The Complex Series

Book Cover: Unclaimed
Part of the The Complex series:
  • Unclaimed

The Complex Book Series.
A Lone Planet. One Complex.
Unlimited Chaos.

Some choices cannot be unclaimed

Luke Cadell, war veteran with a nefarious history during P-Extinction, admires the Complex as he walks into the facility. Too bad his reputation is going to get him killed here. If the terrorist plot he’s mixed up in doesn’t kill him first.

Morrigan is starting her life over. Not that she has a choice. Odin banished her from Valhalla, and the eternal existence she adored. Now the Valkyrie must learn to live as a mostly-Human. Simple enough. Until she gets a premonition that will destroy every achievement gained in the Complex.

Luke could help her. Or he could follow orders. Morrigan isn’t betting he will change his orders.

 

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“I’ll have the steak burrito,” Luke said to the blonde behind the counter at his new favorite greasy spoon in the main hub of the Complex.

A month in, and he’d found a few favorite places to eat. This one, Uni John’s, had a mix of a lot of old earthen food, the kind of stuff that made him think about, well…

Old stuff.

From before. When he hadn’t been part machine. Or part soldier.

She smiled. “Your usual, then,” she said as she punched the order in on the panel in front of her.

“I like simple things.”

Her grin got a little bigger. “Me too. Being alive is beautiful.”

He nodded, forcing a smile. “Sure.” What the hell was up with her?

She turned to get his order, thankfully removing him from having to have any more pretend cheery conversation.

His communication chip buzzed, and he didn’t have to look to know what it was.

Dumol.

She needed another favor.

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He sighed. Storing her contraband wasn’t why he was here. Though really, he didn’t know why he was here. No orders were given. He had only been instructed to be here in case

And he’d been a solider long enough to know what in case meant.

Here he was, taking orders again. He didn’t want to be, but what choice did he have? And now he had Dumol’s shit on top of that?

Fuck.

Not exactly how he wanted to spend his time. What was that old Earth phrase? No rest for the nefarious. Or something like that.

He glanced around. Everyone in the little open courtyard was overly cheery. There wasn’t a grumpy face anywhere, except for his.

Odd.

In that way, that made him nervous.

The girl returned with his food, already bundled in a bag for him to take back to his apartment. “Here you go. Hope you enjoy! I threw a couple extra cinnamon treats in there for you.”

He raised his eyebrow. “Thanks. You’re awfully cheery.”

“Guess I’m just happy everything’s working right. We had to have maintenance out this morning to fix a few things, and she was just so nice and happy, I think it rubbed off on everyone.”

He nodded as he scanned his palm to pay for the food.

Huh.

Immediately, he became a bit defensive, because that didn’t exactly sound normal. Wasn’t that what the chips were supposed to protect the humans from? Not being influenced by Meta power?

He needed to get out of here as quickly as possible. Some Meta surely had found a way around the chips.

He wasn’t about to be washed up in the magic that must still be lingering in the air. He started moving through the crowds, avoiding contact with as many people as possible, though this time of evening in Main City, every being seemed to be here.

Made it hard to figure who might be trying to manipulate free will. He wondered what it was—a spell? A smell? A sound? What could go against the chips? It would have to be something—

“Oh, excuse me,” a woman said.

Luke jerked. He’d about run over another Human. Well she looked Human enough, but that didn’t mean anything. Not here. He’d already seen far too many Metas that looked Human.

They always had some kind of air to them. He could almost sense them—an aroma, or something seemed to linger.

This woman, though, he wasn’t sure what she was. Most Metas didn’t recoil when they walked—their natural arrogance tended to leave them all standing taller than they needed to. This one, though, her shoulders were slumped and she sort of cowered away from him.

But she stared at him with the strangest expression. Like she trembled, but she was curious.

He wanted to tell her to forget about him. That he wasn’t worth paying attention to. He didn’t want to be remembered.

Ever.

Yet he felt it in his bones, that she saw him. All of him. And that bothered him a lot. Humans and Metas had been afraid of him for a very long time. Now he just wanted them to leave him alone.

“I’m sorry,” he made himself say. “I wasn’t watching where I was going.”

“No, I was in a hurry,” she said, looking away. She started fiddling with her hair as she sort of matched his pace, but kept out of reach.

Why that bothered him, he wasn’t sure. He’d always had people afraid of him. This shouldn’t be different.

Yet for some reason it was. He wondered if she knew who he was. Would explain her posture, for certain.

When she glanced at him this time, she really looked at him and her whole demeanor changed.

She stood up straighter, her eyes widened, and she blinked.

Exactly twice.

Very deliberate, like she was trying to process him.

He nodded to her, and turned to walk away.

“Wait,” she said, and she reached to touch him, her hand mere inches from him.

He recoiled. “I need to go.”

“Please,” she said.

And something about that word jarred him. Two sides within him went to war. That bit of humanity left wanted to know what she wanted. The soldier, however, felt a trap starting to close around him, and he needed to get out of there as soon as possible.

He backed away.

Almost ran over someone else, but he kept going.

She took a couple steps toward him. “Wait. I know you…”

Her words faded away as he fled as fast as he could. He didn’t want to know why that woman knew him.

It couldn’t be good.

COLLAPSE

This is part of the series, The Complex, including books by Scarlett Dawn, Demelza Carlton, and Kristen Middleton, among many other amazing authors. I am privileged to be a part of such an amazing collection of stories. 

Unclaimed