For those of you that have been waiting for two years for this book, I hope the wait will be worth it. I am committed to releasing the third book much much sooner. And I believe I am in a good place where I can pull that off.
If you haven't been waiting and are instead asking, "What? There is a first book?" Yes, there is. It is available for sale now. "Arbor Colony"
To give you a bit of a head start, this is the first chapter:
James deserved whatever he got. Melody waited for him. He was a central part of her plan. So much would depend on her pulling off the ambush.
Shooting James was going to be the easy part. James had killed Terrance. So no matter what his reasons or what it had cost him, shooting James was not something she was having second thoughts about.
Terrance had been infected with a spore from the forest and that had disrupted the colony. Many had died as the colony tried to correct and remove the infection of Terrance and other colonists. But James had murdered Terrance. Melody would have no trouble shooting James.
Melody watched the shadows grow as she waited in the progressing evening. When Kevin had suggested this location Melody hadn’t realized how perfect this spot would be. The normal structure and layout of colony basecamps had been altered for some reason to form a double diamond pattern. This forced a couple of chokepoints where people had to walk to get from one area to another. Melody had no idea why the colony planners had made this choice, but it made her plan for an ambush that much easier.
Melody switched hands for a moment to allow her to wipe her hand on her coveralls and loosen her grip. Terrance was dead, and everyone accepted that Melody would want to harm James. She kept going over the plan in her head and couldn’t help but worry that she had missed something important. Missed something that would make the situation worse than it was.
The colony had been following the normal established pattern until Terrance had been infected with the spore. The infection had spread to a few dozen other colonists but then had stopped. Melody was unclear as to all of the events that followed, but it seemed that the colonists had fought a civil war over what to do with the spore-infected people. And in the end, Terrance had been killed. Murdered.
The shadow that covered her hiding place grew deeper as the sun moved closer to the horizon. The trees of the great forest that covered the planet began to be silhouetted and cast their own shadows across the clearing where the colony was laid out. From where Melody waited it looked as if the darkened shadow arms of the trees reached out and embraced the colony.
Melody loosened her grip again. Then it happened. Or at least it started.
Someone shouted fire and people started to run past her position. They had to, she was facing the chokepoint. She smelled a whiff of smoke and knew that this must be the distraction. James should come into view soon.
Melody readied herself. She was only going to get one shot at this before she had to run for it. One chance at revenge so she had to make this shot count.
She saw Kevin come out of a building. James was with him. James moved as if to run toward the fire like everyone else. Kevin grabbed his arm and said something to him pointing in the other direction.
James turned and stopped moving for a moment and Kevin stepped out of the line of fire. This was the moment.
The spore that James now carried gave him enormous recuperative powers. It had taken a lot to kill Terrance. It would take just as much to kill James.
Melody aimed as his chest. The targetter of the needle gun indicated this was a shot through the heart. This would not be fatal for him. He would just heal.
Melody shifted her aim to his head. No matter how tough it made him a head shot would be fatal. No one would blame her for taking this shot and taking James out. He had earned this.
Melody shifted her aim back to his chest. Her plan didn’t require her to kill James. Putting a hole in his chest would be seen as at attempt to kill James by anyone hearing about it. She didn’t have to kill him.
Melody shifted her aim back to his head. Killing James would feel good right not. Nothing would bring Terrance back but that didn’t mean Melody didn’t want revenge.
Melody shifted her aim back to his chest. Then back to his head. Then his chest.
In a moment he would begin to move and her chance would be lost. She had to fire now. James began to turn back toward her.
Melody and fired. James dropped. Melody tossed her weapon as she ran.
In all of the confusion, no one stopped to question a running woman among all of the other running people. Only Kevin had witnessed her shooting James, and he had been in on the plan.
Melody had an escape plan. She ran through the colony with a purpose. For this next part, she needed to reach the edge of the colony where the forest began without being captured.
Melody had been stuck up on the starship when Terrance had been infected with the spore. The following quarantine had prevented her from joining him. But after studying the layout of the colony with Kevin she navigated the streets of the colony like she knew them well.
Kevin followed her. He yelled for people to stop her. Someone stood and blocked her way and she bowled right into them. Knocking them both down, then rolling back to her feet to continue her escape.
Kevin was closing behind her. She heard the zipping sound of a taser fire past her. She dodged around a building. No cover for her now until she reached the edge of the forest where she had left her skimmer. Melody tried to sprint this last leg of her escape route but her legs were at their limit of speed and endurance.
A figure rose in front of her. It held a long rifle. It aimed and fired three times. Each shot flew past her and ricochet off of the building she had dodged around.
“Halt!” Kevin yelled from the behind her. He was at the corner but had not continued to follow into the gunfire.
“Stay where you are and you won’t be harmed.” The figure said. Melody recognized the voice, Byron from engineering. That made sense that he would be one of her pursuers. But Melody had to put that out of her mind at this moment.
Melody ran past Byron and into the tree line. Byron fired a couple of more shots at the building and then followed her.
“Where is my skimmer?” Melody said turning to Byron as he caught up to her.
This had to work.