The place: Sun-Earth Lagrange Point L1, 1.5 million kilometers above the surface of the Earth.
The objective: Survive.
Sixteen-year-old Drusilla Zhao lives in the Hub, a space station used by the Chinese-American Alliance as a base to exploit Luna’s resources. Desperate to break free of the Alliance, a terrorist group from the Moon destroys the space elevator, space’s highway to Earth. In a flash, Dru’s parents are dead and she is cut off from her girlfriend Sarah on Earth.
The Alliance declares war against the Moon, conscripting Dru and all the youth of the Hub. Dru is forced to become a soldier fighting in the lethal vacuum of space. Can Dru survive lunar terrorist attacks and find her way home to Sarah?
Publisher: Thinking Ink Press
The year: 2068
The place: The war-torn and ecologically devastated Earth.
The objective: Survive.
Sixteen-year-old Drusilla Zhao has done the impossible and escaped the meat grinder of space warfare alive. Now she and her only remaining comrade, Jillian, are about to be rotated right back into the firing line, and away from Dru’s love, Sarah.
Publishers Weekly calls Lunar Cycle Book 1 “Appealingly reminiscent of an updated Heinlein juvenile, it’s a story of wartime bravery, principles, and self-sacrifice.”
California, North American Economic Zone
T-Minus L-Day: 141
Happy endings were supposed to be a hell of a lot easier than this kōngtóu zhīpiào. I had been on Earth for a whole twenty-four hours and in all those seconds of all those minutes of all those hours, I had gotten to kiss the love my life a grand total of once.
Jillian stood next to me, her back leaning against the wall as she looked out at the vast sweep of Edwards Air Force Base. When I looked out at it, it just made me feel queasy and impatient and claustrophobic in a way that I had never felt before. I didn’t even need to move my eyes to splash the images all over the wallpaper of my brain: the three or so buildings the size of entire habitation blocks, the kilometer and then some of blackened tarmac that sucked up heat like a sink, and spread through it all the real reason why I was here and not with Sarah.
The troops. Specifically, the ten thousand or so troops that used Edwards Air Force Base as a way of getting to the next leg of their various deployments. Huge cargo hauling VTOLs landed and lifted off, while suborbital streakers burned hard to slow down and let off troops. Their uniforms spanned a spectrum of military minutia I’d never seen before, like looking through the world’s shittiest spectrometer. In space, the officer pool had been decidedly shallow, with maybe three lieutenants before General Lau. Down here, I saw every single rank that I had been forced to memorize during Basic: Gunnery Sergeants, Staff Sergeants, Second Lieutenants, First Lieutenants, Colonels, Majors, and Captains. It was a relief from the endless stream of PFCs and Corporals and Areos, like sunspots breaking up the eye scorching brightness of the sun.
Most of the Earthers were kitted out differently from Spacer soldiers, too. No laser weaponry, no bounce in their steps, no breathers and enclosed helmets. The enlisted pukes had slugthrowers on their backs, while the officers tended to be unarmed and glittery with medals, but they all trudged along, looking …
Actually, most of them didn’t look that unhappy. For most of them, this was a life they had chosen. A comfortable life with good pay, free medical coverage, honor and prestige. A life that I could have—something that fascinated and repelled me at the same time.
I wished they were unhappy. It’d be easier. It’d make more sense, if I could share that misery. Instead of being…
“So, Corp,” Jillian said, deorbiting my thoughts.
“Jillian, we’re out of the Marines now,” I said, rubbing my face with my hands.
“So, Dru,” Jillian started again. “What are you going to do once we get out of this?”
“Buy a farm.” I stood. The gravity down here was intense. I had to actually use my hand and the wall to get my knees to unbend, rather than just kipping up. I had never thought that one-G would be so … so much more than the gravity on the Hub. It wasn’t even that I hadn’t been exposed to one-G before— it was more that it was all the time, everywhere. Standing didn’t feel worth it, but I felt too confined by sitting, too passive. I started to pace back and forth, my body wanting to bounce, but gravity glued me to the ground. “I told Sarah I’d be in Quebec Arcology as soon as I could get there. At this rate—”
Jillian shuffled to the left. I shuffled into the space she had vacated. The Space Marine—one of the survivors of the Battle of the Forge, as they were calling the last big battle of the war—behind me shuffled over to take up the spot that I had held. And so, the line continued to process, and so I got closer and closer to getting out of this endless waiting.
But I still felt trapped, stuck in adhesive, forced to do nothing but endure. Endure the sounds—the babbling conversations that overlapped and drowned each other out—endure the smells— the thick, cloying stench of the tarmac, the scent of the scrubland that surrounded the base, the smell of jets and jet fuel—and endure the heat. The pounding, unstoppable heat, pouring through my skinclothes and broiling me in my own juices. I had never imagined that an uncontrolled environment could be so horrifyingly unpleasant.
About the author and where to find him:
David Colby is the author of the sci-fi novels Debris Dreams and Shattered Sky. A fan of old school sci-fi and tabletop roleplaying games, Colby started writing almost fifteen years ago. It went poorly. But despite these early setbacks, he continued to work and write and send out submissions until someone was mad enough to accept him. Currently living in Sunnyvale, California, David’s day job involves leaping in front of cars for fun and profit (he’s a crossing guard).