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Ostakis

by Angelica Primm

Ostakis - Angelica Primm
Editions:Kindle: $ 4.99 USD
ISBN: 9781950412037
Pages: 208

The Human Planets Collective sent young Ambassador Kaj Deder to the former colony planet Ostakis to establish relations. But in the twenty-five hundred years since Earth lost contact with Ostakis, the people of that colony have dramatically changed. Kaj must find the reason for these changes while he forges trade links between the HPC and Ostakis. Without trade with the HPC, the dwindling resources of Ostakis will ultimately end human life on the planet. But his mission faces a huge obstacle in the form of Most Reverend Thyenn Sharr, the head of the Faith Progressive Church, who sees Kaj's arrival as the beginning of the end of the Church. Kaj’s powerful attraction to Trademaster Klath’s son, Arlan does not smooth relations.

Arlan Klath, the son of the Trademaster of Ostakis, bears the secret that the pious people of his planet want to hide from the homeworld and the HPC. The Curse of the Unspoken, wrought through the unspeakable acts of the First Colonists, afflicts all Ostakians, but some more strongly than others. Arlan is totally Cursed, considered born sinful, and he lives without legal rights or property. Thyenn Sharr focuses his attention on Arlan enraged Arlan’s father defiantly refuses to submit Arlan to a cruel act to “redeem” Arlan’s soul. The stakes ratchet when Arlan and Kaj form a relationship Thyenn Sharr considers ample justification to usurp the Trademaster position through the legal power of his Church.

Can Kaj navigate the treacherous currents of Ostakian politics and religion to save these human descendants of Earth? And must he chose between Arlan or his mission to do so?

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Excerpt:

KAJ

House Klath was a large dwelling filled with winding wood-paneled hallways and many rooms. In a way, it was distinctly not human. Humans loved order, straight lines, and large, empty spaces so we could see our enemies coming. This was not a place of enemies, but family, tumbling upon each other in familial closeness. If left to my own devices, I would lose my way.

We arrived in a section of the house where the lines straightened.

“These are the main offices of my business,” said Klath. “Of course, I do have offices in each of the major cities of Ostakis. But this is the heart of my business. Arlan,” he boomed, loud enough to rattle pictures on the wall nearest us.

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“My son,” he continued with evident pride, “is my head accountant. I could not keep my business in order without his assistance. Last year, he found a huge discrepancy in the sums transferred in a business deal with a trader from Kiji Amst. Very disagreeable people. The trader claimed we misunderstood the currency exchange rate, but Arlan proved him wrong. And in court too.” He spoke the last words with immeasurable pride.

“Arlan,” he called again, and this time a young man stumbled from a doorway and pitched forward into his father’s arms, murmuring apologies. Despite his nut-brown skin, a blush spread across his cheeks and throat, causing my breath to hitch. Even for an Ostakian, he was small and slim, though not skinny. The muscles of his arms bunched under his tight tunic. His fey Ostakian eyes caught the faint light in the hallway, reflecting shards of glittering gold as his face turned up to meet my gaze.

Aulkus righted the young man easily. Arlan’s gleaming dark hair was twisted into a tight bun. My mind strayed most inappropriately to pulling it apart and watching his hair tumble to his shoulders.

I have a weakness for men with long hair. Women too. But on men, it is so much more unexpected.

COLLAPSE

ABOUT OSTAKIS

The broader theme of Ostakis is "a society in denial precipitates its destruction." It is a timely and important theme, because collectively, as a species, we've let tribalism rule our governments. You can look at nearly every society on today's Earth and find an "us vs.them" mentality in the politicians, managers, and administrators of that government. But our planet has grown too small for tribalism.

Our present-day societal crisis is we keep fighting that we no longer can afford our "us vs. them" tribalistic societies. We can no longer afford to keep our blinders on to the suffering of others. We can no longer say, "it's okay to repress certain segments of society to keep this vision of a homogenized society we've created." Denial is also the societal crisis in Ostakis, brought to a head by dwindling planet resources and HPC ambassador Kaj Deder's arrival.

Ostakians believe they are human when they are not. Outwardly they appear human, but their biology twines with that of original inhabitants. The humans on Ostakis now have a third gender, one that carries both male and female reproductive parts. Such individuals Ostakians call “Cursed by the Unspoken,” or Cursed for short. Their society considers them born sinful and that they will lead men to sin. Most families hide their Cursed children. Cursed have no legal rights and are subject to physical abuse especially in the ritualistic and physically abusive church Shamings performed to redeemed the Cursed person’s soul.

The citizens of Ostakis are in denial of who their combined genetic heritage. Why their denial? The colonists used the aboriginals so shamelessly for their survival heedless their actions nearly destroyed the aboriginal race. The intermix of genomes produced children that could survive Ostakis’ harsh conditions, but the colonists did not anticipate the creation of the third sex, outwardly male, who in their biological heats were irresistible to men. The repressive Faith Progressive Church rose with the belief that prayer and devotion would eradicate the stain of the third sex from Ostakian humanity. But the ecological clock has run out on Ostakis, and their society must change. Refusal to do that spells the death of the human-alien hybrids of Ostakis.

About the Author

Born in a century far less progressive than how her brain is wired, Angelica engages in occupations now considered now less than reputable, one of them being a ghostwriter of erotic and romance fiction. Since time travel is not an option, in her off time she contents herself with writing about people and places in a far distant future with the twists that only come with traveling to the stars.

Angelica lives in Connecticut with an odd assortment of cats and humans and putters at hobbies ranging from art to bird watching to studying lexical density in fiction when she’s not turning a phrase for her supper.


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