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Regeneration (Excerpt)
The final volume in the Species Imperative Trilogy
By  Julie E. Czerneda

It’s a ghost.”

Meme spread his aural folds, a dismissive display to imply that no matter how much of his Human scantech’s verbal utterances he collected to process, they would never make sense. His predecessor had tried to convince Meme such species-specific gestures were not appreciated by aliens.
Meme was sure this lack of appreciation had more to do with his predecessor’s unusually small aural folds. During the entire change of command ceremony, he’d needed all of his self-discipline not to stare.

Meme’s own aural folds were magnificently broad, their skin kept well-oiled and supple. He had brought --

“Or maybe it’s not.”

The Human’s harsh voice intruded on Meme’s pleasantly semi-dormant state. Worse, she -- the matter of the creature’s gender having been settled contrary to expectation, costing a fair sum in wagers -- did not appear to have noticed Meme’s display. Nothing for it, the Ar sighed, but to actually pay attention. “What are you mumbling about?”

“Oh. You’re awake?” The Human sat straighter and appeared confused. “Sorry, Captain. I’ve been following a tick in the aft sensor. Might be something.”

“Define ‘something.’”

“A ship, sir. Shadowing us.”

“No. There is no ‘something.’ No ship.” Meme closed his aural folds. Annoying Human. Their patrol area was days out from the transect gate -- well beyond the orbit of what remained of the Dhryn world. Nice and safe and boring. No one and nothing came here. As if anything could get past the eager clusters of ships further in.

Peaceful. Just the way he liked it.

“Captain?” Merciful silence. Then: “You can’t just ignore this!”

He certainly could.

What Meme couldn’t ignore was the shocking pain of his left aural fold being yanked open. “Captain! We must investigate any intrusion!”

Eyes watering, mouth working, Meme gestured helplessly at his tormentor.

She released his fold and Meme shuddered with relief. But the Human wasn’t done. She leaned forward until her hideous pale eyeballs almost touched his. “Or should  I contact the Trisulian?”

Meme shuddered. At last count, there were fifteen hundred and sixty-four ships orbiting Haven’s sun, courtesy of the anxious governments of systems along the Naralax. Most were like this, quick, sensor-laden scouts capable of squealing a near-light com signal to the packet ships waiting by the gate, crewed by those willing to sit in the darkness and wait.

The Trisulian warship was the exception, a bristling mass of threat that gave the Ar hives to even contemplate. As for her grim captain? “Let’s not contact them unless we’re sure,” he pleaded, well versed in the reckless nature of females.

The Human gave him one final glare, then returned to her station. Meme took several calming breaths as he fingered his abused fold. Obviously Human females were no more stable than Trisulian. He could only hope she was capable. The Ar weren’t a wealthy or adventurous race. When the call had come for ships to watch Haven, the Sinzi-ra of the IU consulate on Arer had quietly hired this Human ship and its crew, asking only that the Ar provide a volunteer of their species to captain.
Meme was the fourth Ar to so serve, while the three Human crew had remained unchanged. It was as if they didn’t need a captain at all.

Regeneration : Coming from DAW Books May 2006

Read IN's exclusive interview with Julie E. Czerneda about writing.IN Icon


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© Freelance Writing Organization - International 1999-2049

IN This Issue
Gory Glory
Undertaker's Moon (Excerpt)
Romantic Intrigue
No Safe Place (Excerpt)
From The Docks To The Commons
The Care Vortex (excerpt)
Irish Mists And Histories
Shadows Will Fall (Excerpt)
A Mind On The Move
The Rush To Here (Excerpt)

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Bald Ego
Mouse Over To Pause

Writer’s Block
The path to inspiration starts
Upon the trails we’ve known;
Each writer’s block is not a rock,
But just a stepping stone.

Poetry Is Not
Penned to the page
Waiting for us to admire.
It is only a lonely thought
Caught by tears on fire.

Silent Echoes
A quiet rhyme upon a page
Is what a poet gives;
Some gentle words whispered in trust
To see if memory lives.

Bard From Deadlines
What makes a poem finally work
Is not the time it takes;
It’s how the poet used the muse
To prophet from mistakes.

Be Mused
The art and craft of poetry
Are not so far apart;
The craft comes from the cunning,
The rest comes from the heart.

Fine Vintage
Don’t plant your poem on the page
As though you’re hanging drapes;
It’s shape and flow should come and grow
Like wild summer grapes.

Getting It Write
Writers write what they know best,
Their passions, fears, and dreams;
Writers rarely write about
What other call their “themes.”

Double Vision
A writer’s life is paradox,
It’s more than what it seems;
We write of our reality,
The one inside our dreams.

The echo of a promise,
The thunder of a sigh,
The music of a memory,
A child asking why.

Letter Perfect
Twenty six symbols arranged on a page
Can send a soul to heaven or torment it with rage,
Can free a fragile world or hold it in its net--
The power and the magic of the mighty alphabet.

The Write of Passage
The jump from writing just for fun
To getting paid for it
Begins when you first realize
You know you’ll never quit.

It is not the magic of his wings
That sets us free from our bond.
It is the muse within ourselves
That lets our words lift us beyond.

Photo Poet
Consider your mind the darkroom,
Consider your life the lens,
Consider your eye the camera
On whose focus the poem depends.

Rising Moon
A poem is a rising moon
Shining on the sea,
An afterglow of all we know,
Of all we hope to be.

Star Light
Writing a poem,
Reaching a star,
In making good art
We find who we are.

Spider Web
A poem is a spider web
Spun with words of wonder,
Woven lace held in place
By whispers made of thunder.

The final draft upon the screen,
At last my poem’s through;
A verse of only four short lines--
I rewrote twenty-two!

Read All Of Charles Ghigna's Poetry at

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