A reluctant solo agent, Sillow is called upon to undertake his first mission, investigate the Tower, a high-tech prison complex along with the oligarch who runs it, a mysterious nobleman who calls himself Tamerlane.
All the while, something has been evolving, growing stronger inside the Tower, something intangible yet far more dangerous than Tamerlane ever could be, a being implacably opposed to all life in the galaxy…
…and only Sillow has any chance of stopping it.
Laser fire and shouts echoed as Sillow was thrown headlong into the cell.
“What are you?” a female voiced asked. “Some type of green midget?”
Sillow groaned and tried to get up. He settled for a slumped kneeling position.
“I’m a Sylvan,” he replied. He squinted into the shadows and saw a figure seated on the upper berth of a bunk. He could make out little apart from a muscular, yet shapely pair
of legs. “Who are you?”
The figure jumped down from the bunk. She was an Amazonian, strong and athletic with an impressive cleavage and long chestnut hair falling around her shoulders. She was
also extremely pretty despite the artificial eye and cheek implant. She stretched out a perfectly formed silver arm, extending her hand. “Titanya.”
Sillow’s eyes widened. “The Pirate Queen?”
The woman nodded.
The Sylvan took her cybernetic hand and let himself be hauled to his feet. He found himself head high to her magnificent chest.
“Sillow,” he replied, smiling at her breasts. “I’m from the Alliance.”
“Up here, short stuff,” the woman told him.
Slowly and very reluctantly, Sillow turned his attention upwards. He grinned. “Nice to meet you.”
Outside, cries and weapon fire continued to echo through the halls.
Titanya frowned. “Any idea what all that’s about?”
“Whole place is going crazy,” the Sylvan replied. “Something got into Tamerlane’s AI system.”
The woman took a couple of tentative steps toward the door. Screams echoed through the walls.
“Sounds like a warzone out there,” she remarked. “You sure the AI is causing all this?”
Sillow frowned. “You know, this is going to sound kind of crazy but…” he paused, running a hand over his pointed chin.
“What?” Titanya demanded.
“Well, it kind of looks like the one causing all this is Darius Drake. You heard of the guy?”
“Oh yeah,” the Earth woman answered. “We’ve met.”
“Well, somehow he’s put himself into the computer system.” Sillow gave an embarrassed shrug. “Sounds sort of off the wall I know.”
There was a sudden explosion and flames tore through the slits at the top of the door.
“Look out.” Sillow threw himself at Titanya, knocking her off balance and sending her tumbling to the floor. The Sylvan landed on top of her, head buried in her thick auburn
locks. A fireball tore past them, turning the bunks into cinder.
It was some moments before Sillow glanced up. He found himself looking at the stern, beautiful features of the Terran woman.
“You okay?” he asked. “Just so you know, that was me protecting you.”
“Just so you know,” Titanya replied, “under any other circumstances I’d have busted your jaw for that.”
Sillow grinned. “You mean saving your life?”
Titanya flung the little Sylvan back onto his feet. “Yeah, right. I can’t believe a pipsqueak like you got the drop on me.”
James Austin McCormick is a college lecturer from Manchester, England who considers writing pure escapism. After the publication of his first SF novel, Dragon, he realized he wanted to keep exploring the universe he’d created. So far he’s written two more Dragon books, Dragon: Smuggler Tales and the most recent, Dragon: The Tower of Tamerlane, and three stand-alones.