The Evaran Chronicles: The Arrival | The Awakening | The Fredorian Destiny | The Purification | The Time Refugee | The Evaran Origin | The Shadow Connection | The Human Factor | The Cosmic Parallel | The Unification | The Portal Effect | The Time Cube | The Evaran Impact | The Cosmic Artifact | The Evaran Chronicles Box Set: Books 1-3 | The Evaran Chronicles Box Set: Books 4-6 | The Evaran Chronicles Box Set: Books 7-9 | The Evaran Chronicles Box Set: Books 10-12

The Cosmic Artifact Image

Title: The Cosmic Artifact

Series: The Evaran Chronicles

Book #: 13

Publisher: Quantum Edge Publishing

Published: 8/24/2021

Formats:

eBook
Paperback (Planned)
Audio (Planned)

THE COSMIC ARTIFACT

Book 13 Of The Evaran Chronicles

Universal breaches are usually not a good thing.

Evaran and the gang deal with an event that changes Earth’s history. While investigating it, they come across the mention of a cosmic artifact. No one seems to know where it is or what it does other than it existed at one point.

One problem is that the cosmic artifact has been linked to the Gothlics, a brutal group that delights in torturing and killing anything they can get their hands on. They appear and mutilate everything, then disappear without a trace.

Another issue is that something has punched a hole in the universe. The Eight, a group of Palisin energy beings who oversee a federation with over a million civilizations, offer Murukhan, a half-Palisin alien, and his team the chance to join up with the gang to stop the Gothlics’ threat and find the cosmic artifact.


Read the sample below!

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Series Note

Evaran and the gang get a surprise when the timeline changes. This book introduces the cosmic artifact and its effect on Evaran. It also covers the concept of Palisin beings and universal energy ones. The Torvatta is a bit more crowded when Murukahn, Grog, Tollandra, and Zax join the crew to find out where the ruthless Gothlic lords and their minions are coming from.


SAMPLE

Chapter One

Dr. Albert Snowden loved getting the chance to talk with unique beings like Kantris, an ancient shape-shifting Outsider. He was the head librarian of the Wild Haven Institute library, and he looked at ease in his white robe with a blue-and-silver collar sitting behind a large desk. A metallic belt hung across his waist, and his fair skin and white hair added to the lightly colored overall appearance.

Lord Vygon, the ancient vampire, had mentioned Kantris to Emily on the previous adventure. She had been eager to meet him, so Dr. Snowden accompanied her. He did not mind getting out of Columbus, Ohio, for a while and making the trip to upstate New York. It was September 7, 2013, at 11:00 a.m., roughly three weeks after their last trip with Evaran, which had dealt with a rogue cosmic entity.

The massive office they were in was populated by packed bookshelves. Light rays danced through large windows and the smell of apples permeated the air.

“So, Lord Vygon mentioned you to me,” said Kantris in a calm voice while gesturing at Emily.

She smiled. “Yeah. Since my uncle and I are long-lived, Lord Vygon and I discussed publishing papers two hundred years from now and how odd it would be. He then said I’d be like you.”

Kantris steepled his fingers. “He is wise.”

Dr. Snowden raised a finger. “How do you contribute without being noticed?”

“Very carefully,” said Kantris with a smile.

The group laughed.

“But in all seriousness, I go through established scientists and give them knowledge as needed,” said Kantris. “There’s no need to mention my name in the papers.”

Dr. Snowden bobbed his head. “I guess that’s easy when you have the resources of the Earth Ward.”

Kantris grinned. “And the Helians before that.”

“Plus you’re in the Immortal Order. I’m sure that helps.”

Kantris’s eyes widened. “Oh…uh…what’s that?”

Dr. Snowden furrowed his brow. “The Torvatta has you and thirty-nine others listed in the Immortal Order, along with several events they were involved in. With an organization like that behind you, it’s no wonder you got a lot of information.”

“The Torvatta…Evaran’s ship. Of course,” said Kantris. “We’ve kept our order secret for hundreds of thousands of years, but it seems nothing escapes the Torvatta.”

“Well, Evaran did some of the legwork in observing too.”

Kantris rubbed his chin. “It would seem anyone with access to the Torvatta would have this information. Lord Vygon surely does, as would Inspector Dalton Kingston of the Earth Ward.”

“Probably,” said Emily. “We know you’re a secret society, so we won’t tell anyone.”

Kantris chortled. “This is not quite how I expected this conversation to go.”

“Probably not. On another note, you’ve been around for a very long time, I heard. When did you arrive on Earth? The Torvatta doesn’t have a full record.”

Kantris studied her. “When I came…there were multiple species of humans.”

Dr. Snowden’s eyes narrowed. “Are you referring to Neanderthals, Denisovans, and potentially other branches?”

“I am.”

Emily drew her head back. “Then that would put your arrival somewhere around two hundred thousand years ago!”

Kantris’s eyes sparkled. “Close enough. How far back does the Torvatta have records of us?”

“About ten thousand years,” said Emily. “That’s so cool you’ve lived for so long. I guess since you can shape-shift, that made it easier to blend in. Lord Vygon mentioned you could camouflage yourself.”

“Yes, but I’m glad we’re in this age now. History is not as romantic as it might appear.”

Emily played with her ponytail. “I bet. Did you travel to various places a lot, or stay in one place mainly?”

“As you travel with Evaran and can time travel, I probably shouldn’t tell you where I’ve been, although it seems some of our travels have already been documented,” said Kantris.

Dr. Snowden wrinkled his brow. “If we had met, you’d have known already.”

“You’re quite right,” said Kantris. “I could never tell you, though.”

“Time travel,” said Dr. Snowden, shaking his head.

He winced as a familiar feeling washed over him. The last time he had felt it was when a timeline update had occurred. His heart raced. He and Emily could reappear in a new timeline that might have environmental issues. They could even appear in a mountain or deep underwater.

Emily doubled over. “I feel it too. We don’t have much time!”

“What’s going on?” asked Kantris.

“Timeline update. Past has been changed,” said Dr. Snowden, hopping up. “We’re temporally shielded, so we’ll appear in the new timeline.”

Kantris stood. “How can I help?”

Dr. Snowden shook his head. “You can’t. You’ll disappear with this timeline.”

“That’s disconcerting.”

“We have to get topside!” said Dr. Snowden. “If we resolve whatever this is, we’ll be back in a moment.”

“All right,” said Kantris.

Dr. Snowden and Emily bolted out of his office. The strange sensation got stronger, and Dr. Snowden knew the timeline update was imminent.

Emily opened her PSD. “Evaran! Timeline change.”

Evaran displayed as a holo face. “I have your position, and the Torvatta is going to low orbit. It will travel back in time twenty minutes and appear near you from your perspective once you exit the Wild Haven Institute, assuming the update does not occur first.”

Dr. Snowden gulped. They were still a few levels underground, and the sensation got stronger every step he took. “I don’t think we’ll make it before it hits!”

“Perhaps not, but know that the Torvatta will be near wherever you pop out to in the new timeline. I would suggest you form a cube from your PSD and get inside it. Raise your helmets.”

“All right!”

“I got this,” said Emily. She ended the communication and tapped at her PSD.

Dr. Snowden’s breathing increased as the sensation got stronger. He did not recall it feeling as strong before. It had started as a tingle, then a semitransparent metallic curtain had swept across everything.

Emily spawned a sealed eight-by-eight cube around her with a large doorway facing Dr. Snowden.

Dr. Snowden’s pulse accelerated as he saw the curtain. It swept faster than he could run, even with him focusing, which usually slowed down things around him. By the time he managed to get one leg and one arm—the one holding the PSD— inside Emily’s cube, he had been encased by some type of concrete. Thankfully, his helmet allowed him to breathe, but it was dark, and he could not move.

“Hold on, Uncle Albert!” said Emily.

Dr. Snowden felt her grab his PSD from his hand. His heart raced as his claustrophobia kicked in. This was a nightmare.

“Relax,” said Evaran, his face appearing in the inner faceplate. “The Torvatta is over your area, but if we melt down to you, it will destabilize the structure you are in.”

“Yeah, don’t do that!” said Dr. Snowden.

“Emily will use your PSD to form a pickaxe and chip you out of your current location and into the cube,” said Evaran. “Once done, she can form a door on the other side. The Torvatta has scanned your area and located a nearby open space. We will land and come to you.”

“Okay,” said Dr. Snowden, gulping and closing his eyes for a moment.

The chipping sound he heard reassured him, and Emily’s avatar showed her working like a madwoman.

“What…uh…does the surface look like?” asked Dr. Snowden.

“An abandoned city now in ruins,” said Evaran. “Observe.”

Dr. Snowden focused on the images of a city that nature had claimed. The city itself resembled a solid plate with towers rising out of it. Tunnels ran between the buildings. However, whoever had lived there had not done so in a while.

Towers were exposed and collapsed tunnels were everywhere. Vegetation had moved in, and half the city was covered in it. His eye did catch the life sign readings that showed that there was still something alive, but he did not think they were the builders.

After ten minutes, he could wriggle his right shoulder.

“You still okay?” she asked.

“I will be much better once I’m out of there.”

“Okay, hold on.”

He breathed easier when she had chipped enough away that he could move into the cube. His muscles relaxed, causing him to grimace. He must not have realized how much he had been exerting them.

Emily helped him sit. “You’re okay.”

Dr. Snowden lowered his helmet and gulped down a big breath. “Okay, that wasn’t fun.”

“Sure wasn’t.” She went to an interface on the wall.

A moment later, the doorway changed sides.

Emily began to work on clearing a path.

He admired her tenacity. Even after expending all that energy to get him out, she was at it again. He hopped up and gestured at her to hand over the pickaxe.

“You just rest,” said Emily.

He shook his head. “I’ve been in one position for too long. A little exercise would do me good.”

“Oh, now you want to exercise,” she said, playfully swatting his arm.

He grabbed the pickaxe and then focused on chipping away on the right side. It would take some time to go through, and he wished he had vibrating nanobots like Kess, his evolved girlfriend half a million years into the future. At least they were alive, and Evaran and V knew where they were. He glanced over at Emily, who smiled at him. He was glad she was there. With determination in his eyes, he concentrated on creating a tunnel.

Scene Break

Emily took a breather when she was a quarter of the way to the open area. Dr. Snowden had started the tunnel out, and she had pushed it even farther, but her energy was being sapped. If there had been two PSDs in play, it might have helped speed things along, but Dr. Snowden was beat, and her PSD was being used for the cube enclosure. Twenty-five minutes had passed, and she wondered if they would need to raise their helmets to conserve oxygen.

“I have an idea,” said Dr. Snowden, peeking into the tunnel.

She wiped some sweat from her brow. “Shoot.”

“Check to see if there’s a grinder pattern, sort of like what Kess, Dalton, and Bob did to that wall in Korkorus.”

Emily remembered that Korkorus was an alien fortress the gang had breached. Kess, Dalton Kingston, and Bob, a unique being who could mimic anything, had joined them, and they all had the ability to chew through walls. Half of Kess’s body was made up of nanobots, so she had easily used them to munch through. Dalton’s nanosuit could vibrate and Bob could create a wall with miniature grinders on it.

Emily flicked through the patterns and used the search functionality. After perusing a bit, she came across a disc-shaped circular structure with odd teeth on one face. The other face had a rod that extended out of the PSD. There were a bunch of metrics she did not understand, such as boring depth and spindle speed. However, she understood that her PSD could spin the object, and it would munch through anything up to a certain level.

She held up the grinder to Dr. Snowden. “I think this might work. I wonder why Evaran didn’t suggest that?”

“Dunno. It doesn’t look like it’s meant for accurate removal. It’s more of a borer. Give it a shot,” he said.

Emily focused on the nearest rock ahead of her and placed the grinder on the rock wall. After pressing a button on her PSD, the grinder whirred into motion and rotated at dizzying speeds. She braced herself and pressed forward.

Speckles flew away as the grinder effortlessly ate through.

“Yeah, liking that,” she said, raising her helmet. “It does take some strength to hold it in place, though, but nothing I can’t handle. Also need my helmet up to keep dust out.”

“Looks like it’ll work, then,” said Dr. Snowden.

Her helmet slightly buzzed. She raised it and then saw Evaran’s and V’s faces appear in the lower right of her inner faceplate.

“V and I have landed and are on our way to you. Due to the environment, it may be a while,” said Evaran.

“It’s cool,” said Emily. “Uncle Albert suggested a grinding device, so that’s what I’m using now. We should reach that open area in no time.”

“Analysis. It will wear you down,” said V.

Emily sighed. “I know, but I’d rather be out of here.”

“I understand,” said Evaran. “I would have suggested a grinder, but it requires a lot of effort to wield relative to a pickaxe and is not as accurate. The main thing is that it sounds like you are safe for the moment. We will contact you once we are closer.”

“All right.”

Their faces grayed out. If anyone other than the gang had encountered this situation, they would have probably died. It put into perspective how lucky Emily was. While she had talked with Evaran, she had made a lot of progress on the tunnel.

Dr. Snowden tapped her shoulder. “I can do it for a bit. That device will make it a lot easier.”

“You sure?” she asked.

He eyed her.

She grinned and handed over the PSD, then went to the cube and sat down. Her muscles relaxed. She did not realize she had been tensing them unconsciously the whole time. Then again, it was not every day that a timeline change dumped you into the middle of some rock. The exertion from chipping out Dr. Snowden and then working on the tunnel was catching up to her. She grimaced as she laid her head back against the wall.

Fifteen minutes later, Dr. Snowden joined her. “I’m just about through. However, there’s a metal wall or something.”

“Thick?” asked Emily.

“Nope, and I already cut through some of it. Figured you can pull your PSD in now, and we can go together,” he said. He moved into the tunnel.

She hopped up and stood next to him, then reached over to the PSD interface. A moment later, the cube pulled back into her PSD.

“Imagine if we didn’t have PSDs,” she said, shuddering while gazing at the open area.

“Let’s not. C’mon,” he said.

They ground through the remaining metal wall, then stepped through. It was dark, and her sensors showed that oxygen made up thirty-five percent of the air. The ground, walls, and ceiling were covered in vegetation, but she detected metallic floors underneath.

“This tunnel is perfectly rectangular—well, beneath all the vegetation,” said Dr. Snowden.

“Yeah, and higher oxygen…which means if there’s any bugs, I’m sure they’re bigger than normal.”

He laughed. “You and your bugs.”

A chattering sound echoed out.

“What’s that?” she asked with wide eyes.

She focused and tried to sense if anything was around, but nothing registered. However, the chattering had begun to rise.

“Umm…Evaran, I don’t think we’re alone down here,” said Emily over comms.

“You are not,” said Evaran. “The city is essentially a large rectangular block with horizontal tunnels carved out in a grid pattern. It would make an ideal place for many living organisms.”

Emily grimaced. “Yeah, and probably big bugs.”

“Perhaps. V and I have landed on what appears to be a landing pad. I am sending you a layout of the area per the Torvatta’s scans. There is a vertical shaft not too far from where you are. You can use your flying platform to ascend, assuming it is safe to do so. If not, we will clear any obstructions.”

Emily studied the bizarre city. Although it was in a ruined state with parts of it missing, the main square pillars were still intact for the most part. The massive tunnels, then, were just the gaps between the pillars. She suspected there were other structures on each level, but there was little evidence of it.

Evaran and V were roughly a mile away and topside. Several ramps had been marked out as well as a vertical shaft. She bet it was where an elevator of some type used to be. Hopefully, they would have no issues, but the noises bothered her.

“I guess we go to that shaft, then,” said Dr. Snowden.

Emily studied her PSD pattern builder. “Yeah, and I have an idea.”

She pulled up the flying platform, and like the cube from before, she added height to the sides and a roof. The tunnel was large enough for them to fly through, and she did not want to trudge along the grimy floor. It might not be fully stable, and this way, they kept off the ground. She poked around and adjusted the opacity attribute of the new sides and roof to make them transparent. She also added a rear door that could only open from the inside.

“Okay, ready?” she asked.

Dr. Snowden nodded.

She stood back and formed the covered flying platform, then opened the door in the back. “Come aboard my modified flying platform!”

Dr. Snowden chuckled. “I like it, and in this environment particularly.” He joined her and closed the door.

“All right, here we go,” she said.

She plopped down in the front chair while Dr. Snowden sat behind her in one of the side rows.

The platform hovered, then moved forward. Although it was pitch black out, their helmets allowed them to see in the dark.

Emily studied the green arrows provided by her ARI while navigating. She thought she saw something skittering across the walls, but whatever it was, it disappeared as fast as soon as it had been detected.

“This place is so desolate,” said Dr. Snowden.

“Yeah, it is.”

After fifteen minutes, they were getting close to the shaft.

Emily was glad they did not have to walk. It made her appreciate her PSD even more. It was like a body part to her now. Her eyes narrowed when a cacophony of growling and clicking erupted from all sides. She sensed a lot of something all around.

“I wonder what—” She shrieked as she jumped back.

A bug had landed on the front of the platform, but it was the size of a house cat. It had two large body segments held together by a ball-like muscle. However, the bug-like face had pincers, and a strange tentacle ending in a flat face with teeth had latched onto the platform. The bug tried its hardest to get in. The frantic pace of its legs trying to scratch their way in unnerved her.

“What the heck is that?” asked Dr. Snowden, leaning away.

“I don’t know,” said Emily, gulping.

Her heart pounded when a horde descended on the platform, making it touch ground. The writhing bodies, pincers, and lamprey-like tendrils made her nauseous. She focused and tried to move the platform, but it was stuck under the weight of all the bugs.

“Evaran!” said Dr. Snowden. “We’re under some type of bug swarm and can’t move.”

“V and I are on our way,” said Evaran. “Do not pull your platform back into your PSD.”

“No way!” said Emily.

She scowled at the bugs. Although she had initially been frightened of them, they now angered her since they stopped her from leaving. A part of her wanted to take them on, but she knew that was not the smartest choice. Thankfully, the bugs could not penetrate morphable metal. She shuddered to think if they had been walking. She sat next to Dr. Snowden and leaned against him. All they could do was wait.