Chapter Four is up! You can catch up on the previous chapter here:
When Carthage returned with the rest of his gear, Siobhan was still in her bedroom, trying to decide what to bring with her on the trip. She bid him to come in, so he stood at the doorway. She did a double-take when she saw his rifle, then went back to staging items on her bed.
“No problems out there?” she asked.
Carthage shook his head. “If Ludain went for help, there’s no indication yet. You’re not planning on trying to take all that stuff, are you?”
“No, I can only reasonably carry twenty-five pounds, so I’m choosing which things to take. Your rifle is a SCAR, right?”
“Yup. FN SCAR-H, seven-six-two. My pistol is a Beretta PX4, in forty-five, and I grabbed a spare from the ship. Have you worked on them before?”
Chapter three is up! You can catch up on the story starting here:
Siobhan had directed Carthage to fill two tumblers with scotch, and the man sipped slowly from his glass as she began her story.
“I was five when the Wave hit, so most of what I’m going to tell you is second-hand. There are persistent rumors of the true reason for colonizing Skye, other than the pedestrian explanation of manifest destiny. The most popular one involves wormholes and the concept of a galactic Lagrange Point. Do you know what those are?”
Carthage nodded. “Of course. Lagrange Points are spots of gravitational stability in a solar system.”
I’m on a roll! You can find the first part of the story here:
As soon as the woman looked at the hillside, Carthage knew he had screwed up. He swore to himself as he flipped the lens cover down over his rifle scope. It was a rookie mistake, but he might be able to forgive himself. The last day and a half had been a bizarre challenge.
It had started with Carthage dozing off around 3 am. In his ten years of military service, he had never fallen asleep when he wasn’t authorized. He would have sworn he was only asleep for five minutes, but the sun was rising when he awoke. He wasn’t even remotely tired when it happened. Such a lapse in the past could have gotten himself or his squad killed. Shaking off this previously unforgiveable offense, he returned to the ship to collect a few more things.
The prologue was previously published here, written in the first person. I’ve always written in the third person, and in this case I found first person too limiting. So, I rewrote it in the third person. That’s why I’m posting it again, but I also have the first chapter completed.
When Carthage stumbled onto the bridge, his heart was racing, but not because he was scared. He had to pry open the doors to get there, as they had apparently malfunctioned, and this effort was great in comparison to his quick sprint to the command center. The doors might have been trying to spare him the horror of that day, the stark reality of which was all too plain as he entered.
Carthage’s crewmates lay dead, their blood almost luminescent in the bluish glow of the well-lit bridge. The compact space left no room for imagination, though there was no doubt as to the manner of their demise. Holland stood at the helm station, his back turned toward him, and his right hand grasping a bloody bayonet. The weapon belonged to Carthage, obviously stolen from his quarters at some point in the recent past. His four friends must not have suspected any ill intent from Holland. And though Carthage was surprised as they must have been, he was at least fortunate enough to see it coming.
When I stumbled onto the bridge, my heart was racing, but not because I was scared. I had to pry open the doors to get there, as they had apparently malfunctioned, and this effort was great in comparison to my quick sprint to the command center. The doors might have been trying to spare me the horror of that day, the stark reality of which was all too plain as I entered.
My crewmates lay dead, their blood almost luminescent in the bluish glow of the well-lit bridge. The compact space left no room for imagination, though there was no doubt as to the manner of their demise. Holland stood at the helm station, his back turned toward me, and his right hand grasping a bloody bayonet. The weapon was mine, obviously stolen from my quarters at some point in the recent past. My four friends must not have suspected any ill intent from Holland. And though I was surprised as they must have been, I was at least fortunate enough to see it coming.
Here’s the second half of chapter 7. You can find the first half, as well as a link to the first six chapters, at the link below.
Martin Schultz puffed gently on the top of his favorite mug, and sipped carefully at the blackberry tea within. He set it down on his desk, picked up his ledger, and settled back into his high-backed leather chair. The office in the back of his jewelry store was cramped, but it was usually just himself using it. He had been there for several hours, and was unaware of the coolness of the evening air, so his ancient air conditioner dutifully spat out a stream of mostly cold air and condensation. If his wife was still alive, she might complain about him balancing the books so late into the night. The clock rolled over to 2am as he resumed his arithmetic, occasionally checking his math with a blue Texas Instruments calculator.
He became aware of a presence in his doorway. A man was standing there, pointing a Walther P88 pistol at him from the hip. He wore a black jacket and had a cropped, military style haircut. Martin barely acknowledged the man, though he was careful to keep his hands above the desk.
Here is the first half of Chapter 7 of Hard Stripes, the novel intended as a prequel to my existing science fiction series. As with The Fox and the Eagle, I’m dividing the story into episodes of about six chapters each. This post is the first half of the first chapter of Episode Two: The Stripening (placeholder title).
The first six chapters were previously posted here:
“I think we can do without these.”
Richter removed Kyrie’s handcuffs. The group had just arrived at a nearby safe house, a nondescript two-bedroom apartment on a quiet street in Mission Valley. They were waiting for the FBI to assign extra agents, as the CIA in the region couldn’t supply anyone as quickly. Lauren had taken Eva upstairs to get cleaned up, leaving the two men alone in the apparently bare kitchen. The room had light sage wallpaper and a linoleum tile floor, and smelled like it hadn’t been used in a long time. Wearily, they sat down at a table, lapsing into silence for moments. Kyrie willed himself to stand back up.
“Thank you for extending me your trust again,” he said, heading for the sink.
Richter set aside the duffel bag he was carrying. “Just do me a favor and don’t disappear on me tonight. I still want a career in the CIA after tomorrow.”