For fans of Old Man’s War, Starship Troopers, and Forever War comes a gripping story unlike any other.
The war destroyed their planet. Now it’s time for revenge.
20 years after their crushing defeat in the Universal War, the planet Vyndral is a dystopian wasteland. The remnants of the Vyndral Army scavenge through the ashes of the once great planet trying to stay one step ahead of death. On a scouting run, Marden Oswalde discovers a way to reopen the portal to Rafia, their mortal enemy and the cause of the destruction of Vyndral. The invasion of Rafia is as swift as it is brutal. The coastal metropolis of Vyloli falls within hours and thousands are captured.
Vai, a talented hacker, and Edam, a pilot with no past, manage to make their way out of Vyloli with a piece of information that may be the key to freeing the prisoners and saving Rafia. With the fate of their homeworld in the balance, Vai, Edam, and a small band of untested specialists must come together to stop the Vyndral threat. Pulling it off requires extraordinary skill, courage, and ultimately sacrifice. Racing against the clock and facing incredible odds, do they have what it takes?
What reviewers are saying about Fusion World:
"Fusion World is an excellent book that had me hooked from the get-go. The action is solid and intense. A definite page turner." - Eric S.
“The book is cleverly written to keep the readers hooked from start to finish. You really are left wondering and wanting to know more about the characters and who is supposed to be the good guys? The character that intrigued me the most was the utterly terrifying Raven. She is a highly skilled assassin and we watch her transformation until she is accepted as a team player. I am thoroughly looking forward to reading the next book. Hopefully we do not have to wait too long!” – Courtney
“I love a good science-fiction read, and Joseph Lewis Tamone certainly offers up an addictive addition to the genre with the first Philanthropy book. With Fusion World, we’re introduced to an interesting story that will leave readers desperate to see what the next book in the series will bring.” – Siobhan
“The author does a great job at character building and world building. He develops unique and interesting characters through dialogue and interactions. He builds the worlds of Rafia and Vyndral with detail, and the story itself is interesting. The idea of passing between parallel earths is an interesting concept. It's a good read. If you like science fiction and books about war you won't be disappointed.” – Erica B.
Prologue: Within Scorpion Cave
People tend to be resilient by nature. They fight for what they believe in, and it takes a lot to make them give up that fight, but take away their home, clean air, food, water, and all other essential needs to sustain a normal life, quality of life is diminished, and that resilience is weakened to a considerable extent. When people get desperate enough, they will obey just about anyone or anything.
A long, hard war had devastated the lands. What were once rolling hills of lush green fields were now icy cold and dead. The revolution had destroyed all remnants of the old ways of life; the peaceful ways. This land is called Vyndral, and it is within one of the dozens of parallel universes known to exist.
Inside of a cave located a hundred or so yards northeast of the location where the army had set up camp for the month, Marden Aswalde sat on a rock with a dark orb in his hand, gazing down into it. In its surface, he saw a distorted reflection of himself. He looked worn and tired. He looked much thinner and gaunter than he remembered himself.
Marden was eight years old when the device was activated that destroyed his homeland. For the first few years after, life was relatively normal, considering. His mother and father found a small house to live in to wait out the fallout, but life soon took a turn for the worse. Both of his parents were dead by the time he was 13. Wasteland raiders working for the remnants of the old Vyndral Government had taken their land, their home, and ultimately his parent’s lives. Alone, scared, and angry, Marden turned to a group dedicated to eradicating the government from Vyndral once and for all. He joined the Vyndral Revolutionaries, and worked his way up through the ranks, eventually becoming the second-in-command.
There were once conflicts to settle within Vyndral, but after years of war between the Revolutionaries and the Government, there simply wasn't anybody left to fight. For the past three years, the army had simply been striving to survive. Moving from place to place, searching for clean water and food to eat. Uncontaminated water seemingly did not exist, and lands were so scorched and radiated that any crops planted would die long before they were able to produce a substantial harvest.
Placing the orb in a burlap sack, he exited the cave. A cold breeze caught his face as he started across the empty wastelands towards the lights of the encampment. The winds blew unimpeded across the empty, dead field, wafting dust clouds into the camp, and ruffling canvas tent flaps as Marden strode through. He clamped the beret down on his head to save it from being taken away by the strong gusts.
Marden pushed aside the canvas flaps of the captain’s tent and entered to find Captain Cein Colvac and Commander Jillian Elvons, the officer third in command. They had been in the midst of discussing plans to relocate the army once more, to an area that was rumored to possess more fertile soil, less affected by the radiation.
“Sorry to barge in,” Marden stated as Colvac and Jillian turned to greet him. Marden respectfully removed his beret at his captain’s presence.
“Lieutenant Aswalde,” Colvac said curiously, looking up from the map that he and Jillian were studying. “What’s on your mind?”
“I was scouting further ahead and found something, sir,” Marden offered. Colvac looked down at the bag in Marden’s hand and nodded towards it. He asked, “What did you find?”
Marden turned around to close and seal the tent flap, to prevent wind-blown dust from entering.
“I found this in Scorpion Cave,” Marden said. He placed the sack on the table gently. “Open it.”
As Colvac fumbled with the ties on the burlap sack, Jillian asked, “What could you have possibly found inside of Scorpion Cave? We’ve searched it. There was nothing there.”
“You didn’t search every nook and cranny,” Marden stated.
“Is this…” Colvac said, his voice trailing away. He had the bag open and was peering inside of it. His eyes grew wide. “Aswalde, do you know what this is?”
“I do,” Marden stated, “and I have a plan.”
“I’m listening,” Colvac said, reaching into the sack and pulling out the orb. Upon viewing what was inside, Jillian was left speechless with her mouth slightly ajar. She crossed her arms across her chest and scoured at Marden.
“How did youget that?” Jillian stuttered.
“I find things,” Marden replied. “It’s what I do.” He turned his attention back to Colvac. “You know what I’m thinking, Captain?”
Colvac hesitated. He looked at the orb, finally lifting his gaze to Marden. He licked his lips before a single word fell from his mouth: “Rafia.”
Part I: Tysaldam
Chapter 1: Arrested
Two young men were arrested after breaking into Amaga Corporation and hacking into the mainframe. Amaga had been illegally dumping waste into to the Hyger Estuary for years. While accusations were made, no one had proof. Five more minutes, and documents proving Amaga knowingly broke the law would have been splashed across the Global Network.
Vai Kogan, a 24-year-old software and systems engineer with a master’s degree in Computer Science from the University of Netherson, and Jallaven Grandel, a security specialist, were apprehended in the act. The two young men were escorted by police officers to the holding cells located within a small Vyloli City Police Station in the East End district of the city. The station was small and contained only two cells, one of which was already occupied. Vai and Grandel were placed into a single cell for the night and would be charged or released the following day.
While one officer removed the shackles from the two men’s wrists, another stood guard nearby, while the third prepared the cell door to be closed, and then locked, with his key at the ready. After they had been unshackled, the officered ordered them to stand at the center of the cell, facing the wall, with their hands raised above their hands. Both men complied, and the cell door was shut and locked behind them.
As soon as he heard the door closed and locked, Grandel turned and rushed to the door, throwing himself at the cold metal bars. He pleaded pathetically with the officers.
“Please,” the scrawny man whimpered. Two of the officers simply ignored him and dispersed to continue other duties, while the third sat down behind a desk adjacent to the holding cells and began the long and tedious process of booking the two men.
“Please,” Grandel pathetically called, reaching through the bars at the cell, grasping at nothing but hopes of freedom. “It isn’t my fault!” Tears began to roll down his face. “He made me do it! He’s always forcing me to do stupid things. He’sthe criminal, not me! He’s the one that hacked the servers. He’s the one that bypassed the security. He planned this for half a year, all by himself. It was his master plan! I’m just a lackey. Please, just let me go.”
“He’s a liar,” Vai said. “That’s his worst crime.” He turned to Grandel and said under his breath. “Talk too much and you ruin any chances of getting out of this.”
“You think we’re going to get out of this?!” Grandel cried out. “We did it. We were caught red handed.”
The officer looked up from his paperwork, annoyed at Grandel’s whining. His gaze met with Vai, who was shaking his head, his hands planted on his hips. Vai nodded towards Grandel, who was practically weeping as he clung to the iron bars.
“You see what you stuck me with?” Vai asked the officer. The officer politely smiled and shrugged. “If I have to put up with this, do you mind giving me a rope so that I can hang myself?”
The officer smiled slightly, finding the remark darkly amusing, and said simply, “Sorry.”
“Would you lend me some rope so that I can hang him?” Vai asked. The officer shook his head.
“Hmm,” Vai continued. His hand rubbed thoughtfully at his chin as he spoke. “I guess I could always use my hands. Officer, if I were to, say, strangle him with my bare hands, would you be so inclined as to look the other way?”
“A break from the crying does sound appealing,” the officer stated, momentarily entertaining Vai’s joking remarks. “But sadly, negligence could put me in there with you.”
“What if I was just quick about it?” Vai asked. “Like, before you had a chance to stop me, I just grabbed him by the throat and squeezed all the life out of him. Or, say, broke his neck, for example. If I am found guilty, would that increase my sentence?”
“Considerably so,” the officer stated, entertained by Vai’s joking remarks. “First degree murder is a pretty serious crime.”
“So how many years am I looking at?” Vai asked.
“Without strangulation and neck-breaking?” The officer asked.
“Well, you’d still have to go to court, but I’d estimate a minimum of ten years, maybe fifteen. If you aren’t acquitted.”
“Hmm… How about with strangulation?” Vai asked.
“Thirty years to life,” the officer estimated.
“It might be worth it,” Vai said. “Free health care for the rest of my life. A vast amount of free time on my hands. Pretty orange jumpsuits.”
“You’re seriously going to kill me?” Grandel asked, terrified, as he turned his head to look at Vai. The honest horror on Grandel’s pale face made Vai laugh a little. He gently patted Grandel on the shoulder, feeling guilty about scaring the poor young man.
“I’m joking,” Vai said. “But seriously, I amgoing to kill you.” Grandel shuddered a little bit, and Vai couldn’t help but burst out laughing. “I’m only messing with you, Jall. Calm down.”
“How can I?” Grandel shouted. He fell, exhausted, to his knees near the cell door. “You got us arrested, Vai. You and your crusade. And now we have to spend the next decade in prison!”
“Don’t worry about it,” Vai said. “No jail can hold me!” He prompted proudly. He noticed the officer looking at him suspiciously at that comment, to which Vai placatingly waved his hands, “Kidding.” The officer shook his head and refocused on his paperwork. “Unless your security systems are computerized,” Vai muttered.
“What was that?” The officer asked, looking up from his papers.
“Nothing,” Vai smiled, innocently. Finding himself suddenly exhausted, Vai took a seat on the cot behind him, resting his arms on his knees.
“Why don’t you sit down?” Vai asked Grandel.
“I amsitting,” Grandel replied angrily.
“Kneeling, actually,” Vai said. “Relax, man. Plenty of time to worry later. Besides, kneeling on this concrete floor is bad for the knees.” He turned to the officer and called out, “Any chance we can get some nice oriental rugs in here anytime soon?”
“The hell is wrong with you, kid?” The officer asked.
“I’ll trade you my phone call for an oriental rug,” Vai bargained.
“I’m not under arrest, so I can make as many phone calls as I want, forever,” the officer replied, dropping his head and getting back to his paperwork. “Find a new bargaining chip, pal.”
Grandel got to his feet and threw himself into the cot on the opposite side of the cell. He wiped the tears from his eyes as he laid down on his stomach.
“My knees do kind of hurt,” Grandel complained. The officer shook his head, expecting Vai’s reaction. Vai got to his feet and walked to the bars.
“His knees hurt,” Vai repeated to the officer. “Do you hear that? His knees are damaged, maybe permanently, and all because you refuse to give us oriental rugs.”
“Sit down and shut up, or I’m going to cuff you to the wall,” the officer warned.
Vai hesitated. He waived a finger at the officer and said, “Fine. I’ll sit down, but I won’t forget the cruel and unusual punishment being inflicted upon myself and young Grandel here.” Walking back to his cot, he sank down onto his seat.
“I’m sorry I got you into this mess,” Vai told Grandel, to which Grandel just stared stone-faced at him. Vai could tell that Grandel hated him, and he understood: Grandel had every reason in the world to hate him.
“I’m curious,” the officer said. Vai and Grandel both looked towards him to find him still stationed at his desk. The officer said, “I was reading your file, Kogan. What’s a guy with a master’s doing breaking into a place? With that kind of a degree, you should be bringing in plenty of money.”
“Amaga Corp thinks they are above the law,” Vai replied. “It wasn’t about money.”
“It’s still going to get you locked away.”
“Have you watched the news recently, officer? Our planet is being destroyed by greedy corporations just like Amaga. Someone has to expose them. Have you’ve seen what happened to the estuary? Entire ecosystems are being wiped off the planet.”
“There are always better options than crime. You went about this the wrong way, son.”
“I didn’t see any other options.”
“Maybe you weren’t looking hard enough,” the officer said, and then quickly returned to his paperwork. “Or maybe you weren’t trying.”
“Yeah, that seems to be a repetitive character flaw of mine.” Vai sat, anxious and twiddling his thumbs, lost in thought, as night fell, and as Grandel drifted off to sleep. In time, Vai, too, found himself drifting off into an uneasy rest.