The first couple of chapters from book two are below. Get it by clicking the links below.
The lights on the bridge had gone out. Sirens wailed and screeched. Red flashing lights highlighted dangers on multiple levels. The eerie red glow they cast over Saoirse’s face didn’t inspire much hope in Phoenix.
“What have we got?” Phoenix shouted over the sirens.
Saoirse’s reply was inaudible.
“It doesn’t look good! The engine readings are off the charts. Shields are down–” The words were snatched out of Saoirse’s mouth as the ship launched everyone off their feet. Saoirse wiped blood from her forehead before dragging herself back to the ship’s controls. “Because of the lack of power, we don’t have any shields to protect us from this asteroid field. If we don’t land soon we will be ripped apart!”
“I’m too young to die,” Plowstow cried.
“Can we make it to the planet?” Phoenix asked.
“Make it, yes. Land safely, no,” said Saoirse.
“Fucking wonderful. Just fucking wonderful! I have been on a total of three spaceship rides, and two of them have crash-landed.” Phoenix stabbed a button next to the wall beside him, turning on the ship’s coms. “L, how’s engineering looking?”
Phoenix could feel a ball of tension growing in his stomach as he received nothing but static on the other end of the line.
“I heard you the first time!” L’s voice crackled through the system.
“How do you think it’s going? I’m ankle deep in oil and ship coolant. I don’t know how this heap of junk is staying aloft.”
“Well, that’s reassuring,” said Phoenix.
“We’re nearing the planet’s atmosphere. How much time can she give us?” Saoirse asked.
“L, Saoirse wants to know how much time–” Another unseen object slammed against the ship, and Phoenix grabbed the wall to steady himself. “L! Saoirse wants to know how much time we have!”
Static answered Phoenix’s question. He looked over to Saoirse, whose face had paled.
“Phoenix…we…are…” The words came scattered through the static, like a flock of pigeons trying to take flight.
“We are what, L?”
“We’re going down,” she said.
* * *
The force of the ship entering the atmosphere threatened to tear off the ship’s outer hull, as well as Phoenix’s own skin. “I can’t believe this shit is happening again!” said Phoenix.
“At least you have a seat this time,” said Saoirse.
“Funny.” Phoenix gripped the armrest of his chair, his fingers digging into the material.
Knuckles turned white. Heads pressed flat against seats.
The ship bucked like a bull at a rodeo, wanting to veer off course. It jerked right to left, left to right, unsure what direction it wanted to head in, trying to find a way out of its misery.
Phoenix gritted his teeth as he felt the force of the Gs pull against his skin. His stomach lurched, threatening to spill its contents from both ends. Smoke billowed from one of the main consoles, and Phoenix brought his foot up to stomp out the small fire.
“Whose idea was it to come here, anyway?” Plowstow asked.
“Saoirse, can you make the landing?” Phoenix asked, ignoring Plowstow.
“I can–” Saoirse jerked the flight controls and the ship made a hard left. Sweat and blood coated her brow. She stared at the viewing panel in front of her. Jaw set firm, she appeared to be having a battle with the ship itself–willing it to stay on course, keeping it there with nothing but sheer willpower and stubbornness. “I can try,” she finally replied.
“We ain’t gonna make–”
“Plowstow! Shut up!”
Phoenix leaned forward in his chair, pressing the button that enabled him to communicate with the whole ship.
“Everyone listen up! This is your captain speaking.”
Saoirse raised one eyebrow as she gave Phoenix a sideways look.
“I always wanted to say that. Anyway… We are going to be landing shortly, on this beautiful home planet of L’s. I want everyone to brace themselves. Make sure all objects are safely secured and tucked away. On behalf of me and my crew, I would like–”
“Phoenix!” Saoirse and Plowstow both yelled.
Phoenix looked toward the viewing screen and his breath was snatched from his lungs. There was nothing but brown as far as the eye could see. It was everywhere–rolling hills and mountains of the stuff.
No other feature dominated the planet so much. There was no green. There was no blue. There was nothing in between. It was just brown.
Phoenix realised something almost too late. The brown mass was getting larger and larger by the second. It was coming at them fast. Too fast.
“Working on it.”
As Saoirse pulled and jerked the controls to and fro, anyone with half an eye could see it was a losing battle. There was nothing she could do.
The ship’s nose pointed downwards, and everyone grabbed hold of whatever they could, beginning to lift from their seats. The descent was too fast, too uncontrollable.
As flames danced along the metal nose the ship twisted and turned, speeding towards the scenery below.
Phoenix could see it coming, and there wasn’t a thing in the world that he could do. “Brown. Shit!”