Who are we, really?

Eryinath-5, The Dancer Nebula

Book Cover
Eryinath-5 is a tale of war and duty, but it is also a tale of self-knowledge and courage in the face of impossible odds.

Readers of Tier Zero, Vol I of the Knolan Cycle know that Marty Tellus aka Hāthar has all the makings of a self-aware, thoughtful human. The whole reason Lysia, his Knolan mentor has been able to find him at all is his powerful mind. And on closer inspection, she discovers someone of unmeasured—and perhaps unlimited—potential.

A potential both Lysia, the Seeker who discovers Marty and Lynyth, the Oracle of Knola feel is worth developing. Marty’s potential—and his safety from the Knolans’ enemies the Valdrōsians—is why the Oracle decides to bring him to Knola for the best mentoring they can offer. On the way to Knola, Kholôtha, the Oracle’s Restara discovers he might also have the makings of a warrior. Subsequent training validates that hunch, which is how he has come to be a Captain in the Knolan Shock Forces.

But as anyone who has gone in harm’s way knows, going where few dare to go exposes ourselves to potentially soul-withering and redefining consequences. In Eryinath-5, The Dancer Nebula, Hāthar-Tahk is captured by the Valdrōsians. Mortally wounded, they snatch him from the jaws of death, for purposes of their own—confronting him with a new and unexpected peril. His own imperfections.

Dark of the Soul

Not unlike its prequel, Tier Zero, Eryinath-5, The Dancer Nebula chronicles the violent collision of cultures and philosophies, while celebrating a sense of duty and courage. In common with the first book in the series, there are side trips into deep eroticism. At the same time, it is equally a story of discovery and self-knowledge. When we reconnect with Hāthar in Eryinath-5, he thinks he knows who he is. In common with most of us, he’s half-right.

His experiences to this point have shaped his value system and he’s acutely aware of those values. Sa’ang Kurinth, or duty and kinship, as the Knolans see it, is more than a word or even a concept. It is a core principle and call to action that he instinctively embraces.

Hāthar is inclined to act on it in the blink of an eye, only to have his conscious thought catch up in the actions he takes as a result of those instincts. But do not all of us have things going on at a deeper level—at a level we’re not aware of, never mind have the perceptiveness to admit to ourselves?

Enter Rexsylia

What remains for all of us is someone who can make us aware of not only our strengths but our potential weaknesses. And buried even deeper, the inner reserves of strength we might never have discovered if not for someone else. In Hāthar’s case, that someone is Rexsylia, a young high-born Valdrōsian woman who will take Hāthar to the edge and beyond.

She claims him for her own while he’s still convalescing, taking him to Eryinath-5, a slave world at the fringes of the Valdrōsian empire. Vowing to himself not to give her or the Valdrōsians anything that will give them advantage over his adoptive Knolan home world, Hāthar finds himself tested in unexpected ways.

At some level, he knows that the Oracle, the Guardian and his mate, Arra, will search for him and (if they can find him) free him. But Valdrōsian women have some attributes none of Hāthar’s mentoring has prepared him for. Even if his adoptive Knolan family finds him, will they be in time?

D.B. Sayers is the author of six titles, with two more works in progress on the way. You join Dirk’s Tribe by subscribing to Smoke Signals, his newsletter in the upper right of this page to be among the to know when he publishes new work.

The Truth Often Hides in Plain Sight

An alternative view of "Aliens..."

Lysia Knolan Seeker and Waykeeper

In Chapter 1 “The Presence,” the reader immediately senses that Marty’s meeting with Lysia Uupao is important, fateful, even destiny changing. Some unusual is going on, just beneath the surface, but it isn’t necessarily obvious what.

In Chapter 2, “Attáru (Awakening),” the reader learns just how fateful the meeting is. Lysia Uupao, her representations notwithstanding, is not Indonesian, or Polynesian or anything else Marty has ever met. From another world, Lysia is here on Earth (or Kurrithaal as the Knolans call it) for a reason. And it’s not obvious just what that reason might be.

While there are notable exceptions, the majority of tales involving “first contact” between Earth and hypothetical aliens postulate that alien motives will necessarily be hostile, not simply different. Is it possible that we’re wrong about that? As chapter 2 makes clear, the Knolans are not hostile, as nearly as we can tell. That said, chapter 2 doesn’t rule that out, either. What is “the Way,” and how does it relate the Knolan’s motives? For that matter, why are Knolans reproducing (clandestinely, apparently) with Earth humans? And what does it mean to be a “Seed?”

Knolan Motives for Contact

By the time thoughtful readers get to the end of chapter 2, it’s clear that Lysia and her superior, Turnia, are not of this world and that their interest in Marty isn’t an idle, passing interest. In Lysia’s case, it’s also obvious that it’s very personal. But the reader still doesn’t know the motives underpinning their interest or what to expect if Lysia does as Turnia has instructed. Should we be worried about Lysia’s designs on Marty? Should Marty be worried about them? The reader still has no idea.

Even as chapter 3, “The Mission” ends, while it’s obvious that Lysia’s personal interest in Marty goes beyond her professional interest, it still isn’t clear what Knola’s interest in Kurrithaal or its Seed. And the overarching question lurks in the background, to wit: why have not the Knolans made direct contact with “leadership” on Earth? It seems apparent that they haven’t, but why haven’t they? Chapter 3 provides no answer. And what are the “perils” to which Marty’s Awakening expose him? Whatever they are, Lysia, clearly, expects to share those perils.

Are the Knolans vulnerable to someone or something themselves? Who or what? And are their motives for making contact with Earth (Kurrithaal) then mixed by perils they believe we share with them? How might their motives toward Earth be changed if that “peril” whatever it is were not a factor?

And the Larger question?

Our default assumptions notwithstanding and assuming contact with other intelligent life is possible, how different (or similar) might they be? Is it possible that Steven Hawking’s speculations about hostile aliens is correct, or was he speculating out of an abundance of caution and prudent fear? 

The answer to this question will likely remain unknown and unknowable unless and until contact is made. And is it just possible that it depends on which alien race contacts us first? Is it all that improbable, if we postulated that there might be one species of alien interested in Earth, there might be more than one? Or that their interests in us might be at odds?

As Tier Zero unfolds, these and many other practical and philosophical questions will come up. Tier Zero is not simply a tale of First Contact, it is a speculative adventure of life, death, conflict and courage, as well as questions of ethics and courage. You can purchase Tier Zero in paperback or Kindle now.

D.B. Sayers is a retired Marine officer, retired corporate trainer/manager turned full-time author. You can join Dirk’s Tribe and stay up to date on his progress to with Tier Zero’s sequel, Eryinath-5. due out in 2021.