They fled their doomed star system long ago. Now the vessel that saved them might just save the human race.
Clair was one of the chosen—one of the select few genetically superior colonists that would be sent off to another world to insure the continuation of the human species. She was convinced there was a way to save more people, however, and determined to try. It was when she fled the program to find a way that she met the enigmatic Apollo and made a discovery she’d never expected.
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Clair’s restless movements took her to the window of her room once more. She’d grown hypersensitive about time, aware of every moment ticking past that took them another second closer to disaster and it made waiting for anything almost unbearable.
This time, however, she was momentarily distracted by light and movement beyond the city dome. She stared at the excavator/processor as it rumbled across the nearly featureless plane, sucking in moon dust and breaking down the components into the valuable elements that had made colonizing such a hostile environment desirable. For the space of a handful of moments, her mind was blessedly empty of the thoughts that usually plagued her, until the movement of the city centrifuge took her beyond the view that had caught her attention. Her mind snapped back, then, to the endless round of thoughts that beleaguered most of her waking moments and her sleep, as well, a great deal of the time.
In a very real sense, humans were like the proverbial plague of locusts, she thought, descending upon one place after another, sucking it dry of useable resources and then moving on to exploit fresh territory and turn it into a wasteland.
And yet, wasn’t the same true of any living thing? Consuming was the key to survival and each and every living thing pursued survival to the best of their ability and the cycle of reproduction so that their off-spring could do the same.
Having a superior intelligence than most other living things that shared their habitat did not elevate them above the same basic needs or remove the drive that had brought them so far as a species.
They didn’t deserve annihilation because they weren’t perfect.
That thought led her to the group calling themselves the Army of God, a group of religious zealots that had sprung up virtually overnight once word of impending disaster had gotten out. Instead of losing steam as the years of countdown rolled past, they had gained ground, gathered more and more supporters—become a very real threat to the survival of mankind.
To their mind, humanity did deserve extinction and they were determined to help God carry out his ‘cleansing’.
Anger and disgust and, loathe though she was to admit it, fear, slithered through her. If they truly believed in an all-powerful being, why did they think HE would need their help?
She wiped a hand across her face and smoothed her hair across her crown, as if by doing so she could peel the thoughts away and discard them. As she did so, the prongs around the stone in her ring snagged several hairs and plucked them from her scalp painfully.
“Ow! Damn it!” She glared at the ring and the half dozen auburn strands caught in it, disentangling the hair and then rubbing her stinging scalp. She didn’t know why she was still wearing the damned thing now that she knew it had never been the token of her parents’ affection that she’d believed it was.
But she did know why.
She couldn’t bring herself to sever all ties to the only life she’d known.
She’d told herself it would keep her focused. It would be a constant reminder of what needed to be done, but she didn’t need a reminder. She couldn’t sleep for thinking about the clock and the countdown.
Pushing that thought aside, she crossed to her computer and stood staring at the data she’d pulled up, trying to think what she could say when Mr. Chancy called—if he called.
“He’ll call,” she muttered. He had to. He was her last hope!
Published: November 2021
Word Count: 41, 733
Genre: Sci-Fi Romance multiple heroes
Available formats: Epub, PDF, RTF, HTML, Mobipocket (.prc)
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