The Tobine Chronicles Episode 1 by Adera Orfanelli
erotic sf serial
about 10,000 words
Published March 2014
In the battle to save the planet she loves, one woman must discover the truth about her past, and if she has the strength necessary to not just save Tobine–but rule.
Episode One – Tenni never liked the revolutionary group to which her husband belonged. Now he’s dead, along with their son. Government forces bring her an offer she’d be foolish to refuse, but what will happen when they discover she has no knowledge of her husband’s group or their next plans?
Tenni hated feeling helpless. She’d hated it that night three years ago when her father and she had watched the last of the transports leave. Six months later, he was dead from drink. The painful emotion pounded through her with the beat of the vibrating walls. Now, these bombings only made her feel more helpless. It wasn’t like she could do anything about the bombs that fell incessantly around her home. Jode said he worked to give us a better life. Tenni released a sigh. By now it didn’t matter who bombed whom. It was all the same in the end, and she really didn’t know on which side her husband stood.
On her knees next to her son’s crib, Tenni stared at the ceiling. It rattled ominously. Visions of it falling, burying both of them in rubble made her heart clench painfully in her chest. I stayed to help the Rikans. I was supposed to be important. I should have left this place when I had the chance.
Tenni Urris rubbed dirty fingers against her temples and willed her headache to go away. There was no use trying to leave now. The Dorrines and the Rikans strictly controlled what few ships landed on or left from Tobine. She might have tried to sneak aboard before, but now everyone knew her as the wife to the leader of the Rikan movement. She couldn’t leave, not now. Her only hope was to survive for her son and hope he grew up in a better world than this. Day and night, the Dorrines bombed, and the Rikans counter bombed. A nearby blast shook the walls. She leaned protectively over her son’s crib. Tendrils of fear wound through her, made worse by the roar of artillery fire.
Jode never told her where he went. Instead, he left for days at a time, leaving her with their young son, Kae. I wish he spent more time trying to make a better life for his family instead of trying to kill Dorrines. Violence never solved anything. Her husband’s political party plotted to overthrow the Dorrine government, a government her family had always supported. Father told me I had to respect the government. That they would take care of us. She wished she could believe him. Instead I’m stuck in this hovel while my husband plans bombings and raids. I never wanted to live this way. I’m tired of it. Tired of it all. She brushed a lock of blond hair from her son’s forehead.
Kindal Morribe had treated her like his own daughter, though he wasn’t, and her mother never said who her real father had been. She had never asked, knowing the man who was her biological father did nothing to ever help or support her. Kindal, no father wanted a better life for me. He wanted me to leave this rock. Well, I want to leave this rock too!
The front door banged open. Tenni startled and reached for the gun that hung on the wall behind her. Her fingers closed around cool metal, and she tugged the weapon towards her.
A silhouette filled the door. Tenni crouched in front of the crib, shielding her son’s body with her own, and leveled the gun at the intruder. A man stepped inside. It took a moment for her to register the form as her husband, Jode. He closed the door behind him, then brushed the mortar dust from his shoulders. “Damn Dorrines,” he muttered. “They’re getting too close.”
Tenni released a breath and slid the gun back into place. “You startled me.” Slowly, she rose to her feet and glanced down in her son’s crib. Kae gurgled in his sleep, not even disturbed by the bombing.
It’s a sad world we live in that my son can sleep through such things. She walked over to her husband and laid a hand against his shoulder. Got to play the dutiful wife. Tenni didn’t want to recall the slap she’d received the one time she voiced opposition to her husband’s plans, nor the dressing-down afterwards when she’d tried to run away. One of the Rikan gunmen had hauled her back home, and Jode told her it was for her own good. He kept guards on the doors then, for almost a month, until he’d convinced himself she wouldn’t try to run again.
“Why don’t you come and rest? You’ve been gone a while.” She released a breath. Long ago, she had loved him, and their love had created a son. Now, she never knew whether she was a bargaining chip or a wife. Sliding her fingers down his arm, she tangled her fingers with his. She lifted his hand and pressed the back of it to her lips. “Come on, honey. I’ll make you dinner.” She had to hold onto the illusion that they were a happy family. Not only was it all she had left, but it would also keep her and her son safe.
A mortar shell exploded nearby.
Jode wrapped his arms around her, cradling her against his muscled body. He kissed to the top of Tenni’s head and held her until the vibrations stopped. Tenni squeezed her eyes closed at the remembrance of the tenderness Jode had once offered her. I wonder how this would all be different if we weren’t bombing each other. I wonder if he would love me then.