Monday, 4 March 2013

Page Turner Book Tours Presents... The Empire by Elizabeth Lang





Thank you for stopping by and joining us for our stop on the Read-A-Long portion of 
The Empire by Elizabeth Lang virtual tour. We are excited to post this segment of the story and we hope you enjoy it too!

The Empire - Chapter 2

Captain Tarn turned off his screen and looked up as two Security personnel brought Adrian Stannis into his office. They shoved the shackled man into the room and stood on either side, like two walls of muscle ready to fall on him at a moment’s notice.

The First Officer stood by his desk with an insufferable smugness on his face. His tongue passing across his lips like a hungry shark anticipating a long awaited meal. Tarn hated this man as much as the rest of the crew did, but he was careful to keep a neutral face.

The restraints were an unnecessary precaution. Stannis was hardly dangerous and there was no place for him to hide on the small ship. Of course, it wasn’t necessity or even security that motivated Sub-Commander Barker.

“You can go.” Tarn waved his hand dismissively. “I will handle this.”

The bound man stood impassively, his posture stiffly correct. There was no fear or concern, no insolence or anger, only eyes that stared blankly in front of him. He could easily be mistaken for a statue, if he hadn’t needed to breathe.

“Are you sure, sir? He’s a tough one,” said Barker.

Tarn fixed his First Officer with an icy stare and his voice had the effect of a sharp blade being unsheathed. “Are you saying I need you to handle my own officers, Barker?” Tarn might be the Captain of an insignificant science ship, but he was, without a doubt, the master of this vessel.
For a few moments, the First Officer stared back unflinchingly, before saying with exaggerated formality, “Of course not, sir. You’re the Captain. I would never suggest otherwise.”

“I hope not. For your sake. Now leave us.”

Barker looked with undisguised regret at Adrian, his thick eyebrows furrowing. “As you wish, Captain.” The First Officer sneered at Adrian. “I’ll be waiting outside.”

After the unwelcome contingent left, Tarn regarded the silent man with interest.

“Stannis.”

The inanimate object unfroze, taking on the semblance of life, and his voice was as formal as his posture. “Sir.”

Tarn flicked on his monitor screen and recalled the command dispatch ordering Stannis to report to the Trykor. “What am I going to do with you?”

“My answer has not changed.”

The shackles looked painfully tight and harshly metallic against the pale flesh.

The Captain sighed heavily. “You’re a stubborn man, Stannis. You always have been. And a constant pain in my side. But even more of one for our First Officer.” It was one thing he had always appreciated about Adrian, even admire a little. The man did not suffer fools gladly and he was not afraid to say so.

“The man’s a fool.”

Tarn glanced at the closed door through which the ‘fool’ had just left. “Yes, but he’s a fool with power, and those are the most dangerous kind.

You need to be more diplomatic, and careful.”

“I have no interest in humoring bullies.”

“Unfortunately, this one has a great deal of interest in you.”

Adrian had been staring ahead without expression but now he looked at Tarn. “Is there anything you can do about the orders?”

Tarn shook his head. “I’m sorry. I don’t have any power in this.”

You owe me.”

“I know.” Tarn grimaced as if each word was a slap. “If I could help you, I would, but my hands are tied. The Fleet Admiral wants you. I don’t dare defy him.”

Adrian leveled a long, fixed glare at him but didn’t say anything.

The target of that glare shifted uncomfortably, feeling suddenly naked and exposed. “I know you saved my career. If it weren’t for you…”

They both knew why Adrian was in trouble now. The Empire had little patience with those who did not produce results. Being an exploration vessel assigned to a barren area of space with almost nothing worth exploring wasn’t an acceptable excuse. At Tarn’s request—more like a
desperate plea—Adrian had excelled himself and produced something out of nothing, a breakthrough in technology to increase the range of their scanners. That had satisfied the ghouls that demanded results. At least until the next yearly review. None of the crew knew. Adrian preferred that no one ever find out. It would spoil his image of the self-serving loner.

“Are you finished with me?”

Shards of ice burrowed into Tarn’s flesh and he winced as they hit home. “Don’t say it like that.”

“How would you like me to say it, sir?”

“I’m not like Barker.”

Adrian’s throat was tight with controlled anger. “No. Barker doesn’t hide what he is. I’d like to go now, sir.”

The Captain hesitated for a moment, wondering if he should tell Adrian the truth about what was happening. He owed him that much at least.

Better to find out from him than Barker. “Fleet Admiral Verel knows what you did on the Neutron Wave Project.”

Silence fell like a bomb in a glass enclosure, shattering all illusions.

Adrian started and for a brief moment, his eyes reflected uncertainty. The cuffs clinked together as he kneaded his wrist with his right thumb.

His voice was toneless and his eyes held the depth of an open grave.

It made Tarn shudder and feel even worse.

Adrian said, “They want me to finish it.”

“I’m afraid so.” Captain Tarn could no longer meet his dark and disturbing eyes.

“And if I refuse?”

Tarn swallowed painfully. He did not want betrayal to become the tombstone for their relationship. He needed to sway this brilliant but stubborn man from the disastrous path he was setting for himself. “You know what they’re going to do. They’ve already authorized it if you don’t cooperate.” He pressed his hands on the table, leaning closer. “Don’t give them an excuse.”

That was why Barker had been so smug. Fleet Admiral Verel had included orders for the maximum retraining level and had approved Barker’s people to begin the preliminary stages. Verel did not accept refusal from anyone and Stannis’ file would have told him that he was too strong-willed and independent to bend to anyone’s will. He would have Stannis’ cooperation or destroy his mind. The thought of it made Tarn’s stomach queasy.

Adrian was tired and his voice was lifeless. “I would like to go now, sir.”

The die was cast. After a lifetime of struggle, he should have known that he would never be able to escape the Empire’s control. He never had before, no matter how hard he tried. They were far too powerful. Adrian knew they would most likely execute him once he was done, unless they had something else for him to do. He knew which he would prefer.

The Captain sighed and pressed the comm button on his desk. “You can come back in now, Barker. The prisoner is yours.”

With a single word, Adrian’s status had changed. He no longer had the benefit of a name; he was no longer simply an officer who needing to be disciplined. They might give him his name back if he gave the Fleet Admiral what he wanted but Adrian wasn’t planning to.

~~~

Kali stared in shock at the empty cell. Her hand slapped the side of t he wall in anguish. Having limited psi abilities with humans was proving to be extremely frustrating.

Where is he? What did they do with him? Could they have released him? Is he back in his cabin? It was worth a try.

Her hand covered a wide yawn. She wasn’t fond of the night shift. It always made her feel as if she’d been run over by a huge transport vehicle, and after a night of worrying, she felt drained.

Adrian. Where are you? They were hopeful words sent out into the uncertain darkness. I’m coming to your cabin.

Her footsteps seemed unusually clumpish in the empty corridors as she made the foray to the Officers Section. She’d never tried visiting Adrian’s cabin before. It would announce a relationship he barely acknowledged to himself.

Unlike the rest of the ship, these corridors were a darker gray with blue accents. The golden fist emblem was the same. Adrian’s cabin was halfway down. Her hand paused on reaching for his door panel and the announcing buzzer.

“He’s not there,” a bass voice informed her.

Kali instinctively snapped to attention at the voice of the Captain behind her. She turned to face him. “Sir?”

There was a tired-of-life look in Tarn’s eyes. “I’m sorry.” His eyes held hers briefly, before he continued on past her.

A sense of fear made her chase after him. “Sir, where is Adrian? I mean, Lieutenant Stannis?”
“He’s…” The words took a great effort, as if they grated against an open wound. “…in the Security Section. With the therapists.”

Kali swayed on her feet as the implication hit her. Her voice was faint and her cheeks drained of color. “The therapists?”

“I wouldn’t get involved, Ensign. It would be better for both of you.”

The words froze Kali’s heart. It was as if he had dismissed Adrian from the land of the living. She stammered, “W-what’s going to happen to him?”

The Captain’s voice turned frigid as he distanced himself from something that was making him ill. “That’s up to him. Now, if you’ll excuse me.”

Even after Tarn had disappeared into his cabin, Kali stood paralyzed.

~~~

“It’s an art,” said the Adjustment Therapist conversationally. He watched as the black-clad security personnel stripped Adrian and lifted him onto the dull metal slab. Their movements were impersonal, as if they were preparing a specimen for testing purposes.

The cool air of the white-walled therapy room washed over Adrian’s flesh, chilling him to the bone. He was determined to stay impassive, showing no external reactions, but an involuntary shiver passed through him as his flesh touched the icy surface. His limbs were spread-eagled and metal bands were snapped into place over his wrists and legs, pressing him into the cold surface. Wider ones were stretched across his shoulders and hip. He tugged against the restraints but they were too tight. His eyes fixed on a spot on the featureless gray ceiling and he drew in his concentration, trying to ignore the feeling of being naked and exposed to whatever they wanted to do to him.

Barker watched nearby, a sneer on his face.

Adrian was familiar with these psychological games to increase the feeling of helplessness and forced submission. As a valuable but uncooperative resource for the Empire, he had been subjected to them most of his life. The only way to fight it was to concentrate, to fill himself with
thoughts of his own choosing. He could not allow them a foothold.

His cold flesh barely felt the pinprick of needles as they were inserted into his veins and attached to drug lines controlled from a panel near the bed. The cool liquid dripped down and was carried into his body, chilling him further.

They were beginning, and so was he. The Quaten-Seris Theorem. His mind intoned the complex theory that had been his first brilliant thesis.

The Therapist, a pleasant-faced man with clinical eyes and hair that was graying, in a distinguished way, at the temples, continued talking to him. “Yes, it is an art. To be able to break a man’s will, but not completely. Just enough for you to continue being useful.”

His fingers ran absently along Adrian’s body, light as a feather, drawing a string of warmth across his chest. Despite his efforts, his concentration fragmented as his flesh became acutely aware of the hot fingers that seemed to reach inside to touch the core of his being. It could be considered a sensual feeling if it had been a lover’s hand and not that of a ruthless man who was preparing to twist his mind to suit another’s will.

The Therapist bent down over his chest. Adrian gasped and his hip jerked against the restraints as warm air blew gently across his chest. His eyes widened in shock as a different kind of warmth pooled in his groin.

The specialist chuckled pleasantly. “You see, even the coldest of men have some feelings. The drugs enhance physical sensations. Both pain, which we will explore later in detail, and pleasure.” He blew lightly across Adrian’s inflamed flesh, sending reluctant shivers of pleasure through his body.

Adrian clamped down hard as he bit back a moan and desperately tried to find a way to fight this assault on his senses; the visceral, primal feelings that overrode the higher functions of the mind.

“There is no way to fight it,” the Therapist informed him helpfully. “The other drugs force your body to respond by increasing the production of various hormones and chemicals.” His face came within Adrian’s view. “You never expected this, did you? They said you were special. You would be hard to break. They told me to get started and they’ll take over with more advanced techniques. But I have a few of my own. Something I hope will bring me the recognition I deserve. I’ll be recording this for prosperity. You will be my first subject.”

Adrian regarded him with his well-known cold impassivity, but it required a conscious effort. His body had already betrayed him.

The Therapist’s fingers brushed against the prisoner’s lightly flushed cheeks. “Even someone like you can feel shame. You’re a man who lives almost entirely in your mind. It makes you vulnerable to certain sensations.” The fingers trailed down, selectively touching him, sending ripples of warmth and desire through Adrian’s body. “You don’t know how to deal with emotions and strong feelings. You’re afraid of them because they can make you lose control. So you try to distance yourself, shut down your emotions, and outlaw feelings as irrational.”

The knife-edge of the Therapist’s palm traced the smooth, vulnerable flesh along the inner thigh. Adrian hissed and bit his lower lip as his body stretched and arched against his will. He struggled against the restraints, less to free himself—which he knew wasn’t possible—and more to express his resistance to what was happening.

The specialist smirked. “You’re afraid. You know I can make your body do anything I want.” He reached down and stroked the most sensitive part of Adrian’s body, slowly and firmly like a lover who knew exactly what his beloved wanted. He said in a seductive whisper, “Pure physical
pleasure. Entirely beyond the control of your rational mind. Courtesy of drugs that don’t care how smart you are. How does it feel?”

Waves of need rolled in past defenses that were primed to fight a different kind of attack. They overwhelmed Adrian’s mind, compelling his body to move in an unwilling rhythm to the other man’s control. The Therapist was playing him like a finely tuned instrument.

No! He rebelled at what was happening to him. He concentrated, bringing his iron discipline to bear, but it was useless. The fires consumed his body and besieged his mind. They resisted all efforts to be buried. His body refused to obey his will.

Can’t…think. Must…think… Adrian bit his tongue, trying to produce pain to counteract the pleasure that was making his body betray him, but it only enhanced what the Therapist was making him feel.

“Ahhh.” One sensation built on the next as the Therapist stroked and touched him, blinding his mind, making it impossible to think, fight, to resist. His body writhed, a prisoner of needs he could not control.

The Adjustment specialist said clinically, “It will be interesting to discover which will make you beg. Will it be the pain or the pleasure?”

Fear entered like a thief, robbing Adrian of dignity and replacing it with feelings he had fought all of his life, helplessness and loss of control.

His jaw clenched harder, stifling the moans of desire that threatened to escape his lips. His face burned red with humiliation, and his fevered body ached with the need to reach a climax the Therapist was not allowing him. His treacherous body writhed with the agony of hate and desire.

No! Adrian had been expecting pain, conditioning techniques, psychological trickery, anything but this. All the mental tools he had learned to fight them with were useless against the Therapist’s manipulation of his senses, but he refused to give up. The man might have his body, but not his will. He refused to finish the Neutron Wave Project, no matter what they did to him. His voice was tight with anger as he said, “Go…To…Hell…”

The Therapist’s face assumed an amused smile that stopped just shy of his eyes. “You’re already there,” he said, as he abruptly quickened the rhythm. Adrian’s hips thrust hard against the metal bands and a reluctant shout of release was torn from his lips.

Sub-Commander Barker tilted his head back and triumphant laughter erupted from a mouth twisted in a cruel smile.


Also Elizabeth Lang has shared with us an exclusive picture from The Empire Series...


To read more of the Read-A-Long please follow the tour schedule…

03/03/2013 - Tribute Books Reviews & Giveaways - http://tributebooksreviews.blogspot.com/ - Chapter 1

04/03/2013 - Vixie's Stories -
http://vickiejohnstone.blogspot.co.uk/ - Chapter 2

05/03/2013 - Decadent Decisions -
http://wlynnchantale-decadentdecisions.blogspot.com - Chapter 3

06/03/2013 - Reviews From Beyond the Book - www.reviewsfrombeyondthebook.blogspot.com - Chapter 4

07/03/2013 - Great Alpha Speaks -
http://atrussell.com/Blog/ - Excerpt - Chapter 5

09/03/2013 - The Edible Bookshelf -
http://www.theediblebookshelf.blogspot.com/ - Chapter 6

10/03/2013 - Independent Writers Association -
http://iwassociation.com - Chapter 7

11/03/2013 - Self Publish or Die -
www.selfpublishordie.com            Excerpt - Chapter 8

12/03/2013 - Natasha Larry Books -
http://natashalarrybooks.com - Chapter 9

13/03/2013 - Michelle Anderson-Picarella -
http://shellypicarella.wordpress.com/ - Chapter 10

17/03/2013 - Sheenah Freitas -
http://sheenahfreitas.com - Chapter 11

18/03/2013 - Castle Macabre -
http://castlemacabre.blogspot.com - Chapter 12

19/03/2013 - My World -
http://stephsgrn.blogspot.co.uk/ - Chapter 13

20/03/2013 - Reading, Writing And More -
http://stephsgrn.wordpress.com/ - Chapter 14

21/03/2013 - Ami R Blackwelder -
http://amiblackwelder.blogspot.co.uk/ - Chapter 15



 Page Turner Book Tours and Elizabeth Lang have teamed together to set up an amazing contest, be sure to enter today for your chance to win a KOBO MINI!!

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Thank you for joining us and Page Turner Book Tours and Elizabeth Lang today on our stop.


About Elizabeth Lang


I am a science fiction writer who started off life as a computer programmer with a love for reading, especially science fiction, fantasy and mystery.

Being in computers, I found my writing skills deteriorating so I decided to take up writing. It became a joy to create characters, stories and worlds and writing soon became a passion I couldn't put down. As a writer, I like to explore, not only the complexity of characters but the human condition from differing points of view. That is at the heart of the Empire series, of which 'The Empire' and 'The Rebels' are the first two of a four books series.

You can connect with Elizabeth Lang at the following places:


About Page Turner Book Tours

Page Turner Book Tours is fronted by the face behind Read2Review Kate. Page Turner Book Tours has been put together to help promote authors and give something back to the writing world. Kate has put together a team of incredibly talented people to help with the project by incorporating their individual skills into making new, fresh and exciting promotional plans that we hope you agree are amazing. If you would like to book a tour with Page Turner Book Tours please check out their tour packages. If you would like to become a tour host with Page Turner Book Tours please check out their Tour Host page. You wont be disappointed!





2 comments:

  1. Thank you for hosting the second chapter of 'The Empire.' I hope your readers enjoy it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're welcome. Good luck with your book :)

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