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Fiction Friday — Recruits by Thomas Locke

Thomas Locke is a pseudonym for Davis Bunn, an award-winning novelist with worldwide sales of seven million copies in twenty languages.


Recruits, Book 1

by Thomas Locke


Young Adult Science Fiction
Winner of the Realm Award for Science Fiction

“For more than a decade, twins Sean and Dillon Kirrel have felt pulled toward another world—a place they have sketched out in detail and posted on the walls of their bedroom. They are certain it is out there. Soon after their seventeenth birthday, they are approached by a clandestine scout. To him, Earth is just a distant and unmonitored outpost of human civilization. But he explains that Sean and Dillon share a unique gift—the ability to transfer instantly from place to place. Transitors who are also twins are especially rare, and so they are offered an opportunity to prove themselves as recruits to the human assembly. If they don’t succeed within thirty days, their minds will be wiped. Either they make the grade as inter-planetary travelers—or this never happened.

“From the infinite imagination of Thomas Locke comes this otherworldly new series that will challenge young readers’ understanding of time, space, and human limitations.”



Ten years ago this month, they started drawing the train station, one positioned on another world.

They had the same image burning in their brains, in their hearts. The station was a tube pinched at both ends, like a twisted candy wrapper. They argued over how big it was. A couple of miles long at least. And the trains, they were all glass. Not like trains with windows. Glass trains. And the tubes they traveled in, glass as well. But that wasn’t the best part.

The trains came and went all over the tube. Top, sides, bottom. Gravity modulations, that was definitely Dillon’s term. Sean assumed his brother got the concept from some sci-fi novel, but Dillon insisted it came to him in a dream. Whatever. They drew the station on sheets from sketch pads and pasted them all over their two rooms. Walls and ceilings. Forget posters of rock groups and models. Even as they entered their teens, there was nothing they wanted more than to build on the dream. Leave the same-old behind. And fly to a world they were somehow sure was more than just a figment of two imaginations. So they kept drawing, adding cities of lyrical majesty that rose beyond the station. They were connected to this place like the ticket was in the mail. Teh years had changed nothing.

The idea came to them when they were seven. Nowadays Dillon claimed it was his concept. But Sean knew his twin was just blowing smoke. Dillon had a highly convenient memory. He remembered things the way he wished they were. Sean decided it wasn’t worth arguing over. Dillon tended to go ballistic whenever his remake of history was challenged. But Sean knew the idea was his. Totally.

Still, he let Dillon claim he was the one who came up with the concept. The one that powered them through the worst times. Kept them moving forward. That was the most important thing. They had it in their bones.

Only that spring, the concept and all the bitter yearnings attached to it actually did change into something more.

* * *

They were coming from the school bus, walking the line of cookie-cutter homes in suburban Raleigh. They lived in a development called Plantation Heights, six miles northeast of the old town, the cool town. All the good stuff was farther west. The Research Triangle Park. Duke University. UNC Chapel Hill. NC State. Five different party centrals. That particular Friday afternoon was great, weather-wise. Not too hot, nice breeze, Carolina blue sky. Two weekends before the end of the school year was also good for a high, even if they were both still looking for a job. Just two more of the local horde, searching for grunt work that paid minimum wage at best. But their eighteenth birthdays were only four months and six days off. That summer they would take their SATs and begin the process of trying to find a university that would accept them both. Because they definitely wanted to stay together. No matter how weird the world might find it, the topic had been cemented in a conversation that lasted, like, eleven secconds.

The biggest focus for their summer was to find something that paid enough to buy a car. Their rarely used drivers’ licenses burned holes in their back pockets. Their desire to acquire wheels and escape beautiful suburbia fueled an almost daily hunt through the want ads.

Dillon looked up from his phone and announced, “Dodge is coming out with a new Charger SRX. Five hundred and seventy-one ponies.”

Sean tossed his brother his backpack. “I’m not hauling your weight for you to go trolling for redneck clunkers.”

Dillon stowed his phone and slung his pack. “You and your foreign junk.”

“Seven-series BMW, V12, blow your Charger into last week.:

“For the cost of a seven-series we could get two Chargers and take our ladies to New York for a month.”

“The kind of ladies who would set foot in a Charger would rather go to Arkansas, buy some new teeth.”

They turned the corner and saw a U-Haul partly blocking their drive. Two hefty guys were shifting furniture from the truck into the house next door. Moving trucks were a fairly common sight in Plantation Heights. The development held over three hundred houses. Or rather, one home cloned three hundred times. Which was how Sean came up with the name for the residences and the people who lived here. Clomes.


Thomas Locke is a pseudonym for Davis Bunn, an award-winning novelist with worldwide sales of seven million copies in twenty languages. Davis divides his time between Oxford and Florida and holds a lifelong passion for speculative stories. He is the author of Emissary and Merchant of Alyss in the Legends of the Realm series, as well as Trial Run and Flash Point in the Fault Lines series. Learn more at www.tlocke.com.

Best known for her aspirations as an epic fantasy author, Becky is the sole remaining founding member of Speculative Faith. Besides contributing weekly articles here, she blogs Monday through Friday at A Christian Worldview of Fiction. She works as a freelance writer and editor and posts writing tips as well as information about her editing services at Rewrite, Reword, Rework.

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