Thursday, May 25, 2017

Darkest Days by NW Harris

Title: Darkest Days
Author: NW Harris
Series: The Last Orphans #4
Genre: Post-Apocalyptic, Science Fiction, Young Adult
Release Date: May 22, 2017
The ancient slave mongers who killed the adults and enslaved the children have angered a more advanced species of aliens. Composed of pure energy, this superior race has attacked the Anunnaki home world and is now setting a course for Earth.

The energy-based aliens believe in a system of trial by battle. They seek to push Shane and his friends into the arena with the ones who killed their parents. The results will determine if humans deserve to live, or if they should be made extinct as well. It’s up to Shane to keep his friends—and an army of kids who look up to him—alive. They’ll be fighting not just for their own lives, but for the fate of the entire human race. Can the enemy of Shane’s enemy be his friend, or is this just another species determined to exploit and destroy them?

Their control panels dark, the sailors looked at the general, and then around the bridge at the glowing bulkheads. They held their breaths, and it seemed the silence would asphyxiate them. He’d been on the ship when it was docked and had a minimum crew, and even unoccupied, the bridge had never been so quiet. No reconditioned air hissed through the vents, and the floor didn’t vibrate with the eternal low frequency sound emitted from the reactor. The view screen flickered, the last wisp of the Pegasus’ life about to be snuffed.

Shane woke with a start, falling off the bunk onto the floor. He grunted and opened his eyes. Kelly sat and turned, putting her feet on the floor between him and the rack. She looked toward him, but her face was expressionless and her eyes unfocused. Her distant gaze made her seem possessed, like her soul was gone and her empty body was being controlled remotely. Her hand snatched his wrist in a lightning-fast motion, and she held on with an iron grip. Startled, he started to jerk away, but then her eyes locked onto his. He froze, his blood turning to ice. It wasn’t her looking at him—something else was inside Kelly.

The barracks’ door slammed shut, drawing his attention to Kelly. Her hair disheveled, she wore the sweats she’d slept in. She blinked her eyes against the first rays of the sun. They bathed her from above the treetops like god shining a heavenly spotlight upon his favorite angel. He forgot about everyone and everything else in the world for an instant. Seeing her aglow in the warm yellow light erased all his concerns and his fears, infusing him with hope.

“It must be really hard on you—and my sister—that I don’t remember,” Kelly said, poking at her food with a mournful look on her face.

“It’s a blessing you don’t remember all we’ve been through,” Shane replied with a forced chuckle. “But just so you know, you’re tougher than you can imagine.”

Returning to his campfire, he stopped in front of a patch of tall, dry Fescue. Trampled by the kids when they set up camp, most of the grass in the field lay on its side. Just the few blades survived, their dry stalks holding seed-heavy heads three feet above the ground. Sort of like the humans, he thought, so few remained.

Even above the snoring of hundreds of kids, he could hear the songs of the field crickets, not yet killed off by the first frost. Tilting his head back, he looked up at the night sky. Only stars up there, no alien spaceship orbiting with Kelly imprisoned in it. Now she was here, but he still didn’t have her back, and he bore some of the fault. He’d condemned her to this fate when he agreed to let Lily activate her slave persona.

Her tone was sad, like her spirit was nearly broken. But he knew the lioness in her would never give up. She’d spend her last breath trying to save her sister. And he’d spend his last trying to save her. He prayed that it would be enough to keep them alive.

If all the adults suddenly were wiped from the face of the planet, would law and order be a thing of the past, or would the children create their own? 
My opinion, the children would eventually create their own new version of law and order. The systems that are in place today are there because of a functioning infrastructure. If all the adults are gone, that infrastructure will fail. In my opinion, there will be initial chaos, then groups of children will start to conglomerate. Some groups will be bad and some good. Some of the kids will try to find ways to shelter and feed themselves by farming, hunting, fishing, etc. Others will make their living by stealing from those good children. At first, justice will be swift, frequently violent and without trial. As those that are determined to rebuild by making honest livings settled into their new lifestyles, I believe they’d make militias to protect their families and food. Next they’d create tribunals and hold some sort of court for criminals. Like in the in the Wild West, some of these new justice forces would inevitably become corrupt. Over time, I believe the children would thrive and society would be reborn. But I’m a bit of an optimist (my stories may not always seem to reflect that.)

Author Bio:
Born at the end of the Vietnam war and raised on a horse farm near small town north Georgia, his imagination evolved under the swaying pines surrounding his family’s log home. On summer days that were too hot, winter days that were too cold, and every night into the wee morning hours, he read books. He lives in sunny southern California with his beautiful wife and two perfect children.


Darkest Days #4


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