Thursday, August 16, 2018
An Excerpt from The Maker Book 3 in the Lone Wolf series by Dellani Oakes
Book 3 in the Lone Wolf series. The small Shakazhan Force has already withstood enemy attacks and anticipates more. Knowing they aren't strong enough to withstand a concerted attack, they hope for reinforcements, but aren't quite prepared for those who respond.
Ben sat quietly, thinking along lines he had never ventured down before. It was a little like doing recon in a dark swamp, in the fog, but he was slogging through. He had latched onto a comment made in passing and he was working on that idea slowly, deliberately, like Marc playing a game of What If.
"You're awfully quiet," Matilda sounded concerned.
"I was just thinking about what you said about the string and getting back to Becky."
"It was a story, Ben, written thousands of years ago."
"I know that, but it's given me an idea. Remember how your dad did that thing with the Trimagnite finders, to locate Iyundo when the High Elder disappeared it? He said he got the idea when Patsy was talking about playing with mirrors, right?"
They waited to see where he was going with this.
"Well, the thread and Becky is what gave me the idea. We can't follow a string back, exactly, but maybe a string could come to us?"
"I still don't get your direction on this," Wil muttered.
"We know that Marc and Becky have their rings, linked by their AI's," Ben said.
"Yes, so do we. It didn't help us find Matilda."
Ben shook his head. "I don't know, maybe it did. Think about it, would we have pressed the balloon idea if Grandma hadn't nagged the ever loving shit out of you for twenty-four hours?"
Wil chuckled. "No, we would have trashed it after about five minutes. It seemed too ridiculous."
"But it worked. Also, you didn't have two telepaths, the Maker and a whole butt load of raw Trimagnite to boost your signal. Marc, you have Matilda and me to work with you. We do something similar like we did to reach Ysilvalov, and we try like hell to contact Becky or the Elders. Worth a try, right?"
Wil stared at his son, amazed and proud. "Damn, Ben, you have a good idea there!"
Matilda looked around at the three men whom she loved the most in her entire life. "That's what I like about this family, creative thinkers." Giggling, she stood with difficulty.
"You okay, babe?" Wil supported her.
"I need to go the the bathroom, Wil. I'm fine."
"Again? You just went five minutes ago."
"And I'll probably go again in five more minutes. Try having an eight pound weight on your bladder and see how you feel!" Playfully smacking his hand away, she walked to the bathroom.
Wil followed her with his eyes, worry all over his face. "I don't know how we're going to get her out of here safely. She can't walk all that way, it could take months. Based on what we saw of the indigenous life around here, it's dangerous as hell. We have no weapons, no food and no water. The suits are good for a week, but we could be a lot longer than that. Hell, we could walk for years and never get back. I think we can find our way out of here all right. I have my doubts about finding our way home."
"We might find a teleporter," Marc suggested.
"And risk that with a pregnant woman?" Wil shook his head adamantly. "If it were just the three of us, I'd say fuck it and run for the roses. We can't do that with Matilda, not with the baby—" His voice trailed off as she came out of the bathroom.
"You've been talking about me, I can see it all over your faces." Smiling, she sat heavily by Wil. "You don't look happy. I thought we had a plan. We do have a plan, don't we?"
"Yes, of sorts. But, Matilda, think about it for a moment. This is a big planet, who knows how deep we are. Maybe the shaft is our best approach. We could be wandering around for days, weeks or years with no way out! I can't risk that."
"You mean you can't do it with a fat lady in tow." Her eyes sparked dangerously.
"No, Matilda, that isn't what I mean and you know it."
"I'd slow you down, I get that. Do you think I don't realize what a liability I am right now? If I weren't pregnant, we could run out of here and never look back."
Wil took both her hands in his, their rings gliding over one another. Lowering his voice, he spoke calmly.
"What I'm saying is that you and Mariah are too precious to risk in this place. Even without the baby, I wouldn't risk you in this environment. The shaft is really our best bet."
"I won't go back in that shaft, Wil. I'm sorry. No, I'm not sorry! I'm being irrational, I know, but we nearly died in there! I won't go back!"
© Dellani Oakes 2018
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