Reciprocity cover Part 2Dr Ryndeel Drinns, a biomedical scientist working in her dream job at CenBioTech, in her Lledumarian hometown of Llantan, searches for cures for Lledumarian illnesses. But in the quest for cure-alls, the unexpected is often the scientist’s first discovery.

She also lives in the shadow of treachery. Ever vigilant against being the victim of an indifferent custodian of her people, the Cuians, though it rarely happened these days, she keeps her wits about her; never gives anyone an excuse to point an accusatory finger at her.

But trouble is brewing, and when it boils over, she will need to dig deep for the strength to keep from being consumed by it. And when the waters threaten to drown her, the one person she can turn to is oblivious that he is about to become the unwitting star in a play written about the downfall of a once great and vibrant empire.

Read an excerpt below:

Maxil Thynnes emerged from a doorway and walked a few metres along the parapet. Stopped and surveyed the work going on down on the spaceport. He’d promised to support Rhizikh’s campaign against the Cuians. He’d suggested airships as the delivery system for his solution. The airships were an ancient dirigible, filled with gas. To make them would require special materials and specialist labour. No problem; his commercial interests were measured in years with the suppliers of the necessary materials, and the right people to make them. He now worked hard to deliver them all on time.

The work in toto would astonish. The cost involved, would stagger. He knew … no, believed that he’d be more than compensated for it by Rhizikh’s largesse, when his war without blood was complete. He’d be elevated to a new position of political power and status in Rhizikh’s new government.

He’d heard Rhizikh say he would be called a Powhatan in his new regime. Imagine. A Powhatan. But he didn’t know what that was. Even though Rhizikh had provided an explanation, it had gone over his head like a huge spacing-guild transport as it hurled itself into space. He knew very little about the history Rhizikh drew on when he spoke of the Powhatan. He cared very little where Rhizikh got his inspiration. If it helped him make money, the rest mattered less than the other. Well, that and the fulfilment of a promise, which he’d willingly agreed to years ago to help Rhizikh bring to fruition. Screw the Cuians. The overtime and energy expended on the preparations for Rhizikh’s bloodless war, though his war without blood, he corrected himself, as he’d spoken of it, would soon be realised.

He watched workers as they busied themselves; they worked to assemble one of the airships about a hundred metres away. The construction was under bright spotlights. From where he stood, on the parapet of his makeshift Administration building, on the edge of Bhuluse’s old spaceport, the workers were like busy ants.