My next book, the epic sci fi tale “The Stark Divide”, releases on 10/10 and is available for preorder now. Here’s an excerpt from the third part of the book:
Davian climbed inside the little Moonjumper, and Eddy followed him, closing the door behind him and sealing it.
They ran through the preflight check Eddy had written out for them. Not that they could do much about it if things didn’t check out.
They knocked things off their improvised checklist, with Eddy calling things off one by one.
“Confirm cabin pressure.”
“Test ventilation system.”
“Test fire propulsion system.”
Davian turned to stare at him. “Hell if I know.”
That summed up the state of things nicely.
“Powering up.” Davian brought the auxiliary jets online. They would boost the jumper up into the air, and then the x-drive would kick in.
Should kick in. He said a little prayer to whatever deities might be listening.
The power came on across the control screen. Then with a spark, it went out again.
“Crap.” Davian tried to power the jumper off and back on, but nothing happened.
“I’m going out to take a look.” Eddy unlatched his belt and unsealed the hatch. He eased himself out of the tight space between the seats and squeezed around the side of the jumper to open the fuse panel.
Sure enough, one of the main fuses had blown.
“It’s a fuse,” he called back. “I’ve got another in the cavern. Be right back.”
Eddy jumped to the ground and jogged back inside the cavern that had been their home these last few days. He rummaged through his old toolbox, looking for the fuse. He’d brought extras of whatever he could manage, just in case. He found it near the bottom.
Next to it was a half-empty tube of readygel. Which was strange, because he didn’t remember buying it. Or using it. Eddy shrugged. Maybe Davian had needed it for something.
He grabbed the fuse and ran back out to the Moonjumper. After pulling out the old one, he threw it away and popped in the new fuse, twisting it in to make contact.
He took one more “last” breath of air and made his way back around to the hatch.
A kuripa drone was cruising through the valley below them.
Eddy climbed back inside the Moonjumper as quickly as he was able and pulled the door shut. “Trouble. Drone.”
Davian nodded. He powered up the little makeshift craft, and this time the power stayed on.
Maybe they’d be lucky. Maybe it wouldn’t notice them. Maybe they’d better get their asses in gear.
“Give me some thrust!”
Davian engaged the rocket, and the Moonjumper jerked into the air, rising quickly up from the truck below them, sending the old Ford careening down the mountainside. No other way out now. Five, ten, fifteen feet… they needed at least thirty before he could safely engage the x-drive.
Davian peered out through the wraparound window.
The drone had turned toward them. It was speeding in their direction, and as he watched, something detached from its nose, streaking at them on a burst of flame.
Twenty feet. Twenty-two. Twenty-four.
The missile was speeding toward them. They weren’t gonna make it.
“We have to engage the drive now.”
“It’s too soon!” Eddy’s hand hovered over the drive button.
“If we wait any longer, it will be too late!” Davian slammed
Eddy’s hand down on the button, and the x-drive lit up, shining a golden glow throughout the cabin.
The craft lurched to the side, slipping away from the missile as it rushed though the air where they had just been. The missile slammed into the mountainside, throwing up an explosion of dust and debris that showered down on the little craft like hail, filling the cabin with clatter.
“Goddammit!” Eddy fought to control the craft. The ship spun toward the mountainside.
He fired one of the lateral jets, pushing them away and shooting them back toward the approaching drone.
The drone was almost on top of them, one of its laser turrets rising out of its side to target them.
Now or never, indeed.
He punched the liftoff rocket, using up precious fuel but thrusting them above the threshold.
The laser strafed the side of the Moonjumper, but only just, and then they were going up, up, up, rising quickly on a tide of antigravity.
The drone tried to follow, but they were already ascending too fast through the atmosphere, passing through white fluffy clouds.
They were going to make it. “We’re gonna live,” he said in wonder. We fucking did it.
Eddy ignored Davian’s surly tone.
He let go of the controls and let himself float in his seat as the Moonjumper’s x-drive dragged them up toward the stars.