This chapter represents so much, on so many levels of importance to the overall saga! Upon the opening of this scene (prior to this excerpt), we are released from the bounds of Earth’s atmosphere and gravity, to soar into space and get a better glimpse of the Universe surrounding our characters. We find ourselves orbiting a red dwarf star, and next-door to Earth is the red planet, Ares — where we reconnect with an old, beloved character from the first book… Not only does this chapter open the next Act of the story, and not only is it a chance to see how civilization has progressed, but it begins to shine a light on the growing sensation that all is not as it seems.
…Steve gave a long, low whistle. “The Hub would likely collapse on the city. But the other domes networking with us could incur damage to their life-support systems, too.”
He looked solemnly at the Chief. “There’s a real chance we could lose the entire Settlement.”
“Now you see why I’m nervous.”
“Have you been able to make contact with him at all?”
“Yes. Our nuero-com link was successful in matching his brain’s wave-pattern. We were able to communicate with him, but he won’t listen to reason. He’s prepared to die for his cause.”
Steve took a breath and gave a nod. Without further thought, he stated, “I’m going up there.”
Before Cauldor could respond, Steve had fastened his railgun to his side. He adjusted the communicator at his throat and bolted back across the park. The Chief was left to groan and reluctantly acknowledge his decision.
“You just be real careful, Roberts.”
Steve jumped into his vehicle and relayed some coordinates to the onboard computer. Police lights flashing, he was whisked down the city streets. In only a matter of minutes, the vehicle turned down an alley behind a cluster of skyscrapers. It stopped, and the transparent bubble shimmered with viscosity, opening up beside Steve. Once he’d exited, the material coagulated to secure the vehicle after him.
The alley was dark and littered with debris. Long forgotten behind the modern facade of the Hub, it cut a path behind some shops and living quarters. Not far ahead, a narrow shaft of sunlight seeped between the towers. Steve squared his jaw and moved toward this warmth.
Walled in behind this outlying district, the silence was chilling. Steve’s breath panted and his footsteps bounced sharply off the encroaching walls. In another moment, Steve reached the end of the alley. At this point, it had become more of a drainage ditch, forcing him to edge his way sideways to get through. But, when he did, he found himself pressing up against the transparent dome wall.
An expanse of red desert unfolded before him, and, for an instant, Steve caught his breath. He touched the glass that shielded him from the savage conditions outside. It had been a while since he last allowed a look at his unearthly surroundings. The barren wilderness enveloped the neighboring domes as their tunnels glistened in the distance. In this secure environment, how easy to forget the strangeness of the planet he now called home!
–Excerpt From: Sarah Wallin-Huff. “Questions of Faith (The Kesher Chronicles #2).”