Raw Text | Secrets of Thrade

The following is raw, unedited text from one of the upcoming Nitraxian Galaxy side novels concerning Berik Tharinzar.

“Wake up, prisoner,” a guard said to him, lowering the bucket that had just soaked him.

Adrenaline kicked in as Berik shook off the cold shock and the pain on his head. His eyes narrowed as he leapt up from the bed and charged at the guard, yelling at the man to surprise him. He grabbed the bucket from the unsuspecting guard with his left hand and spun around, smacking the bucket into the man’s helmet with a loud thwack, cracking the visor. The man slammed against the cell wall and then crumpled to the floor in an unconscious heap.

That’s when he noticed the strange silver metal cuff on his left wrist—it matched the one on his right wrist. They were heavy. A cyan light strip embedded at the center of the cuff pulsed around his wrists. 

What the frak are these? he thought.

Then he noticed his clothes. They had been replaced with prisoner-orange pants and a short-sleeved orange shirt that had been torn along the centerline from the neck to his belly button, exposing his muscular abs. A strange silver belt had been fitted around his waist. A hexagonal…buckle…locked the belt into place. Two four-once poles extended outward from it at an odd angle. It would be hard to sleep on his stomach with the buckle in place. He tried to get a better look at his, but his chin hit something cold and metal. 

What the…?

He pulled his head back as far as his neck would allow and saw—and felt— that he was wearing a metal collar device of some kind. It raised upward around his neck, as if it could hold a helmet. The entire collar device rested on both shoulders and tapered to the center of his chest before extending downward to the tip of his sternum. He leaned back and tried to feel for a matching back piece. That’s when something sharp pushed into his sternum under the column.

Needles, great.

He looked down again and saw some kind of control or display panel on the collar set just between his pectoral muscles. Anchored to each side of the collar’s frame, black metal straps, for lack of a better description, anchored the heavy collar to the belt device around his waist. They extended outward from the center point just over his sternum and traversed alongside his rib cage to points just above his hips. He assumed there was a matching set on his backside. 

On each arm, two more metal straps wrapped around the top of his forearm and the base of his biceps. They came together on the inside of each arm. He flexed his legs and felt similar straps wrapped around his knees and possibly his ankles—but he guessed there might be cuffs on his ankles as well. 

He looked himself over once more and noticed the blood on his right forearm. He looked at his arm and gasped.

I’ve been augmented.

Three dark gray metal raised…angular patches…poked out of his skin, clearly meant to cover some kind of unknown technology that had been embedded in his skin. A subcutaneous wire connected the patch near his elbow (over which on of the straps was fitted) to the patch near his wrist that disappeared under the metal cuff thing with the pulsing cyan light.

That’s when he felt something wrong with his head. He raised his right hand to his temple and felt metal embedded in his skull.


He looked around his cell for something reflective. His orange reflection in the guard’s helmet visor caught his eye. He lowered himself to the floor and stared at his face in the curved reflection of the visor. Three pointed metal devices had been implanted in his skull over this right eye; they travelled at a forty-five degree angle into his black hairline. They looked like claw marks, and the irritated flesh around them told him the augmentation surgery was a fast job.