Book 3 Retribution

"Retribution For The Fallen" Is book three in "The Secrets Of Blood And Bone Trilogy" The epic battle between The Skira nation and the rest of the world unfolds before your eyes! Does Obsidian reappear after his sudden disappearance? Does Rave finally share the secret passed on to him by the Chancellor? Has Q reached his final evolution? All these questions and more will be answered in the climactic end of this action packed trilogy!

Read below for the exclusive first look at the unedited chapter one!

Retribution For The Fallen

Chapter 1

For the past several years the hidden world of the non-humans had been embroiled in a fight for both survival and domination. War had broken out everywhere! From the inner cities and suburbs of the United states, to high in the mountains of Asia and even as far as alternate dimensions! During that time the United states in particular had been plunged into something no one ever believed would happen again...Civil War!

The non-humans usually kept a wary eye on the human world, but they had been terribly busy for quite some time so to them it looked like much of the same old thing at first. The upper echelon of the American government catered to the ultra rich as they always had. Together they lined their pockets while forcing their religion and their laws down the throat of a nation who had whole heartedly believed they were free.

It took a surprising amount of time for the public to finally realize their freedom was a thinly veiled illusion. You were only as free as the government allowed you to be and that freedom could be taken away in the blink of an eye without reason or explanation. The citizens of the United states learned this lesson in the most difficult of ways.

The American people had grown sick and tired of the same old politics, so when an unorthodox candidate entered the race much of the country embraced the idea of electing a political outsider. The billionaire businessman had earned a reputation for being a bully, a racist, and a womanizer. He threw around conspiracy theories so bizarre that they were blown off by anyone with a sense of reality. When he promised to change the face of politics even though he obviously had no real clue how to do so the American public bought into it and he won. The country had no idea they had just made the biggest mistake in modern history.

The billionaire ran his administration the same way he ran his business. Threats, intimidation and lies were the foundation of his rule. It was obvious early on just how inept the President would be. He started off by filling his cabinet with billionaire comrades who knew little to nothing about the government or the people they were supposed to serve. The rest were made up of ex military commanders that had the same itchy trigger finger that he did. Of course, he fired most of his original cabinet within the first year, refiling it with more of the same kind of political stooges he had just fired.

Very real problems were not only ignored but made worse by the ultra wealthy Whitehouse trying to make its rich and powerful allies even richer. Climate change was dubbed a fallacy thus allowing the US to pull out of a recently created worldwide policy to minimize pollution. As a matter of fact, many scientific facts were suddenly merely theories created by the scientific community along with the Democrats in order to undermine the president himself.

The Vice President was a hardcore Evangelical (which won the religious vote for the President) who had passed a bill allowing the government to spend money on homosexual conversion research. This was necessary because everyone must realize being homosexual is nothing more than an illness that can be cured through prayer and a little sprinkle of brainwashing.

His paranoia, greed and famously thin skin was made exponentially worse due to his love of social media. He attacked and belittled anyone who challenged him. He signed executive orders like they were autographs. He immediately started bringing back fossil fuels and looking down on any kind of clean energy.

Less than two years into his presidency he signed the "Religious Freedoms Act." This was a license for bigotry.  If a Christian bakery refused to make a gay couple a wedding cake, he was not a bigot. He was simply acting on his religious freedom. If a Christian restaurant owner did not want to serve Muslims, Jews, or homosexuals he wasn't a racist or a bigot. He was just practicing his religious freedom.

The president’s tariffs on goods from Asia, Mexico, the UK and Canada were killing the little man. Instead of creating jobs he was destroying companies. He pushed away age old allies and heaped praise on our worst enemies. We had become the laughingstock of the civilized world. The status quo was changing very rapidly in America. Hate crimes exploded while racial tensions between ethnic groups and federal police was at an all time high. The country was eating itself alive and things were about to get worse.

The public began to rebel in full when the police started killing people instead of protecting them! Protests and looting became more frequent and the tactics used by the federal police to quell those protests rapidly increased in brutality. It was not long before peaceful protests gave way to acts of violence. Government buildings were burned. Police units were met with gunfire, and military units were overwhelmed by ever growing numbers of freedom fighters. Many of which came from the mid west and had been training in preparation to overthrow a corrupt government for decades!

The country was grinding to a halt as businesses closed out of fear and disease. A new virus had swept across the globe killing young and old alike. The pandemic rocked an ill prepared U.S. administration to its core. The government was losing ground as the gears that made the American machine run came grinding to a halt. They say history tends to repeat itself and in this case it was true. The second civil war had begun.

After a time, there was a name that had started out as only a whisper among the disenfranchised but soon it became a beacon of hope to rally around. Kenneth Baxter was a self-made tech billionaire who was famous among the elite and the poor alike for being above corruption. A powerful man that could not be bought. Also, an incredibly wise investor. Early on he had a feeling the U.S. dollar would eventually crumble so he invested heavily in items that carried value no matter what. Gold, gems, and military grade armament companies were only the tip of the iceberg.

He employed private contractors (A nice name for mercenaries) that could intervene in his name. They were to coordinate the civilians and remove key members of the existing regime by any means necessary. Whether it was bribes, threats of violence, or assassination, Mr. Baxter was willing to do anything to restore the country to its former glory as a legitimate world power.

After a short and bloody time in Americas history, Kenneth Baxter grabbed the reigns in both hands and took control of a splintered yet powerful country. The electoral college was a thing of the past, only the peoples vote mattered and Mr. Baxter was the overwhelming choice.

Needless to say, he was both the most highly successful and highly controversial President to ever hold the seat. While he should have been hailed as the savior of the country, there was still a large contingent that not only wanted to see him impeached, but also would not mind seeing him dead. He had done things that were thought to be unconscionable by some and utterly necessary by others.  He was a hero to the common man and the bane of the ultra wealthy.

In a time when the world was in a state of near chaos and the U.S. was coming closer and closer to total financial disaster, President Baxter swooped into office riding the crest of a tidal wave created by angry citizens who no longer trusted the old system. Once he achieved the mantel of power, he began to make radical changes in order to dig the country out of ruin and allow it to flourish once again. He aggressively dismantled an age-old system that had become too corrupt and convoluted to fix itself and in doing so had become America's first rock star president!

Baxter was the first ever U.S. president to have no religious or party affiliations. He was a billionaire independent who allowed both his business and private life to be completely transparent. His closet was empty of skeletons without owing anyone any favors, a true independent in every sense of the word. With no family to protect and no concern for what corrupt world leaders thought of him, there was nothing to stop him from making what once would have been considered unimaginable changes.

He started by undoing as many of the previous presidents’ executive orders as quickly as possible. Next was repairing relationships between old allies while distancing himself from the world’s dictators. Of course, that was followed by restructuring tariffs and rebuilding Americas infrastructure. 

One of his most simple decisions was legalizing marijuana and turning it into an American cash crop. Growers were strictly monitored by the government and were expected to take classes in order to obtain a very pricey license. The final product was some of the best in the world and was available to anyone over the age of twenty-one. The demand was enormous allowing the government to levy a reasonable tax while bringing in a huge source of revenue and creating new jobs.

That move not only created revenue, but it essentially eliminated that portion of the crime world. The police no longer needed to waste time and money trying to get marijuana off the streets. It was now treated just like alcohol and caused less issues. After all nobody gets angry and commits violent acts while they are stoned. Raid the fridge maybe, but violent crimes like domestic abuse and sexual assault had dropped drastically.

This change in political climate created a movement to let current non-violent inmates who had marijuana related charges be set free. President Baxter not only asked for input from top law enforcement agencies, he also reached out to prominent members of the black and Hispanic communities to help create an inmate vetting system along with new federal laws that regulate the sale and possession of marijuana. This project allowed thousands of young men and women to be set free taking a huge financial burden off the prison system.

Another move he felt was only common sense was to make prostitution legal. Escorts had mandatory medical exams and required a licenses along with paying taxes on all services rendered. Freelance hooking on the street corners was a thing of the past. All licensed employees belonged to a franchised booking agency where they paid their taxes and received their medical exams along with classes on safe sex, and financial planning.

Pimps were replaced by managers who handled everything from personal security and transportation, to making sure the men and women had their mandatory exams, paid their taxes, and kept their licenses up to date. The managers of course got their cut with the rest going to the government. It was a well regulated and safe business that minimized street crime while protecting the men, women, and clients of the sex trade. While viewed as unorthodox by some and downright blasphemous by others it still created another huge income stream for the government while minimizing crime.

Most of the criminals who were waiting on death row were executed almost immediately. Within three months everyone on death row that was unquestionably guilty was gone. The average sixteen year appeal process and massive cost to American taxpayers was eliminated. If there was undeniable evidence that a crime was committed worthy of receiving the death penalty, the guilty party was given seventy two hours to allow for family members to say goodbye. All inmates were hung from the neck until dead. After all, reusable rope is the most economical way to handle such affairs. 

Sex offenders were dealt with harshly! Depending on the severity of the act, many of them received the choice between the death penalty or working as part of a prison labor force for the next twenty years... after being castrated. Once again, the bleeding hearts cried out that it was inhumane. President Baxter did not care what they thought as long as he saw results. Once the new punishments for crimes was made legal and acted upon, crime in general dropped dramatically. Many thought that abolishing life sentences and handing all the lifers a death sentence was beyond cruel, but the president was unapologetic. Crime rates were down and revenues were up. The problem with overcrowded prisons no longer existed.

Illegal aliens were offered a more rapid means of becoming a U.S. citizen if they could prove that they were an asset to the country and not a drain on the economy. He also started a fund to help companies go green thus minimizing the countries carbon footprint.

None of these moves were made without creating a bill that had to be voted in. The fact that most of the new government had been replaced by lawmakers of a like mind made creating new effective laws easier to pass. President Baxter did all of this while taking no salary and giving heavily to charities. He personally funded programs to feed, shelter, and educate the less fortunate members of society as well as creating government funded programs to ensure that future generations would have opportunities that would have been impossible in the previously broken system.

 He had once again turned the United States into a world power that could stand on its own two feet with pride. As you can imagine he was hated by many but was loved by the majority. He had given Americans the freedom they had wanted and deserved, the kind they had been willing to die for in the streets.

Some of the public and most of the ex politicians referred to him as a monarch or even a tyrant which may have had some truth to it, but it worked. The "Wealth Cap and Redistribution Act" brought him both the most love and the most hate any president had ever experienced! The Act created a cap of twenty five billion dollars for any one individual. President Baxter was the first American to write a check to the United States Treasury in the amount of fifty eight billion dollars. Billionaires where not required to pay the entire amount all at once, but the President was famous for following his own rules and the greedy side of Americas billionaire elite could not have hated him more! The excess money was dispersed throughout the country to an assortment of new and under funded programs meant to help the American people.

President Baxter received death threats regularly and had in fact been the target of several botched assassination attempts. Still, he could sleep soundly at night knowing that he and his administration were turning the country around. It would take time for everything to run smoothly, but the foundation had been laid.

He had done what no other politician was willing to do. He had saved the country without lining his pockets, all while stepping on a great deal of high powered toes along the way. Everything was going quite well right up until he was told to turn on his television by a red faced, breathless aid that was stammering about monsters. On that day everything he had come to believe in had been turned upside down. Now to top it off someone was waking him up in the middle of the night yet again.

Before long he was on a plane for an undisclosed reason heading to an undisclosed location. Baxter was not happy about the situation at all, but his personal head of security told him it was an emergency and that was good enough for him. Brian and the other secret service agents had saved his life multiple times, Brian had even taken a bullet for him once. He was one of Baxter's most trusted employees and best friends.

They landed on a lonely strip in the middle of nowhere then climbed into a black SUV escorted by a mix of CIA, Secret Service and special Ops soldiers. They drove a short distance into the desert before stopping in front of a ramshackle house that looked like it was being held together by nothing more than luck. The president began to wonder if he would ever leave that old house once he walked through the door. Assassination by members of his own government was not beyond imagining.

They had just walked inside the empty house when one of the CIA agents stepped on a hidden switch in the floor. A stainless steel elevator slid open behind a wall he thought led back out to the desert. The soldiers stayed top side while the rest of the special agents led the president into the elevator. The obviously high tech piece of machinery began to descend at what felt like an alarming rate. One of the CIA agents seeing the look of concern on the presidents’ face assured him everything was fine. The president gave him a nod and a half hearted smile. There was nothing in the elevator to tell you what floor you were on because there weren't any floors. The machine had two buttons, up and down. Baxter knew where up led, it was down that concerned him.

When the elevator came to a stop the president felt his stomach drop back to where it belonged. He was led down a long corridor to a single door. Standing outside the door was the head of the CIA. Trent Blackburn was an emotionless man as far as Baxter could tell, but then again when you knew the kinds of secrets he did it was probably easier to just be cold. What was important was that he had taken Baxter's side in the coup, the President felt that he could be trusted.  He reached out to shake the presidents’ hand. "I' am very sorry to put you through all of this at such a late hour Mr. President but as you are well aware these are strange times. If you'll follow me please."

Blackburn turned and placed his hand against a digital touch screen so that it could be scanned. Once his hand print was accepted he leaned in close so that the retinal scanner could further identify him. When the computers security requirements were met, the heavy door slid open with a whoosh of air. Blackburn held out his arm for the president and Brian to enter.

Once inside the head CIA agent cleared his throat as he loosened his tie. For the first time that Baxter could recall, Blackburn actually looked nervous. "As you know Mr. President, the incident that was shown on television earlier in the week has caused quite an uproar worldwide. We obviously wish it could have been contained but we had no way of knowing it was going to happen. We do however have someone here that is an expert of sorts when it comes to the supernatural. I would like to introduce Orin. He has been with us for a very, very long time and feels that it is time for him to play a slightly more direct role in our future."

The man called Orin sat at the head of a glass topped table in a simple white robe, his hair was still damp as if he just stepped from the shower. He would have been extremely nondescript if not for his oversized eyes. They held an intensity that made everyone who looked at them feel a sense of awe. When the man chose not to stand and greet the president Brian took a couple steps towards him keeping the President at his back. "Most people would have the courtesy to stand up when they meet the President of the United States."

Orin smirked at the secret service agent. "Yes I suppose most people would. However, I am most certainly not most people and Ken isn't the first president I have ever met. I'm hoping he's as intelligent and open minded as he appears to be but only the future will tell. He can come to greet me if he wishes. I'm quite comfortable right here."

Brian stepped closer to the man, anger clear on his face and in his stance. The Presidents voice rang out from behind him. "Take it easy Brian, let's find out what this man is all about before we decide how he should be handled. We can worry about proper etiquette later." The President pulled up a chair and sat down at the opposite side of  the table from Orin with Brian on one side and Blackburn on the other. 

Orin smiled as they all sat down. "Now see, that is exactly what I like about you Ken. When others would have reacted in a myriad of negative ways you took the high road and played it cool. A very good sign indeed. I like a man that is willing to use violence when necessary but doesn't depend on it to get what he wants." The President smiled and nodded his head. "So...I'm guessing you would like to know who I am and why you should take anything I say seriously?"

The President nodded his head again and then unbuttoned his suit coat and leaned back in his chair. Orin smiled again and slid into a similar pose. "So, first things first. Do you believe what you saw on the television was real? Do you believe that the world is inhabited by non-human creatures that can change shapes and perform incredible feats that could only be considered magic?"

The President looked to Blackburn who was doing everything but looking back. "Well, a few days ago I wouldn't have given it much thought but after seeing those impossible spectacles on television it's hard to deny. We have had every authority at our disposal verify that it wasn't modern movie magic. Besides, by the look on Blackburn's face I would have to say he not only believes it but knows it's true."

Orin slapped his hand down on the table in excitement. "Hot damn Ken, you really are sharp! There may be hope for you yet! do you want to tell him Trent or should I?" Trent Blackburn looked as if he might vomit as he began to mumble. That wasn't good enough for Orin. "Well Ken it looks like Trent here is having a hard time spitting out the ugly truth. Not only do these creatures really exist but they have for millions of years. You're going to love this part. Not only have they run most of this planets underworld from behind the scenes, they have even been contracted on more than one occasion by your very own government as well as others. Hell, Trent here has made the calls and signed the checks haven't you buddy? They do the kind of wet work that not even special ops can pull off. Isn't that right Trent?" The CIA agent looked like he would commit suicide if it would get him out of that room.

The President looked from Orin to Blackburn and back again. "Tell me something Orin, how many presidents have you met?"

"Counting you would make forty five."

"I am the forty fifth president, are you telling me you have been around for over three hundred years?"

Orin rolled his big eyes and laughed out loud. "Do you really want to know how old I am? Are you ready for the truth?" The President nodded his head yes and wanted to speak but it was too late. The President found himself locked in Orin's gaze. It felt as if he was sucked across the table and into the mans mind.

He was flying at the speed of light through the darkness of outer space. He saw stars explode and planets spring to life in dozens of universes. He saw the Earth when it was nothing but a tiny blue orb barely noticeable in the infinite expanse of space. He saw land spring from the oceans and grow green with vegetation. He saw alien beings roaming the Earth spreading their magic throughout the land creating everything from the tiniest insects to the tallest peaks that threatened to disappear above the clouds.

He saw life crawl from the sea and become a number of different creatures as the alien beings who could only have been gods carefully led their creations throughout their evolution. He saw Odgerrin caring for the earliest humans while his wife, Lamenell,  strove for flawless perfection with the creation of her Fae .

He witnessed the Earth tremble at the birth of Brhamoren. He saw the birth of the first shape shifter as well as the birth of the first vampire. He watched the first Ogre lead his brothers and sisters in a great war that nearly destroyed everything. He watched the entire history of the world unfold before him right up until the moment when he first locked eyes with Orin.

When the connection was lost the president found himself white knuckled and breathing like he was running a marathon. He could see Brian with a gun pressed to Orin's head screaming at him to stop. Kenneth Baxter was too overwhelmed and out of breath to tell Brian to stop so he was forced to helplessly watch as Orin began to speak. "I would highly recommend that you holster your weapon and sit down Brian." Agent Blackburn was also yelling at the presidents’ number one guard to stand down.

When Brian refused to lower his weapon, Orin began to speak again as if nothing was wrong at all. "Tell me Brian Wallace, what are you afraid of? Obviously not your father. What is it like to know that you are a great disappointment to him? Don't get me wrong he's proud of your accomplishments, but it's not the path he had laid out for you. The son of the Fleet Admiral himself choosing to go his own direction regardless of his powerful fathers’ commands. You are a brave boy. Let us see how far that bravery goes shall we?"

Orin spun suddenly in his chair to face the standing secret service agent. The unexpected move caught Brian off guard so he did what his reflexes and training had taught him to do...he pulled the trigger with the muzzle inches from Orin's forehead.

Orin's head expanded and spun like a small black hole catching the bullet in the middle of the spinning maelstrom. Orin's head snapped back to normal size right before everyone's eyes. He looked up at Brian with a tight lipped smile on his face. He held up one finger as if to ask for a moment while he swished his cheeks around like he was trying to get something out of his teeth.

When he accomplished his goal, his smile broadened before he spit the bullet on the floor. "Well Brian my friend, we know you aren't scared to pull the trigger in an instant. I can respect that, but I really do not like being shot in the head. I'll have this damn ringing in my ears for hours, not to mention the taste of gun powder in my mouth. I think we need to establish a pecking order here."

Orin extended his arm out towards the stunned Brian with his palm up. "You are a very tough man Brian Wallace. You're not afraid to take a life or give your own in service to your Commander and Chief. A very brave and noble man indeed. But I do know one thing you are scared of, let's test your resolve." Orin's bulbous eyes grew slightly and turned shiny black while a second pair of slightly smaller black eyes emerged above the original just a little further out towards his temples.

The palm of his hand opened like a mouth letting lose thousands of quarter sized translucent spiders. Brian tried to step back but the room was small. The arachnids fell to the floor riding on silken webs and headed directly towards Brian. They started covering his shoes and pant legs working their way up. He first tried to bat them off or step on them but there were too many. In a panic he discharged his gun into the oncoming swarm, but it did nothing to stop the onslaught. It took only seconds for the Secret Service agent to be engulfed. Before long he fell to the floor in pure screaming horror as the spiders began to crawl into his mouth nose and ears. He was screaming as he spit out mouthfuls of the eight legged creatures but he was helpless to do anything about it.

President Baxter's chair toppled as he jumped up and placed himself directly between Brian and Orin. "Stop torturing him now! I know what you are and what you can do. He was only trying to protect me, to do his job!" Orin smiled at the president as his eyes returned to normal and the spiders turned to dust that simply disappeared.

A very shaken Brian accepted the Presidents hand to help regain his feet before gently pushing him to the side. "Permission to shoot this asshole in the head again sir? Several times if you don't mind."

President Baxter put his hand on the raised gun and pushed it towards the floor. "I think we all know it would be a waste of bullets Brian. Why don't we all take our seats and catch our breath, ok?" Brian nodded his head and stepped out of the way so that the President could return to his seat. Brian sidestepped his way to his chair never taking his eyes off of Orin.

The president took a drink of water while he gathered himself. "What do you want from me Orin? Considering how powerful you are I don't see how you could want anything from me?"

"You misunderstand why I brought you here Kenneth. Don't you wonder why I have maintained my presence on this planet since the day of its birth? I've been waiting a very long time for certain events to take place and I believe this is that time. The universe your planet exists within craves balance in order to thrive and evolve. That balance was destroyed when Brhamoren attempted to take more than was his. Right now that balance is teetering on the precipice of total failure. Hard decisions need to be made, and unthinkable sacrifices will be necessary in order to save this world from being consumed by the darkness.

I don't want anything from you Kenneth. I am here to help you as much as I am able. I have a job to do and only then can I finally join my brothers and sisters in the void and leave this place once and for all. I truly hope you are the man I've been waiting for all this time. I've seen you make hard decisions and take heavy risks during your ascension to power. Those were mere child's play compared to what's coming. Among the thousands of decisions you will be forced to make in the near future only two of them will matter. One of them will be right and one of them will be wrong. It's the order in which you choose them that will decide the future of this planet and all that dwell on it."

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