Among the Shine Clan

Among the Shine Clan – Part 5

among-the-shine-clan-coverAfter her people disappear, Fiddlestix is left with only Kaz and Harmony. Convinced that the Shine Clan are monitoring them, she hurls insults at thin air, until her men think she’s insane. Out of the woods, a group of huge men appear—not the least of whom is General Deacon Scott, leader of the of the Shine Clan. He’s not happy with her.

“Yes. Is there somewhere else we could talk? More private?”

“Anything you have to say to me, Master Sergeant, you can say in front of my men. You folks may keep secrets from your subordinates, but that’s not Shine Clan way.”

“The men who attacked you are AWOL, General Scott. Their handler, Pete Livingston, decided to walk out with his cyber unit.”

“Anyone know why a man would do a fool thing like that?” This from the dark man to General Scott’s left.

“No one shared that information with me,” Fiddlestix said. “That being the U.S. Army’s way.”

“Jasper, get the lady a stool. I think we’re gonna be here awhile.”

“Yes, Deacon.” He didn’t salute, but he treated the other man with deference.

Returning a moment later, he carried two camp stools. He set one behind Fiddlestix, carelessly brushing the back of her leg as he set it up. She had no doubt he’d done it on purpose, but she didn’t mind. Under different circumstances, she’d have encouraged him. Instead, she sat down and waited for General Scott to speak again. He sat slowly, warily.

“So, for reasons unknown, old Pete decides to go walkies with a bunch of cyber crazies? Has he gone addlepated in the brainpan?”

“Truthfully, General Scott, I don’t know. As you say, we do keep secrets. My general didn’t share that tidbit with me. McLain is playing this one close. I know very little about the circumstances of their leaving.”

“And yet you’re here to help? I fail to see how three people can help me and us at all.”

“I had a few more when I started.”

He didn’t respond.

“I know how to turn them off.”

“Well, why didn’t you say so? Do it, be my guest. Turn the bastards off and let us bury our dead.”

“It’s not that simple. I have to have line of sight with them. It’s a security measure. The receiver is very low range and the mountains drop it to just about nil.”

Deacon Scott’s eyes scanned Fiddlestix from the top of her spiky blonde hair to the toes of her combat boots. He allowed himself to be momentarily distracted by some parts in between. Despite the fact that she was an Army officer, she was all woman. Her tempestuous gray eyes met his confidently. The tilt of her chin and set of her jaw were defiant, challenging him to give her an excuse to kiss him…. He meant kill him. Yes, that was it.

He didn’t let himself linger over her firm breasts and taut thighs, focusing instead on the incredibly powerful cyber arm that marred the outline of her body with a harsh, metallic reminder that she was a deadly and capable warrior first and a beautiful woman second.

“Well,” he said softly. “Supposing I allow you into our territory, what can you offer besides you three and the codes? I don’t see how you’re in any way useful to me.”

“I had a squad of forty-four when I hit these woods, but I expect you know that already.” Her full, pink lips snapped shut.

Deacon nodded slowly, assessing the situation more closely. She was pissed about her people. He couldn’t say he blamed her, but she couldn’t fault him for protecting his home.

“That you did,” he conceded. “So?”

“So? I’d like them back, General Scott. We didn’t come here to cause trouble.”

“Deacon,” Jasper touched his shoulder hesitantly. “We should probably go inside. It doesn’t feel safe out here.”

Deacon’s eyes flickered over to his brother, taking in the concern. Jasper might be several years younger, but he’d be hard pressed to find a better soldier or a more cautious one. Knowing that Jasper’s wariness bordered on telepathic, he nodded slightly. Jasper motioned to the men who surrounded Fiddlestix and her companions, disarming them.

She, Kaz and Harmony allowed themselves to be escorted into the Shine Clan stronghold without protest. Even Fiddlestix said nothing when a man virtually twice her size and circumference attached a miniaturized cyber damper to her arm so she couldn’t activate her weaponry.

© 2017 Dellani Oakes

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Among the Shine Clan

Among the Shine Clan – Part 4

among-the-shine-clan-coverThe mission has hardly begun when strange things start to happen. Without warning, several of the platoon disappear off the scanner. No one can explain it, including Kaz, who is watching the scanner.

“What?” Fiddlestix rounded on Kaz who looked at his computer screen helplessly.

“They were there a second ago, then poof! Gone!”

“Thirty people don’t go poof!”

“They just did!” Kaz was worried and scared, which made him rather surly.

Feeling surly herself, Fiddlestix grabbed the computer from his hands, nearly dropping it. Aside from the three of them, there were no other life forms showing on the screen.

“Not even a squirrel! You can’t tell me on this entire mountain there’s no squirrels!” She stopped, lowering her gun, turning in a slow circle. “I don’t know what you’re playing at, but if anything happens to my people, there will be hell to pay! I promise you that! Just so we’re clear, we’re here to help you. Or haven’t you noticed you’ve got a passel of crazy, cyber soldiers battering down your back door?”

“Master Sergeant? Are you okay?” Harmony’s dark face was clouded with worry.

“I know they’re watching, or listening, monitoring us somehow! Come on! Show yourselves! If I wanted to cause you trouble, would I march in here like a fool? Cowards! Hiding under your mountain! Come out!”

Spinning in a low, continuous circle, she bellowed for all she was worth. Hurling insults, she castigated the landscape. Harmony and Kaz looked more and more concerned. Kaz gasped suddenly, pointing over Fiddlestix’ left shoulder. She felt a tingling. Moving around so she faced the opposite direction, she kept her hands carefully away from her weapons, motioning her men to do the same. Taking a step forward, she focused on the bracken to the west, waiting.

A moment later, the bushes rustled and dozens of huge men poured forth. Even the smallest of them dwarfed Harmony, who was six foot seven. Their bodies were muscled in ways that Fiddlestix had never seen before. All of them were tall, buff and disarmingly handsome. None of them were smiling.

One man stepped forward, literally toe to toe with Fiddlestix. Well over seven feet tall, he loomed over her. At six three, she was used to looking down on most of her team members. This man made her lean back, gazing at his chin. Despite her irritation and disquietude, her heart fluttered, but not from fear. He was, for lack of a more descriptive term, gorgeous. Built along the lines of a Norse god, his golden blond hair flowed down his back. A tight, narrow braid was knotted with a red strip of leather and tossed casually over his left shoulder. His crystal blue eyes bored into her stormy gray ones.

“I’m here.” His deep, husky, musical voice filled her ears. His Southern accent was strong, flavoring his words like honey. “I can’t say I much appreciate the disparaging remarks about my character, though.” His lips made a firm, tight line. A steely glint flickered in the back of his eyes.

“I need to speak to your leader.”

Fiddlestix folded her arms across her ample chest, eyes flickering around the perimeter of the clearing, taking in the opposition. She counted twenty, but figured there were at least twice that many that she couldn’t see.

“About?”

“I don’t wanna explain twice, so I’d like to talk to him.” She made it clear she wasn’t moving until he granted her what she wanted.

“Look, lady, I don’t know who the hell you think you are, but do you know who you’re talking to?” A slightly shorter, but more muscular man detached himself from the group behind the blond god.

He was even more massively built than the other man, dark and brooding. They had to be brothers, there was a strong family resemblance. Especially in that defiant jaw. His eyes were dark brown, the other man’s were a clear, vivid blue with a steely edge.

“I’m Master Sergeant Hannah Braun of the United States Army,” she began confidently. “I demand to speak….”

“Honey,” the dark haired man’s brown eyes danced happily. “You’re speakin’ to him right now. After the noise you made in our woods, do you think anyone else was gonna come? Master Sergeant Hannah Braun, meet General Deacon Scott of the Shine Clan.”

Fiddlestix looked stunned. This was the leader of the Shine Clan? He wasn’t any older than she was! Had she heard right?

“You’re General Scott? We were led to believe that your leader was an older man, in his fifties?”

Deacon’s eyes clouded and his jaw worked fitfully as he tried to control his emotions. “My father was killed recently in a raid. You say you know something about the freaks who took our north gate two days ago?”

© 2017 Dellani Oakes

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Among the Shine Clan

Among the Shine Clan – Part 3

among-the-shine-clan-coverFiddlestix and her platoon are on their way. She’s found herself in charge, and isn’t happy about it. Hoping that things will go well, she’s prepared for the mission to go horribly wrong.

CAUTION STRONG LANGUAGE

“I have the feeling I’ve got cross hairs trained on me,” she mused, not voicing her disquiet to her people.

Her attitude was cocky and confident. She was damned if her troops were going to see her scared. Her gut might be tied in knots, but they wouldn’t know it. She’d learned a long time ago that the leader’s worry could transmit itself to the troops.

Less than five miles into Shine territory, strange things started to happen. Kaz contacted her over her headset. He wasn’t very clear, his signal breaking up.

“Uh, Master Sergeant?”

“Talk to me, Kaz.”

“The point team just disappeared.”

“Do you mean you lost sight of them?”

“No, Master Sergeant. They fuckin’ disappeared. Right off my screen. I sent Diaz and Harmony out to look for them, nothing. No sign.”

“On my way.”

Using hand signals, she brought her people in to tight formation and sped up. She was with Kaz in less than two minutes. Looking at the screen, she saw he was telling the truth. There should be a readout of all the squad members, but the bars for the point team were blank. Not flat lined, just blank. Not even their names appeared by the bar.

“Shit! Sound off!” she growled into her headset.

For the next thirty seconds, her soldiers stated their names. She came up another three short. That made, with the point team, seven.

“What the hell?”

Something was happening she had no control over and didn’t understand. Was it Shine Clan or the cyber unit? They weren’t finding bodies, so maybe they were still alive. She didn’t like it, but she didn’t have to like a situation to get the job done.

“Sound off every five minutes,”she ordered.

Walking slowly, cautiously, quietly, they proceeded deeper into Shine territory. The hairs on Fiddlestix’ neck danced with nervous energy. The feeling that she was being watched through a powerful scope increased the closer they got. She’d picked up the trail of the cyber unit shortly after the point team disappeared. They might be super soldiers, but they sucked at covering their trail. It occurred to her that they might have done it on purpose to lure them in. Her paranoia increased and she tightened security.

Five minutes later, three more of her people were gone. She called a halt. No one had seen the people disappear. It was as if they melted into the mist that surrounded them.

“It isn’t possible,” she muttered. “Grown people, soldiers, don’t just disappear! It is not possible!”

After the next sound off, four more were gone. Stifling a scream, she called another halt. Anticipating that the Shine Clan had sophisticated surveillance equipment, she ordered her people to stay put.

“Set up a perimeter patrol. No one leaves for any reason. I don’t care what you see or hear. Take cover and stay put. Kazinski, Harmony, you’re with me. Diaz, you’re in charge.”

“Yes, Master Sergeant,” she responded.

“I don’t give a shit what McLain says,” she told Harmony and Kaz. “I’m looking for the Shine Clan leader. If I can talk to the person in charge, I’ll feel better.”

They kept walking and she kept talking. To the men, it seemed like she was babbling, but she was banking on the fact that the Shine Clan could hear her.

“I don’t want my people hurt. We didn’t come here to cause trouble. We want to get the cyber unit and go home, then everyone’s happy.”

Kaz and Harmony looked at her like she was crazy. They knew this, why was she telling them something they already knew?

“Master Sergeant?” Kaz sounded worried.

“What?” She stopped babbling long enough to listen to him, but she kept moving.

“They’re gone.”

“What? Who?”

“The rest of them. Diaz and them. Just like the others.”

“What?” She rounded on Kaz who looked at his computer screen helplessly.

“They were there a second ago, then poof! Gone!”

© 2017 Dellani Oakes

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Among the Shine Clan – Part 2

among-the-shine-clan-coverFiddlestix’ day isn’t going well. First, she is given a hell of an assignment, then she finds out that Lieutenant Frieze, who was supposed to be in command, is probably malingering. To confirm this, she goes to the infirmary to find him doped up on pain meds.

“He came in complaining of a pulled muscle. Honest, Stix, I couldn’t find evidence of it, no matter what tests I ran. He didn’t have a bump, bruise, strain or—bulge,” his voice caught and he gasped as her hand moved up his thigh. “Nothing, babe, I swear. He’s as healthy as you or me.”

“But yet he’s doped to the gillies, why’s that?”

“He insisted. Low pain tolerance, he claims.”

“Is that in addition to his yellow streak and cold feet?”

Brant chuckled seductively. He held the same opinion of Frieze and McLain that she did. His hand fell on hers gently, holding it at the top of his thigh, moving her fingers between his legs a bit.

“Hey, why don’t you come by later? I get off shift at 1900.”

“Can’t. We’re ready to bug out. I have to go.”

“Will you come by if you get back?” He turned worried gray eyes to hers. “I don’t have a good feeling about this, Hannah.” He only used her given name when he was concerned.

When I get back, I’ll come see you.”

“Be safe, Hannah. I know you’re not religious, but I’ll be praying for you.”

Heedless of what others might think of him associating with a non-commissioned officer, he leaned over and kissed her lingeringly. “Be careful. Listen to that little, paranoid voice of yours and do exactly what it says. I’ve never known your hunches to be wrong, Hannah.”

“I’ll be careful, Brant. I promise.”

She left the infirmary, feeling even less confident than before. Muttering and mumbling to herself, she nearly walked into Captain Ingrid Bark. The captain stopped Fiddlestix with one arm, nearly clotheslining her.

“Whoa,” she said sharply, grabbing the other woman by the shoulder. “What’s up, Master Sergeant? I heard your squad is going into combat without Frieze?”

“He claims he’s injured, ma’am.”

“Does he really?” She didn’t like Frieze either.

“Let’s just say that I’m skeptical, shall we?” Never one to gossip, she wasn’t going to start now.

“Do you need me to go?”

“No, Captain. I can handle it. Do me a favor though?”

“Anything, name it.”

“Watch my back. Have me a way out. I don’t like this one, Ingrid. This is not wise, entering Shine Clan territory without asking. It could be construed as an act of war, and that’s a giant we don’t want to wake. We have no idea what their actual manpower is.”

“McLain can’t contact them?”

Fiddlestix shrugged. “Can’t or won’t. Take your pick. I need to go. Thanks for your help.”

“Come back safe, Hannah. I’ll get the ball rolling for you before you lift off.”

Fiddlestix tried to smile, but it was nearly impossible. She ran to the airship just as Kaz was jumping out to come after her.

“What about Frieze?”

“He’s not coming.”

“I got that. Is he really hurt?”

She gave him a level look. Kaz turned away, bellowing at the members of the elite force.

“Heads up! Master Sergeant’s in charge! Sit down, shut up, mind your manners!”

The airships took off, carrying them in stages to the drop point. Twenty miles from the target, they were unceremoniously jerked out the back in a low altitude drop that left Fiddlestix slightly bruised and breathless. After her people regrouped, she did a headcount, ordering everyone to take a few minutes to eat. She would have preferred to take a smaller group, no more than twenty well trained men and women, into the mountains. Upwards of forty were too many to keep track of. They were nervous and that made them unpredictable. Going after the cyber unit was scary enough, but the idea of going into hostile territory to get them made it worse.

© 2016 Dellani Oakes

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Among the Shine Clan, Dellani Oakes, Uncategorized

Among the Shine Clan – Part 1

among-the-shine-clan-coverIt wasn’t going to be a very good day, Fiddlestix could tell already. Not even 0800 and already she’d had six serious confrontations, three semi-serious and two minimal ones. Admittedly, some of the confrontations had been her fault. She had just finished a briefing with General McLain and wasn’t in much of a mood to be messed with. She hated days that started by putting her people on report, but the mission had everyone on edge, including her.

Nine heavily cybered soldiers and their semi-psychotic handler had gone AWOL nearly three days ago. Their last known position was deep in the Appalachian Mountains of eastern Tennessee in an area known to be owned and protected by an organization who called themselves the Shine Clan.

The Shine Clan held to the principle that “The South Shall Rise Again”. They hated to admit that the War Between the States was over, and that their side lost. They were highly intolerant of outside control or contact, deciding long ago that they had no need for a corrupt government.

It was an attitude that Fiddlestix could understand, finding herself less than impressed with the United States leaders in the Year of Our Lord 2047. As a member of an elite attack force in the U.S. Army, she wasn’t in a position to voice her discontent, but that didn’t stop her thinking that not only were the leaders corrupt, they were downright stupid.

This opinion extended to General McLain. No, she corrected herself, it started with McLain and ended with the President. After a brief confab, the general and his buddy, President Bob Harmon, had decided that Fiddlestix and her squad were going to infiltrate the Shine Clan territory, track down the cyber unit and bring them back alive, but incapacitated. She had codes to shut them down, but she had to find them first. The fail safe had to be initiated with line of sight contact.

“Proper prior planning prevents piss poor performance,” she muttered as she checked her equipment the last time.

“Hey, Sarge” her corporal yelled.

“Yeah, Kaz. What?”

Corporal Walter Kazinski dog trotted over to her side.

“We’re set, Master Sergeant. Everybody’s loaded up and ready to go.”

“Great. Tell Lieutenant Frieze.”

“Uh—He ain’t goin’.”

“What?” She blinked hard, trying to focus on his face as she processed what he’d said. “Frieze isn’t going? When did this happen?”

“About twenty minutes after you went to talk to McLain. He pulled a muscle or something on the wall. He says he can’t possibly function or some such bullshit. He ain’t goin’.”

“Jesus, Mary and Joseph,” she growled as she ran a hand through her spiked blonde hair. “Give me ten minutes with him. He’s going or I’ll blow his balls off.” She stormed out of the barracks, yelling over her shoulder. “Stow my gear!”

She pointed to the carefully stacked items with her right arm. The gunmetal cyber-arm caught the morning sun, glinting angrily. At least it seemed angry to Kaz—or maybe that was just because Fiddlestix was so pissed off.

“Yes, Master Sergeant!” He grabbed her kit and ran back to the waiting airship.

Lieutenant Myron Frieze wasn’t career Army. He was some geek who’d signed on for a minimum stint because he’d been in college on the Army ROTC program and needed to pay the government back for his education. He was a bigger idiot than McLain and even more cowardly.

“Pulled a muscle my Aunt Fanny! Piece of chicken shit doesn’t want to go. I’ll kill him. Then they can throw me in the brig and I won’t have to go either!”

The mission wasn’t sitting well with her. She was to a point that she didn’t want to have anything to do with the Shine Clan, the cyber unit, the U.S. Army, or more particularly, General McLain. Frieze wasn’t in his quarters. She found him in the infirmary so doped on pain killers that he wasn’t capable of conscious thought.

“Is he really injured?” she demanded of the doctor who was a friend of hers.

In point of fact, she and Brant Henry were occasional lovers. He’d tell her anything with the right persuasion. She used that now, playing up to him and stroking his thigh under the edge of the table where no one else could see. Brant fidgeted under her erotic touch. There was power in her fingers and he didn’t even want to think what she was capable of if he disappointed her.

© 2017 Dellani Oakes

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Among the Shine Clan, Dellani Oakes, Uncategorized

Well, What’s Next?

This was a harder decision than I thought it would be. Usually, I don’t get much feedback on what story I share next on my website, but this time I did. All three stories got an even number of votes. Although I had in mind what I wanted to share, I changed my mind. Then I changed it again. Finally, I had my son’s girlfriend pull a title by random. She chose Take a Bite Outta Crime.

While I like this story, and would enjoy sharing it, I sort of don’t want to now. If we take it out of the running, that leaves Poplar Mountain – romantic suspense set in 1939 or Among the Shine Clan – Cyberpunk-esque story set in the future. As I said, even number of votes…. I like both stories, but I’m strongly considering publishing Poplar Mountain in the near future. Also, my sister wanted to read the Cyberpunk story. Therefore, Among the Shine Clan wins.

This is by no means a terrible thing, I promise. This is a great story. It actually began as two separate tales, but I decided to combine them into a longer one. I hope that you will enjoy Among the Shine Clan, staring tomorrow, April 12, 2017 here at Cereal Authors. New episodes will post every 12th of the month.

among-the-shine-clan-cover

Character Quotes, Uncategorized

Lone Wolf Tales – A Little White Lie by Dellani


“I have included analysis of Aurialonus done by an expert in aberrant psychological conditions, with an emphasis in megalomaniacal psychosis.”

“That’s a mouthful I’d not want to repeat,” Ray quipped, winking at the Admiral.

Greyling smirked, a chuckle escaping her lips. “Well, it took a little practice to get it right.” Her demeanor changed abruptly as she went back to business. “The intel information will be available to you and your team, Colonel. I have taken the liberty of including names of possible team members broken down by specialty. I fear it’s a rather short list,” she added quietly.

© 2017 Dellani Oakes

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Character Quotes from Lone Wolf by Dellani

lone wolf front
Beautiful New Cover by Suzette Vaughn

“I’d have been fully compliant to anything you said, even if it went against my common sense? If you said, Matilda, go jump off the cliff, I’d do it?”

Wil nodded again, terribly embarrassed to admit his intentional duplicity. He couldn’t bear to look at her, afraid he’d see disgust in her eyes.

“I thank you for refraining from doing that to me. I like to think I’d jump off the cliff of my own free will, not because you told me to.”

He chuckled softly. Not the menacing sound, but a true, mirthful rumble deep in his chest. “Woman, you are too much. If you weren’t dressed like a man, I’d kiss you.”

© 2017 Dellani Oakes

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Character Quotes from It Takes a Thief by Dellani

it-takes-a-thief-cover“So, are you blaming the robbery on this Orchid?” The D.A. asked with a disapproving sniff.

“No, sir. I did it.”

Jason’s lawyer gasped. Shaking his head, he voiced his objections, but his heart wasn’t in it.

“I planned and completed the robbery. What I did not do,” Jason spoke directly to the judge. “I did not kill those people. My plans, my methods, they’re always clean. I don’t hurt anyone and I don’t kill. I steal, Your Honor. I’m a thief, that’s a fact I don’t deny. But I never wanted anyone hurt. Orchid took the loot, shot me and left me for dead. She shot the others, killing all of them. She set me up to take the fall.”

© 2017 Dellani Oakes

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Indian Summer

Character Quotes from Indian Summer by Dellani

Indian Summer“Tell me, Ana, what do you know of Señor Enriques who was here today?”

Ana hesitated to answer at first. She was always eager to impart what she knew of the local men. Be it good or bad, she held to the gossips’ truths of the town. She sighed deeply and seated herself at the table, another thing she had never done.

“Miss Gabriella, I’d not talk awful of anyone as you know.” She held up her hand. “I know I gossip, Miss, but that’s just for sport. I mean to really speak ill of someone with full knowledge and malicious intent and I just won’t do it.” She sighed again. “All I can say, Miss, is that one is better left unnoticed. Best to let sleeping dogs lie, Miss.”

© 2017 Dellani Oakes

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