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Hot off the presses! Kracken by Ray Ellis is
Author: Ray Ellis
Publisher: NCC Publishing LLC
Genre: Inspirational Science Fiction
The year is 135 New Reckoning. A Godless world is rebuilding itself.
When a stranger from Mike Stone’s past appears on his doorstep, his ordinary
life is suddenly and violently destroyed. Mike’s past has come back to haunt
him. Now with his family attacked and his home destroyed, Mike finds himself
running for his life through a jungle-planet filled with terrors and a monster
known only as the Kracken.
In the midst of the chaos, Ted Waters launches his plan for domination. In a
post-apocalyptic world, Waters sets himself up as the sole leader of the
emerging world government. Using children as slaves, he mines a new narcotic
used to subdue the people’s will.
Kracken, the story of two men, two opinions and two bases of power set on a
collision path. When the two collide, Mike finds himself confronted by the God
he thought he left behind.
The village square was busy. Moist streets and the smell of sweat and dirt,
mixed with the aroma of raw sewage, hung heavy in the air. Dirty-faced children
played in the streets, and escaped animals ran under foot. Skipp Langg had come
to find the needed components to finish the project that he was working on.
Skipp stopped, pretending this time to study a set of sonic amplifiers. He
looked back the way he had come. The lone figure stopped as well. Now he was
sure he was being followed. He rubbed his chin. He wasn’t sure by whom or why,
but he was sure whoever it was or for whatever reason, it wasn’t good.
Tossing his raven-colored braid over his shoulder, Skipp used the occasion
to scan the area more thoroughly. Nothing. Where are you guys?
He grimaced and spoke into his wrist communicator, “Jonas! Jay! Anybody!” He
let his gaze travel over the sea of faces, studying them. He looked at the
walls again. He swore. Signal must be blocked. His gaze shifted upward, tracing
the canyon-like walls of the buildings in the inner city.
Since being let go by The Company, Skipp had made his home in the
underground; the subterranean world, which had evolved in the abandoned subway
systems that ran for over 4700 kilometers in length and more than 2.5
kilometers beneath the city streets. After years of no contact, Jonas had left
a video message, calling in an old debt, urging Skipp to meet him that
afternoon in the city. Now he was wondering if coming had been the best
decision. He called again; still no answer.
Closing the connection, Skipp glanced over his shoulder again and then burst
into flight, hoping to draw his pursuers out into the open. As he did, he
realized his plan had worked, if only too well. Lowering his head, he simply
ran. Rounding a corner, he came to a skidding stop; he had run into a dead-end
Skipp turned—too late. Behind him, blocking the mouth of the alley stood
four very large men and one smaller figure whom Skipp took to be their leader.
With slow, purposed steps, the men made their approach.
“Jonas,” Skipp called frantically into his wrist-com. “Jonas, now would be a
good time to show up.” Despite the cool breeze and damp weather, beads of sweat
rolled down Skipp’s aquiline face.
The group was near enough now that Skipp could see their faces. The five
figures continued to close the distance between themselves and Skipp, fanning
out in a half circle as they advanced. Suddenly, one of them pulled a handheld
energy weapon from his pocket, an IMR/S457-Agitator. The weapon banned from
legal sale had long been outlawed, even for military use. The energy beam did
more than just kill its victim but was designed to torment as well. The beam
attacked the central nervous system, disrupting the brain’s electrical
activity, increasing the body’s core temperature. This would cause the brain to
swell simultaneously, triggering violent muscle spasms. Finally, due to
increasing pressure and contractions, the victim’s heart and other vital organs
would simply implode.
As the man leveled the weapon on Skipp, he smiled, exposing broken, yellowed
and missing teeth. “After all I he’rd about you, I thought you’d be smar’er
than this.” He gestured with the weapon indicating the alley. “To allow yerself
to be trapped in a blind alley. Too bad though.” He began to laugh. “You don’t
get to learn from your lil’l mistake.”
Skipp could see the man’s dirt encrusted finger tightening on the trigger.
“Wait!” It was all he could think to say.
“What, you want to beg first? Not that it’ll do ya any good.” The man
continued laughing. “Hey, boys, he wants ta beg fer his life. Shall we let him
beg or should we just kill em?”
“Oh, let him beg first. Who knows, he might even make me laugh, too,” the
second of the large men said. Then turning a fiery gaze on Skipp, he said, “I’m
not as easily amused as my friend is though.”
Skipp’s words came quickly, “You don’t have to do this. How much you getting
paid for this? I’ll double it.” His hazel-blue eyes dancing all over the alley
looking for something—anything that might be used in his defense. “You have me
at a disadvantage.” He managed a nervous smile. “At least tell me who you’re
working for. A man should at least know why he’s being killed.”
A third man spoke, “Our client just wants him dead. Didn’t say nothing about
keep’n him pretty. I say we have some fun first.”
“Wait, fellas,” Skipp said slowly, lowering his hands.
The third man grabbed Skipp by his collar and threw him against the wall.
Skipp slid to the ground, the side of his face landing in a thin puddle of
rancid water. With his hands beneath him, Skipp worked frantically to remove
his wrist communicator. Just as he pulled it from his wrist, he was kicked hard
in his side. Along with a burst of air forced from his lungs, he felt several
As he lay there fighting for breath, Skipp could see his attackers. The
smallest of the group stood back; Skipp assumed he was the lookout, though why
they would need one, he couldn’t figure out. No one would interrupt them.
Trying to force himself up, his breathing became labored; each intake brought
with it a stab of searing, white-hot pain.
“Come on, get up, pretty boy. You’re not done yet,” the man said as he
jerked Skipp from the ground and held him level with his face. Skipp’s feet
dangled several inches above the ground. “Look at me,” the man bellowed into
Skipp’s face, flecks of sour spittle spattering him.
Skipp winced before staring defiantly at the man. Taking a breath, he
settled himself then spat in the man’s face. He grimaced. He knew this was
going to hurt.
Roaring like a mad bear, the man flung Skipp all the way across the alley,
slamming him off the far wall like a child’s play thing.
This time Skipp was expecting it; in fact, he hoped that it would happen. He
was ready. Twisting as he flew, he managed to absorb the impact on his side.
Lying on the ground, he finished connecting the new components to the energy
cell in his wrist-com.
Staggering to his feet, Skipp defied the men. “So, you gonna let this brute
beat me to death and cheat you out of using your toy.” Blood ran from Skipp’s
nose and mouth, his eyes swollen nearly shut, each breath coming rough and
ragged. He stepped toward the men, antagonizing them. “Go ahead,” Skipp yelled
at the man, then closed his eyes and lunged forward. “Shoot me!”
The man fired.
At that precise moment, Skipp pressed the activator switch on his wrist-com.
There was a bright flash and an accompanying blast, which threw him backwards,
slamming him into a row of partially filled trash barrels. He felt the air
rushing out of his lungs as his world suddenly began to grow dark.
Struggling to his knees, Skipp willed himself back from the brink of
unconsciousness. Grasping desperately, trying to catch that elusive first
breath, he celebrated the fact that he wasn’t dead.
Skipp looked up to see all five of the would-be assassins struggling to
regain their footing. Overcome by the intensity of the optical burst, and
unprepared for the backblast, the assailants had momentarily lost
consciousness. Skipp made a mental note of the unexpected bonus and continued
his struggle toward the mouth of the alley and freedom.
Willing his legs to obey, Skipp began in his best imitation of a man running
but looking more like a common drunk after too many last drinks. Slowly,
strength returned and just as he staggered past the last of the fallen men, he
felt a hand close around his ankle.
With his body not fully recovered, he landed face first onto the murky
pavement, his ribs screaming in protest. Dragging his breath through gritted
teeth, Skipp turned to see the business end of another weapon, an optical
neutralizer pointed directly at his head. Then the barrel swung away.
The cloaked figure turned and fired on the four other men, who in their
weakened state, realized too late that they, and not Skipp, were the intended
target. The men fell backwards, moaning and screaming, enraged and in pain.
Their optical nerves seared, blindness claimed them.
The fifth and considerably smaller of the assailants turned his attention
back to Skipp. The weapon leveled at him, directing Skipp to the back wall of
the alley. The assailant stood, blocking any possible chance of escape.
As the assailant removed the hooded mask, Skipp realized to his amazement,
that the fifth man was actually a woman, a fact lost to him during the earlier
stress. “What?” A look of unbelief and confusion washed across his youthful
face. “What are you doing here?” was all he could manage.
“Looks like I’m saving your rear end,” she said smugly. “And good thing,
too, you were about to run into the rest of this squad. There’s Mercs all over
Skipp could see, now that she had taken off the too-big-for-her mercenary’s
uniform, that although not a pretty girl, she had a strong athletic body and a
confidence that gave her a certain attractiveness. Remembering himself and
feeling slightly embarrassed at being saved by a female, Skipp tried bravado.
“Well, I had everything under control. I was just about to—”
“—Get yourself killed and ruin an entire day’s work for me,” she said waving
off his comment. “I saw these guys tracking you and was just about to make
contact when you decided to run into this blind alley.” She couldn’t help
Skipp could feel his cheeks turning red. He looked away, pretending to check
the burnt-out wrist communicator. “Not that I’m not grateful, but who are you
anyway? So, I suppose I’m your prisoner now?”
She laughed. “Prisoner? You are full of yourself, aren’t you? No, Skipp,
you’re no prisoner of mine. Jonas sent me in here to find you before these guys
did. You almost messed that up.”
At that moment, a chirping noise came from her pocket. She answered her
communicator with a crisp military tone, “Julie here.”
“Who is—” Skipp had tried to ask, but was stopped by an upraised hand.
“Copy. Setting position now. ETA?”
A rope ladder fell along the back wall, causing both Julie and Skipp to look
up. Above the rim of the building, just over the rooftop, they could see Jay
waving and speaking into a communicator. “How about right now,” said a voice
with a Caribbean accent and a widening smile.
Behind them, the four men began thrashing wildly, a barrage of profanities
flooding the quiet of the alley. Julie stopped to kick aside the discarded
weapons, taking the IMR/S457-Agitator with her. “How did you get past those
guys,” Skipp asked, stepping aside and offering her first up on the ladder.
“No way, pretty-boy, up you go,” she said, tucking the weapon in her belt.
“I didn’t go through all this just to watch you get whacked while I’m climbing
a ladder. Now store your chauvinistic attitude and climb the rope.”
“Some people call it chivalry, but—”
“You know, I really don’t care what you call it. Move your hiney before I
carry you up.”
She was smiling, but something about her stance made Skipp believe she
was serious, and looking at her, he believed she could.
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About the Author
Ray was ordained into the ministry in March of 1989 and was sworn in as a
uniformed police officer in April of that same year. He began writing in the
fall of 1991, although like many before him, it had been his lifelong dream to
be a writer. He completed his first manuscript, a science fantasy, in late
1999, but it was his fifth book published.
His first three books published was an inspirational mystery series, Nate
Richards Mysteries, which was followed by a paranormal short story called “I”.
Ray drew from his almost 30 years experience working in law enforcement to
create the world of his mystery thrillers and from the same three decades in
ministry to integrate the principals and truths of the Christian Gospel
throughout all his stories . In his career, he worked as a jail deputy in a
maximum-security facility in Orange County, California
before being transferred to street patrol. While working in Orange
County he also served as the
captain of the department’s Martial Arts stunt and demonstration team.
In June of 1997, Ray transferred to Idaho, where he continued to work as a
police officer, serving in patrol, then as a sex-crime investigator, and
finally as a SRO, School Resource Officer. Being a pastor and a police officer,
Ray offers a unique view of the human experience, binding the two worlds to
tell his stories from his own distinctive perspective.
Since releasing his first book, Ray has been selected as Top 50 Author for
the state of Idaho, a Top 10
Author and the ACFW Author of the Year for the State of Idaho.
He has also served as the president of the IWL: Idaho Writer’s League from
2001-2003, and as president of Idahope, a Christian Author’s Writers Group.
He is currently working on the second installment of the Dawn of Destiny
Series: Shadow of the Serpent, the follow up to KRACKEN.