This month of I have the honor of hosting Michelle Murrain, science fiction author extraordinaire! So without further adieu, here is an excerpt from author Murrain’s novel: Becoming Queen:
Nineteen-year-old Daneli is a tomboy who doesn’t get along with her mother. She’ d rather be riding her horse or perfecting her archery skills than wearing finery and ordering servants around. But as the eldest daughter of House Trageri, Daneli is the inheritor of long-standing tensions, and a mission far larger than she is. First, she must undergo an arduous training process, then pass a series of tests in order to become Queen. Afterward, with the help of ten hand-picked spouses of both genders, along with her secret Gift, it will be her job to create peace between her cooperative, matriarchal nation and the violent, fiercely hierarchical patriarchy to their north. As if that weren’ t challenge enough, Daneli is also in for a big surprise. A spaceship is speeding toward her colony – and its arrival will change everything.
Daneli said, “Master Kateri, please sit. It is nice to meet you, and I’m curious as to what brought you all the way from Sur Rolero.” He sat in the chair facing hers.
“Well, my Queen, this is something that you would have learned in due course in your time at Sur Rolero when you were to visit during your Tala Shari. You do need to come down to Sur Rolero sometime in the next month. It will become clear why after I’ve explained.”
“Well then, go ahead Master Kateri.”
“Queen Daneli, I have lived and worked at Sur Rolero for my whole adult life. I grew up in House Solano, and gave up any possibility of marriage because I wanted to dedicate my life to Sur Rolero, and what it means. I imagine that because you were brought up in the North, in Warani, you have only outlines of the truth of our origins.”
“Not so, Master Kateri. I’ve read the Chronicles of Joella Trageri, as well as several other books and documents related to the founding of this colony.”
“Ah, quite so. I apologize for my misunderstanding. Well, then, you know that Sur Rolero is the location of most of the original documents relating to Earth, and the early history of Capella IV.”
“Yes, I do. My spouse Meri has studied there.”
“Of course! How could I forget that Meri is your spouse? Forgive me, my students call me absent-minded.” He smiled, and Daneli realized that she liked him.
He continued. “There is something important about Sur Rolero that you do not yet know, and is known to only a very few people in Trageri. Sur Rolero is the site of the only communications device that allows us to be in contact with colonies on other planets, as well as ships in transit.”
“What? Communication with other planets? How is that possible? I have to send a messenger to get a message to the family down the road!”
“That is, my Queen, a choice of the founders of Trageri—to limit the technology use particularly for communication and transportation. The founders felt that those two uses of technology, alongside the technology of war, were the primary reasons for the demise of Earth. They didn’t want the same thing to happen here.”
“So there is a technology that allows us to contact people that are millions of miles away?”
“Billions of miles away.”
Daneli could hardly wrap her mind around this. It was a good thing that it was Jeri’s night tonight—she might be disappointed to be spending most of her time with Daneli explaining these things.
“So Trageri, particularly the queen, has been in contact with these other planets for a long time?”
“Yes, my Queen—for the history of Trageri.”
“I see. So it is time for me to make my acquaintance with some of them?”
“Yes, my Queen—it has been too long since a Queen of Trageri has been in contact. In particular…” He hesitated. Daneli got the sense that there was a doosey coming.
“Two hundred years ago, during the first war with Warani, the queen at the time, Gorela Trageri, sent an unusual request to the other colony which was also founded by the same group as ours.”
“Other colony? That wasn’t in Joella’s Chronicle.”
He sighed. “Joella’s Chronicle is a bit, shall we say, biased. There was a large group that stayed behind on Earth waiting for a colony planet they could have to themselves, which they got about twenty-five years after we left. They all are genetically related to us, they all have The Gift, and are socially similar, but not the same.”
“I see. And that request was?”
“For more colonists. She felt that if there were more colonists, with experience with better technology, that we would be in a better position against Warani. Remember, at the time, it looked as though Warani might win.”
“Yes, I know that.”
“But they didn’t send colonists, did they?”
“Actually, they did. They sent a ship full of colonists, as well as the plans for the laser weapons.”
“I know we’ve built the laser weapons, but I never heard of the colonists.”
“They aren’t here yet. You see, they were very, very far away. They will arrive in about five years.”
What her father had told her all that time ago finally clicked into place. She still didn’t really understand it, but some things were beginning to fit.
“How many colonists?”
Purchase Becoming Queen, Book I of the House Trageri Cycle here
Michelle Murrain is a science fiction writer who has published seven novels. Her novels are largely hard science fiction, but incorporate social, political, and spiritual topics. She lives in Northern California.