had been the winning factor. The general in charge of the research budget had personally approved him, and Jim wasn’t going to say no. Standing up, he switched on the intercom. “Al, I need you up here. Will you spare me a minute?”

Alana glanced up at him and frowned before waving a hand to indicate she would be there. True to her word, the woman arrived in his office a few minutes later.



“Jim, what can I do for you?” Her slate-grey eyes surveyed the room—it was smart and had every possible technological gadget offered. The top seat wasn’t for her. However, she knew this man relished the status symbol. He was welcome to the trappings. All she wanted was to achieve her goal, and they were as close now as they had ever been. Tempest was damn near perfect, except for the fine-tuning. Maybe once this was over she could resume her own life. At thirty-three, she still had time to do something other than sitting and reading scientific data all day long. What that would entail, she hadn’t a clue. This project had been her life long before she even knew it had taken control; it was in the genes.

“Alana, we haven’t had a chat for a while, and I thought we should catch up.” The man smiled warmly. They had known each other for over ten years and had worked together most of that time.

Giving him a suspicious glance, she frowned, making her plain features plainer still, if that were possible. The last time he requested a pep talk, she hadn’t liked what he said. She had a feeling that today would be no different. “Okay, what shall we talk about?”

“Coffee, do you want a coffee?” Jim stood and went over to the machine. He dispensed himself a hot drink before looking back at her. “Sorry, Al, I forgot you’re not a coffee drinker. How about iced tea instead?”

“How about you cut to the chase? Just tell me what you have in mind.” Her expression was faintly indulgent, although the undercurrent of seriousness was never far behind.

“Ah, my dear Al, you know me way too well.” Jim sat back at the head of his large desk that at times doubled as a conference table.

“Yep, okay, what’s the deal? Our friends from the establishment have another agenda?” Her cynical response had her colleague coughing.

Jim nervously cleared his throat, smiling sheepishly. “You do know me well, Al. Do you recall the experiment two years ago?”

“Hey, don’t go there, Jim, it was painful enough at the time.”

“Look, it wasn’t our fault, and I don’t know why you continue to beat yourself up about it.”

“Because Tempest is my project. I pushed the final button. If those bastards want to play God with my ‘baby,’ they can take a flying leap into outer space, and I’ll push the button to send them there.” She looked at Jim’s expression and saw surprise. She knew he expected her angry response, but not the venom behind her words.

“Al, please, it isn’t like the last time. You have to trust me. Besides, you can’t say they haven’t been true to their word since then. You wanted noninterference, and that’s what you got. Please, for me—no, for Tempest—I need you to be part of the team. Hell, Al, you are the team for the most part.”

“Yeah, pull the other one. It has bells on it, Jim. I’ve heard all this before.” Who is he trying to fool? She had seen the added experiments carried out in the last couple of months. They were always preformed when she wasn’t on shift. She was human and did need to sleep.

“Look, I know you hate the military, but we need the funding. They are the only ones who are prepared to give us the dollars and the…guinea pigs to work with.”

“With all of their underhanded tactics, I have every right to distrust them. My father was right, and I should have respected his wishes.”

“If you had, his dreams would never have evolved. Your parents’ life work, not to mention your own, would be only a glimpse of what could have been, rather than what is. In my opinion, you made the best call. It was the only call, and you know it.”

Giving Jim a scathing stare, she grudgingly admitted to herself that he was right in some respects. Her parents’ work would still be in storage, packed away like all the other memories of who they were and what they stood for. After their mother’s death, her brother had wanted to incinerate the volumes of research notes their parents had accumulated. She had defied his wishes and secretly arranged to store them where he wouldn’t find them. At nineteen and in her first year at college, she hadn’t the means to do anything else. Upon graduation with a physics doctorate, she wiped away the dust and read every single notation they had made. Her saddest moments were reading the final entries her mother had ever made on the subject—her husband’s death. Alana’s father tried out the technology on himself and died in the attempt. Her heart bled at their misfortune, but her scientific mind dragged her further away from emotional issues to visualize what her parents had seen: a whole change in the way life could be lived if they could enhance dimensional energy.

There would be no more waiting around for the doctor to arrive in emergencies. Accidents on the road would become outdated because travel in that mode would be obsolete. Her parents had such high hopes and a philanthropic attitude toward how Tempest should aid the masses. They never intended for Tempest’s sole beneficiary to be the armed forces, which is how it would probably end up now. It had taken her two years and all the money she had and could borrow to reach the next stage. She had come farther than her parents thanks to improved technology. Though she felt somewhat abashed to think it, her own theories linked with her parents’ had been the key. A fresh mind on a subject often had startling results, and in this case, they had.

She’d done exactly what her father had and become an integral part of the experiment. Who would even know or care if she had died? The experiment’s results weren’t as drastic as in her father’s case, but it had failed. The failure had changed her life completely by creating crippling medical bills she had no money to pay. This caused far-reaching conclusions, the worst of which was the insertion of the military machine.

“Al, you have that look that says you are not in the room with me anymore. Please, listen to me. It’s important.”

She dragged herself out of the memories, many of which she wanted to forget forever. “Okay, I’m paying attention. What do they want us to do?” Alana asked in resignation. If she wanted to remain in the loop, she had no other choice but to comply.

“They want to send a team on a mission and need our help.”

Her fingers drummed rapidly on the desk. “I expressly said Tempest would not be used in such a way. I was explicit in the deal I made with them. They can’t do that. Don’t think I haven’t noticed the extra tests you’ve organized without my approval.” The guilty look on his face told her she was right on the money. Damn him.

“I know the parameters of the deal you made, Al. However, this is different. We aren’t talking about the devil here. We are talking about our world’s military.”

She snorted at his attempt to make her see the innocence in the request. The consortium, as she called them, didn’t have an innocent bone in their collective bodies. “They can’t, and that’s final.”

“It’s a mercy mission, Al. Isn’t that one of the reasons for the discovery? Your father would be happy to sanction this mission if he knew all the facts.”

She knew that Jim was trying to plead with her inner sense of right and wrong by bringing her family into the discussion. Her father had wanted the technology used to help people. Will I get the truth or a sham of a tale to engage my help? “Tell me about this mission.”

“I knew you’d see it my way. Let’s have lunch, and I’ll fill you in on the details.”

Groaning at the thought of being away from her work for too long, she nodded reluctantly. “Okay but make it a short lunch and not one of your three-hour feasts. I’ve got work to do.”




Chapter Four







“The general will see you now, Major Tranter.” The first lieutenant opened the door to the room with a brisk action, waiting for her to follow inside.

Tranter walked forward from her silent position waiting in the corridor. Her eyes were constantly on alert, never missing anything that moved in the vicinity, or any details of the officer who was now showing her into the lion’s den. She took in every single action from the blinking of his eyelids to the tapping of his fingers on the computer console built into the desk he stood behind, along with the nervous shifting of his body. She knew he was edgy with her, they all were. Arguably, with just cause. Ignorance was bliss in some quarters, and the man she was about to meet had hoodwinked everyone into making it so.

She glanced around the typical, top brass office suite with its large walnut desk adorned with the odd photograph and a stack of official-looking papers. She was certain he was no more likely to read them than she was. Various hologram presentations were amassed on two walls, practically covering any decoration that was underneath. The third wall held pride of place, the American flag. Underneath hung a smaller World Council flag with its simple depiction of the globe enfolded in ethereal arms signaling security. It didn’t make sense to her that they portrayed the world as secure with no wars and yet continued to spend billions of dollars on the military machine. She couldn’t complain, because it was her life.


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