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Exclusive book preview of Alien: Sea of Sorrows

07.28.2014by: Kevin Woods

Here's a nice treat for you ALIEN fans out there. Today we have an EXCLUSIVE preview of Titan Books' ALIEN: SEA OF SORROWS, the direct follow up to ALIEN: OUT OF THE SHADOWS that shows the continuing malevolent influence of the Weyland-Yutani Corporation, and their inexorable efforts to weaponize the Xenomorph known as the Alien. Scheduled to hit the shelves tomorrow June 29 (pre-order the paperback HERE or grab it on Kindle HERE), this tale is written by James A. Moore (the "Serenity Falls" trilogy) and concerns...

As a deputy commissioner for the ICC, Alan Decker’s job is to make sure the settlements on LV178 follow all the rules, keeping the colonists safe. But the planet known as New Galveston holds secrets, lurking deep beneath the toxic sands dubbed the Sea of Sorrows.

The Weyland-Yutani Corporation has secrets of its own, as Decker discovers when he is forced to join a team of mercenaries sent to investigate an ancient excavation. Somewhere in that long-forgotten dig lies the thing the company wants most in the universe—a living Xenomorph.

Decker doesn’t understand why they need him, until his own past comes back to haunt him. Centuries ago, his ancestor fought the Aliens, launching a bloody vendetta that was never satisfied. That was when the creatures swore revenge on the Destroyer…Ellen Ripley.

Below you'll find an excerpt from ALIEN: SEA OF SORROWS to give you a little taste of what to expect. This new series of novels bridges the gap between ALIEN and ALIENS, and this latest entry will no doubt deliver a pulse-pounding, fright-filled read for fans of the films.

Pre-order ALIEN: SEA OF SORROWS in paperback HERE or on the Kindle HERE.


Chapter Four

Adrift

 

He woke up in the wrong place.

     He’d expected to open his eyes and see the familiar ceiling of his cramped quarters. Instead he was looking at a polished, stainless steel surface above a small and decidedly uncomfortable bed. He knew the type, of course. He was onboard a ship, and that wasn’t at all where he was supposed to be.

     “Good morning.”

     He jerked. The soft voice came from his left.

     He knew the words, but for just a moment they seemed like gibberish—foreign sounds coming from a source that made no sense. Where were the rest of the—

     “How are you feeling?

     He looked over and locked eyes with a stout, fortyish woman. She was sitting down, so her height wasn't easy to estimate, but she wore a white lab coat and her graying brown hair was pulled back in a bun.

     “Am I on a transport?” he rasped. His mouth felt swollen, and his throat hurt like hell.

     The woman nodded. She had blue eyes behind fairly thick glasses, and she studied his face carefully.

     “You’re onboard the Carlyle, heading for Earth.”

     Slowly but surely, it began to come back to him.

     “How did I get here?” He should have hurt more than he did, so he looked. Sure enough, he was wearing a medical gown. Even from his position he could see his leg and the thick line of fresh scar tissue that now graced it. Someone had taken the time to shave his upper thigh, and the lack of hair made it look like a denuded forest in comparison to the rest of his limb.

     “Do you remember your accident?” she asked, trying for neutral and failing. He could sense the apprehension in her. As Decker thought back on the last thing he could remember, he could see where she was going. The accident, the blood, the convulsions.

     Hatred.

     None of it was very clear, but even more than the pain, he remembered the feeling of anger that had overwhelmed him.

     He let out a long shuddery breath.

     “Yeah. I think so,” he said. “My leg got mangled. And I had some kind of attack.”

     The woman smiled a very sterile and slightly patronizing smile.

     “You had a seizure.” She looked at the hard-copy chart she was holding in her ample lap. “Actually, you had several, but according to this, the first couple were the worst of them.” She met his gaze, and then looked away, seeming uncomfortable with the way he was staring. “You flailed around, and almost bit through your tongue. Since then we’ve been monitoring you carefully and, of course, working on getting you fully mended.”

     Almost bit through my tongue. No wonder it feels swollen. His words seemed to come out too slowly. “If I’m mending, then why am I on the way back to Earth?”

     “The seizures are an… issue,” she replied. “We can’t find a reason for them.”

     Darkness, and things stirring and looking toward him, and that sudden flare of raw, volcanic emotion.

     “Aren’t there facilities on New Galveston where I could be examined?”

     “Of course, but there are better ones at home.” She was lying. He would have known that, even without his empathic abilities. She didn’t have a face designed for lying. Still he couldn’t exactly push it.

     “Did anyone pack my belongings?” he asked instead.

     “Yes, a man named…” She took a moment to look over the papers on her clipboard. “Lucas Rand. He packed your things, and asked us to let you know that he’s sent along the latest information for you to use while making your reports.”

     Decker nodded. That was good. He had plenty he needed to cover.

     Without warning, a shudder crawled through his body. He closed his eyes for a moment, and his breathing came fast. It was as if he was being watched by something just beyond the edges of perception. He’d never been particularly paranoid—was that what this feeling was? He sure as hell felt like something was out to get him.

     And it must have showed.

     “Are you all right?” He opened his eyes. The woman was looking at him and frowning now.

      He didn’t answer—just looked at his arm and the goose flesh crawling along the entire length. How the hell could anything make him feel this cold? This filled with dread?

     “No,” he replied. “I don’t think I am.”

     She nodded, as if his words justified whatever might come next.

     “Well, we’ll get it sorted out soon enough.” She rose to her feet and looked down at him with that condescending smile that never quite made it to her eyes. “It’s a long trip back to Earth, and we’ll be entering stasis sleep soon.”

     That thought didn’t make him feel any better. He’d never much liked the forced slumber of the sleeping chambers. He understood the reasons well enough, but he didn’t like the feeling of being trapped. Rather than edging toward calm, he felt the emotions increasing. Try as he might, he couldn’t slow his breathing.

     “You’re sweating,” the woman said, frowning.

     “I think I’m having a panic attack.” His pulse was hammering away merrily now and yes, he was sweating. He began to shiver.

     “Are you prone to panic attacks?” she asked, placing a palm on his forehead.

     “No.” He was trembling uncontrollably, and felt like an idiot.

     “I’m going to get you a mild sedative.”

     He shook his head, and offered the first excuse that came to him.

     “I need to finish my reports,” he said. “I need to be able to concentrate.”

     “That’s why I said a mild sedative,” she countered. “Just something to help you calm down. We’re still a few hours away from entering the chambers, so you should have plenty time to finish up with anything that doesn’t require heavy lifting.”

     That made him smile, and to his surprise, he was rewarded by a real smile in return.

     Yet it didn’t help—if anything, his panic worsened. He tried to stamp it down, but nothing worked. His breath was coming in gasps, his throat was dry, and swallowing was a task. Sweat beaded on his trembling lips and forehead.

     Seeing this, the woman turned without a word, left, and came back a few moments later with a plastic cup of water and a smaller cup containing two tiny white pills.

     “Eat up,” she instructed brusquely. “These will help.”

     Decker nodded and obeyed.

     It seemed as if it took forever, but after a while the pills helped. First the shaking subsided, then the sweating stopped. And finally, the feeling that there was something coming for him receded. It didn’t go away, but he felt as if he could live with it.

***

     After about half an hour, by his reckoning, the woman rummaged through his things and brought out the hand-held he had been using to review the results of their testing. She adjusted his bed so that he was sitting upright, and then left him to his paperwork.

     Always the paperwork. It was stupid, really, calling it “paperwork,” even though there was no paper. In fact, the only paper he had seen in a very long time was what the doctor had been holding. At least he assumed she was a doctor.

     Does hard copy make it easier to hide the facts? he wondered. Or harder? Then he chuckled inwardly. Maybe I am becoming paranoid.

     Sometimes he found the work monotonous, but right then he took great comfort in the details he had to examine, and the research he had to double-check. The more he did so, the less doubt he had in his mind—that Weyland-Yutani was responsible for the screw-ups in New Galveston. He dug deep into the past, and confirmed that there had once been a company-owned mining facility. No, not company-owned, exactly, but either they had been partners in the setup, or they had supplied a great deal of the equipment. “Kelland Mining” was the name on the documentation, but from what he could discern, W-Y either had an interest in Kelland, or had absorbed it somewhere down the line.

     Either way, they should have known about the previous occupation of the planet. As far as he was concerned, that meant they were culpable.

     His report to the Interstellar Commerce Commission would say as much.

     He finished the report and sent it with a little over an hour to spare—it would be channeled through the ship’s communications systems, and reach Earth long before he did. Then the doctor retrieved him and led him to the bank of hypersleep chambers. Standard procedures still applied. Decker stripped down to his underwear—not that it took a lot of effort under the circumstances—and crawled into the round glass cylinder that seemed more like a coffin than anything else.

     There was a hint of returning panic, but he quelled it. It was only a matter of moments before sleep came to claim him.

***

And with sleep came the nightmares.

     Forty-seven days of nightmares as he rode toward Earth from New Galveston.

     When you sleep, no one can hear you scream.

 

Extra Tidbit: Will you be picking up ALIEN: SEA OF SORROWS?

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