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No Return (Internal Defense #3)
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The Secret Lab - News & Excerpts > Read the beginning of the third Internal Defense novel!

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message 1: by Zoe (new)

Zoe Cannon (zoecannon) | 18 comments Mod
As a thank-you for helping us start up our brand new group, I'm posting the first few pages of the third Internal Defense novel, No Return. This has never been posted anywhere else before - you get to be the first to see it. Keep in mind that this isn't final-draft material, and could change between now and the published book - but even if this isn't exactly how the final version will look, it's pretty close.

WARNING: Contains massive spoilers for both The Torturer's Daughter and Necessary Sacrifices! Read at your own risk.


“Why are we here?”

Becca didn’t allow herself to flinch at the hostility in Alia’s voice. She took a deep breath, schooling her face and body into the hard lines of authority, smoothing her thoughts free of anxiety she couldn’t afford. “We’re doing what we can. It may not seem like much, but—“

“Don’t give us the same crap again,” Alia interrupted with a scowl. “Every week it’s the same. You tell us we’re doing what we can, and we sit around arguing and not doing anything. So why are we even here?”

Alia sat across from Becca in the circle of folding chairs, directly below a faded poster that proclaimed, The fight against dissidents begins with us! Above the poster, a ceiling-mounted camera fixed its dead eye on the group. Its darkness and stillness assured Becca that it had been turned off – that, and the fact that none of them had been arrested yet.

Beside Alia, Sean nodded his agreement. But Jared tightened his hands into fists, fixing Alia with a hard glare. “You have no right to speak to Becca like that.”

Peter, sitting on a stack of storage crates in the corner, hunched his shoulders inward; his lip quivered. Meri took his hand in a motherly gesture, a troubled frown growing on her face as she watched the scene unfold.

Becca held up a hand to cut Jared off. “It’s all right, Jared.” She cast her gaze around the circle, meeting everyone’s eyes in turn. Showing them what they needed to see. The leader of the resistance. Capable, confident, unshaken. This is who I am now, she reminded herself. I can do this.

I don’t have a choice.

She didn’t look away as Alia’s eyes burned through her. Her chest tightened; she pushed the feeling aside as she forced a deep breath into her lungs. She couldn’t allow herself uncertainty. Couldn’t allow herself fear. I will be who they need me to be. I will.

But the rift that had begun in the aftermath of the liberation hadn’t healed. It got worse with every meeting – with every challenge from Alia and Sean, every disapproving look from Meri. With every time Becca had to say, We’re doing everything we can.

“We can’t risk hijacking this transport. ” Even now, three years after taking over the resistance, the hardness in her voice still unnerved her. Every time she spoke, she heard an echo of Raleigh Dalcourt, Internal Defense’s most feared and celebrated interrogator, the mortal enemy of the resistance. Her mother.

This is who I am now. This is who I have to be.

Still, she tried to soften her voice as she continued. “I want to save those prisoners as much as any of you. But Enforcement has already started another wave of crackdowns. If we do anything visible right now, it’s only going to make it worse. We need to lie low.”

“We’ve been lying low for the past year,” said Sean in his flat voice. “We need to send a message.”

Alia huffed. “Forget about sending a message. How about protecting innocent people from being tortured and killed – you know, what we all signed up for in the first place? Okay, maybe the liberation was a mistake. It drew too much attention. But for two years before that, we saved lives a handful at a time. We hijacked prisoner transports. We warned suspected dissidents before Enforcement could come for them. We got people new identities and helped them run. We let them know there was hope in this world, like you promised we would when you recruited us.” Challenge sparked in her narrowed eyes. “How many people have we saved since the liberation? And how much time have we spent sitting around talking about lying low?”

Three years ago, this could have been Becca. Three years ago, it had been her, trying to convince the old resistance to act while they talked to her about caution and risk. Their deaths, and her failed attempt to singlehandedly stop the reeducation program, had done what their words couldn’t. She had learned the necessity of prudence, of choosing her battles.

Or she thought she had.

Then came an opportunity bigger than anything she had imagined even in those early days with the old resistance. The opportunity to free every prisoner in Processing 117 – the country’s largest and most notorious processing center, where dozens of dissidents were tortured and executed every day and hundreds more waited their turn in the building’s vast labyrinth of underground cells. She took the chance. Gave the order. And because of her, nearly a thousand prisoners went free.

And everything that happened next… that was because of her too.

message 2: by Elizabeth (new)

Elizabeth Darcy (nciacchella) | 29 comments Mod
Cannot. Wait. For. This. Book.

message 3: by Kea (new) - rated it 5 stars

Kea Alwang (kea_alwang) | 13 comments Mod
Zoe! Finding this this morning has brightened my day! Sounds amazing. Can't wait to read the whole thing. Thanks so much for sharing!

Michael Long (mplong) Looking forward to this book

Eddie (ticklemeelmo) | 5 comments o....m......g.............. whats the date of the release??

message 6: by Zoe (new)

Zoe Cannon (zoecannon) | 18 comments Mod
No release date yet, but it should be coming out this spring or early summer!

Eddie (ticklemeelmo) | 5 comments it better be traumatizing... and anghsty... and... and ... and... and.... i want my brains to be leaking out of my ears from the 'omg did that just happen'.. :) :) :)

message 8: by Eddie (last edited Feb 21, 2014 04:12PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Eddie (ticklemeelmo) | 5 comments oh... and i would like to get some backstory...... of the 'government' and on on the resistance.. and all that

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