Saturday, October 29, 2016

Elite Dangerous Guardians - The Beluga

The new Beluga
This post is about the game Elite Dangerous, the successor to Elite, which was the best space game in the 1990's, imo.

And the new update.

A few things before I address the Passenger aspects. I'm not Elite in any category, though I'm a Tycoon in Trading, so I'm close. Exploring I'm a Ranger, but I don't know where that ranks.  In Combat - well, I need practice, and at least I'm no longer harmless.. In Close-Quarters-Combat (CQC) I need a lot of improvement.

I have Sidewinders scattered throughout the galaxy, since I played before we could bookmark stations - and that's okay because bookmarks get messy pretty quickly. They should let me make bookmark folders - that would be cool.

My favorite trick to earn credits was to take my Asp out to Sothis and Ceos and shuttle back and forth with half a dozen missions for 10-20K credits. When a good cargo mission showed up, I'd grab it and when I had 10-15 MILLION credits of missions back into normal space, off I'd go. Worked pretty well. I amassed enough credits to get the T7 transport and even tried the T9. I didn't take the T9 to Sothis because it flew like a .... well, a huge brick. I almost broke my joystick doing turns.

Those easy days of millions of credits are over. Sothis and Ceos missions are worth almost nothing, which is a little crazy since getting back to civilization is 400+ light-years, but economic times are hard. Even in a game.

So we move on. I thought I'd try the Beluga and do PASSENGER missions.

I outfitted this fine juggernaut with some Luxury Cabins and looked for good bookings. You know, luxury passengers, like in real life, I suppose, just aren't everywhere. I did find one and took her on her personal tour of the galaxy.

The first leg of the journey was about 160 ly, or 10 jumps in my new whale. (The ship is actually pretty responsive, and i should have stripped down more internals to get greater jump range, but I grabbed too many cabins and added an extra fuel tank. No guns though.) I had to go to a Visitor Beacon in a system I didn't know. When I arrived I immediately saw the beacon, after I scanned the system. So I dropped out of space and stared at the Beacon. I even ran into it, at a rather high rate of speed. I don't recommend that, as it took down two of my three shield rings. What was I supposed to do with this thing. My Passenger didn't give me a clue! So I researched and found nothing. It just isn't clear what to do. For those with the same problem:

TARGET THE VISITOR BEACON AND IT SCANS AND YOU GET CREDIT.
There it is. You're welcome.

The next two systems I couldn't find the Visitor's Beacon. Even with the best System Scanner, I still had to fly close to it to discover it. That frustrated me.

During one refueling I clipped another ship exiting the dock. Of course I did! I'm a whale! Not only did I get a fine, but my passenger registered displeasure. At one point she demanded some grain, so I stopped and bought some. To be fair, her personality profile said she was "demanding" and I guess that means you have to make stops and buy things.

Really,during one interdiction I was ready to give them my passenger. Let them deal with her.

Anyway, after the final beacon search and scan I took her back to SOL and it was 29 jumps away.I won's do passengers again, or at least not luxury ones. Honestly, just too much trouble for too little reward. I'll outfit another ship to carry cargo passengers and make some money that way.

So there's the saga. The Visitor Beacons annoyed me. The Passenger annoyed me. The Interdictions annoyed me a little, but I expected those. The Beluga? Nice ship. I'm trading it in and might try an Orca. Or go back to my new Python.

Or go looking for Biological Entities on the Planets! That might be fun.

Cmdr Stonewalker

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Hunting August Moon - Chapter 28

Chapter 28
Maddie had no idea how long she was unconscious, but the sounds of yelling had been going on for a while, and there didn't seem to be an end to it yet. The handcuffs chaffed her wrists, and she felt something tied around her ankles. At least the floor had soft carpet.
"So I don't see you for months and you bring some floozy into our home? Our home, Sam!" The voice was definitely a woman. Maddie peeked at her from under closed lids.
The woman was pretty, perhaps even beautiful, with shoulder-length brown hair cascading over the white blouse she wore. She was barefoot, appeared slim and athletic - and she glared at Sam with dark oval eyes blazing with fury. As Maddie peeked at her, she pushed Sam and he stumbled backward across the room, almost losing his footing. Maddie closed her eyes again, resisting the urge to chuckle.
"She isn't a floozy." Sam recovered from the push and held both hands up, palms out toward the woman.
"Oh, great! So what? You're planning to replace me now? You've been gone for months, Sam. Months! I have to fend off these goons all the time around here. I defend you when they say you took off for good!" She pointed to Maddie. "And you bring her home the first night?"
"The Doc said he'd watch out for you, Agnes…" Sam moved toward her, his arms open to embrace her.
Agnes moved away from Sam, backing up to the couch. "Oh, right! The Doc made sure someone watched me, Sam. I found a way out of town, by the way, but I didn't leave, Sam. I waited for you. And what do you do? Bring some bimbo back with you…"
Sam shook his head, his eyes pleading. "Agnes. Baby. She's not a bimbo…"
Agnes snorted in a short laugh. "Really? So that's the outfit that passes for classy in the wilderness, some Daisy Duke thing? 'Cuz I'm telling you right now, Sam, I won't be caught dead in shorts that short, no matter what you say. That maid outfit was one thing, but this…" She turned her back on Sam and crossed her arms.
Sam wisely didn't move forward. "Please. Please let me explain."
Agnes walked to a small table and jerked a vase from it. She spun to face Sam."And she was draped over you like butter on popcorn, Sam. So talk fast because I have another vase here and I'm inclined to use it and disappear forever." A low growl emanated from her throat.
"She had this gun thing held against my side…"
Agnes threw the lamp and Sam dodged it. It crashed with a loud noise against the far wall. "A gun thing?" Agnes held a small device out at eye level. "This little clicking thing here, Sam?" She pressed the end of it a few times, a sharp clicking noise coming from it. "I'm not sure what this is for, Sam, but I'm pretty sure it isn't to hurt you. And it wasn't the only thing she was pressing against you, either…"
Sam pulled out a dining chair and collapsed into it. "You're right," he said.
Agnes stared at him. "What?"
Sam's sad face looked at the carpeted floor. "You're right. I handled the entire thing wrong. I shouldn't have kidnapped her. It was a stupid idea."
Agnes nodded, her eyebrows knit together in concentration. "You're right, I'm right. You shouldn't have kidnapped her. You shouldn't have kidnapped any woman."
"And I certainly shouldn't have brought her here," Sam continued.
Agnes moved closer to Sam. "You're right. You shouldn't have."
Sam looked at her. "You're my one and only, Agnes. I still do stupid things sometimes." As Agnes started to frown, Sam raised his hands. "Oh, never that! I wouldn't dream of having anything to do with another woman that way, honey. I needed her as bait to lure the guy the Doc wants. Then the Doc will let us leave."
Agnes moved forward and knelt on the carpet in front of Sam, putting her head on his knees. "You're right, Baby. You shouldn't have done those things, but you're sweet to do them for us."
"That's the only reason I do anything, honey, is for us," Sam said. He leaned down to kiss the top of Agnes's head."No other woman means anything to me."
"Oh, please!" Maddie's voice broke the spell. "That's not what you said last night, Sam."
~oo~

Next chapter, next Wednesday.
buy the book on Amazon
Author commentary on Chapter

Visit my Author website

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Hunting August Moon - Chapter 27

Chapter 27
August sat back from the table and smiled at Holden. "Thanks, Holden. It's nice to camp in the wilds again, but there is great pleasure in a soft bed, a hot shower and a clean set of clothes."
Holden smiled back and started to speak when the door to the room flew open. August was on his feet in an instant, his pistol in his hand pointing at the newcomer.
"August!" Hemanth, clean-shaven, newly washed and wearing clean clothes walked into the room. His feet were still bare. He wrapped his thin arms around the bigger man, squeezing him, tears leaking from his eyes. "You could have killed me, August. You didn't, though. You saved me. You saved us all." Hemanth stood back and looked up at the bemused giant. "I can never repay you for that."
Frank, wearing a white doctor coat, stood grinning behind Hemanth. "We think it works using a receptor in the brain stem. We developed a drug that blocks that receptor temporarily. We don't know how long it lasts," Frank looked at Hemanth, "but it gives us a cure of sorts."
Hemanth couldn't stop grinning. "Whatever it takes, guys. I'm glad to be back. I'm glad we have a workable solution."
"We'll need to keep you confined until we understand how the drug works on you, what kind of dosages you need to maintain." Frank wrote on a tablet computer with a stylus. "We can make pills for you to take, too. The shot I gave you should work for at least half a day, but we need to keep some records." He looked at Holden. "We already have teams loading the drug into tranquilizer guns."
They sat down, Hemanth running his hands down the smooth sides of his glass of water. "You guys have no idea how beautiful this is." He drank deeply, smiling.
"None of us can ever repay you, August." Holden grinned at the big man. "We'll get our people back, and our skills will be available again." The smile dimmed. "We'll still miss the ones who died, of course, but you saved our community. In fact, considering the work we do, you might have saved humanity."
August frowned. "Well, that's a little much, Holden, but thanks. Let's not spread that around. That's a heavy burden to carry."
Holden grinned at him. "Okay." He paused. "By the way, we did fix the radio last night, but we can't contact Selah Ranch."
August raised his eyebrows. "I thought Jed would be expecting your call." He shook his head. "Even if the radio broke since I left, which I doubt, Sam should have been able to fix it."
"Sam?" Hemanth sat straight in his chair. Holden and Frank looked at each other, clearly upset. "Dark hair? About my height? Multi-talented? That Sam?"
"Yeah," August looked at them. "Great scavenger. World traveler. That Sam." August shrugged. "What's the problem?"
Holden cleared his throat, staring at Hemanth. "We think he was the source of the virus that infected us."
"Sam? The source of the virus? How's that possible?" August stared at Holden.
"We think he's an asymptomatic carrier."
A low growl came from Hemanth and his eyes shone darkly. "More than think. I was in bed, sick, just before he disappeared. He came by, patted me on the shoulder, and said 'Call it the W Virus.' Then he leaned down, whispered in my ear, and grinned at me. He grinned at me! And he said 'It makes werewolves.'"
They looked at Hemanth, watching his chest rise and fall rapidly.
"Are you okay, Hemanth?" Frank pulled a syringe of clear liquid from the large pocket of his white coat, preparing to inject Hemanth.
Hemanth swallowed hard, and visibly shook as he struggled to control his breathing. "Yes," he said, his voice cracking. "Don't make me angry. You wouldn't like me when I'm angry." He grinned at Frank. "It's a good thing anger doesn't trigger a relapse, isn't it?" Hemanth took a deep breath. "But it might weaken the control or something. I could feel myself changing…"
Frank put a cuff around Hemanth's arm. "Let me check your blood pressure and pulse. We should get a blood sample, too."
Hemanth agreed. "Yeah. Okay." He looked at August. "If Sam is in Selah Ranch, you have some trouble, August."
August stood up. "I'd love to stay and help you round up your people, Holden, but Hemanth is right. I need to head back." He turned to Frank. "I'll need some things from you, too, Frank." Looking back at Holden, August added, "It's a three-day hike if I go at speed, unless you can loan me your cycle."
"Loan it to you? August, it's yours, with our greatest thanks." Holden stood up and shook August's hand, then leaned in and gave him a one-armed hug.
August hugged him, stepped back and smiled. "Awesome," he said.
Thirty minutes later August drove out the gates, headed for Highway 25 and Selah Ranch.
~oo~

Next chapter, next Wednesday.
buy the book on Amazon
Author commentary on Chapter

Visit my Author website

Monday, October 17, 2016

A Cabin in the Woods



Things I learned in a cabin in the woods
  1. I like air conditioning. Eighty-seven degrees is still hot, even when your cabin is over water and under trees. I'm just not a pioneer.
  2. I like technology. When I signed up for the cabin, it clearly stated they had no television and no phone. Darling and I have cell phones, so that's no problem. Except it is. There's no service in this little cabin in the piney woods.
  3. I like my internet. I use it to watch television. Yeah, that goes with point #2.
  4. I'm not a big fan of walking around in nature. The cabins are immersed in nature. Alligators in the water, bugs in the room, sweat in my eyes. You get the idea. Nature is everywhere, and it isn't my friend. Much of it seems to want to eat me.
  5. A comfortable bed is rare. Darling and I have a nice house. Over the years we refined our living so that it is very comfortable. Basically, our home is more comfortable than any place we can rent.
  6. Food is a problem. When you're in the woods, you are far away from eateries. I don't mind that, except we don't really want to ferry in the supplies we need to make delicious, nutritious meals on the stove in the cabin. So we eat sandwiches or at the restaurant on site. They had a marvelous seafood buffet on Friday, and we both went to bed bloated with fried food in our bellies. We didn't sleep well.
  7. I should bring something to whittle. I did bring my current book and worked on that some. (There was a book on whittling and carving on the mantel of the fireplace. How amazing is that?)


The most important lesson I learned in the cabin in the piney woods: as long as I'm with Darling, I'm okay. We can sit on the little swing and take pictures of alligators and look for birds and talk about nothing. Or we can tap into the wi-fi on site and watch Netflix movies and laugh together.

Or we can just go home, where we are more comfortable.

And we don't have alligators.


Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Hunting August Moon - Chapter 26

Chapter 26
"Wake up, Sam." Maddie swatted Sam in the back of the head.
The lights of Vegas shone bright in the near distance.
"What?" Sam muttered, opening his eyes.
"I don't know how you can sleep in that seat and handcuffed like that," Maddie said. "You sleep like a rock."
"Yeah, it's a skill." Sam stretched as best he could in the passenger seat. "It's a side effect of being a werewolf. I mentioned that. After a nap like that, though, I can go a long time without sleeping. Quite a useful ability." Sam grimaced and licked his dry lips. "Could I get a drink of water, please?"
Maddie lifted a canteen from the back seat and unscrewed the top. "Tilt your head back." Sam did so and Maddie poured water into his mouth.
Sam swallowed as Maddie took a drink also. "Thanks," he said.
Maddie put the canteen behind the seat. "Where do I go?"
Sam smiled. "Yeah, that part is a bit tricky. You see, I live in one of the apartments in the Bellagio, so getting into my place unseen might be a problem."
"I thought it might be something like that. On the other hand, you're a lady's man around town, aren't you, Sam?" asked Maddie.
Sam grinned. "Well, sure but I don't see what that has to do with anything."
"Here's the drill. I'm your date. We're drunk and you're taking me back to your place for a fun evening. If anyone talks to you, wave them off with a wink and a witty rejoinder. That should get us into your place."
Sam sat looking at the lights. "Yeah," he admitted, "that might work, but you don't look like the kind of girl I usually bring home."
"I thought of that. I can make my clothes a little more attractive. It'll be a pretty girl/combat Jane sort of thing. Will that work for you?"
Sam chuckled. "Sort of a, what was that game? A Lara Croft thing?"
Maddie nodded. "Exactly."
Sam's eyes glinted. "Well, this will be worth seeing." He shrugged. "It's a good plan."
Maddie smiled and shook her head at him. "Holy smokes, Sam. I can read your mind. You're thinking you'll bide your time and use your greater speed and strength to take me out before we get there." The look in Sam's eyes dimmed. "But here's the deal." Maddie lifted a small device from the back seat. "Before I woke you, I put together this little baby. It will fire two bullets at the same time, sort of a mini-derringer. I'll have it wedged against your chest. If you ease the pressure in the front of the barrel, the pins connect and the bullets fire. If you do something to me, I release the pressure against your side, blowing a hole in you."
Sam's face darkened. "So a homemade deadman's switch zip-gun?" He bit his lower lip. "You are clever. But what if it fails? What if it blows up or something?"
Maddie shrugged. "I lose a finger or two. You lose a lot more. Let's hope that doesn't happen, Sam."
~
Maddie cut her combat pants short, the bottoms of the pockets clearly showing. They created a combat-tramp look when she put her boots back on. She tore the sleeves from her shirt and unbuttoned it halfway down her bare chest, tying it securely above her navel. With a glance at Sam, she knew she succeeded in the right look. She growled at him. "Now take me to where we can park this thing unseen and walk to your home, Sam."
Sam's eyes glinted as he looked at her. Maddie strapped the pistol back on and pulled it from its holster, holding it against Sam's head. His eyes widened. "If you can't get me to your place for the antidote, Sam, then you're not useful to me and I'm wasting time with you. I'd rather be back with Jed in that case."
Sam gulped, his Adam's apple riding up and down. "Yeah, I can get you in the back lot. The gate is permanently down. We can use Frank Sinatra Drive. It comes around the back of the Bellagio. He doesn't guard roads, just buildings."
Maddie holstered the pistol and smiled sweetly. "If we don't park unseen, Sam, I plan to shoot you and leave. Is that clear to you?"
"Abundantly. Don't you think the gun is a little much for your disguise though?"
Maddie looked at him, a dangerous glint in her eyes. "You'll be living a bit on the wild side tonight, Sam, so you'd better sell it if you need to. I'd rather you didn't need to..."
An hour later the buggy was parked in the back lot of the Bellagio. Las Vegas was no longer a party city; now at three in the morning the town was quiet. Fountains no longer danced to loud music. There was a feel of unreality to the night as Maddie walked around and pushed her derringer into Sam's side. He heard and felt a sharp click and he sat very, very still.
"Easy, now, Sam. Get up nice and slow." She clumsily unlocked one cuff and handed him the key. "Undo the other handcuff and slide those into my back pocket. Call it decoration, if you like."
Sam did so, chuckling. "You're such a tease," he muttered. They moved toward the back doors of the Bellagio. "I'm on the fifteenth floor, a Tower Suite," Sam said.
Maddie smiled at him and leaned closer, whispering in his ear. "Am I supposed to be impressed?" The cold metal barrel felt hard against Sam's ribs. He tried to ignore it.
"Well, it's a big deal. The more highly the Doctor values you, the higher up you are."
"So how tall is the Bellagio, Sam?" Maddie whispered.
Sam paused, his voice quiet. "Oh. Well, thirty-six floors."
"Well, then there are eleven floors of people above you, aren't there, Sam?" Maddie chuckled.
"Nice, Maddie. Real nice." Sam approached the back door and knocked. The metal barrel jammed more tightly in his side, Maddie hanging on him to hide the device.
Sweat rolled into Sam's eyes and he wiped it away with his sleeve. "What? It's locked and guarded, Maddie. There's no other way in..."
The door swung open and a huge man stood inside, emanating violence. Maddie sensed the vampire in him. He looked at her oddly then looked at Sam, who staggered a little and squinted up at the big man.
"Sam?" The big guy crossed his arms, but didn't move from the door.
"A'lo Lawrenshe. Lawrensh. Lawrennch." Sam slurred his words and poked the big man in the chest with his right forefinger. "You know whatcher name is, right?"
Lawrence sighed deeply and looked down at Sam, cocking an eyebrow at his view of Maddie and her outfit. "Yes, Sam. I thought you were on Doctor business. I haven't seen you in months."
Sam struggled to stand straighter, managing to fail miserably and slouch closer to Maddie. "Thish ish Doctor biznush, Lawrensh. One hunnerd percent Doctor biznush." He poked the big guy harder. "An' it ish my job, my privilesh to take thish lady to searsh her from top to bottom. And I musht do it shoon, so pleash standsh ashide."
Lawrence pointed at the gun on Maddie's hip. "What about that?"
Sam's hand traveled across Maddie's hip as she clung to him. He patted her a few times, then his fingers touched the pistol. He felt a sharp pain in his ribs. Sam grinned up at Lawrence. "Ish mine, of coursh." He winked at the big man. "She likesh to wear it."
Lawrence moved from the doorway, a frown on his face. "I suppose I should tell you that Agnes is looking for you."
"Well, she wilsh she me shoon, after I finish witsh the Doctor biznush." Sam staggered forward, Maddie tight against him, her eyes half closed and smiling stupidly at Lawrence.
As they entered the elevator Maddie leaned close to Sam's ear. "Nice job, Sam."
"A lot of practice," he muttered back.
On the fifteenth floor Sam walked to one of the large wooden doors. "This is it," he said. "I need my keys to open the door."
"Back pocket, where you put them, Sam." Maddie leaned into him as he reached into her back pocket, squeezing her butt as he pulled the keys out.
Maddie pressed the barrel up against his side, pushing hard, eyes angry.
"What?" Sam grinned as he found the key and unlocked the door. "Simply playing the part."
"A little too well, Sam."
Sweat trickled down Sam's hairline as he opened the door, Maddie draped on him. He dropped the key ring on a small table and kicked the door closed. "Okay," he said loudly, "we're here. We're alone, so you don't have to jam that thing into my side anymore."
Maddie looked at him, her eyebrows furrowed as they moved forward into the lavish apartment. "Hey, keep the volume down, Sam. What's with you anyway?"
Sam looked over Maddie's shoulder, his eyes wide in terror. "No!" Sam wrapped his arms around Maddie and held her against him tightly as the vase crashed into the back of her head. As Maddie slumped to the floor, Sam heard a sharp click. He closed his eyes, waiting for the bullets to crash through his ribs and shred his heart.
~oo~

Next chapter, next Wednesday.
buy the book on Amazon
Author commentary on Chapter

Visit my Author website

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Hunting August Moon - Chapter 25

Chapter 25
Hemanth circled August, his dark eyes narrowed and drool dripping from the corner of his mouth. Steam rose from his nostrils as he breathed in and out, his bare chest rising and falling in a broken rhythm. August moved toward his weapons and crouched down to pick up his pistol with his left hand. Hemanth howled again, this time following it with deep coughing sounds, like sharp barks.
The sounds echoed behind August, not far away. August sighed and looked at Hemanth. "Listen, Hemanth. I don't want to fight you and your buddies. I sure don't want to kill anyone." He switched hands, putting the pistol in his right. "Can you understand me, Hemanth? At all?"
The creature's face twitched. He showed no signs of understanding, but snuffled and coughed again.
August sighed and slipped the pistol in his belt and the knife in his sheath. Crouching deeply he jumped straight up, grabbing a branch and hauling himself into the tree, climbing rapidly.
Hemanth leaped forward, grabbing for August's receding feet and missing. He scrabbled at the tree, climbing after the big man.
"So you have the sharper claws, but you're still human enough to climb," August muttered. As Hemanth drew close to him, August shook his head. "Sorry, buddy." His booted foot kicked out and landed on top of Hemanth's head, knocking him loose from the tree. He dropped to the ground and slowly got back up, looking at August. Short snuffling sounds came from his mouth.
A cry of pain came from the forest, followed by another. "Those would be my traps, Hemanth." August didn't smile. "Please tell them to leave. If you can understand anything, please tell them not to do this."
Four more people from Fort Collins appeared, three men and a dark-haired woman. One of the men had a gash across his thigh, fresh blood flowing down his leg. What little clothing they had was in tatters, though knots in the woman's shirt indicated she had some periods of lucidity, times when she tried to be more human than animal.
"Damn it." August shouted down to the five creatures prowling around and looking at him. "Dan? Is that you? Fight it, man."
One of the men looked up at August and snarled, his bald head gleaming dully from the coals still glowing in the fire pit. A small scar ran from the corner of his mouth to the middle of his jaw line. The woman climbed the tree toward August and he kicked her back down. She landed on her back and Dan and one of the other creatures started climbing the tree.
"So, you might still know your name, at least well enough to respond to it. And you can use some strategy, crude as it is." August felt the anger well up inside him, a slow burning sensation in the pit of his stomach. "Well," he muttered, "this won't be good." His boot caught Dan on the top of his bald pate but he didn't fall. Grabbing the branch above him, August bent his knee and sent a vicious kick to the other werewolf, who fell from the tree, bones cracking.
"Hemanth! Dan! If you have any sense, you'll leave right now." August pulled his knife from the sheath and cut through a branch as thick as his arm, trimming the smaller branches from it rapidly. He kicked Dan again. This time Dan fell, but jumped back up growling.
August's head started pounding and the anger made his vision swim with red. "Enough!" he shouted, a roar in the tops of the trees, overwhelming the growling noises made by the wolf-men below him. He slipped his knife back in his sheath and dropped down to a lower branch, the short wooden club now in his left hand.
The creatures looked at him and growled, while one of the men and the woman tried to climb the short distance to August.
They didn't need to.
August yelled, a primal sound of fury and rage and dropped the ten feet to the ground, his feet apart and his right fist touching the earth. The scream from his lungs erupted again as he swung the club catching Hemanth on his left shoulder and propelling him into a nearby tree. He didn't get back up.
With a giant hand, August lifted the woman-creature by the throat and threw her into Dan, sending them to the side of the clearing in a tangled heap. His club caught one of the others on the side of the head, crushing his skull. August grabbed the bloody corpse by the ankle and swung it like a doll at the final standing creature, catching him in the chest and knocking him five feet into the bushes.
The yell erupted from August's throat again, his fury pushing him toward his enemies. The club caught Dan in his right arm as he stood up. Dan's yelp of pain eclipsed the sound of a bone cracking. Sensing the danger, Dan ran into the trees, followed by the woman. The man who flew into the bushes scrambled away. August screamed again, the prehistoric sound erupting from his throat like an avalanche. He advanced toward the prone body of Hemanth, who now struggled to sit up. August raised the club with his left hand, his eyes blazing.
"August?" Hemanth's voice was a whisper, his eyes clear as he stared at the club moving toward his skull. At the last second the club moved to the side, slamming into the tree and shattering into a thousand shards of wood.
August stood looking at Hemanth, the fire in his eyes cooling, the anger seeping from his chest. He looked at the dead body on the ground. August sank to his knees.
"August? Are you okay?" Hemanth's voice was quiet as he pulled himself to his feet. His hand touched August's quaking shoulder.
"We'll get you to Holden, Hemanth. We'll convince him to find a cure for you and the others." August sighed, a heavy, deep sigh that shook his entire body. "I'm sorry for your friend. I didn't intend to kill anyone..."
"What...what happened to you, August?" Hemanth asked in a whisper, as he looked at the tossed earth around the campsite.
"You're not the only monsters to walk the Earth, Hemanth."
~oo~

Next chapter, next Wednesday.
buy the book on Amazon
Author commentary on Chapter

Visit my Author website