A warm welcome to author Amelia C. Gormley joining us today on Riptide’s blog tour for “Bane”.
Welcome Amelia 🙂
Hi, and welcome to the Bane blog tour!
I don’t think it’s any secret that a lot of readers, in the wake of reading Strain, wanted more of Darius and Rhys. Already by that point I was brainstorming the pre- and peri-apocalyptic story that would become Juggernaut, but the further along I got on that, the more I realized the situation Zach and Nico were in couldn’t be resolved in the timeframe of Juggernaut. They needed developments that would only make sense to happen after the events of Strain. The plot also required Rhys to have matured a great deal since the end of Strain. Altogether, it gave me a beautiful opportunity to bring closure and an HEA ending (or at least as close to one as you get at the end of the world) for both sets of protagonists.
Thus we have Bane.
Over the course of the Bane blog tour, I’ll be sharing a free post-Bane short story, Refuge. How far post-Bane? Well, you’ll have to read and see. Some developments that happen in Bane are referenced, but not in any great detail, which means the reader should only encounter a few very broad, non-specific spoilers. Obviously, though, it will be best enjoyed if you’ve read Bane already (and Bane, of course, is best enjoyed after Juggernaut and Strain.)
Refuge introduces us to three new characters, Kal, Billie, and perhaps my favorite, Zeus. It’s a completely sex-free story, so you’re safe reading it at work. If my nebulous thoughts on how to continue the Strain universe ever take shape, it’s very possible a lot of material in this short story will be folded into a larger plot with Kal and Billie as the protagonists, and if that happens, you’ll find the smut there.
Each day, at least one stop on the blog tour will contain a section of the story. These segments may end or begin a little abruptly or clumsily at times, as I tried to split them in such a way that no one section would be to long and cumbersome for a single stop on the blog tour. In its linear form, it would simply be a five chapter story. By the end of the tour, all the sections will have been posted. If you need to catch up, you can check out the blog tour page (linked above), or my website, or the “Extras” tab on the Bane product page at Riptide for sequential links to all the posts.
Anyone who follows along on the tour will qualify to win store credit at Riptide. To enter the drawing, leave a comment on this post including a way to contact you (email, Twitter, or Facebook.) Each stop along the blog tour that you visit offers you another chance to enter. Be sure to check the Riptide blog tour schedule for a complete list of other stops. The contest will close 9/26/15. Any entries made without a way to contact the winner will be invalidated, so please don’t forget to provide your email, or your Twitter or Facebook address.
Good luck, and enjoy Refuge!
*Author’s Note: Refuge is completely unedited and un-proofed. What you’re seeing here is essentially a first draft, and like any first draft, it often may be clumsy to read or contain extraneous world-building and info-dumping that would be trimmed and streamlined during the editing process. Actually, I kind of like sharing it with you this way, if for no other reason than to allow readers to see just how much world-building happens behind the scenes and in my head, but doesn’t ever actually make it onto the page.
And of course, there will be typos. Oh so many typos.
CHAPTER 4, PART 2
Properly chastised, Kal bowed his head. “You’re right. That was rude, I’m sorry.”
It took her a while to stop glaring, by which time the sky was starting to take on the reddish hues of early evening.
“Shit,” he said, pushing himself off the ground and dusting the seat of his trousers. “I meant to hunt for—” He broke off when he spotted Zeus emerging from the tall grasses, dragging an extremely large rabbit who looked like it had been storing up fat for the winter. “Right. Never mind then.”
He dropped it at Kal’s feet and woofed happily, smiling his doggy smile and wagging his tail as he accepted a tribute of ear-rubs. “Way to go,” Kal effused.
“I didn’t even notice him slip away,” Billie said, sounding surprised. “Does he always hunt for you?”
Kal shrugged. “Mostly for himself. Sometimes he’ll share.” He leaned close to the dog and murmured, “You get that there’s still not going to be much with three of us here, right?”
Zeus barked softly and bounded away, returning a moment later with a squirrel he’d obviously killed before he brought them the rabbit. Kal laughed and thumped his trunk and Zeus dropped down next to the fire, right alongside Billie. “Good boy.”
As he cleaned the rabbit and squirrel and assembled the metal spit from his pack, Billie began to pepper him with questions. Her lack of animation had definitely been due to the hypothermia, because she was almost bubbly now that she was warm.
“What’s an anthropologist?” she asked. “You said that’s what you were, earlier.”
“Oh! Basically someone who studies cultures. Past or present.” He gave the entrails to Zeus and dug in his pack for a towel to wipe the blood off his hands. “I’m really sort of a combination anthropologist and historian. Future generations are going to struggle with finding documentation about what the United States was like before the plague, because a huge portion of the data pertaining to the almost hundred and fifty years before the outbreak was saved digitally, on computers no one will know how to access once the pre-plague generation dies out and the digital media it’s stored on begins to deteriorate.”
Billie’s eyes were glazing over, and he tried to use smaller words. His mom would be frothing at the mouth in fury when she learned the Clean Zone was neglecting to give their kids more than a rudimentary education.
When Premier Schuyler Sweeney had done her terms heading up the Wapato Island Parliament after the Fernández/Houtman government left office, she’d devoted a lot of effort to making sure the Refuge’s education system was given top priority. Premier Rhys Cooper had been elected to lead alongside her as part of the tradition that the premiership should be shared between a Jug and a civilian. That had been deemed a good choice in the wake of rumblings that Zach and Nico’s government had smacked a little too much of nepotism. Absolutely no one would accuse his mom and Rhys of being too chummy, even if he had been the father of one of Kal’s sisters by his other mom, Emmy. But since Uncle Rhys’s mother had been a teacher, so he’d been completely supportive of Schuyler’s efforts, despite their other differences.
“I travel around, seeing what I can find by way of written records,” he explained, pulling his mind from its tangent and back to the subject at hand. “I make notes of things that seemed important to the lives of people who lived and died before the plague. I even take down oral histories from people who were alive back then, especially if they know a lot of history dating back to the mid-20th century or before.”
“Is that why you’re out here?” Billie asked, looking around. “You really travel this far?”
“Well, I’ve already been up and down the West Coast,” he said with a shrug, turning the spit. “Time to start heading east and see what I can find. Before long I’m going to have to go far enough that I won’t be able to make it back before winter. The only reason I’m doing it this year is because I promised my moms I would. Next year I think I’ll let them know not to expect me.”
Billie frowned. “So, if I go to the Refuge, I really won’t get to see you much.”
The weapon that nearly destroyed humanity may be their only salvation.
Rhys Cooper’s unique immunity to all three strains of the virus that nearly annihilated humanity has brought him the unwanted attention of Clean Zone scientists. They’ve summoned him for testing—ostensibly in the hopes of finding a vaccine—but Rhys’s partner, Darius Murrell, has good reason not to trust any government. He and his comrades in Delta Company were unwitting test subjects for Project Juggernaut, the military experiment that gave them superhuman abilities and unleashed the pandemic. Doubting the government’s intentions, Delta Company refuses to let Rhys go alone.
Fear of infection has kept Zach Houtman and his lover Nico Fernández apart for a decade. They meet rarely, just long enough to coordinate their spying on the head of the government’s virus research division. Secretary Littlewood is a vicious predator, and they suspect he’s trying to acquire the strain of the virus that would make him superhuman. To stop him, they need the perfect bait: Rhys.
For Rhys, helping them might cost him his relationship with Darius—or his life. For Zach and Nico, even if their plan succeeds, they still face the ultimate question: can infected and uninfected people ever live together safely?
About the Author
Amelia C. Gormley published her first short story in the school newspaper in the 4thgrade, and since then has suffered the persistent delusion that enabling other people to hear the voices in her head might be a worthwhile endeavor. She’s even convinced her hapless spouse that it could be a lucrative one as well, especially when coupled with her real-life interest in angst, kink, social justice issues, and pretty men.
When her husband and son aren’t interacting with the back of her head as she stares at the computer, they rely on her to feed them, maintain their domicile, and keep some semblance of order in their lives (all very, very bad ideas—they really should know better by now.) She can also be found playing video games and ranting on Tumblr, seeing as how she’s one of those horrid social justice warriors out to destroy free speech, gaming, geek culture, and everything else that’s fun everywhere.
You can find her self-published Impulse trilogy almost anywhere ebooks are sold, and check out her catalog of Riptide Publishing releases at their website.