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Authors: Joel Ross

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49

I
HIT THE
F
OG
, and the world disappeared into a silent blur of mist. Time stopped. Coolness touched my face and quicksilver filled my veins.

The closest harpoon sliced toward my chest—and I snatched it from the air.

Whirling as fast as a hummingbird, I swung the harpoon like a sword and deflected the second two. The clash of metal sounded soft inside the Fog, and the harpoons tumbled away into the thick mist . . . but more scythed at me from above.

I dodged and twirled, yanking hard on the harpoon in my hands.

The line immediately tightened. The harpooner must've thought she'd caught me, so she stopped the rope from
unspooling from the
Predator
. It hung firmly in the air. Which meant that the roof-troopers weren't just shooting harpoons at me: they were shooting
tethers
.

Despite everything, I laughed. Maybe I wasn't good at fighting or fixing or flying—but nobody beat me in the Fog.

Nobody
.

Within seconds, dozens of harpoon ropes—all fired from the
Predator
—dangled around me, like a forest of tethers in the mist. A Fog diver's dream. Grinning wildly, I yanked on a nearby rope, then another. Anchored on Kodoc's warship, I swung between them like a monkey on a vine, cartwheeling to dodge the harpoons still slicing downward as I scanned the billows of Fog.

There!
The tether from Loretta's harpoon was a sideways slash across all the vertical lines, falling slowly through the white vapor below me.

I swung hard, released my grip on a harpoon line, and somersaulted into the blankness. Fog surrounded me. White on white. Free-falling. No sounds except my ragged breathing.

So peaceful that I almost wanted to stay forever.

Then the cargo raft tether rose through the whiteness and curled gently into my fist.

50

W
ITH MY HEART PUMPING
and my fingers clumsy, I hitched the tether to the harness under my jacket. Safe. Connected. I slumped in relief, inhaled the cool whiteness . . . and was jerked sideways through the Fog.

“Ow!” I shouted toward the sky. “Swedish!”

The tether jolted me again—to the left, then the right—then it whipped me in a wide circle. Which meant that high above, Swedish was speeding away from the
Predator,
racing toward the mutineer ships.

Towing me to safety.

Pain flared in my slashed leg as the tether whiplashed, and I slumped in my harness, dazed and drained and exhilarated. The ripples and billows of Fog swam in my
vision. My breath sounded loud, the world faded into a blur. . . .

When the tether started winching me upward, my head jerked and my pulse pounded. I must've fainted for a minute or two. Or five. I shook my head as I rose higher and higher, until in an instant, the Fog fell away.

My body felt leaden and my leg throbbed with a steady ache, but my vision suddenly extended for miles. I swiveled in my harness and saw the mutineer warships standing guard nearby. Dozens of big guns were aimed at the
Predator,
which hovered in the distance—too far to pose a threat.

Mrs. E was safe, and Kodoc would never catch me now. He didn't control me anymore—maybe he never had. Because Hazel and Swedish were right. I didn't belong to Kodoc, not even close.

The sun warmed my face as I spun to look at the cargo raft flying above me. Bea beamed from the engine, waving her cap wildly and hopping around like a flea. I lifted a hand to her as the tether dragged me upward. A minute later, Swedish dragged me on deck and into a back-thumping bear hug.

Yeah, I knew
exactly
where I belonged.

“For a second there,” he muttered in a choked voice, “I thought
they
got you.”


They
wouldn't dare,” Loretta said. “You've got a
fighter in the crew now.”

“Ow!” I said as Swedish thumped me again. “Ouch!”

“He's bleeding, Swede!” Hazel snapped. “Let him go.”

“Oops!” he said, releasing me. “Sorry.”

When I swayed, Hazel grabbed me—and hugged me even tighter.

She didn't say anything. Neither did I. We just held each other as the deck shifted beneath us and the propellers spun. Maybe she cried a little—maybe we both did—but for once I didn't care if anyone was watching. For once, I wasn't afraid of being seen.

“You did it,” she finally said.


We
did it,” I told her. “How long before we reach the Port?”

Her smile was the brightest thing in the world. “Look behind you.”

I turned and there it was: the jagged green gleaming peaks of Port Oro, framed by the sun. We'd fought the bosses and the troopers and Lord Kodoc himself, and we'd won.

“We made it,” Hazel said. “We're home.”

Acknowledgments

Many thanks to Caitlin Blasdell, Alyson Day, Renée Cafiero, Toni Markiet, Joel Tippie, Jenna Lisanti, Gina Rizzo, and Tina Wexler.

About the Author

JOEL ROSS
is the author of two World War II thrillers for adults (
Double Cross Blind
and
White Flag Down
). This is his tween debut. He lives in Santa Barbara, California, with his wife, Lee Naftali, who is also a full-time writer, and his son, Ben, who is a full-time kid.

Discover great authors, exclusive offers, and more at
hc.com
.

Credits

Cover art © 2015 by Matt Rockefeller

Cover design by Joel Tippie

Copyright

THE FOG DIVER
. Copyright © 2015 by Joel Ross. All rights reserved under International and Pan-American Copyright Conventions. By payment of the required fees, you have been granted the nonexclusive, nontransferable right to access and read the text of this e-book on-screen. No part of this text may be reproduced, transmitted, downloaded, decompiled, reverse-engineered, or stored in or introduced into any information storage and retrieval system, in any form or by any means, whether electronic or mechanical, now known or hereafter invented, without the express written permission of HarperCollins e-books.

www.harpercollinschildrens.com

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

Ross, Joel N., date

The Fog diver / Joel Ross.

pages       cm

Summary: “In this futuristic high-stakes adventure, humanity clings to cities on the highest mountain peaks above the deadly Fog, and airships transport the pirates of the skies. Daring 13-year-old tetherboy Chess and his salvage crew must face the dark plans of Lord Kodoc and work to save their beloved Mrs. E”—Provided by publisher.

ISBN 978-0-06-235293-4 (hardback)

EPub Edition © April 2015 ISBN 9780062352965

[1. Adventure and adventurers—Fiction. 2. Survival—Fiction. 3. Recycling (Waste, etc.)—Fiction. 4. Environmental degradation—Fiction. 5. Orphans—Fiction. 6. Science fiction.] I. Title.

PZ7.1.R677Fog    2015
                                                                                  2014034154
[Fic]—dc23
                                                                                               
CIP
                                                                                                   
AC

15 16 17 18 19     
CG/RRDH
    10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1

FIRST EDITION

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BOOK: The Fog Diver
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