By H. L. Chandler, Sci-Fi/Futuristic Thriller, 491 pages
Cover art by Pat Evans
How much freedom are people willing to sacrifice for safety? In the aftermath of a nuclear devastated world the Delaney family lived a comfortable life. Nora Delaney worked for Heartland State Resources. Her husband, Bill, worked at Enable Incorporated who provided systems to improve companies' production. The Total Child Development program cared for their children.
There was no unemployment, the state provided jobs for everyone. Nothing went wrong so long as citizens stayed within the law. Josh and Ellen Sebring wanted to obey the law, but the price was too high. They lost their lives and the state took their son anyway.
When Celena and Maggie Delaney meet Rolan Sebring at the TCD academy the three children set in motion events that will bring about the destruction of their way of life. Nora, along with Rolan's aunt and uncle, to protect the children flee with them to the unknown Outland. The drought stricken land harbors genetic mutants and outcasts of all sort. In the area between the City-States life is hard. Yet, amidst the dry and barren land rides the Reunion Army, their goal is to reunite the country.
Ellen Sebring lay on her back in a room on the seventh floor; her distended belly a huge mound under the white sheet, her arms and legs strapped tight to the hospital bed. A couple of hours ago, after the evening meal, the nurse had drawn the drapes, shutting out the coming night. Ellen wished she could see the sky. The stars might comfort her. Tears slid from the corners of Ellen's brown eyes and rolled down her temples into her ears. She always kept a straight face when Josh, her husband, was in the room with her. If she cried, so would he. They both needed to be strong. They had prayed for days. They had prayed to escape and find a hiding place where Ellen could deliver this poor child in safety. However, it appeared the Lord had other plans.
The metallic click of the doorknob, and a soft swoosh of the heavy door opening startled her. She hoped none of the staff was coming to check on her again. Their presence made her feel even more a prisoner.
When she saw it was Josh, fear left her; she blinked away her tears. The sight of his rumpled brown hair and deep brown eyes filled her heart with joy under any circumstances.
“Hi,” Josh said as he came into the private room. “There isn't anyone in the hallway, so I thought I could sneak in to see you.”
Ellen nodded, smiled and sniffed once. “Why bother to guard me? How could I get away?” Ellen tugged at the restraints around her wrists.
Josh's face turned fiery red. His lips twisted in a snarl. He stepped to the side of the bed and removed the bands holding her left hand.
“I am so sorry,” he said. “I should have taken you away when we had the chance, before it was too late. It is all my fault.”
“Hush, hush. It isn't your fault. I knew what I was doing when I wouldn't let them abort this baby.” Ellen gave a harsh laugh. “I just didn't know how far they would go to make me comply.”
Josh sat on a straight-backed chair and held Ellen's hand. “I talked to a lawyer this morning. He is highly recommended for cases such as this.”
“Nothing. He says we don't have any recourse. The Life Centers have total control of all reproduction. And...” Josh's voice tightened, “...control of resources for life enhancement. What makes it worse is that it seems you and I produce a highly desirable commodity.”