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 Evaran Chronicles Box Set: Books 1-3 | The Evaran Chronicles Box Set: Books 4-6

The Portal Effect Image

Title: The Portal Effect

Series: The Evaran Chronicles

Book #: 10

Publisher: Quantum Edge Publishing

Published: 12/8/2019

Formats:

eBook
Paperback
Audio (Planned)

THE PORTAL EFFECT

Book 10 Of The Evaran Chronicles

The past can be the future.

Dr. Albert Snowden enjoys traveling through time, but not when Ziekah, a timeline-traveling foe, sends him into the past against his will. Emily and V encounter Ziekah as well, leaving Evaran alone to determine where they were sent.

Ziekah’s crafty and she knows temporal mechanics well. She’s also ruthless, leaving altered timelines in her wake.

With the gang scattered through time, Evaran calls on old friends Jake Melkins and Jelton Stallryn, a Rift Guardian. Together, they will need to find the others while dealing with Ziekah and her timeline alterations.


Read the sample below!

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Series Note

This book is a bit heavier on the time travel aspects than previous books and includes a large historical segment. Old friends are visited and new ones are met. Topics ranging from information loops to junction dimensions are covered in this one. It is a standalone and not part of a series arc.


SAMPLE

Prologue

Seeros-172 studied the projection over his desk, which displayed various parallel timelines and their unique signatures. Ever since Seeros-1 had discovered that there were parallel timelines, he had been busy retrieving other Seeroses.

Seeros-172 walked over to his large window and looked out. A plaza bustled with other Seeroses going about their day. To date, there were 2,419 Seeroses. The massive facility they had built resided on a planet in the timeline where they controlled the surrounding solar systems. Seeros-172 had come to call it home, and he implicitly trusted every other Seeros and regarded them as family.

He ran his pale hands over his silver hair. Although he enjoyed finding parallel timelines that might have other Seeroses, the process to find them was complicated. Through the process of trial and error, they had determined which timelines most likely had Seeroses in them, and by extension, the Antigulan species. Once a Seeros was found, they were extracted, although not all wanted to come back.

“Hey,” said a voice behind him.

Seeros-172 spun around. “85. I wasn’t expecting you so early.”

Seeros-85 nodded. “Busy day as always. I saw that you identified another potential timeline.”

“I have,” said Seeros-172.

Seeros-85’s beady eyes narrowed. “Something’s bothering you.”

“It’s the extractor we’re sending. Ziekah.”

“Oh…yeah, she’s rough.”

Seeros-172 took a seat and then gestured for Seeros-85 to sit. “She…he…it. Ziekah doesn’t really have a true physical form that we know of, although I guess Ziekah likes the female form. None of whatever species Ziekah is has a gender. Unfortunately, they’re the only ones who can traverse the connection dimensions without dying.”

“Connection dimensions? Is that what you’re calling them?”

Seeros-172 chuckled. “I’m thankful that we found a dimension, and its connecting dimensions, that allows us travel to other timelines, and I know Ziekah’s species helped the first Seeros through to here. I still think they have an ulterior motive.”

“You worry too much,” said Seeros-85.

“Of course I do, I’m a timeline analyst.”

Seeros-85 studied the projection on Seeros-172’s desk. “Speaking of which…why’d you pick this timeline? Looks likes there’s several candidates.”

Seeros-172 walked over and gestured at the holographic timeline. “It has all the identifiers that there’s a Seeros there. However…there’s something else that I’ve never seen before. The exotic energy levels have the highest concentration that I’ve ever seen, and I don’t recognize a large portion of them.”

“So this is not only a retrieval mission, but a research one.”

Seeros-172 nodded. “Now you see why I’m hesitant to send Ziekah there. She doesn’t care much for research.”

“You think she might come back and take all this over?”

Seeros-172 shrugged. “I don’t know. Her species couldn’t use the portals without our tech. Now they have that, and knowledge gleaned from working with us.”

“They wouldn’t dare try anything here. Our security AI and defense systems are top-notch,” said Seeros-85, raising his head a bit.

“Then let’s hope we never have to find out. It would be nice if we could do the investigations ourselves.”

Seeros-85 chuckled. “You remember what happened to Seeros-221 when he went into the connection dimensions. Cockiest version of ourselves I’ve ever seen. He went in there with a full squad of our Silverguard defense robots, and he wore our most advanced defensive suit. He and his squad didn’t even make it a third of the way to a portal. The creatures that live there are unlike anything I’ve seen. Without the extractor’s guidance, it’s a lost cause.”

“To be fair, they fought a swarm of creatures that looked like they numbered in the millions. Not much you can do against that, and that was just one fight,” said Seeros-172. He sighed as he pressed a button on his desk console. “I sent the mission over to Ziekah. Hopefully she’s in and out like normal, and we get some new information to help us identify timelines better.”

Seeros-85’s eyes narrowed. “That timeline signature has the unique signature of the Time Wardens.”

Seeros-172 grimaced. “Yeah. That’s one case where having the connection dimension between us and any portal is a good thing. Natural defense.”

“Right.” Seeros-85 slapped Seeros-172 on the back. “In the meantime, you should see what 104 has made in the cafeteria.”

They shared a laugh.

Seeros-172 was relieved that he did not have to physically talk to Ziekah. Something about her and her abilities always made his skin crawl. That, and her raspy voice always sounded sinister to him. If she found something worthy to hunt, she might not even come back. He wondered about the Seeros in that timeline and what his experience must have been. If everything went well, he would join the other Seeroses and could tell them himself.

Chapter One

Dr. Albert Snowden could detect exotic matter and energy, but usually not from his college office. The odd aspect of the disturbance was it had enough power to wake him from a nap. Even stranger, he sensed V, a close friend who happened to be part artificial intelligence and had various body modes. The distinction between the two energies created an odd mix, like garbage and a scented candle. Dr. Snowden sat up in his chair. Something was not right.

He had been having a good dream about Kess, his girlfriend from the future, but it faded from memory. He stood and verified that his survival suit projected what he normally would wear to class. It was one of his favorite enhancements. The suit had become like a second skin to him, and with another recent enhancement, he felt raw dimensional power course around him.

A quick check at his desk clock showed it to be about 7:30 p.m. He grabbed his personal support device and opened a communication channel to Evaran.

A small holographic screen showing Evaran’s head appeared above Dr. Snowden’s PSD. “Is everything okay?”

“I’m not sure,” said Dr. Snowden. He looked around. “I was napping, but something woke me up. I…sensed some type of exotic energy, but I don’t recognize it.”

Evaran’s eyes narrowed. “I will come to you.”

“I think I’m okay. Have you sensed anything unusual?”

“I have not,” said Evaran.

“Where are you at?” asked Dr. Snowden.

“I am at Lord Noskov’s base with Jake Melkins.”

Dr. Snowden exhaled from his nose. “Oh, all right. Is V with you?”

The projection zoomed out and showed V in projected mode. “I am here.”

“Okay,” said Dr. Snowden. He grinned. “I thought I sensed you out here too. It’s probably my late lunch acting up. No need to come out here. I’ll head home.”

Evaran eyed Dr. Snowden. “Are you sure?”

Jake Melkins, with his fair skin and black hair, popped into view. “We could pick you up and have a cookout.”

Dr. Snowden chuckled. “As appetizing as that sounds, I think I’ll continue my nap at home.”

“Okay,” said Evaran. “We are here if you need us.”

The projection dissipated.

Dr. Snowden sighed as he looked around his office, usually a refuge after teaching classes, but not tonight. The strange energy presence seemed to have gotten stronger. He packed up his traveling bag with various items, then slung the strap over his shoulder. Perhaps continuing his nap at home was all he needed.

His office door opened as he approached it.

A woman in a formfitting black suit with silver lines segmenting it stepped through.

Dr. Snowden studied the woman with her red hair, pale skin, and dimly lit green eyes. Her outfit appeared suitable for mobility, and the thin light gray pads across the body looked like they were able to take a hit or two. Dark blue spaulders resided on her shoulders while a slim silver belt rested on her hips. She was obviously not human and reminded him of a futuristic ninja with her metallic shin and forearm wraps.

“Who are you?” he asked.

“Ziekah,” she said in a somewhat raspy and calm voice. She pointed at his chair. “Sit. We’re going to talk, me and you.”

Dr. Snowden grabbed his PSD and attempted to contact Evaran.

Ziekah tapped at her left shoulder spaulder, which shimmered with various glowing lines. “Your communication device, while advanced, isn’t contacting anybody.” She motioned at his seat again. “Sit.”

“Listen. I don’t care what you want, or why you’re here, but you should leave,” said Dr. Snowden.

Ziekah laughed. “Oh…humans. Always a flair for the dramatic. Fine, stand, but you will talk with me.”

Dr. Snowden did not like the superiority complex thing Ziekah had going on. It was apparent that she had singled him out for some reason. Perhaps she wanted his nanobots, or even information on Evaran. Whatever it was, she would not get it.

“You might be surprised that I know you as the great Dr. Albert Snowden,” said Ziekah. She looked him up and down. “Your appearance seems to contradict that assessment. However…I sense dimensional and other types of energy swirling around you. You’re human…and more.”

“Is that why you’re here?”

“No. I’m here because of what you did to someone I’m looking for.”

Dr. Snowden’s eyes narrowed. “And who would that be?”

“Seeros.”

A cold chill swept through Dr. Snowden. It had been a long while since he had heard that name, but he had not forgotten how powerful Seeros was. “He’s dead.”

“Oh, I know. You see…I travel the timelines, looking for versions of Seeros. This timeline’s version is dead, and I hunt those who wronged him before taking him out of the timeline. Although the Malazim directly killed him, you and your friends put him in that position. I’ve already dealt with the Malazim. Now I’m here to deal with the other half.”

Dr. Snowden wrinkled his brow. The concept of there being multiple Seeroses sounded like a nightmare. Even more alarming was that she said she had dealt with the Malazim. They had almost killed him long ago. He knew them as a race of powerful dimensional beings with the ability to infect those in this reality before twisting the flesh to do their bidding.

“So you’re here to kill me?” he asked.

“No. You aren’t the brains of the group. That would be Evaran. He is the main game I hunt, and you…the bait.”

“I wouldn’t suggest doing whatever it is you’re planning.”

Ziekah eyed Dr. Snowden. “Is that so?”

He raised his PSD and fired a stun beam.

She dodged it and leapt across the desk, kicking him in the chest.

He sprawled back into the wall.

“I wouldn’t try that again,” she said.

He grabbed his PSD from the floor where it had fallen. Her kick would have crushed a normal human’s chest. He jumped up and shoved her away using his left forearm energy shield.

She slid back and raised her head a bit. “Impressive. Not many could do that.”

Dr. Snowden had to get out of there. The office was not an ideal place to fight, and she seemed much tougher than her appearance led him to believe. He rushed over to the window and jumped through. As he fell, he shot a grappling beam at a nearby tree and used it to slow down to a graceful landing. He looked up.

Ziekah appeared in the window and extended her arm. “You think you can outrun me? I have another idea…”

Dr. Snowden closed his PSD and stood. His eyes widened when a green circle formed under him. It reminded him of the portals the Torvatta, Evaran’s ship, used when traveling long distances.

“I’ll see you…earlier,” she said, smiling.

Dr. Snowden fell through the circle. He tried to get a bearing on the pure darkness around him, but a moment later, he crash-landed on the side of a dirt road. The dark skies indicated it was nighttime, and crisp air rolled around him. He paused to catch his breath and stood. The moon’s brightness caught this attention. An earthy smell of the forest wafted through the air.

He verified he had his PSD and projected a communication window. Evaran needed to be updated while there was time. Ziekah might appear at any moment. He tapped at Evaran’s icon.

The PSD showed no signal.

He tried to reach Emily.

No signal.

His heart beat faster. He attempted to see if the PSD could even verify if the Torvatta was near.

A small connection icon appeared briefly before showing no signal.

He sighed. Wherever he was, the Torvatta had not responded. Contacting anyone seemed not to be an option either. He raised his helmet and dissipated his holographic suit before activating his camouflage shielding. His chest hurt from Ziekah’s kick, and he hoped Evaran and the others were ready for when Ziekah visited them, as it sounded like her plan. He understood why she had portaled him away: one less factor to deal with when hunting Evaran. His eyes surveyed the environment. It was time to find out where he was.

Scene Break

Emily inhaled the fresh air as she walked through the park. Although it was nighttime, the well-lit pathway was one she had taken hundreds of times. A study group session with her and three others had been refreshing and made her feel normal. While traveling with Evaran was great, she sometimes got lost in the adventures. She smiled as she remembered her father telling her never to forget her roots.

Life had been good to her the last month. She had joined Dr. Bryson and his fiancè, Karen, as they had visited the Wild Haven Institute for classes on the nonhuman world and how to interact with the human one. The atmosphere there seemed unusual, with all sorts of nonhumans, and even some aliens, attending.

There existed many types of beings she had not been aware of. The classes stimulated her, and watching Dr. Bryson joke around had been entertaining. Karen much less so. She was uptight and unsure of how to take everything in, but Emily understood how disorienting learning about nonhumans could be.

Emily also enjoyed spending time with both Jennifer and Jelton Stallryn. While Emily was close with Jelton, they did not engage in physical contact much. They interacted mostly through mental bonding. Definitely fun, but sometimes she wanted more.

Jennifer satisfied the physical aspect. Emily understood now why Fredorians, the human ex-slave civilization she had helped boost long ago, used relationship groups instead of being monogamous. It allowed for different types of relationships among group members. Emily’s group consisted of Jennifer, Jelton, and Andia Kiggs, the Fredorian she had met long ago but had not seen in a while. It was not lost on Emily that her relationships were scattered across time and space.

One of the lamps flickered, causing the area around her to temporarily darken.

She paused. Something was off. She did a quick check to make sure her survival suit had the right hologram on it. Out of instinct, she checked that her PSD was within reach. Dr. Snowden teased her about always being ready to fight. Traveling with Evaran meant there were targets on their backs, and she remembered being on a prison planet unprepared. That would never happen again. Ever.

The lamp stopped flickering.

She sighed. Although the light seemed to be back to normal, she sensed an unusual energy. She thought she detected V, but whatever the odd energy was, it overpowered that.

She looked around. “V?”

Silence.

She grabbed her PSD and held it in her right hand. It did not hurt to be ready to fight. After focusing, she detected a slight disturbance in the air. She spun to her right while raising her left forearm shield.

An elongated arrow-like projectile bounced off her energy shield.

Emily extended her PSD into a baton.

A woman with a formfitting black suit segmented by silver lines walked out from behind a tree.

Emily aimed her PSD forward. “Who are you?”

“Ziekah.”

“Did you shoot an arrow at me?”

“Dart, actually,” said Ziekah.

Emily’s eyes narrowed. Nonhumans knew not to mess with her since that meant Evaran would get involved. Ziekah’s energy registered as one Emily had never sensed before.

“You were supposed to get hit, then fall asleep,” said Ziekah.

Emily snorted. “Whatever. Why’d you attack me?”

“To use you as bait. Evaran is difficult to find, but you and your uncle…not quite as hard. Your uncle showed me that you and he are not as you appear.”

“What’d you do to Uncle Albert!” said Emily, gritting her teeth.

“Tried to capture him, of course. He’s a lot stronger than he appears, and faster too. I wasn’t expecting that. No matter. He won’t be bothering anyone anymore.”

Emily attempted to contact Dr. Snowden and Evaran.

“That won’t work,” said Ziekah, tapping at her left shoulder spaulder. Glowing lines appeared on it.

Emily’s heartbeat ramped up. This woman clearly wanted a fight. All bets were off if she harmed Dr. Snowden.

“Now, why don’t you surrender? I’ll even let you can call Evaran. All you need to do is give me your…weapon, and we can sort all this out,” said Ziekah.

“I’m not giving you anything!”

Ziekah chuckled. “Just like your uncle. Stubbornness must run in the family.”

Emily fired a repulsion blast at Ziekah.

Ziekah rolled out of the way and shot another dart at Emily.

Emily knocked it away with her baton and charged forward. When she reached Ziekah, she hit her point-blank with a stun beam.

Ziekah shuddered for a moment. She yelled as a pulse of white light radiated out from her.

Emily flew back. After standing, she charged again.

“Impressive,” said Ziekah. “You’re even faster and stronger than your uncle. I clearly misjudged you as well.”

When Emily approached, she hit Ziekah with a point-blank repulsion blast.

Ziekah tumbled back. She got to her feet, shaking her head. Smudges of green blood appeared on her cheek. “You…actually hurt me.”

“I’m going to do a lot more if you hurt Uncle Albert! I’m taking you down! You’re gonna talk to Evaran.”

Ziekah’s breathing increased. She tapped at her left shoulder spaulder. “Contact him, then.”

Emily faced Ziekah and opened a communication window from her PSD. That allowed Emily to keep an eye on Ziekah while operating the PSD. Evaran’s icon illuminated. She tapped at it.

“Emily. Is everything okay?” asked Evaran.

“No, I’m under attack by someone named Ziekah, and Uncle Albert isn’t responding,” said Emily.

“I see. We are on our way,” said Evaran.

The communication window disappeared.

A moment later, the Torvatta appeared in the sky and streaked toward Emily’s location.

Emily smiled. Evaran must have calculated the time to get from orbit to her location. With that information, he could travel back in time so he could arrive at that moment. She loved time travel.

“Ahh, he appears. Finally,” said Ziekah.

“I wouldn’t be so cocky if I were you,” said Emily.

Ziekah laughed.

“You’re awfully confident for someone who’s about to be judged.”

Ziekah’s eyes flared. “Judged…like how he judged Seeros?”

“Seeros?” asked Emily. A chill swept through her.

“Put him on a slab to die by the filthy Malazim? The details are sketchy…but I know you were there. However, it’s obvious Evaran made that decision. You’re simply a lackey. A human one at that, although you are full of surprises.”

Emily clenched her jaw. Seeros was a timeline refugee that had sought out Evaran for revenge. As powerful as Seeros had been, she and the others had been able to take him down.

“Why do you care what happened to Seeros?” asked Emily, glancing up for a moment to verify that the Torvatta still approached.

“Because he is to be extracted from this timeline. Unfortunately, it appears that due to the random nature of how I enter timelines, I’ve been placed in a period after his death. I can fix that…but not if a time-traveling group is meddling around. I also exact revenge on those who killed Seeros, directly and indirectly, such as you.”

The Torvatta hovered over Emily.

“And time is up,” said Ziekah. She smiled as she motioned in circles with her hands.

A green circle appeared under Emily.

Emily’s eyes widened as she fell through. Everything became dark. She crash-landed on a forest floor and paused to catch her breath. As she surveyed her surroundings, she tried to reach Evaran. His icon had grayed out. It seemed off that she could connect to the Torvatta but it did not respond to her.

She closed her eyes and focused. The smells were definitely those of the forest, and the noises of bugs and other normal sounds made her think she was really in a forest and not a mirage. She opened her eyes and tapped a nearby tree. Solid. Wherever her location, it was not a pathway in a park.

She sighed. Alone. Again. It seemed to be a reoccurring theme that displeased her. Not being able to contact Evaran or anyone else was never a good sign, but the Torvatta rejecting her connection made her uneasy.

Her next step was uncertain, but with her PSD, she had food and water and basic necessities covered. Memories of being on the prison planet flashed through her mind. The difference was that this time, she had an upgraded suit and PSD and was ready for whatever came her way.