The Alien Within: Cast Of Characters, IV

Last but not least, the fourth hero in this story–Melera Shen’zae of Xia’saan. Xia’saan was a warrior planet in the Maqu Galaxy, one of the Fifteen left standing after the first interstellar wars ended. It was destroyed in a surprise attack by the Akkad, the opening salvo in another galaxy-wide war that grows ever more complicated as factions switch sides with the ease of a laser shot. Oops, wrong book.

But that space opera going on in Maqu is the reason why Melera’s on Earth. She’s hiding from the Vst and the Akkad (they both want her bad) so she can work in peace on cracking the code her now-dead father left for her to solve. After that, she has to find the Xia’saan battlefleet he hid somewhere in the furthest reaches of our solar system. But she’s got a bigger problem besides trying to crack a code without a key. While in Maqu she’d been captured by the Akkad and tortured until she managed to escape. Now she has these painful, unpredictable seizures that cause temporary amnesia–so far, anyway. It’s during one of these episodes that Parker accidentally runs her down with his car. Not a great beginning for a beautiful relationship, huh? Of course it is. Parker gets to rescue a damsel in distress.

Melera is a study in contrasts. A brazen warrior and consummate assassin, she seems to be made of cast iron. But when we meet her, she’s wracked by fear, loneliness and self-doubt. And when she loves, that cold exterior disappears–she’s cuddly as a tame crocodile and loyal beyond sense. (Of course, the flip side is betrayal equals dead meat.) Her favorite place to sit is on Parker’s lap and when he tells her how badly he’d been used by Garrett and Kurt, she offers to kill both for him.

She’s also quite the Wonder Bitch, Kurt calls her. Seems Melera can do anything any zot can do, only better. And then she has her own alien skills on top of that. On the other hand, she’s allergic to Earth. Like her seizures, her allergy attacks turn her to jelly. Hard to be Wonder Bitch when your nose and eyes are running like faucets and your head feels like it’s about to explode. The cure? Cigars. Weed works too, but smoking it makes her lose control in a way that leaves Parker begging for more. She can’t get the hang of the English language (Parker translates for us) and she lisps. Perfection does have its price.

A last thing: one of my beta readers commented that Melera is “royalty but she comes off as Mae West.” I wouldn’t have said Mae West, but right on target. Aliens don’t do things the way humans do.

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