Conceived in Blood, A Post-Apocalyptic/Dystopian Novel

BOOK: Conceived in Blood, A Post-Apocalyptic/Dystopian Novel
10.07Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

 

 

 

 

Conceived in Blood

 

By

 

Linda Andrews

 

 

Conceived in Blood

Copyright 2013 Linda Andrews

Published by Linda Andrews

Cover Design Copyright 2013 Linda Andrews

Photos by Alexei Novikov and Kolaczan

Edited by
TheAuthorsRedRoom.com

Formatted by
IRONHORSE Formatting

 

Kindle Edition

 

All rights reserved. Without limiting the rights under copyright reserved above, no part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in or introduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form, or by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise) without the prior written permission of both the copyright owner and the above publisher of this book.

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, brands, media, and incidents are either the product of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously. The author acknowledges the trademarked status and trademark owners of various products referenced in this work of fiction, which have been used without permission. The publication/use of these trademarks is not authorized, associated with, or sponsored by the trademark owners.

This ebook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This ebook may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each person you share it with. If you are reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then you should return to Amazon.com and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the author's work.

 

 

 

A special thank you to Dan, Kimberly, Evvere, Tracey, Vijaya, Beth and my mother for reading the novel through its many incarnations.

 

To my husband for not flinching when I talked about cannibals and for not telling me to keep my voice down when I mentioned them in public:-)

 

And especially folks like Kim A, Sandy F., Hugh K., Susan J, Barrie H., Terri M., and Mike D. (and many, many others) who've written to tell me how much you've enjoyed the Redaction novels.  Your words keep me typing.

 

Enjoy!

 

 

Table of Contents

 

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Chapter 13

Chapter 14

Chapter 15

Chapter 16

Chapter 17

Chapter 18

Chapter 19

Chapter 20

Chapter 21

Chapter 22

Chapter 23

Chapter 24

Chapter 25

Chapter 26

Chapter 27

Chapter 28

Chapter 29

Chapter 30

Chapter 31

Chapter 32

Chapter 33

Chapter 34

Chapter 35

Chapter 36

Chapter 37

Chapter 38

Chapter 39

Chapter 40

Chapter 41

Chapter 42

Chapter 43

Chapter 44

Other Books available:

Author's Note:

About the Author:

 

 

 

 

 

I do not know how the Third World War will be fought, but I can tell you what they will use in the Fourth — rocks!

——Albert Einstein

1949

 

The futuristic weapons of WW3 are unknown, but WW4 will be fought with stones and spears.

—an earlier version

attributed to an unnamed army lieutenant

after the atomic bomb testing at Bikini Atoll

1946

 

 

One hundred years ago a series of disasters called the Redaction spread radioactive particles around the globe and nearly wiped out life on Earth.

A lucky few were led to safety by the last remnants of the government and military. Thanks to the careful planning of their leaders, these survivors kept much of the technology of the old world and have been able to build upon it. At the heart of this confederation of mines and caves are the citizens of Dark Hope.

Others were not so fortunate.

Stranded on the road during the worst of the Redaction, many survivors banded together to forge new societies.

Some kept to the ideals of the old world in isolated, agrarian villages.

A few individuals saw opportunity and subjugated many survivors under their authority. In Abaddon, the warlords regulate everything from social status to who is allowed to breed.

Stranded in the toxic lands, the last band of survivors watched the land sour and all animal life die off. Pushed to the edge of extinction, they were left with one food source to provide for their families. Now these 'Viders are hunting for their next meal.

Three distinct cultures on a collision course.

In this post-Redaction world, humanity's next chapter will be written in blood. 

 

Chapter 1

 

Serendipity Tahoma gripped the curved aluminum railing running the length of the airship's lounge. Sensors sprayed the stubby, twisted vegetation below in bursts of red, green, and white. Only the trunks, laying like twigs on the ground, told of the once lush forest.

As for the deer, elk, and other big game animals...

They had gone the way of the region's names. Colorado. Utah.  

"Sera, you should not be out of your cabin. Someone might see you."

Sera took a deep breath and turned to face the newcomer. "Hello, Uncle Leon. You look quite handsome in your Captain’s uniform."

In his crisp blue tunic and trousers, Captain Leon Saldana moved to the bank of windows embedded in the hull. Cool air combed through his wavy salt and pepper hair. His lips quirked, deepening the good humor age had permanently etched on his face. “Such a charmer, no wonder you’re a rising star in public relations.”

She’d been stuck in the public relations department of the Security Forces, one of her pedigree couldn’t be placed at risk.

But one of her pedigree owed it to Dark Hope to do the right thing, no matter the personal or professional cost. Dark Hope, and the rest of the consortium of mines and caves, needed people.

The cabinet had to see that they were fast approaching a tipping point.

If everyone didn’t join together, the planet would be lost.

And if the planet was lost, everyone and everything on it would die.

“I can see the Great American Desert from here.” She threaded her hand through the worn denim strap of the backpack on the nearest seat. The soft fabric contrasted with the stiff climbing harness it was grafted upon. She lifted the bag. Her collection of carabiners clinked together. Packets of dried food rasped against each other. Water sloshed inside the bottle tucked in the ripped netting pocket on the side. Wadded up clothes cushioned the backpack's impact against her back.

"Yes, it’s growing every year by half a kilometer.” Uncle Leon didn’t glance out the window, where an orange haze lingered just above the horizon.

When the spent fuel rods had melted down, the radiation had wiped out all life within thirty degrees latitude from the equator.

“Which is why I agreed to take you to Abaddon. Interviewing our citizens and those unfortunates in the Outlands might be the dynamite we need to get the Cabinet to act.” 

“They have to act. We need everyone to replant the vegetation so the planet doesn’t become one giant dustbowl.” And to stop seeing those from the Outlands——the town and villages outside the consortium——as study subjects, but people. She fingered the large black stitches holding the red, green, and blue patches over the areas where the denim was nearly worn to white threads.

“Getting caught would not help your great PR crusade." Uncle Leon quirked a white eyebrow. “Or help people overcome their fear that there won’t be enough food, energy, and water for everyone.”

“No, no it wouldn’t.” She adjusted the backpack, then slid her free arm through the second strap and buckled it under her breasts. Something shifted beyond the bank of windows. Her eyes strained in the twilight. Could it have been a bird?

"You just need to suffer the isolation a little while longer. Once we are in Abaddon, Dawson agreed to show you around and provide a cameraman for your documentary."

A bell chimed through the rectangular lounge. Footsteps thudded in the hallway above their heads. The guests would be coming soon, and they would have to walk through the lounge to get into the dining salon.

Sera rose on tiptoes and kissed her uncle’s weathered cheek. “Thanks Uncle.”

“Just tell the Outlanders’ stories.” He patted her shoulder. “The good people of Dark Hope will see what needs to be done.”

“I’m counting on it.” Pivoting on her heel, she strode toward the exit. Her friends from the Outlands deserved to be heard, not pandered to.

Opening the door, she stepped inside the airlock tucked under the curving metal stairway. She paused at the bottom of the staircase. To the right lay the officers' quarters, communication rooms, and access door to the gondola. But to reach it, she'd have to walk through more passenger cabins. No way could she risk being seen.

She sighed and trudged toward her cabin. Being stuck in crew quarters that reeked of bad cheese and unwashed socks was not how she thought her trip would go. Sera rubbed the back of her neck.

A loud thump echoed down the corridor in front of her. A soft scrape quickly followed.

Crap! She froze but her mind raced, turning out scenarios. Most of them life threatening.

The equipment must have broken loose.

She’d have to assess the damage before blowing her cover to alert the Captain and every passenger.

She sprinted toward the cargo hold.

Another scrape and the ship shuddered.

Her heart raced. She pumped her arms faster and the gangway bounced underfoot. Those crates could puncture the blimp's skin and then they'd be in trouble. Death by splat trouble.

She’d only had the one class in aeronautics but at least it had covered balancing loads.

Sprinting by the crew quarters, she shoved open the airlock door. The whine of the turbine engines increased when she stepped inside. Fiber-optics illuminated the Aluminum and carbon-fiber ribs and the catwalk running the length of the airship's body. 

Passing the cubic ballast tanks, she shook the fuzziness from her head. She couldn’t afford to be affected by the abundance of Helium.

Pausing by the last airlock, she inspected the door. With the hinges on the other side, she might have to force it open or cut through the multi-laminate skin.

But first, she’d try the easy way.

Twisting the knob, she heard the latch retract then threw herself against the door. It sprang forward upon impact, ripping the handle out of her grip. While the door swung on an arc, momentum carried her forward. She slammed against the crate in front of the door, bounced off and collapsed to the floor.

Pain blitzed her body. Her fingers tingled; heat blazed up her arm. A wave of dizziness crashed over her. Well, crud, she'd forgotten how much full-contact sports hurt.

“Is anyone in here?”

Silence.

Bracing her hands at her sides, she pushed off the deck. Aches sprouted in a frenzy along her injured side. Holding her breath, she rose to her feet. Her little tussle with the crate was bound to leave a mark. 

BOOK: Conceived in Blood, A Post-Apocalyptic/Dystopian Novel
10.07Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

Other books

A Toast to Starry Nights by Serra, Mandi Rei
Grunts by John C. McManus
Svein, el del caballo blanco by Bernard Cornwell
Friends to Lovers by Christi Barth
Quantum Night by Robert J. Sawyer
Chameleon by Swanson, Cidney