Protocol One – Virtue Cole Portrait


Protocol One. Protector Virtue Cole Portrait.

Murderer. Rapist.

I’m many things. Things you couldn’t imagine and things you wouldn’t want to. My job isn’t to decide who to trust. We all have something more important than the promises we make. The Nation can’t afford to trust, so when it must, it’s my job to be sure it can. And the only way to be sure it can is to be sure it doesn’t have to.

Virtue (Protocol One)

Protocol One | Blurb

A cold war between two species of man heats up on a planet coreward when a time-traveler warns of an approaching apocalypse. Cynical politics and invasive biotech promise a dark future unless four enemies can overcome their own terrible impulses.

By the year 2270, twelve species of man inexplicably populate a galaxy subdued by an amoral, technocratic empire. As the revolutionary movement of metascience begins to unravel the nature of time, a new struggle begins—not just for control of a rogue planet and its secret of immortality but for the souls of men.

The future of man relies on the one who lied, the one who hated, the one who surrendered, and the one who embraced the madness at the edge of time.

Creator Notes

I’ve reached the final edits of an 80K word science fiction novel, Protocol One.

This story has been percolating since the 1990s. I finished a first draft in 2002, and then it sat. I moved on to writing and publishing short fiction, mostly erotica. I began Stilicho’s Son in the 1990s and finished in the aughts. Then I developed the Darklaw Saga with its myriad parts and have had that as my focus since 2013. Additionally, I have a number of novellas and shorts that I return to now-and-then.

My first love is science fiction. Big, universe-sprawling, deeply philosophical scifi worlds as background with stories of complicated relationships. That’s what Protocol One is. It’s bigger even than that. The story crosses into another universe. It joins (will join, I should say) the Darklaw universe.

Darklaw is a fantasy series in a world where the Roman Empire meets the Old West with supernatural accents. Protocol One is a scifi series with space travel and other intelligent species, where biotechnology and quantum physics drive all the crazy. The stories sound different, right? The worlds are different. The souls are the same.

Here you meet Virtue. If you’ve read Darklaw, you can probably guess who he is. I had a few hours yesterday, so I pulled out Procreate and sketched the above on my iPad Pro. It was wonderful to be back in Procreate. I like it for pure illustration but use Clip Studio Paint for the webcomic. I would like to do the novel’s cover myself, in which case I would create a naturalistic, oil painted illustration with all the characters, like my favorite 80’s paperbacks.

It’s been fun making the connections and thinking ahead to the next novel where the worlds link up.

A really difficult part about being a writer is my creative process is so far ahead of where readers are. That means I’m excited about stuff I can’t share meaningfully with anyone, and then when I can share because readers are familiar with the story, I’m not nearly as excited since I’m on to the new.

Blame my Mercury-Nadir conjunction.