A short snippet of Family Law #3 as always raw/unedited

Alex their shuttle pilot was smooth. Better than Lee remembered Gordon or either of her parents ever being at landing. She wasn’t even sure exactly when they touched down. He had all three pads touching the ground but most of the shuttle’s weight still held against the thrust.
Outside a storm of salt blew away in their exhaust. It calmed down quickly as the loosed surface blew away. The salt a few centimeters down was much more consolidated, and the jet was hot enough to melt the surface of the salt that didn’t blow away easily sealing it.
The noise subsided as he eased the throttle back, putting more weight on the landing jacks. His fingers stayed hooked over the T handle, ready to jerk it back hard if the surface was just a crust and gave way. He watched the cameras showing the flat pads at the end of the struts rather than try to feel a drop by the seat of his pants. When the full weight didn’t make it sink he blipped the throttle twice with his finger tips making the lander bounce against the suspension. It seemed solid.
When they went out Ernie might be insightful but he was also cautious. He had an square steel bar sharpened to a point on the bottom, and the back two thirds turned down round to fit his hand and knurled coarsely to give a good grip. He jammed this in the ground before trusting his weight to it, even though the lander seemed stable. The salt was sufficiently thin that small ridges of rock poked through it here and there. A few dark streaks of fine gravel or sand colored it occasionally too. All of them aligned the direction they were going.
“Walk right behind me until we’ve tested out more than just one spot,” he ordered. The pilot stayed with the shuttle and Lee and Ernie headed for the first lake about five hundred meters away. This one they’d picked to sample because it had a deep green color and might have bacteria. It was only about three kilometers across, but almost a hundred kilometers long. They should be able to see the other side easily. The more so because the other side was an abrupt escarpment. The few places it showed any beach at the bottom were far too narrow to consider landing. This side the salt flat ran right up to the water.
“Did you feel that?” Ernie asked.
“No. I didn’t feel anything,” Lee said. “Or I just thought it was you poking with the bar.”
“Stand still with you feet flat and don’t move shift around,” Ernie said. He turned far enough to be able to watch Lee, and leaned on the bar like a hiking staff.
Lee stood like he asked, and was patient, but nothing was happening. She was tired of it quickly and about to suggest they move on when the ground rumbled a little under her feet. It felt like when a big truck went by on her visit to Earth.
“OK, I felt that.” Lee looked back to make sure it wasn’t the shuttle. The lander was quiet and the engines hadn’t been restarted.
“That was a little earthquake,” Ernie said. “I’m thinking this long lake must be in a rift from a fault line in the crust.” He was back-lit a little and Lee could see his face inside the faceplate. He had a serious look, thinking hard about something so she kept quiet and let him process.
“I have to talk with some of the others, and look up some material on our web faction, but I’m thinking the two planets with interacting magnetic fields and the tidal forces must keep the cores stirred up. That’s why we see all these little volcanoes,” he decided.
“And why not any big ones?” Lee wondered.
“Maybe it’s so active they get leveled out,” Ernie speculated, resuming his walk to the water.

8 Responses to A short snippet of Family Law #3 as always raw/unedited

  1. Ed Patterson April 24, 2015 at 12:23 am #

    Interesting but you are successfully keeping the plot from us. Thanks, I like to discover it with the book.

    Minor error.

    ‘ “Stand still with you feet flat and don’t move shift around,” ‘

    Missing an ‘or’.

    I wonder if they may be needing an oar (and a boat) soon if the lake shifts after an earthquake.

    • Mac April 24, 2015 at 6:01 am #


    • Mac April 24, 2015 at 10:28 am #

      Yeah, spoilers have been a problem keeping me from posting much.

    • Jack Hudler May 7, 2015 at 1:19 am #

      You missed the ‘your’ typo

  2. Melvyn April 24, 2015 at 4:21 am #

    Thank you. Any idea when we might get the book?

    • Mac April 24, 2015 at 6:00 am #

      I guessing at July. I don’t have any deadline from my publisher at all.

  3. Chuck C April 24, 2015 at 9:53 pm #

    Is there a character named April, or did you mean Lee?

    • Mac April 27, 2015 at 5:25 pm #

      No April – was a subconscious thing if I did that. I’ve learned I have to do a search for bleed over names editing. Fixed it.

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