Crimson and Indigo are two young, star-crossed lovers whose journey has propelled them from one existence to another-across multiple lifetimes and alternate realities to a place where their love could survive. But now, with both near the end of their existence in a world where the past, present, and future coexist, the two temporal travelers forge a new relationship with one another in the fever of a budding love affair.
For Crimson, an assassin, the past no longer has any meaning. The once torrid love affair that consumed her has become nothing more than a fleeting memory. Yet, she is strangely drawn to Jake Ramious, the hotshot freighter pilot she engaged to deliver a survey team to a mysterious planet at the heart of a spatial rift. Now, some fifty years later, Crimson is taunted by the memories of her previous existence, the probability of losing the one thread of her life capable of rekindling her love for Indigo, and the prospect of being consumed by the metamorphosis of two universes.
Internally torn like never before, Crimson must confront her own demons and find a way to restore her future-before her beloved Indigo is erased from history forever.
|Product dimensions:||6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.61(d)|
OF CRIMSON INDIGOPoints of Origin
By Grant Fausey
iUniverse, Inc.Copyright © 2011 Grant Fausey
All right reserved.
* * *
Krydal Starr awoke in a panic no longer the person she intended, but rather merged with the essence of another being; an entity of living light absorbed through the sphere of her body's own aura. Life as she knew it ended, replaced by the awkward world of an old woman; one day blending into the next, as the prospect of continuing her occupation as a temporal assassin abruptly faded. Only the thought of her beloved Indigo remained. She longed for the warmth of his arms, the press of his lips, even the strength of his being. But he was duly departed; plucked from existence. His life renewed in the breath of creation when the sun touched the ground.
Less time passed for Crimson than her new host, Krydal Starr, the blending nothing short of miraculous. Yet, neither the symbiont, nor her host survived the event unscathed. The old woman was fragile; her body weathered; time catching up with itself. No sooner had she emerged from one universe into another than her instinct spawned an uncanny aptitude for self-preservation sending unwarranted entrepreneurs into retirement. There was something different about her. An impression of being a notorious old assassin feeling the unexpected resurgence of a lusty heart, over a man she had never met.
"Who's there?" asked the host. The whisper of another toyed with her thoughts like a ripple of fog beneath her feet. The elder half expected the layers separating one universe from another to collapse, the air itself alluding to one future over the other. But it didn't. It was as if the threshold had simply twitched, spitting her out whole instead of two parts.
Again there was a whisper. "Hello—" mumbled the old woman. "Is someone there?" No one answered. Yet, the thought remained, the eerie feeling migrating into the tiny refuge of her personal space, growing smaller with each breath, less comfortable. Not that there was comfort before. Crimson shuddered, reliving the experience perceived through the thoughts of her host. She was trapped. Alone. A time traveler haunted by the memories of a very different future, where her host grew old in an instant. Her mission to investigate the temporal convergence was compromised. Her past erased. Why the ancients deposited her on the doorstep of her own private hell was anyone's guess! The artificial barrier separating her from the rest of the cosmos was a simple mechanism designed to keep people in and things out. The Triad Abyss, however, was ancient. Lifeless. A dark patch on the eye of the universe that existed long before the heavens spiraled open to berth the world of Sodin, a planet left harbored in the hearth of hell itself. It was here that the abyss permeated the fabric of the space-time continuum, blending the thresholds of the past, the present and the future into a temporal convergence that rendered one insignificant backwater planet different, but indistinguishable from every other in the Eden Sector. Its existence remained hidden, shrouded in mystery, revealed only to a select few among the ITOL, the legendary soldiers of the Corporate Alliance. It was the legion that outlasted the myths.
"Saddle up people," echoed the voice of Joseph Patton; his ghostly brow furrowed in concentration. "Thirty seconds."
Krydal looked up at him, reliving a foggy memory of the last instant of her previous existence. She pondered the directive, remembering the event although it was cloudy and only vaguely familiar. The facts were jumbled up in her head and hard to decipher. She was a soldier––a warrior of an elite group. She fancied the flight officer, dancing around him like a schoolgirl in the wee hours of a December morning. She was anxious for the announcement of the day's destination even though it was long in coming. A lifetime of loneliness had passed in the pulse of a heartbeat.
Crimson thrived on adrenalin; damned near consumed by it. Jumping with the squad into a hotspot was exhilarating. She had teleported far too many times for her tattered mind not to remember being in planetfall with her beloved Indigo, but the memory was nebulous, reminiscent of something out of a dream. There was every possibility her mind was being probed for memories. The thought of an intruder persisted, making life abstract and unmistakably frustrating. All she could think of was the gritty rat bastards squealing under her feet when she caught them. But this was different; the convergence was notorious for playing tricks on the weak-minded. A temporal incursion was usually nothing more than free-floating tumbleweeds, or a tripped sensor. Even a rubble rat could trigger the alert system, bouncing off one ecosystem into another. The idea of engaging an enemy in the heart of the Triad Abyss was enough to send a shiver up the old woman's spine, and that was anything but heartwarming.
"You're on point." Patton told her. She remembered the commander as if out of a dream. He couldn't be serious, not now ... not like this! The old woman's heart was pounding!
"Another excursion to the Myatek Interface?" Crimson asked Krydal. "It should be lovely this time of year, don't you think, Krydal?" There was the voice of another in her head. "That is your name, isn't it?"
"What?" The old woman turned around quickly, damned near lost her balance, not that she remembered doing it. The immediate surroundings were foggy, almost dream-like. Wherever she was it was ethereal, certainly not real, nothing like the little snatch-and-grab she expected.
"You can't be serious––" thought Crimson aloud. Getting out of bed in the morning was a chore for her host. Obviously, her mind was working overtime. She was in a state of shock.
"Hello ..." repeated Krydal. An alarm went off in the old woman's head like a Claxton warning her of a near collision. She was not alone; there was someone else on the deployment grid with her, in her head. The voice remained silent.
Krydal remembered swiping the vid-sheet out of Patton's hand, even fumbling with the paperwork, but not the words. She didn't recognize the writing. She had never actually seen a kill order before. "Investigate temporal incursion and eliminate intruders," dictated Crimson.
"What ... who said that?" asked the old woman. The voice was so vivid, the thought unfathomable. She was alone, in the middle of nowhere; the image of a stalker stuck in her head. "Where are you?"
If someone had implanted a memory hoping to initiate an altercation to the temporal design, they'd already succeeded. The old woman was frightened, even weary from the course of action. Someone needed to clean up the mess. A corporate runner had obviously overstepped his bounds allowing some shifty-eyed, self-proclaimed millionaire entrepreneur to take care of his daily business after managing to alter the outcome of an event in his favor. Third party contracts drawn by those interested in altering the course of history normally surfaced amidst the hierarchy hidden within a small fraction of Assembly members working secretly within the great houses of the Corporate Alliance to forge change. There was always someone looking to accomplish just such an endeavor.
Crimson didn't know the particulars, only that Indigo was somehow involved. She could feel his presence. The incident that bound her to her new host was a deliberate altercation to history. Nothing less than sabotage, and that was something the ITOL couldn't allow. Their mission was to preserve the timeline, not interact with it. Perhaps that was why she had hitched a ride with her new host. The ITOL were guardians of the future, not masters of alternate realities. A temporal incursion meant catastrophic failure. Someone had deliberately changed history; most likely killed a competitor in order to eliminate him, even if it meant altering an entire civilization. What came before simply ceased to exist. The past expired: one future blending with another, leaving only the memories of an ancestral few. It was Crimson's job to set the record straight. Protect the future. She had no choice but to enter the temporal conjunction with Krydal and repair the damage. A lifetime passed in the blink of an eye. Neither the symbiont, nor her host knew why fate had chosen them, only that it had.
Chapter TwoTraveling Companions
* * *
The roar of a double sonic boom rattled the old woman's nerves, alerting Crimson to the truth of the matter. She was in planetfall, trapped in an alternate reality, faced with the prospect of her companion having a nervous breakdown. Her host had grown old in an instant; her body fading from the luster of its youth, while her skin wrinkled discoloring in the course of a moment. The beauty of her face withered into a pale, drawn shell capable of shattering a mirror. And, if that wasn't bad enough, there was an incongruity about her existence, as if she was a disembodied spirit. She had no more control over her symbiotic companion than she had over her own body. They were simply traveling companions, drawn to one another like adversaries facing off in the middle of a dirty, mid-western street. Yet, her condition wasn't permanent. She could feel it. Her host was in the prime of her life, a youthful spirit ripped from the grasp of reality, only to be placed in an alternate existence where she was an old woman. There was a dark genius behind her circumstance, an answer to her predicament hidden somewhere in the crevasses of her mind. She had to survive long enough to figure out what was happening to her, make adjustments for her host's old age, and find a way to restore the past. Needless-to-say, the days quickly passed into months, and Crimson couldn't help but placed the blame for her dilemma squarely on the shoulders of her beloved Indigo, holding him in contempt. She loathed the man with every breath, cursed him even in her sleep. Every time she imagined the past it was a miracle he existed in her thoughts at all.
The symbiont was determined to deliberate a solution, put an end to the bounty hunter the first contract she could. She fancied the thought of it; even envied her counterpart's naiveté about the subject. There had to be some speck of information that eluded her on transcending universes; at least, something to reunite her with the past she remembered. Crimson knew it was only a matter of time before Krydal's eyes would glaze over. There was nothing in her foreseeable future to stop the aging process, and there was only so much protection her exoskeleton armor could do to compensate for the loss of her motor skills. Krydal's vision was fading through the range of blurry to cataract blindness. The symbiont had to do something to get them home and soon. Otherwise, her host would go blind, and eventually die.
Krydal loved the idea of sitting in the wreckage of an old ground hauler and staring out at the rain. It was the perfect ritual for an old woman, but the vehicle was showing signs of rust, disintegrating twice as fast as her exoskeleton combat armor. The temporal zone obviously moved in cycles, crossing the convergence in waves of distortion just beyond where Krydal propped her feet up on a hunk of twisted metal, sipping on the canister of terra-root tea, she had collected earlier in the day. The rainy season was a constant reminder of her predicament; she was outside the normal patterns of life, imprisoned in the body of a withering old woman.
The symbiont hated the idea of it, but she had no choice but to continue. Her survival depended on her companion. She needed to give her host a reason to exist; even appease her lifestyle with the germ of an idea that could blossom into a full-fledged obsession. Keeping the old woman active was just as important as keeping her elderly companion productive. She had to put some life back in her step.
The old lady's trek across the temporal zone took her to the edge of the convergence each and every day. It was like a recurring memory, always complacent like a record skipping a beat, returning to the point of origin in order to start over again. She believed in God, even the reality of the universe being alive somehow. There were signs. Small hand-like foot prints in the sandy contours of the reddish-orange soil. Apparently, someone else had taken refuge in her little sanctuary, even attempted to plant the seeds of life on the barren streets of her uncultivated imagination. For some ungodly reason, Terra-root was the most abundant thing on the planet; at least, on her side of the boundary.
She often dedicated a few words in hope of finding a savior. Yet, the futures remained unobtainable, if not impossible to cross. She encouraged the wind, watching the long branches of the Terra-root bush float in the morning breeze. How they kept equal distance from the edges of the boundary, remaining visible between the layers was anyone's guess. As far as Krydal was concerned, the universe had deliberately disposed of her. Displacing her to stand in the fury of an artificial future, manufactured out of the nightmares of some unseen generation of trespassers she could only feel the presence of.
The gray haired assassin had no recourse but to jot down her memoirs: a last will and testament to the absurd she kept hidden in a tattered journal made out of scraps of cloth and weathered bark pulled from a terra-root bush. The cosmos taunted her as if she existed in two places simultaneously. Understanding the consequences of her existence was a daunting task; even ridiculous. The thought of her facsimile on the other side of the boundary, managing to excavate tiny bits of treasure from the remains of her life with her beloved Indigo was more than the elderly corporate runner could fathom. Fifty-eight years had passed since the incident drove her to the brink of madness. The unbearable loneliness sent her into a pattern of reflection that quickly ended in a crazed mishmash of biotechnology and living matter, which kept her mind active and her human side alive. She wondered if the voice in her head was some safety mechanism meant to keep her mind occupied. It was possible her existence was manufactured in some unfathomable dream state. She believed Indigo's life continued to resonate beyond the boundary, but she was wrong. The Firehawk was gone; her crew lost in an irreversible accident that blinded her to the truth. The future had reset itself; twisted her existence in an altercation of both time and space that deposited her on the most godforsaken rock in the universe—the planet Sodin.
Both Krydal and Crimson half-expected Indigo to step out of time and take them by the hand, but he didn't. No one ever crossed the threshold. Not so much as a moisture-ridden leaf, or a flutter of wind crossed the perimeter. Nothing. The temporal conjunction was devoid of life; a barren wasteland of superheated sediment left to the smallest fire retardant microbes devised by man. Yet, the ancient enemy flourished like some benevolent evil stretched from one side of the abyss to the other. Crimson remembered the Genesis Wars. She had escaped the living death of the great experiment following the Industrials rise to power, only to see her civilization erased in a microsecond. Replaced by the idealist version of a new life form called humans. Crimson was the last of her kind, a relic in a new universe of genetically altered species. Systematically replaced by a biologically engineered life form placed in cohabitation with a new breed of mankind. What was left remained unattended on the fertile garden worlds of the Eden sector, in the arms of the Industrials. They were never really alone, and neither were Crimson or Krydal. The outline of an odd pair of footsteps, plainly visible in the sandy soil, trailed off into the distance to reveal a pair of bumbling Trod historians at the water's edge. The two Trods stood side by side at the dry lakebed contemplating their next move.
Manufactured in the due diligence of mankind's hasty departure, the two nonhuman historians had befriended the old woman, making her laugh on more than one occasion. Crimson considered the Trods among the best scavengers in the universe, but unlike Krydal, she kept her distance from the little turtle-shaped foragers, allowing her host to risk the encounter. She never spoke up, which was very unlike the assassin. She believed in hard evidence, especially when it came to Relix. The Trod kept to the facts, even scientific evidence had to be proven using plain and simple detective work. Tee, on the other hand, not so much. The biped kept lose records, little scrapings in sandstone that looked a lot like shorthand notes scribbled on a Terra root branch he kept open on his lap like a stenographer's pad.
Excerpted from OF CRIMSON INDIGO by Grant Fausey Copyright © 2011 by Grant Fausey. Excerpted by permission of iUniverse, Inc.. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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