Pine Gap Teaser 04 – In The Wine, Is Truth!

A lot of people have asked me whether anything nice happens to the characters in my book. I suppose with all the giant spiders, Sand Sharks and rotting corpses, you’d be right to assume that this is a horror novel: but its not. Please find a short paragraph or two below that shows the interaction between our hero and his love interest. Don’t worry, its G-rated 🙂

Colonel Gabriel Drax and Lilakoi Paige enjoyed a marvelous lunch of lasagna, crusty garlic bread and a crisp Mediterranean salad. The Cabernet Merlot was perhaps not the best choice of wine to accompany such a meal, but it was smooth and subtle with a hint of chocolate; and it tasted divine.

The conversation this time was a lot more friendly and relaxed. Lilakoi had decided to stop trying to deflect Gabriel’s attentions and Gabriel had decided not to give up trying. It was a win / win situation.

They were only interrupted twice. Once was by Admiral Dargan who was wanting ‘results, where are my results’ but he quickly departed when he realised that Drax was present within her quarters. The other was from Lieutenant Schiffiletti who was informing the Colonel that the training grounds had been reconfigured for the afternoon’s rematch. Neither interjection warranted any immediate course of action by either party.

They were sitting together on the lounge and, as the Colonel opened the second bottle of wine, Lilakoi suddenly felt the urge to open herself up to him.

“Yesterday I acted like a total bitch toward you and I’m sorry!”

Drax topped off her glass.

“In vinum veritas.”

“What does that mean?”

He wiped the drop from the lip of the bottle with his finger and placed it into his mouth.

“In the wine, is truth.”

“But nothing I said over lunch yesterday was truthful. My mother isn’t dead and I really do remember the day we first met. I was just being nasty.”

“I was talking about today. You just admitted being a bitch, in vinum veritas.”

He clinked her glass and sat next to her. That was twice today he had got her with his wicked sense of humour and she loved it. She wriggled down the couch to be so close to him that their hips touched. She put his hand on his knee and spoke again.

“You know I had two very good reasons for wanting to get rid of you yesterday.”

“Oh really! And what were they?”

“I am incredibly busy working on a top secret project for the Admiral.”

He motioned to speak but she cut him off.

“Please don’t ask. I am told that if I divulge my work to anyone other than Dargan that I would be akin to committing treason. Now whether that’s true or not I don’t care. If I get brought up on charges… well that alone would be enough to destroy my parent’s reputation.”

“Fair enough. What’s the second reason?”

“Its my eyes.”

“What’s wrong with them? Don’t you think they’re blue enough?”

She sighed heavily and drank some wine before replying.

“You can be so exasperating some times. Can’t you see there’s three of them?”

Gabriel knelt on the floor in front of Lilakoi and removed his eye patch. He placed her free hand on the side of his face and let her do the rest. Lilakoi gently touched the faded scaring around the burnt and broken socket with her warm soft hands and Drax was in heaven. She ran her fingers along the indentations in his skin caused by the elastic of the patch, to the damaged eyelid and when she accidentally brushed against the hard crystal implant that occupied the space where a soft moist eyeball should be, she flinched involuntarily.

“Its funny isn’t it?”

“What is Gabriel?”

“How you have three eyes and I only have one eye, yet with four eyes in total we are exactly the same as every other humanoid couple out there.”

Lily placed a hand either side of Gabriel’s face and leaned in so close he could feel her breath on his lips. Now was the perfect opportunity for him to steal a kiss, but he hesitated a second too long and Lilakoi spoke.

“That’s probably the corniest thing I have ever heard.”

“Its true though. In vinum veritas.”

Lilakoi gave him a sultry half-smile and as she drew him closer her eyes screamed ‘come to bed’.

“I think we’ve both had enough vinum don’t you?”

Pine Gap © Matthew Green 2004

Pine Gap Synopsis

Deep in the heart of the Australian desert an impenetrable military prison is being invaded by an insidious aggressor. Time is running out for the small defence force who are no match for rotting corpses, giant spiders, voracious sabellids and the other alien beasts that begin appearing around the facility. As the indiscriminate killings continue only the arrival of Colonel Gabriel Drax gives the fractured team any chance of survival. But will this brilliant tactician lead them to safety, or is he too late?

Pine Gap is a science fiction / action novel set in the thirty first century. I chose to use Pine Gap as the main setting because of its remote presence in the Australian outback and the fact that public knowledge about what is actually at Pine Gap is more conjectural than fact. A quick search on the Internet will provide the reader with many theories both plausible and fanciful as to the true workings of this facility. Pine Gap’s mystique makes for good subject matter.

In my novel, Pine Gap has been converted into an impenetrable prison where the hardest criminals in the Universe are sent. Its construction is entirely underground and so well defended that it has also become a databank for the intellectual property of all the peaceful nations within the galaxy. Bank accounts, patents, military secrets etc are stored here alongside monsters, terrorists and captured enemy Generals. In spite of all its security however, someone is managing to get in.

The main character is Colonel Gabriel Drax. He is a highly decorated officer and a skilled military tactician who was born in Australia and has been brought to the Gap in order to provide security. Gabriel suffered an accident as a child, which required in experimental surgery to be performed on his brain. As a result of his many operations Gabriel often has vague nightmares warning him about the future. All the while that he is trying to build a defensive position he is bombarded by an abstruse extrasensory perception. He knows that he is going to be betrayed but he does not know if it will be his friend, his enemy or his lover.

The other main characters are:

Admiral Dargan – He is the incumbent commander of Pine Gap who places Colonel Drax in charge. Gabriel knows that Dargan is developing something sinister in the bowels of the facility and it doesn’t take long to deduce what that is. Dargan has a long history of incompetent leadership and as a result he is despised by many of his subordinates especially Colonel Drax.

Major Katana May from Military Intelligence who is Admiral Dargan’s niece. Katana has a fiery temper, which lands her in hot water on more than one occasion. Gabriel develops a fondness for her regardless of her relationship to Admiral Dargan and in spite of the fact he knows she has been ordered to spy on him.

Captain Sebastian Botha who is Gabriel’s closest friend. Sebastian is a loyal soldier and confidant who would follow Gabriel into the depths of hell if need be. Their friendship was forged over years of fighting side by side during various campaigns throughout the Universe. Sebastian enjoys telling stories of their battles to the other troopers and sharing bourbon with his friend.

Lilakoi Paige who is the Chief Science Officer and Gabriel’s love interest. Lily is an incredibly intelligent scientist whom Gabriel is always trying to keep up with. She was brought to Pine Gap to assist Admiral Dargan achieve his insidious goals but she is in love with Gabriel and cannot seem to focus properly on her efforts. The more she falls for him the more she becomes conflicted about her actions.

Lieutenant Nick Schiffiletti who manages the Communications. Nick is a young, small-framed boy in his early twenties with a natural flair for computers. He is in charge of ensuring that Admiral Dargan’s communiqués are kept private and that the experiment remains a secret. He is also somewhat of a military historian with a deep respect for the Drax family. The arrival of Gabriel makes Nick think twice about his part in the Admiral’s deception.

Declan Sharkey, a mercenary who is leading the invasion. Declan is an ex soldier who was too violent to remain in the armed forces. He is an evil, smooth talking murderer who leads a group of insurgents with similar tendencies.

The Jones Brothers are three humanoids from the planet Tortia who are financing the mercenaries. Tortians are a race of people who have been genetically enhancing their appearances for generations. As a result their DNA has changed to the point that they all look exactly the same. The downside is they have become genetically perfect geniuses that are also criminally insane.

Garou, a shape-shifter and tribal chieftain from Scarag. He and his family are being used as pawns in the Tortian’s plans.

There are many other minor characters that will engage the reader in their own unique way. There is Fricassee Phil, the ancient chef who dispenses wisdom alongside his bacon and eggs. The grim Master Chief, leader of the last remaining squad of Red Cap soldiers in the Universe. Mo, the gruff Tullimbar Sergeant who befriends the Master Chief in spite of their differences and General Garorky Katarg a high ranking officer of the Magadatch army who are at war with Earth and our allies.

Throughout the novel the characters develop and change. Friends become enemies and enemies become allies. There is love, death and romance intermingled with jealousy, greed and infighting as Gabriel attempts to unite the troops and repel the invaders. Families splinter and murderers are exposed as the troops learn to trust one another and their leader in a desperate bid for survival.

Pine Gap © Matthew Green 2004

Share on Facebook Share