The first couple of chapters from book three are below. Get it by clicking the links below.
Trex peered over his glasses and sighed at the screen. He took a sip from his glass and shook his head. His fingers resumed punching codes and numbers into a floating data pad in front of his face. He scowled once again at the message that the screen displayed.
Bold red letters flashed irritatingly on the screen, mocking his attempts.
He pinched the bridge of his nose, closed his eyes and let out a sigh. His fingers flew across the data pad as he tried once more, but the outcome was still the same. The red letters appeared to be bolder this time, louder in their mockery of him.
“Argh! This is getting us nowhere!” Trex shouted in frustration.
His colleagues lifted their heads from behind their screens, spread around the room. A few buried their heads deeper into the work they were trying to do. Screen shots of planets littered the walls of the room along with graphs–some with numbers scrawled across them and others with red crosses slashed through them.
“What do you expect?” asked Bill, who sat next to him.
“I didn’t expect it to be this hard. I mean, the job was simple enough. The job itself is easy. But we can’t do anything if the Council are watching our every step. He does know that, doesn’t he? We weren’t all blessed with a powerful father,” said Trex.
“Trex!” Bill said with a glare.
“Oh, what? Don’t give me that. Everyone in there is thinking the same thing. Everyone knows what a pain he can be. Everyone else is just too cowardly to say it.”
Murmurs swept through the room like the rustling of leaves.
“Oh, shut up! I’m still the head researcher in this facility, and if anyone so much as breathes about what is spoken in this room, I will know it has come from one of you. You think what we do here is dangerous because the Council may find out?” said Trex, his glare sweeping the room. “Just let me to go back to Holger empty-handed and I’ll show you dangerous. What the Council might do will pale in comparison to what he will do to us. To our families–”
“Trex, this won’t help morale–”
“I don’t care if it helps morale or not. All I care about is getting results. Results will allow us to go back to our families. This planet needs to be found. I can’t stall him any longer.” Trex breathed out a heavy sigh as he once again pinched the bridge of his nose. He picked up the papers scattered across his desk and, giving them another passing glance, threw them into the air.
He turned in his chair and took in his colleagues. Each one sat in front of a screen and a data pad similar to his. Everyone who had been turned his way now ducked down behind their monitors, furrowed brows adorning every face.
Trex pushed his horn-rimmed glasses back up the bridge of his nose and found Bill still looking his way. “What?”
“Why do you bother with those ridiculous things on your face? I mean do they even have a function?” Bill asked.
“When I visited the planet known as Earth, people who were vision impaired wore them.”
“That still doesn’t answer my question. Plus, you are not vision impaired. The surgery for corrective eyesight is hardly expensive,” said Bill.
“It’s something called fashion. I know the concept is a hard one for you to–”
A high-pitched wail filled the room and echoed through the surrounding halls. Trex shot up from his chair, knocking it to the floor. Faces turned to him in confusion.
“That’s the security alarm,” said Bill.
“I know very well what it is, you incompetent halfwit. What I want to know is why it is going off. The guards aren’t running another systems drill, are they?”
Bill looked at him and offered a small shrug.
“Oh, for goodness’ sake! Why do I even keep you around?” Trex marched towards the holocom embedded in the wall and said, “What is the meaning of this? We are not scheduled for another security drill any time this month. This won’t do! We are doing important work here! Work that must not be interrupted–”
Three explosions shook the room and knocked everyone off their feet. The overhead lights blinked out and were replaced with the dim glow of the emergency ones. Screens fell off desks and smashed on the floor.
Trex began to make his way to his feet, but he was once again knocked to the ground as another explosion shook the building. His colleagues’ screams of pain and fright bounced from wall to wall.
Trex stayed on his hands and knees and surveyed the room. Blood oozed from a wound on one woman’s scalp. Others tried to stem the bleeding, but even from where he crouched, Trex could see that they were losing the battle.
“Shut up, all of you! This is not a drill,” Trex said, crawling towards his desk on his hands and knees.
“What do you think is happening?” Bill asked.
“As you well know, Bill, I’m not psychic, so I don’t know.”
“Do you think it could be pirates?
“No. All the major players have been paid off, and the ones that haven’t been aren’t big enough to worry about. Plus they wouldn’t dare–they know who this lab belongs to.”
Gunshots could be heard in the distance, hinting at things to come. Screams came from outside the lab, silencing the ones inside it. No one spoke, and everyone looked at each other with wide-eyed stares.
“Trex, what shall we do?” Bill asked.
“I’ll tell you what we won’t do–we won’t panic. That’s what we won’t do. Keep calm, everyone. I mean, I mean… This… This. I’m sure everything is under control. I’m sure that the guards are dealing with the perpetrators as we speak. There is nothing to worry about, absolutely–”
“Trex, I don’t think–”
“Didn’t I tell you not to worry, Bill!” Trex’s head snapped left to right, his eyes darting to the only exit in the room. “Quiet! We mustn’t make a racket. Look, you see, we’ll be alright; the metal shutters are coming down.”
With a jerk and a start, the metal shutters sealed the only entrance and exit to the lab. They met the floor with a final slam that any casket would be proud to make. The windows were covered by metal, and the faint glow from the overhead lights cast long shadows on everyone’s face.
“See, everything is going to be all right. I told you, didn’t I? I told you that all this needless worrying would get you nowhere. We have food and water capsules in here that will last us weeks–till help arrives.”
A knocking came from the metal shutters. It was faint; no one would’ve heard it, if a tortured silence hadn’t been ruling inside the lab.
Heads turned and people glanced at each other in shocked silence. Trex licked his lips, pulling at the collar of his shirt.
The knocking came again; three deliberate taps.
Trex placed his fingers to his lips and crawled backwards, away from the metal shutters. His hands left wet imprints on the stone floor. His back touched a wooden desk behind him, and he yelped in surprise, bringing his hand up to smother the sound.
Three taps rang out for the third time.
“We know you’re in there! Come out, come out!” sang a voice from outside of the metal shutters.
The sound came again.
Everyone held their breath inside the lab, sitting in silence, waiting for something to happen. Waiting for something to come out from the shadows.
“We know you’re in there! Open up! Trust me, if you don’t you’re not going to like what’s about to happen…”
Beating hearts pounded against chests but nobody broke the silence.
“They can’t get in,” mouthed Trex.
The metal shutters shook and rattled but held tight. Everyone breathed a collective sigh of relief, but it was short lived as the metal exploded inwards. Shrapnel flew in all directions, merely injuring the lucky and killing those closest to the shutters.
Trex held his breath until the smoke cleared and the debris settled to the floor. Coughs could be heard all around him, and he covered his mouth with his hands.
A black male, with a bone earring in one ear, strode through the hole. He stood in the centre of the lab and cast a disappointed gaze over the scene. “All this could have been avoided,” he said, waving a hand at the dead and wounded. “It’s a shame it had to end this way. I would like to say you’re all innocent parties in this, but we know that isn’t true, don’t we? We all know what you’ve been doing here.”
A midnight-blue female walked through the hole, accompanied by a green brute who was all of seven feet tall. They both folded their arms across their chests.
“Now, I will take all the data you’ve researched and gathered for Holger, and you’d better make it fast,” said the black male.
“And why would we do that?” Trex asked.
“Because if you don’t, you have…oh…” He looked at his wrist and gave a shake of his head. “Five minutes before this place blows up. And seeing as we are blocking the only way out of here, I suggest that you start gathering that data.”
“No matter where you go, he will find out who you are. He will come for you,” said Trex.
With a laugh that boomed through the room, the man shook his head and said, “Tell Holger that Phoenix Jones is coming for him.”