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Survivors: The Second Book Of The Off World Trilogy

Survivors: The Second Book Of The Off World Trilogy

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Survivors: The Second Book Of The Off World Trilogy

valutazioni:
3/5 (1 valutazione)
Lunghezza:
348 pagine
4 ore
Pubblicato:
19 dic 2014
ISBN:
9781311521651
Formato:
Libro

Descrizione

In the second book of The Off World Trilogy, Jacob Young awakens to find himself alone and forsaken amidst the ruins of the destroyed planet Tue.

Forced by the Khonians to fight in their ancient war against the Rha’ket’gar, Jacob and his fellow Saje endured the terrible battles and torture of their conscription, only to be betrayed and left to die as the massive planet-killer bombs rained down on them, sucking the oxygen from the planet’s surface.

Now, further from home than ever, Jacob must face his fears, search for his missing comrades, and lead the Saje survivors on their quest to find their own way back to Earth. Along the way, they battle new enemies—on land and in space—while striving to retain the core of their humanity and, above all, hope.

Pubblicato:
19 dic 2014
ISBN:
9781311521651
Formato:
Libro

Informazioni sull'autore

Patrick Locke is the author of the sci-fi series The Off World Trilogy . A Marine Corp veteran and former behaviorist, his story captures the strength of the human spirit, courage in the face of adversity, and working together for a common goal.Raised near a remote Pacific Northwest town close to the Canadian border, he was more at home outside than in. With his closest neighbor miles away, he entertained himself with stories—from books and an overactive imagination—cultivating his love of all-night reading, putting music soundtracks to the stories in his head, as well as developing a good case of insomnia.His diverse education, career and travels have taken him far from his sleepy hometown to many different countries, the first Gulf War, and teaching English in Spain. As a behaviorist and MBA grad, he’s also worked with mentally- and behaviorally-challenged teenagers, taught language arts and mathematics in a behavioral school, and managed technology projects for Fortune 500 companies.But his love of the outdoors has remained his constant—hiking, climbing and skiing his way through life, from the Pyrenees in France to the rivers and mountains of Colorado to his beloved backcountry of the Pacific Northwest. His stories are often centered around his love of nature, a belief in the equality of all individuals—with honorable, driven male characters and strong, intelligent female ones—and personal responsibility in respecting and protecting our planet and its inhabitants. He strives to deliver engaging stories based on an underlying theme that we all want to be a part of something meaningful, something exciting, and something out of the ordinary.Patrick currently resides in Washington State with his 22-year partner-in-crime Laurie. His mind, on the other hand, continues to travel and roam the distant worlds he creates in his head. Find out more about his fiction athttp://www.AuthorPatrickLocke.comhttps://www.facebook.com/PatrickLocke.Author/


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Anteprima del libro

Survivors - Patrick Locke

SURVIVORS

THE SECOND BOOK OF

THE OFF WORLD TRILOGY

BY PATRICK LOCKE

Copyright 2014 Patrick Locke

Smashwords Edition

All rights reserved.

Edited by: Laurie Woicik

The characters and events portrayed in this book are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is coincidental and not intended by the author.

You are the love of my life,

You are my sunshine,

I need you more than the air I breathe;

And our little Pupcake, Chloe,

You are dearly missed.

Table of Contents

PROLOGUE

Part 1:  SURVIVE

CHAPTER 1

CHAPTER 2

CHAPTER 3

CHAPTER 4

CHAPTER 5

CHAPTER 6

CHAPTER 7

CHAPTER 8

Part 2:  SPACE

CHAPTER 9

CHAPTER 10

CHAPTER 11

CHAPTER 12

CHAPTER 13

CHAPTER 14

Part 3:  HOME

CHAPTER 15

CHAPTER 16

CHAPTER 17

CHAPTER 18

CHAPTER 19

CHAPTER 20

CHAPTER 21

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Prologue

1

Jacob’s mind was a shaken-snowglobe world. And inside this globe there was chaos.

He remembered a hot wind screaming around him, pelting him with shards of sand, his eyes smarting from the dust. His lungs burned for oxygen as he had shallowly pulled in what he could.

World-encompassing confusion, pain and fear had fought together to keep ahold of the territory they’d won in Jacob’s mind. And yet the sounds of the explosions seemed to dwindle slowly as they continued to echo through his head. He had no way of knowing what had happened to the others ... and he felt further away from home than ever.

2

A slow, steady beeping filled his ears reminding him of an old alarm clock of his dad’s. But Jacob knew that couldn’t be the case. His father had died many years ago.

Cautiously he opened his eyes finding a dim, green light slowly blinking in the distance. Every time his heart beat, his head beat with it, pounding like a bass drum in a marching band.

He carefully lifted his head—just for a moment—his cheek refusing to leave the ground without a fight. He pushed himself up on his elbow and gingerly checked his cheek with his right hand. Something had dried there, hard and crusty.

He tried to roll onto his back, but his right foot was caught in a vise-like hold. With a quick yank, it released, and he heard a quiet swoosh and the beeping suddenly stopped. With a deep breath, all his memories flooded back in a confusing rush.

3

Jacob’s unit, the Saje, had been ordered to take a key role in the final, decisive battle that had taken place on the planet Tue. With the help of his fellow conscripts, he had come up with a plan that had managed to destroy the strategic planet-based defenses all while defeating the Rha’ket’gar ground forces that guarded them.

Their actions had afforded the Khonian Space Command the opportunity to engage the Rha’ket’gar fleet unhindered by the fear of being destroyed from below by the planet’s powerful cannons.

After their pivotal win, the Saje could only be spectators as they watched from the planet’s sandy surface as the massive space battle ensued. At its end, Tue was back in the hands of the Khonians.

With the victory secured, the Khonian ground forces were cleared to return home. But before the Saje were to be released from conscription, they were ordered to remain on Tue and conduct the search for possible survivors around a few, deemed dangerous, Khonian crash sights.

When finished with their tasks, they believed they would finally be allowed to return home to Earth and their loved ones. Instead, they were betrayed by their military commander who carried out an executive order to bomb Tue with massive planet-killer bombs, leaving the Saje to die with the planet.

PART 1

SURVIVE

CHAPTER 1

1

As the horror of it all came flooding back, the fate of his friends, and the idea that he was alone, slowly sunk in.

Like him, most of them had been paralyzed by the burning grip of the Torch—the punishment of their captors—unable to move as the bombs rained down and detonated. Once the barrage had started, sand and wind kicked up in a frenzy making it impossible to see more than a few inches in front of him. He’d lost sight of everyone as they vanished in the sandstorm.

The only thing that saved him was—

At that thought, Jacob gathered his strength and slowly pushed himself up onto his knees. He paused and closed his eyes waiting as the light-headedness and pounding slowly eased.

In slow motion he looked down at his left hand that was still clamped shut. A chill swept through his body as he remembered what it held.

His fingers ached as he forced them open. Caked in dried blood was the metal node that had been firmly implanted in his skull. He started to shake looking at the two-inch chunk of bone still attached. It had taken every ounce of his augmented strength—nearly five times that of an average human—to snap it off. He half-raised his hand to the back of his head but quickly stopped at the thought of touching his brain. He needed to find a mirror. He slowly looked around his surroundings.

Now if he only knew where he was.

As he knelt there on the ground waiting for some form of inspiration for what to do next, his mind quickly wandered to home. They had been promised they would be taken back to Earth if they completed their assignments. I should have known better than to get my hopes up. At that thought, just the slightest bit of salty liquid gathered at the corners of his eyes.

As the possibility of never going home ebbed its way into his mind, despair settled over him and large tears slowly started to trace their way down his face. His heart ached as he thought of Sarah, his lovely girlfriend back on Earth, how much he wanted to see her and hold her, and how much he missed his family and his uncle.

Just the thought of his Uncle Roger calmed him. Huh … Uncle Roger … Uncle Roger would tell me to quit feeling sorry for myself … to keep my head up … identify the problem … come up with a plan … and to never give up. He rattled off his uncle’s often talked about list slowly in his mind.

He took several deep breaths and wiped the tears from his face. Alright Uncle Roger, he said out loud, the problem is that I don’t know where I am … my friends are missing … I don’t know if they are alive … I must find them … and we need to find a way home. I promised them that I would help get them home … and I want to come home. He slowly nodded his head up and down as he spoke. Now, if you don’t mind … help me come up with a plan!

It took him awhile to build up the courage, but he finally staggered to his feet and carefully reached out, his fingers searching, until he found a wall. He was still in his combat armor, minus the helmet, and he could feel the sand and grit in every crack and crevasse as he moved.

He got a determined look on his face. I know in the movies they are always saying ‘don’t go towards the light,’ but in this case …

Slowly he made his way down the wall, and as he got closer to the light, he could make out that he was in a metal-encased hallway. The green light was emanating from some sort of panel next to a shut door.

When he looked back the way he’d come, he could just see the outline of his helm lying on its side up against the wall. He went back for it and tried to turn on the heads-up display, but it just showed as a bright, grey screen. It did, however, provide him with a flashlight of sorts.

He held it up and looked around.

He was in a 50-foot hallway with closed doors on both ends, one up the slight incline where he thought his foot had been stuck. He went to take a closer look, and when he was within several feet of the door, a voice rang out.

Warning, there is a hull breach on the other side of this airlock. He nearly jumped out of his boots at the automated-sounding voice that crackled out into the room. His eyes darted to the ceiling looking for the source of the sound.

Do you wish to proceed? When it continued, he zeroed in on a small, coin-sized speaker hidden near the door.

No! he yelled out as he quickly backed away. He headed back to the other door with the flashing light mentally preparing himself for the warning. But, to his surprise, the door swished open with a soft, musical note.

On the other side, he found a large, lit room in disarray. It appeared to be some form of storage room for equipment—boxes and containers were strewn across the floor. This stuff was definitely Khonian due to its labeling, and it strengthened his surmise that he must be in one of their ships, one of those that had gone down during the battle for Tue.

He quickly looked around the room. He could see several oxygen masks over on the far wall and what looked like broken and scattered crates of various electrical parts to his left.

This could all be helpful, he murmured as he walked towards the large door on the other side.

It had only taken a moment of clarity to solidify the beginnings of a plan in his mind. First, he needed to figure out where he was since he had no solid clues. Second, he needed to search for his friends. He would not abandon them, and if he had survived, then he still had hope that they could too. Third, they would need to find a safe place, with food and water, to work from. And finally, they’d have to come up with a plan for the best options to get back to Earth and their families.

It was only the start of a plan, but just having one made him feel just a little bit better about the future. Now I just have to work on refining the details …

2

Jacob warily crept throughout the assorted rooms and hallways of the ship, stopping at every doorway that triggered an alarm—each time a melodic, seemingly recorded message rang out warning him of a hull breach on the other side.

As he went, he made a mental map of the limits of his surroundings and noted areas that contained supplies or equipment that might prove useful to him later. When he finished, his map consisted of the central engineering room and the seven rooms that surrounded it, all of which had an outside door that warned him of a hull breach. Eight rooms … either provided him safety … or that sealed his fate.

Jacob decided that the engineering, dining and storage rooms would have to be checked out in detail. After his survey, he discovered that the water supply was still working, but there was very little food stored in the dining room. He knew he would have to eventually go beyond his sealed area to look for survival supplies, but for now he would have to make do. Luckily the oxygen scrubbers seemed to be online, and from what he could tell, the ship retained enough of a power supply to last for quite a while.

He knew that he would have to take some time and figure out a way to familiarize himself with the systems in the engineering room. Maybe there’s a book or something, he thought as he busied himself through the first few hours.

The hallway where he had entered seemed to be a good enter-exit point, so he tackled it first cleaning and removing the debris. Figuring all this stuff out sure would be easier if I had some help, he muttered to himself. Besides he missed his friends greatly, and he had to see if Kent and Nicole or any of the other Saje were alive.

An hour later, Jacob sat himself down in the engineering room with two mirrors he’d found in storage. His hands shook as he tried to steel himself for what was next.

With one mirror attached to a wall and the other in his left hand, he tried to get the two mirrors to line up. Jacob found that moving his hands opposite of the way his brain told him to do was difficult. But eventually he was able to get a clear view of the back of his head where his hair was caked in dried blood and sand. Gingerly, he tried to dislodge some of the crusted mess with his fingers. After freeing several large chunks, he lifted up the hair to try and see his scalp.

What he saw made his empty stomach heave, and he quickly leaned against the wall to steady himself. There, sticking out of the back of his head were two dark grey, two-inch long wires.

With the very real threat of passing out, he got some water from the bathroom nearby and shakily dumped it over the back of his head. He continued pouring water over it until most of the grime had washed away. Then he looked again. Much to his relief, other than the wires, his scalp appeared to be healed. And when he probed the area around them, he was even more relieved to not find a soft spot.

In fact, the area felt just like the rest of his skull, and he was able to apply quite a lot of pressure with no pain. The Saje had thought that their program doctors were healing them all along, but in reality his body had seemingly healed itself.

They have a chance then! he half-yelled out loud and jumped in surprise at the sound of his own voice. Focused on the immediate situation, he hadn’t realized how quiet it had been without anyone else around.

If their bodies could truly continue to heal themselves, then maybe they could heal through the degenerative effects of the Torch and the oxygen-depleting planet killers. Just maybe, but for Jacob, he had to hope it was true.

3

If Jacob was going to have a shot at finding any of his friends alive, he knew he’d need to first fix his helmet. In its current condition, it was completely impossible to see out of. And although his re-breather appeared to be functioning correctly, if he couldn’t get the heads-up display to stop flickering and showing static on the screen he was sunk.

He went into the engineering room and looked around for something that he could use to clean up his helmet. That’s when he noticed a small, silver node sticking out of one of the many computer consoles against the wall—a node eerily similar to the one still tucked safely in the utility pouch on his gear belt.

On a whim, he grabbed the attachment cord of his helmet and, without really knowing what would happen, reached down and plugged in his helm. He watched hopefully as the console quickly came to life. Its large display screen first flashed a test prompt and then went dark and began to reboot.

The video chip associated with this helmet is damaged. A voice—high and thin—appeared to come from the console making Jacob jump.

He responded, almost as a reflex. Yeah and how do I fix that? he said half-joking.

You replace the video chip, came the mechanically-enhanced reply.

Umm… where do I find a new video chip? he asked, a bit more serious this time. It had to be some kind of computer system still functioning, he quickly surmised. Perhaps this could be a serious bit of luck.

The replacement video chips are in drawer 34-79.

Computer … where is drawer 34-79? A smile stole its way across his face as a short video flashed on the screen showing him both where he was at and where he had to go in the room to find the drawer.

Jacob followed its instructions and, sure enough, there in the specified location was the right numbered drawer with small boxes labeled in Khonian as replacement video chips.

Well, it’s worked so far, he thought as he walked back to the console.

With a little more confidence he tried again. Computer … how do I replace the video chip?

On the computer’s screen another video played showing step-by-step instructions on how to replace the chip in his helm. And within minutes—his helmet back on his head—he found himself looking out through a clear heads-up display, now working as intended. That is until he told the helmet to darken the visor. He never thought that having a node in his head that he could interface with things would be useful … until now.

Maybe he could find a workaround later, but right now he had things to do.

4

In one of the storage rooms he remembered seeing several of those hover tables—shaped like surfboards—that the program’s doctors had used for transporting supplies and the wounded. He found one strapped to a wall, pulled it off and put it on the ground. After several tries he still had no idea how to use it; so, on a whim, he carried it back to engineering.

Computer, what is this item?

An automated anti-gravity table, came the reply.

Computer … how do I use this table? Still novel, he was delighted as once again a short video played showing him how to use it.

His equipment seemed to work well enough for now, so he packed some water, supplies and several battery-operated warning beacons into his pack … it was now time to look for his friends.

5

Jacob returned to the hallway where he had first found himself, and after making sure that the first automated door was closed behind him, he walked toward the second one … the one that he knew would warn him of a hull breach.

I sure hope this works, he thought, as he tried to calm the small pings of nervousness that bounced around his stomach.

Warning, there is a hull breach on the other side of this airlock. The familiar warning rang out again. Do you wish to proceed?

He paused for a moment. He hadn’t made the connection before, but the automated voice sounded exactly like that other computer’s voice in engineering.

Yes, he said. And, as simple as that, the doors quietly swished open.

Immediately on the other side of the door was another large room. But this one was darker and in far worse shape than those behind the airlock. In its darkened state a heavy sand swirled throughout the room choking the air, coating the mounds of debris, and collecting in large piles several feet thick.

As he surveyed the damage, a brilliant flash of light nearly startled him right out of his armor. He glanced up from the floor, and there on the far side of the room was a humongous, gaping hole in the wall. And when he looked beyond the jagged maw, he could make out a pale, flickering light.

At some point I will have to find out what’s in here, he thought as he made his way towards the hole.

He worked his way upwards until he reached its edge and stopped. As he stood there, he once more found himself looking out at the strange world that was the planet Tue. And while his first view of the planet had been one of dismay, this time he was shocked by what he saw for very different reasons.

In the pale, dusky light the wind was blowing furiously, but the most jarring difference was that … it was raining. Not kind of raining, but huge drops of hard, pounding rain … rain that struck the ship’s side and bounced back up into the air. Every few moments, a dazzling display of lightning and thunder danced and roared around him as the Mother Nature of Tue put on quite a display of raw power.

Jacob remembered the leader of the Khonian Ground Forces, Prime Commander Truvey, saying it had not rained on Tue in several hundred years. But it was certainly raining now, and it was certainly raining hard.

He had to pry himself away from staring at the dramatic spectacle before him. Let’s go man, we’ve got ground to cover, he said as a not too distant memory of his Uncle Roger flashed through his mind.

6

The pounding rain had made the sand mushy, and as he stepped out and looked around his metal boots sunk several inches into it. This is going to slow things down a bit, he thought as he headed off.

He remembered one of his two second-in-command lieutenants, Nicole, saying that the ship she and her team had investigated had been just over a hill, so he thought he must have made it to there. The ship rested upright in a shallow valley, so he decided to venture up on the sandy hills that surrounded it and see if he could see in which direction he should go.

Man, the map and compass on my heads-up display sure would come in handy about now, he thought as he began the slow, arduous trudge up the nearest hill.

It took him over five hours to work his way almost three-quarters of the way around the ship, the anti-gravity table following quietly behind. He had started off to the hole’s right, walking towards the back of the ship all the way around the front, and was now almost back to the hole.

The crest of the hills had maintained a distance of anywhere from half a mile to two miles away, and he made sure to keep the ship in view at all times. The tops of the hills where he walked were a slippery mess that made travel slow even

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  • (3/5)
    This plot has been done before and done better, by David Weber in The Excalibur Alternative. Read that one instead of this one, or after, just for comparison.Under attack from physically superior foes, aliens abduct 400 Earthlings and enhance them physically and mentally. While also installing a pain device. Only 196 survive the process. Those that are left are expected to take out the invaders. And then, they're promised, they'll get to go home.The battles they face are small and they win, only to be betrayed. And there the book ends. While the book is long enough and the action engrossing enough to be a real book, the ending is a cliffhanger, no doubt about it.The book starts off very slowly, with individual histories for a few of the characters. I think they were unnecessary and dull, but as they're all that's keeping the characters from being cardboard cutouts, I suppose it works.I received an electronic copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
  • (3/5)
    I won this book in exchange for an honest review. This was a pretty good book. Not the type I usually go for but enjoyable non the less. Nice writing and great characters.