I don't normally write a post to share my promotions, but maybe I should.
After all, who doesn't like a special offer?
Anyhoo, the first proper Colony B book, Wall, is free on all Amazon stores from June 1 – 5, 2019, so here's a snippet from later on in the book. It features Dr. Lyndsey Teare, and she's an interesting character: a scientist put in the position of leading a disparate group of people on a hostile planet for several years at a stretch. It's a tough job, especially since the crews are confined to their huge hover trucks, but although she rises to the occasion, she isn't a ‘Wonder Woman'. She does her best. Here's a link so you can check the book out:
Lyndsey made herself comfortable in the co-pilot’s seat, then turned to Alec. “Strap yourself in.”
Alec threw her a look, but he complied, snapping the buckles into place. “Ready when you are, ma’am.”
“You can drop that bullshit, Alec. It’s just you and me.”
“All right.” Alec hesitated. “Are you okay? I thought you looked tired earlier.”
She snorted under her breath. “I’ve been tired forever. But we do what we have to.”
“I guess so.” Alec looked her in the eye. “Before—when I got angry with Blaney—I hope you didn’t think…”
She met his gaze. “What, that you were being unprofessional?”
“No. That’s not what I meant. I just…” Alec shifted in his seat.
“It’s all right, Alec. I get it. You were defending me, and I don’t like that—not usually anyhow.”
“Right.” Alec gave her an uncertain smile. “I didn’t mean any disrespect.”
“Forget it,” Lyndsey said. “But just so you know, if you stick up for me once in a while, I won’t mind.” She gave him a grin. “I won’t mind at all.”
Alec laughed. “Seven years in the same damned truck and I still can’t figure you out.”
“I’m a woman, Alec. I can maintain an air of mystery indefinitely. It’s what the second X chromosome is for.”
“Okay, okay—let’s just start the engines shall we? It’s starting to get light.”
“Definitely.” Lyndsey sat back and tapped the comms panel to activate it. “This is Doctor Teare in truck one, to all pilots. By the numbers, report your truck’s status.”
Kyrksen answered first, his voice droning from the cockpit’s speakers: “Truck two. All systems operational. Pre-flight checks complete.”
Lyndsey listened carefully while the other pilots called in with almost identical messages, and she tried to gauge if there was any anxiety in their voices, but everyone sounded fine—excited even—and Lyndsey smiled to herself. This beats the hell out of running surveys and taking samples, she thought. And it’s a damned sight more fun than plowing through the stats and filing goddamned reports no one will ever read.
“Thanks, everyone,” she said. “Crissy, are your drones good to go?”
“Yes, they are,” Crissy replied. “All sonic disruptors are checked and operational. All terra-drones are ready to deploy.”
“Good work, Crissy. Launch them all now.”
A pause, then: “Truck one, please say again. How many drones do you want me to launch?”
“All of them,” Lyndsey answered. “Launch them all now, and keep them spread out along the fleet as we move, understood?”
“Yes, Doctor Teare. Deploying all drones now.”
“Listen up, pilots,” Lyndsey went on. “We’ll head out in a standard V formation with truck one in the lead. You all know your positions. Get ready to move.”
“Truck one, this is truck five. All drones are in the air.”
Lyndsey nodded at Alec, and he leaned over the controls, his hands hovering over the touch panels. “All units, this is Captain Stevens in truck one,” Alec said. “Start your vehicles and give me a height of ten feet, then wait for instructions.” His fingers darted over the controls, and a dull whine sprang up and grew louder, its pitch growing higher and higher until it became just a tingle in Lyndsey’s ears: the suggestion of a sound. She winced, but if Alec noticed any discomfort, he didn’t show it. He concentrated, altering the position of his fingertips, teasing the controls. A grumbling roar rose up and grew louder, flooding the cabin until Lyndsey could feel the vibrations thrumming through the armrests of her chair. The steel floor panels shook beneath her boots, and somewhere above her head, a loose rivet rattled like a badly-tuned snare drum.
Lyndsey’s teeth tapped against each other, beating out a rhythm of their own, and she clenched her jaw tight. And then it was over. The harsh sounds died away and through the windshield, the horizon dropped away as the hover truck leaped vertically into the air.
“Holding steady at ten feet,” Alec said. He checked his instruments. “Panel is green. And…yes, all trucks are now in the air.”
Lyndsey pulled the navigation panel toward her and swiped her fingers across the map. “You’ve got the coordinates I sent earlier?”
“Affirmative. I can get you there in a few minutes. Ready to go?”
Lyndsey nodded. “All units, this is truck one. Prepare to move out in three, two, one, go!” She gave Alec the thumbs up, then she leaned forward, peering through the early morning gloom as the hover truck surged into motion. “Crissy, this is Lyndsey. I want you to send a drone out ahead. Just one. Set it to scout around the bottom of the hill.”
“Will do,” Crissy said. “Terra-Drone three, going forward now.”
Lyndsey waited a moment while the oddly-shaped drone overtook her truck and beetled away across the landscape.
“There goes your flying trash can,” Alec said quietly.
“Don’t let Crissy hear you say that,” Lyndsey warned, but she was too late.
“Terra-drone three moving into position,” Crissy said. “Anything further to add, Alec.”
“Not at this time,” Alec replied. “Drone three is looking good.”
“No squabbling,” Lyndsey put in. “Truck two, listen up. Kyrksen, are you getting the video feed from the drone okay?”
A hiss of static from the speaker made Lyndsey grimace. “Truck two, this is truck one, is everything okay?”
More static swelled from the comms channel, and then Kyrksen’s voice came through: “—trouble with th—”
Lyndsey and Alec exchanged a look. “All units,” Lyndsey said, “report in.”
“This is—” Another burst of white noise. And then the speaker fell silent. Lyndsey unfastened her safety harness and leaped to her feet. “Stay on course. I’ll get to the bottom of this.”
“No problem,” Alec said. “If anything happens, I’ll holler.”
Lyndsey hurried through into the main compartment, slamming the cockpit door behind her. Her team of three technicians had been hunched over their workstations, but they looked up, startled by the noise. “What’ve we got?” Lyndsey demanded.
David Brandt, her senior comms tech shook his head. “It’s difficult, Doctor Teare. The diagnostics cut in automatically, but so far we don’t know what’s happened. I can tell you that it’s not a system failure and it’s not atmospheric, but other than that, I just don’t know.”
“Can you fix it?”
“We’re trying. But it looks like an external problem…like something in the terrain.”
Lyndsey’s eyes went wide. “We’re heading toward some hills, could that be it?”
“Hang on.” David checked a display on his workstation and then crossed to another screen farther down the wall.
“Come on, David. Give me something to work with here. Our systems are supposed to be bulletproof. It can’t just be this hill, can it? We’ve passed high ground before and never had any problems.”
“Ha!” David put his finger on the screen. “You should come and see this.”
Lyndsey moved to his side. “Oh!”
David beamed at her. “You see? It’s a magnetic field. Massive. I’ve never seen anything like it.”
“Can you bring up the terrain and overlay the field?”
David hurried back to his workstation and started work, his fingers clattering across the keys. He mumbled something under his breath, then he stood up straight. “You’re right. It’s the hill. It’s like it’s channeling a magnetic field, or distorting an existing phenomenon.” He massaged his temples with his fingertips. “But where does the field originate? I don’t understand.”
“We’ll worry about that later,” Lyndsey snapped. “We need comms back online right now. Can you get me a workaround?”
David stared at her. “You’ve got to pull back from that hill. Buy us some time.”
Lyndsey didn’t answer, she just strode across the compartment and let herself into the cockpit. “Alec, change course. Take us farther away from the hill.”
Alec frowned. “How far?”
Lyndsey took her seat beside him and grabbed the nav panel. “I don’t know yet. Just ease us away while we try to get comms back up. The high ground is interfering with our signals.” She picked a point on the map and sent the coordinates to Alec’s display. It was farther away from the hill than she’d wanted, but it would have to do. “Got it?”
“Yes. New coordinates received. We’re on our way.” He turned his head from side to side as if looking for something. “Lost it.”
“The drone you sent forward. I can’t see it. And I was just thinking…can we still control it with the comms down?”
“I doubt it,” Lyndsey replied. “I doubt it very much indeed.”
I hope you liked the snippet. If you want to read the rest, it's' here: Book 1, Wall is available here
By the way, I describe Wall as the first proper Colony B book because there's also a short prequel, Skeleton Crew, which is available free when you join The Awkward Squad
Comments and questions are very welcome.
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