The Color of Water and Sky Preview Collection

       Andrew Gates / Actions & Adventure / Science Fiction
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Note to the Reader:

The book in your hands is not intended to be a full story. You will not find a beginning nor end here. Instead, think of this book as a collection of several spoiler-free chapters from The Color of Water and Sky series. There is no new material here. All content collected in this book has already been published. In this format, the book in your hands functions more like an assortment of short stories than anything else.

As a reader, I know it can be hard to commit to a new series. After all, novels can add up and turn out to be expensive investments. The purpose of this book is to give you, the reader, a feel for The Color of Water and Sky before committing to purchasing the series. If you enjoy what you read here, you can purchase the novels with confidence. If you don’t like what you read here, you’ve saved yourself some money.
I certainly hope you enjoy the chapters I’ve selected for this preview book. Chapters included have been taken from three different books in The Color of Water and Sky series: Iris, Kholvaria and Cassidy.
Enjoy!

Andrew Gates

Cassidy
Dr. Carter Brown

(Chapter originally featured in novel Cassidy)

Carter opened his eyes and looked himself in the mirror. The suit fit him well. He was not accustomed to seeing himself so dressed up. He made sure his tie was straight, then ran his fingers through his hair.
He took a deep breath. This was it. This was the moment he had been waiting for.
Carter grabbed the holographic projector from the sink top and held it firmly in his sweaty hands.
"Here we go," he said aloud.
The 32-year-old engineer turned and walked out of the men's room. The black hall outside was bustling with well-dressed men and women, quickly making their way through the office complex. Carter tried not to get caught up in the excitement of it all. He held his projector firmly in hand and proceeded to the committee room. It did not take long to get there. He pressed on the thick door and hastily proceeded through.
Some of the elected officials, or EOs, were already present. Their chairs faced him as he entered the room. A massive crimson flag hung above their heads, adding a bit of color to this otherwise dark room.
A young Navy guard in a white suit approached him.
"Name, sir?" the man asked. He looked about 20, not much older than Carter was when he first enlisted.
"Dr. Carter Brown," he answered. He pulled out his ID. "I am here for the hearing."
"My apologies, Dr. Brown. I did not know it was you. I expected someone..."
"Older?"
The Navy man was silent. He simply motioned to an empty chair behind a desk facing the EOs.
"Please," he said.
Carter followed the guard's order and took a seat behind the desk. A glass of water was already waiting for him. He instinctively took a sip as a few more EOs arrived and took their seats. It was not long before Deborah Otto, Chairwoman of the Oceanic Committee, arrived. Her bright white suit stood out in the world of black.
She took a seat and moved the microphone to her mouth.
"Good morning, everyone," she said. Her voice echoed throughout the room. "Thank you all for coming. I know it is never easy to come back to work after the New Year celebration."
This had been the first day back to work for most of the city following the bicentennial, but not for Carter. He had worked tirelessly over the last few days, making sure everything was right for his presentation.
"I would like to especially welcome our guest today, Dr. Carter Brown," Otto continued.
Carter was not sure how to respond to this introduction. He simply waved back. He felt the EOs glare back at him. He must have been doing it wrong.
"The purpose of this hearing today is to evaluate Dr. Brown's proposal to grant funding for the testing of his new exploratory ocean vessel. We will hear testimony firsthand from Dr. Brown himself and open the floor to questioning from members of this committee."
Otto paused and looked to her colleagues, as if waiting for confirmation to proceed.
"Are we all ready?" she asked.
There were nods all around.
"Very well," Otto said, turning back to face the room again. "I see no reason to delay. Dr. Brown, I look forward to hearing what you have to say. The floor is yours."
Here it goes.
Carter placed the holographic projector on the table and stood up from his chair. He felt nervous, but he had rehearsed this a thousand times. As long as he recited it as he had practiced, everything was going to work.
"Year 200, Atlantic Federation calendar," he began. It was the perfect opening line; snappy, relevant and attention grabbing.
Carter cleared his throat. His line worked. All eyes were on him.
"I can hardly believe what year it is. It seemed like just yesterday, we were celebrating 190. Time never seems to progress the way I expect. To think that two full centuries have passed since the bombing of the surface," he continued. With every word, he felt himself grow more and more confident. "The Atlantic Station is our home now, this extraordinary result of years of brilliant engineering. For us, this is the only world we have ever known, and for good reason. Don't get me wrong, I am glad we live here. Humanity is free to live without exposure to the planet's toxic surface. This place, all corniness aside, is the future."
There were a few chuckles here and there. He wondered how many times they had heard the phrase "this is the future".
"But still," he continued, "at times I'm sure we have all wondered what secrets the surface still holds. Something has to have been up there."
Carter instinctively pointed to the ceiling. He had not rehearsed that, but it just felt right.
"Many of you know that I used to be a Navy engineer. Years ago, while searching through old Navy achieves, I came across the ramblings of a mad scientist who claimed that the surface was populated by a race of intelligent crab people."
More chuckles came from the EOs.
"Of course, this was nonsense, but that's not the point. These ramblings, as crazy as they may be, got me thinking: what if something intelligent had survived the bombing?"
The chuckles stopped. The room was quiet. It seemed his question had done the trick.
"This question haunted my mind like a sickness. I could hardly sleep for weeks. My imagination was full of theories, some just as wild as the mad scientist's. And so," Carter continued, "I decided to do something about it."
He turned to the holographic projector on the table and activated it. Instantly, a 3D image of a submarine concept filled the room. It spun ever so slightly to give viewers a look at all sides of the craft.
"I present to the Oceanic Committee, the first submarine since the Descent capable of shallow water exploration. Finally, we will have the proper tools to answer that great question of the surface. More durable than a simple probe, smaller than the Nautilus E10 and cheaper to produce than even the Ray 4T-80," he explained. "Ladies and gentlemen of the committee, if you agree to fund this project, you are investing in answers to world's greatest mysteries. Thank you."
Carter sat down and powered off the hologram. He felt a smile form on his face. His short pitch had gone just as well as he'd hoped.
The room was quiet now. The EOs simply sat in silence, as if they were each waiting for another to speak. Otto adjusted in her chair, cleared her throat and eventually broke the awkward quietness.
"Thank you, Dr. Brown. As you can imagine, I have a few questions about your project. Firstly, if we were to fund such a project, what kind of timeline are we looking at?"
Carter leaned forward and spoke clearly into the mic.
"Assuming it all goes to plan, we can have a prototype developed by the end of summer. We can begin testing shortly thereafter."
"And how long will the testing phase take?"
Carter sighed.
"That is harder to answer," he explained. "It is difficult to predict an accurate testing period for projects like these. Sometimes it takes a few months, sometimes a few years."
"I see," the Chairwoman said. She adjusted in her seat again. "And how many crewmen would be needed to operate this craft?"
"Two, ma'am. One pilot and one co-pilot."
Otto leaned back in her chair and let out an exhale.
"I must say, Dr. Brown, what you're selling here seems quite impressive. If you can actually deliver something like you're describing, that would be a remarkable achievement."
Carter smiled. Those words were like music to his ears.
"I am glad to hear it," he replied, hardly able to contain his excitement. "Trust me, I can deliver."
"I'm sure my esteemed colleagues have many questions of their own. We shall move onto them in a moment, but before we do, I have just one final question for you, Dr. Brown. If your project gets funded and you actually build this thing... what would you call it?"
"I would name it something bold, something catchy, something that evokes the feeling of adventure," Carter responded. "I would call it Cassidy."
Awakening
Capt. Sara Gessetti

(Chapter originally featured in novel Iris)

Darkness.
Darkness was all that ever shone through the thick layer of glass separating the pressurized hull of the submarine and the great deep ocean beyond its walls. Darkness was all that the captain of this small two man crew had ever known.
Sara leaned her face closer to the glass, hoping to see anything. But there was nothing to see, nothing but darkness.
“I don’t understand. What’s the point of this glass if there’s nothing to see?” asked Damien, Sara’s
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