I’m serializing my novel Europan Holiday here on my blog, Wattpad, and Leanpub . I plan to post on a Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday schedule until it’s done. Eventually I’ll do a regular print and e-book release once I’m done but this gives me a chance to review the book as I go.
There moments when everything changes. Nick was about to upload the uncut footage when he saw movement outside the large portal behind Vibeke. For less than a second he thought that the movement was one of the team outside — but that large, long, silvery shape was not in any sense one of the alien reindeer. It was a familiar shape. Identical to the sleek craft that the enforcers had used to take him to the Cottage, it hovered outside above the icy surface. And it wasn’t alone. Several other enforcer ships hung above the surface in formation with the first.
The idea that they would be allowed to explore Europa’s surface on their own was clearly too good to be true.
“We have company.” Nick pointed at the craft.
Vibeke turned around. Her breath hissed through her teeth when she saw the craft outside. Her hands clenched into tiny fists. “They shouldn’t be here!”
A tone from the laptop drew Nick’s attention back to the screen. At first he didn’t notice anything, and then he saw that the connection icon was showing that he was disconnected from the network.
“We don’t have a connection anymore,” Nick said. He clicked the icon but there wasn’t anything showing. The connection to the wireless network was gone and with it any chance that he had to upload the continuous feed video to the site.
Nick stood up and closed the laptop. Glancing at the cameras, he said. “They’ve cut us off. Without the continuous footage to upload people won’t believe the video we sent.”
Vibeke’s eyes narrowed. “I will protest this! They can’t do this!”
“They are doing it.” Nick crossed the cabin again and leaned over the bench to get a better look out the large portal. There were at least a half a dozen of the enforcer spacecraft outside. No doubt the cameras on the rover were recording everything, and it was too bad that he wouldn’t be able to upload the footage. If JupiterFan had thought that the intro video was unbelievable, what would he had said seeing these spacecraft? The only way Nick could get footage like this back on Earth would be with millions of dollars of special-effects work. Not that that would stop people from disbelieving. They would simply look for the movie studio behind the EuropaNick persona. They would probably even conclude that the whole thing — all of his posts — were simply to build up to this event as a sort of viral marketing effort. Not an exactly unreasonable explanation. If he was back on Earth witnessing all of this he might’ve come to the same conclusion.
Vibeke’s arm slipped around his waist as she joined him in looking out at the enforcer craft, which at this point had moved from taking up their positions in an arc facing the rover. It was a little disturbing.
“What are they doing? They’re not going to blast us are they?”
Vibeke shook her head once, hard. “No. They have no need to blast us. They’ve already cut off our communication with Earth I expect they’re here to take us into custody and return us below.”
That didn’t sound so bad, except the part about being a prisoner, which Vibeke hadn’t actually said, but it seemed an implied.
Outside something else is happening. The team was back. Alien reindeer took up positions flying around the rover in a circular fashion. Vibeke grabbed his arm and pushed him away from the window. “We better get strapped in”
Donder and the rest weren’t directly confronting the enforcers spacecraft, instead they were flying in circles around the rover. The bright rainbow hued energy flowing into their heads reached out further and further, forming massive antlers of energy which streamed down and around their flippers, twisting and combining into broad bands. It reminded Nick of something.
Vibeke yanked on his arm.
Nick followed her, bounding through the cabin. At first his overly enthusiastic steps carried him high enough to nearly crack his skull on the rover’s loft. He used his hands to ward off the impact, and followed Vibeke into the cockpit. She swung into her seat and snatched up the belts, which clicked into place as the magnetic catches engaged. Nick got into his own seat with less grace, and pull the straps across his chest and fastened them. The big cockpit window gave them another view of what was happening outside.
There were even more enforcer ships then he had imagined they surrounded the rover. Inside that ring of spacecraft the alien reindeer flew in a blur like the walls of a cyclone done in rainbow energies. Their big, streamlined bodies were mere darker blurs, and through that wall of energy he could see the enforcers crafts holding the ground.
“What are they doing? Is that some kind of force field?”
“Force field? no. It’s –”
There was a jolt and the world vanished.