Excerpt from Chapter 3: "Samantha's Dream"
Samantha Harris stumbled down hallways filled with chilly smoke. She was lost. For some reason, it seemed hard to walk steady, and she felt cold from the inside out. The gaunt, ribbed interior of Vogul’s gunship rose around her, yet it looked blurry—indistinct. She swatted at the fog, but it wouldn’t lift. It went on and on, like the endless corridors of the Draxalis.
Something felt horribly wrong. She heard Lexur’s voice recounting the Cybrium attacks. A faint image of villagers being gunned down in a raid flashed before her in the fog. Samantha recoiled. The sight of the Cybrium made her heart race. Losing one’s self-control to a supercomputer terrified her, and she blinked, praying it would clear the images.
Blankness met her, only to be replaced by a swirling patch of mist that took the shape of a familiar figure. The Shadow! A gleaming, evil mouth opened, smiling mordantly. It filled her with inescapable dread and she backed away, clawing at the air behind
her. Yet the assassin looked…different. She squinted, and her heart nearly stopped as a middle-aged human with blond hair emerged from the fog. Samantha could see every detail clearly. It was Vogul!
“You and I are not so unalike,” the madman said, grinning nastily.
“For ones so talented, you know so little of this galaxy!” The Shadow mocked, from behind her.
“You have no conception of what has begun!” The Voices screamed inside her head.
Samantha sat bolt upright in bed. Cold droplets of sweat ran down her forehead, and she brushed a hand through her disheveled hair. What a horrifying nightmare! The prophetess breathed a sigh of relief, yet it ended in a choke. She wasn’t where she ought to be.
An eerie feeling subdued her. Where was her dormitory? Instead of the familiar space, she found herself in a strange courtyard—a garden, really—surrounded by four walls. She had awakened on some sort of alien daybed. Her heart pounded as she wondered if aliens had once again abducted her. Could it be the Cybrium…or had Vogul really come back from the dead?
Rising, she padded quietly over wet grass that tickled her bare feet. Her nightgown trailed behind her as she walked toward a large, shadowy opening in one of the walls. Her heart beat loudly in her ears. Samantha entered to find herself in a strange library. A menacing red permeated the sky outside, while dim lights inside tinged the walls in dark violet. It appeared to be night, and not a soul stirred. The silent stacks overflowed with volumes that appeared at once tangible and digitized. She reached out her hand for a book, but heard footsteps behind her.
Whirling, Samantha nearly suffered a heart attack. A bearded man in a cloak and tunic surveyed her. His cloak was without hood, yet the lighting cast his face largely in shadow. His blue garments, edged in gold, had diagonal patterns crisscrossing an alien but traditional-looking outfit. He straightened several books, not taking his gleaming eyes off her.
“Fear not,” the librarian said, his authoritative voice hardly soothing her nerves. “Your previous nightmare was the imagining of a troubled mind.
You are seeing this present realm but in a dream. One day you shall arrive, but for now, you view a shadow of the future.”
“Is this a prophecy?” Samantha questioned, glancing around.
“Perhaps.” The man smiled slightly. “Take care which book you peruse, Miss Harris. Only one may be chosen in the Library of the Infinite, and it is not that volume which you will seek.”
“Why am I here?” Samantha asked, withdrawing her hand from the tome.
“The Lord has seen fit to show you a glimpse of the future,” the librarian said simply. “You are a prophetess. One day, you will come to me and my brothers, seeking the help that knowledge gives. Many greater beings have found wisdom in the hallways of this Library. There is one word I must impart to you, before you awaken from your dream. Or is it in sleep that we truly awaken?”
“Speak plainly!” Samantha demanded. “I’m sick of riddles from the Servant of the Lord!”
“Ah yes. I know of whom you speak.”
Samantha couldn’t be certain, but an odd expression crossed the librarian’s face.
“You know him?” Samantha shook her head to clear it. “Does everyone in this freaking galaxy know each other?”
“In a way, everything is connected.” The librarian crossed his arms. “One day, others carrying the orbs will find the answers you seek. For now, simply know that one of your own shall betray you. A Starganaut will turn against his fellow orb-bearers. When you face him, it will be the end of the Starganauts. Yet face him you must.”