Set 4 years after the events of the Ziva Payvan trilogy, Fracture is part 1 of the upcoming Ziva Payvan Legacy duology.

FRACTURE \ ˈfrak-shər\

  1. to cause a crack or fracture in; break

  2. to damage or destroy

  3. the act or process of breaking or the state of being broken

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Four years after the Resistance's plan for retribution was foiled, the galaxy as a whole is at peace. The people of Haphez remain independent and free of Federation scrutiny thanks to a major sacrifice by one of their own. Those affected by the loss have found new purpose. Life goes on.

But peace is only an illusion. Tension is brewing between two major players in the galactic underworld. When commissioned with hunting down a rogue Haphezian assassin, Aroska Tarbic, Skeet Duvo, and Zinni Vax are drawn into that underworld, a place where anything goes and no one is innocent. A routine assignment turns into a matter of life and death as they find themselves caught in the middle of a gang war...and hunted by their own quarry.

As the conflict rages across multiple worlds, the search for this elusive killer pits the Alpha team against new enemies, introduces them to unlikely new allies...and leads them to cross paths with someone else they hadn't expected to find. Someone who didn't want to be found. Someone who may just be their only hope for survival.


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Fracture: Ziva Payvan Legacy, Part 1 (Ziva Payvan, #4)


“I run a materials development center on Delatori,” the man began. “Carbon composites, flex-steel, heat-resistant plating, you name it. Our primary buyers are vehicle manufacturers, specifically combat vehicles, both land- and air-based. It’s one of several centers in the area, and Delatori as a whole is known for its high volume of materials exports.”

“Delatori,” Skeet mused. “That’s Niiosian Mob territory, right?”

Starcer winced. “It is. And, admittedly, many of our buyers have direct ties to the Mob. But it makes for good business. They pay well for our products, and we use the profits to keep expanding. So, yes, you could say we’ve been absorbed into their network.”

“And where exactly do we come in?” Aroska asked.

“How much do you know about the Ibarra Cartel?”

The name sounded vaguely familiar—Aroska felt he had become more in tune to galaxy-wide events since transferring to spec ops—but Starcer’s tone almost made the question seem rhetorical. Skeet and Zinni remained silent as well.

“Ibarra has been encroaching on our…the Mob’s territory for the past few years, though things have escalated more recently. They’re a bunch of gun runners, and they do all of their own manufacturing, so they’ve got considerable firepower and have gained the support of all the smaller groups they supply. Their leader is a man named Manes. Alastair Manes. Young, charismatic, ambitious. Apparently, he inherited the position when he killed his own father. Word is he’s got his sights set on Tobias’s spot too.”

“A gang war?” Skeet said, unimpressed. “I’m still not sure if I see how this affects us.”

Desperation flashed through Starcer’s eyes. “Manes recently made a push for Delatori. He targeted many of the development centers, including mine, and threatened to destroy them if we didn’t start producing for him. I thought if he wanted the materials he wouldn’t actually go through with that threat, and I was stupid enough to lead a revolt. Most of the other distribution managers are still loyal to Niio—Tobias may not be an upstanding citizen himself, but he takes care of us. I had a good following, but Manes had an army, and he decided if he couldn’t have our materials, no one could. His men came through and decimated everything they didn’t need, and now that there’s less resistance, they’re there trying to salvage whatever they can. Delatori is a war zone right now. Most of the settlements have been evacuated.”

He stopped to take a deep breath and gripped the edge of the table to still his trembling hands. “As if that wasn’t enough, Manes put hits out on all the managers. He claims it was to stop the revolts at the source, but I believe he’s just doing it because he can. Most of the others have been killed already. It’s possible I’m the only one left.”

That still didn’t tell Aroska why the man needed them specifically, and he watched as Skeet’s eyes narrowed. “With all due respect, sir, personal protection detail is a little below our pay grade,” the burly lieutenant said.

Emeri stepped forward as if to intervene, but Starcer continued without assistance. “It’s not jut that. Manes’s assassin, the one who’s been carrying out all of these hits…she’s Haphezian.”

The three of them shifted and threw each other curious looks.

“I’ve heard the old saying ‘it takes a Haphezian to kill a Haphezian,’ so I knew I would need to come straight to the source for aid, and I’m grateful to your superiors for recommending a team of your caliber. See, Manes himself doesn’t concern me at the moment, at least not on the level this woman does. I have a set of schematics—a physical copy of specs stored in a secure location—that I was due to deliver to a Niiosian manufacturer, and I think it could help give Tobias an edge over these Ibarra thugs. I need the assassin dealt with so I can return to Delatori and see to it that those plans don’t fall into the wrong hands.”

He paused, and in that instant, Aroska saw his composure wilt away. “Please. I’m the one Manes wants, but he had my daughter killed in hopes of getting me to surrender, and I haven’t heard from my son in four days. He was supposed to leave Delatori just after I did. He stayed behind to run interference and throw this assassin off my trail, but—” his jaw trembled “—I don’t think he ever made it off-world.”

Both Skeet and Zinni were standing up a little straighter than they had been initially, and Aroska’s interest in the story had suddenly been rekindled as well. “What more do you know about this woman?” he asked.

“She’s a ghost. She made quick work of the other managers, and she knows how to stay out of the spotlight. I’ve never had the misfortune of encountering her myself, but those who have seen her—the ones who are still alive—describe her as brutal. Savage. Rumor has it she goes by Matia Moryi.”