Good morning and welcome to the Saturday Book Diver!
Today I’m pleased and honored to interview Captain Carter Therres, the man in charge of the military recon vessel called the Coriolis.
At the moment I’m standing in the captain’s cabin, a room that reflects the personality of its occupant. The lower half of the room has a large bed and a sitting area with a table, a chair and a small couch. In the upper half of the room stands a metal desk with a computer terminal and a chair. The room has a crisp, businesslike atmosphere, but according to rumor in the fictional world, more than rest and planning military strategy goes on here.
Although Captain Therres is boy-next-door handsome with spiky black hair and a lean, muscular build, his steel gray eyes reveal courage, strength and a stubborn streak that one must possess to make it as a soldier. The Captain is dressed down at the moment, wearing dark pants and a T-shirt that says “Local Marines.”
He offers me a handshake, invites me to sit, then waits for me to get down to business.
SBD: Captain, I know you’re a busy man, so thank you for taking the time to do this interview. How long have you been Captain of the Coriolis?
CT: Thank you as well. As for how long I've had this position...wow. Probably about seven years or so. This was my first command, though I've been in the Local Marines since I was twenty.
SBD: Right now you have Dr. Ash Mracek aboard. I’ve heard you met under dire circumstances. What happened?
CT: Well, as you might have noticed with the heightened security and the need to meet on such an out-of-the-way outpost, things back on Earth--namely with the Syndicate--basically went belly-up. We've discovered some interesting things, Dr. Mracek being one of them. We were sent to rescue him when his scientific research vessel, the Maelstrom, was attacked. I don't know if you've seen a Revenant, but they aren't exactly friendly. Dr. Mracek was the only survivor we found aboard the Maelstrom.
SBD: What three words best describe Dr. Mracek?
CT: Let's see... quiet, gorgeous, brilliant.
While the Captain is talking, Dr. Mracek himself steps into the room. An attractive man with an aristocratic face and light brown hair that he wears braided down his back, the doctor studies us with discerning hazel eyes. He appears keenly interested in what his companion is saying.
As a Book Diver, this is an exciting moment for me. I’m thrilled for the chance to talk to both heroes of Distress Signal during the same trip to their world.
SBD: Dr. Mracek, I’m happy to meet you. Would you answer a few questions as well?
AM: I suppose I could, yes. What would you like to know?
SBD: How do you feel about Captain Therres’ response to the last question and what three words do you think best describe him?
AM: Oh. [He blushes a little.] I think Carter--Captain Therres--may be a bit biased. As for my opinion of him? [He smiles over at the Captain.] Strong, dependable, stunning.
SBD: Captain, do you have anything you’d like to say regarding the doctor’s choice of words to describe you?
CT: [Laughs] Well, the first two? A soldier has to be both, for himself and those who need him. The stunning bit? Given last night, I'm surprised the good Doc didn't come up with something a bit more...colorful.
Dr. Mracek squirms a little in his chair, a slight blush coloring his cheeks.
SBD: Gentlemen, how would you describe your first kiss?
CT: A thing of beauty. The moment I saw Ash drop down out of a maintenance shaft on the Maelstrom, I had to have him. The first kiss happened once we got onboard the Coriolis. He'd just stepped out of the shower in nothing but a towel. How could I resist?
AM: Yes, well, at least it didn't shock you. Do you have any idea how long it had been since I even touched another human being? Much less another man? Not that I'm complaining, mind you...
SBD: Even though we seem pretty safe right now, I know that danger surrounds you. How do you cope?
CT: [Shrugs.] The best we can, really. We stay focused on keeping ourselves and our allies in one piece, while trying to sort out the details behind the coup. During downtime, though, I don't think I could make it without Ash.
AM: I don't know about that, Captain. You did just fine without me before we met.
CT: Maybe, but now I have a lot more to live for.
AM: [Smiles] Likewise.
The affection these men have for each other is obvious and beautiful to see.
SBD: It’s almost time for me to leave, but before I go, would you share one of your favorite excerpts from Distress Signal?
“Fuck, what did this doc do to piss off the Revenants?”
“Long story,” Carter said. He stood and surveyed the room. “Escape pods, though none have been fired. Fan out. We need to find --”
A soft thump high on the wall drew Carter’s attention to a grated cover. “Maintenance,” he muttered. He motioned for his men to watch the doorway. Then he approached the maintenance shaft.
“I’m Captain Therres, Local Marines.” When he didn’t get an answer, Carter continued. “We’re here on behalf of the Syndicate.”
Another bump sounded a little louder, and a face appeared behind the grate. Carter couldn’t make out the features, though it was definitely a man. A moment later, the grate wiggled and swung open. A slim man with a long, light brown braid and wire-rimmed glasses dropped to the floor with surprising grace.
“We’re looking for Dr. Mracek,” Carter said. “Look, I know you’re scared --”
“Scared?” The man whirled around, and Carter barely managed to keep his jaw from hitting the floor. Scientists weren’t supposed to be sexy. Were they? “Scared? My entire staff is dead! Revenants are tearing apart my station! Buddy, scared doesn’t begin to touch it!”
“Hey!” Carter grabbed the man’s shoulders, realizing -- belatedly -- that the man was armed. An arc pistol pressed to Carter’s stomach. He glanced down, then back up into wild hazel eyes behind those glasses. “I’m not the enemy.”
“I’ve had more than my share of humans as enemies.”
Recognition clicked in Carter’s brain. “Dr. Mracek?”
The man -- the professor -- nodded, the motion jerky.
“We’re here to rescue you. Joren sent us.”
The pistol finally left its place near Carter’s gut. “They’re all dead.”
“I know. I’ve got men sweeping the docking bay now. We have to get you out of here.”
“Not without my research.”
Carter bit back a protest. He knew the man’s work was important, but his job was to keep the professor alive -- at any cost. “Where is it?”
“Labs are one deck up. Revenants hit the area, but hopefully I can salvage something.”
Although he didn’t like the idea, Carter grunted and gestured toward the doorway where his men waited on guard. The professor hooked the pistol back onto a slender black belt, and Carter led the way out into the corridor. His men fell into step behind them.
The silence was worse than any noise the Revenants or their victims could possibly make. Gun drawn, Carter flattened himself against a wall when they reached a junction. The others behind him did the same. Lights flickered.
Mracek nodded toward the corridor opposite from where they all stood. Carter gestured his men to the other wall. Then he motioned for Mracek to join them. With the professor safely flanked by two burly Marines, Carter inched closer to the corner. Revenants, while wraith-like, were solid. They could be killed. They also possessed some kind of telepathic link to one another; if one got cornered, the others swarmed.
When no sound came, Carter took a quiet, deep breath, and twisted just enough to glance around the corner. Not a single living soul. Without looking away, he waved Mracek and the Marines down the other end. As soon as they ducked into a recess, Carter hurried toward them. Close quarters had nothing on their current situation. The Marines stood on both sides, and Carter practically pinned the professor to the steel wall.
Dr. Ash Mracek smelled like fear and adrenaline, and beneath it all, pure male. Carter peered down at the man crammed between himself and the wall. Christ, if they’d been anywhere else, he’d have happily given into the bizarre -- almost overwhelming -- need to taste those lips. The professor’s eyes narrowed behind the glasses as they stared up at Carter, like the man knew damn well what Carter was thinking. That glare also made it crystal clear that any such move on Carter’s part would be met with an arc pistol.
This sure leaves me wanting more! I find myself reluctant to leave the company of Carter and Ash. They’re fascinating men and I’d like to get to know them better. If you would like to as well, check out