ARCs AVAILABLE NOW: KILL CODE – CLIVE FLEURY
When The Oceans Rise… The Truth Drowns
The year 2031.
A world ruined by climate catastrophe, where the sun’s heat kills and the oceans rise higher every day. A world ruled by the wealthy and the corrupt. A world where a good man cannot survive for long.
Hogan Duran was a good man once: a good cop, forced to resign in disgrace when he couldn’t save his partner from a bullet. Now he lives on the fraying edges of society, serving cruel masters and scavenging trash dumps just to survive. But Hogan’s ship is about to come in. He’s invited to join the National Security Council, the powerful paramilitary organization that protects the ruling elite from the uglier elements of society. All he needs to do is pass their deadly entrance exam, and Hogan will be rewarded with wealth and opportunity beyond his wildest dreams.
But this ex-cop’s path to redemption won’t be easy. The NSC are hiding something, and as Hogan descends ever-deeper into their world, he begins to uncover the awful truth of just how the elite in this society keep their power… and how far they’ll go to keep their secrets.
In a world gone wrong, can one good man actually make a difference? Or will he die trying?
Kill Code is due to be published 05 December
About the Author
Clive Fleury is an award-winning author and screenwriter, and a TV and film director and producer. He has work for major broadcasters and studios on a wide variety of successful projects in the US, UK, Australia, Europe, and the Middle East. He is British but currently lives in Miami with his wife, teenage daughter, and cat, Louis.
Two lone towers rose either side of the domed fort. One had a base of shining steel that was some one hundred and fifty feet high and topped by a round glass structure. The other tower, on the opposite side and some distance from the fortress, was smaller and completely windowless. To the right of the fortress stood a smaller concrete building that I later found out was the canteen.
Ruby and I peered out at the brigade of uniformed NSC officers, their weapons out, who had moved to surround our vehicle.
“Impressive, huh?” I said.
“You could say that,” Ruby said, her eyes wide.
The transporter driver, a stocky man with a cropped military haircut, stood up. He waved his hands to quiet the chatter that had risen as our vehicle pulled into the compound.
“Everyone off. Single file,” he ordered.
Standing and grasping our overnight bags, Ruby and I joined the line filing out of the vehicle. As we left, two NSC officers carrying tablets checked our ID and names against the listings they had.
“Duran, Hogan, you are now Candidate number four-five-four-five-nine. Don’t forget it,” the officer said after matching up my name.
From the vehicle, the driver also watched each and every one of us with eagle-eyes. Glancing back, I saw he had stopped Jake and taken his gun off him.
A tall, movie-star handsome officer waited in the center of the square and introduced himself as Commander Beecham. He urged the new arrivals to move quickly. Anyone who was deemed to be too slow got a jolt from electric prods carried by the NSC officers. Ruby and I were directed into one of the ten rows. Jake walked into the line behind us.
Commander Beecham shouted, “Attention!” He stepped back to allow a hovering glider ball to fly past. This circular steel orb was the size of a basketball. It had a tinted screen on its front and out of this stared the lined face of a man who looked incredibly old, and was maybe in his mid-fifties, with a jarhead, buzz cut and wearing the NSC Superior officer Uniform, of blue, white, and red. Five stars were visible on the man’s epaulets: a general.
Technology had obviously moved on a pace over the past few years. I had never seen a glider ball in my life. It was an impressive piece of kit.
The glider ball hovered through the rows of new arrivals as, from it, the man spoke: “Welcome, candidates. My name is General Stoker. You have just arrived at National Security Council Base Camp Seventeen, or as most come co know it… Hell on Earth.”
The glider ball halted directly in front of me. General Stoker eyeballed me for a few moments before moving away.
“You have all agreed to be tested on every conceivable level of mental, emotional, and physical hardship,” General Stoker said. “Our job here is to make you wish you’d never been born. We will subject you to every form of cruelty, depravity, and humiliation you can imagine. You will be scarred, starved, and forced to wonder why God played the cruel trick of ever putting you on this miserable earth. You will ask yourself a simple question… ‘Is anything worth this?’ My answer is just as simple. YES. IT. IS.”
The glider ball hovered by me again as I waited for the general to say more.
“If you have what it takes to be a member of the NSC, rest assured you will be one of the top wage-earners in the country. You and your families will live in the finest houses built just for NSC members. You will eat the tastiest foods, enjoy the greatest entertainment, and live better than you could ever have thought imaginable. In short,” he said, “you will live like gods.”
I saw a heavily tattooed hulk of a man in a tee and jeans lean across to his neighbor. “Does being a god come with full medical?” he stage-whispered.
The glider ball moved rapidly along the line to eye the whisperer. “What was that?” General Stoker asked.
The tattooed man hesitated. “Nothing, sir,” he said.
General Stoker softened. “Just a bit of levity, then?” he asked the new arrival.
A list of names scrolled up the ball’s screen. One name was bolded. “You’re Phillips? Marcus Phillips?” the general asked.
The tattooed man nodded and clicked his heels together. “Yes, sir.”
The glider ball spun away at speed to stop in front of Commander Beecham. “Beecham, Candidate Phillips is dismissed.”
Back in line, Phillips started to tear up as Beecham nodded to two NSC officers. They walked to Phillips, pulled him out of line, and frog-marched him back to the transporter.
General Stoker’s voice boomed out from the glider ball again. “I know you are all thinking that I’m being harsh, but believe me, I am doing him a favor. That quick wit of his assures me he’s not the one we are looking for.”
There was a low murmur from our ranks. Had the general really said ‘the one?’ Was he implying that only one of us would be chosen?
“Yes, you heard right,” General Stoker continued, seemingly reading our minds. “Just one. You’re all the best. But we want to narrow it down to the best of the best. The one that can rise to the top… Now, take a look at the person next to you.”
I locked eyes with Ruby. Behind us, Jake turned to stare at a thin-faced African American man.
“That person is not your friend, nor is he or she your teammate. That person wants to take this opportunity away from you. That person is standing between you and your place amongst us and should be treated accordingly. That person is an obstacle to be overcome, like so many others that you will encounter here,” General Stoker said.
“And to that one candidate destined to rise above the rest, I look forward to welcoming you into the NSC.”