Dax is only 15 and has been recruited as a soldier to fight aliens on the moon, but everyone knows the lunar squad is the sacrificial squadron, doomed to die at the hands of the Katarga aliens. As an outspoken non-conformist, she won’t go quietly, especially when she discovers there’s a terrible secret about the wars. Are the aliens really innocent victims? Earth must know the truth.
Targeted Age Group:: 15+
What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
I have never liked the idea of war, especially when it's money-motivated. The theme of War and Money is about greed, regardless of the consequences. I've explored this through a science fiction medium, which doesn't seem all that far-fetched to me.
How Did You Come up With Your Characters?
My main character, Dax, is the kind of person I think I'd like to be; strong, independent, intelligent, and able to see the truth in things. She's a true hero, although she's not perfect, but we need people like her. The other characters, Dax's friends, are (hopefully) realistic and give her the support she desperately needs. My villains are definitely villainous with a disregard for others, especially alien species. My characters are sometimes based on real people I know, but I'll never divulge who!
The shuttle’s gaining altitude and almost everyone is quiet, except for Tablon and Lenora. They’ve struck up a friendship, talking to each other like I’m not even in between them. Obviously they’re allowed to chat, being higher status than me. All I can do is stare at the seat back in front of me and hope they don’t start anything. Couldn’t there be windows for us to look out? At least that’d give me something to do. I’d love to see where we’re going and what the landscape looks like.
Tablon reaches across me, like he’s handing something to Lenora, and smacks me right in the chest. “Out of my way, smudge.”
“Where am I supposed to go?”
He continues, “Hold your breath until you die.”
“I’d only pass out.” I look directly at him.
He narrows his eyes. “Shut up. You smell like rotting garbage. Don’t you ever shower?” He smacks me again.
“Orwan! No talking!” Viteri gets up, but then sits down again. “I hear one more word from you, I’ll shove you outside the shuttle.”
Wonderful. I look forward again, at the seat back, and hope Tablon leaves me alone.
He does, but in my peripheral vision, I see him smirking.
I’m curious to see what Mid-World, where the camp is, looks like. I remember the lesson at school where we learned it used to be called Africa and had been filled with all sorts of wild animals like elephants and lions, but now those animals are extinct and their DNA is stored away at the Cryo-Center in the Polar Regions where there’s still some remaining tundra. It was fascinating to learn that scientists maintain a gene bank of every animal that went extinct in the last hundred years, somewhere around 2085 or 2086. Those pictures of elephants and other animals I saw made me sad but when I asked if humans had forced them into extinction, I was shut down, as usual. I wonder if humans will end up like them and some other species will study us by looking at projections of us.
The shuttle banks left and levels off. If I could see outside, I bet we’d be cutting through fluffy white clouds, and every now and then when they got thin, I’d see a wild landscape or maybe the ocean below. Instead, all I can do is watch the other recruits once Lenora and Tablon finally stop talking and close their eyes. From my seat, I have a clear view of Viteri, who’s scrolling through documents on a screen projected in front of him.
He looks up and points straight at me. “Orwan, step forward and salute.”
Me? Why me? Did he notice me looking at him? I unfasten my restraints, ignoring the soft chuckles around me and try to think if I’ve ever seen anyone salute before. If I don’t do it right, I’m sure to get punished. I’m glad the ship’s flying smoothly or I’d stumble and fall with my legs trembling so much.
I glance sideways to see if anyone is willing to help me out with the salute. They’re not, or maybe they don’t know what to do either. With the restraints off and draped across the seat back, I stand and take a deep breath, doing my best to prove that the slap across my cheek didn’t faze me. I trip when Tablon sticks his foot out. Everyone laughs.
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