View Full Version : "The First-Born" Book 1 of "The Alliance"

Amy Gallow
June 24th, 2010, 09:25 PM
This series was first written as five books, triggered by the obituary of a 107 year-old veteran of WWI in Brisbane. He hated war and feared for a planet being raped of irreplaceable resources and it started me thinking about the world he would have created, given the opportunity. Three of the books were released before I decided that writing them as Amy Gallow imposed too many limitations, so I withdrew them and the other two volumes from the publisher and put them aside for the time being. The story has now been rewritten in three volumes as a series called “The Alliance” with “The First-Born” covering most of the first two books, and the second volume, “The Alliance” covering the rest of the second book, all the third book and most of the fourth. The final volume, as yet unnamed, finishes off the fourth and fifth books and adds the ending of the story. ”The First-Born” is contracted to Eternal Press and will be the first book under my own name.
The Senior Councilor’s voice droned, the other councilors’ heads nodded soporifically in time to his catalogue of events since their last meeting, and Samara, Dael’s host, was tired.
Her menstrual cycle was approaching fruition and the released hormones were having their effect—a reason why Dael’s race rarely used female hosts. Yet, several thousand female hostings had acclimatized Dael until she thought herself female and felt uncomfortable in a male host. Her Hive Master, Belen, believed she’d “gone native”, banishing her to administering this remote archipelago on the northern edge of the land mass circling the equator and the Group Mind sometimes monitored her activities. She could feel something now…
Recalled from her thoughts, Dael turned to the speaker. “Yes, Senior Councilor?” She limited the response to speech. Like half the council, he was one of Belen’s former hosts, and uncomfortable with the intimacy of full mind contact with a woman.
“We need your approval before we proceed…” Fear added a quaver to his voice.
“You have it. I’m pleased with your efforts.” She wasn’t, but he needed calming.
All Belen’s ex-hosts were skittish, easily panicked and difficult to calm and a burden on the rest of the Hive. Belen administered no physical territory, only the Hive generally, yet his Elite must have their promised reward, or the system failed.
Immortality provides no guarantee against error.
The thought came into her mind, not as a deliberate communication, because it had no source, more a wry observation, carrying the shadow of amusement, an echo from the Group Mind perhaps…
The emboldened Senior Councilor had returned to the detailed recitation of his activities and Dael’s attention wandered out the stern windows of her official yacht’s great cabin. She watched two trading schooners tack their way along the curved entrance channel, weathered brown sails contrasted against the green of the forested northern arm of the harbor…just beyond lay Samara’s home.
She’d grown fond of her host over the last twelve years. Gentle manipulation had cleansed her of inherited disease, toned her muscles, and enhanced her natural beauty until no one could doubt her status as a Chosen. Even her mind had learnt discipline and no longer battled for control. Dael scanned its dreaming state and approved. The woman would make a useful Elite five years from now, probably here in Kyos, close to her home.
A part of Dael’s mind monitored the flow of primitive thought in her companions. Like all non-telepaths, their need for a language limited them. They called her race many names, none of them capturing more than a tiny fragment of its complexity. Group Mind, Hive, and Hive Master were all approximations. Even her personal name was beyond them, shortened to a meaningless sound, another frustration of dealing with indigenous people.
Yet her race needed them. Unable to survive without physical hosts, they had tailored the rewards of hosting to ensure a constant supply of volunteers from the Commoners. Many people were willing to exchange seventeen years of their lives for a healthy body, doubled life span and elevation to the wealth and power of the bureaucrats of this world, called the Elite. Both races had prospered…until recent times.
It was the Senior Councilor again. He looked uncomfortable. “The Commoners still resist being ordered around by women.” He glanced at Dael’s Elite. “It goes against the grain, so to speak.” She could feel his fear.
“I am a woman. Do they object to me?”
“You are a Chosen. Everyone knows you can be whatever you choose.”
He was right.
“They will become used to it.”
“Change?” he was skeptical. “We don’t change things, Mistress.”
He was right again. Her race had enforced a system of peaceful cooperation on a primitive planet of warring tribes so long ago that no one remembered the last change. History no longer existed.
Dael scanned him, probing below surface uncertainties to find the cause.
It was Belen. The Hive Master had a surprisingly strong antipathy to women. Dael guessed at some incident before the freeing of the subordinate personalities of the Hive, a time beyond her individual memories. She considered again the wisdom of replacing Belen’s Elite on the council. There were enough of hers in this area. All of them better qualified. Belen would bellow…the alliteration pleased her enough to produce a smile, further disturbing the Senior Councilor’s equanimity.
Samara’s physical distress peaked, diverting her. Her host was tired and deserved more consideration.
“We’ll meet again tomorrow. We can discuss it then.”
Uncomfortable with the hint of discord, the others agreed, rising hastily to their feet and backing towards the cabin entrance. The sailing master, alerted by Dael, was there, opening the bulkhead partition and shepherding the Elite away, even the Senior Councilor, who still hesitated.
“Come, good sir. It’s slack tide. Makes the gangway steady.”
It was enough to make him hurry.
Dael’s routine of having onboard meetings during her tours of inspection had seen more than one of Belen’s Elite dumped unceremoniously by the narrow plank gangway, deliberately rigged without hand ropes by her instruction. A petty gesture she couldn’t justify, but wouldn’t change.
Left alone, Dael scanned her host body. Aside from a healthy hunger and a cramp from having sat for so long, it was well. The menstrual cycle, now perfectly regulated, was approaching its monthly fruition and the hormones triggered by the impending ovulation were in full flow, probably the cause of the tiredness. They’d retire early and Samara could rest.
It was strange she never lost the awareness of her host. No other in her Hive experienced such continuous connection.
“Ma’am,” the sailing master spoke from behind her.
Dael smiled as she turned to face him. A stiff-necked individual, he always sounded as if the honorific was catching in his throat. “Yes?” Mind to mind contact made him uncomfortable, so she willingly limited it.
“When will we sail? Our draught makes Kyos tidal and we’re not long past the neap.”
“Is there a suitable tide two days from now?”
He nodded.
“Make it so, sailing master.” She echoed his nautical jargon, teasing him.
“Aye aye, ma’am.” He was smiling, too, and Dael wondered if it would be this easy if she’d chosen an ugly host.
“Rig the awning, sailing master. I’ll sleep on deck tonight. It’s warm enough.”
“Aye, ma’am.”
Dael watched him turn away, puzzled by the sudden impulse to change her sleeping arrangements. These whims were occurring more frequently of late. Perhaps Samara was flexing her mental muscles?
Two hours later, she was pleased with her decision. Screens beneath the awning ensured privacy from the wharf, keeping it snug without any of the sour bilge smell that pervaded every ‘tween-deck space in the ex-trading schooner. A soft bed of cushions outboard of the coach-house completed the furnishing.
Dael could feel her host body’s need as she relaxed. Samara was asleep within a dozen breaths, and Dael retreated into her haven, the closest thing she knew to human sleep. The others in her hive spent their host’s sleeping time in the Group Mind, but Dael was never entirely comfortable there.

* * * *

A callused hand clamped down on Samara’s mouth brought Dael back. The reek of fish and the sense of a primitive mind confirmed that a Commoner was attacking her host. Hardly surprising, no Elite would dare to attack a Chosen. With no prior conditioning of his mind to accept control, she must kill this fool to defend her host. A repellant task, but she focused…
The veto came from beyond the Commoner, a source of such raw power it overwhelmed every sensation, straining her grip on Samara, and blanketing her mind. Then it was gone, vanishing as abruptly as it arrived, leaving only the Commoner holding her host body.
The impossibility sent Dael’s mind reeling. A mind can’t disappear. It might fade with distance, but the consciousness of it would remain. This was different. The intruding mind had snapped in and out of existence, going from total authority to nothingness in an instant. This couldn’t be happening. Disbelief, as much as logic, allowed her to half strangle her instinctive distress call to the Hive.
Enough got through to snatch Belen from the Group Mind.
What have you done this time?
See for yourself. She responded to his exasperation with a little of her own, granting him access to relive the intrusion from her memory, while she reached out to resume full control of her host.
Samara was swathed in a coarse woolen blanket, lying face down across the shoulder of the Commoner with callused hands as he carried her along the deck. His fear suggested knowledge, but his determination came from another source. This could be the host of the other mind. She probed deeper…
Aaiieee… Belen’s ululation of fear swamped her thoughts.
He fled, abject terror morphing into justification as the distance increased. Other minds had destroyed themselves like Dael’s. His warning of contagion, radiating outwards like a ripple in a pool, closed every mind it touched. Their auras remained, but her pleas for understanding went unheard. Belen was banishing her from the Hive.
Then the Group Mind reacted, barring access, and she discovered fear. No member of her race ever survived total exile.
She was going to die.
You will not die.
The thought came out of nothingness and was gone as completely.
Impossibilities surrounded her. Not even the Group Mind could scan her without permission, nor exist without betraying its presence. Dael reached out, searching—and found only the Commoner carrying her. Beyond him, there was nothing but the completeness of her banishment—even her Elite were beyond her reach, only Samara remained.
The change in motion told her they’d boarded a smaller boat and she sensed other minds, Commoners. It was time to act. If she could establish contact and slip into another host, physical escape was a possibility.
Her probe revealed barriers within their minds, so she focused, trying to break through, only to remain trapped inside her host. Without the Group Mind’s support, she was helpless.
You will come to no harm. Relax, and all will be well.
A greater compassion swamped Dael’s thoughts, blanking out a world made lethal by her banishment from the Hive and exile from the Group Mind. She fought against it, but a protective cocoon absorbed her efforts without trace and she plunged into a black immensity, abandoning her host to its rightful owner as a greater mind enforced the blankness of non-being.

June 25th, 2010, 12:14 PM
Thank you for the post!!!