New excerpt from Chapter 7 of Questor!

Here is a new excerpt from my SF adventure novel, Questor. This is from Chapter 7:

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Jon was supporting Triena by this time. “We should’ve rested somewhere earlier. It’s obvious you’re both completely worn out.”

“Yes, we made extensive use of our Gifts last night. Though I admit, this resulting tiredness is more extreme than I expected,” Triena said, her voice low and faint.

“That’s true. I’ve never felt so exhausted,” added Lector.

“I wonder,” interjected Manny, as the idea hit him, “if that really is the shield generator, could it be giving off some of the energy that it…amplifies into the atmosphere? If so, that could be causing an even greater drain on your energies than normal.”

“That could be—” Lector began.

“In which case, the sooner we get you away from here the better,” interrupted Jon firmly. “Let’s get as far in here as we need for safety. Take time for a good rest and then we get right off this mountain.”

Jon and Triena were walking in front, Jon supporting her so much now he was almost taking her whole weight. Behind them, Manny had taken Lector’s arm across his shoulders to support him when he’d stumbled and almost fallen.

“No…far…now,” Lector mumbled brokenly. Their tiredness seemed to have doubled just since they’d entered the cave.

The pathway ahead branched like a narrow Y, and Lector muttered they should go right. As they turned the corner, they were confronted by several Mideans.

It was difficult to say who was more shocked. They all stopped suddenly and just stared at each other. The problem was both Manny and Jon were hampered by the Rhiava, though Manny and Lector were somewhat protected by being behind Jon and Triena. Manny released Lector, who slipped back around the bend behind him. Even as Manny was struggling to pull out his weapon, two of the Mideans attempted to pull Triena from Jon’s grasp. He wouldn’t allow that, and soon they were involved in a fierce struggle during which Jon somehow managed to wedge himself between the Mideans and Triena. He shoved Triena back toward Manny.

Manny caught Triena, but in doing so he found himself swung around slightly so he was facing the other Mideans who’d been making a bee-line for him and Lector. He swept his weapon in their direction and three of them fell to the ground unconscious. That left two who were naturally more cautious. The Mideans scooted behind a convenient boulder and one of them blew something, not unlike a particularly shrill whistle, and from the other tunnel, just to their left, footsteps could be heard running and voices calling out.

Manny had to back away, still protecting Triena and Lector from both the remaining Mideans and from what must be another patrol approaching from the other tunnel, the entrance of which was just behind them.

“Jon! Jon, this way,” Manny called urgently.


It was a nice thought, but Jon couldn’t get away from the two Mideans with whom he struggled. He had no opportunity to draw his weapon, and the hand-to-hand fight he was engaged in had drawn him farther into the tunnel and away from the others.

He did the only thing he could. “Go, Manny, go. Get them out of here!” he yelled.

“Jon, no!” He heard the fear in Triena’s voice as she called out to him.

He renewed his efforts—not to escape, that was impossible…there were about eight Mideans now between him and the others—but to keep as many as possible of the Mideans occupied so his friends could escape. He was gratified to hear the repeated whine of Manny’s weapon, which meant he was still making his way out. Jon was horrified for a moment when he also heard the reply from one of the percussion weapons of the Mideans, but immediately afterward he heard Manny firing again and again, and the sound was fading with the distance.

Jon managed to keep the Mideans busy for a long two, maybe three minutes. It felt much longer, but it couldn’t have been much more. He took on four of them in the end, managing to knock out one before they overwhelmed him. They made him pay for his temerity, however. When it was clear his friends had escaped and the Mideans finally overcame Jon, two of them held him while the other used him as a punching bag, before dragging him off to some kind of control center in a nearby large cavern.

His face was badly cut and bruised and his abdomen and chest were particularly painful. He thought he probably had a couple of broken ribs, made more painful by the manner in which they tied his arms behind his back.

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