The Wasp's Nest

Book I of the Wasp Chronicles

by C.R. Norris


Book Details

Two 21st-Century Teenagers Discover Their Strengths in an Apocalyptic Future…

Chris has never thought of herself as anyone special—she’s a band geek, and she’s happily on her way to a high school marching band contest when suddenly she finds herself standing in the middle of an unknown desert. Is this a hallucination from the bottle of tequila that the teenagers enjoyed the night before? If it’s a hangover, it’s worse than anything she could have imagined…her band uniform causes her to be mistaken for an enemy soldier. Chris is rescued by a rag-tag band of resourceful tribal people who call themselves Taders. She is taken to their home, Tojoba, where she is told that she has been “rifted”—pulled through time into the future. She finds that several other band members were dragged through as well, including her best friend, Bruce. But rescue by the Taders comes at a price: the teenagers must be accepted by mentors, and submit to training. Chris is accepted, but Bruce is rejected back to the wilderness. Both of them will find strengths they never dreamed they had, as they gradually uncover the tangled and shocking mysteries of humanity’s future…where each of them is destined to play a key role on opposite sides of an epic conflict. Richly imagined, beautifully characterized, and deeply engaging, The Wasp’s Nest will leave you eager for the upcoming second book in The Wasp Chronicles.


Book Excerpt

Prelude -- Novem 15: 521 N.T.-- Sitel: Baltic Mar-- Home of the CORE-- Baltic Mar was the largest of the remaining domed sitels in what was once an extensive grid of such sitels. In the Before Time, it had been a sitel of little noteworthiness, but now it bore a new role and a new importance in the restructured magist. The Now Time Baltic Mar had become a collecting place where the Before Time still lived, as a shadow. Here citizens went obliviously about their day amid salvaged systems that they themselves could not build or replicate, taking for granted that they would always be there. And it was here that the CORE, the Council of Replication Engineers, had moved their command and control structure to what most Taders referred to as the Brigade. The Captain was spending another day trapped in one of the anterooms that hung off the foyer where the CORE conducted their business. He had been summoned from the Tader zones and had endured the arduous journey only to be ordered to wait. He paced, hands clasped behind his back as he made an effort to maintain his patience. They had placed him in Colonel Tinion’s office, his eyes gliding over the colonel’s knick-knacks and furniture for yet another endless time. Pausing in front of the mirror on the colonel’s wall, he stared into it. Intense blue eyes stared back at him as sharp ears listened through the wall to the forum area beyond. The normal tint of his dark-blond hair had been bleached somewhat by his journey, and the scruff on his face, which included his mustache, needed a trim. Straightening the braid woven gold epaulettes on his shoulders, he made a last attempt at beating the remaining trail dust from the navy-blue uniform. Brushing a spot away from the yellow strip down his leg, he shook his head at the gaudiness. He was a scientist, a soldier only out of necessity, but even he knew that a uniform should blend with its surroundings. “Captain.” He snapped straight, looking at the major who was confronting him. He recognized him as General Ganz’s aid, Higgan. “Major,” he nodded, addressing him with a snappy salute. “I’m afraid sir, that the council has deferred your meeting for yet another day.” The Captain’s thick eyebrows came down hard over his eyes, a piercing stare making the major stir. His temper was reputable and well known here. “Deferred, Major...!” His normally resonant baritone dropped into an incredulous bass. “I should like to remind the council, or should I say General Ganz, that I have been waiting for two days, and now you are telling me I am to wait a third?!” “Captain… I only deliver messages. I am not in the position t--” “Coubas to your position, Major!” boomed the Captain’s voice as he started for the door leading into the foyer. The major’s eyes widened as he stepped between the Captain and the door, the Captain some thirteen centimeters taller and much broader. “Higgan, step aside,” demanded the Captain. “No sir, I can’t do that!” stated the major firmly. “I have my orders, sir, and you have yours. Need I remind you of my rank?” “Higgan, don’t be a fool!” hissed the Captain, fully aware of his insubordination. “I don’t need to remind you who I am or what I can do to you if you don’t remove yourself from my path.” The major swallowed, but held his ground. The council room was long and narrow with arching ceilings supported by carved white columns set along the walls, the white marble floor below tempered with gold-speckled tracings. A raised platform at the end of the room seated the nine-member council, a mix of seven geneticists and two men of rank. The amount of time that the council members spent in this room was infinitesimal when compared to the amount of time taken by their usual daily duties, but recent developments had caused them to be in session for an eighth day and the strain was showing. The group was capable of tolerating each other for short periods, but at this point the divisions and animosity between the factions were completely evident. “Merchant Dono…! I simply cannot believe that that you had no knowledge of the true identity of Ballast Munitions,” growled General Ganz. His position as the highest man of rank on the council had cemented his role as interrogator. “I swear, General,” insisted Dono with the shake of his head as he pleaded with his hands toward the council. “I couldn’t have known. They brought me the shipment, and I transferred it to the CORE’s warehouse like every other shipment.” He turned back toward the other merchants behind him for support. “And you had no knowledge that Rajar Palan was in actuality Ponopin?” hissed Essex as he stood and planted his hands on the table in front of him. “Who of us here knows Ponopin?” defended Dono, but this only inflamed Essex more, a vein on his temple beginning to spasm. “And in further defense, I never met R--” The merchant’s words were cut by the splintering crash of the side door into the forum. The body of the general’s aide burst through the door and bounced across the floor into the merchants. Wood scattered across the white tile as the Captain stepped into the room, his navy- blue uniform standing out among the lighter clothing of the merchants. His blue eyes blazed up in anger at the council, the aide groaning at his feet. “Captain Ganz!” smiled the General who was seated in the middle of the council. “General, you have had me waiting in that room for two days now! I will not endure a third,” he bristled. “General Ganz, I protest this…this breach of discipline…” snapped a man rising from his seat to the general’s left. “Sit, Moba!” growled the General as he pointed a finger in Moba’s direction. “I told you that Captain Ganz should have been included in this investigation from the start. Now is as good a time to start as any.” “Investigation…? You called me from the Tader zones for an investigation?” The Captain’s annoyance with the situation grew further. “Yes, Captain,” nodded Moba Conant, a man who was now more bureaucrat than scientist. If anyone typified the lack of practical thought on the council, it was Moba. “It appears that a portion of our own bullets were removed from our warehouse and then sold back to us.” “By Ponopin!” snapped Essex, the vein on his temple now dancing as his face began to redden. “Ponopin,” echoed the Captain, his anger evaporating into utter amusement, “…sold you your own ammo. From your own warehouse…?” He bit his lip to keep from smiling, but he could not conceal the sparkle in his eyes. “It was repackaged,” defended Moba. “The original packaging was found in the recycler,” added Colonel Tinion, the only other man of rank on the council. He had a shock of red hair that sat on top of graying sides, and his implication was clear. Upon hearing this, the Captain’s eyes narrowed and slid over toward the merchant, Dono. The merchant’s fists were clenched, a visible shake vibrating through him as he stared over at the Captain. The Captain looked back over at his father. Surely the General saw what he was seeing. His endless bureaucratic duties couldn’t have dulled him that much. And then he caught it--that momentary flash of blue in his direction, the connection telling him that there was more here. “I see,” he offered with a head tilt to show he had picked up the message. “What you should see, Captain,” gnashed Essex, spitting out his name with equal venom to that of Ponopin’s, “is that the Tader Ponopin has gone from being a small thorn to an intolerable one. I want him gone and I want the Taders gone!” “Essex,” called Arimis who headed the council, but Essex was already launching into his next rant. “This is but another reason why we should start poisoning the Tader water supplies. In a rotation we could reduce the Tader menace to a shadow….” “Essex!” bellowed Arimis, finally halting Essex’s rant. “You want to what?” croaked the Captain in an incredulous whisper. “Why would you do that?!” His voice rose to a command. “Captain,” calmed Arimis, his attention now split between the two. “Did you not read my report!” he continued, as Arimis held up his hands in an effort to contain the situation. “You’ve had it long enough to memorize it!” “Do you think I find your assertions of this… this Det Arju or any other plan the Taders might have of any concern to the CORE?” seethed Essex, showing that he was at least aware of the report contents. “Silence!” bellowed the General, everyone’s voice catching in their throats. There was a pause, allowing everyone to regain their composure, and then in a quieter voice the General asserted, “There will be no poisoning of the water supply Essex, and Captain, since the subject of your report has been brought up, please enlighten us.” “You talk of poisoning the Tader water supply with no thought of what happens after,” rebutted the Captain, his ire rising as he spoke. “Taders keep to themselves when left alone, but threaten their existence and you’ll be dealing with a wasp’s nest, gentlemen!” he warned. “They will swarm, and there are hints they could unite!” “Captain, Captain,” chided Arimis, “Taden uniting?” The taint of arrogant was hubris was piercing. “What are the ‘real’ chances of the Taden uniting?” “The Choe and the Tarken already have strong trade ties, as do others. And now I have hints that a larger framework exists. There seems to be a switch to be flipped, something that they are waiting for…and I now know the name it is known by.” “What name?” asked Arimis in a harsh whisper. “Det Arju.” The council turned their eyes toward General Ganz for an interpretation. One didn’t spend time in the field without acquiring some usage of Tadic and its tribal accents. “Carrier wasp?” he questioned with a forward lean. “What does that mean?” “Indeed…” echoed the Captain’s tone through the foyer.


About the Author

C.R. Norris

C.R. Norris is a perpetual student of science and mathematics. Born in Salina Kansas, her varied career has included experience as a musician, a blood banker, and an electrical engineer in the semiconductor industry. She currently resides in Albuquerque, New Mexico, where she indulges her passions for green chile, playing music, and writing.

Also by C.R. Norris

Wasp on the Wind
Wasp on the Wane