Tony Fallow has a sticky problem! Find out why it’s not always so great when The World Revolves Around You!

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Storyworld: The Sovereign Era | Series Name: The Charters Duology
Reading Order: 02 | Stand Alone? Yes
Genres: Alternate History, Coming of Age, Fiction, Speculative Fiction | Editions: E-Book, Printed Books, Quality Paperback

The Charters Duology concludes as the Sovereign Era continues!

April, 1986 – On the eve of the first anniversary of the Donner Declaration, as tensions rise between humanity and the metahuman, super-powered Sovereigns, fathers and sons face desperate choices.

Nate Charters (Brave Men Run — A Novel of the Sovereign Era) struggles with his increasingly tenuous control over his temper and his powers… while Andrew Charters hopes to suppress his own bestial nature to help his distant son.

Sovereign Byron Teslowski trains to join the Sovereign defense force, but a fiery new friend forces him to question his loyalties… and Marc Teslowski, determined to bring his family back together, falls in with the charismatic leader of an anti-Sovereign militant group.

As Sovereigns the world over converge on the Donner Institute for Sovereign Studies, Nate, Andrew, Byron, and Marc find their paths lead there as well. Will the machinations of enemies and allies tear them violently apart on Declaration Day?

This book is part of the Sovereign Era storyworld, and part two of the Charters Duology. While it can be read on its own, readers may want to read Brave Men Run — A Novel of the Sovereign Era first to get the whole story.

97,000 words.

0) Hazy Days and Cloudy Nights: “How It All Got Started” (free online serial)
1) Brave Men Run
2) “The World Revolves Around You”
3) The Sovereign Era: Year One
4) “Canary In A Coal Mine”
5) Pilgrimage
6) The News From Bewilder Pond

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An Excerpt from

From The Journal Of Nate Charters – Seven

If Carson’s band didn’t have a gig on Friday nights, they practiced in his big converted three-car garage. I usually hung out.

Car and his friends were all, like, twenty, twenty-one, twenty-two or something—all older than me by a few years—but Car was friends with Lina, and I was with Lina, so everybody pretty much took me in.

Lina and Car.

I didn’t really understand how I felt about that. It hurt, a little. It was…weird.

Thing was, Carson Meunetti had never been anything but awesome to me from the moment we met, when he shook my hand and looked me in my crazy eyes and never flinched, never acted like I was anything more unusual than Lina’s (at the time) new boyfriend.

When things got crazy and we hatched our stupid plan to get Byron Teslowski away from maybe being experimented on by Prentice-Cambrian’s flunky scientist Lester Brenhurst, Carson covered for us at no small risk to himself.

The guy was like an older brother to me.

And I had to admit it: no matter how much I looked for it, he never treated Lina like anything more than his best friend. Now that I knew what I knew, somehow, it was obvious to me that I’d never had a thing to worry about.

So, sure, it was a little weird when Car came back with Tim, and the rest of Jesus Horse showed up with their girlfriends and everybody else. But after everybody settled in with their pizza and beer (I got my own pizza, but a while back everyone had come to agree that no one let me drink anything stronger than soda), things almost felt normal.

Lina stuck close by me. I felt a little guilt when she’d hold my hand or touch me; I think I wanted her to be angrier with me over what had happened that afternoon. Maybe she wanted things to feel normal, too.

I tried my best to go along. We went down to the converted three-car garage when practice started, and I hung out there with her as long as I could take the volume. I tried to convince myself life would keep moving forward and we’d work through this stuff.

Except for the fact of some dude out there in the world who had never been punished for almost raping my girlfriend.

The thought of it twisted through my brain like a worm through dirt.

I tried to be cool. I sat there with Lina, earplugs jammed in my ears to protect my inhumanly sensitive hearing, and watched Car, Crystal, Alex, and Tim run through their set.

With every tune, horror movies played in my head. Lina, helpless, while some faceless fucker hovered over her…or Lina, struggling but not strong enough to twist free, the weight of her would-be rapist pressing down…

If I sat through another song, I felt like I would rip out of my own skin. I had to get out.

Even with my ears plugged, the vibrations of the bass guitar and drums always get to be a little much for me, physically. Lina was used to my sensitivity, so when I got up to go back up to the house she didn’t seem to realize I was messed up. She kissed me on the cheek, squeezed my hand, and mouthed “I love you.”

I silently said it back to her and pushed down the urge to cry as I passed through the side door of the garage and around to the front door of the house. What a day, and it wasn’t over yet.

In the house, Katrina Lombaugh and Tammy Akui were sitting at the dining room table drinking Corona beer and playing some card game.

“Hey, little Nate,” drawled Katrina. She raised her beer bottle. “They taking a break?”

“Just me.” I dug the earplugs out of my ears. I could still feel the vibrations of the music through the carpeted floor, but the Cocteau Twins record playing at a reasonable volume in the living room was still a nice break. Elizabeth Fraser’s otherworldly caterwauling was almost soothing.

“Want in?” She indicated an empty chair at the table with a nod of her head.

I shrugged. “I’m just gonna hang out. I’ll watch you guys play.”

Tammy smiled, and her eyebrows went up. Katrina caught the expression and smiled slowly. “Big fun, you betcha.”

I laughed, and sure enough, rather than actually watch them play Go Fish or whatever, I dug around in the bookcase between the dining room and the living room.

“How’d your TV thing go, little Nate?” Katrina shuffled the cards.

“It was awesome.” I groaned with enough exaggeration to convey the opposite.

Tammy said, “That host looks like a child molester.” Her voice was low, her short laugh even lower.

“He smells like shit,” I said.

“Figures.” Katrina, no different from everybody else in that crowd and, hell, might as well face it, everybody else in the country by now, knew the score with my enhanced senses. “Must have been a nice treat for you.”

“Not,” I said.

“The world is asshole-heavy,” Tammy said. She nodded to Katrina. “Gimme three.”

The world is asshole-heavy. Fuck, yeah.

I put down the issue of RE:Search I’d been thumbing through.

“Hey, you guys.”

“Yeppers, little Nate?” Katrina frowned at her cards. “Dealer takes two.”

“Um…you two remember a party at Preston’s, a couple of years ago? Were you guys there?”

I’m a body-language speed-reader; it’s a side-effect of my super-sensitive sensorium. Katrina, she was a smart one; I could see her try to control her reaction. Tammy, on the other hand, didn’t seem to care.

“Whoo! That was a pretty big night!” She laughed.

Katrina glowered at her. “You were still with Ian, right, honey?”

Tammy frowned. “Yes, Katrina. Thanks for mentioning. And you were with that alcoholic guitar player…what was his name, again, honey?”

Katrina’s nostrils flared. “His name is Burt.”

The two of them exchanged a steady look that I guess signified some kind of truce: no territory gained by either side. Not that I had any clue what had them suddenly so bitchy with each other. There was so much history in this crowd; sometimes I felt like I’d never know everybody’s whole story.

Tonight, though, I was only interested in one little part.

“So, um…yeah…”

Katrina gave me a big-sister smile. “We aren’t gonna tell you about it, little Nate.”

I laughed. “You don’t even know what I’m talking about!”

“Sure we do,” Katrina said. “But you’re not getting anywhere with us.”

Tammy snorted. “Oh, c’mon. Who cares? It was two years ago. Everybody was stupid.”

Katrina pointed at her with a long, elegant finger. “Tammy!”

“What? It’s not like Crystal didn’t give Eric way worse than he tried to do to Lina. That asshole could barely walk when she was done with him!”


I had a first name.

Eric. Eric what?

Katrina tossed her cards across the table, not quite at Tammy. “You are such a fucking bitch.”

“It’s cool, Katrina,” I said. “I know what happened. Lina told me.”

Katrina looked dubious. “She did?”

“Yeah. Just not the guy’s name.” I looked at Tammy. “What’s his last name, anyway? This Eric guy?”

Katrina’s second “Tammy…” was thick with warning.

Tammy smiled coldly at Katrina, gave her the finger, and turned to look at me. “His name’s Eric Finn, little Nate.” Katrina’s nickname for me sounded wrong coming from Tammy. I couldn’t tell if she was making fun of me or digging at Katrina for whatever reason.

I didn’t care.

I had a name.

Katrina stood up. She was tall and long, over six feet in her cowboy boots and the silly thrift-store top hat she liked to wear.

“Tammy,” she said with acid sweetness, “will you kindly have a word with me outside for a moment? Cunt?” Tammy’s face darkened.

“Don’t bother, Kat.” She got up, scooped her purse off the floor, and went for the front door. “You are way too hung up, woman. It was two years ago. Everybody’s moved on.”

“That’s not up to you!”

“Oh, for fuck’s sake,” Tammy said at the door. “Get over it!” She left.

Katrina seethed a moment, then looked at me. “Believe it or not, that had nothing to do with you.”

I nodded.

“Sit down.”

I took Tammy’s place at the table. The name of Eric Finn swirled in my head.



“You shouldn’t have asked.”

She didn’t seem mad, just concerned. I was pretty sure Katrina was one of the more fucked-up members of Car’s little tribe, but right then and there, she seemed pretty damn cool to me.

“I…I just had to know.”

“You shouldn’t.” I felt guilty for pushing things, a little, but damn it, I couldn’t handle how the whole thing made me feel so helpless. There was too much of that in my life.

I guess Katrina read that on my face. Or maybe she just thought I was an idiot. She sighed, shook her head, and reached into her coat pocket for her cigarettes.

“Tell you this much, little Nate,” she said. “That was one fucked-up party.”

“Guess so.”


Lina drove me home after practice wound down. She pulled into my driveway and turned down the radio.

“You’ve been pretty quiet,” she said. “Tired?”

I was way tired, but I knew she didn’t think that was it.

“Pretty big day,” I said. My smile felt weak.

She squinted at me. “You okay about everything?”

I flashed on my sex-crazed episode. I felt a rush of guilt about pushing to get the name of Eric Finn from Katrina and Tammy. “Are…you?” The reversal was automatic evasion, standard equipment in any teenager’s tool box.

“I’m worried about you,” she said. “This temper thing of yours.”

I looked out the windshield at the headlights on my garage door. On the radio, low, the Clash’s “Red Angel Dragnet” played on KNAC. “Yeah. Well. Hopefully it’s not a thing.”


She waited. I knew she was waiting for more.

I closed my eyes, opened them, and said, “Tammy told me who he is.”

“What?” Her voice was loud and sharp in the confines of the car.

“She told me. His name’s Eric Finn.”

Her anger felt like buffeting waves to me. “Why did you ask her? Fuck, Nate, you fucking promised!”

I remembered Katrina, so pissed off that Tammy had spilled the beans. What was it about that night? What was with all the secrecy?

“I just wanted a name.” I realized I was angry with Lina, and for a moment the realization threw me, but then it made sense.

“You promised!”

She was my woman. I’d risked my life for her.

“I think I have a right to know,” I said.

“Isn’t that nice for you.” She looked straight ahead. “Now you know. You have your name.”


“Better take your precious name and get out,” she said. “I want to go home.”

I didn’t like parting angry. It scared me.


She looked at me. “Don’t do anything, Nate. You promised.”

Whatever anger I felt was wiped out by the mix of disappointment and pleading I saw on her face. I thought I was right to find out. I did. But I hated the way she looked at me.

“Okay,” I said.

“Good night.” She turned away. Her hand floated over the gear shift, ready to put the car in reverse.

“I…I’ll call you tomorrow?”

“I want to go,” she said again.

I got out of the car. She put it in gear and started moving before I’d even finished shutting the door. At the corner, I saw her stop to reach over, open it, and shut it securely before she took off.

The exhaust filled my sinuses, blocking out the scents of the night and making my head a little light.

Out of nowhere—maybe because things on the ground were not so hot—I remembered that, this very night, Halley’s Comet was as close to the Earth as it was going to get this time around. That would be something.

I looked up at the sky.

It was covered with clouds.

Name Your Price!