Expected Release: May 21st 2013
With her weak eyes and useless lungs that often leave her gasping for air, Nere feels more at home swimming with the dolphins her mother studies than she does hanging out with her classmates. Nere has never understood why she is so much more comfortable and confident in the water than on land until the day she learns the shocking truth—she is one of a group of kids who have been genetically altered to survive in the ocean. These products of the "Neptune Project" are supposed to build a better future under the waves, safe from the terrible famines and wars and that rock the surface world.
But there are some big challenges ahead of her: no one ever asked Nere if she wanted to be part of a science experiment; the other Neptune kids aren't exactly the friendliest bunch, and in order to reach the safe haven of the new Neptune colony, Nere and her fellow mutates must swim across hundreds of miles of dangerous ocean, relying on their wits, their loyal dolphins and one another to evade terrifying undersea creatures and a government that will stop at nothing to capture the Neptune kids ... dead or alive.Fierce battle and daring escapes abound as Nere and her friend race to safety in this action-packed marine adventure.
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About the Author
I wake to an urgent tap at my window. My heart thudding, I sit bolt upright in bed. The night is hot and still.
I push my sweaty hair away from my face and try to ignore the twist of fear in my gut. But no one brings good news at this late hour. I slip from my bed and peer cautiously through my window.
Cam is standing outside, his dark eyes shadowed. "The Marine Guard just sank Jac's boat. We need the dolphins to look for survivors. Are you in?"
"Gillian will kill me if she finds out." My mother hates smugglers, but some of them are Cam's friends.
"Please? They might still be alive."
"Fine." I sigh. "Just a minute." I step into my boat shoes but don't bother to change out of my faded black shorts and my brother's old brown shirt. Dark clothes are good for tonight's work. I wriggle through the small window headfirst.
When I get stuck, Cam helps pull me the rest of the way.
"Thanks, Nere. I owe you one, " Cam says as he steadies me on my feet. His hands are rough from hauling lines and nets on his father's fishing boat. The silver light fro a slim crescent moon highlights his black curly hair and the strong planes of his face.
I want to tell him he doesn't owe me anything, but already he's turning away and jogging down the steep, winding path that leads to the dolphin dock and fishing pier in the harbor below. I can feel the day's relentless heat still radiating from the dirt and gravel beneath my feet.
"Let's take Gillian's zode," I tell Cam breathlessly as I hurry to catch up with him. He looks back at me like I'm crazy.
"There's no wind tonight," I explain. "It'll take forever to get there in your sailboat."
"Gillian will kill us if she finds out." Cam flashes me a grin.
"Well," I say, panting, "it's nice to know I'll have company when my mother murders me."
At the next turn in the path, my chest starts to tighten and burn. Please, not now. This is the worst possible moment for my useless lungs to fail me.
"I'm sorry. I need to go slower," I have to admit after three more steps.
Cam stops and looks at me searchingly. "Are you all right?"
"Yes," I grit. "I just have to walk this last stretch."
"I'll run ahead and get the zode ready."
"I need to call Mariah. Where did Jac's boat go down?"
"Just off Reynard Point." Then Cam's away, racing down the final switchback with a healthy speed that makes me jealous. I breathe slowly and carefully, trying to relax the muscles in my chest. I have a breather in my pocket that I can use if I have a full-scale lung attack, but I only have three doses of the precious lung med left.
I reach out with my mind to contact the dolphins. I hope they aren't too far away.