<br><h3> Chapter One </h3> My name is Marina, as of the sea, but I wasn't<br> called that until much later. In the beginning I was known <br> merely as Seven, one of the nine surviving Garde from the <br> planet Lorien, the fate of which was, and still is, left in <br> our hands. Those of us who aren’t lost. Those of us still <br> alive.<br> I was six when we landed. When the ship jolted to a <br> halt on Earth, even at my young age I sensed how much <br> was at stake for us—nine Cêpan, nine Garde—and that <br> our only chance waited for us here. We had entered the <br> planet’s atmosphere in the midst of a storm of our own <br> creation, and as our feet found Earth for the very first <br> time, I remember the wisps of steam that rolled off the <br> ship and the goose bumps that covered my arms. I hadn’t <br> felt the wind in a year, and it was freezing outside. Somebody<br> was there waiting for us. I don’t know who he was, <br> only that he handed each Cêpan two sets of clothes and a <br> large envelope. I still don’t know what was in it.<br> As a group we huddled together, knowing we might <br> never see one another again. Words were spoken, hugs <br> were given, and then we split up, as we knew we must, <br> walking in pairs in nine different directions. I kept peering<br> over my shoulder as the others receded in the distance <br> until, very slowly, one by one, they all disappeared. And <br> then it was just Adelina and me, alone. I realize now just <br> how scared Adelina must have been.<br> I remember boarding a ship headed to some unknown <br> destination. I remember two or three different trains after <br> that. Adelina and I kept to ourselves, huddled against <br> each other in obscure corners, away from whoever might <br> be around. We hiked from town to town, over mountains <br> and across fields, knocking on doors that were quickly <br> slammed in our faces. We were hungry, tired, and scared. <br> I remember sitting on a sidewalk begging for change. I <br> remember crying instead of sleeping. I’m certain that <br> Adelina gave away some of our precious gems from Lorien <br> for nothing more than warm meals, so great was our need. <br> Perhaps she gave them all away. And then we found this <br> place in Spain.<br> A stern looking woman I would come to know as Sister<br> Lucia answered the heavy oak door. She squinted at <br> Adelina, taking in her desperation, the way her shoulders <br> drooped.<br> “Do you believe in the word of God?” the woman asked <br> in Spanish, pursing her lips and narrowing her eyes in <br> scrutiny.<br> “The word of God is my vow,” Adelina replied with a <br> solemn nod. I don’t know how she knew this response—<br> perhaps she learned it when we stayed in a church <br> basement weeks before—but it was the right one. Sister <br> Lucia opened the door.<br> We’ve been here ever since, eleven years in this stone <br> convent with its musty rooms, drafty hallways, and hard <br> floors like slabs of ice. Aside from the few visitors, the <br> internet is my only source to the world outside our small <br> town; and I search it constantly, looking for some indication<br> that the others are out there, that they’re searching, <br> maybe fighting. Some sign that I’m not alone, because <br> at this point I can’t say that Adelina still believes, that <br> she’s still with me. Her attitude changed somewhere over <br> the mountains. Maybe it was with the slam of one of the <br> doors that shut a starving woman and her child out in the <br> cold for another night. Whatever it was, Adelina seems to <br> have lost the urgency of staying on the move, and her faith <br> in the resurgence of Lorien seems to have been replaced <br> by the faith shared by the convent’s Sisters. I remember <br> a distinct shift in Adelina’s eyes, her sudden speeches on <br> the need for guidance and structure if we were to survive. <br> My faith in Lorien remains intact. In India, a year and <br> a half ago, four different people witnessed a boy move <br> objects with his mind. While the significance behind the <br> event was small at first, the boy’s abrupt disappearance <br> shortly thereafter created much buzz in the region, and <br> a hunt for him began. As far as I know, he hasn’t been <br> found.<br> A few months ago there was news of a girl in Argentina <br> who, in the wake of an earthquake, lifted a five ton slab of <br> concrete to save a man trapped beneath it; and when news <br> of this heroic act spread, she disappeared. Like the boy in <br> India, she’s still missing.<br> And then there’s the father-son duo making all the <br> news now in America, in Ohio, who the police are hunting<br> after the two allegedly demolished an entire school by <br> themselves, killing five people in the process. They left no <br> trace behind other than mysterious heaps of ash. <br> “It looks like a battle took place here. I don’t know how <br> else to explain it,” the head investigator was quoted as <br> saying. “But make no mistake, we will get to the bottom <br> of this, and we will find Henri Smith and his son, John.”<br> Perhaps John Smith, if that’s his real name, is merely <br> a boy with a grudge who was pushed too far. But I don’t <br> think that’s the case. My heart races whenever his picture<br> appears on my screen. I’m gripped with a profound <br> desperation that I can’t quite explain. I can feel it in my <br> bones that he’s one of us. And I know, somehow, that I <br> must find him. <br> <p> <p> <i>(Continues...)</i> <p> <!-- copyright notice --> <br></pre> <blockquote><hr noshade size='1'><font size='-2'> Excerpted from <b>The Power of Six</b> by <b>Pittacus Lore</b> Copyright © 2011 by Pittacus Lore. Excerpted by permission of HarperCollins. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.<br>Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.