Viarus stares blankly at the Re'Nuck, scarcely able to believe what he has heard.
'You... want to speak to the gods?'
'I want us all to speak to the gods, Viarus.'
'How could we even achieve such a thing? And why do you need me?'
'What I speak of is true communication, not the one-way process of worship.'
'You want not only for us to speak to the gods, but for them to speak to us also?'
'Surely that is the very pinnacle of what we could achieve as Animexians? But our voices will not do enough. To achieve this we must transcend the physical and reach another level entirely.'
'You... you speak of the scream?'
'You may wish to call it that, Viarus, based upon your experience. But you must realise there is more to it than that. Your voice emerged as a scream, on that occasion. Just bear in mind what you saw, and what your natural reaction would be.'
'Your followers would have been horrified at the sight!'
'Of course they would. Even those yet to accept our religion may have felt the same. But maybe it was the hand of the gods themselves guiding your actions that day, showing us what we must do! Did you never stop to ask why it was only you who returned to help me?'
'I came... out of duty. Out of wanting to maintain our faith.'
'All noble purposes, unquestionably, but surely the rest of the congregation feel the same? No, there was a reason it was you above any other – to demonstrate the power at your disposal!'
'Power! If only I could believe I had the power of which you speak!'
'I have witnessed it first-hand, and do not forget that Asha witnessed it as well. It was your power, and your power only, that saved me.'
'There is no power! That scream was beyond my control. I do not even know how it happened!'
'Viarus, please, calm yourself. I realise that we have much to learn of this mental capacity. But what is evident is that you have a great well of potential power. I do not wish to hear that sound again, as I am sure you do not. But what does not yet shine can be made to gleam. We shall take on this endeavour, and take it on willingly. And you shall be at the very centre of it!'
'I... you know that I have never refused you, Re'Nuck. I have always been most loyal. But I cannot do this thing of which you speak. What if I should fail?'
'Viarus, you fail me now by questioning this. There is no way to know if we shall succeed – but we must believe we can, and make the attempt!'
Title: The Last War
Author: Alex Davis
Born from the genius of the Animex, the aliens of the Noukari seek to gain a foothold on a savage planet. But the greatest danger to their existence lies within them – a powerful gift of telepathy.
As the tension grows between idolatry and admiration of their creators, and the Noukari come to understand the latent powers within their own minds, a species created for peace are about to succumb to brutal violence.
In a galaxy torn by conflict, will the first battle between the Noukari also be their last war?
“The Last War is a remarkable study of reason and faith, morality and practicality, pragmatism and idealism. With sharp, unfussy prose, Alex Davis draws the reader into an endearing nascent civilisation, and then takes it apart before our eyes. Unpredictable, challenging and rewarding.” Gav Thorpe, New York Times Bestselling author of Angels of Darkness Deliverance Lost.
Alex Davis is an author, editor, publisher, creative writing tutor and events organiser based in Derby. His debut novel, THE LAST WAR, is out in July from Tickety Boo Press and is the first in a science-fiction trilogy following the aliens of the Noukari. He is co-ordinator for Derby’s annual Edge-Lit event – running this year on the 11th July – and also part of the management committee for this year’s Derby Book Festival. He also runs Boo Books, Derby’s independent press, aiming to promote regional talent along internationally known authors. Their latest release is The Electric, available in paperback for the first time. For more information, visit http://boobooks.net/
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