True heroes sacrifice for the benefit of others – even others most alien.
For the Kota Warriors, everything has changed. Ebon, their new home, is a desolate planet never meant for human life. The native Kynajabi creatures threaten the Ebonite colonists’ survival, and the ruling Council has sent their army to eradicate the beasts. Many soldiers have died, and fear grows over the dark planet with every Kynajabi attack.
The Warriors are soon entangled in the turmoil of this new world. The Warrior Seer becomes a god-prophet, working to guide the suffering Ebonites and veterans of the Kynajabi Eradication Effort. The Hunter and Fighter continue to search for their missing Earth enemy, but soon an unexpected source tells them of a new mission.
And the Leader? If Cliqani can heal her mysteriously resurrected Earthling patient, hope may return to Ebon. But should Cliqani heal the woman only to send her to the army and her probable death?
As snow begins to fall, the army nears the Kynajabi nest. However, Trok’s Ebonite friend holds the secret that will truly restore peace for Ebon and its inhabitants…if they will listen.
“Sir, you aren’t going to believe this.”
General Ehcapa, leader of the Ebonite army, heard this voice in his helmet’s coms and turned in his seat to see Commander Remidit. The big man in Red Unit armor was reading the transport tank’s Network screen. The tank jostled as they drove over a swell on the Pampas, but Remidit braced himself with a boot against the driver’s seat in front of him. This was the eleventh time he’d done this, and the kid driving didn’t look pleased.
Ehcapa grinned but shifted to talk to his friend. “What is it?”
Below his helmet’s visor, Remidit’s scarred mouth twisted in a frown. “The Council’s ordered us to change course.”
“A Network satellite picked up an unregistered spacecraft entering Ebon’s atmosphere. Guess the ship crashed somewhere out here, and the Council wants us to check it out.”
The soldier behind Ehcapa’s seat joined the conversation over their coms. “But we just left the base! The Council knows we’re headed back to camp. Can’t they send some other squad?”
Remidit looked back at the screen and shook his head. “They say we’re close. The message is pretty insistent.”
Ehcapa sat back in his command seat and glared out the windshield at the unending grassland. He rubbed the dark stubble on his face and tried not to growl.
We have more important things to do, he thought. The Council ordered us to give a report at their base. We’ve lost all this time. Now the Council wants us to waste more time? Do they want us to kill the Kynajabis or not? We have to get back to the army!
He spoke into his helmet. “Change course. Better go check out this crashed ship.”
The driver obeyed, and the whole transport tanker swung in a new direction. Ehcapa continued to glare out the windshield at the empty grassland. It stretched to the distant horizon, broken only by an occasional roll in the landscape. The planet’s ever-present cloud cover hung low in the sky.
We should be safe from Kynajabis this far north, he thought. We cleared them from this area moon cycles ago. But we’ve only got one squad with us. If Kynajabis snuck through…
The transport tank sped over the grass, and as they approached the crash site Ehcapa got a good look at the destruction. A thick cloud of smoke billowed into the air ahead. The spacecraft had apparently skipped along the planet’s surface, tearing up hundreds of meters of grass. Loose dirt and rocks surrounded the deep gashes. Chunks of metallic debris littered the accidental landing field. A few dislodged ship parts were on fire.
Then, as the transport tank slowed, they saw what remained of the ship.
“Holy eitchos fodder,” muttered the driver over the coms.
When the tank lurched to a stop, Remidit came forward to look with them out the windshield. “Think anyone’s alive in that wreck?”
Ehcapa rose from his seat. “Get the men. Set up a perimeter. I don’t want any surprises. Let’s check for survivors and get the hell out of here.”
Remidit stepped into the back compartment of the transport tank where their men rode. The other soldier followed him. The driver looked up at Ehcapa.
“Be ready to roll out in case there’s trouble.” Ehcapa placed a gloved hand on the kid’s shoulder and opened the hatch to exit the tank.
Outside, he made a quick scan of the area before stepping to the broken dirt of the crash site. The strong winds of Season 1 were already sweeping away the loose dirt. The smoke from the crashed ship was dying in the wind. Ehcapa adjusted his gun-glove and held it ready as he approached the ship, but he saw no movement.
“Sir,” Remidit called over the coms.
Ehcapa turned to see the big man leading his squad of Red Unit soldiers from the back of the transport tank. All had guns at the ready, and they obeyed a signal from Remidit and formed lines around the spacecraft. A group of ten broke apart to widen the perimeter. These faced outward, guns at the ready, scanning the ground.
Good, thought Ehcapa.
He turned back to the crippled ship. He saw the letters ‘ARBIR’ stenciled on its metal side, but either end of this writing had twisted off into shards of metal. Ehcapa guessed a good third of the ship had broken off in the air and crashed somewhere else. The front compartment was crushed but mostly intact. A gaping hole in the ship’s side would lead into this area.
“On me,” he said over the coms.
With his gun-glove raised, Ehcapa approached the opening. Remidit and two soldiers were right behind him. They entered the shadowed side of the ship where sparks flew from mechanical equipment. Inside now, Ehcapa scanned the compartment and saw a large pile of weapons that had fallen from storage.
Quite the arsenal, he thought. Who are these people?
“Watch yourselves,” he warned his men.
They inched into the cockpit. Ehcapa pulled up when he almost stepped on a woman’s extended hand. Then he saw the large man passed out on top of her. Ahead, still in a seat, a third passenger lay unconscious over the controls, glass shards from the windshield all over him.
They’re wearing the same black suits, thought Ehcapa. Not like any military uniforms I’ve ever seen.
He motioned for Remidit to check the man in the seat, and he knelt to inspect those he’d discovered. The big man had a shaved head, and cuts suggested he’d been hit by flying glass like his comrade. Ehcapa slipped off his gun-glove and stretched to feel for a pulse. Strong thumps beat under his fingers. He checked the woman next and swept aside long hair to check her pulse. Her face was beautiful, though cut and battered.
Yellow hair, thought Ehcapa. She’s not an Ebonite. Aldebarean maybe?
Remidit said over the coms, “This one’s alive.”
“So are these two.” Ehcapa turned to the men standing guard. “Let’s get these people out of here. They need medical attention.”
The two soldiers put their weapons away and hurried to the survivors. Ehcapa took a step back and watched. It took both soldiers to lift the big man, whose torn uniform was covered in dirt and specks of blood. Ehcapa himself scooped up the woman, careful with her head. He saw Remidit hauling the third passenger out of his seat, and together they turned to exit the ruin of a ship.
- “Big philosophical ideas, world-building, compelling characters, mysteries in space, superpowers, humor… I had so much fun reading this book, and I’m eagerly awaiting the third one.” -Spunkybean.com
- “Always original and compelling, Sunshine Somerville continues the tale of The Kota as she adds a thrilling new dimension to her epic saga and it’s sure to captivate your imagination.” -Bookviral.com
- “The author also did an amazing job creating this new world. Due to the human link, there are some similarities, but she adapted references to time, manner, and even culture into a fascinating society – great world-building.” – Rebecca McCray, author of The Journey of the Marked
- “I knew this was going to be a five star read from the beginning. For my money it is actually better than The Kota which I loved as I think there is another level of complexity to the ever evolving saga.” – 5 Star Goodreads Review
- “I loved the first book in this series and wanted to be blown away by this one. I was!” – 5 Star Goodreads Review