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About the Book
How much havoc could one upstart young Upworlder create?
Thirty years after her exile from her homeworld, Nara was growing weary of the monotony of mercenary life: Do job for Company A, anger Company B, survive the inevitable retaliation. Repeat ad nauseam.
Most importantly, try hard not to anger Galavantier Corp again.
Evading the reach of the ubiquitous Biotech enterprise in the shadows of the Undercity was easy enough. That is, until the unconscious body of the CEO's heir lands at her feet.
Both ignorant of their mutual vendetta, the brazen noble offered a proposal: help him escape Uppercity, and he'd buy every tool of destruction her heart desired. But it was the danger that tempted Nara, not money.
As their business relationship evolves into a tenuous comradery, Nara is thrown into the jaws of her most ruthless adversary. She must now decide what to do with her strange bedfellow-and hope to survive the aftermath.
Sleepless Flame is a faced-paced action-packed scifi story that features a nonbinary protagonist. Follow the exploits of a disgraced war criminal as they navigate a vibrant cyberpunk world full of corporate intrigue while using fascinating automated combat technology and computer skills. Great for readers who enjoy Bladerunner and Shadowrun games.
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Keep reading for an excerpt:
“Ouch! –Oof, yeah?” a voice squeaked through the box.
“It’s Nara. Got something I need.”
“Oh, hi! Come on in.”
After a series of cluttered crashes, screeching metal, and intermittent distressed yelps from the intercom, the door buzzed open. Nara heaved the vault open, waving a hesitant Garrett inside the dark corridor.
With a heavy, echoing clunk, the cavern burst with light, revealing a techno geek’s wildest fantasy. Wires and computer parts were haphazardly strewn all over the floors and the walls, emulating a nest of an enormous gadget-obsessed vermin. Half-built robotics and cybernetic body parts stood vigilant amid the labyrinth of cluttered workbenches overflowing with tools and broken electronic boards. Glinting LEDs flashed sporadic, garbled messages, illuminating the path with a rainbow of jarring beacons.
Making their way gingerly through the shiny perilous mess, the duo entered a clearing in the madness occupied by a desk and a few chairs, also piled with half-finished projects. A scrawny young man emerged from the chaos, bits of shredded circuitry slung around his neck. Upon noticing the visitors, he hastily removed the wiry adornments, placing them on top of a teetering pile.
“What can I do for you?” he asked cheerfully, wiping his hands clean on his jumpsuit.
“This is Art,” she said to Garrett, gesturing toward the technophile. “Art, this is an annoying little sod who keeps following me around.”
“My name is Garrett, actually.” He offered his hand to Art, who energetically shook it. “I hired Nara as a bodyguard.”
“An Upworlder, eh? Well, you certainly have an eye for quality.” The quirky man scratched his nose, leaving a black streak of grease on his tawny beige skin.
“Need a Hawk kit for the armor.” Nara tossed over the newly purchased badge.
The glinting projectile landed squarely on Art’s chest, causing him to perform an impromptu flailing dance as he fought with his limited coordination. He raised it to his face, scrutinizing the serial number on the back of the case.
“Whoa, nice! It’s one of those new Nexuz models,” Art marveled, the enthusiasm radiating across the room.
“It does what I need it to. I don’t care who made it,” Nara stated.
“You know, I could probably tweak its performance a little,” he offered, her remark falling on deaf ears as he mentally tore apart the device. “Make it a bit sturdier, if you know what I mean.”
“You break it, you buy it at double cost,” she warned.
“That’s not fair. You know me well enough.” Art jabbed a defensive finger into the air.
“Exactly. I do know you well enough.” She sighed with a defeated wave. “Eugh, do what you want. It isn’t on my tab.”
“Really? Awesome! You will be totally psyched with what I can do with this thing.” Art’s eyes lit up with glee. He then met Garrett’s worried expression and restrained his excitement with a cough. “Don’t worry, it won’t cost much. I should be able to get what you need in a few minutes. Just let me do this one thing and . . .”