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The following Extract has been taken from: Chapter 7
Secrets of the South contains 23 chapters, 347 pages and a quality cover in smooth gloss lamination.
This is the end of the extract. Secrets of the South develops into an exciting story, and not at all what might be expected. A book that will surprise and enthral.
‘Looks like we’ve been rumbled,’ whispered Roberto, with annoyance.
‘Not necessarily,’ said Renad. ‘And try to keep calm, all of you!’ he snapped tersely.
His advice was well judged as, presently, the queue was allowed to move on again, with an attractive female, wearing a short mini-
‘You’ll be able to rest again, once aboard,’ she assured the boy with a wink of her eye.
As they made their way to the exit, an announcement came over the Tannoy apologising for the delay but assuring that the flight would proceed a little later than scheduled. Renad led the way through the transparent embarkation tunnel until they came to an automatic scanning section. However, having left all the weapons behind them, they passed through the detectors without a problem. Shortly afterwards they were ascending a ramp into a large passenger compartment of the huge spaceship ‘Nemulan’. Taking their allotted places they first put any light luggage into the special storage space underneath the seating before making themselves comfortable. By request, Pepy sat by the viewing pane with Lola next to him and Roberto on the seat by the aisle. Immediately in front, in an identically-
From their elevated positions in the spacecraft, they could clearly see the front of the space terminal where disruptive activity was still going on. Whether any of the Mogul’s men had been allowed into the complex, Roberto did not know but, fearing that they might yet be apprehended, he chewed at his fingernails with intense anxiousness. Renad looked across at him with a frown and shook his head to try and allay his fears, though he knew this would only have a limited result as he could fully appreciate the man’s concerns. And unfortunately the harrowing, grounded delay persisted; gnawing away not only at Roberto’s stomach but all of their nerves. At a point where Roberto thought he could endure the tension no longer, there was a faint shudder from the ship as its powerful motors were activated. In a moment, the giant spacecraft was airborne and turning slowly upward and away from the terminal.
Presently, Zarez Castle came into view as the spacecraft went higher and higher. All around the vicinity, they could see there was a great mobilisation of the Mogul’s military might, with sky-
‘What’s all that about, I wonder?’ said Roberto.
‘Who knows,’ replied Renad.
‘Surely it can’t be anything to do with us?’
‘I doubt it.’
Renad did not answer but remained silent as he considered the development.
‘Perhaps there has been some kind of armed insurrection as a result of the other prisoners escape and their subsequent dispatch...?’ suggested Roberto.
‘It’s possible…’ nodded Renad.
‘There is a strong dissident feeling amongst many of the Cascans towards this current regime…’
‘I can understand that, though I can’t see any opposing forces…’
‘Then maybe it’s just another show of strength to intimidate and reassert authority?’
‘More than likely,’ agreed Renad.
‘Our people’s lot is not a happy one,’ said Roberto shaking his head.
As the spaceship gained altitude, Pepy stared out of the viewing pane in awe of the experience but Lola looked down at her world with mixed emotions and deep sadness. Tears rolled down her face as she considered the plight of her people, and she felt no satisfaction of eluding the tyranny they endured. She shuddered and sobbed silently as she realised she was leaving her life on Casca behind, probably never to return, and felt guilty in doing so. Renad had seen her sorrow and, fully understanding her anguish, he felt a lump come to his throat and had to turn away lest he succumb to the same melancholy.
Roberto put a steadying hand on his sister’s arm as Botelo lowered his head in equal distress, and Renad saw that Ranine was also in a similar state and trying to compose himself. Pepy, it seemed, was the only one enjoying the moment
With the spacecraft’s acceleration, the pale blue sky soon became darker and gradated into indigo as the atmosphere of the planet was left behind. Suddenly, it became black and the incredible spectacle of outer space with its myriad of stars and galaxies could be seen in all their glory before the internal lighting of the ship automatically activated.
‘Wow!’ shouted Pepy, in appreciation of it all.
His abrupt outburst of exhilaration had everyone snapped from their thoughts and to attention. Lola laughed and hugged her brother and now, with the tension passed, and with the realisation that they were finally on their way, everyone breathed a sigh of relief.
Roberto engaged in conversation with Renad as did Botelo and Ranine whilst Pepy chatted away quickly and excitedly to Lola, though in the end, she was not really listening as her troubled thoughts had returned. But little did she know that events were already underway of such monumental proportion that they would forever change her world, and in a way she could never have envisaged. However, for the moment her attention was distracted by an automated announcement that the spacecraft was about to make the transition into hyper-