William Greenleaf’s The Pandora Stone
Arlo Triplethorn doesn’t match the holo-vid image of a contract courier.
Short, scrawny, and unremarkable in every way, he suffers from recurring
nightmares about his one disastrous encounter with the cobra. The bloodiest war
in human history was fought with the cobra, an alien race prone to senseless
aggression and unrestrained violence. Although the cost was devastating, the
cobra were eventually exterminated. Or so Arlo believes.
Everything changes for Arlo when he is hired by the International Space
Exploration Agency to acquire a mysterious alien artifact and deliver it to
their headquarters on Sierra. The artifact is a fist-sized crystal found buried
on a Fringe world. It’s clearly of alien origin, and it gives Arlo a bad case of
the jitters when he first gazes into its amber depths. A strange thought comes
unbidden to his mind: There’s something alive in there…
Things go downhill fast when Arlo discovers that a ruthless underground
organization known as Isterbrandt also wants the crystal. Pursued by both
Isterbrandt and corrupt ISEA officials, Arlo escapes to Earth with the crystal.
There, in the ruins of a sprawling city once known as Los Angeles, Arlo learns
the truth about the crystal from a small band of mutated humans who are the only
remaining inhabitants of Earth. Now he knows why the two most powerful
organizations in humanspace are chasing him. But the worst is yet to come, and
it steps straight out of Arlo’s nightmares. Not all the cobra were exterminated,
after all. One of them has been living among the crumbled ruins of the city,
waiting patiently for the return of the amber crystal
Now that it’s back, the cobra’s patience has morphed into the single-minded
goal of acquiring the crystal at any cost.
Only Arlo Triplethorn stands in its way.
Mundania Press, LLC
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