Triorion: Awakening finds five-year-old triplets Jetta, Jaeia, and Jahx struggling to survive on a harsh alien planet under the thumb of their brutal owner. When the Eeclian Dominion discovers their extraordinary telepathic talents, they are coerced into military service. However, when the tide of war changes, the siblings find their persecutors at their mercy and a new and more powerful enemy at their door, eager to harness their talents for intergalactic genocide. This introduction to the Triorion series follows them on a journey of death and redemption that will change the Starways forever.
LJ is one of my writing students at the Superstars Writing Seminars and also a local Colorado author. She's dedicated, personable, and really enthusiastic about her Triorion series. I read, and blurbed, her first novel—included here—which reminded me a lot of Ender's Game. I'm glad to give her some extra exposure here. – Kevin J. Anderson
"Gritty and engrossing. You will be captivated by the danger, the determination, and the love of these three siblings—two sisters, one brother...one heart, one mind, and one grand adventure."– Kevin J. Anderson, New York Times bestselling author of The Dark Between the Stars
"Hachmeister's Trioroin: Awakening is both audacious and heartfelt, a novel big in its premise and intimate in its close attention to the psychological lives of the characters."– Stant Litore, author of The Zombie Bible and Ansible
"A gripping, almost haunting read that sticks with you long after you've put it down."– Neo Edmund, author of the Red Riding Alpha Huntress series
The monster came at night, as he usually did.
Wake up, Jetta told herself as he body-slammed the front door of the apartment, taking it clean off its hinges.
Angry footsteps tromped toward the bedroom where Jetta and her siblings slept at the foot of their aunt and uncle's bed.
Not real. This isn't real.
Caught halfway in a dream, she couldn't rouse herself until she heard her uncle's voice:
"Get the children!"
Jetta sat straight up, panicked. In the confusion of her siblings' cries, she watched her uncle tumble out of bed and push the dresser in front of the bedroom door. This can't be real. Please, oh, please—
"Aunt Lohien—" Jetta started, tears already sliding down her face as her aunt rushed to her side.
Slender arms wrapped around her tiny four-year-old body. "Listen to me, Jetta. Take your siblings and hide."
A tender kiss from her aunt lingered much longer than usual on her cheek. In that moment, Jetta knew. This is goodbye.
"No, Aunt Lohien," Jahx said, tugging on their aunt's shirtsleeve.
"Please," Jaeia pleaded. "Hide with us."
"Here," Lohien said, prying off the air ventilation grate on the side of the wall. Fists beat against the bedroom door. A drunken howl signified a hunger that would not be satisfied with blood alone. "Hide in here. Don't come out until he's gone."
Her triplet siblings, just as emaciated as she, slid easily on hands and knees into the dark space of the air ventilation system. Wiggling in backward, Jetta went last, helping her aunt re-secure the grate on the wall as Galm and the wooden dresser lost their battle. Cheap clapboard splintered, and the monster got through.
Lohien poked her fingers through the slats of the grate, a smile trembling on her lips. Eyes, already burdened with a sadness Jetta could never understand, tried to convey one last sentiment of strength and love.
"Jetta, don't worry. You will find a way. You will survive," she whispered, then turned away.
"What are you doing?" the monster screamed, barreling straight for their aunt.
Jetta, what's happening? her siblings cried in the back of her mind. Biting her lip, Jetta shut out her brother and sister from the telepathic connection that bound them together, not wanting them to see the horror unfolding in the bedroom.
"Yahmen, stop, please stop!" Galm pleaded, backing into the corner with his hands held over his face.
Of course her uncle did nothing to stop his brother, Yahmen, from brutalizing him or their aunt.
Why won't you stop him? Jetta cried, angry and horrified as Yahmen landed blow after blow on her feeble adoptive parents.
Jahx pulled at the toes of her bare feet. In the back of her mind she heard his reasons and insights, but she didn't want them. It didn't matter that Galm was a timid, kindly soul who wouldn't hurt the lowliest creature on their rotten world. Why won't he protect our aunt?
(Why won't he protect us?)
Grabbing their aunt by the hair, Yahmen dragged her toward the front door, laughing and taunting their uncle as she screamed. "You did this to yourself, brother. This is your debt. If she doesn't satisfy me, it'll be those little street rats next."
"No!" Galm cried, hobbling after him, face bloodied from the beating. "Please, not my wife, please, Yahmen!"
Screams and laughter echoed down the corridor of their apartment complex. Jetta waited for what felt like forever before pushing out the grate and crawling back into the bedroom. The usual angry fights and drunken moans carried through the walls, but not the voices of her aunt or uncle, or the monster.
Stay here, Jetta said through their telepathic connection, instructing her brother and sister to remain in the bedroom.
"No way," Jaeia whispered, latching onto her sleeve. Their brother, eyes wide with fright, stayed plastered to Jetta's side.
Then be quiet, she said, tip-toeing through the living room and to the front entrance. With her siblings in tow, Jetta peeked around the broken frame of their front door.
A junkie, sprawled out on the stained green carpet of the corridor, caught her eye. "This place will take your soul," he mumbled.
Whatever he said next came out in a frothy babble, seized by whatever drug lit his circuits.
Not Fiorah. Yahmen, Jetta thought, but shoved her feelings aside before they had a chance to take hold.
A whimper and a groan came from the stairwell. The yellow, calloused hands of her Cerran uncle appeared on the top step. Grunting, Galm hoisted up his broken body to the third floor corridor.
Jetta weaved around the rest of the junkies and drunks lining the corridor to help Galm the rest of the way. Jaeia and Jahx followed suit, doing the best they could to assist their uncle.
"I'm sorry, children. I'm so, so sorry," he sobbed, leaning on the wall and limping back to their apartment.
Gleaning the answer from her uncle didn't keep Jetta from asking the question out loud. She wanted him to say it. Some ugly part of her, angry with her uncle for his weakness, needed him to stand accountable. "Where's aunt Lohien? What will Yahmen do to her?"
Stopping short of their apartment door, Galm slid down the wall, tears streaking down the clotted patches of blood on his face. "I—I…Why did I…? My fault, this is all…"
"Jetta," Jahx said, pulling her around to face him. Blue eyes would not let her look away. "Please. We're all upset. Let's go inside and help Galm get cleaned up."
There's no excuse for this, Jetta replied back silently, shaking with rage and heartache. I want my aunt back. I don't want to be afraid anymore!
"I know," Jahx whispered, cleaning off the tears from her face with his sleeve. Two other arms found their way around her body and pulled her in close. Jetta allowed Jaeia to hug her, needing her sister's strength.
"I won't let Yahmen take you, I promise," Jetta said, holding on tight to her siblings. Fear and hatred found their way into her words. "No matter what."