The Patchwork Starship

cover, The Patchwork StarshipOlwen had gone into the Daintree Rainforest to be by herself for a while and sort through her life.

Only to find her life taking a direction she’d never imagined when she suddenly finds herself on board a starship.

Olwen does her best to adapt to her new surroundings, including interacting with two odd-looking aliens.

Then she learns a shocking secret that will change her life again, this time forever…

Formats: ebook $2.99

Genre/s: science fiction

Audience: young adult

Length: novella

Available from your favourite retailer here.

Excerpt:

Olwen Chambers loved the rainforest.

This part of the Daintree was away from the usual tourist haunts, an hour’s drive and a brisk half-hour hike along a tiny, almost invisible path used only by locals who knew it was there – and those were few and far between. Dense greenery surrounded Olwen, crowding along the sides of the path; fern fronds stroked her arms as she passed, kauri pines waved branches high above her, and mosses streaked the rocks scattered across the forest floor. The smell of moist dirt rose to meet her nostrils as she walked. Here in the Daintree Rainforest were some of the oldest plants on Earth – or so her cousin Roy, who worked for the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service, had told her.

Roy, who’d warned her two months ago that Brett was a no-good player and not worth her time.

But Olwen hadn’t listened. Brett had swept her off her feet. Tall, blond, incredibly handsome, and somehow knowing all the right things to say to a shy seventeen-year-old just out of high school and working at her first job as a hotel receptionist.

Looks like he’d known all the right things to say to a fair few girls, and they’d succumbed to his charms a lot faster than Olwen had, and gone a lot further with him too.

At least she wasn’t pregnant like Kylie.

Olwen took a deep breath against the rising anger and hurt. The air was fresh here, clean, full of bark and leaf and mossy smells. She wished it could clean out her memories as fast as it cleared her nose of the smells of civilisation.

Funny how she’d never come out here, even though she lived so close, until three months ago when Roy had asked her to help him collect samples on the weekend. And now it was her favourite place for getting away from everyone and everything for a few hours.

Maybe she should go for that traineeship in QPWS that Roy had told her about.

Collecting samples had been surprisingly fun. And the work sounded a lot better than dealing with people all day.

The rock pool was just as she remembered it. Sometime in the distant past, water had bubbled free of the earth and made itself a channel across the rainforest floor before joining the Daintree River about three kilometres to the west. But here, maybe because the ground was softer, or there had been something in the way, the creek had widened into a shallow pool, the water cascading across mossy rocks before narrowing again and disappearing into the green cavern of pines and ferns. Here the canopy parted a little, allowing the sun to shine in and dapple the clear water with blinding highlights. Birds chirruped around her, and the leaves rustled quietly in the intermittent breeze.

Olwen dropped her small pack onto a patch of bare rock by the pool and sat cross-legged beside it. She closed her eyes, feeling the tension ease in her shoulders. Damn Brett. Damn herself for not listening to Roy. Tears seeped from beneath her eyelids, and she leaned forward, her face in her hands as the dam finally burst inside her and she cried.

She didn’t notice the bird-calls falter and stop, didn’t notice the almost-frantic shudder of leaves until the ground beneath her started shaking as well. She looked up, then scrambled to her feet, staring. Thin beams of light were spearing down from the sky, passing through the trees about thirty metres to her left. The beams grew swiftly wider, blending into those on either side, forming a curtain of pale white light. Olwen spun around, her eyes tracking along the curtain, further and further, until she was again facing the pool.

The curtain had surrounded a huge patch of the rainforest.

Olwen’s nerve broke. She snatched up her backpack and ran for the near-invisible path that led to the road just as the light began moving inward at a frightening rate. Olwen screamed as it flickered closer, then it bathed her in a hot, white light –

And the world went suddenly, totally black.