Genre: Science Fiction, Young Adult
Publisher: Hague Publishing
Word Count: 133,000
Cover Artist: Emma Llewelyn
The much awaited sequel to Frontier Incursion.
The Garsal have landed and Frontier has changed forever. Now Shanna and her friends must master their new gifts that will enable them to seek out the alien invaders before they enslave her world.
On the plateau the Council under Tamazine (the Senior Councillor) allies with the Starlyne race. Only united do the Scouts, their starcats, and the Starlyne have any chance of surviving, but Tamazine's distrust of the alliance creates a fatal weakness.
Below, the Garsal plot. They need a new pool of human slaves to expand their empire, but first, they must locate the humans already on Frontier and subdue them. Time is running out for both invader and settler, and the outcome hangs in the balance.
Book Trailer: http://youtu.be/tvymDYRwj6Y
SHANNA ran. Insectoid limbs scythed through the vegetation behind her, and red beams slashed past on either side, scorching as they grazed her skin. Her feet seemed mired in mud, and her pack dragged her backwards, overbalancing her towards the six-limbed creatures that dogged her steps. She flung her head frantically from side to side, desperately seeking her starcats. Where were Storm and Twister?
Ahead of her, she saw Allad stumble and fall, the tall scout’s body a smoking ruin as the beams sliced across him. Satin snarled and leapt at the invaders, only to perish in turn. Where were the others? What had happened to them? Still alone, Shanna struggled on, forcing one leaden leg after the other. She tried to discard her pack, but the straps refused to loosen, and then she stumbled over the first body. Storm. His fur was burnt and his eyes staring, and she burst into tears, sobbing as she ran, wanting to do nothing more than stop and cradle him, yet unable to do so for fear of the aliens hunting her. The tears threatened to blind her, but a voice, screaming from ahead, spurred her on.
Her breath was like fire in her throat, and now she could hear the sounds of offworld footsteps only seconds behind her, while a mound in the vegetation ahead told the tale of another body. Frantically she tried to change her course, but her heavy legs refused to turn and she almost fell as she tried to hurdle the still form. A plaintive “No!” burst from her lips as she recognised the familiar cadet insignia and name on the sleeve of Verren’s bloodstained uniform.
The first clutch of an alien limb on her pack almost threw her backwards. Sobbing to breathe, she forced the words out. “Get away! No!” Drawing a ragged breath she tried to turn, but chitinous limbs restrained her. She fought them, but they dragged her back inexorably until she was stranded on her back, held down by the hard alien carapaces, unable to move. She flailed her arms desperately, but they were too heavy. And then she woke, disorientated, lathered in sweat, and panting.
For a moment she panicked, still unable to move and not understanding where she was until a plaintive hum jerked her into the present, and the weight upon her resolved into the anxious faces of two starcats, tidemarks glowing dimly in the darkness. Her muscles lost their terrified tension and she let her head collapse back against the unfamiliar softness of a pillow.
“Storm? Twister?” Relief flooded over her, and one of the feline bodies moved, and then she was able to lift her arms to caress the silky heads. Soft purrs sounded, and she felt the huge cat bodies curl gently around her, providing sorely needed comfort.
For a few moments she just lay there, but the vivid images from her nightmare remained - or rather, the real images of the last year replaced them, devastating in their rawness. Arad’s tear streaked face as he sat with Breeze’s still form vied with the sound of the alien vehicles destroying the beauty of her home world, grinding relentlessly towards the plateau that housed her people. Images of sliders, swarming towards her as their sensitive antennae quested for living flesh, mixed with a jumbled montage of cliff faces scarred by alien aircraft and flashes of the fear she’d experienced when they’d rescued the human slaves from their Garsal captors.
Then came more images - her brother, Kaidan, standing on the front lines with his bow; Verren binding gaping wounds in the aftermath of the battle; Ragar and Zandany sending their starcats to stand guard on the alien prisoners, and Taya and Amma, standing as stunned as she had, before the glowing Starlyne she’d thought was only an animal but had now proved to be so much more.
Her breath caught in her throat once more. She was inside a Starlyne habitation - she’d gone willingly, because of two images sent by the creatures as they’d communicated with the human beings of Frontier. The first image had shown her the origins of her starcat friends. Within the Starlyne memories, she’d seen a tiny feline creature, newly arrived on a crashed starship and accompanied by a human child, yet frolicking in friendship with a Starlyne youngling in a sunlit glade. The second image had featured Storm, Twister and herself as the hope of both human and Starlyne, and it had engendered a burning desire within her to know more about their intentions and her place within their plans. Surely the fate of colliding worlds could not rest with her and her two starcats? The sweat on her body chilled suddenly, and she convulsively grabbed at the two huge heads next to her. Ear tip tidemarks cycled soothingly as if her cats knew what she was feeling, and slowly the overwhelming emotions were submerged once again by physical exhaustion, and she descended back into the blackness of sleep.
A soft chime sounded and Shanna raised her head, rubbing her eyes. Two warm, furry bodies rumbled, purring as she rolled over on the unfamiliarly soft bed and pushed herself upright. As she did, the tenderness of her recent bruises made themselves painfully evident. A dim light emanated from the smooth walls around the room, and she could see her classmates stirring sleepily around her, their starcats stretching and chirping, tousled heads slowly appearing.
After she’d gone back to sleep, her dreams had continued to be full of confused nightmares and disjointed emotions, cycling from one to another in a constant whirl, but she suppressed the lingering fears born of her unconscious mind ruthlessly in case they overwhelmed her ability to function. Storm turned knowing eyes on her, but she distracted herself by scratching his head and hoping that her nightmares hadn’t disturbed anyone else.
As she lay there, she remembered the moment from the day before, after they had left the pungo grove and followed the Starlyne into the wilderness of Below, when Teacher had paused after several hundred metres of silent travel to speak to them all.
“Your fellows will join us,” had come the silent words, along with an image of Nelson, Perri and Barron. The group had exchanged startled glances, and the Starlyne spoke again. “We can speed their healing, and you are needed as a complete unit. Barron will bring a starcat cub for Arad. He has already been chosen.” With that startling comment, Teacher turned again and began to glide silently through the trees, her glow illuminating the vegetation.
The patrol had followed almost automatically. Their subsequent trek through the vegetation of Below had been completely free from predator encounters, which Shanna had found oddly eerie. After several hours of walking, the Starlyne had led them into what appeared to be a natural cave. Twenty metres into the winding tunnel, the rough granite walls had become smooth, then after an S-shaped curve the walls began to glow softly, providing a dim illumination that enabled the Patrol to see where they were walking. The starcats padded softly beside their human companions completely unperturbed, while their partners walked wide-eyed, glancing warily around them. Shanna had run a hand down each cat’s silky head, and tried to avoid the sudden tremble of apprehension that ran through her body. Teacher had conveyed them without words through the tunnels, winding through a complex maze of many branchings that had made Shanna so dizzy she wondered if she’d ever find her way out again, before showing the Scouts and cadets to their current quarters ; two large sleeping rooms, each with an adjacent bathing facility, and a large communal room between, furnished with long low tables and a yielding floor dotted with large cushions. They’d all washed rapidly in the bathing pool, before falling exhausted into the large beds provided. There had been little conversation, and Shanna had felt as if she were in a strange and alien dream.
Now, as she stretched luxuriously, wriggling from side to side, Shanna took another look around the sleeping room. The bed was low and fashioned from what appeared to be a solid piece of polished wood, which was topped with a vaguely organic looking mattress. The bedding looked bizarrely normal and smelt faintly of something freshly aromatic. As she moved around, easing herself out from under her cats, she noticed that the surface under her was oddly yielding, almost conforming to the contours of her body. She yawned widely again, scrubbing her eyes with her hands before running them over her hair, feeling oily wisps sticking out everywhere. Looking around for her pack, Shanna noticed for the first time that there appeared to be small storage compartments built into the walls of the room, and that while she had slept, somehow her pack had ended up tucked neatly into one of them. With a sigh, she swung her legs over the edge of the bed and stood, noticing that she’d apparently taken the time to change into a singlet top and shorts before falling asleep. She must have been exhausted not to remember changing.
“What do you think we’re meant to be doing?” asked Amma through a yawn, as she climbed out of the bed next to Shanna. “I think I need to bathe again ; I was so tired last night that I seem to have missed a few bits, and I think I might have bled on the pillow.” She rubbed at a bloodstain with distaste. Shanna smiled stiffly, feeling the puffy side of her face crinkle uncomfortably, and investigated with a careful fingertip.
“I wouldn’t mind another scrub myself, and then perhaps we can get Verren to stick our damaged bits back together.”
“Did someone say my name?” Verren lifted a tousled head from under his bedding and yawned widely at the two girls.
“Yes, that was us,” laughed Amma, “we’re a bit battered still. Can you do a bit of a repair job when we’re clean and dressed?”
Verren struggled to a sitting position and stretched stiffly, before swinging his legs gingerly over the edge of the bed and leaning his elbows heavily onto his knees.
“I suppose so.” He yawned again. “Give me a few more minutes.” He waved a sleepy hand at the two girls, who busied themselves in their packs.
“We’ll grab the bathroom then,” said Amma. “Shan, do you want to give Taya a poke? We’ll get the three of us out of the way, and then they can have it.” Shanna grimaced slightly, but rounded Verren’s bed and approached Taya, who was sitting up in bed and examining her now grossly swollen left ankle.
“Bath Taya? Amma and I thought the three of us might snaffle the bathing room first, and then Verren’s going to patch us up.” The other girl looked up and nodded tiredly.
“Can you give me a hand up?” Surprised, Shanna nodded and hauled the other girl to her feet. Taya winced as she placed weight on the leg and hobbled a few steps with Shanna’s support. From her bed, Spinner watched carefully and then poured himself off it, easing his large body under Taya’s other side with loving gentleness.
“That looks nasty!” Shanna dropped to her haunches, and ran an eye over the swelling and the purpling bruise. “How on earth did you walk on that yesterday? Verren, I think you need to take a look at this now!” She and Spinner carefully eased Taya back onto her bed as Verren pushed himself resignedly to his feet and, squatting down, gently eased the swollen ankle onto his knee.
“Show me how much you can move it, Taya.” He frowned as Taya slowly moved the ankle up and down, then side to side, wincing as the movements pushed into pain. He gently probed the ankle with his fingertips, then grasped the heel and tested the ligaments. Taya gasped in pain as he drew it forward. “Well, that’s good,” he said, and gently placed her foot back on the floor.
“Good?” gasped Taya, “that nearly killed me!” She narrowed her eyes at Verren.
“It means you still have some ligaments attached,” replied Verren. “If it hadn’t hurt, you would’ve been in much more trouble! It’ll take a little while to settle down, but if we strap it, it’ll feel a lot better, and then you’ll need to do some specific exercises. It’ll be some weeks until it’s properly right, but once you get over the next few days, you should be on the mend. When you’ve had a chance to get clean, I’ll strap it. Shan, help her to the bathing room, and Taya, make sure there’s not too much hot water on the ankle or the swelling will get worse.” He yawned again, and began rummaging through his pack.
Shanna supported Taya over to the bathing room while Amma sifted through the other girl’s pack for some clean clothing. Their four cats purred their way towards the warm bath, dipping their paws into the water with pleased hums. Multicoloured tidemarks rippled in happy rhythms. Shanna supported Taya while she shed her clothing.
“Can you just slide in Taya? And then we’ll prop your foot on the edge.” Shanna and Amma lowered the injured girl to the edge of the pool, and she slid gracefully into the water at the shallow end, flipping around and propping her foot on the raised edge, before sinking back into the water with a grateful sigh.
“Thanks, guys,” she even smiled briefly at Shanna, which made her more uneasy, and the three of them began a thorough scrub, shaking out their hair and using handfuls of soapleaves to lather themselves thoroughly.
“So what do you think will be happening today?” asked Shanna. Amma shook her head and shrugged her shoulders.
“After the last few months, I’m not sure anything would surprise me.”
Taya wrung out her hair, and tossing it back, began to lift herself out of the warm water, wriggling her toes carefully.
“Who’d know? Two days ago, we thought Starlynes were animals ; special animals but still animals, and now we’re having a bath inside, I suppose you’d call it one of their houses ... ” She shook her head dazedly, and Shanna found herself nodding in agreement. “Well, time to get dressed, and let the others in to get clean, although I think I could stay here all day. Spinner!” Taya called her cat who had been happily lounging on the edge of the pool, paddling his paws in the warm water. The other three stirred themselves, padding over to Taya and after allowing her to use them to balance on while she dressed, assisted her out of the bathing room - Spinner and Spider on each side, while Storm and Twister carefully pushed the door open and held it back.
“Finally!” Ragar greeted the three girls as they exited the bathing room. “Zandany’s just about gone back to sleep waiting for you!” Zandany stretched and yawned as he levered himself off his bed.
“You all smell much better,’ he grinned, standing back to let Taya hobble to her bed again. She lay down, elevating her ankle with a sigh of relief, and carefully began to comb her long dark hair.
The three girls exchanged smiles, even though Shanna felt slightly awkward about Taya’s sudden camaraderie. Picking up her own comb she ran it carefully through the snags in her hair, wincing as the comb stuck in a particularly large tangle. As she tugged the comb through the strands, she resolutely decided it was time to find out what had caused the sudden change of heart.
“Taya?” Shanna’s tone was hesitant, and the dark haired girl lifted her head and looked up with a raised eyebrow. Shanna pulled the comb out of her hair, placed it on her bed and gathered her courage. “Why are you being nice to me?” Across the room, Amma’s head lifted with a sudden jerk, and she dropped the sock she was putting on.
There was a long silence, while emotions chased themselves one by one across Taya’s face. Some of the old hatred flickered briefly, followed by a dull rising flush, then her shoulders sagged and her face crumpled, while a surprising tear slid down one cheek. Taya ducked her head and scrubbed at her face. There was complete silence in the room; Amma sitting statue-like on her bed. Shanna slowly dragged her comb through another tangle while holding her breath, and the four cats were uncharacteristically silent.
The tableau was broken as Spinner gently nudged Taya’s hands with his nose, ruby tidemarks glinting softly. She raised her face, and Shanna was horrified to see a torrent of tears pouring down the other girl’s face. She made an involuntary movement towards Taya, but stopped mid-movement as Taya cleared her throat noisily and scrubbed her hand across her face again, drying the tears on her trouser leg.
Clearing her throat, Taya set her shoulders back, and turned to look over her shoulder at Amma.
“Come and sit over here. I’m only going through this once. It may as well be now, and then you can tell the others.” She sniffed, looking much younger than Shanna had ever imagined that she could. Amma wasted no time, and carrying her boots and socks over to where Taya sat on her bed, settled herself on the floor next to Shanna. The four cats settled down at their partners’ feet, as Amma and Shanna exchanged puzzled glances.
“It was two years ago that it began,” said Taya. She wiped a final tear from her cheek and shook her dark hair back. “My father is a stone mason, and my mother works as an artificer for the council. I was with my father at a quarry east of Watchtower, waiting for him to arrange delivery of an order of stone for one of his projects.” She paused, and deliberately pushed her hair off her face again. “The owner had a starcat ; a large male called Phantom, with deep violet ear tip tidemarks.” She raised a hand as Shanna leaned forward, stopping the younger girl’s sudden exclamation. “I know ; he’s one of the cats bred by your parents.” Shanna went to speak again, and Taya impatiently hushed her, some of the animosity returning to her face. “He was the first starcat that I’d met up close, and I found him absolutely fascinating. For an hour he allowed me to stroke him, and I was flattered that he seemed to like me so much. Well, Dad finished up his business, and we hopped back into our wagon and headed off home to Watchtower.” She paused and cleared her throat, tears glinting in her eyes again, but defiantly rubbed her hand across her face and continued.
“We were only on the road for about fifteen minutes, and I was telling Dad all about Phantom, when it happened. We’d been laughing and chatting about how great it would be if we could have our own cat, when Dad stopped laughing. His face went white and he was staring at me.” Taya paused, her eyes looking into the distance. “He couldn’t even speak, and I was looking around frantically, wondering if some predator was about to pounce. I was saying: ‘Dad, Dad, what’s wrong?’ But he just kept looking at me, and then he reached forward with one hand, and it was shaking so much that I thought he was ill.” Taya’s face was crumpled, and her voice was quivering when she finally managed to continue. “He, he, f-finally managed to hook one f-finger into m-my hair, and pulled it over my sh-shoulder so that I could see it. And there it was…glowing. Exactly the same shade and pattern of Phantom’s tidemarks.”
Taya paused, and then deliberately pulled a lock of hair forward over her shoulder, and before Shanna and Ammas’ astounded eyes, the lock of hair began to glow in the familiar rippling patterns of a starcat’s coat. As they watched, the rest of her hair took on the pattern, gently twinkling and shining iridescent ruby against the background of brown so dark it was almost black. As Shanna and Amma sat, silently astounded, Taya went on.
“My father was horrified. He kept telling me to stop, and eventually he began to shake me, and shout at me. He became more and more angry when I couldn’t make my hair stop glowing. Eventually I had to climb out of the wagon because he was hurting me.” Her eyes were haunted. “I ran in the end, and hid in the bush. He shouted and shouted for what seemed like hours, but I stayed hidden deep in a patch of pungo trees, until eventually he stopped shouting, and began to plead for me to come out. I was frightened. I’d never seen my father like that. He was so angry with me!” Again Taya wiped tears from her eyes, hair glowing incongruously brightly, reflecting off the drops rolling down her cheeks.
“When I finally crawled out of the bush, he was sobbing, down on his knees at the edge of the road, begging me to come out and come home. Even then, he could barely look at me. When I finally came back to the wagon, he made me wrap my hair up in an old cloth, and then run from the wagon into the house when we got home. He wouldn’t look at me or talk to me the whole way there. I ran into my room, and looked into the mirror. My hair was like this,” she held up a strand, “glowing in Phantom’s patterns, except that now, it glows in Spinner’s patterns.”
“But Taya, how come we’ve never seen your hair do that before?” Amma broke in.
Taya looked at the two of them.
“When my mother found out, she was furious with my father. She came into my room, and just looked at me, then after covering my hair with a scarf, she took me to see Master Cerren. In her position as an artificer, she’d heard enough about him to know that he might be able to help. I felt like a freak, and I was sure that if people found out about my hair they’d react like my father had.” She looked around then, and nodded sadly to herself. “We’ve all spoken about the physical changes in the population. No-one worries about the little ones, but it’s different when things are so obvious, and it wasn’t only the visible changes with me. When we reached Master Cerren’s office, my mother ushered me inside and pulled the scarf off my hair. By that time, I was exhausted and shaking. I just stood there, while Master Cerren looked up at me.” Amma put a hand on Taya’s arm, and Shanna found that her own hand had involuntarily risen to her mouth.
“For a few moments he said nothing, and then asked the two of us to sit down. His old cat, Prince, strolled over to me, and nudged me with his head. My hair immediately changed colour to match his tidemarks, and then the clock over the mantelpiece stopped ticking. It was quite loud, so the sudden silence was very obvious, and then, to make things worse, all the lamps went out.”
“But, but ... ” Amma was unable to get any further.
“Amma, it was me. Master Cerren was calm, as was my mother, and after the initial surprise, they tested me with a number of devices in the Masters’ offices. I was a freak. Lamps went out, mechanical devices ceased working around me, and my hair kept changing colour and pattern ; I literally glowed in the dark.”
Shanna took a deep breath.
“But you must have learned to control it, because none of us had any idea!”
“Master Cerren worked with me for several days before I was able to change my hair back to its original colour. He talked me through what was going on, and tried to convince me that it was just a simple change, in fact perhaps an enhancement of our genes as a result of our time here on Frontier ; you know what I’m talking about ; we’ve been over it time after time since we first found the Garsal aircraft. And now, we find out that the Starlynes have been tampering with us the whole time we’ve been there ; and it’s probable that I’m not really a freak. It took me months to get everything under control properly, and then I began Scout training.” Taya’s hair dimmed to its natural colour, and then the walls around them began to pulse in Spinner’s tidemark patterns. Shanna blinked several times in disbelief.
“Taya, was it because of Phantom that you hated me so much?” Shanna’s voice trembled, and she had trouble meeting the other girl’s eyes.
The dark haired girl grimaced.
“Partly ; I’d spent so much time trying to learn to control myself and stop glowing in the dark, or extinguishing lights and seizing mechanical equipment, and then, all of a sudden, there was the possibility of ending up with one of your family’s starcats ; and one of those had provided the catalyst for my abnormalities to make themselves known. The truth be told that it wasn’t just the starcat that bothered me, but that you were so much younger than the rest of us ; and so normal! And then you turned up with two cats, and every time I was near you and those two cats, it became harder and harder to stop my hair changing. There was something about the combination of Storm, Twister, and yourself, and the constant nearness of Spinner, that seemed to erode my self control. I was continually struggling to avoid showing everyone how different I was, and the closer I got to Spinner, the harder the struggle became. Shanna, you were everything I wanted to be, and you were way too young! And way too normal! Every time I turned around you were there, doing it better Even now, it’s easier to change the wall colours just because you’re near me. Even one of your cats near me makes me edge closer to losing control!” A trace of the old resentment flashed across Taya’s face.
“But Taya, I didn’t know! I didn’t mean to make anything difficult for you ; and I wouldn’t have a clue why the boys and I make things tougher!” Shanna was almost crying, and she cleared her throat, frantically trying to control her emotions.
Amma put her other hand on the younger girl’s arm, and gripped it gently.
“Shan, this isn’t your fault, and Taya, your abilities are not your fault either ; like you said, they’re most likely to be one of the changes that the Starlynes have facilitated.” She looked grimly at the other two girls. “And who knows what they’ve done to the rest of us? I, for one, intend to ask some very direct questions!” She tied her bootlace with a firm tug, and looked firmly at the other two. “And one more thing Taya, are you sure that you can only fade with the assistance of Spinner?” Amma’s voice was accusing.
The other girl looked slightly guilty.
“Every time I tried without Spinner I could feel my control slipping, and I knew that you’d all find out about me, so I pretended that I needed Spinner to help me ; that way I could stop my hair glowing, but still fade. It made me so angry that everyone thought that learning to fade was such a great thing, but that I still needed to hide what I was.” Her voice trailed off. Shanna looked at the ground as she wondered what to say.
“Well, that was interesting!” Ragar’s voice startled the three girls, and they realised that he and the other two young men had probably been listening for some time. “Do we really need the new wall decorations Tay?”
Taya gave a start, and the walls returned to their previous soft glow.
“Sorry, forgot I’d done that.” She ducked her head, looking at the floor in some embarrassment.
“You know,” said Verren thoughtfully. “Here we are ; in quarters provided by an alien race, knowing they’ve been fiddling with our genetic makeup in ways we don’t understand, but ready to learn whatever they teach us, to deal with yet another alien race ... and one of us has learnt to vanish, another glows in the dark and turns off equipment, so who knows what they’ve done to the rest of us? It’s not really what I signed on to Scout training for! I think my head’s about to explode!” He flopped heavily on to his bed. “Someone tell me if I start growing tentacles!”
There was a collective laugh at the bizarre nature of their predicament, and some of the emotion in the room eased to a more manageable level as the cadets went back to finishing their dressing, and tidying away their belongings, just as if what they’d heard was an everyday occurrence.
Shanna’s head buzzed with Taya’s revelations. The root of all of the older girl’s animosity was now bare for her to see, and there was a small hope that their relationship might really begin to change for the better. After all the frustrations of the last months, Shanna wasn’t quite sure how to proceed though, and as she tied her bootlace and tucked her trouser leg back down, she sighed internally yet again. A thought struck her.
“If Master Cerren knew about you, Taya, and how to help you learn to control things, there must be others who have changed and required help! Who and where are they?”
“Part of the answer is here.” Spiron’s deep voice caused a sudden cessation of activity in the room, and the cadets turned as one to the adjoining door where the Patrol First was standing. He opened one hand and a soft glow, similar to Taya’s hair, outlined it and radiated from his palm, finally appearing to hover like a ball of light above it.
For a longer excerpt visit http://haguepublishing.com/sample/FrontierResistance.html
Character Name: Shanna
Character Bio: 16, almost 17. Tall, green eyes, blonde streaked long hair, usually braided. Has two starcats, Storm and Twister, and grew up helping her parents raise and train starcats (100kg felines with glow-in-the-dark ‘tidemarks’ who like to sleep on the bed.) Shanna’s academically gifted, and is a cadet in Frontier’s elite Scout Corps. Frontier is a dangerous planet, wracked by enormous cyclones and full of dangerous wildlife. The Scouts explore their planet, and help to keep the human inhabitants safe.
Describe yourself what is your worst and best quality?
My worst quality is my inability to make friends quickly. I’ve always been a bit too smart…sigh… and now I’m the youngest in my class, although I think things might be on the improve. My best quality is knowing about starcats. Because I’ve grown up with them, I’m pretty good at training them.
What is the one thing you wish other people knew about you?
I really wish that people would understand that it wasn’t my fault that I ended up with two starcats. I mean, who wants two starcat cubs at the same time? Can you imagine how sleep deprived I was at the beginning? And having to tell the story over, and over, and over!
What is your biggest secret something no one knows about?
What are you most afraid of?
Right now I’m most afraid of failing everyone. There was this vision of me, Storm and Twister, and now everyone thinks that I’m special - but I’m not. I’m just Shanna, and my planet’s been invaded by aliens!
What do you want more than anything?
I want to live up to all the expectations, but more than anything, I want my family and friends to be safe.
What is your relationship status?
There’s not really anyone at the moment. I mean, my planet’s just been invaded by aliens, we’ve just discovered that there’s a second, friendly, race of aliens already on the planet, and we’ve spent three hundred years thinking they were just special animals, and I’ve got two starcats! I haven’t had time for a relationship. But it doesn’t mean I don’t want one…
How would you describe your sense of fashion?
Well, at the moment I’m wearing my Scout field uniform and it’s covered in dirt and blood because of the battle…and I suspect that now I’m going to go and live in a Starlyne habitation for who knows how long, that I won’t actually have a sense of fashion for a bit. I do like really nice boots though.
How much of a rebel are you?
There was a delivery of horgal dung once. It ended up outside a grumpy teacher’s window…
What do you considered to be your greatest achievement?
Honestly? Surviving the battle.
What is your idea of happiness?
No Garsal on my planet! And my family and friends safe, so that we can go back to our normal lives.
What is your current state of mind?
Exhausted, frazzled, fearful of failing everyone, but grateful to have survived. I’m a bit dazed actually - I’m following a Starlyne to its home to learn things! (And it talks!) At least I have Patrol Ten and my cadet class with me. And Storm and Twister of course.
What is your most treasured possession?
I wouldn’t call them possessions, but my starcats - Storm and Twister. Storm’s the blue toned one, and Twister’s the violet one. He likes climbing trees, while Storm’s a bit more sensible. I love them more than I can tell you.
What is your most marked characteristic?
I’ve been told it’s my green eyes.
What is it that you, most dislike?
Once I would have said sliders, but now I think it’s probably the Garsal.
Which living person do you, most despise?
Probably Taya. She’s given me a fair bit of grief, but let’s not go there. I really don’t like remembering what she’s been like.
What is your greatest regret?
At this point, it’s not having been able to say goodbye to Mum and Dad before the battle. Who knows how long it’ll be until I see them again? At least I’ve sent them a message via Kaidan, but what if something happens?
What is the quality you most like in a man?
It’s not something I’ve given much thought to lately, but I really like a man who’s trustworthy and reliable.
What is the quality you most like in a woman?
The same thing I like in a man!
Who is your favorite hero in fiction?
When I was really small, Mum used to read us stories about Cashon, the First Scout - she was just amazing! She had to figure everything out by herself because no-one knew anything about Frontier, so she was the one who began to explore. She nearly died hundreds of times, because she didn’t know about sliders, or stauregs or anything, really. She just had to go on her gut instinct. She was really clever.
Which living person do you most admire?
Allad, I think. He’s an amazing Scout, and he has Satin, of course, and she’s just the most amazing starcat I’ve ever seen.
If you could change one thing about yourself what would it be?
I’d like to be a bit taller. Then I wouldn’t have to keep taking up all my uniform trousers!
What is your motto?
That’s a tough one. I think it has to be ‘Never give up.’ I reckon I’m going to need to remember that over the next few months.
Originally from Western Australia, Leonie now lives in NSW in the Upper Hunter. She is the author of “Frontier Incursion” (YA Speculative Fiction) published in October 2012 by Hague Publishing, and also works part time as a physiotherapist. She dabbles in poetry, and has had a short story published in Antipodean SF.
Frontier Resistance, part two of the Frontier Trilogy was published on the 3rd of October 2014, and she has also finished the first draft of the concluding book. They’re full of glow-in-the-dark cats who like to sleep on the bed, alien invaders, and a planet out to kill the unwary.
She has a past life as a volunteer firefighter and State Emergency Service member, and once trekked almost six hundred kilometres with eight camels and several other human beings. She is married with two late teen kids, two dogs and two cats, one of whom frequently handicaps her ability to use a laptop computer.
Wordpress blog: www.leonierogers.wordpress.com