Jacob Unger awoke with the ringing still in his ears. It wasn’t from the Howitzer explosions or the musket retort, all of that had stopped long ago; a horn had been blown. A heavy darkness now laid claim to the land, smouldering flames flickered here and there, filtering through a mixture of fog and heavy smoke which blanketed the many horrors that lay underneath. Men who had, only a few hours before, been singing the songs of Dixie as they marched in celebration on their way back from the Virginian front. A stiffness had molded itself to Jacob and only...

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Chapter 1 “Is this your real name?” the beefy port cop barked coldly, and Jas nodded with just the right amount of deference to be completely believable. It wasn’t his real name, not the name his long dead mother had given him. His real name was Chakravarthi Pararajasekarn after his ancient ancestor, King Singai Arya Chakravarthi Pararajasekarn, the original Tamil tiger and forefather of the greatest dynastic clan in the island state of Sri Lanka, perhaps the world. That illustrious name had been shortened by missionary school teachers, immigration officials and 600 years of declining family fortunes down to just...

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By the time Xi returned to the compound, it was well after full dark. Phile had tonight’s watch, and she opened the heavy durasteel doors to grant Xi entrance. “It’s unwise for you to have returned so late,” she admonished. “You should have been back here before sunset.” As soon as the doors were secured behind him, the heat closed in. Tiny droplets of condensation erupted along his metal frame, and his internal cooling fans whirred to life. Thirty-two-point-three degrees Celsius, Xi’s sensors told him. Far below the threshold of what he could tolerate, but he disliked having a damp...

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