This is an excerpt from my current sci-fi work in progress The Bound Continuity.
Katrina Rothenberg never believed she’d fear dying more after her death. But her faceoff with the ethereal storm cast against the azure desert sent her heart on a wild sprint. At least it would have; if she still had a heart. The striking irony etched a wry smile into her face that her partner Brianna Zane immediately picked up on.
“Did I miss the joke?” Zane’s voice rang in her head. Their suits were equipped with mental projectors, allowing them to communicate telepathically.
“This whole situation is a joke if you ask me,” Jane replied looking for some reassurance from her. But none came. Zane was in work mode; her normally playful demeanor imprisoned in a serious facade. Her stoic expression shined through the transparent bubble helmet encasing her head. Another dose of irony. Why would dead people need life support?
The suits they wore, which looked like they were pulled straight from a 1950s sci-fi film, were the most advanced Thanotech available. She’d designed them herself. Yet they didn’t make her feel any safer. A renowned physicist and programmer in life, Katrina was used to having all the answers; which was why her current situation incited so much fear within her.
“All readings are normal,” Zane pulled Katrina back to reality; if one could call it that. “The distortion field is holding,” she added.
“Then let’s proceed.” She looked to Zane, searching her face for a sign. An indication that they should turn back. But if she was afraid, she wasn’t showing it. Brianna knew as well as Katrina how dire the situation was. And if they couldn’t find answers beyond the boundary, the world as they knew it would come to a violent end.
Katrina pressed forward, the wind howling like some colossal beast. But as they closed in on their destination, something went wrong. Very wrong.
“Kat, are you seeing this?” Katrina’s heads up display began flashing red. The proximity sensor. Something was approaching — fast.
“I’m getting the reading but no visual.” She replied, whirling around.
The desert was empty, the raging storm their only companion.
The flashing grew more rapid. Sirens in the suit wailed.
“100 meters from the west,” Zane reported, voice an octave higher. Her composure had collapsed into anxiety.
“I’m still not seeing anything.” Katrina admitted. The storm grew louder, more violent; threatening to lift them off their feet.
“Neither am I, but it just cut the distance in half! Whatever it is, it’s approaching fast.”
They crouched, trying to maintain their footing amid the torrent. Wind and dust battered her bubble helmet obstructing her view. Soon, she lost sight of everything. But just as suddenly as it had come, the storm dissipated, like someone had suddenly turned it off. Dust floated apathetically around her, still obscuring her view.
“Kat?” Zane’s voice rattled her.
“Brie, are you alright?”
“No, Kat I’m not. I finally see the truth. What they’ve been hiding.”
“Brie, what are you talking about?”
“The Watchers Kat. They’ve chosen us. I wish we had more time. But this is their will. I’m sorry Kat. I love you.”
“Brie wait!” But there was no reply. Katrina frantically tapped into her palm pulling up her positioning system. But Brie’s signature had vanished from the map.
“Brie!” Nothing. She was gone.
Suddenly, millions of tiny lights surrounded her. Her proximity sensor went ballistic, feeding her dread. A legion of indistinct whispers wriggled into her head gnawing at her resolve.
Those lights… they… see me.
They weren’t lights, but eyes. Watching. Judging. Approaching. She no longer cared about her mission. Her only desire was to serve. To be a part of its glory. That moment marked the end of Katrina Rothenberg.
Our new novel Refractors Volume I: Evoke is out now! Check it out here.