“The Houston took her first hit when a projectile struck the forecastle, starting fires in the paint locker that danced brightly for about a quarter of an hour. The night air was rancid with cordite. Though the winds were still, the wisps of gray-white muzzle smoke flying from the Houston’s guns fell quickly away, left behind like an airborne wake covering her trail of foam.”
“Lungs burning, Gillan felt himself bump up against the ship’s rail. He was finally free of the enclosed torpedo space. The cord to his miner’s lamp snagged momentarily on the rail, but then he was floating again, being washed up and down, unsure of which direction the surface was. He felt currents whirlpooling around him. The sensation evoked an amusement park ride before the flashing of red, green, and purple lights marked the possibility that his brain was starving for oxygen as he drowned.”
“Pressured to perform five years of work in twelve short months, they would be given over to the jungle and left to wrestle it toward civilization. They would contend with all its elements—its hardwoods, rocks, and vines, its predators both mammalian and bacterial, under the lash of their enemy and assault from the elements. The work would harden some and consume others. They would forget all but the most basic memories of home, picking their way through a life in captivity that would become the grist for sleepless nights ever afterward.”
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