Ash has landed in
As it was explained to him, Ash will be the real driver of an armed robotic vehicle that’s supposed to be completely unmanned and autonomous. His new employer, the company that makes and operates the robots, oversold their abilities to a foreign military customer, and now they need a little supplemental intelligence for their artificial intelligence.
Robots do the jobs people shouldn’t. In warfare, that means the jobs that’ll get you killed. This will be Ash’s last suicide attempt. He’s committed and literally locked into it. It’s too late for second-guessing. Ash doesn’t want to feel hope, especially not because of Zephyr, another doomed driver.
But Ash just isn’t any good at dying. He feels worse than ever after surviving his first op while the other drivers died.
Then Zephyr also survives, and things start to change. As Ash gets to know her, he decides if anyone comes out alive, it should be her.
She feels differently. Just the opposite, in fact. She wants Ash to live. She understands him. She really cares, even though she doesn’t have to. There were so many reasons to die, but one reason to live might overrule them all.
Unfortunately, their employer won’t let either of them walk away. He’d rather see them die than lose his job. They know too much.
One reason to live is all Ash needs. Actually escaping is a lot more complicated.
DRIVERS is a psychological thriller, complete at 79,000 words.
I don’t exist anymore. Not as a real person, anyway. I’m more like cargo. Expensive cargo, with my own guard and a corporate jet. The steps down to the tarmac are steep but sturdy. The sky arches overhead, splashed with clouds. A city squats nearby, skyscrapers reaching. And the air smells foreign.
I’m not a prisoner, exactly. I’m an employee. My first day on the job has been everything they promised--exciting, new, well-paying. My last day on the job is less than a week away, though they’re not certain exactly when. That’s too bad, because I’d really like to know when I’m going to die. Mostly, I just want to get through the days until then.
My guard hands a passport to another man who must be airport security. “Ash Palmer,” he mutters, glancing up at me. I guess it’s my passport. This ain’t normal airport security. There’s no metal detector, no customs, not even a desk. Just the one guy who writes something in a book and doesn’t bother stamping passports.
There were four of us on the plane, each with his--or her--own guard. Mine looks like Yul Brynner. Bald, sharp jaw line, intense manner. He collects the passports of the two recruits who went through security first, drops them into a small vinyl pouch with mine, and waits for the girl behind me.
She’s the only girl. The guards, security guy, and the other recruits are all men. I suppose that applies to me as well, though I’m still more comfortable with “boy.” And she looks about my age--college dropout age. Old enough to buy a drink or die for her country, but too young to be taken seriously.