First Chapters – The Rise of the Pheonix by Massimo Marino

Today’s First Chapter is from The Rise of the Pheonix, book three of the Daimones series, by my friend Massimo Marino.

MASSIMO Rise of the PheonixDESCRIPTION

In a dark future, a first contact and an alien colonization changes forever the destiny of the race of man. Aliens have regenerated a new, transgenic species of humans called the Selected.

The first contact with the aliens led to the apocalypse—Daimones Trilogy Vol.1—and then put the seeds for a galactic upheaval, space wars againts aliens, and galactic empires struggles.

The last humans—the ‘spared ones’—have all died but Hope, the second of Dan Amenta’s human daughters, though she’s living her last days, too.

Dan has seen Earth become a different world as the new civilization rises.

A new neurological drug, Fusion, is heavily produced on Eridu and has created the path for a rapid evolution of the new humans, richness and good fortune.

The past events—Daimones Trilogy Vol.2—revealed the crucial role the humans have in the galaxy organization…and made them aware of their strength.

Once Hope leaves this life, a moral obligation suddenly is no more. Things can change, and they must. A new order and a new course will put in place the events the Moîrai have sewn and destined to rip apart the foundations of the galaxy.

“Even with the best of intentions, cruelty is just around the corner.”

2013 PRG Best Sci-Fi Series – Reviewer’s Choice Award

Amazon Top Reviewer – “Massimo Marino ramps up the suspense. The first two books of the trilogy make Earth (or Eridu) seem like the flawed jewel in a galactic crown of civilizations. Will the new humans rise to the challenge?”

 

Chapter 1 – Memories

From Dan Amenta’s Journal

Those were days when I doubted what we were doing. The peace we enjoyed in Eridu—the planet once called Earth—vacillated due to the increase in incidents of sabotage. Someone methodically destroyed our plants and livestock—other survivors for sure—and we seemed unable to make the sabotage stop, find the perpetrators, or understand their motives.

The aliens who changed our destiny forever, the Moîrai, and their Selection process to rebuild a new race of man, had offered their assistance at all levels, but I and the other Selected had decided that humans should deal with human problems. Eridu was scarcely populated, so who else—other than discontented wanderers—would perform such barbaric acts? But there was that unmistakable sign they left at each time…the imprint of a mutilated hand. We discovered they were led by another race of aliens, the Kritas, who for eons had been challenging the Moîrai for the supremacy in the galaxy.

The fate of humans hung in the air those days. Only a few years had passed since the Selection, what we Selected called instead the Third Loss, the genocide perpetrated by the Moîrai with the ultimate goal to prevent humans from self-destructing. They played with our destiny, “to save us” from oblivion, they said, preserving only a few of us. They revealed ancient history of the two previous losses we humans had inflicted onto ourselves, plunging our race into millennia of darkness and the loss of our collective memory, of our past. Were we worth saving, or were the latest events—that we could be led to fight each other—the proof that the son of man was once again corrupted?

No matter how hard we tried to rein things in, humans will find a way to cause trouble when jealousy rules. As a Selected, I was getting stronger every day; I discovered new capabilities—previously unknown to me—the existence of which I kept a closely guarded secret. Every year, though, brought bitterness rather than contentment. I’m not aging or, at least, I can’t see any sign of it yet. But my wife Mary is, and so are my daughters, Annah and Hope, and Hope’s mother, Laura, too. My family: they all will die before me and I’m in constant pain because of this. I’m not alone in this fate, as other Selected face the same cruel destiny, but sharing the pain does not diminish it. It didn’t work like that; not for me, anyway.

We thwarted Kritas’ plans on our planet; we tracked them down and found the base they’d build underground using the large mines around Pittsburgh. In the last battle, many lost their lives, and we humans had no control on our destiny. I lost Marina, the Selected who shared with me the responsibility for our community, and I felt my life was always marked by losing someone dear to me every time I conceded myself to hope for the future. We discovered treason even within the Moîrai ranks, and received promises of full disclosure, promises that have not been honored.

Our communities are thriving, and a future of prosperity and plenty awaits us. At least, that’s what we all think, but the future is uncertain again and the Moîrai hide the truth from me.

I became one of the Keepers, a Moîrai ancient brotherhood organization. The Keepers enjoy a secrecy never violated in the millennia since their birth; feared and respected, their existence is never acknowledged in the open, a shadow force that permeates, guides, and controls the Moîrai Confederation in the galaxy.

A special drug that we call the Fusion makes interstellar travel possible; cells from the nervous systems of billions of dead humans allowed the Moîrai to produce an even more potent formula than the original available before the Third Loss.

Through the Palladium, a wearable device like a crown, the Moîrai made us Selected more similar to them genetically than to the other humans the aliens didn’t cull, the ones we call the ‘spared ones.’ Are the Moîrai using us to keep them in line while they’re still alive?

With time, the production of the Fusion went under our control and has brought us riches and good fortune. Eridu is now famous in the galaxy, and for reasons not related to its most ancient history. We are no more a feared race, an uncontrollable monster that could turn against anyone at any moment; others have taken our place in those rankings.

Fortunately, I believe I do have some friends among the Moîrai, but I feel I’m alone in my quest to find the traitors and those ultimately responsible for the apocalypse, for the Third Loss. Who can I fully trust? I question everyone’s motives, even the Keepers’.

I feel like we are threatened again by an advanced alien civilization. This time, they’re not planning for our physical demise, but they attempt to undermine our morals, to embrace our fate and forget our past. If that’s the case, what chance do we have to rise strong again?

Dan of Eridu, I’m called, the watchful eye of the new humans. I represent our interests in the Moîrai’s Supreme Council, but I perceive a barrier—an invisible threshold—and I can’t yet cross it.

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