A tragic collision. Twelve lives lost. The wreckage of a history-making space vessel lies scattered across the moon's surface. Captain Ben Wildes, the pioneer of Saturn, and a rising star in the Earth Space Defense force, is found negligent after a deeply politicized trial. A year later, Ben receives a surprising opportunity to redeem his suspended career. He's provisionally reinstated to investigate the fate of a missing commercial space mining vessel last reported an area that's perilously close to a sensitive territorial line.
The incident requires a careful, firsthand investigation. Corroboration of an attack could easily breach long-standing treaties between two superpowers, which would lead to war. As the mission unfolds, Ben uncovers shocking secrets with alarming ramifications, and quickly learns that chasing redemption is far more perilous than he ever anticipated. Reviews from Goodreads. One had just turned gray.
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Audra wondered if she too would fade away, like this dying specter in the woods. Audra stopped, closed her eyes, and reminded herself who was to blame. Lysent had created this virus. For what reason, she still did not understand, but she would make sure that it ultimately hurt them in the same way.
Sebastopol Vikings chasing redemption
They would be torn apart, searching for relief, food, and shelter. And then they would fade away into the grayness until it was just a dim spot in their history. Audra stepped off the zom and twisted him up to kneeling before helping him to his feet. Audra was caught off guard and off balance as a yank pulled her in. She looked up into a wide-open mouth, and fought to keep her eyes from rolling back in response to the emanating smell. She regained her balance and swung forward and away before he could master his depth perception.
Audra shook the funk off and increased the clearance between her and her captive. Minty decay. Finding a rhythm, they started to the laboratory. Walking through the forest with a zom with no name was not as exciting as it sounded. Names and the nicknames she derived from them made the zoms seem more personable and her days less lonely. She looked at his opposite combover. Should she, uh, put it back? Audra wished she could remember the name of someone in past culture with a combover. Not in her lifetime.
She could tell a lot by the tautness of the rope, the sway of it, the fetor and noise. Something was different. She turned around then immediately diverted her eyes. She spotted a split tree and led her fellow to it. Pulling his arms through the opening, she wrapped her rope back around the tree and behind him. Audra pulled up his pants and tried to tighten his belt, which crumbled in her hands.
She pulled out a rope from her bag and tied them up. Beyond her bodily-fluid soaked zom, she noticed another smell — the distinct smell of burning rubber. Audra shimmied up a thin pine, the bark scraping her hands.
Not the highest view, but she could verify that the scent on the breeze was from miles away. The thick, dark plume rose in the distance, near the highway, probably on the highway. A car fire? Audra tried to rack her brain for a reason an abandoned car would catch fire on its own, but she knew there had to be a person behind it.
Her community was deep in the woods and hard to find.
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Most people who left the highway followed the well-maintained train tracks. What was first just a laboratory attacked by Lysent had now become a home. They had even named it. If by naming it, you meant they started calling it by the name on the industrial park sign. Osprey Point. Most of these survivors were not initially survivors.
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They were cured infected. She looked down at her bound prize. Curly here would be their newest member. Audra came down and grabbed a handful of the acorns from the neighboring tree. She put them in her bag along with the other found food. The sun was no longer climbing. They would not make it before dark. That was fine. While Audra felt safe at Osprey Point, she figured the less involved she appeared, the less likely Lysent would hurt the community to reach her.
To appease her friends, she left some things there and claimed a bed-thing. She regularly returned.
But still she spent more nights out in the woods in her pop-up tent than in the confines of the fences, and ate most of her meals by a small grate over a fire rather than in the mess hall. She was still out in the woods, capturing zoms, just for a different community. She stayed to keep an eye on Lysent and wait for her chance to destroy them.
Once Lysent was shut down with no chance of resurrection, and Greenly was dead for all the things she had done, then Audra would leave. She slapped at one. She and her zom together emitted that much more carbon dioxide to draw the buggers. Audra pulled on a long-sleeve shirt and wrapped a cloth around her neck, despite the warm late summer.
One bit the high of her cheek. They were insatiable today. She muddied her face.