Battle for the future in a wasteland of despair
LAW OF THE JUNGLE
The crew of the U.S. space vessel Aquila returns from a deep-space mission to find that a devastating plant blight has stripped away all civilization, its legacy a nightmarish wasteland. In what's left of the world, the only law is tooth and claw, kill or be killed.
Traveling through the savaged countryside to wrest from death surviving kin and friends, the astronauts grimly cling to a glimmer of promise for a new start.
Far to the northwest is Aurora, a secret base offering a way out of the decline into darkness. But even as they draw closer to their destination, old faces reappear from the past, and something deadly, something ultimately threatening is unveiled.
UP THE COAST, TOWARD AURORA
Jim Hilton glanced behind him, to the open ocean and farther south, to distant Eureka. For a fraction of a stolen moment the clouds shifted and he thought he glimpsed a ship. Then the wind veered and the curtain closed and the vessel vanished.
Jim's attention came back to the land, and he wrinkled his forehead at the realization that he'd been careless. He'd been surviving in the ravaged world for long enough to know that if you wanted to stay alive, you checked and then you checked again.
But there was no sign of life.
Heather was standing up as the boat drifted in, almost silently, its keel grating in the dirt. She turned around and grinned at her father.
"Like Columbus or the Pilgrim fathers. Shall I claim this new and unknown land in the name of the Hilton family? Or in the name of Aurora?"
The shot came from somewhere inland, close to the road, the explosion echoing flatly out to sea. Jim spotted a puff of smoke, blown instantly away.
But that wasn't what mattered.
Heather screamed once, her arms thrown wide, the rope dropping from her hands. Her feet slipped and she pitched over the side of the boat into the shallow water with a resounding splash.