Evanne Lorraine
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Teaser Tuesday

February 10, 2009 | Teaser Tuesday

Unedited excerpt from Dalila’s Choice, coming in March from New Concepts Publishing.
Dalila roused from her artificially induced state of suspended animation, to her great relief, she felt no different than if she’d had a restful night’s sleep.

She’d been facing an honorable, but dull, life of service as a sentry for the Belle Amity compound, she’d been both thrilled and terrified to be chosen to make the perilous journey to Enyo.

Carrying out the critical mission for the sisterhood was a high honor.

Now, actually in orbit around the beautiful planet, she was as excited as a child before feast days. Studying the green and white orb, which was currently projected on her viewing screen, she was awed by its beauty and eager to discover its secrets.

After completing her mission, Goddess willing, and with a bit of luck, there would be time for her to explore the lush new world. Enyo was so very different from the barren expanses of Earth, where only the shelter of the compound provided a safe haven.

Switching to an alternate view, which showed the thermal heat patterns indicative of population density. She noted Enyo had only a few areas showing either signs of industrialization or human habitation. There was only one probable urban center. Most of the planet remained virgin territory.

She began charting a course for the outskirts of the densest population center, reasoning that it would contain the government officials she needed to meet in order to establish a working relationship and open negotiations.

Landing slightly away from the urban center would give her a chance to do some reconnaissance before actual contact with the dangerous men of Enyo.

By all accounts, warriors were not friendly or even peaceful. Mother Marian had held different views and she was indisputably wise. Still, none of the sisters had any recent knowledge of the patriarchal civilization and much could change over a few millennia.

Dalila vowed to keep an open mind and watch her back.

Straightening her spine, she reminded herself that she was disciple of the Belle Amity Sisterhood with much to offer another culture. Surely, even the if the warrior or Enyo were aggressive they would be intelligent enough to value the collective’s gifts.

“Artificial satellite approaching on our present course collision will occur in five minutes,” the ship’s computer announced in its calm mechanical voice.

“Correct course to widen gap,” she replied and smiled to herself at the confirmation she’d just received of intelligent life on the planet below. No doubt, she would soon be contacted to identify herself.

A ship-killing blast hit her small craft without warning.

So much for dealing with reasonable, rational, and intelligent men. Before she’d even picked herself up off the deck, the computer began droning on about system failures.

Alarms sounded, small electric fires sprang to life. There was hissing, sparking, and more smoke than was good for an oxygen breather made the cabin atmosphere increasingly hazardous.

Activating the fire suppressor system one-handed, Dalila frantically over-rode the course she’d plotted earlier, heading for the least populous area of the planet she could find.

Hastily, she strapped herself into her pilot’s seat as the ship entered Enyo’s atmosphere.

For a few moments, the shuttle tumbled wildly. She tried to correct the orientation with a light touch on the sluggish thruster engines.

With each attempt at halting the dangerous spinning, her tension increased until her hand trembled on the thruster control lever and sweat rolled down her spine.

When she’d finally managed to right the craft, a sigh of relief escaped.

Without the reinforced base deflecting the extreme heat of entry, the ship would’ve disintegrated prior to touch down. Even with the heat shields on, the outer skin reached dangerous temperatures.

The heat passed the structure’s tolerance level, setting off new alarms as the small vessel hurtled toward the planet’s surface with frightening speed.

The damaged thrusters slowed the craft marginally. Then they refused to respond no matter how she coaxed or pushed them. Dropping through the atmosphere at a stomach knotting velocity, the shuttle splashed down.

The liquid pressing against the shuttle’s viewers, confirmed the wet entry.

But, no amount of rationalizing could erase her fear of the sea. There was no telling how far she was from land. The height of the waves eliminated any view of the surrounding area.

The ships computer chanted, “Fatal error, immediate system restore required.” The warning sounded over and over again.

Posted by Evanne @ 6:00 am  

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