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Wicked Ways: Horse Clan Chronicles 1 by Clarissa Lake (1)

We finally learned what's been happening to divide our people. A rival corporation—Brady Corporation—had hired our own chief of security Victor Rode, to sabotage our expedition. He's done his job well, too.

That wasn't the only terrible thing he did either. The riot he started on Level B killed eight people; one that was my brother Jake. Damn Victor! How could he have done this terrible thing? Jake was like a brother to him as well.

Victor's men nearly killed poor Marcus to secure the engine rooms so they could sabotage our engines. Now we cannot achieve sufficient deceleration in time to lock Mari-Sanna into Demus orbit. Our ship, so costly in human blood is heading straight into DM237, and there's nothing we can do to stop her.

We have isolated ourselves and secured six launch bays and a dozen shuttles. It will be crowded, but they will get us to Demus---if that is actually Demus we're approaching. At this point, we can't know for sure, all we know is that it’s a habitable class M planet. We have no choice now. Whatever planet this is we are calling it Demus.

Victor's people have already left. They took the main shuttle with most of the extra oxygen and supplies. He planned his treachery well, but Grant planned well, too. He suspected sabotage sometime before he told me about it. We will depend on the Mari-Sanna’s life support system until the last possible moment, then we launch the all the shuttles for Demus. Because of Grant, we are supplied better than Victor expected.

We will survive, and Victor will be sorry. Someday he will be very sorry.


Personal Journal Wynne Schaefer March 26

There's been little time for the journal these past days. The shuttle was crowded, and I've spent a lot of time calming the others even as part of me is threatening to panic. So far, I've kept that irrational fear under control, but it keeps coming closer to the surface.

This journey to Demus as even harder than Lochner and Marcus expected. Some will not make it. And I am afraid. Not so much of dying, but that Grant and I will never have a real life together---never have children to inherit the empire he plans to build on Demus. The fear keeps me going, fear and determination that our plans will be realized.


April 3

Only two did not make it. Our shuttle has landed in the snow-covered Cerulean Mountains of the largest continent far inland. We lost contact with Blake Falkner's group and Scott Bundy's. Scott's shuttle carried the beacon with which we could communicate with the next incoming ship. Grant says they will be here in two years at the most. The others believe him, but I know he is just hoping because we don't really know where we are.

Ray says the lab is set up now and some of the crops have been planted. Grant has also produced horses and cattle embryos for the nurturing tanks with the genetic material we brought. In the spring of the next Demian year, we should have two small herds. Then, perhaps he will produce some cats and dogs with the next group. Life has been a lot of hard work and sweat, but are people are content because they have begun to build futures for themselves again.


June 17

There's been so much work these past weeks. I've had very little time for the journal again, but I must write this. Our first child will be born in the spring---or what would've been Spring back on Earth. It will be autumn here. Grant has finally decided it's time to start working on our own high hopes. He is happy, but it can also see that he is worried. I'm not. We're going to have a beautiful, healthy child. I can feel it.


June 22

We had our first town meeting in the community hall today. Grant was elected as chief executive of our village. The vote was almost unanimous: no one even ran against him. We have also voted to name the village Blue Summit. It seems appropriate since we landed in the Cerulean Mountain range. We called it that because of how blue it looks from space. Beyond our mountain's there is a Sapphire Lake and a Gentian Plain.

It doesn't matter what we call this place it's beautiful, and it's our home, green and full of life. Flora and fauna are reminiscent of an earlier age on Earth, but much is suitable for human consumption; a good thing because we're getting low on supplies.


September 4

Our home is finished and grander than I expected. They made it from the wood from a kind of rubbery tree that hardens almost like rock when it dries. It can be stained and polish to a lovely shine. Most of the houses are finished now 37 of them for 79 settlers. Ten other women are pregnant now, too. There will be many babies in the spring. Already the waiting is hard. I yearn to hold our child in my arms. I want to fill this beautiful house with our children---


There were many more pages of the neatly written script, but Grant could no longer see to read them. All her hopes and dreams could never be realized now… All of his own that died with her… Two tears slid down his cheeks into the silver-streaked beard that covered the lower half of his face. Memories were all he had now thanks to Victor Rode. Grant brushed back the tears and swallowed hard against the aching lump in his throat. He closed the journal, caressing the pale blue cover lovingly. He was glad she had guarded her private thoughts by recording them the old way. Otherwise, they would have been lost on the computer of the Mari-Sanna when it fell into the sun. At least he had them.

Finally, he got up, his eyes haunted and his mouth a grim with the pain he held inside him. It was time to lay her to rest with the others. Then he would plan in his revenge…


Personal journal of Wynne Schaefer-McKell

Supplement by Grant McKell


October 23

Two years have passed since your cold-blooded murder, my beloved. Our children have grown tall and blossomed without you. I know they still miss you, but they have adapted better to life without you than I have. Not even revenge was taken away the emptiness. I killed Victor Rode today. I made him suffer for every moment of torment I suffered, for those brief moments you suffered at his hands. Yet nothing is changed.

You are still gone, and I am alone with the guilt I will carry for the rest of my life. I fear my revenge will spill the blood of our children's children---maybe their children, too. I killed Victor Rode; now his son may one day come to kill me to avenge his father. Then our son may kill him. All of their blood will be on my hands.

I know in my heart that what I did was wrong, but I'm still too filled with hate to feel much remorse. Victor Rode deserved every moment of pain he suffered for all the years he stole from us, you and me and our children together---for the children you'll never have with me now.

I hope one day they will forgive me for this bitter blood feud I have begun.

Maybe one day I will forgive myself.