Sneak Peak: Second Wave

The betas are putting the finishing touches on destroying the next Amargosa novel, Second Wave. The goal is to have it out in January, just in time for you to blow those Amazon gift cards on all my stuff. So here now is a sneak peak. After the jump.



JT Austin stood on a rock overhang at the entrance to the Founders Mine where he had lived for almost a week now. An automatic rifle hung at his side, carelessly held one-handed as he stared east into the sunset. The sky above had turned deep purple with a riot of red and orange hugging the distant horizon.

“Watcha watching?,” said a female voice.

JT turned to see a small slender girl, dark-skinned and maybe two years younger than him, climbing up the rock toward him. He waved with his free hand. “Good evening, Davra. Are you on guard duty tonight? Or getting claustrophobic?”

“Why can’t it be both?” she said. “A girl’s gotta have options, you know.”

JT laughed. “We seem to have so few these days.” As soon as the words came out of his mouth, he realized how old he sounded. He was having a hard time believing he had only turned sixteen two weeks ago. Or was it three? Time had started to lose its meaning as the resistance spent its time underground. “I don’t even know why I’m up here. The Gelt don’t like the mountains, and we haven’t seen hide nor hair of Kray since he fled.”

“Someone’s gotta keep watch,” said Davra. “What if lycanths come looking for food?”

“Let them eat Gelt.”

The two laughed. However, a low rumbling sound cut that laughter short. They looked up, and saw the familiar shape of a Gelt Colonial transport dimly lit by the fading sunlight. The leading edge of the giant saucer glowed red, probably from the heat of reentry. They could see flame, and even smoke trailing from various sections of the saucer. The giant craft roared overhead and toward a mountain range to the northwest. JT and Davra watched it for several minutes in silence. The kilometer-wide vessel appeared to shrink as it crossed the sky, then exploded when it hit a distant mountain. The fireball made it look like a volcanic eruption.

“Holy shit,” said JT. “What did that?”

“It looks like it was attacked,” said Davra. “But who would attack the Gelt? Unless…”

Before either of them could continue, they heard another roar. They spun and saw another ship in the sky. This one had a shape familiar to JT. Someone once described it to him as looking like a blue water fleet aircraft carrier. Like the saucer, this one glowed red. Also like the saucer, this one trailed fire and smoke.

And debris.

“That,” said JT, “is a Woodrow Wilson-class cruiser. The Compact must be trying to take back Amargosa.”

“We’re saved?” Said Davra.

“Well, that ship doesn’t look like it’s saving us. In fact…” JT stopped, noticing the debris trailing from the ship was falling. He also noticed the ship’s path would take it directly overhead. Often the distance, he could see bright yellow pieces of ship falling into the central plains. When they hit, fires flared up, sometimes with something on the ground exploding. “Um…”

“Shouldn’t we had back inside?” Said Davra.

JT did not wait to respond. He started charging back down the rock to the compound entrance. “Come on! You don’t want to get hit by that stuff.” At the mine entrance, he waited for Davra to catch up. Keying the lock that restricted access to the Founders Mine, he got the door open and pushed Davra through just as debris started falling inside the mine’s closed off entry yard. It sounded like a cross between a hailstorm in an artillery barrage until the door closed behind them.

Inside, JT and Davra met Major Quan, who did not look pleased to see them inside.

“Ship overhead coming out of orbit, said JT, out of breath. “Trailing debris. It’s one of ours.”

“And we saw a Colonial transport crash in the mountains northwest of here,” said Davra. “Maybe we’re saved.”

Quan looked at JT, smiling a humorless smile. “Does this mean I’m finally rid of you?”

“It means I’m taking back my cabin,” said JT. “As long as I can be a hermit up there, yes, you are rid of me.”

Quan frowned. “I was kind of hoping you’d leave the planet.”

“That does not sound like a bad idea, Quan. I’ve had enough of Amargosa to last me a lifetime.”