I’m back!

Hey everyone! I’ve been out of commission for a couple months due to my wife’s pregnancy complications, but I’m happy to share that mommy and baby are safe and healthy! 


In other news, I will be running some special promotions during the month of August leading up to the anticipated release of the Audiobook version of Conquest! I’ve approved the first 15 minutes by the amazing Andrea Emmes, and I’m really excited for you to hear it soon!

To start off my month of special promotions, starting today and for the whole month of August, the Kindle version of Conquest is only 99 cents! Go grab your copy of you don’t have one already! myBook.to/Conquest-SciFan

My #LitRPG Audiobook will be Narrated by Andrea Emmes @aemmes!

I am extremely excited to announce that the Audible version of Conquest: A LitRPG Story will be narrated by the extremely talented Andrea Emmes!

Conquest_Audiobook.png

Andrea is an Audible Best Selling Narrator! Her most notable narrations include Little Women by Louisa May Alcott and The Little Mermaid by Hans Christian Andersen. She started her career performing in musical theater while growing up on the East Coast. This lead to a successful career as a stage performer working for Walt Disney World, Universal Studios, Renaissance Cruises and eventually head lining on the Las Vegas Strip. Having worked in TV, film and video games, Andrea, a total bibliophile, now enjoys narrating audiobooks at her home studio in San Jose, California. Known as “The Girl with a Thousand Voices”, her wide range of character voices and dynamic/emotionally invested performances has reviewers and listeners alike commenting on how she effortlessly pulls listeners in, and has versatility and charisma.

AndreaAnd to boot, Andrea is a total gamer chick! With her Bachelor of Science in Game Art and Design, for several years she worked at Disney Interactive as a game designer. Nowadays she still gets her inner gamer geek on by playing MMORPG games of all kinds with her husband and their cat, Lucy.

A bit more fun trivia: Andrea also has a side career as an actress. You can check out what movies she has been in on IMDb.

You can follow her at:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/andrea.emmes.7
Twitter: https://twitter.com/aemmes
Website: http://www.andreaemmes.com/

I am very excited to be partnering with Andrea for our anticipated Audible version release. We anticipate that it will be released no later than September 1st 2017, but I will keep you posted!

Chapter Seven: Incriminating Evidence (from Conquest: A #LitRPG Story)

As promised, here’s the seventh chapter of Conquest: A LitRPG Story! The Pre-Order is available now on Amazon for only 99 cents. Pre-Order your copy today at myBook.to/Conquest-LitRPG

And God blessed man, and God said unto them, I have fortified this world against the influence of the Leviathan. Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over every living thing that moveth upon it…

– Methuselah 6:17 –

  

Modeled after the Medieval Era, Timur’s entire penthouse reminded him of his earlier livelihood. Every expense had been made to beautify and perfect it with handmade crown moldings, hand sown curtains, and carefully crafted furniture. Every room was decked out to look like a palace fit for a king.

He stared out at the brilliant orange reflection on the water as the sun continued to rise. It was about 7:52 AM, and the morning traffic was just beginning to fill the streets below. It wouldn’t be long now before someone would find Jason’s body, and the police would begin an investigation. Having stepped through his own shadow, he was able to return to his penthouse instantaneously. At any moment he knew that his Chief Operations Officer would be arriving with the company’s Daily Brief.

As he sat on his porch, he inserted the thumb drive that he had taken from Jason into a small bluetooth-looking device. The thumb drive was of a peculiar design, with little patches of blue that had been painted on the white background. It was shaped like a trash can with a half-spherical lid and feet sticking out the bottom. Now that he studied it, he realized that it looked like some silly robot from the nineteen-eighties.

He attached the small device to his right ear, and smoothed out a rolled-up keyboard on the table. After pressing a button on the device, a screen projected onto the far wall. He opened the contents of the thumb drive, and to his relief the drive hadn’t been password protected. There were two files. The first was a surveillance video taken nearly five years ago. Timur watched the scene in horror.

How did he get this?

As he watched the old footage, he recognized himself aiming his gun at the late NSA agent Michael Thornton.

“But I did everything you asked!” Michael panicked with his hands raised high above his head in surrender, “I presented your blueprints as my own, and they took the bait! We’re in the Beta testing stage now!”

“Yes, you served your purpose well.” Timur watched himself smile as he cocked his gun, “But I can’t take any chances. I’ve worked too hard for this. Letting you live is too much of a risk.”

Michael turned to flee, but it was too late. A gunshot rang out, and Michael’s body spun from the force of the bullet and he collapsed in a bloody heap.

Timur stared at the blank screen in shock for several minutes.

Who else has seen this footage?!

He was irate as he opened the second file stored on the thumb drive. As he had suspected, they were the blueprints he had drafted many years ago for the Gamma-Frequency Identification (GFID) Nano-chips that the National Security Agency (NSA) had developed under the guise that Michael Thornton had invented the technology.

The technology was similar in nature to Radio-Frequency Identification (RFID), however these Nano-chips had a much greater frequency range and the technology was microscopic in nature. What disturbed him the most however was the timestamp from when the file had been pulled. It indicated the author as Timur, and it had been accessed from his company’s primary server last night.

Having developed the world’s largest multinational video game and consumer electronics company with his bare hands, eight years ago CyberBolt Entertainment dominated and monopolized the entire gaming platform industry when they introduced their newest software that implemented a previously considered impossible technology called “Rotating Cleartext Encryption” (RCE). For the past decade, gaming hackers around the world seemed to disappear off the face of the planet. Timur’s RCE code had been labeled ‘unhackable’.

As an unexpected twist, this new RCE technology entirely crippled the directives of the NSA, thus forcing the US Government to adopt CyberBolt as a pseudo security agency. Meanwhile, several public outcries against the NSA’s more recent actions had also put them under heavy scrutiny. As a result, the US Government publicly announced that it would be dismantling the agency. Timur’s sources however told him that the message to the public had been a lie and that in truth the NSA had instead gone underground both literally and figuratively.

How much does Allan know?

He stood with his cane and approached the railing with a slight limp. Timur Demyan was both insidious and intelligent. After multiple mergers and acquisitions, he had created CyberBolt with hard work, multiple lawyers and a lifetime’s worth of deceit and treachery to rise above corporate America. Now that he was so close to accomplishing his most sinister of plans, nobody was going to stop him. Especially not an insignificant washout like Allan Young.

I can’t let this information get out. I’ve worked far too hard for this. I don’t care how many lives I have to take!

In a different time he was once a very powerful man in Persia where he was revered and simultaneously feared by thousands. Donned with the most expensive of apparel, his many conquests had caused the deaths of up to seventeen million people. He intended to conquer the whole of China as well, but just before he could make his move he was dragged away to another world.

I won’t let it happen again.

“Master Tamerlane?” his butler called out suddenly.

Timur cringed. He had always despised diminutive alterations of names, especially the modern form of his moniker ‘Timur the lame’.

“I thought I told you never to call me that!” he snapped.

“My apologies, your Holiness.” the butler bowed reverently, “Lily is here to see you.”

“Send her in.” he huffed as he pressed a button on his earpiece to turn off the projection.

He had initially hired Lily Thatcher nearly five years ago as a summer intern for his cryptology department. She was young, intelligent, and exceptionally attractive. After she had demonstrated her prowess and analytical skills, he offered her full time employment with the company. She graciously accepted, and had proven herself over the years through multiple promotions. Today, she now stood second in command of the company.

“Good morning.” Lily stepped out onto the patio and her eyes locked on to the thumb drive protruding from his earpiece, “Well, well. Would you look at that! I never knew you were a Star Wars fan?”

“Star wars?” a look of confusion crossed Timur’s face as he tightened his robe around him, “What’s that?”

She pointed, “Your thumb drive. It’s shaped like R2D2.”

“Oh, that.” he uncomfortably removed the earpiece and unplugged the thumb drive from the USB port, “It was a gift.”

After exchanging pleasantries, she launched into her report. She announced the company’s continual rise in stock values, recent mergers, and overall company wealth. As she began to droll over statistics and charts, Timur found himself drowning out her words as he took in her slender build. Once again he had become distracted by her alluring beauty.

“My, you look stunning this morning.” his mind refused to focus as he stared at her ample bosom.

She caught his eyes and stood abruptly, “Stop it Timur. We’ve been through this already.”

“Can you blame me?” he huffed, “You come here all dolled up, and really expect me not to notice? Come on now, Lily! I’m a man.”

Though he had attempted many times to lure Lily into a romantic relationship, he learned quickly that her intentions were strictly professional. This frustrated him to no end, for she seemed to be the one and only woman in the world who wasn’t attracted to him nor to his wealth.

“I’ll see you in the office.” she seethed as she turned off her projector.

“I’m sorry Lily.” he sighed, “Please continue.”

“Only on one condition.” her eyes narrowed, “Going forward you must keep your eyes locked on mine.”

“Are you really going to throw a fit over his?” he rolled his eyes.

She stared at him for a moment in decision and then slid an electronic tablet towards him, “This is the Jackson-Stanley merger. I need you to read over it for accuracy, and then sign the last page.”

Flipping to the back he signed it absently, “As thorough as you are, I’m confident that you already reviewed it for me.”

“Yes, I did.” she sighed in disapproval, “Do you want me to come back later? You seem rather distracted.”

“No, no. I’m fine.”

I just don’t know what to do about Allan.

Killing him was obviously out of the question. The moment the first bullet dislodged from his gun, Timur envisioned Lily crying into his shoulder seeking consolation. That dream however was suddenly aborted the instant he saw the silver aura of light enshroud his opponent and protect Allan from the attempt. Timur was seriously troubled by this new development, for he had been under the impression that only he possessed such powers, and that he was the last of the line of Seraphim.

Unless that pathetic old man lied to me.

Tucked away in his personal dungeon was an elderly man who had plagued his efforts his entire life. It was he who had obliterated Timur’s efforts to conquer the world. After dragging Timur away to the other world and trapping him there, the old man had returned to Timur’s empire in Persia and falsified his death. Soon thereafter, Timur’s eldest sons replaced him and corrupted his plans with their laziness and greed. It was many years before Timur managed to escape, and by then all of his efforts had gone to waste.

“Moving on,” she stammered, “Let’s review today’s agenda…”

“Actually, that reminds me.” he interrupted, “I need you to cancel my appointment with Allan.”

“But…” suddenly her face fell as she struggled to remain professional, “…I don’t think that’s wise.”

“Don’t even start with me.” he huffed, “You’re too close to this to have a true opinion.”

She stared at him indignantly.

“I know he’s a close friend of yours…”

“Boyfriend.” she corrected.

“Right.” he seethed.

“Like I said,” she continued, “I don’t think…”

“I’m not ready to sign the contract.” he interrupted, “I don’t feel right about it.”

She stared at him a moment, “And your reasoning is?”

“No reason.” he insisted.

“All right.” she steamed, “I’ll call and let him know.”

“Just leave the rest of the Daily Brief.” he insisted, “I’ll see you downstairs in the office later.”

With a look of utter consternation on her face, she stood without a word and stormed back into his penthouse.

“Don’t be so hot-headed, Lily!” he bellowed after her.

She slammed the door without another word.

© Copyright 2016 Richard M. Mulder, All rights reserved. Registration # TX0008281211

Chapter Six: Attorney-Client Privilege (from Conquest: A #LitRPG Story)

As promised, here’s the sixth chapter of Conquest: A LitRPG Story! The Pre-Order is available now on Amazon for only 99 cents. Pre-Order your copy today at myBook.to/Conquest-LitRPG

When the Leviathan discovered divinity within man, it became desirous to subdue them: for no creature had ever been endowed with such power or glory. But God blessed the earth insomuch that the Leviathan was unable to penetrate the firmament…

– Methuselah 5:8 –

  

Allan pulled up to the guard tower in front of the parking terrace in his refurbished obsidian Ferrari F430 Spider. As the gate lifted, Allan revved his engine a few times. The guard delightfully held this thumbs up in approval as Allan screeched past. It was likely the guard hadn’t heard the purr of an engine in years, considering they weren’t made anymore.

Allan smirked to himself as he circled up the ramp to the upper levels of the structure. After climbing out of his car, he ran his hand along the sleek contours and curves in admiration. She was his pride and joy, and his greatest fear was that he might miss a payment and risk her repossession.

Though it had taken several years to develop, today Allan would finally nail down his biggest securities contract with Mr. Demyan. The residual income to follow would get him back on track and he could give Lily the kind of life she deserved, assuming of course she accepted his pending proposal. With all the massive debts he owed, he needed this contract desperately to get him out of this rut.

It’s not like I’m lying to her. There are just some things she’s better off not knowing.

As he parked, his thoughts returned to Jason’s troubling message.

So he’s stumbled across some disturbing information that involves one of my firm’s clients? What would be so disturbing that he would need to immediately speak with me in private after years of silence?

Curiosity getting the better of him, he made his way to the elevator. Buckingham Fountain was only a few blocks away. As he crossed the street and entered Grant Park, he could see the first rays of sun beginning to reach into the sky. The lights of the city still glowed brightly behind him as he approached the lit-up fountain.

The park was eerily silent. Not even the snore of a vagabond disturbed the early morning air. Despite the silence however, he couldn’t help but sense that he was being watched. It didn’t help that his microchip had fried, otherwise he’d have been able to scan the area for any signs of life.

Cut it out. You’re being paranoid.

He continued through to the center of the park, briefcase in hand. Just past the bushes to his right, he thought he saw movement. Stopping in his tracks, he stared into the dark.

“Hello?” he spoke warily, “Is that you, Jason?”

Silence.

Shaking it off, he continued with a brisker step toward the fountain. The visions of the previous night were coming back to haunt him. Every night this past week he had felt trapped as he struggled to escape from similar nightmares.

He made it to the fountain without incident, and circled around the grand structure. The center spring shot high into the air and sprayed upon the cascading turrets. Light fell on the carved statues of fish and jumping seahorses that stood out from the water. Not too far ahead of him, he could identify the silhouette of a man sitting on a bench closer to the lake.

Allan approached cautiously, “Jason?”

The man stood, “I’m afraid Jason won’t be joining us today.”

Allan immediately recognized the cane and slight limp in the man’s step.

“Mister Demyan?” Allan stammered in confusion, “I thought we were meeting in a few hours?”

“I’m afraid we’ll have to postpone that.” Timur spoke as he cocked his handgun.

Allan threw up his hands in shock and staggered backwards, “Wha…”

“What else did Jason tell you?”

“He didn’t… didn’t tell me… didn’t tell me anything.” Allan stammered.

“I don’t like people who lie to me.”

“All he said… he said that one of my clients…” the realization dawned on him, “You?”

“That’s what I was afraid of.” Timur sighed heavily as he aimed his handgun, “It’s a shame I have to kill you now.”

“Wait!”

But it was too late. Allan heard the hiss from the silencer and his body was thrown backward with the piercing bullet. Allan sucked in a rasping, painful breath as his hands instinctively covered the gaping hole in his chest. As he lay there on the pavement, he became aware of a silver aura of light surrounding him.

Still conscious, Allan looked up in horror at the sickly green light emanating from Timur’s horrendous eyes. The pain was excruciating, and his breathing slowed with each raspy gasp. From the tip of the pistol Allan saw a spark as another bullet fired from the weapon. He closed his eyes in terror. He heard several more bullets pop off, and yet Allan didn’t feel them pierce his body.

“Impossible!” Timur shrieked as he shot off the remaining rounds until he heard the audible click of unsuccessful attempts.

Allan knew he must be dead when he opened his eyes. Multiple spinning bullets hovered in the air just inches away from his face. When Allan registered the look of confusion on Timur’s face, the bullets clacked to the ground as the silver aura of light surrounding him dissipated and the pain in his chest began to recede. If he didn’t know any better, he would have thought that somehow he had logged in to the game DarkForce and that none of this was real.

Timur tossed the gun aside in frustration. He raised one arm in the sky toward the rising sun and aimed the other at Allan. The green glow of his eyes burned brighter, and with a flash, a beam of white light burst from his extended fist. Allan shrieked in pain with the searing of his flesh.

As the smoldering heat washed over him, Allan felt a different kind of warmth emanating from his core. An aura of silver light ballooned around him, shielding him from the inferno blasting from Timur’s fist. The excruciating pain subsided and he stopped screaming. Timur however began to shriek in rage.

The blinding light stopped flowing from Timur’s fist, and he instead raised both hands high in the air. Shadows all around them began to stretch and grow ominously. Several tentacles reached out from a shadow behind the bushes to Allan’s left. The shadows had taken tangible form, and the dark tentacles grabbed Allan by his ankles.

Allan screamed in terror as he kicked uselessly against his attacker and the tentacles dragged him into the heart of the shadow. His stomach dropped as he felt himself falling into a thick darkness. He tried to scream, but he couldn’t find his voice.

He landed violently on a thick floor of concrete. He shook his head, feeling disoriented in the large dimly-lit chamber that was fitted with a mass array of plumbing. Wandering around the chamber were about twenty cloaked men.

They turned their attention to Allan’s crash landing, and then they all made a humble bow when Timur appeared from seemingly out of nowhere.

“Rise!” he shouted and pointed at Allan, “We have a problem.”

“Who is this, your holiness?” one of the cloaked men spoke up.

“An abomination.” he seethed in fury, “Take him to a cell.”

Rough hands seized him from all sides. Allan uselessly struggled against the overpowering force as he was dragged deeper into the chamber. He tried to scream for help, but his voice was cut off by a massive hand. He thrashed about, and bit as hard as he could.

He felt a loud crack hit the back of his head, and a searing pain followed. That was the last thing he remembered before he was knocked out cold.

© Copyright 2016 Richard M. Mulder, All rights reserved. Registration # TX0008281211

Chapter Five: Internal Confession (from Conquest: A #LitRPG Story)

As promised, here’s the fifth chapter of Conquest: A LitRPG Story! The Pre-Order is available now on Amazon for only 99 cents. Pre-Order your copy today at myBook.to/Conquest-LitRPG

And God knew that His time was limited, so God created man in his own image after the manner of flesh; male and female created he them. He didst infuse part of His divinity into man that His legacy might live on in another form…

– Methuselah 5:7 –

 

Lily Thatcher yawned in the early dawn light and threw on a bathrobe. She had gotten in late after extracting Jason from CyberBolt Headquarters. Her mind wandered as she thought about how she should answer Allan’s proposal, and she felt a flutter of excitement followed by a pang of guilt. She wanted more than anything to be able to say yes, but she would need permission first from her commanding officer. She cringed as she tried to imagine how she would approach the issue. No matter how many scenarios she tried to play out in her mind, she knew he wouldn’t be happy about the arrangement.

Entering the study just off of the living room of her apartment, she sat down at her desk. She reached under it and flipped open a small panel where she placed her left palm on a hidden scanner and pressed on her right temple to activate the virtual screen.

A virtual keyboard appeared before her. She entered her credentials, and the symbol for the National Security Agency appeared on the screen. She waited in queue as other stragglers completed their morning reports. After several minutes, the screen flashed and her commanding officer appeared.

“Agent Wilson.” he acknowledged, referring to her real name and title.

“Commander Arlington.” she nodded, “Good morning.”

“I have bad news.” he sighed, “Allan’s microchip and all of his GFID Nano-chips just fried early this morning.”

“Again?” she stammered, “How many times has it been this year?”

“Too many.” he sighed heavily, “I just don’t understand it. We were monitoring his vital signs this morning and the Nano-chips reported a state of anxiety. Right before he woke up we tracked a huge surge of energy just before all six Nano-chips fried simultaneously. You have to get this problem under control. We’re quickly running out of excuses to inject him!”

“I’m sorry commander, but I don’t understand it either.” she cringed as she thought about the likely reason why Allan had woken up in a state of anxiety, “I’ll make sure he gets scheduled an appointment for a ‘forgotten’ vaccination. What about Timur though?”

She could hear him tapping away on an old-school keyboard, “No, his are fine. For now.”

“When is Allan’s meeting with Timur?”

“Still at 9:00 AM, as we planned.”

“Let’s make sure that nothing gets in the way of their meeting. It’s crucial that we monitor any exchange they might have. We need to find out how they are disabling our tracking devices.”

“Yes, sir.” she agreed.

His eyebrow then furrowed, “Agent Miller told me about your encounter last night.”

“Yes.” she nodded, “I was able to extract Jason without difficulty.”

“I was referring to Allan’s proposal.”

She fidgeted only slightly, “You don’t need to worry about me. My emotions are in check.”

He eyed her suspiciously, “Did you accept?”

“No sir. I deflected the question until I received further instructions.”

“Good.” he nodded, “Now go back and accept.”

Sir?

“We think he’s testing you. He may be on to who you are. If he thinks you’re one of us, he may question your commitment to the relationship.”

“How far do you want me to go?” she pressed.

“As far as it takes.” he explained, “Try for a later engagement, obviously. But for now, go back and tell him that you had a rough day at work and you are sorry. Maybe plan a make-up dinner date or something. Propose back to him.”

“Yes sir.” she forced herself not to smile.

“We anticipate that this case should be wrapped up in the next few months.”

Lily was confused, “But sir? What about the wedding?”

His eyebrows furrowed, “There won’t be one, of course.”

Her stomach fell and her mind went blank. She opened her mouth to speak, but no words came out.

Commander Arlington raised his eyebrows as he observed her reaction, “Is there a problem, Agent Wilson?”

“No, no…” she stammered, “Of… of course not.”

He eyed her suspiciously, “Have you developed romantic feelings for your subject?”

“No sir.” she shook her head adamantly, “You hired me for my acting skills, remember?”

He studied her for a few minutes before responding, “Good, because you should consider him as the potential threat that he is. Now, once we wrap up this case I have a special mission that I’ve been considering for you.”

“What kind of mission?”

“It would involve you leading a task force, but it would require your relocation across state lines.” he explained, “So obviously I can’t endorse a wedding that would restrict you to Chicago.”

“I understand your concerns, sir.” she saluted, “But my loyalties are with the Agency. If you feel the need to reassign me, please do. I don’t want you to have any reservations.”

Commander Arlington studied her for a few more minutes before he let out a sigh. He returned her salute, and the screen flashed the NSA symbol.

She pressed her right temple again, and with a short moment of static the screen and virtual keyboard disappeared. The implications of this conversation then hit her at full force. She was ecstatic about the idea of leading a task force, but at the same time she didn’t expect how hard the guilt would hit her when she found herself alone. This assignment had been a particularly difficult one. Though her training had taught her never to get attached to a subject, she could feel her heart aching with guilt. She knew she had truly fallen in love with Allan, a fact that she could never reveal to her commander.

A tear rolled down her cheek unexpectedly. She wiped her cheek as memories flooded her mind from the past three years of their lives together, fused with emotional pain. Allan not only loved her, but he trusted her. Sometimes she feared that he trusted her too much.

She wanted nothing more than to imagine that her life with Allan over the past three years had been influenced by fate and that they would live happily ever after, but she knew better.

There were so many lies she had told him; too many obstacles they would have to overcome if she ever told him the truth. She wished she could take it all back, that she never had taken the assignment in the first place… but she was in far too deep now.

© Copyright 2016 Richard M. Mulder, All rights reserved. Registration # TX0008281211

Chapter Four: Strange Dreams (from Conquest: A #LitRPG Story)

As promised, here’s the fourth chapter of Conquest: A LitRPG Story! The Pre-Order is available now on Amazon for only 99 cents. Pre-Order your copy today at myBook.to/Conquest-LitRPG

And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night. And God set them in the firmament of the heaven to prevent the darkness of the Leviathan from taking its desired hold upon the earth…

– Methuselah 3:4 –

 

Allan Young awoke with a loud gasp of breath. Cold sweat glistened from his forehead and the silver light emanating from his wide eyes slowly dimmed. The nightmare had been so real. Staring at his hands, he clenched them tightly together to fight off the swarming visions from the night.

Laying his head in his hands, he took several deep breaths. Multiple nights in a row he had woken up from similar overwhelming dreams. The only thing he could sensibly attribute them to was stress.

Sitting on his dresser was a picture of Lily. He sighed heavily and tipped the photo face-down. His thoughts turned to the big event last night when he got down on one knee in the middle of their favorite restaurant and proposed marriage to her.

What went wrong?

Every single scenario he had envisioned over the past few weeks couldn’t have prepared him for last night’s disaster. A pain throbbed from his core as he stared at the empty sheets next to him, and his mind couldn’t help but imagine running his fingers through her gorgeous red hair. He took several deep breaths in an attempt to fill the emptiness he felt inside.

He squinted as the digits ‘5:16’ glowed from the clock atop his dressers and he fumbled for the aspirin in his nightstand. With a large swig of the leftover stale wine, he downed four pills and tossed the empty bottle aside. His head continued to throb as he got out of bed and switched off the alarm that had been set for 6:00 AM. He stretched high into the air and knocked an empty pizza box onto the floor. He was tempted to call in today, but considering his precarious situation at work he knew it would be extremely unwise.

Stripping off his undershirt, he kicked aside several empty cans of beer and entered the bathroom. He absently applied shaving cream to his face even though it was still smooth from the night before.

His mind was preoccupied by the disturbing dreams he had been having lately. Each one was different in nature, but all of them had a reoccurring theme. Trapped inside the head of one person or another, a dark voice directed and controlled all of his actions. Every time he woke it felt like he had just returned from some type of out-of-body experience. The dark voice seemed to echo in his mind as if from an old memory…

Allan studied himself in the mirror as he cupped his hands under the faucet and he rinsed the remains of shaving cream from his face. He felt very unnerved. These strange dreams were beginning to get the better of him. He worried that they were even affecting him at work.

Wanting to check the news, he pressed firmly on his right temple.

Nothing happened. Confused, he pressed again. Still nothing.

“Not again!” he bellowed angrily.

Fortunately CyberBolt offered a lifetime guarantee on their microchips. Unfortunately however, all of the microchips he’d gotten surgically installed over the years seemed to go faulty within just a few months at best. Though their customer service department absolutely insists that they never install refurbished units, he wasn’t thoroughly convinced.

He had considered skipping work today and heading to CyberBolt’s Chicago Arena, where he could escape reality and play DarkForce to his heart’s content… but now that his microchip had fried again, he would need to undergo another non-invasive surgery to replace it.

This is not my day.

As Allan made the trip to his office at Beckster & Lewis Law Firm, he followed his standard routine by instructing his car’s A.I. unit to play the previous evening’s messages over his car speakers. He always silenced his virtual phone after five o’clock each evening as he left the office in order to maintain a separation between his work life and personal life. There were seven messages in all.

The first message was from his secretary, “…and you have a meeting with Mr. Jenner this morning at 8:00 AM, followed by your meeting with Mr. Demyan at 9:00 AM to sign the securities contract…”

Everything hinges on that contract getting signed today. Nothing else matters.

The next message began, “Allan, it’s Jeff. What ever happened to your promise that you would finish filing the Jerry case today? I’m very disappointed in you. Meet me upstairs in my office tomorrow morning. We need to have a chat.”

How did I forget that again?

Allan moaned as a sinking feeling hit the pit of his stomach. He absently pressed his right temple again with the intent to access his virtual calendar, entirely forgetting his microchip had shorted out.

“Damn it.”

He made a mental note to add this task to the top of his priority list. He gripped the steering wheel tighter as he waited second-in-line at the excruciatingly long stoplight. He didn’t hesitate to slam on his horn when the car ahead of him continued to sit for a few seconds after the light turned green.

The next message began, “Ha! I knew you’d flake out again! Jeff just handed me the Jerry case. Sucker!”

“Arrg!” Allan slammed his fist on his horn at the taxi driver who had just cut him off.

Of course he gave it to Brad! He’s been gunning for my promotion ever since he got here. That partnership is rightfully mine!

The next message began, “This is a message for Mr. Allan Young. My name is Greg, and I’m calling from the Pre-Legal Department of Asset Portfolio Solutions in regards to a personal business matter of yours that requires your immediate attention. Please contact me as soon as possible at 1-800-293-7600. This is an attempt to collect a debt by a debt collector, and any information obtained will be used for that purpose.”

“You’ve got to be kidding me.” Allan scoffed as he slammed on the gas pedal and flew through a red light, “It’s in their Pre-Legal Department already? I’m only three months behind!”

The next message, “Hey Allan, it’s Megan. I just heard about the Jerry case. Is everything okay at home? You seem to be slipping from your game.” she paused and cooed, “Do you need to talk? Maybe we can meet for lunch today? You know I’m always here for you.”

Allan smirked at the thought.

She’s such a little flirt. Maybe I should…

He stared incredulously at the two cars ahead of him that were driving slowly in tandem. He slammed on his horn multiple times until one of them pulled off onto the shoulder. He screeched past them, and felt slightly guilty when he realized the driver must be in his late sixties.

The next message, “This is a message for Mr. Allan Young. My name is Jennifer, and I’m calling from the Loss Mitigation Department of Suburban Home Loans in regards to an important personal business matter of yours. I can be reached directly at (773) 429-8143. This is an attempt to collect a debt…”

“Not the mortgage too!” Allan slammed on his breaks as another taxi driver cut him off.

I thought the bank would clear that check. I’ve gotta get that contract signed today!

As the last message began to play, Allan stared intently at the car’s display screen, willing it to make more sense. The voice on the other end shouldn’t have been there.

“…I know we haven’t spoken in a long time, but I need your help. I’ve stumbled across some disturbing information…”

He shook his head in disbelief as he recognized the voice of his long-forsaken best friend. He hadn’t spoken to Jason in over ten years, nor had he any intention of gaining contact with him ever again. Though he and Jason had practically been brothers during their many years together at Harvard University, only a few weeks before graduation they suffered a nasty falling-out over the same girl. They hadn’t spoken to each other since.

Allan jolted from the sound of a loud horn from behind. He had gotten so distracted by the disturbing message that he hadn’t noticed when the light turned green.

The automated system continued to play, “…To hear the message header information, press five…” Intrigued, he pressed the number 5 on the display. It felt strange to actually feel the glass of the display when he pressed it, considering he was typically accustomed to using virtual displays. “…Message from phone number (630) 543-2534, received today, August third at 4:46 AM.”

Why would Jason try to call me after all these years, let alone at such an early hour?

Troubled, Allan stewed over his options. Buckingham Fountain wasn’t very far from his office. He was dreading the idea of facing Jeff’s wrath anyway, so taking a slight detour through Grant Park might be a good way to de-stress before he had to stand before the chopping block.

This had better be important.


© Copyright 2016 Richard M. Mulder, All rights reserved. Registration # TX0008281211

Chapter Three: Emergency Extraction (from Conquest: A #LitRPG Story)

As promised, here’s the third chapter of Conquest: A LitRPG Story! The Pre-Order is available now on Amazon for only 99 cents. Pre-Order your copy today at myBook.to/Conquest-LitRPG

And God made the firmament. And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the light from the darkness, that they might ward off the darkness of the Leviathan and give light unto the earth: and it was so…

– Methuselah 3:3 –

 

Lily Thatcher recognized the symbol for the National Security Agency (NSA) flashing in her augmented field of vision and quickly answered the call, “Hello?”

A live video feed connected her to her superior officer.

“Agent Wilson,” Commander Arlington addressed her using her real name and title, “I’m sorry to disturb you, but it’s an emergency.”

Thank goodness.

She quickly muted the call and turned back to Allan, “I’m so sorry Allan. Let’s have a serious conversation later.”

Lily turned and addressed the caller as she walked back to the lobby, “What’s the problem?”

“One of our agents was gathering intelligence without proper clearance when he accidentally triggered the security system. Now the whole building is on lockdown and he’s trapped inside.”

“What kind of intelligence?”

 “It’s regarding the surveillance of CyberBolt Entertainment.”

“But that’s my assignment!” she interrupted, “He will blow my cover!”

“I know. I’m not happy about it.” he spoke with a hurried voice, “The police are on their way. You’re the only one familiar enough with the building to get him out of there before they arrive. I’ve got transportation zeroing in on your location right now.”

“I’m on it.” she recognized the unmarked van through the window of the lobby and waved to Agent Miller in the driver’s seat.

She rushed outside feeling relieved. Agent Miller smiled as he punched a button on the dashboard to automatically slide open the side door, “My, my! Don’t you look fancy tonight?”

“I had a date with one of my assignments.” she stumbled as she nearly tripped on the uneven pavement, “He proposed.”

“Oh boy, that’s awkward.” he leaned out the window, “Did you accept?”

“Of course not.”

She slid the door shut as they took off with a screech of the tires. The van swayed as Agent Miller dodged traffic. She placed her hand on a DNA scanner to connect to the NSA’s virtual network and pressed the side of her right temple to activate it. Her fingers began tapping away on a virtual keyboard that was invisible to the public eye, and her eyes dodged between six virtual computer monitors. To an outsider, it would probably look like she was having a seizure.

Despite the swaying of the vehicle, she worked at a rapid pace while several programs ran simultaneously. Streams of coding poured onto the virtual screens as she accessed the back door that she had long ago created to bypass the company’s security program. Most of the screens were still running live video feed from multiple cameras hidden throughout the headquarters of CyberBolt Entertainment. On each screen she could make out flashing red strobe lights going off in alarm.

“This doesn’t look good.” she murmured.

“Brandi?” a familiar voice called over the headset.

“It’s Lily now.” she corrected as her eyebrows furrowed, “Jason? Is that you?”

“Yes.” he muttered, “I’m sorry you got dragged into this.”

“Where are you?” she began flipping through the surveillance footage.

“I’m in Timur Demyan’s office.”

She located the live video feed, “What’s with the scraggly beard? You look terrible.”

He jerked his head around in surprise.

“I’ve got the whole building rigged with hidden cameras.” she explained.

“How soon can you get me out of here?”

“I’ve almost finished bypassing the security program. I’ll have you free in two minutes.” she paused, “Thanks for freeing me from my date.”

“A date, eh?” he interrogated her, “With who? Is it serious? Do I know him?”

“I told you, save your breath. We’ll catch up later.”

“Now you’re being evasive.”

“Now I’m saving your life.” she corrected.

“And also being evasive.”

“It’s nothing serious.” she rolled her eyes, “Details later. For now, just shut up.”

Lily continued to hammer away at the virtual keyboard as she felt the speeding van violently swaying through traffic. A few minutes passed before Jason finally broke the silence.

“So… since I’m in the area, I was hoping I could ask you out.” he suggested sheepishly, “Just like old times.”

“Well… umm…” she paused, “That’s going to be a bit difficult, seeing as how Allan just proposed tonight.”

“Wait… what?” he stammered, “You didn’t yes, did you?”

“Of course not.” she scoffed, “Accepting an arrangement like that would only be at my commander’s direction.”

“Then how about dinner tomorrow night? Just like old times.”

“I’m afraid I’ll have to pass.”

“I’m confused.” his eyebrows furrowed, “You told him no, correct?”

“I told him I’d have to think about it.”

“That’s ridiculous.” he scoffed, “You and I both know it won’t go anywhere.”

She had no words. She’d promised herself she wouldn’t get attached to Allan, but her heart had different plans.

“You don’t actually plan on accepting his proposal, do you?”

“Well, I… uhh…”

“You can’t be serious.” he stammered, “What about us?”

“That was a long time ago. I’ve moved on.”

A look of dismay crossed his face, “But you promised!”

“I know I did.” she sighed, “And I’m sorry.”

“What’s gonna happen if he finds out who you really are?” he seethed.

“Well I…” she stammered as she entered the final algorithm she needed, “I hadn’t really thought about that.”

“Let me tell you what will happen.” he spoke adamantly, “If he stumbles across even the tiniest piece of your true background, you will get reassigned and you will never see your boyfriend again.”

She let those words simmer in her mind as the van screeched to a halt. She slid the door open just a crack and recognized her surroundings. She could hear police sirens in the distance.

“Jason, let’s focus.” she changed the subject, “I need you to listen to me carefully. The police are almost here.”

“Go ahead.”

“I’ve disabled the magnetic lock on the door to your right. Leave Timur’s office and go to the end of the hallway.” she instructed, “I have overridden the security protocols and have sent an elevator to meet you. Take this elevator to level C of the parking garage, and I will meet you there.”

“Roger that.” he saluted.

“And most importantly, don’t get caught.”

© Copyright 2016 Richard M. Mulder, All rights reserved. Registration # TX0008281211

Chapter Two: Ten Hours Earlier (from Conquest: A #LitRPG Story)

As promised, here’s the second chapter of Conquest: A LitRPG Story! The Pre-Order is available now on Amazon for only 99 cents. Pre-Order your copy today at myBook.to/Conquest-LitRPG

And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the deep and fought back the darkness of the Leviathan. And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness…

– Methuselah 3:2 –

Allan Young had been carefully planning this moment for months. He picked up the customized ring from the jeweler hours ago. The restaurant wasn’t too crowded. The table was donned with a setting of tulips, Lily’s favorite flower. Everything was perfect. That is, aside from the fact that the restaurant had run out of her favorite wine. He already gave the apologetic waiter an earful.

When he first explained his intentions to his sister, she was absolutely giddy that he had asked her to help plan the big event. Having described her dream proposal, the incessant chat bubbles popping up in his augmented vision was starting to get annoying.

Allan glanced up from his virtual keyboard and nearly jumped out of his skin when he saw that Lily was almost to the table. He swiped his hand to the right to remove the keyboard, and stood in awe. Her sleek green dress stood out in contrast to her curly locks of red hair.

“You look gorgeous!”

“Thanks sweetie.” she blushed, “This place is beautiful!”

“I know.” he placed a careful kiss so as not to smudge her lipstick or rouge, “It was nearly impossible to get a reservation.”

“I love it.” she sat as he held her chair out, “How long ago did you book it?”

“A few weeks.”

“Wow.” she commented as he sat across from her, “What’s the special occasion?”

“Well, I…” he stammered, “I just… I thought you deserved a nice dinner.”

Her eyes narrowed slightly, but then she got distracted.

“Tulips!” she crooned, “My favorite!”

Allan smiled, “I know.”

A frantic waiter arrived with a bottle of Zinfandel and bowed, “Our finest wine by Ménage à Trois, on the house. Complements of the host.”

Allan nodded knowingly, “Thank you.”

Lily flashed a confused look at Allan as he accepted the expensive bottle of wine.

“Are you ready to order, sir?”

“Yes.” he feigned a shrug at Lily, “I’ll have the Trofie al Pesto.”

“And for you, miss?”

“I’ll have the uhh…” she scanned the menu, “I’ll go with the Tagliatelle al Ragù. And go light on the bolognese sauce.”

The waiter nodded, and then winked at Allan before he turned to leave.

“What was that all about?” Lily queried, pointing at the bottle.

“Oh, it’s nothing.”

Allan swatted absently at the air as several message bubbles from his sister populated in successive order.

“So sorry.” he closed his eyes and quickly pressed on the side of his right temple, “I should mute my communications channel.”

“Who’s that?”

“Oh, it’s just Jen.” he waived it off.

“It’s good to see that you two are on good terms again.” Lily smiled, “I swear. Lately you talk with her more than you do with me!”

“Jealous, much?” he smirked.

“Maybe a little.”

Allan couldn’t help but gawk at her alluring beauty. Her lips were plump from the red lipstick, and the rosie in her cheeks made her skin glow. Her hair glowed a brilliant ginger. He felt like the luckiest man alive. It wouldn’t be long now before this gorgeous woman would be his fiancée.

Lily caught his eye and her face blushed again, “Why are you staring at me like that?”

“Like what?”

“Like you’re starstruck.”

He looked away, “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

She studied him for a long minute until the waiter returned with their entrees.

“Excellent timing.” Allan stammered in the awkward silence, “I’m starving.”

They ate in silence for a few minutes. Allan could see a blinking green light inside his augmented field of vision and a popup alert with each of Jen’s incessant messages, and it only made him more nervous.

Here’s your chance. Go for it.

His pulse picked up in pace as beads of sweat accumulated on his forehead. The lump in his jacket pocket appeared to be growing ominously as the minutes ticked by. Lily was distracted with her food, so she didn’t notice the several attempts he made to speak but no words came to his mouth.

“Lily…” he finally croaked as he wiped his forehead, “You mean the world to me. You know that?”

“Yes, of course sweetie.” her eyes lit up.

His throat felt constricted. He took a long drink of water.

“Is everything okay?” her eyes locked with his, “I thought you said you were starving, but you’ve barely touched your food.”

Allan forced himself to stand.

“Lily, sweetie.” he reached into his jacket pocket and knelt down on one knee, “You are my whole world. I can’t imagine my life without you.”

Allan felt confused by the disturbed look that crossed Lily’s face.

“Please…” Lily whispered as several other diners stopped to gaze at them, “don’t do this here.”

It was too late to backpedal. He gritted his teeth and pushed onward.

“Lily Thatcher, will you marry me?”

She stared at him for a long minute. His confidence was waning as her hesitation lingered.

“Please get up.” she spoke under her breath as they attracted the attention of more diners, “Let’s talk about this.”

He stumbled awkwardly as he stood, “Does that mean no?”

“I don’t know what it means yet.” she winced, “I’ll have to think about it.”

“But…” Allan stammered as he returned to his seat, “I don’t understand.”

“I think we need to slow down…” she winced and pressed the side of her temple, “Hang on. I need to take this.”

Allan felt his stomach drop as she stood to answer the call. He opened the box and stared at the ring in shock.

Lily turned around and pressed a mute button on a small handheld remote, “I’m so sorry Allan. Let’s have a serious conversation later.”

Allan wanted to say something, but he couldn’t find any words before Lily had already exited the lobby. The waiter then returned with a bucket of ice and a corkscrew.

“Would you like me to wait for your lady friend to return before I pop the cork?”

“No.” he shook his head with a heavy sigh, “Go ahead. And can you bring me the check?”

“Yes, sir.” the waiter nodded, “Would you like some boxes too?”

“No thanks.” Allan hung his head low in defeat, “I’ve lost my appetite.”
© Copyright 2016 Richard M. Mulder, All rights reserved. Registration # TX0008281211
PREVIOUS CHAPTER

Chapter One: The Guild (from Conquest: A #LitRPG Story)

As promised, here’s the first chapter of Conquest: A LitRPG Story! The Pre-Order is available now on Amazon for only 99 cents. Pre-Order your copy today at myBook.to/Conquest-LitRPG

In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form, and void. And the Leviathan was upon the face of the deep: the darkness that doth corrupt all life and desireth to obliterate all light…

– Methuselah 3:1 –

With his guild gathered, Allan Young pressed firmly on his right temple and brought up his HUD. As the leader of his guild, his profile @Hellekith was infamous inside the game DarkForce. He quickly divvied out the tasks that would help them succeed in their quest based upon the skill level of each player. The massive fortress of Atlantis had been overrun by the Creed of Nephilim, and it was their solemn duty to take the fortress back by force and restore the throne to its rightful heir.

“@Vragyth16, report!” he whispered through the comm.

“Sir, our battering ram is in place.” he responded.

“Any sign of the Creed?”

“None, sir.”

Allan used his bio signature scanner to check their surroundings. It was a bit unnerving that they stood at the foot of the massive gate, but there was no sign of the Creed for miles. All of their previous raids and quests had been met with severe resistance and a lot of bloodshed.

This is too easy. Something’s not right.

“@Gihr5,” he instructed, “Go check the gate.”

“Yes sir.”

He felt somewhat guilty. @Gihr5 was still a noob to the game, which meant he usually served as their pissboy. If he were killed at the beginning of the quest, as was quite common, he would have to trek all the way back from his spawning point. This often meant that he would miss the entire quest and would be unable to gain any XP, let alone level up.

Oh well. He’s a good sport about it.

@Gihr5 approached the gate cautiously with his plasma rifle drawn. He tapped at the gate with the tip of his gun and relaxed his pose, relieved that it wasn’t protected with a force field.

“All’s clear!” he waved.

Allan caught a strange movement out of the corner of his eye. Just a few feet away from @Gihr5’s position, a flaming sword suddenly appeared to be hovering in mid-air.

“Watch out!” he called, but it was too late.

They’re cloaked!

The hooded creature withdrew the blade from @Gihr5’s body and let it crumple to the ground.

Allan instinctively drew his own sword and swung around, his blade clashing with the parry of an invisible blow. The cloak dissipated, revealing the towering figure of another hooded minion of the Leviathan. His Augmented Vision then alerted him to a large number of the Creed spawning in various locations all around them.

We’re surrounded!

Allan attacked with his signature strike, killing the wraith in a single blow. He doubled back, and activated the battering ram in haste. Unfortunately, two of his guild members had failed to move out of the way and were battered to death.

Shit! I’m sure I’ll get an earful from them later.

Three more wraiths came galloping toward him on their steeds. He closed the gap quickly in a sprint, throwing one of his massive shoulder pads into the side of the beast. Startled by the forceful impact, the horse reared up on its hind legs and the wraith fell off of his mount. With a swift stroke, Allan beheaded the hooded creature.

The other two wraiths came galloping back, but Allan was ready for them. With a wide swing, he severed the front legs of both horses. The whinny from each sounded more like screams as they each crumpled to a halt and sent their riders flying in the air. He made quick work of each wraith, and then returned to the screaming horses to put them out of their misery.

The mechanical ram continued to batter relentlessly at the steel-reinforced gate while the chaos surrounded them from all sides. The comm channel was overwhelmed with expletives as the battle raged on.

This quest was sheer suicide!

After destroying another wraith, Allan ducked behind the battering ram for cover and pulled up his guild’s stats on his HUD.

“Damn it.” he murmured under his breath.

Nearly half of his guild of 20 had already been killed. The casualties were too large to carry our their quest, and there was no way the other half of his guild would make it back in time from each of their spawning points. He had to make a difficult decision – one he’d never had to make before, and it would ruin his reputation.

He took a deep sigh and activated the comm, “Retreat! I repeat, everyone fall back!”

@BlondeWarrior made a sideways glance at him after she cut down another wraith of the Creed. The look on her face said it all.

She’s pissed.

She frowned indignantly, and then pressed on her right temple. In a flash of light, she disappeared.

Parrying another blow, he watched the radar on his HUD as the signature of each member of his guild logged out and disappeared. Swinging a final strike, his sword sliced cleanly through the torso of his attacker. He pressed on his right temple again and swiped his hand to the right. A box appeared:

abortgame.PNG

No wonder she was pissed.

He also knew they were leaving their battering ram behind – which meant that hundreds of logged hours of looting and plundering to obtain the necessary funding was about to go to waste. Allan sighed heavily, and aborted the quest they had prepared so much for.

He quickly swiped past the end game credits, not wanting to see how poorly his entire guild had fared. Landing in the lobby, he cringed to see @BlondeWarrior waiting for him impatiently with her arms crossed over her scantily-armored chest.

“What the hell?” she seethed, “Why’d you abort? You and I alone could have brought the Creed down to their knees.”

Allan shook his head, “The quest was compromised. We had already lost more than half of our guild.”

“Compromised, my ass.”

“I had already delegated the assignments…”

“You know what your problem is?” she interrupted, “Shit happens. You gotta just roll with the punches.”

He knew she was right, but he just didn’t have time to come up with multiple scenarios anymore.

“You’re getting soft.” her avatar’s eyes bore into his with scrutiny, “What’s your problem lately, anyway? You always seem distracted.”

“If you must know,” he smiled, “I’m proposing tonight.”

“I’m flattered!” she teased, “Seriously though, who’s the lucky girl?”

“My girlfriend Lily.” his eyes lit up, “We’ve been together for three years now.”

“Jeez,” she whistled, “That’s a long time. The longest relationship I’ve ever had was a month at best.”

“It’s not a relationship when you’re getting paid for your services.” Allan smirked.

She smiled wickedly, “At least now I know why you keep turning me down for in-game services. I was beginning to think you were some kind of purist.”

“No.” he laughed, “I just can’t afford your rates.”
© Copyright 2016 Richard M. Mulder, All rights reserved. Registration # TX0008281211
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Prologue: Shadows of Darkness (from Conquest: A #LitRPG Story)

As promised, here’s the Prologue of Conquest: A LitRPG Story! The Pre-Order is available now on Amazon for only 99 cents. Pre-Order your copy today at myBook.to/Conquest-LitRPG

The voices in his mind were barely a whisper now, but they were always present. It had taken him hundreds of years to subdue them, and he feared that his true intentions would soon be discovered. Though Timur Demyan had long ago yielded up his soul unto the Leviathan, he still followed his own agenda while he fulfilled the will of his Master.

Timur hid in the shadows of the park, slipping through the darkness from one shadow to the next. His prey walked quickly with eyes darting to each side like a bird weary of predators. A frantic look of desperation was plastered over the other man’s unshaven face as he flipped open an antiquated cell phone.

“Come on…” he heard Jason Bridger murmur to the phone as he approached the fountain, “Answer already!”

“Allan, this is Jason. I know we haven’t spoken in a long time, but I need your help. I’ve stumbled across some disturbing information that involves one of your firm’s clients. I need to speak with you in private immediately. As soon as you get this, meet me on the east side of Buckingham Fountain. There’s little time.”

The instant Jason ended the call, Timur stepped out of the shadows, “Indeed, you have very little time.”

Jason spun around with his concealed pistol cocked and ready, “Back off, old man!”

“Ah,” Timur limped forward with his cane in his crippled right hand while he brandished a handgun with his left, “Not until you return what belongs to me.”

“I’m not letting you get away with this.” Jason shook his head adamantly.

“This scene is all too familiar.” Timur chuckled as he cocked his handgun and aimed, “This is exactly how your colleague died.”

Without a second’s hesitation, Jason pulled the trigger. Timur fell backwards with the sudden impact that hit him in the face. Seconds later a strange greenish glow surrounded his body, and then he disappeared. Jason’s eyes grew wide, and then a bullet ripped through his abdomen. And then another through his chest. Clutching the wounds, he absently dropped his pistol as he fell to his knees.

Timur reappeared from another shadow and the strange glow around his body began to dissipate. He approached with a silencer affixed to the tip of his handgun and picked up the old thumb drive that had fallen out of Jason’s hand.

“As I said earlier, you indeed have very little time.” Timur sneered as he placed the tip of his handgun against Jason’s forehead, “And I might add, your friend Allan has very little time as well.”

© Copyright 2016 Richard M. Mulder, All rights reserved. Registration # TX0008281211

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