Maz, Origin by T. L. Ford
Entering the witness relocation program after lawfully escaping a massive walled-in prison, teenage Merrill tries to fit into our society. Her background and decisions may not let her.
Maz, Origin is a story of growth and love, guilt and innocence, and changing goals. What is morally right and what is legally right? What's legal for humans may not be for aliens...
Would definitely recommend!
Politics, intrigue and aliens... and a young woman far from home dealing with it all. Intense characters in a gripping plot. Would definitely recommend!
- ARC Reader
It's another winner for T.L. Ford
Our heroine gets dished some of the worst things life can do to you and she rises above it all with determination not to give up. It's a story of near-future disaster. You will have fun following Zack's heroine through multiple failures and successes. She eventually learns who she is.
- ARC Reader
Great scifi with numerous unexpected twists that exemplifies the classic hero's journey in a whole new way.
- Goodreads Community
I lay face down on the pavement with one bullet hole clear through my side and another bullet lodged in my left shoulder. Up close, the crumbling asphalt wasn't so bad. The blue-tinted spotlights from high up on the wall made the grit and tiny rocks sparkle. Bits of that glitter were stuck in my cheek. I had been running so fast, if not fast enough, that I'd skidded a bit when the bullets took me down.
Off in the distance, probably somewhere near E Street, I heard more shooting - burst fire; they'd brought the heavy gear. That would be Twisted Demon, barreling through Corsi Barony, on their way to the big drop that wasn't coming. My current gang should be over on J street. I hoped they'd survive this. I was at the far side of the Chén Barony, at the only gate into the incarceration Zone.
Heavy boots slapped the pavement coming toward me. I wheezed a last breath for the shooter's benefit and slowed my inhalations to be nearly imperceptible. In the rush, whoever approached would think I was dead. Yes, Boots, I am just part of the landscape. The real threat is behind me. Take whatever weapon you are wielding to them. My lungs burned in protest as I waited; I should be hyperventilating on account of the sprint. I wanted air.
My shooter launched a new set of bullets over me at the approaching target; he'd taken time to reload as I obviously wasn't a threat. Boots deliberately trod on my hand as he skipped over me. It wasn't personal; he was just making sure that I was dead and wouldn't rise up behind him to kill him. I bit my tongue so hard it bled metallic in my mouth, but I didn't wince, didn't twitch, didn't swallow the blood even. I was a corpse, not worth wasting a bullet on. He fired back, his weapon a low-grade, self-made barrel gun by the sound of it. It could still be deadly, but I didn't want either of them to die. I wanted them to be occupied with each other while I escaped.
I counted to ten and counted to ten again to give the man time to duck into a pile of rock debris I'd so recently abandoned as inadequate cover. More shots. The reinforcements would be here soon.
I prepared myself for pain, and as quickly as I could, I pushed up onto my knees. I was moving forward before I was even fully standing, scrambling, running in a janky, hard-to-hit line for the taller buildings of the inner city. Behind me, the sound of gunfire between Boots and the one who'd shot me had a musical quality.
I spun into the nearest building wall and glanced back to check for additional threats. Boots was pinned to the pile of rocks, exactly where I'd been. The one who'd shot me had moved around to block any escape, as I'd predicted he would. Which is why I'd decided that getting shot and having a chance of escaping was preferable to certain death.
Well within firing range, the prison guards in the control tower certainly weren't going to help or interfere. They patrolled the wall with far more advanced guns, but their task was to keep us in. They'd proven themselves completely immune to caring about any slaughter going on in the walled-off prison below them, and it didn't matter that tonight was uncharacteristically warlike. Why should they care about a bunch of convicted criminals anyway?
I scrambled through the shadows, keeping to the rank refuse piles, avoiding the pockets of combat, hoping my adrenaline wouldn't run out before I got back to my own turf. How much blood had I lost, anyway? Was I dizzy from the adrenaline? Possibly. But that cold shivering was more than the mild winter chill. It wasn't adrenaline either, and it was getting worse.
I wasn't going to make it back to our crib. I had to make it back. I fell. Didn't Jesus fall three times on the way to His death? Surely, I could demand at least that many times, even if I wasn't a Christian. On your feet, Pyre! MOVE! I launched myself up, stumbling, but at least mobile. I spat thick blood from my mouth.
The rapid-fire of Twisted Demon's weapons sounded back by the prison induction site. They had surely discovered the lack of a supply drop by now and were going to flatten everyone in their path in their irate revenge. Anyone with any sense was doing exactly what I was - fleeing the area. Praying if they were so inclined.
I stopped at a corner, sniffed the air for the scent of a nearby unwashed body, and peered around before crossing the street. So many places for a sniper. So far to run, with red haze around my vision, and feet that were starting to reject my commands. Check. When failing, rely on the drills, my mother had said. The drills, always the drills.
I looked again. Top down. Helicopters? No. Not that they'd be a threat, but knowing if they are there is important. A helicopter would draw combatants because only Outside was allowed to have anything in the air. Rooftops. Clear. Rooftops again, in case they were ducking. Upper windows. Middle windows. All mostly blown out, but no movement. Ground windows. Doors. Fire escapes (if there were any). Alleys. Debris in the street. Always, always, always, debris in the street. Dead bodies.
They are never dead. Not even if you step on their hand. I suppressed an ensuing maniacal laugh. No sound. Are you a child? MOVE!
T. L. FordAuthor
Life hasn't always landed me where I thought it would, but it's certainly been an adventure. I enjoyed writing when I was young and played flute. I majored in music therapy for a while, then switched to geography, again for a while. I settled into a technical writing position which developed into a programming career. Now I'm back to writing again, coming full circle, but with an abundance of new knowledge and experience.
Throughout, I've been fortunate to have good friends and mentors. When I wrote Maz, Origin, I wanted to create someone who knew in her heart what she wanted to be who could be helped along too.
"I wondered briefly how many of my fellow humans would be happy sharing their most private thoughts with someone other than their God." - Maz.
T.L. Ford is a programmer, writer, and artist. Most of her professional career was spent supporting the Patuxent River Naval Air Station as a local contractor in southern Maryland.