As a history scholar and courier for the secretive Circle of Thales, Rene Laurent is a man of many talents – none of them lending themselves much to a life of adventure.
But when a chance meeting with a young, idealistic Belligra priest drags him into a wild quest to keep a dangerous mutagen off the streets of Floor, his curiosity gets the better of him. Between monsters both human and man-made, he realises that maybe fieldwork is more of his game than he had ever thought possible…
Written by Rainbow-Award-winning authors Beryll and Osiris Brackhaus, ‘The PV-3 Mutagen’ is a colourful non-romance sci-fi adventure set in the wildly diverse ‘Virasana Empire’, and the first novel of the ‘Doctor Laurent’ series.
Warnings: Not a romance. Harsh setting, but hopeful.
The monofilament weaponry shop was located at one of the posher malls in the quadrant. One Rene had never visited before since it specialised in all sorts of combat equipment. That the shop ran holo ads at other malls pointed to them having a good marketing budget which in turn meant they must be profitable.
The security guards at this mall didn’t so much as blink at the Belligra coming in. After all, he had good reason to be here. When they walked in, the first thing they saw was a shiny, hulking hovertank on display in the ground floor foyer, setting the mood for the whole place.
Amusingly, the holo ads here were a whole lot less obnoxious, mostly confined to displays right outside the shop windows rather than following the customers around. It probably wasn’t a good idea to annoy people who were interested in buying weapons, heavily armed and aggressive as they were wont to be.
Rene nearly lost Riccardo while studying the floor plan for the monofil shop. He found the Belligra at a nearby store, longingly gazing at what was advertised as the latest model of personal energy shields. The ones on display were in the form of various types of belt buckles and ornamental brooches. Riccardo was watching the holo display showing the shields in action with rapt attention.
Rene took one look at the price tags and dismissed the notion of getting one for his Belligra friend. There was a reason the store was located in the prime spot, right at the entrance. It wasn’t meant for priests, or normal commoners. This was the turf of company bosses and minor nobles. Looking inside, Rene found a stylishly uniformed shop clerk glaring at him. He wasn’t making shooing gestures, after all, a Belligra was not someone to be trifled with, but he very much wanted them gone.
“Come on,” he told Riccardo and tried to gently herd him away, “the ‘Cutting Edge’ is on the third floor.”
That got Riccardo’s attention. “Cutting Edge? Seriously? They couldn’t come up with a more cliche name?”
Rene shrugged. “You have to give them that you know exactly what they are dealing in.”
Riccardo cast one last longing glance at the energy shield display but obediently followed Rene to the escalators. There were plenty of other distractions for someone interested in combat. On their ride up, they had a good view of the great variety of shops selling all manner of killing tools devised by humanity and as many to make sure you didn’t get killed by them. Riccardo kept craning his neck to take it all in. It was the first time Rene had seen him truly fascinated by the abundance of commerce Floor was famous for. So, the austere, disciplined Belligra had a weakness when it came to weaponry and armour. Rene was curious to see if he would be overwhelmed by it, but he kept his own weakness of curiosity in check and led Riccardo straight to the monofil store.
It was located between a dingy-looking ammunition shop, which advertised bulk sales, and a small workshop offering armour repair services. The Cutting Edge very much dominated the scene with a sleek, white and silver interior, looking very high-tech in a most pleasing, confidence-inspiring way. The displays in the windows showed only a handful, equally sleek weapons, with special lighting illuminating the edges in different colours.
Next to Rene, Riccardo made a small sound of joy. While before he had looked like a kid in a candy shop, he now seemed more like someone admiring a piece of art. Rene looked up at him, raising an eyebrow. In reaction, Riccardo managed to look embarrassed and righteous at the same time.
“What? They’re pretty. Can’t I appreciate that?”
Rene smiled at him. “Appreciate away. It’s nice to finally see you find something you like on Floor.”
“Hmm. Let’s call it reason number one why I don’t have to leave the planet as soon as possible, shall we?”
“Let’s.” Rene entered the store and was announced by a soft tinkling as he stepped through the door.
He half expected to be treated as unwelcome rabble here as well, so he was pleasantly surprised when, instead, a clerk dressed casually in cargo pants and a white t-shirt with the Cutting Edge logo approached them with a bright smile. No older than in his mid-twenties, his bright blue, spiky hair sparkled the same colour as some of the weapons’ edges.
“Welcome, gentlemen,” he greeted them, “I’m Gino. What can I do for you today?”
Polite customer service was what sold wares, and this franchise was well aware.
“We’ve seen an ad for your monofilament grenades,” Rene replied. “We have a bit of a vermin problem, and we think that your grenades are the way to go to get rid of it.”
“That must be some seriously bad vermin,” Gino joked.
Rene held out his hand at waist height. “This tall and armed with teeth and claws.”
“Oh.” Suddenly, the joke wasn’t that funny anymore and Gino switched gears with admirable speed. “Then I think you are in the right place. Our grenades were specifically designed for exactly these kinds of problems. If you will come with me, I can show you the options we offer.”
We are Beryll and Osiris Brackhaus, a couple currently living our happily ever after in the very heart of Germany, under the stern but loving surveillance of our cat.
Both of us are voracious but picky readers, we love telling stories and drinking tea, good food and the occasional violent movie. Together, we write novels of adventure and romance, hoping to share a little of our happiness with our readers.
An artist by heart, Beryll was writing stories even before she knew what letters were. As easily inspired as she is frustrated, her own work is never good enough (in her eyes). A perfectionist in the best and worst sense of the word at the same time and the driving creative force of our duo.
An entertainer and craftsman in his approach to writing, Osiris is the down-to-earth, practical part of our duo. Broadly interested in almost every subject and skill, with a sunny mood and caring personality, he strives to bring the human nature into focus of each of his stories.