The Nahx Invasions: Book 1
ZERO REPEAT FOREVER
He’s an alien soldier with no memory, whose only mission is to destroy humans.
She’s a troubled teenager, isolated in the wilderness, struggling to survive an alien invasion.
Driven by hate, fear, and vengeance, their paths collide...and their world changes.
An alien soldier known only by his rank, Eighth, begins to notice the world around him and his companion, who he calls Sixth. The destruction of the humans makes him uncomfortable but he doesn’t know any other way. He does what Sixth tells him to do as she shoots the humans with lethal darts.
Elsewhere in this post invasion world, in a remote wilderness summer camp, is Raven, a mixed race girl was going to work as a volunteer in lieu of prosecution on a drug charge. Her boyfriend, Tucker, the only person whose love she can count on, has been darted and killed by one of the armored invading aliens, the Nahx. His twin brother Topher vows revenge, and Raven, taking this as a sign that her long held feud with Topher is finally over, joins him in his vow. They and their camp mates give Tucker a funeral, while remembering the events that led up to their current situation. They are cut off from the world. For all they know they could be the last humans alive on Earth. Winter is coming and their food is running out. They need a plan.
While Eighth, now alone and lost, struggles to reconnect with his unit, Raven and her friends leave the safety of the camp to seek a more permanent refuge elsewhere. But their exodus begins badly when they are attacked by the Nahx. Felix and another of the group are killed and Raven, stranded behind when her friends retreat, has a close encounter with one of the aliens, Eighth. For long minutes they stand poised to kill each other before Eighth knocks Raven unconscious, an act he immediately regrets. Hours later Topher finds Raven recovering by a fire she doesn’t remember making. As they grieve their new losses, they are rescued by a helicopter and taken to an army bunker deep under the Rocky Mountains.
The bunker is commanded by Kim, an army officer, with her teenage son Liam as her second in command. While the conditions in the bunker are comfortable, Raven is concerned that preparations there mostly seem geared towards attacking the Nahx rather than finding a way out of the occupied territory. She locks horns with Liam and Kim, and develops an emotional dependence on Topher, whose humanity is being slowly eroded by grief.
Eighth grieves too. He grieves the Sixth who guided him, and obsesses about the beautiful human girl he couldn’t bring himself to shoot. After evading some dangerous Nahx “Rogues” who threaten to kill him, Eighth gets caught up with his people again and pretends to obey orders, but mostly spends his days hiding and his nights avoiding the violence of his colleagues. He struggles against the hypnotic effect of the armor the Nahx wear. He tries to hang on to his own will.
Raven, Topher, Liam and others decide to go on a rescue mission to Calgary, where brief communications indicate there may be human survivors. When they arrive there Raven, Topher and their friend Xander are trapped by a Nahx force in a grocery store. Trying to sneak out, Raven creates a diversion to give the boys a better chance to get away. But it backfires, and she is attacked and beaten by one of the aliens. When she wakes up, one of them is carrying her away.
Raven comes close to dying—she’s very badly injured. Eighth nurses her desperately, his heart breaking with the knowledge of everything the humans have lost. By the time she begins to recover, Eighth knows he’s deeply in love with her. He begins thinking of her as “Dandelion”. But Raven detests this mute alien “machine”, who she reluctantly calls “August” after he fails to explain his rank in sign language. As she recuperates, and learns August’s sign language, her feelings for him become more and more confused, until a crisis moment when they come close to killing each other. Finally Raven is well enough to travel, but she needs August’s help to get back to her people, back to the base. August agrees, though it hurts him to think of losing her. They both know they can’t stay together, so they set off into the bleak winter.
The journey takes days, during which August learns more of Raven’s past, and of her feelings for Topher, which she doesn’t even know she has. Raven, for her part, learns more about August, including the horrifying fact that it was he who killed Tucker all those months ago, after Tucker killed his companion, Sixth. Her chance at revenge sitting in front of her, Raven finds her outlook has changed, and she learns that Tucker was not hunting for food the night he died, but for Nahx, for the glory of killing. Revenge is now the furthest thing from her mind. All she wants now is to get herself and her friends out of the occupied zone, to try to find her parents, who she thinks are on the coast.
Finally August gets Raven to the boundary of the base. Their parting is tragic and tearful. Raven gives August a copy of an Edgar Allen Poe book she has with her. August embraces her, and leaves her, walking into the snow.
They both believe they will never see each other again.
Spring arrives and finds both Raven and August still recovering from their ordeal. August wanders alone, the effects of his armor making his thoughts confused. Raven struggles with Liam, who now commands the base after the death of Kim. She wants to arrange an escape, following a map that Xander has drawn up. But Liam has other ideas. One of his patrols has captured a Nahx. They have captured August, and Liam knows that Raven is somehow involved because they found her book on him.
August, dazed and wounded, reacts with rage when Raven is brought to his cell. He kills a guard and gravely wounds Liam. Raven barely stops him from killing the other guard, Xander. Xander agrees to help them both escape when Raven tells him that August can get her out of the occupied territory. Leaving her friends behind, Raven lets August lead her up the mountain. They spend the night in a cave where their feelings for each other become more obvious. They both know if they reach the human territory, they’ll be parted again, this time truly forever. But they talk about time stopping too.
In the morning, August is captured by Topher and Xander, and Raven, trying to protect him, is shot by Liam, mortally wounded. August kills Liam, but Raven stops him from killing Topher. Topher leaves her, going back to the base for medical help, but Raven knows it’s too late. She can feel the life leaving her. She asks August to take Xander out of the occupied zone instead.
August, cradles her, crying and Raven asks him to take off his armor so she can see his face. He does, though it makes it hard to breathe. Raven and Xander are amazed how human he looks. August calls himself a “repeat human” which Raven takes to mean clone. They kiss. August asks her if she wants to live forever. Barely conscious, Raven says “yes” and August stabs her with one of the Nahx darts.
Raven feels the toxin shutting down her systems, putting her into some kind of stasis. But even in that process she feels the power of the silver fluid changing her, improving her. She realizes that the Nahx aren’t killing humans, they are perfecting them, strengthening them and “storing” them, for what purpose she doesn’t know. Her last thought before losing consciousness to the false “death” is of Tucker, buried alive under a tree back at their camp.
August holds Raven, closing her eyes, though he knows she’s not dead. Xander wants to bury her, but August just picks her up and carries her, beckoning Xander to follow. Xander argues with August about how weird it is to carry a dead body around. August thinks he will have to find some way to explain it to Xander, even though he barely understands himself. He focusses on his new goals: get Xander out, find a way to revive Raven.