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EMPIRE REBORN

TARAN EMPIRE SAGA: BOOK 1

A.K. DuBoff

EMPIRE REBORN

Copyright © 2021 by A.K. DuBoff’s

The Cadicle® Universe is a registered trademark of A.K. DuBoff

All rights reserved. This book is protected under the copyright laws of the United States of America. No part of this eBook may be used or reproduced in any manner without written permission from the author, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles, reviews, or promotions.

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, organizations, places, events, and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously.

www.cadicle.com

 

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Published by Dawnrunner Press

Cover by Robert Rajszczak

Special thanks to Beta/JIT readers:

John Ashmore

Doug Burnham

Kaj Fleischmann

Charles Obert

SJ Schauer

Steve DeBacker

Troy Mullens

Gil Forbes

Jim Dean

Jeanette Bedard

Louise Bishop

Liz Singleton

David Frydrych

Heather Lewis

Leo Roars

Andrea Fornero

Kurt Schulenburg

Eric Haneberg

Kevin McLaughlin

Lisa Richman

Brian Busby

Diane L. Smith

Angel LaVey

First eBook Edition: March 19, 2021

Kindle Edition

TABLE OF CONTENTS

ABOUT THE TARAN EMPIRE SAGA

FOREWORD – THE CADICLE UNIVERSE

MAP OF THE TARAN EMPIRE

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Chapter 13

Chapter 14

Chapter 15

Chapter 16

Chapter 17

Chapter 18

Chapter 19

Chapter 20

Chapter 21

Chapter 22

ALSO BY A.K. DUBOFF

AUTHOR’S NOTE

GLOSSARY

Timeline of Key Events

Key Terms

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

About the Taran Empire Saga

Break the treaty, be destroyed.

We forgot.

Now we pay the price.

Jason Sietinen lives in the shadow of greatness. He’s worked hard to become a TSS officer in his own right, but having war heroes for parents is hard to top.

When Jason is assigned to investigate a mysterious attack, he finds evidence of powerful transdimensional beings never before seen. Or so he thought.

Jason soon learns that critical information was lost through the millennia: Tarans had an ancient treaty with the aliens. Unfortunately, rogue actions by a shadow faction within the Empire just broke the peace.

With the future of the Empire hanging in the balance, Jason must find a way to unite the Taran worlds, including the lost colony of Earth, against the mounting threat. There’s just one problem: how do you fight an enemy you can’t see or touch?

Foreword – The Cadicle Universe

The events in the Taran Empire Saga are a self-contained story arc set in the larger Cadicle Universe.

Tarans are the predominant race in the Cadicle Universe; humans are a Taran genetic offshoot. Most of the Taran sphere falls within the purview of the Taran Empire, governed from the planet Tararia by a council of High Dynasty families. Earth is one of several rogue colonies on the outskirts of the Empire, separated so long ago that they have forgotten their Taran ancestry.

The Tararian Guard is the primary military force for the Taran Empire. Its counterpart, the Tararian Selective Service, includes a specialty branch with Agents gifted in telekinetic and telepathic abilities. The TSS is headquartered at a base inside Earth’s moon, and its iconic Agents are known in Earth lore as the mysterious ‘men in black’.

Chronologically, the Taran Empire Saga takes place after the events in the original Cadicle series, Mindspace series, and Verity Chronicles. However, prior knowledge of that broader story universe is not required in order to read and enjoy these books.

Map of the Taran Empire

The following map shows key locations referenced in this book, within the Taran Empire in the Milky Way galaxy. For a more detailed map, visit: www.amyduboff.com/taran-empire-map.

CHAPTER 1

Jason Sietinen sped through the training course in his fighter with practiced precision, using the neural link to operate the spacecraft as an extension of himself. He couldn’t help grinning; the idea to volunteer as a space combat instructor had been a stroke of genius to get him flying again without shirking his leadership responsibilities. Stars, I’ve missed this!

As he finished his demonstration run, he was about to address his students when a presence at the edge of his consciousness broke his euphoria.

Jason’s sight narrowed and the jovial chatter on the comms faded to the background. Intense fear gripped him, despite his training. He’d experience the same foreboding sensation once before, though he’d never been sure if it was real—a prophesy or a waking nightmare. No, we beat them. They’re gone. This can’t be right.

The darkness pressed against his mind, closing in around him. Such immense power, sinister and all-consuming. Memories of the past vision rushed back and merged with his present perception. His surroundings melted away, leaving only his heartbeat pounding in his ears. He was alone in the void, trapped by the crushing force. Something was coming…

And then it vanished.

Jason drew a deep breath of the crisp, oxygen-rich air to steady himself. What was that?

His students were still joking with each other on the comms, oblivious to what he’d felt. He wanted to tell himself it was just a bizarre manifestation of stress, but he’d learned to trust his instincts more than that.

“CACI,” he addressed the onboard AI, “are you picking up any unusual readings?”

“Nominal,” the synthetic female voice replied. Sensor data scrolled across the head-up display on the windshield, casting a soft red and blue glow inside the cockpit.

He reviewed the information on the HUD, seeing nothing of note. “What about any recently filed incident reports?”

“Specify parameters.”

Truthfully, Jason didn’t know what he was asking. He glanced at the young pilots waiting to take their first run in real fighters. If there wasn’t immediate danger in the vicinity, then anything

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