Book Spotlight: The Emperor's New Clothes by Aldous Mercer

Title: The Emperor’s New Clothes
Author: Aldous Mercer
Genre: SciFi M/M Romance

Imperial Agent Royce Ree needs to pull off the biggest heist the Universe has ever seen, or it's bye-bye cushy government job, hello cleaning toilets in a dive-bar on Baga-V.

To succeed, he will need help from the last person he’d ever ask: his ex.



Royce has a simple mission: steal some tech from the newly-discovered civilization of Baldessh. But Royce thinks HQ’s mission specifications are utterly stupid. So he disobeys a direct order, and goes to steal the tech his own way.

The Empire has survived wars, supernovae, democracy, and the collapse of a neighborhood universe. Let us hope it survives the good intentions of Agent Royce Ree.” 

- Author unknown (personal communication to the Emperor)


Royce’s primary mission has been abandoned in the chaos of Baldessh’s hostile takeover by a third party. Now his only objective is to get himself, and his fellow “agent” off-planet as fast as possible. Unfortunately for Royce, nobody is quite ready for him to leave just yet.

"I find it curious that the agent was not rescued before the comms-blockade, Spymaster." 

"Imperial Intelligence is not in a habit of rescuing AWOL agents, Councillor. Apprehend and prosecute, yes, but not rescue." 

"I suppose both of us must wait. For…evidence." 

"Would you mind waiting somewhere other than my office? Only, we can’t all be Councillors, Councillor, and I have real work to do." 

-Conversation, Imperial Intelligence Headquarters, Trinity Prime


Royce now has three days to rescue 40,000 space marines, and he’s just been told that the tech he came to Baldessh for doesn’t actually exist. He also has some real problems—his co-agent’s time is running out, and somewhere, far away, traitors are plotting to start a war that will engulf the entire Universe in flames.

Hope, however, can sometimes be found in the darkest of places. Like ventilation ducts.

“Every pre-FTL civilization we know of has alcohol. I mean, imagine being stuck to a single planet, wasting decades just crossing your own solar system! Who wouldn't invent vodka?" 
Gaste Trade Cartel Sales Representative (Conversation overheard at spaceport dive-bar, Gomo-Prime) 


Royce has been betrayed, Baldessh’s burgeoning rebellion is going to be crushed, and all the animals are going to be exterminated. But Royce is smiling. Because Royce, like always, has a Plan.

“An Imperial Agent cultivates paranoia the way an Imperial Gardener cultivates prize-winning rosebushes.” -

Master Mess-Remeier,”The Nature of Empire: Volume 7”, 1st Edition 


It looks like things are going to be OK for everyone except Royce and his ex. Looks can be deceiving—there are plots within plots, and Royce’s true test awaits him at the edge of Imperial Space.

“I’m sorry, sir, your payment didn't go through.” 

“What! Why?” 

“There is a hold on your accounts, pending a Deadbeat Investigation.” 

“I’m the Procurement Officer for the entire Kovan Fleet, woman!” 

“Yes, sir, I recognized your uniform. But I’m afraid your job description has nothing to do with this conversation.” 

“The hell it doesn't! What are my soldiers going to do if you don’t sell to us?” 

“Respectfully, sir, that’s not my problem.” 

“We’re in the middle of an invasion!” 

“I’m very sorry to hear that. Perhaps your soldiers could target a facility that manufactures the toilet paper 
you need?” 

--Transcript, Kovan Flagship: “Comms exchange between Fleet Procurement and Gaste Cartel Customer Service.” 

ROYCE REE #6: ON THE TAKE is coming out in 2014.



Starlight lit the most tastefully decorated interrogation room Royce had ever been in. Not that that was the room’s normal function, but to Royce’s mind, any room where one was being interrogated…

The Spymaster’s sigh brought Royce back to immediate concerns. Dressed in the most severely formal style, the glitter in the Spymaster’s eye could have been amusement.

“Tell me again, agent Ree,” he said, “did you understand your mission objective?”

Royce swallowed. “Yes, sir.”

“And what was it?”

“Covert retrieval from the Baldasshi, sir.”

As the Spymaster’s silence lengthened, Royce stared straight ahead at the wall behind his employer’s head. The swirled green-in-green pattern brought to mind the gentle sway of grass in a summer breeze.

“Retrieval of what, agent?” asked the Spymaster, finally.

“Their impeccable sense of style, sir.”

“And yet…and yet what you actually brought me was their Royal Princess, intent upon marrying the Emperor.”

Royce didn’t dare shift his gaze from that perfectly neutral wall to look at the other occupant of the room.

“You also,” continued the Spymaster, “brought me half of Baldessh’s parliament, six hundred Nova class battleships, and a menagerie of wild animals.”

“Psychic wild animals, sir,” ventured Royce.

“Of course,” said the Spymaster. “Psychic wild animals.”

“I finished my mission, sir!”

A soft laugh greeted Royce’s protest. Not from the Spymaster’s direction—he looked even more pissed off, though it was hard to tell.

“Tell us,” said the voice Royce was not supposed to acknowledge, “How this happened. From the beginning.”


About the Author:

A native of Toronto, Aldous Mercer enjoys martinis and relaxing on the beac-ha! No.

Aldous Mercer is a workaholic with a penchant for numerical mind games and caffeinated beverages. He uses his degree in Engineering to ensure that none of the spaceships in his books have cubic pressure-vessels. In real life he always annotates Engineering Drawings in Iambic Tetrameter.

Aldous can also be found on Facebook, Twitter and Gmail.




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