Just in time for Halloween, TERA’s short fiction explores the horror at the center of Lok’s cult. In “Fanatic” by Stacey Janssen, an injured soldier infiltrates the Scions of Lok to prove her worth, but then an echo from her past threatens to expose her.
“You’re not even going to let me take the test? I already passed it once!”
“Roslyn.” Captain Jaarik spoke slowly, as though speaking to a child, and Roslyn immediately resented it. He gestured toward the splint strapped to her back. “Look at yourself. I can’t send you out into the field like that. Now, I have plenty of non-combat positions—”
“I’m not non-combat! I’ve been preparing to join the Valkyon Federation since word of its formation first reached us. I’m a soldier. You know I’m good enough—I already passed the test!”
Jaarik looked at her, his eyes sympathetic—and in that moment, she wanted to rip them from his face. “Roslyn, you know that was before your accident.”
“Just let me take the physical. I’m telling you, I’m recovered.”
“You’re as recovered as you’re going to get, you mean.”
“Why can’t I just try?”
“Because if you get hurt during the test itself, you could make the injury even worse. I won’t have that on my conscience. You’re so bright—you’ll be just as valuable as support staff as you would have been in the field.”
“I’m not sup—”
“Listen, Roslyn.” The captain’s voice boomed as he stood up and leaned over the desk, suddenly making her feel small. “I’ve had enough of your complaining. You are not a child. Stop whining and accept the reality in front of you. If you won’t accept a non-combat position, then the Valkyon Federation has no place for you.” His eyes blazed as they stared down at her. She had never seen him this angry before. “You are not a special case, Roslyn. This is the military. Injuries happen, and we have procedures to follow when they do.” For a moment she was sure his entire being would ignite into flame. “Have you anything else to say?”
The words hung in the air as time slowed down around them. Have you anything else to say?
She shook her head.
Slowly, he sat back down. “You may leave.”
Roslyn turned, head hung, and walked out of the office. A plan was forming in her mind. If she could just prove that the federation needed her, then the captain would have to change his mind.
Lok’s cult—the Scions—had been gaining traction lately, and kidnapping people at night for delivery to the Atel Akaad. If rumors were true, the Atel Akaad was the group that made horrible mutations out of what used to be people. If she could just figure out how to infiltrate the cult’s ranks…
How will Roslyn get inside the Cult of Lok? Find out in Fanatic, available on Amazon.com now.