Welcome to the Science Fiction Romance Brigade Showcase for October, 2014! The Showcase is a chance for SFR Brigade members to share their own Sci-fi Romance books, WIPs and new releases. For more posts, visit the SFR Brigade Blog.
I think October is the perfect month to talk about aliens that are more than just ‘humans in space’. I try to incorporate unique traits into several species that inhabit the Corwint universe. Hedarions, for example, have eyes that are completely black and heights that never go beyond four-foot-four. Orellians, like Ogrridannes on the cover to the left, have overly-muscualr bodies, orange, scaled skin and are completely hairless, except the females who have a mohawk crest that raises and flattens with their mood, and a braid down their back.
Kilarians have traits related to birds, not only in their physical makeup, but also in their vocal and body language. While Hedarions and Orellians have had a prominent role in my series so far, little has been revealed about Kilarians. In the next few books in the series, more will be revealed about the isolationist Kilari.
Here is a snippet from a future Corwint series book, which will feature a Kilarian main character.
The lower engine compartment hummed with a reverberating pulse, like a steady heartbeat. A tubular hydrofusion core drummed on in an unceasing rhythm, providing a constant electrical current throughout the Blue Yonder’s systems. The core’s soft, blue glow caressed every surface, reflecting against the metal casing and amplifying the ethereal haze, enveloping the compartment’s cramped space. For many, their first glimpse at the engine powering the Blue Yonder through the interstellar causeways was a gaze into the sacred gates of an engineering temple where the constructs of man mingled with dreams of the imagination in an attempt to reach the furthest visible star and touch the face of God.
“Damn you! You infernal, stubborn, glitchy-ass piece of geffarion shit!” The cursing tirade was highlighted by the metallic clanking echo of Kalau’kalis Oosori’s telescopic spanner as it flew across the six foot wide compartment to hit against the opposite wall and then fall through the flooring grate at a most inconvenient angle. “Oh, wonderful!”
Kalau rolled his vivid violet eyes and ran a hand roughly through his silvery grey hair, the small downy feathers at the base of his neck fluffing in a reaction to his irritation. A series of frustrated warbles made a melodious tune from his four vocal cords before expelling from between perfectly symmetrical lips that were fighting against a heavy desire to frown and curse again. A Common Tradespeak curse or two did finally win the battle over his native Kilarian language of trills and clicks as he knelt down in an attempt to retrieve the tool. His arm stretched between the floor grates with a pinching tightness that threatened to keep him pinned there for all eternity.
“Having some issues, Kal?” The bright green eyes of Landry Brogen appeared in the square ceiling hatch that led into the lower compartment. Strands of her rich umber hair trailed down beyond the opening, defying her never ending battle to keep them restrained within the clipped bun that served to raise her long hair off her neck in the engine room’s natural sauna-like temperatures.
Kalau flinched at the sound of Landry’s voice calling from overhead and dropped the spanner again, after just managing to secure a grip on it. The spanner mocked its owner in a calamitous, clinking series of pings as it slid between the compressor vent and the pressure-reserve tank to disappear into the black abyss, joining its brethren of abused, misplaced and dropped tools. “Fuck.”
Landry snickered at the Kilarian’s rare, public curse before disappearing from the hatch only to reappear feet first a few moments later. Her footsteps down the ladder rungs accompanied her descent. Skipping the last three rungs, Landry landed squarely behind Kalau and eyed the man’s backside as he stood. “Here,”
Kalau turned to the Corwint female and eyed the water bottle being offered. “Thanks,” he mumbled and took the bottle, avoiding the gaze of her green eyes.
He continued staring down through the floor grating at the spot where he had just lost another spanner. The heat in the compartment raised as his mind berated him for his emotional outburst, which was not a characteristic commonly attributed to Kilarians. Calm, collected, intelligent and arrogant. Yes, that about summed up the off-worlder impression of his people, and it wasn’t a description he bothered arguing over.
Landry rocked back on her heels and tried not to stare at the movement of his throat as he tipped the bottle upwards and took a long drink. “Lose another spanner?”
He coughed and sputtered, lowered the bottle and gave her a sideways scowl which forced him to look at her a few seconds longer than he should. The temperature in the confined space rose another notch. Flicking his glare away, he set the bottle on top of the condenser and knelt down in front of the panel he had opened earlier. “Had I known I would be having an audience, I would have put on a better show.”
Landry scrunched up her freckled nose at his retort and stared at his backside again. The black canvas of his flight pants did nothing to diminish the pleasant view. The white tank-top he was wearing, with lean muscles rippling beneath the pale skin that it exposed, wasn’t helping her efforts to find something else to occupy her eyes. “Condensation on the timing switch again?”
“Yes,” he replied shortly as he tried to reach the junction at the back of the wire-filled panel.
Her brow furrowed. “Need a hand? My arm is thinner and can-”
“No,” he cut her off then grunted as his shoulder wedged into the corner of the unit.
A huff blew up the loose strands of her hair before she crouched down next to him. “C’mon, Kalau’kalis, you’re going to cut your shoulder doing that.”
He flinched as she used his full name, the sound of it on her voice giving him an involuntary shiver. Most either called him Kal or Kalis. Never Kalau, and certainly never Kalau’kalis while attempting to actually pronounce it correctly. Not an easy feat when Landry only had two vocal chords and the Kilarian language required four.
“Kalau,” she urged again.
He shivered again. Dammit. “I’m fine.”
“Look, just let me,” she stopped as he jerked away from her hand. His violet eyes shut in a wince as a line of blood dripped from a fresh cut on his shoulder. Backing away with one hand on her hip, she pointed at the wound. “See? Why don’t you just let me help you instead of being so damn stubborn?”
Yanking his arm out of the mess of wires with another grunt, he moved further away from her. The thin line of tiny silver feathers that ran down the back of his neck rose in a fluster and he turned his growing scowl to his bleeding shoulder. “I’m sure you have work to get done.”
“No, actually, I don’t.” She waited for him to say something, but he just stood there, glaring at the hydrofusion housing coil as it pulsed.
A bead of sweat ran down the line of his jaw and she caught herself gazing at the handsome angles of his face as she tried to quell her rising anger at his continued attitude. Shaking herself out of the stupor his presence always seemed to put her in, she thought it was high time he explained why he was always so rude to her so she could get over her aggravating, clearly hormonally-imbalanced, infatuation. “What’s your problem, Kal?”
He blinked, glanced over to her then turned away. “There is no problem.”
“Geffarion shit, there isn’t! You’ve been nothing but stand-offish with me since I came on board.”
“I’m Kilarian,” he replied with a light shrug, as if that should be a satisfactory explanation.
“Well, no shit.” She took a step closer. “Here I thought this whole time you were a really pale Tharsan who lost a fight with his pillow!”
She watched as his feathered eyebrows narrowed and the line down his neck rose again in agitation, but then his cheeks puffed and he made several clacks in the back of his throat. Her eyebrow quirked up, knowing full well that kind of reaction from a Kilarian implied amusement. He thought she was funny?
“I just don’t get it, Kal. You’re not like this with everyone else. Did I do something to offend you? Well, I mean, besides the pillow comment.”
“No,” his voice softened as he let out a long sigh. A tick of his head to the left revealed uncertainty and two low, trilling notes from his throat belied his concern. “You’re the Captain’s daughter.”
Her own cheeks puffed as she stood dumbfounded. “What has that got to do with anything?”
His hands dropped to his sides and his eyes raised to the ceiling. “Everything.”
Poor Kalau… I’m having a whole lot of fun writing his character, and Kilarian’s in general. Their vocal sounds and body language give me neat aspects of communication to play with.
If you’d like to learn more about the series, visit Corwint.com
Also, be sure to check out the rest of this month’s SFR Brigade Showcase posts!