The docks are perfectly illuminated. Despite this part of Nyx being on its night cycle, the landing pads are always working. Through the clear viewports of the station, the lights outside in the vacuum are fully on and the workers walking back and forth, loading and unloading cargo from dozens of small craft. Risha’s ship is named The Cat’s Paw after an old story her father used to tell her. She doesn’t remember much about it now, only the sound of his voice as he read it to her. She remembers it was scary.
This Cat’s Paw isn’t so scary to look at, but her skill as a pilot would dispel that notion quickly. Risha prefers not to fight if she can, but it’s not always an option. If she has to shoot, she wants to end it quickly.
“Evenin’,” Dorm says, giving her a wave as she ducks through the loading ramp doors, the circular hatch cycling closed behind her. One of the lead deck hands on Nyx, Dorm is tall and long-boned, like many who grew up in the poor districts that often lacked gravity generators. He has almost always taken care of her needs while the Cat’s Paw was in port and she trusts him more than most. She pays him to be sure of it. Continue reading
Risha lowers the LH-86 pistol, still shaking from her trembling hand. A thin wisp of smoke trails from the barrel, the air smelling of cordite and burnt ozone. Her ears ring from the shot, reverberating off the prefab walls and mixing with the belching of air filter exhaust. The flash of light in the near darkness nearly blinded her but her vision is clearing, letting her see the fallen woman at her feet.
“I’m sorry,” she says aloud, wanting the still form to hear her, to forgive her. But the woman doesn’t stir, her chest rising and falling ever so little and growing less with each moment. Risha steps closer and kneels at her side, touches her cheek, forces herself to look the woman in the eyes. They are wide, in shock and pain, the lips are parted and sticky with foamy blood.
Tears cloud Risha’s vision but she doesn’t clear them. Instead she feels around on her armored chestplate for the coagulant. It’s there, but there isn’t much left. She uses it all on the single wound in the woman’s chest and puts a self-pressurizing seal on it. Reaching down to the woman’s waist, she feels around until a familiar device is found. There, her hand hovers, waiting, not depressing the switch. Instead, she leans down and presses her lips to the woman’s temple, her breathing growing ragged with emotion and distress. Continue reading
Risha, a disgraced UEE Advocacy Agent accused of treason now operates in the shady underbelly of the Empire, running drugs for a vicious crime lord. During a run gone bad, she was forced to dump her cargo. Unable to repay her debts, she once more finds herself the target of the men she once served.
Pursued by both the Advocacy and Bounty Hunters, Risha stumbles upon a UEE secret that could both clear her and damn the Empire.
Tape 89, Recording 3.
This is Double D Kennedy again, and I don’t know how to begin. I have traveled all over the country since it began and there is something I need to tell you. No, the end isn’t here. No help isn’t coming. That’s not it. In fact, I don’t think any help is ever coming.
Because help is here. It’s everywhere. I have seen so much, talked to so many people and heard their stories, and I’ve discovered one thing. With very few exceptions, Hope exists. In fact, it exists everywhere.
In the Blue Ridge in Virginia.
And here, outside of Geneva, New York. Continue reading
Daylight faded and with the darkness came a deeper silence. The helicopter was surprisingly quiet when all the doors were shut, its rotors beating rhythmically overhead in a constant, muted pattern. Lindsay dried to sleep several times, but never for very long. Each time, she woke suddenly terrified, but could not remember the nightmare that caused it.
She didn’t know where they were or where they were going. It didn’t matter. Katie was sick, maybe dying, and she didn’t know what else to do. How she’d gotten out of the hospital, Lindsay didn’t know. In truth, it didn’t matter either. She was alive.
At least for now. Continue reading
Lindsay made a decision.
“You’re going to put me down right by the medical center,” she said, hefting the rifle to her shoulder and aiming it at the pilot. She couldn’t hear it when she snapped the safety off and knew he couldn’t either, but it felt like a finality to her. She’d had enough of this place, enough of being someone’s pawn, of being told what to do and how to do it. She wanted to get Katie and get out of here.
The pilot glanced once over his shoulder at her, his expression neutral, though she saw his cheek twitch several times. His hand stayed on the control stick, not moving for his gun at all.
“Take out your gun and toss it on the floor,” she said. Continue reading
James stood knee deep in a pile of garbage that was slowly rotting into compost. In one hand, he held a pistol taken from a Black Dawn soldier just moments before, and in the other, he grasped a medical injector. Beside him, a half-dressed Katie Fox leaned against her father. Chris had his arms around his daughter.
They all stared up at the shadows above them. Bright light illuminated the figures from behind, obscuring their faces. Both were male, but he knew one of the voices. Ringo was there to rescue him. Well no, I did the rescuing. He’s just here to back me up, James thought with a grin. Luke Skywalker indeed.
“Hey!” he called up. “That you, Ringo?” Continue reading
Lindsay’s life became flashes of light, rough hands, explosions, and ringing ears. The hood made her blind and the zip-ties on her wrists kept her stumbling and helpless. Someone was guiding her, a strong hand on her shoulder. They shoved her, then stopped her, then shoved again. Sometimes they would drag her to the ground.
She was outside now and felt the cold on her exposed skin. Someone wrapped a jacket around her and zipped it up, trapping her arms inside. The wind was so cold that it ripped the breath from her, even inside the hood.
Gunfire. She was pulled to the ground again, held there by unseen hands. Something exploded. She could feel the pressure change, like a giant sucking out all the air. Then her ears hurt, a blazing pain in her head. They popped and she coughed. Smoke and something like burned meat filled her nostrils. She heard someone screaming and it took several seconds to realize she was doing it, calling for Katie. The only answer was gunfire, close, making her ears ring louder and louder. Each bullet a tiny nova inside her skull. Continue reading
It turned out that you couldn’t get lost in a crowd of kitted-out soldiers. When James tried to retrieve a full kit from the armory, he had to sign for it. He couldn’t believe it. At the end of the damn world, he had to sign out gear. As a pilot, all of his gear was cared for by the squadron’s logistical officer. That it hadn’t occurred to him that regular firearms and armor would be locked up and guarded, he took for a sign of his distress.
For a brief moment, he considered putting down someone else’s name but gave up on it. The man looking at him through the plexiglass window knew him. Just about everybody did. There was no hiding for James Fitzpatrick. Not here anyway.
“I don’t suppose you’d forget you saw me, would ya?” James said, trying to look as pathetic as he felt. The guard on the other side of the plexiglass, Michael Treynor, only smirked. Continue reading
No one has actually asked this, but I thought I’d post anyway, just in case.
Book 2 is starting very very soon. I’ve begun writing it but I have two things on my mind right now. The first is the release of H1Z1 in Early Access this Thursday. I normally release my chapters on Friday. It is entirely possible that if I post a chapter this friday, it will be entirely buried by issues of EA. I have a number of loyal readers (about 40 of you, no small number!) and I would hate to release something for you and have you miss it!
That said, it wouldn’t be going anywhere and you could always find it later.
So I’m considering putting of Chapter 1 of Book 2 until Friday, January 23rd. That would give me more polish time and let the initial excitement of EA die down a little. I might be missing out on some new readers coming to Reddit for the first time this Friday though.
It’s a very tough call.
So, Mike, when are you doing it? The answer is… I’m not sure. I want to see what state the chapter is in by Thursday. If it’s good to go, then I’ll release it. If it is… well, not up to par? Then next Friday instead. Like SOE, I don’t want to release a crap, rushed project.
Why? Because you guys rock and I want you to get the best possible work from me. And maybe I’ll be too busy playing H1Z1 this Thursday. Maybe. But I’m sure that will be a small issue right?