Humanity will be extinguished in less than seven days.
Wing Commander Jude Styles is a Starfighter Pilot trying to get pregnant before the world ends. Her wingman, Hamid Ashkami, just wants to block the spam messages he is receiving from someone claiming to be his dead ex-husband.
Instead, they are locked in a media tour, shown off as the heroes that stopped the alien invasion by destroying the massive mothership known as the “Dead Moon”, persuading the masses that all will be fine if they keep calm and carry on.
Trapped telling the same lies, driven over the edge by post-traumatic stress and the constant flow of alcohol, it is only a matter of time before Jude and Hamid break down – and the fragments of the Dead Moon have already begun to fall from the sky.
Excerpt from Dead Moon – Keith Crawford.
—Hamid, we’ve got visitors.
The Ferals had downgraded from vans to pickup trucks, which were about as appropriate to Yorkshire weather as Bermuda shorts and nice pink snorkels. The figures in the back were wrapped up in as many layers they could manage, looking miserable under hoods that didn’t keep out the rains, and failing to protect their weapons from the drizzle. Still, it wasn’t accuracy of fire that would kill Jude and Hamid. Mere weight would do.
—It’s okay. Just our Feral friends. I’ll go deal with them.
—Jude, please don’t kill anybody.
I’m going to hell anyway. I fought in the Indies. I helped nuke Mars. I’ve killed a lot of people. I mean, if there is a God in heaven, then there’s no forgiveness for people like me.
—I don’t think killing Ferals counts, Jude said out loud. —They’re hardly alive to begin with.
—Nice, Jude, stay classy. Get me time! Oh, and maybe, while you’re at it, take one alive.
—Why would I…? No. No way.
—Come on, Hamid said with a grin. —Desperate times call for desperate measures.
—That’s low, even for you. I’m not going to kidnap and rape a Feral.
—Technically it’s not…
—Quiet time now, Hamid. I thought you were supposed to be concentrating.
The last pickup pulled up. A man in a white parka climbed out through the passenger window to stand on the roof of the van. To Jude’s mind, he may as well have had a target on his chest. He was carrying a shotgun, the same sort of weapon that had killed the two soldiers, and a loudspeaker.
—Attention, intruders! Give us the one of you who killed John-lad, and the rest of you can go free.
—How the f**k are we supposed to know which one was John-lad? Jude muttered. The boy with the dreadlocks? One of the idiots who had tried to ambush them in the layby? Clearly, amongst their recent casualties was someone the w**ker with a loudspeaker cared about enough to round up a posse. How thoroughly un-British, she thought, with a tinge of damaged national pride.
—Hamid, if they notice your speeder, they’ll shoot it up.
—We’ll take another.
—We are not losing your dream speeder to these pricks.
Hamid came swiftly away from the screen, glanced out of the window, counted the Ferals in a flash, then went straight back to the computer.
—Okay. We can’t risk any shots coming up here and damaging the equipment. I need you to create us a nice big distraction so I can get the data and we can get out of here.
—What data… no, doesn’t matter. Nice big distraction coming up.
There was a sudden rattle of gunfire from outside. One of the Ferals had spotted Hamid in the window, gotten overexcited, and managed to put half a magazine through the side of his pickup. Another Feral was beating the first’s head in with the butt of his rifle. The Feral leader, still trying to sound like he was in control, quickly covered.
—That was just a warning. You’ve got five minutes to come out or I’m blowing up the whole damned building.
—With what, harsh language? Jude glanced through the corner of the window. It was all well and good saying she would make a distraction, but that meant she had to come up with one.
The Feral leader opened a case in the back of his pickup and took out a shoulder-mounted Rocket Propelled Grenade launcher.
—Oh shit, Jude said.
The Feral squeezed the trigger.
Dr Keith Crawford is a retired naval officer, disabled veteran and qualified barrister with a PhD in Law and Economics. After years of crazy adventures, from speedboats and aircraft to theatre and lecturing at Sciences Po, my French wife and I decided it was time to properly settle in Paris and have babies. Being the good feminist I try to be, I quit my job to look after the kids, support my wife’s career and write books. Each time I get offered a job my wife says “stop looking at jobs and get back to writing books.” Which shows, with marriage as with everything else, it is better to be lucky than good! Dead Moon is my second novel. The first, Vile, a science-fantasy about toxic-patriarchy, the evils of aristocracy and swordfights, is available on Amazon.