FYG – The Tides of Earth starts off four days after The Expanding Seas of Earth ended. But to make it accessible to readers who may not already have read Expanding Seas, it was necessary to quickly establish the where’s and why’s of what Maggie and her crew were about to do.
My natural instinct is to hew toward subtlety–something I enjoy when reading–but which doesn’t always work when there’s a ton of detail readers need. So I’ve tried to use it sparingly, but to avoid heavy-handedness bringing readers up to speed. Still, by the end of the first two (short) opening chapters, I trust readers will have a handle on the main events of the first story.
Obviously, if you see it differently, now would be the ideal time to tell me. I can still tinker with my words up until actual publication, and will consider thoughtful comments. The copy below is already result of some well placed suggestions made by my local critique group. Previous readers will find symmetry between this opening chapter and that of The Expanding Seas. It’s deliberate. I liked the idea of the story having come full circle.
For newcomers, please note I try my best to assure the science in my stories is within the realm of current scientific knowledge and theory, and to avoid including “made up” science. Real science offers more than enough incredible ideas to be explored. And I think it’s very important for people to understand the difference between the two.
The first chapter is below–more of a teaser, but with hints of the backstory. I’ll post a chapter each week. So without further ado, I hope you’ll enjoy…
Prelude: The Tides of Earth – Chapter One – The High Blind
The Earth shone brilliantly below. Sparse clouds crabbed aimlessly across its seas and continents. The moon–brighter than seen from any of its crusty shores–peeked around the horizon. Occasionally, a glint of light–as a stray satellite caught a beam of sunlight. Maggie drew a deep, appreciative breath–awed by the beauty and satisfied that conditions would be perfect for today’s precision operations.
The control room’s wall and ceiling screens provided a clear uninterrupted image of everything outside the ship. There was reverent silence. No one wanted to disturb the stunning view.
Mike sat at the center weapons console and checked his settings once more. Adjustments weren’t really needed, but with what was at stake…. He’d check still again.
Tracy hardly breathed. A loose blond bang flopped across her forehead. Gone were her perfect tresses, cultured in life before their own ship had been hijacked. She squinted, bit her lip, and scanned the screens intently. No telltale signs of an attack. A comfort. Earth’s major powers may have agreed to cooperate, but only because there weren’t viable options. All it took was for one of them to take a pot shot.
“Frightened?” Mike asked.
“No,” But Tracy barely moved her head. Her eyes were still drawn toward the panorama.
“Don’t be. Even if they could see us, our defensive canisters would take out any missiles… besides, why wouldn’t they want to know first what they’d be up against!” Mike offered a reassuring smile.
Tracy took a deep breath and returned to surveying the screen.
Sorry kid, Mike thought, but it was you who convinced us!
Today was Show and Tell. They’d demonstrate to the United Nations the full power of the K’Laadian weapons. The return to Earth with their prize had been difficult. The decisions they’d made were harder. But there was no going back.
We’re in it now! Mike knew. It’ll only get tougher from here. Whatever it took, they would buy or pry away whatever government support they’d need to build a planetary defense. We can do it, he promised himself. We are formidable!
Next chapter: Wake-up Call