Luna, a lusty and rebellious agent of the time police, travels back in time to track a shape-shifting alien that threatens the future of humanity. There is only one way to tell a dermagen from a human...unfortunately that means seducing it, putting Luna in more danger than she'd ever before faced.
Luna Waning Excerpt
Earth, June 2147
Time Police Headquarters
New Warsaw, Europa
"You're a bit of a rebel, aren't you, Luna?"
I didn't know what to say. I stood before him, as his was the only chair in the room. The others had been dismissed, absorbed into the flux beneath the shimmering floor. He could command a seat to form at will, but I didn’t think he would... not from the expression on his cold, yet handsome face.
As men went, Jondhru was just about the best-looking. Long almost-black hair, eyes nearly that dark, olive skin, and a body to die for—that was Jondhru. Jondhru, it was the only name anyone knew him by, was the top ranking official in the Time Police, an organization established in the early part of the twenty-second century. Jondhru was ruthless, cold, efficient and totally pro-agency. Thus I was terrified by the summons to his office, for Jondhru would as soon kill me as brief me.
"I don't know what you're talking about, Sir."
I tried to guess how he might see me—flame-red hair that almost reached the middle of my back, milk-white skin, long sensuous legs and the best breasts money could buy. I was topless but wore a pair of shorts made to look more like a heavy mist than any type of fabric. Outside, I’d have probably worn a matching mist-camisole, though it wasn’t necessary on base. Most men, I knew, found me attractive. Jondhru, on the other hand, never reacted at all. I might as well be negotiating with a computer. I'd have had a better chance.
His eyes narrowed. "Don't be coy, Luna. You know as well as I that you're a danger to the agency. You have no discipline. You do as you please. You wouldn't know a regulation if it bit you on the ankle…"
"Silence! I'm not done with you, Agent Luna."
“What were you thinking? Have you ever read the procedure manual?”
“And where in that manual does it tell you to kill a man you were sent to bring back?”
“It was either him or me, Sir.”
“I know. I saw the recording, but I needed Thurgood alive. You were sent to bring him back alive. Do you know what alive means?”
“Yes, of course, Sir.”
“How then did he end up dead?”
“I was defending myself, Sir.”
“Well next time, don’t. Thurgood was a key witness in an investigation that took five years to build. Without him I’m starting from scratch. The next time, if you’re in a life and death situation with instructions to bring your target in alive, you follow procedure!”
“And what would that be, Sir?”
I knew it was coming before he said it. “You die. That’s your fucking job. You, Luna, are expendable. Thurgood wasn’t. Under ordinary circumstances I'd make an example of you, but I have another idea instead."
"You, my dear, are going on an assignment."
This did not bode well but I surely couldn't refuse him. I wouldn't be the first agent who went to see the boss, never to return.
"You're to track a dermagen."
The flux-walls, pulsing with energy, closed in around me. My eyes widened.
"How is that possible, Sir?"
"Frankly, I don't care. But you find him, and you strand him. Understood? Or it will be early retirement for you."
He might as well have sentenced me to death.
Luna Waxing Excerpt
“Luna, I’d like to introduce you to your controller. His name is Jerico.”
My voice was a rasp. He inclined his head, but said nothing.
I got the distinct impression Jondhru was watching, waiting for me to say something. I wanted to, but couldn’t take my eyes from Jerico. My breathing quickened, my heart pounded, and I felt my cheeks flush. I had never reacted to a man this way and wondered what was behind it. Surely this wasn’t a normal reaction. The thought brought me back to my senses.
“Sir, I don’t understand what’s going on here.”
Jondhru laughed. It was the first time I’d heard the sound come from him, and it did nothing to soften his presence.
“Jerico is an android, Luna. A new series we’ve been working on.”
I rolled the thought around in my mind. An android? How was that possible? I’d known many androids in my years with the agency and had never desired one. While it was true other women enjoyed their company, they’d always seemed cold and impersonal to me. Jerico was different. If androids became like Jerico, there’d be a lot of frustrated men walking around.
I felt a twinge between my legs and tried, unsuccessfully, to ignore it.
Luna Rising Excerpt
Still naked, I fled my quarters and ran down the corridor, not caring who saw me. I made it down to control in record time, not at all surprised to find Jax on duty. I could confess to him. At least he wouldn’t judge me.
“Luna, what are you doing here? You are not scheduled for a mission.”
“I just wanted to talk. Do you have a moment?”
“Of course, Luna. What can I do for you?”
I studied him. He was so like Jerico—blond-haired, blue-eyed, and physically perfect— I shuddered, but I was in too much pain to become aroused. It wouldn't have mattered. His lifeless eyes and voice did nothing for me.
“I need to tell you something important...”
I opened my mouth to reveal the traitor for what he was. I tried to force the words out, but pain engulfed me. I fell to my knees then to the floor, clutching my stomach. I felt as if someone had jabbed a flaming spear into my small intestine.
“Luna, are you all right?”
I tried again, but the pain intensified until I wanted to die.
I won’t say anything. Please. Stop. Your secret is safe with me.
Almost at once the pain subsided, leaving me panting and gasping on the metal control room floor.
Oh boy, oh boy. This is one short story that made me gape at the end and go, "I can't believe--" What a terrific story. I loved the worldbuilding that went into this. Truly a page turner, I couldn't believe when I got to the end. By the way, the ending will make you go, "But, you can't do that!" Master Nage rocks in this short story. I hope that he'll continue the world he's created here and give us more into this unique world. Truly a story worth revisiting and each time you'll still be left saying, "I never saw it coming."
Luna Waning - Reviewed by Cyndi Witkus, In the Library Reviews