This is the beginning of my new novel, the one inspired by the commenters on Sarah Hoyt's weblog, http://www.accordingtohoyt.com/">According to Hoyt. It was a great party, and a nice free-for-all. This novel is the payback...
I'm looking for a title. I've had several come to mind, but they just don't seem right. I'm open to suggestions.
I've listed the table of contents to give everyone an idea of what's in the book. I'm currently writing Chapter 11. Several chapter titles have changed since I wrote the outline, and several more may change before I'm finished. That's not unusual -- no outline ever survives the awakening of the characters.
of Contents ii
1: Breakout 4
2: First Kill 19
3: Uprising! 29
4: Multiplication 49
5: ...and Division 75
6: Theft and Desertion 95
7: Swarm! 116
8: Growing Pains 128
9: Feast 145
10 . . . and Famine 164
11: Reprieve 184
12: Rainy Season 202
13: Summer? 203
14: Rescue 204
THE AUTHOR 219
book is dedicated:
the memory of Ric Locke, an author whose story ended too soon;
Sarah A. Hoyt, who has openly accepted the battle of tutoring many new
authors, and helping us all in the development of our writing skills;
from June 23rd,
2012. That free-for-all resulted in the idea for this book. Thank
you, the members of that event. Here's the final result. I hope you
enjoy the ride as we have an adventure together.
book is a work of fiction. The characters, locale, and activities
are solely from the imagination of the author, and do not reflect any
real people, places, or actions. Any
resemblance to people, places, or things, past, present or future, is
2012, by Michael A. Weatherford and Weatherford Enterprises. All
picked herself up off the floor of her small second-class cabin, and
started to get back into bed. She hadn't felt anything except
landing on the floor. As she pulled back the thin blanket, the ship
lurched a second time. She managed to put her hand out in time to
keep her from being slammed head-first into the bulkhead wall.
isn't right,” she thought as
she turned over and sat down on the bed. “Something has
to be wrong. What's going on?”
AND OFF-DUTY CREW, PLEASE STRAP IN FOR MANEUVERING. I REPEAT, ALL
PASSENGERS AND OFF-DUTY CREW, PLEASE STRAP IN FOR MANEUVERING.
PASSENGERS NOT IN THEIR STATEROOMS MUST RETURN THERE IMMEDIATELY.
STAND BY FOR MANEUVERING.”
The message was
repeated over and over. A shiver of fear ran up Gayle's back as she
lay down on her bed and fastened the straps that would hold her in
place during any maneuvering the ship would do. Frightened, she lay
back on the pillow of her bed and closed her eyes.
She had no idea
how long she'd lain there when she heard a blaring alarm shriek
throughout the ship. Moments later, the ship began bucking and
shaking, threatening to toss her from her bed once more. She reached
out and tried to steady herself with her hands, but with little
The alarm, and the
bucking and shaking, went on and on – how long, she couldn't tell.
Suddenly there was a massive jolt, followed by a different shake, one
that lasted for several long seconds. When the shaking ended, the
ship was absolutely still.
REMAIN IN YOUR STATEROOMS. REPEAT, ALL PASSENGERS REMAIN IN YOUR
STATEROOMS AND STRAPPED DOWN. WE MUST DO SOME ADDITIONAL
MANEUVERING. THIS MANEUVERING MAY CAUSE PERSONAL INJURY IF YOU ARE
NOT FIRMLY SECURED.”
had a very different – and ominous – sound to it – different
than all the others she'd heard during the five days of her current
voyage, or any of the other three voyages she remembered taking.
Significantly frightened, she continued to brace herself against the
walls and ceiling of her sleeping booth.
wasn't so much frightening as confusing. She could feel she ship
moving, especially as its rear swung around as if the ship was
pivoting into a parking gate. There was also a low-pitched vibration
– not quite a sound, but a slight, rhythmic shaking. The shaking
continued for about three minutes, then all movement stopped.
PASSENGERS AND CREW – PREPARE TO DISEMBARK. DRESS WARMLY, AND TAKE
AS MUCH OF YOUR POSSESSIONS WITH YOU AS YOU CAN CARRY. YOU MAY NOT
BE ALLOWED BACK ABOARD THE SHIP TO RETRIEVE ANYTHING YOU LEAVE
BEHIND. DO NOT SPEND TOO MUCH TIME PACKING, BUT TAKE EVERYTHING YOU
CAN WITH YOU. YOU MAY ALSO TAKE ANY LINEN OR OTHER ITEMS FROM YOUR
CABIN THAT YOU CAN CARRY. NEITHER CREW MEMBERS NOR PORTERS WILL BE
AVAILABLE TO ASSIST YOU. YOU MUST DO THIS YOURSELF. PLEASE PREPARE
TO EXIT AS SOON AS POSSIBLE.”
passengers weren't allowed much in the way of luggage, and Gayle had
little to pack. She quickly dressed and stowed everything she owned
in her one small bag. She grabbed the blanket from her bed, both the
clean and dirty linen from the small sanitary unit, and the tissue
box from the fold-out nightstand next to her sleeping booth, and
shoved everything but the blanket into her backpack with her passport
and tickets. She tied the blanket around her waist, slung her
backpack over her shoulder, and picked up her suitcase. She was
ready to leave before the announcement had been repeated three times.
outside her small stateroom was in chaos. Many of those traveling
second-class were parents with young children. The Hans, in a larger
stateroom across the hall from hers, had four children. Two of them
were in the hall, crying, holding tightly to their mother's hand.
Gayle said, kneeling down beside the two small children. “What's
the matter, hon?”
really know the family, but they'd seen enough of each other in the
hallway, in the second-class dining facility, and elsewhere to be on
speaking terms. Marie was the next-to-youngest, barely four years
old, and obviously the most upset.
“Can you take
her outside with you, Gayle?” Mrs. Han asked. “Tom is getting
the luggage, and the two boys can handle themselves, but I could use
Gayle responded. “Come with me, Marie. Let's go see what all the
fuss is about.”
It was hard making
progress. People and luggage filled the hallway everywhere. Slowly
they made their way to the main cross-hall that led to the closest
passenger loading doors. Marie kept looking back to try to see her
parents, but that was impossible over the mass of people.
Gayle silently led
Marie through the dozens of corridors that wound through the ship
toward the stairs that would lead to the ground below. Crew members
were directing everyone toward the few open exits, all on the right
side of the ship. Finally they arrived at the airlock.
“Here we are,
Marie. Now we can see where we landed,” Gayle said as they stepped
into the open airlock.
What lay beyond
the doors shocked her into immobility. She had expected a terminal
building and docking facilities. Instead, there were miles and miles
of trees on low rolling hills, with snow-covered mountains in the
near distance. The wind was cool, but not cold. The air was full of
definitely not what she'd expected.