Monday, December 8, 2014

The Rebel Trap by Lance Erlick

Can she find a way to not get herself and those she cares about killed?
Publication Date: October 1, 2014
Genre: Young Adult Science Fiction

Voices in 16-year-old Annabelle Scott’s head aren’t God or signs she’s going mad—yet. Despite being a Mech Warrior recruit, she rebels against her post-Second Civil War society by not only refusing to kill Morgan, a boy she’s attracted to, but also helping him to escape. After officially kicking her out of the program, Commander Samantha Hernandez gives Annabelle auditory implants and contact cams for an undercover assignment to investigate her corrupt police captain. Morgan hacks the implants to plead for her help in freeing his brother from a heavily guarded geek institute.

Unable to get either her commander or Morgan out of her head, Annabelle can’t confide in her adoptive mom, her beloved sister, or anyone else. While this rift tears at her bond to her sister, circumstance prevents her from searching for her birth mother or who tried to assassinate her adoptive mom.

As a pawn in a bigger game, who and what can Annabelle trust, including whether her mission is the commander’s vendetta? Can she find a way to help Morgan and discover the link between the attempted assassination, the geek institute, and her corrupt police captain without leading Morgan into a trap, being exiled and separated from her family, or getting herself and those she cares about killed?

The Rebel Trap was written as a standalone story, but also follows Annabelle’s adventures from The Rebel Within.


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The gray steel door with the nameplate “Commander Samantha Hernandez” opened. The guard pushed me inside the sparsely decorated grayish-beige room I’d left only a short time ago. The door slammed behind me. The commander looked as if a thunderstorm had blown through. The ruby-red scar down her right cheek blazed.

I sucked air into my lungs; my chest tightened. My heart thumped harder. I held my face as still as stone, the product of keeping too many secrets in a communal family.
She paced across a worn spot on the tile floor. “Sit!”

I dropped into a wooden seat that made me feel as if I were back in high school, forced to sit in the corner of the Harmony Director’s office for skipping class.

“Forty-five boys escaped. Forty-five!” Commander Hernandez poked at her virtual screen. “In my 20 years running this facility, we’ve only had a few breakouts. Hell, we haven’t had half that number in the entire 20 years.”

My breath came in shallow bursts, then a deep sigh. Except for Morgan’s voice in my head, I could have enjoyed a moment of pride. My hasty escape plan had been the biggest in Mech Corps history, payback for what they did to my family. Except, it failed.

The commander clenched her fists. Blood rushed to her face. She looked as if her head would erupt like a volcano and spew blood all over her gray-beige office. Well, the room does need some color. My attempt at humor didn’t ease my jitters.

When she turned away, I wiped sweat from my forehead. I needed details of what had gone wrong. Yet, nothing eludes the commander’s attention. Those words stuck in my throat, choking off my questions.

“I hold myself responsible for their escape,” she said. “I focused so much on orchestrating your transition from official recruit to covert operative I took my eyes off security.” She slumped into her seat, eyes staring at the ceiling.

Then she lowered her head and studied me with such intensity I felt her reading my rebellious thoughts. After all, she ran the Mech Corps back when they took my birth parents. I didn’t hate the commander, but I did hate what the corps did to my family and still did to boys like Morgan.
“We’ve caught all but three of the boys,” she said with a sigh. “That’s not good enough. We’ve never failed to catch every last one.”

I took a deep breath and stared at a pink spot on her long, narrow scar that had faded to dull gray. “Do you need me to help search, Commander?” I needed information on Morgan, but asking would signal my interest. Too many secrets.

I should have realized she’d have mech-warriors between the compound and the border. My role had been to provide a diversion. All I did was distract the commander until the boys got out of the building. It wasn’t long enough.

With a jolt, she seemed to wake up. Her face took on its usual composure. She jumped to her feet. “No. I want you to review cam footage with me.”

Lance Erlick grew up in various parts of the United States and Europe. He took to stories as his anchor and was inspired by his father’s engineering work on cutting-edge aerospace projects to look to the future. He studied creative writing at Northwestern University and University of Iowa.

He writes science fiction, dystopian and young adult stories and likes to explore the future implications of social and technological trends. He’s the author of The Rebel WithinThe Rebel Trap, and Rebels Divided, three books in the Rebel series. In those stories, he flips traditional exploitation to explore the effects of a world that discriminates against males and the consequences of following conscience for those coming of age.

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