Terran is Estelle’s just barely older brother. The book is about her, but he’s not just a sidekick, he’s a major part of her story. As Estelle says, “I wanted to protect him from the dangerous parts of my Big Plan, but he was integral, without him, it would never work.” And that was truer than she realized at the time.
I’m not sharing an entire chapter this time. I mulled over what to share, but this is one of my favorite scenes, not just for Terran, but also Estelle too. This is from page 113 or so. They’re in the first day of their rebellion and driving a bulldozer called the Scorpion:When it came time for me to drive the Scorpion, I quickly discovered it was not like driving my car. There were buttons, levers, and pedals that all had to be operated at the same time. My seat could arc around from forward to back, or could be stationary while the whole machine twirled around me, tail coming to the front, or claws. Terran gave me a quick tutorial and then stood off to the side and let me practice a few times. I put the tail out over the house and then pushed the controls to make it swing down. The plan was that it would break through the roof and bust down the walls, but I repeatedly swung it down too meekly and then overcompensated and missed the house altogether. Terran was a good and patient teacher, but there was an audience watching, staring, judging, as I jerked around on the seat trying to get this giant machine to act in a reasonable way. I decided to try it with the claws in front. With the lever, I drew them back and punched them forward, and a lengthy crack appeared in the wall. Terrran waved and hooted excitedly. I moved the claws into position and shoved the wall over. “You did it Estelle! You did it!” He jumped up onto the front of the Scorpion and began to applaud. “Now you just have to get smoother and faster.” I rolled my eyes at him. “No worries, do what you just did, but better this time.” He turned to jump off the front of the big machine and then turned back. “And be careful not to hit that wall.” He pointed at a back section of the house. “It’s got plumbing running through it. If we want a working bathroom, we need that wall attached to that bathroom to remain standing, okay?” He pulled his ear protection back over his ears and jumped off the front of the Scorpion. Yeah, okay. Just learn to drive this big confusing machine, in front of a whole crowd of people, while making a terrific racket, and don’t mess up. Thanks for reminding me, big brother.