Unknown (unknown series book 1)

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Copyright © 2016 Wendy Higgins

 

All rights reserved. Printed in the United States of America.

No part of this book may be used, changed, or reproduced in any form or by any means electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval systems, without prior written permission of the author except where permitted by law.

Published by Wendy Higgins

Image license © Maxfx | Dreamstime.com - Woman In Open Desert Photo, © Maxfx | Dreamstime.com - Body Builder Photo

Graphic Designby Jennifer Munswami of J.M. Rising Horse Creation

Interior Design & Formattingby Christine Borgford,Perfectly Publishable

 

The characters and events portrayed in this book are fictitious. Any similarity to real persons, living or dead is coincidental and not intended by the author.

Table of Contents

UNKNOWN

DEDICATION

PART ONE

PROLOGUE

CHAPTER ONE

CHAPTER TWO

CHAPTER THREE

CHAPTER FOUR

CHAPTER FIVE

CHAPTER SIX

CHAPTER SEVEN

CHAPTER EIGHT

PART TWO

CHAPTER NINE

CHAPTER TEN

CHAPTER ELEVEN

CHAPTER TWELVE

CHAPTER THIRTEEN

CHAPTER FOURTEEN

CHAPTER FIFTEEN

CHAPTER SIXTEEN

CHAPTER SEVENTEEN

CHAPTER EIGHTEEN

CHAPTER NINETEEN

CHAPTER TWENTY

CHAPTER TWENTY-ONE

CHAPTER TWENTY-TWO

CHAPTER TWENTY-THREE

CHAPTER TWENTY-FOUR

CHAPTER TWENTY-FIVE

CHAPTER TWENTY-SIX

CHAPTER TWENTY-SEVEN

CHAPTER TWENTY-EIGHT

CHAPTER TWENTY-NINE

CHAPTER THIRTY

CHAPTER THIRTY-ONE

CHAPTER THIRTY-TWO

CHAPTER THIRTY-THREE

CHAPTER THIRTY-FOUR

CHAPTER THIRTY-FIVE

TO BE CONTINUED

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

CONTACT ME

To Brooke Leicht,

Friend extraordinaire

 

“It’s nearly time, Bahntan.”Bahntan.Keeper of the people. He was the first male leader of his kind, raised for one single, monumental purpose. And the time to fulfill that purpose was upon them.

The Bahntan lifted his heavy chin from where he stared out of the window into Nevada’s night sky; his every thought a betrayal of his life’s work. On the outside he appeared handsome and capable in a crisp Italian suit, but on the inside he had never felt more broken, his thoughts scattered.

“You have reservations,” his female comrade remarked. The Bahntan focused on the stars and imagined what lie beyond them, too far for his eye to see—places humans had never been—places he could scarcely imagine himself.

“We knew it would be difficult for you,” his comrade continued. “Being forced to live as one of them. But we are beyond the point of turning back, Bahntan.” The woman put a hand on his shoulder. “You have been chosen. Do not doubt one hundred years of careful planning. You are honored.”

I am cursed.The Bahntan turned, not daring to voice the thought. His comrade had lived in hiding all her life, surrounded only by other Bahnturian people in one of many subculture camps hidden on every continent on the earth. This woman was well-trained, well-manicured, to speak any language and fit in to nearly any culture, but she did not have the firsthand knowledge that he had.

He met his comrade’s eye and gave a stiff nod. “Of course.”

“Earth, its people,needour cleansing. They beg for it in their despair; the soil and sky cry out for it. And yet they are not willing to do what is necessary.”

The Bahntan closed his eyes. “But five and a half billion people . . .” Then he clenched his teeth and shoved his hands in his pockets, turning away again.

“It is the only way.” The woman of Bael took his shoulder and forced him to turn again. This woman, who should have been leader, planted her hands on the Bahntan’s shoulders. “In every nation they are poisoned. They abuse their own bodies, their own lands. Their minds are rotted by evils of murder and hatred and all manner of perversion.”

“Not all,” he whispered in response.

The woman gave him a firm shake. “Too many.”

Never had he questioned his people and their ways. He knew the earth wept, and drastic changes were the only way to set things right, but five and a half billion souls were a great many to carry on his shoulders.

“Bahntan, do not doubt,” she said gently. “Those who perish will be at peace. And those who live will be thankful and embrace their new life.”

“As slaves?” The Bahntan gave a dry laugh. “I fear they will not bow to us as easily as you assume.”

“History says otherwise. They will succumb. They will adapt. Slavery of some sort has been in these lands since the dawn of time. It is the nature of the masses to be led by those stronger than them. And humans are no strangers to genocide. In the end, our ways will be good for them. There will finally be equality for all. No petty reasons for war. No differences to overcome. They will come to see that—if not in this generation, then the next. And our people will finally be free. Don’t you see? The cost is great, but the cause is greater.”

The Bahntan swallowed down every argument on his tongue. This was the only way. He had to believe the end justified the means, otherwise what was to come might destroy him. Humanity had its good and bad attributes, its weaknesses and strengths. When he concentrated on the bad, on those weaknesses, he knew this was the only way for his people to have a chance. He couldn’t allow himself to fear what was right.

“Please,” the Bahntan said. “Ignore my reservations. I am ready.”

The woman smiled and rubbed his shoulder. “There now. You make us proud.”

Even in retrospect, it’s difficult to pinpoint exactly where we went wrong. After the bombings, things were . . . confusing. Chaotic. I’m not sure if it was hope or desperation or simply naiveté that caused us, the United States, to sit back and watch as an eraser was taken to our Constitution. Perhaps it was fear. Whatever the reason, we handed over our freedoms, allowed everything to be stripped away for the sake of supposed safety, even when it felt wrong. Because we didn’t know who we were fighting. We only knew who we were protecting.

Us Tates and the Fites. Rylen Fite. Oh God . . .Ry.

I feel like I need to talk about him before I can explain the dismal state of our world. Because for me, he’s the core strand around which everything else in my life is woven. He’s more than just my older brother’s best friend. He’s more than our neighbor on the potato farm with a screwed up family. He’s an integral part of me . . . and I’d die if he ever knew I said that.

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