The Inspector Dalton Files: Transition

Transition Image

Title: Transition

Series: The Inspector Dalton Files

Book #: 0

Publisher: Quantum Edge Publishing

Published: April 20, 2018

Formats:

eBook

TRANSITION

The Inspector Dalton Files Prequel

The end of a journey can be the beginning of a new one.

Inspector Dalton Kingston, Earth Ward, has received his first solo case…on this Earth. As an evolved human with advanced technology who has traveled across timelines with a powerful being, Dalton has a head start on solving this case. Joining him is Evot, his shapeshifting AI, whose cat and crow forms aid him in his investigations. The problem is he has only been on this Earth for a month and he is still learning how everything works.

Something has disrupted technological systems in Clarksville, Indiana. One issue is the local Earth Ward safe house was impacted. Another is that Clarksville is a Faith Militia hotbed with a high number of nonhuman deaths.

Discovering the cause of the blackouts while coming to grips with this Earth’s culture and various power factions is a new challenge for Dalton. Despite that, he will do what he does best—investigate.


Read the sample below!


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Series Note

This is intended as an introduction to Inspector Dalton Kingston and his transition to this Earth. It's not critical to the rest of the series, but it does have additional information related to Dalton's travels with Evaran and the gang in The Time Cube, Book 11 of The Evaran Chronicles.


SAMPLE

Chapter One

Fighting three or four vampires was one thing; nine was another. Inspector Dalton Kingston was helping Mikhail, an ancient vampire, deal with a rogue group of Blooded vampires. Dalton initially arrived on Earth on January 9, 2013, and it was only a month later that he found himself lending a hand to Mikhail. As the most evolved human on the planet, Dalton’s purpose was to assist where needed.

On his original Earth, vampires were a myth, embellished in stories and folklore, but they were real here. Many different types existed, each with their own strain of Daedrould exotic energy.

Exotic energy was not a new concept for Dalton. A sliver of cosmic energy coursed through him, which gave him an advantage. He called it his Evaran-sense, named after the space-and-time-traveling cosmic being who rescued him from certain death and brought him to Earth.

Dalton’s enhanced senses illuminated an aura around people that told him if they possessed exotic energy, Daedrould or otherwise. It also gave him superior strength and speed relative to a human, but the more important aspect was it allowed him to be aware of his surroundings. He could sense someone’s heartbeat, breathing, and general condition up to fifty feet away. When he focused, everything seemed to slow down.

His senses showed that three Blooded were down the hallway ahead of him and Mikhail and six more on a lower level. Mikhail had planned to take this group down since they trafficked in humans, something that drew attention to the nonhuman world. These vampires did not seem to care about that, a mistake Dalton and Mikhail would correct.

Although most Blooded abided by nonhuman rules set forth by the Earth Ward, the unofficial ruling body on Earth, this group was different. Their whole-body tattoos were a badge of honor, and they dressed in black-and-gold clothing. Their trademark emblem was the golden bandanna that covered the bottom half of their faces. Mikhail had tracked them for a while, but with Dalton’s help, they nailed down a location.

Across the hallway entrance, Mikhail, in his black heavy armor, crouched and peered out. Dalton liked him. With his thick Eastern-European accent and massive size, he was a force to be reckoned with. He wielded a large black shield with a golden design on the front in his left hand and a stun baton in his right. Dalton suspected he was being tested since Mikhail could have done this by himself.

Thanks to some upgrades Dalton received before coming to call this Earth home, he had upgraded his nanotech suit. It currently operated in Scoutspectre mode, named after the space inspector position he held for seventy years, but it had other modes, such as camouflage and casual, that concealed his fair skin well.

A dark-blue mesh under armor covered him from his toes to his neck and formed the first layer. Thin, armored silver pads resided on top of that in various sizes and shapes that segmented the suit. Some pads were larger, like the two on the chest or the ones that covered the quads, while others were smaller, like the ones on the abdomen or the knees. The pads could take a lot of punishment, but they did not fully cover the body, and he was vulnerable between them.

His helmet had three distinct areas. The silver front plate contained a thin, glowing blue slit that covered his eyes and went down over his nose in a T-pattern. Black pads protected the sides, and the top and back were a dark-blue solid piece.

He also carried two weapons. The first was his multipurpose handle, or MH, holstered on his right thigh. The MH had a meshed grip over most of it except near the end where it flattened out. It extended into various utilities, including lethal weapons, but he tried to avoid those situations. He often used it as a stun baton that stored one hundred charges. A light stun consumed one; medium, two; and heavy, three.

The second weapon was his retractable stun gun, or RSG. When activated from his left inner forearm, it formed a blocky, wraparound structure on his right hand with a button on top for his thumb. When he balled his fist and tapped the button, the RSG fired a thin blue beam. The RSG had the same stun levels and usage as the MH.

The RSG covered a lot of situations, but it only had twenty-five charges, so he used it sparingly and only when absolutely required. It also meant that if the RSG was active, the MH either needed to be in his left hand or holstered.

It surprised him that he was allowed to keep it on this Earth, but as he had discovered, alien technology existed in various degrees and stun weapons were common. His was even considered less powerful than the ones he had researched. Still, he relied on it for ranged situations.

As a former Scoutspectre, he often visited places where he could not carry a variety of equipment, and the MH and RSG answered that. The MH also allowed him to connect to systems directly after scanning the port type, and he used it to form useful shapes, such as keys and connectors, when necessary.

“So what’s the plan?” asked Mikhail.

Dalton nodded. “I’m going to rush the three in front of us.”

“They’ll detect you before you reach them,” said Mikhail, looking Dalton over. “What if they shoot at you?”

Dalton activated his light-blue, semitransparent, rectangular nanoshield from his left forearm. It stood vertically about three feet, with scraper-like endings at the top and bottom. The angled corners made it resemble a widened barrel.

“That’s what this is for,” he said.

“All right,” said Mikhail.

“We got this,” said Dalton.

He pulled out his MH and formed his stun baton. Although he could hit the Blooded from range, he might not get them all, and then it would end up being close range where his stun baton would be better. He charged down the hallway with his shield out and focused. His Evaran-sense made everything around him appear to slow. He relied on that and his speed to close the gap.

The startled vampires focused on him.

Dalton’s ocular implants displayed data labels off to the side in his augmented reality interface, or ARI. It verified what he sensed. The Blooded were weak.

The closest one jumped back and growled. The other two raised their guns.

Dalton slammed into the first vampire, sending it sprawling back into the second. In a continuous motion, he spun and hit the third one on the right with a medium stun.

The Blooded crumpled.

The two others on the left stood and pulled out machetes. The first swung wildly.

Dalton blocked the strike with his shield and raised his arm back. The shield’s bottom scraper pulled the weapon away. Dalton jabbed his stun baton into the attacker’s stomach.

The vampire fell.

The last one tried to slice Dalton’s head off.

He stepped out of range and used his baton to guide the machete past, then slid it up the Blooded’s arm and hit it in the head.

The vampire collapsed.

Mikhail rushed forward. “Damn, you’re fast. You didn’t need my help!”

Dalton smiled. “Your help is always welcome.”

“Uh-huh.”

“There’s six more coming up the nearby stairwell. We can use the top of the stairs as a choke point so we only need to deal with two at a time.”

Mikhail tilted his head. “I sense them too but not that specifically.” He rifled through his backpack and tossed a handcuff to Dalton. “I wish I had your Evaran-sense.”

Dalton had debriefed with the ancient vampires when he first arrived on Earth, and his Evaran-sense had been discussed. To see it in action seemed to impress Mikhail.

They handcuffed the vampires before hustling to the top of the stairwell.

Mikhail motioned to the left. “Stay behind that corner and let me be useful. I’ll pull them out of the stairwell and into the open. You can grab them and do your fancy stuff. I’ll smash ’em.”

Dalton laughed. “My fancy stuff? Bring ’em on.”

He enjoyed the heat of the moment. Although he tended to avoid action as a Scoutspectre, it was a good way to release energy.

Mikhail lowered his massive shield in front of him and adopted a defensive stance.

Dalton sensed the Blooded rushing up. Their nervousness suggested they knew they faced something tough. They would know Mikhail as an ancient vampire, but Dalton would be unknown to them. Ancient vampires did not like Blooded ones in general and considered them a rival strain.

Mikhail’s shield held sturdy against a hail of bullets. Some projectiles ricocheted.

“Stop shooting, damn it!” said one of the vampires.

Two rushed forward with machetes.

Dalton grabbed the first one and threw it to the side. He stunned it, and the vampire stopped moving.

Mikhail bashed the second one back before moving forward and hitting it in the head with his stun baton.

The vampire crumpled.

Mikhail raised his shield and backed up.

Two more Blooded appeared.

Dalton kicked the third one into the fourth.

They sprawled off to the side.

Dalton pointed at them. “Get them. I’ll get the last two.”

Mikhail yelled as he charged the two who struggled to stand.

Dalton stepped out to the top of the stairwell and looked down at the startled vampires. He jumped down, slammed the fifth one into the wall, and side-kicked another away. As he moved back, the fifth vampire slid to the ground. A tap on the chest, and it stopped moving.

The sixth one used the wall to stand and tried to grab her machete.

Dalton charged over and jabbed his stun baton into her stomach.

She cried out and collapsed.

He hustled up the stairs.

Mikhail dodged machete strikes. He shield-bashed the final vampire and hit it with his stun baton.

Dalton holstered his MH and clapped.

“You coulda helped!” said Mikhail.

Dalton shrugged. “I didn’t think a beefy ancient vampire like yourself needed any.”

Mikhail slapped Dalton on the back. “You got jokes! I like it.”

“I’ve been known to crack a few every now and then,” said Dalton, grinning. “All right, if you can cuff these, I’ll go below and check out the area. I’m sensing something…unusual down there but nothing I can’t handle.”

Mikhail nodded. “Sounds good. I’ll get an Earth Ward support team in here to pick these assholes up.”

“If there are captives below, I’ll send ’em up,” said Dalton.

Mikhail kicked one of the downed vampires. “Time to tie up some bitches.”

With the area secured, Dalton descended to the floor below. The dim lighting did no favors to the dirty hallway, but he sensed humans ahead. He was sure it smelled great, but he did not want to lower his helmet to test that. Moans and sighs filled the air. He peered into one room and saw three cages, each with a human inside.

A woman rushed to the bars. “Help us, please.”

Dalton lowered his faceplate and gagged. The smell was worse than he expected. It was like someone had left rotting meat out for days. Still, he wanted to present a friendly face for her.

“I’m here for you,” he said.

He emitted a gold beam from his right palm over the lock. The scans showed he could break it by vibrating his nanosuit around his hand, a technique he learned from traveling with Evaran. Although it often used up more energy than it was worth, he had no problem using it now.

The lock crumbled.

She ran out and hugged him.

Dalton sighed. She looked better off than the other two, and he sensed others outside the room. He broke the locks off the other cages and tapped at the side of his helmet.

“Mikhail, three humans are coming up,” he said.

“Got it,” said Mikhail. “You see that other thing you sensed?”

“Not yet.” Dalton faced the woman and crooked his thumb at the door. “Get topside. There’s a big, beefy guy there who will assist you. Yes, he’s a vampire but not like these.”

The group hesitated, then rushed out.

Dalton raised his faceplate and continued down the hallway. He saw an unconscious woman, nude from the waist down, in another room, hanging from chains. He had an idea of what happened in there. These Blooded seemed to like to play with their victims. He freed her and laid her on the ground. Once he dealt with the unusual presence, he would get back to her.

The next room had four cages with children inside. He released them and told them to go topside. One hugged him as she cried. A lump formed in his throat as he thought of his daughter. She would have been about the same age, and he wished he could see her again.

The little girl hugging him tight did not want to leave his side, but after he explained he was there for the bad guys and there might be more, she nodded and took off. Dalton updated Mikhail about the situation.

The final room was a kitchen of some type. A table in the middle had a human who appeared to have been carved on for days. Perhaps that was what he had smelled earlier. Dalton’s senses told him the unusual presence was in the area. He was not sure how he missed it initially.

A red light over a sink provided illumination to the rest of the room, and sinks, counters, and several metallic cabinets lined the walls. He sensed the Blooded was in one of the cabinets and raised his right hand to emit a scanning beam that scoured the area. The scan verified the Blooded’s location. Dalton approached the cabinet with his stun baton out.

The cabinet’s doors burst open.

Dalton caught the older vampire by the neck.

It hissed at him, baring its fangs.

Dalton hit it in the groin with his baton.

The vampire grunted and collapsed.

Dalton laid it over his shoulder and looked around. This had been an interesting hunt with Mikhail, and Dalton wondered if they would all be like this. Compared to what he had fought before coming to this Earth, the Blooded were no match. Maybe if they had numbers and used better tactics, they might have stood a chance.

He suspected they were not too bright in the first place to operate this brazenly. He only consumed fourteen energy charges for his weapons and some from his main energy store for the hand vibration. A low-cost fight in that regard for a high yield.

Scene Break

Dalton stood on a metallic-paneled platform that jutted out over the Appalachian Mountains. The platform was the outside part of Lord Noskov’s base. He was a powerful ancient vampire lord and had invited Dalton to stay there while he adjusted to this Earth. Lord Noskov was a close friend of Evaran. Dalton had traveled with him to help with a problem, and after it was done, this was where he ended up.

He appreciated that the Earth Ward took on cases like the one he did yesterday with Mikhail. The Earth Ward was a nonhuman council that represented Earth to the Kreagan Star Empire, the galactic superpower that controlled the region around Earth.

Although they were made up of nonhumans and, for the most part, determined what happened on Earth in secret, they had official recognition by the United Nations as a law enforcement agency. Due to his past as a Scoutspectre, essentially a space inspector, and Evaran’s word, the Earth Ward gave him a similar rank. Evaran formed the Earth Ward to watch over the planet, and Dalton would not let him down.

Dalton looked out at the setting sun. Light rays moved like fingers brushing the tops of trees for one last touch before they disappeared. He loved the smell of the forest and, in general, being back on an Earth that was not a radiated wasteland. His muscles relaxed.

Light footsteps echoed behind Dalton. He glanced back at Jake Melkins, a man in his early twenties with fair skin, an athletic build, and a mop of dark hair. Like Dalton, Jake had been saved by Evaran and lived at the base. Dalton was not sure this would be his permanent residence, but it was a good place to get accustomed to things.

“Hey,” said Jake.

Dalton nodded. “Jake.”

Jake chuckled. “Mikhail can’t stop talking about how tough and fast you are.”

“He helped.”

“Yeah, but he said you didn’t need him. That’s high praise from him, trust me,” said Jake, shaking his hand in front of him.

“I’ll accept it as such,” said Dalton.

Jake nodded as he studied him. “Wow, you’re jacked.”

“In what way?”

“I meant, like, you know,” said Jake. He bent over and growled while flexing.

Dalton laughed.

“You look like you could jump right into a fight,” said Jake.

Dalton wore square-toed, shiny black boots and beige trousers with pockets. A black belt separated his pants from his loose dark-gray T-shirt, which showed off his athletic physique.

“It’s my nanosuit’s default mode,” he said. “It can change a lot, and I call this casual.”

“That’s cool. Mikhail mentioned you had other modes, but I’ve only seen this one,” said Jake.

Dalton changed into another mode. “This is my camouflage mode.”

“Whoa, now that’s badass!”

Dalton focused and switched back to his default mode. He now wore loose black pants that concealed most of his black boots. A black jacket with a dark-gray seam up the middle covered the top, and a dark-gray officer collar wrapped around the neck.

A wide, shield-like patch with a silver outline resided on both upper arms. The right displayed the Earth Ward symbol with some text on it, while the left showed the inspector symbol, which resembled an elegant magnifying glass surrounded by horizontal lines that went to the edge of the patch. “Inspector Dalton Kingston” sat on the upper-right part of the chest in gold lettering.

“The Earth Ward inspector uniform,” said Jake.

Dalton smiled. “It sure is and what I would wear out and about in an official capacity. The Earth Ward wanted to give me an outfit, but I could replicate it. Plus, I have a light kinetic shield in casual mode.”

“Wish I had that. Any other modes?”

Dalton changed to a different mode. “This is my Scoutspectre mode. I only activate it when entering heavy combat, and it’s also the only one that allows me to use my nanoshield.”

“Wow. That reminds me of what I would see when I lived on a space station,” said Jake.

“Mikhail said I looked like a futuristic ninja with metal pads.”

Jake laughed.

Dalton changed back to his casual outfit in default mode.

“I saw your MH on your thighs when in Scoutspectre mode, but where does it go on the others?”

Dalton grinned. “In my default mode, it’s strapped to my right thigh and I can access it inside my pockets.”

“Awesome. And your stun gun—sorry, RSG—can form from your right hand. That’s so cool. I also noticed your slicked hair doesn’t move, kinda like Evaran.”

Dalton ran a hand over his shaved sides. “There isn’t too much to move.”

“True,” said Jake. He furrowed his brow. “On a serious note, I bet you’re still getting used to things here, huh?”

Dalton smiled. “I am, actually. My Earth was nothing like this. Maybe at some point it was but not when I left it.”

“So I’ve heard. You traveled through several parallel timelines before this one, right?”

Dalton nodded. “Ten, to be exact.”

“That’s crazy. And the last one was this timeline where you ran into Evaran.”

“That was the eleventh. Evaran actually had a summon specifically for me,” said Dalton.

He recalled that Evaran’s ship, the Torvatta, issued summons that Evaran and his crew, known as the gang, attended to. One of the summons had been to rescue Dalton. He understood now why the Torvatta issued it. The Torvatta chose him to come to Earth at this point in time and help out. It was also where he received some of his more unique gifts, such as his Evaran-sense and Torvatta-touch.

Jake grinned. “I saw that the Torvatta chose you or something. I guess that’s why you’re here.”

“It is, and I’m at peace with that,” said Dalton, casting a sidelong glance at him. “My Earth, before it got nuked, resembled this one but was more advanced. After the war, it was a radiated wasteland with mutants and savage raiders. It’s where I lost my family.”

“That sucks,” said Jake.

Dalton nodded. “It’s okay. I know your history and that you’ve also dealt with losing family.”

Jake sighed as he looked down. “Yeah.”

Dalton had been given access to the Torvatta’s knowledge base. One of the most intriguing aspects was when he discovered all of Evaran’s adventures since arriving on Earth a long while back. Jake was the first human Evaran met. Dalton enjoyed watching their first interaction, as Evaran recorded everything.

Jake had been abducted at the age of six and lived on a space station until he was almost twenty-one. He was supposed to become a breeder for the Seceltor Empire, but Evaran changed all that. Jake’s mom had also been abducted and ended up as the main course for a vicious alien race known as the Ogeerians.

Jake looked over at Dalton. “I guess we both lost something before coming here.”

Dalton laid a hand on his shoulder. “We did, but all we can do is look forward. It doesn’t mean we need to forget the past, but we don’t have to let it define us either.”

Jake chuckled. “You sounded like Evaran just now.”

“He is a good influence.”

They shared a laugh.

“So what’s your plan, then?” asked Jake.

Dalton looked out. “As you may or may not know, the timelines are still healing from the Mortani, rogue cosmic beings, and what they did. That means all dimensions to Earth, including other parallel timelines, can cross over much easier now. My purpose, at a high level, is to assist in providing stability.”

“I could see that. The Helians were removed from power last year, and they ran Earth from the shadows for thousands of years. Now we got the Earth Ward running things, and although Evaran created it, it’s not been the smoothest transition. There’s still a lot of issues, and I guess you’ll handle the parallel timeline and dimensional ones.”

Dalton nodded. “Most likely so. I’ll be dealing with the hardest or most unusual cases. I suspect that not all will deal with dimensions or timelines.”

Jake grinned. “You’ll be among a select few who could handle those. The Earth Ward is backed up in investigating things, and you were a Scoutspectre. Some type of space detective, right?”

“Inspector but same concept. I got most of my gifts from the first parallel Earth I visited. That’s where I became a Scoutspectre and eventually commanded fifty others over ten systems.”

Jake’s eyes widened. “Wow. The cases here will be a little easier, I think.”

“Perhaps, but I don’t have a highly trained Scoutspectre core to call upon. Also, this Earth’s nonhuman population is powerful, as are various human factions. I might have an edge, but it doesn’t mean the cases I investigate will be easy.”

Jake nodded. “I got ya. Speaking of edges, you have the mother lode.”

Dalton shrugged. “It depends on the situation. My nanotech suit in Scoutspectre mode can take some punishment but only to a limit. A machine gun would hurt. My nanoshield is powerful, but it doesn’t cover everything. In default mode, I have a light kinetic shield that would protect me against small arms fire, but as you already probably guessed, anything stronger will break it. My camouflage shielding works great, but anyone with enhanced senses or thermal imaging will see through it.”

“Those are still nice to have,” said Jake. “I read you heal fast or something?”

“I have super cells. They can heal me from most poison or disease as well as wounds but not if my head is missing or there’s a hole in my chest. They came as part of the nanosuit package. Since my skin has been bonded to the suit, the super cells keep everything inside good.”

“Yeah, but that’s still a much bigger advantage than a normal human. What other abilities do you have? I really wish I didn’t miss your debriefing sessions, but Lord Noskov has kept me busy, and Mikhail seems to be keeping you busy on runs. I don’t want you to feel like I’m interrogating you.”

Dalton nodded. “It’s all right. I’ve only been here a month, and I’m not going anywhere. For my noncombat abilities, I have Evaran-sense that allows me to detect things and some other enhancements. The Torvatta-touch lets me open and close dimensional portals but with some limitations.”

“Those are cool names,” said Jake.

“Yeah, I like them. You’ve already met Evot, my AI that controls my servbots.”

“She’s cool,” said Jake, smiling. “I like that she can jump out of your upper arms into a cat or crow form.”

Dalton chuckled. “She’s actually in crow form now, flying around.”

Jake looked out.

“I know my abilities seem powerful, but each of them has a weakness as well. However, it’s tactics that makes my abilities strong. Individually, they can be overcome, but it’s much harder to do that when they’re used efficiently. From my experience, the best approach is to avoid combat if possible. Words carry weight and are the preferred solution.”

Jake chuckled. “I get it.” He boxed in the air. “Still helps to have your abilities, the MH, and your RSG.”

Dalton laughed. “Yes, I suppose it does. You carry a stun weapon too. Pistol, I believe.”

“Yeah, it’s a modified Seceltor blaster.”

While Dalton was confident in his abilities and understood them intimately, he also knew how overconfidence could be a liability. He had been in situations where he should have come out on top easily, but it came down to the wire when it should not have.

There had been several harsh lessons in that regard, and he had lost some under his command. He would not take what he possessed for granted and was thankful he had them. It was an advantage he would use to help others.

“What do you think about the Wild Haven Institute so far?” asked Jake.

Dalton ran a hand over the back of his neck. The Wild Haven Institute was where nonhumans and aliens visited to learn about Earth and how to interact with humanity.

“It’s interesting for sure,” he said.

Jake smiled. “Yeah. Plus, you get to travel up there with Dr. Snowden, Emily, Dr. Bryson, and Karen.”

Dalton’s eyes softened. Dr. Snowden and Emily were Evaran’s permanent travel companions, and Dalton had grown close to them. He was glad he got to continue seeing them between their trips. Dr. Bryson was a good friend of Dr. Snowden, and like Dalton, Dr. Bryson had been a temporary traveling companion. Dalton enjoyed comparing notes.

Karen, Dr. Bryson’s fiancèe, seemed resentful that she had been pulled into a situation that required knowledge of the nonhuman world. Dalton suspected she wanted a simpler life.

“This is true,” he said. “I still miss training with Emily in the holo room and having philosophical discussions with Dr. Snowden in the planar cartography lab. I’m just glad I can still interact with them.”

“Yeah,” said Jake. “Plus, Evaran and V are around sometimes, so you’ll still get to see them.”

Dalton fondly remembered V, Evaran’s trusty mobile artificial intelligence. Dalton had come to view V as family and, by extension, Evaran and the others who traveled with him.

“Definitely. I value every moment I breathe,” he said.

Jake nodded. “I’m with you on that.”

Robert, Jake’s dad, called out to them, and they looked back.

“Looks like Dad is making burgers again. You in?” asked Jake.

Dalton slapped Jake on the back. “I wouldn’t dream of missing it. Let’s go.”