This week, I’m sharing a bit from the beginning, where you’ll meet a few new characters and have a look at what our heroes are up to since we left them in Maven. If you recall the epilogue from book 1, you’ll remember Lydia’s first meeting with Dr. Anna Corvis. That didn’t go so well for her, and when we pick up in book 2, that relationship has not improved. Things get worse for Lydia and Daniel before they’ll get better, so be prepared for a rollercoaster ride on the SAT for this second installment.
And now, your first Teaser Tuesday selection from Nemesis…
Lydia struggled not to stare daggers at Dr. Corvis while she spoke. Instead, she busied herself with jotting down ideas for the additional side searches.
The two weeks that Dr. Anna Corvis had been aboard the Endure had given Lydia nothing but difficulty. Five times she had attempted to schedule meetings with her, only to have them cancelled at the last possible moment with one excuse or another. Here was someone well versed in the work Dr. Burkovitz was doing, but the infuriating woman refused to give her more than a few sketchy details that did nothing but confirm what she already knew. Maybe Dr. Corvis thought giving up all the goods on Burkovitz right away would make her no longer useful. Maybe her immunity from prosecution was only good while she held on to that information. Lydia could only speculate on the woman’s reticence to work with her. The missed meetings were irritating enough, but seeing her speak to Daniel a moment ago had her wondering if perhaps there wasn’t more going on than she knew. It was possible she was reading too much into it, but she knew flirting when she saw it.
Dr. Corvis rattled off a list of possible search items. They were much more specific than anything they had looked for so far. This only served to irritate Lydia further. Clearly Dr. Corvis knew a lot about the Maven Initiative’s research but was refusing to work with 3-SSR to bring a stop to it. She hated to take the issue higher, but Lydia was running out of patience.
“It sounds like a good plan,” Captain Brewer said with an appreciative nod. “The expanded searches could bring new information to light.”
Daniel nodded in agreement. “Turner and Nidal, why don’t you take the new search terms. Everyone else focus on the main search. Any other thoughts or questions?” His eyes met hers for a moment, silently asking if she had anything to add. She gave a slight shake of her head in response and he continued on. “Let’s get to it then.”
Daniel sat down at his terminal. One by one, every panel of the new, enormous screen came to life. When all twelve terminals were visible, the action began. Fingers drummed across tabletops as the tech team typed away at laser-projected keyboards. Lydia watched the giant screen, waiting for panel four, her assigned area, to find something she could grab. Brooke Turner was another new addition to the crew, and it was her progress Lydia would be watching tonight. Brooke had arrived three weeks ago and was quickly brought into Tony’s circle of friends. It had introduced new tension into the group, as both Frank and Carlos had their eye on this girl. Lydia thought she was nice enough. She was quiet and hid behind her mousy brown hair most of the time. Brooke didn’t talk about herself much, but Daniel had told Lydia about her previous work. The woman was very skilled and had done freelance computer security for some of the biggest companies in the world. Daniel said it had taken him a lot of convincing to bring her on board, so Lydia had been trying to make her feel welcome.
It was Brooke who was the first to crack into the targeted server. Lydia sprang into action, grabbing files that came up in the search window on her tablet. Brooke’s console and Lydia’s tablet were tethered in a way that allowed both of them access. This doubled-up on the amount of information that could be screened at one time. Her lab staff were similarly paired up, as was Dr. Gerardi and a few other scientists from around the station. After this raid, the tech ops would go through every file, pulling out any viruses or autodelete codes or unlocking password protected files. Because of this, it would be several days before she had an opportunity to look at the contents.
After thirty minutes, her head ached from staring at the tablet for so long and concentrating so hard. Her vision was starting to blur. Lydia didn’t know how much longer she could keep up with the barrage of windows opening and closing before her eyes. As if the servers could sense her exhaustion, every screen flared white as their connections were shut down all at once.
“Damn it,” Daniel cursed as he typed furiously at his station. “They’re backtracking us. All stations scatter your VPNs. I’m erasing digital logs and redirecting our trail.”
There was nothing more for her to do than watch twelve people scramble to cover their digital footprints. She watched line after line of gibberish code scroll across every panel of the front screen. Very little of it made any sense to her, and scrolled too fast for her to give much thought. Someday she might get Daniel to demystify this for her.
Captain Brewer stood and addressed the non-tech personnel seated on the back bench. “Those of you not manning stations should secure your tablets in their lockers. There’s nothing more we’ll need from you tonight.” Everyone not at a computer stood and stretched, many of them yawning. “I’ll see you all at the debrief later this week.”
Lydia hesitated. She didn’t know how long Daniel would be, but by the look of it, it would be a while. Worry nagged at her. Daniel wasn’t sleeping enough as it was and stressful situations like this didn’t help matters. As she decided to wait on him, someone touched her shoulder.
“You should go too, Dr. Ashley,” Captain Brewer said. There was a stern resolve in the wrinkles of his forehead, but his eyes held kind understanding. He knew she wanted to stay for Daniel.
“Isn’t tomorrow Sunday?” he interrupted.
Was it? Lydia frowned. The days were blending together in a blur of lab work and clandestine meetings.
“I suppose I should say ‘today is Sunday’, shouldn’t I?” The Captain chuckled. “Take it easy. The lab staff as well. You won’t be able to keep up this pace forever. You’ll burn out and this whole plan will get a lot more complicated.”
Captain Samuel Brewer had become much less intimidating to her over the last few months, but she respected him more every day. It wasn’t that he was exactly like her own father had been, but the feeling was similar. While she doubted she would ever be comfortable stepping past the boundaries of the chain of command, he had made it clear that some things were outside of the rules and restrictions of UN control. Even so, he never showed her special treatment, and she never asked for it. There was an unspoken bond between them and it had everything to do with Daniel.
“Go and get some rest, Dr. Ashley.” The Captain’s words were not a suggestion.
“Yes, sir,” she said with a tired smile.
Lydia placed her tablet in her designated locker next to her handwritten notebook containing everything she knew about the Maven Initiative. After verifying her identity on the thumbprint scanner, she took one last look at Daniel and excused herself for the night.
So there’s your first peek at Nemesis. You can add the book on Goodreads now, but you’ll have to wait for next week for any more teasers. August 26th is the drop date for this one and it’s coming fast! I’m super excited to be giving you all this book and hope you all enjoy it!