Book Excerpt:BookView Review: Project Anan (Book 1 of the Energy Exchange Series)by Lionel Lazarus

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From the Blurb:

Our Ancestors Are Back.
Abandoning Earth after extracting their precious energy, Aliens left and forgot about the human population they changed. Those changes linked three species across time and the Intergalactic Space that separated their worlds.
Ravaged by sickness and an energy shortage that threatens their extinction, Aliens return on a clapped out old rust bucket seeking help.
Earth, devastated by climate change, wars and population explosion, is not what they expected, radically altering how they make First-Contact with humans.
Together, aliens and humans embark on a Project that may give the three species hope for survival.
Battling against discovery by evil forces, technology problems, mistrust and war, a Scottish Oil Rigger, an Irish Farm Girl and a Marine from East London find themselves embroiled in events they could never have imagined.
Led by an Alien Overlord — they have an unenviable task as the Managers of Project Anan.
Engulfed by tragedy, drama and romance, events take them and their crew to New Zealand, France, Australia, Switzerland and Space on a journey to a New World in a distant secret galaxy.
Don’t miss this thrilling Space Opera from the new Author Lionel Lazarus.


The Eight, Niamh, Empress Theia…

The Eight looked at the group assembled before him. They represented his and their respective species’ hope for their survival in the universe. He knew the purebreeds understood that, but he doubted the humans realised how vital this project really was. ‘Finally, we are all together,’ he said as they watched his every move.

      ‘You’re just a ball of pure energy,’ Niamh said, as he floated around his chamber.

      ‘Yes, I am. What you see is my energy mass,’ he said, as they watched the oval translucent entity glow with blue light. They had not known what to expect and before entering his chamber, Theia had given them strict instructions not to approach or touch him. Today, as he existed on a limited supply of blue, The Eight’s energy mass was about five foot high and three foot wide at its centre. The blue light increased in its intensity at his core while the colours constantly changed in tone. Occasionally his energy mass pulsed with a soft blue light.

      Niamh listened to his voice; it emitted from the air around him and, she thought, it was soft and even. Not the deep booming voice she would have expected from a powerful entity.

      ‘Niamh, my child, come closer to me,’ The Eight said, now using a powerful voice that caused Robert and Tom to step back in surprise.

      ‘Wow, you’re reading my mind, that’s rude,’ she replied, as she stepped closer to the entity.

      ‘Does that surprise you?’ he asked, his voice returning to the soft and even tone.

      ‘No, not really,’ she replied, and she carefully squatted down in front of him.

      ‘You may touch me, do not worry, I will not hurt you.’

      Totally captivated by the entity, Niamh gently touched him. She felt a tingling sensation in her hand and then a short blue flash in her brain.

      ‘What was that?’ she asked, as she quickly withdrew her hand.

      ‘That, Niamh, was my blue energy. I see you have intelligence, far beyond what you think. You inherited a gene that gives you a powerful ability to navigate through space. It is a skill you will need in the future. The Empress will teach you how to use it.’

      Janet, Robert, Tom and most of all, Niamh were all stunned by this disclosure. Nor did they notice Theia’s smile; she had suspected the path to the purebreeds’ survival was through the humans, and now she wondered what magical gene the human girl inherited…


The European reactor project did not escape the attentions of the industrial espionage agents. They considered it a fertile ground for information and were always on the lookout for recruits who would succumb to their temptations. They proved a magnet for Maurice, the director’s own nephew, who loved the good life and constantly worshipped at the Temple of Bacchus. Maurice loved easy money for little effort and worked for one of Chang’s operations for two years. Most of what he gave to his control was of low value, but, it was the dispatch list and the news about a mysterious buyer for the excess equipment in the warehouse that heightened control’s interest. When details of the “job” emerged, control quickly flagged it up the line to Chang. An operation like this was unheard of, its masterful precision and timing left no doubt of a military involvement. When Chang got the details, he asked control to arrange a meeting with Maurice.

      When asked to meet his employer, Maurice puffed up with importance. He was, however, a little taken aback by the location of the rendezvous; instead of the usual plush office, he entered an old rundown warehouse on the outskirts of Lyon. To add to his surprise, Chang was not what Maurice expected – instead of the Adonis type secret agent he envisioned, he was met by a portly Chinese man of about fifty, similar in height to Maurice’s five foot six.

      Wearing a creased cheap looking blue suit, Chang, with his arms open, smiled broadly at Maurice. ‘Come in, Maurice, thank you for meeting me,’ he said as he led Maurice into a small bare room with a desk and two chairs. Maurice never noticed a small bag placed unobtrusively under the desk. Chang the chameleon could change his demeanour as he changed his appearance. Now he was warm and welcoming, putting Maurice at ease, later this would change to the role Chang loved most.

      Two hours later a hungry Maurice, who rarely missed a meal, was feeling sorry for himself from trying to answer all of Chang’s questions. They were the same ones over and over again. Who was there, what did they look like, how did they do it, how many, where did they come from and what was the equipment for?

      ‘Mr Chang, I am getting tired now. Perhaps we could take a lunch break?’ Maurice said, determined to exert his authority.

      ‘Good idea. I be back shortly,’ he said, as he got up and left the room, surprising Maurice.

      ‘Prepare him for the next session and he is hungry, give him something to eat,’ Chang said to his two associates waiting outside.

      After a coffee and some food, a relaxed Chang re-entered the interrogation room. A very different scene greeted him. With an apple stuck in his mouth, Maurice was restrained in the chair with grey duct tape. His outstretched hands were taped to the table in front of him. The chair was placed on a plastic sheet and Chang could see the wet stain on Maurice’s crotch. Fear, Chang thought happily, as he admired the tools from his bag that his associates laid out in front of Maurice on the table. He slowly fingered them as he looked at Maurice.

      ‘You didn’t enjoy your lunch? What’s wrong with the apple, not good enough for you?’ he said, toying with a petrified Maurice who could only grunt.

      After another hour of questions, where Maurice lost four fingernails and had his left thumb amputated by a small guillotine, Chang finally got results. Maurice wasn’t deliberately hiding anything, he was unable to remember or recount all the details that had happened. The violent torture, with Chang screaming at him, encouraged him to tell everything, even the details he forgot.

      ‘What girl?’ Chang screamed.

      ‘The Irish girl, Niamh, she was there just for part of the operation.’

      ‘You are protecting her,’ he shouted, as he slowly tore back another part of Maurice’s fingernail.

      ‘No, noo,’ screamed Maurice. ‘Kill her for all I care, but we thought she was gone. She left the job in February. She was back there for a few hours only with the Englishman, Thomas Parker. Stop, please stop,’ he sobbed.

       It was the gold Chang needed. From the reactor site database, his hackers quickly located Niamh’s picture. Is that her? they asked Maurice, as they put a small screen in front of him displaying her site badge. Yes, he confirmed. The Englishman in charge, what did he look like, when did he arrive? Nobody flies anywhere in the world without appearing on a security database. A trawl of the arrivals to Lyon on Monday morning, thirtieth of March, revealed over twenty candidates fitting Tom’s description. Although Chang had seen him first, Maurice soon confirmed his identity. Chang was shocked; he thought his old adversary was dead, killed by the Wave. Chang knew him by many different names and Thomas Parker was not one of them. Although Tom travelled under another name they were able to track back his embarkation point.

      Surprise, surprise, Chang thought, Christchurch, New Zealand, as he realised Thomas Parker was the Englishman responsible for outing his South African spy Charl and his Hong Kong team. As for Niamh Sullivan, her last hit on a global flight database was her trip to Christchurch at the beginning of March, the same time Charl and his team were deposed. After her arrival in Christchurch, there were no records of her travelling anywhere. How could she get back to France? Where did she go? It looked like she had disappeared off the face of the Earth, Chang thought, mystified as to how the Irish girl could travel halfway round the world, then come back and then disappear again. He had not expected so much from this small French operation. It was bigger than he thought possible…


Rhea and Alex.

      Dressed in a blue, down-filled jacket, padded ski pants, a bright multi-coloured merino wool hat with scarf and mittens, Rhea was cold. She was standing in the saloon on the top deck of the TSS Earnslaw. Alex explained to her that it was an old steamship and was one of the main tourist attractions in Queenstown. ‘It is known as the Lady of the Lake,’ he said to her, trying to explain that being addressed as “Lady” or “My Lady”, as the humans were now calling her, was an honour.

      ‘So I’m like a boat. Is that what they are saying about me?’ she asked him sharply, trying to maintain a serious face. As usual he got into a hopeless muddle in trying to explain himself. Early on in their developing relationship she realised he was socially inept at understanding or dealing with female feelings. Janet explained this was quite usual in human males, and that she could use it to her advantage. She was now doing this at every opportunity and totally loving it! She wondered when he would realise she was “winding him up”, as Janet called it.

      Rhea had enjoyed every minute of the previous two days and two nights they had spent together in their room. When they were not making love, they lounged around doing nothing but enjoying the luxurious facilities available to them: the deep bath, the large bed, the couch and the food that was delivered when they called for it. It was pampering she had never experienced before. She knew that rest time was badly needed by both of them. Her time on the Hela spanned nearly ten months as she had not availed herself of the short shore leave offered on Earth until now. His time on the Hela was over three months, which was a long time for a human. That time in space and their punishing work schedule had exhausted them both. Arriving in Queenstown, the rest and relaxation was vital to her wellbeing and would complement the demanding exercise and diet regime she adopted on the Hela.

      At an early stage of their research, unknown to Alex, she realised a purebreed and human crossbreed child could hold the key to a cure. Her biological clock was an unknown variable that would work against this. It was tied to the Anan planetary orbit and limited to one mating cycle per orbit. Rhea did not know what effect being in space or on another planet would have on her fertility. To aggravate the matter, fertility rates in Anan females was reducing. She knew she would have to be in peak physical condition to give her any chance of conceiving in this distant galaxy. Deep within her was a burning desire to bear Alex’s children.

      She could see he was enthralled with the workings of the boat’s engine and was now trying to explain to her how it worked, pointing to the large diagrams of the engine covering the walls above it. They were standing together at the edge of an opening in the centre of the ship’s saloon where the passengers could look down into the engine room. She had no interest in it but simply loved his closeness and warmth. As the ship moved out onto the lake, the engine room emitted loud banging, and hissing sounds mixed with an occasional ringing noise. She noticed the other human males, like excited children, were pointing out the same things as he to their female companions. But most of all what stirred the deep emotion within her was the sight of the families with their children in their arms looking down into this spectacle exuding its unique cacophony of sounds. She had never seen so many children together; it was unseen in Anan where birth rates had fallen to an all-time low. The children were mesmerised by it and it was apparent their parents were enthralled by their child’s delight. It brought tears to her eyes as she hoped one day to be in that privileged situation. There was a term in English she had learnt and now she understood the meaning of the word, it was “blessed”. Would she ever be blessed with his children? she wondered as tears streamed down her face.

      ‘Rhea, are you all right, darling, you’re freezing?’ Alex asked, quite concerned at the sudden appearance of her tears that were now intruding on the magical spectacle of the antique engine unfolding before them. He held her tight to him and slowly with his closeness and warmth her resounding emotional clamour abated.

      ‘Yes, Yes, Alex, I am. Really I am. Can I have a hot drink please?’ she asked, and dutifully he led her aft to seats with two rolled up blankets. Sitting her down, he gently wrapped her in the blankets and went off to get hot drinks.

      From this position in the aft section, Rhea could look back towards Queenstown as the ship steamed out onto Lake Wakatipu. She was enjoying this, the view, the colours and the unique sounds were now touching all her senses. She started to pay attention to the detail of what she could see; the town and its dock where they had just left from, she could make out the area where the complex they were staying at, the snow-covered mountains and the thing he called a cable car or gondola which took people up the mountain. He intended to take her on that as well. She now realised that human males were fixated with machines. Suddenly she noticed something flying up from the end of the lake into the sky. It was silver and from what she could see, shaped like a large cross. What is that? she wondered.

      ‘Alex,’ she asked him excitedly as he approached with two hot chocolate drinks, ‘what’s that? Look there in the sky – what is it?’

      ‘Shhh,’ he said to her, as he placed the drinks on the table. He could see their protection detail, seated quite close by, looking at them concerned with the question and loudness of her voice. ‘Please, Rhea, not so loud, people will hear you.’

      She was about to say something quite rude to him when she heard a young girl, seated near them say, ‘Mummy, Mummy, does the funny lady not know it’s an airplane? Is there something wrong with her?’ Fortunately the parents were engaged in their own conversation and easily placated the child who was still staring at Rhea with suspicion.

      ‘Sorry,’ she said, smiling awkwardly at Alex.

      ‘She knows there’s something different about you, Rhea. And yes, she’s right. It’s an airplane. We use them to transport people through the sky.’

      ‘How does that work, Alex? You’re supposed to be a primitive species, you don’t have grav?’

      ‘The planes are powered by fossil fuel engines,’ he said. ‘Jet engines on that one.’

      ‘I’m missing something, Alex. The engine in this boat its sheer size, the engine in the car that brought us to the dock and now the airplane. There are differences that I don’t understand. You need to explain all that,’ she said. Her face was screwed up with the effort to understand.

      ‘First off, this is a steam ship. Its maiden voyage was in 1912. That’s one hundred and fourteen years ago,’ he started to explain as she sipped her hot chocolate. ‘The steam engine, what powers this ship, was the first type of propulsion engine humans developed. Then we developed the internal combustion engine, the engine that powers the cars,’ he said and she noticed he was now reading from his communication device. ‘First powered flight was in late 1903, and then developed into what we have today. The airplane you saw. That’s how I got to Christchurch from where I was working last in Switzerland.’

      ‘Alex, what you’re saying, is that in just over one hundred of your planet’s orbits, humans have developed from this method of transport, the steam ship, to flight. No, that’s not possible,’ she said, surprised. ‘Alex, you know I’m just over one hundred of your years.’

      ‘Yes, I do. And, my lovely Anan beauty, we did just that and went to the Moon as well. Not bad for a primitive species. You weren’t complaining about my primitive techniques over the past two days,’ Alex said with a wicked smile.

      ‘You’re bold,’ she exclaimed, hitting him playfully on the shoulder. ‘Show me around this ship,’ she now demanded. Her voice took on a different tone as Rhea the scientist started to analyse what she was now seeing.

      The following day – much to Alex’s surprise – Rhea demanded he take her on the gondola. Delighting their protection detail, they took the cable car up to an extension of Queenstown in the mountains above it. Rhea spent the day sampling the attractions, the technology and the food on offer. Her human contingent couldn’t help but notice how she immersed herself in every new experience. Finally, as they ate in the restaurant overlooking the town below, Rhea processed those learning experiences. She had seen all the history, on the ship, in the town and now at this resort. Not part of the purebreed Earth survey team, when they arrived first, she now understood for herself, the human technological advances that took place over the past one hundred years.

      It was unprecedented; no other species had achieved that advancement in so short a time span. Looking down at the town, as she ate in this lofty restaurant, she realised one hundred and sixty-six years ago it wasn’t even here. Yes, she had heard the crew talk about it, but she was not interested in it then. Now, in the context of the genetic experiments she and Alex had looked at in the past, it had far-reaching consequences. She knew what the gap in the video meant, what the old geneticist used and the secret that was missing from the database. It scared her and she realised she shouldn’t even think about it. It was more than anything she was expecting. Looking at Alex, she realised he contained that essence as well and hoped it was now growing in her, regardless of what happened she would never tell him.

      ‘Alex, you know I love you,’ she said quietly to him.

      ‘Yes, yes, I gathered you do. I mean I do too, I …’

      ‘Yes,’ she said, looking at him. She was frowning now while trying not to laugh; he was really hopeless at this.

      ‘I ah, I love you t, t, too,’ he managed to stammer out as he felt his face blushing with embarrassment.

Born and raised in Dublin, with no academic background, Lionel Lazarus picked up his writing skills while working as a Toolpusher on the North Sea Oil and Gas Rigs. Throughout that time, he lived in Aberdeen, Belfast, Dublin, Malta and Singapore, working predominately in the North Sea, but also in the Middle and Far East. Following a long career working off-shore, Lionel returned to work on-shore in the health and safety profession. He recently retired to work full time on his writing. When not writing, Lionel loves to travel and to walk in the mountains.

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