Falling Adalta Vol III. Chapter Four

(A work in progress)

“No. I will not allow you to go, Cedar. I cannot allow it. Astarte15 isn’t safe.” 

Cedar closed her eyes and took a long, slow breath. “This isn’t Astarte15, Mother. That was years ago. This planet is Adalta, and it isn’t the same at all. Galen is down there. And Marta. Glenn is going with me. And Assam. It’s safe.” She squeezed her mother’s shoulder. “I’ve been ordered to go.”

Truth be told, she’d begged and pleaded and coerced whomever she could corner to finally admit the ship had major problems. Not everyone was yet convinced it was failing, but at least they finally admitted the ship was never leaving Adalta’s orbit.

“You understand that. I’ve asked Amalie to come stay with you while I’m gone. She’ll help you start packing.”

“Pack? Why should I need to pack?” Marion’s voice rose higher with each word. Her thin hands, blue veins showing through translucent skin, traced back and forth on the folded coverlet at the end of Cedar’s bed, never stopping. “I don’t understand what I would need to pack for. You’e not going, Cedar. I won’t pack your things.”

“My things are packed, Mother,” said Cedar, her voice calm, her words evenly paced. “See? This is the last of them––” She tucked a jacket in an outside pocket of her soft-sided duffel. “Everyone will leave the ship over the next months, Mother. We discussed that.” She  took both her Mother’s frail hands in hers. “The ship is failing. It’s dying.”

“I’m not leaving.” Marion snatched her hands back. “I’m not. Not ever. I will not set one foot on another planet. You know that. I won’t. I lost your father, and you lost…you lost…you lost your foot on that planet.” She turned and walked out of Cedar’s room. “I will not go down there and neither will you.”

Cedar fastened her duffel and walked into the central room of the apartment. Marion sat in her chair, her body curled over over her tablet reader, locking reality away again. Cedar stood at the door to the hallway for a long moment. “Watch over my plants for me, Mother.”

Marion didn’t look up. Cedar opened the door and walked out, closing it quietly behind her. She leaned back against it, her eyes closed, her head aching. A frond from one of the plants that lined the hallways of the ship brushed her leg. What am I to do about her? Will I have to knock her out and wheel her to the shuttle on a gurney? What choice do I have? If she stays here she’ll die alone and afraid. If I stay with her I’ll die––we’ll both die with the ship. How can I make a new life on the planet when every time I look up into the sky I see my mother dying?

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Chapters Two and Three of Falling Adalta Vol III

Here are the next chapters of FALLING. Chapter Two is the one formerly known as Chapter One, but changed a bit, because I realized it was in the wrong place. So I posted both chapters to make up for getting in a hurry. Blame it on my sister Alice. She made me go back and do some plotting, which I hate, but, OK, she was right. This time. Maybe the only time.

These chapters are works in progress, so if you see something you don’t like, something that doesn’t make sense, God forbid, something misspelled, grammar mistakes, or—Maybe even something you really like, please make a comment in the box below. I promise to pay attention. It takes a village to write a book. Don’t leave me out there, all alone, hanging in the wind when I’ve said their instead of they’re or there. Or have a character sitting in one paragraph and standing in the next, but he never stood up. Or pulling out a sword she wasn’t wearing. It happens, but I don’t write about magically appearing swords.

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Enjoy reading:

Chapter Two

Cedar Evan’s ears popped. The quarantine pod shuddered. The watering can fell off the bench. She lost her balance and smacked her hip on a seedling table. The light over the containment hatch blinked red—on-off on-off on-off––again. Shit.

Cedar moved to the control panel. Oxygen levels were down but climbing. Pressure was down, but climbing. Her stomach was down but climbing. And climbing. Climbing a rope in her throat on its way to panic.

Yet another glitch. One or two or more––they increased every week now on Alal Trade Consortium’s five-hundred-year-old-and-then-some spaceship.

The light switched to steady green. Her stomach slid back down the rope, and the sigh she didn’t know she was holding burst like juice from an over-ripe orange.

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