Chris Clayson


Tactical 16 Publishing Author


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Chris Clayson

Three Planets by author Chris Clayson. Tactical 16 Publishing.

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Three Planets,
visit our sister website T16 Books

Three Planets (Read an Excerpt)

Earth’s natural resources are depleted. It’s up to a team of veterans, now mining for a living, to travel to the blood red planet Revis to search for precious minerals and give the earth a ray of hope.

Ari, the main character, leads the team as they battle to get there first before competing countries. They face a lawless environment fraught with perilous mysteries and danger from the elements. Survival of the crew and ultimately Earth hangs in the balance.

Three Planets is a high-octane joy ride based on my experiences in combat with the unique twist of space exploration added into the mix,” said Chris Clayson, who served for four years in the regular Army and two years in combat in Iraq. “Get ready to discover the mysteries of space in a race against time with adrenaline junkies putting their lives on the line for a greater cause.”

Clayson, a software engineer and Brazilian Ju Jitsu enthusiast, enjoys sprinkling in humor and conflict into his writing to give readers a thrill ride. He lives in Rome New York with his family.

“Chris is an up-and-coming author with a story featuring unforgettable characters and an unpredictable plot. Three Planets will keep readers turning pages well into the night to find out if Ari’s team saves the world,” said Chris Schafer, CEO at Tactical 16 Publishing. “His book promises an emotional whirlwind that readers are sure to enjoy!”

Tactical 16 Publishing specializes in working with authors in the armed forces, police, fire, and rescue communities.

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Read an Excerpt from Three Planets

Three Planets - Excerpt*

Chapter 1

They barreled down the tunnel into the darkness of the unknown. The miners felt an earthquake and knew their underground tunneling project was going to collapse. Ari, the foreman and owner of a small tunneling company, had been contracted to mine for precious metals in the Nevada Rocky Mountains. It was a sporty, dangerous contract that paid the bills. He now deeply regretted taking on the venture.

“How much farther, boss?” asked Ari’s employee, Tony. He had the look of fear and death on his face. Ari wondered if this is how people looked before they were executed. He shared Tony’s fear.

“Five miles in, five miles out, and we are done,” Ari said.

“Okay, well, on a good day, we can make it in and out in an hour. We gotta be reasonable here. This shaft isn’t going to make it another ten minutes.” Tony said in his deep country Hill Billy accent.

Ari knew this was a kamikaze mission he was embarking on. Over the past six months, they’d been tunneling into a mountain using a boring machine he’d gotten at a bargain price. The machine itself wasn’t in the greatest condition and had some safety issues that he overlooked. As a result, a small tremor on the Sierra Nevada Fault had caused the tunnel to collapse. Fortunately, Ari had developed an emergency rescue system. The highly technological advanced safety system was no more than a Kawasaki motorcycle welded onto a passenger cart that could speed in and out of the tunnel quickly just in case of emergencies.

In this case, the rescue bike flew through the tunnel at ninety miles per hour. As Ari and Tony flew down the tunnel shaft, the lights along the walls looked like a blur. Flying down the tunnel was a little unnerving at such a high speed in total darkness.

“We’re getting close. We need to slow down, Ari,” Tony said.

“Can’t. Get ready to hit the brakes on the passenger cart.”

“We’re coming in too hot. Slow the fuck down!”

“Little closer…”

Ari could see emergency lights at the end of the tunnel. There were six miners stranded at the bottom of the shaft. The standard protocol for the crew was to wait outside the tunnel. If his employees ignored this specific emergency protocol, he could easily run them over in the darkness of the main shaft. Ari knew the tunnel like the back of his hand and had to trust that his employees would follow the procedure he’d given them.

Ari’s blood was pumping, and he could feel fear coursing through his veins. He focused his gaze on the end of the tunnel. “Get ready to hit the brakes, Tony!”

Tony was miserable. He hated every second of this rescue attempt, and his animated facial expressions said it all. If Ari waited too long to hit the brakes, he would smash into the wall and kill himself. If he hit the brakes too soon, he would fall short and delay rescuing his crew. He would need to stop at the perfect time.

“A hundred more feet. Get ready to hit it.”



Ari could see red, blinking lights signaling that they were at the end of the tunnel, and yelled, “Now!”

The duo applied the braking system to the motorcycle and passenger cart simultaneously. An ear-piercing screeching sound filled the tunnel and plumes of smoke followed the motorcycle and Ari went flying forward in his motorcycle seat. The smell of burning rubber flooded their nostrils. The light at the end of the tunnel came closer and closer. Ari pressed harder on the braking system. He clinched his teeth. The vibration from braking so hard made him feel like his teeth were shaking loose out of his skull. He judged the distance to the cement wall and noticed they were coming in too hot.

“We’re going to hit the wall,” Ari said. He had to do something to slow them down. He needed to add more drag.

He thought for a second and remembered when he was a kid and used to have a bike with no brakes. He would simply drag his feet on the ground in order to stop it. He thought the same principle could apply here.

He jumped off the bike and held onto the motorcycle handlebars and planted both feet on the ground. This immediately sent his feet flying backward. He was now struggling to maintain a grip on the handles bars while also pressing down on the brake. He needed to get his heels dragging on the ground. He pulled as hard as he could. He was able to stand upright while dragging his feet, but now he had a new problem. He felt the bottoms of his feet begin to burn.

Ari could see the end of the tunnel approaching. The murderous wall came closer and closer, and Ari dragged his feet harder, ignoring and fighting through the pain. He glanced up at the end of the tunnel, certain they were going to crash, but then they began to slow down even faster. He looked over only to see Tony at his side, dragging his boots along with him. Tony looked over at Ari, and they locked eyes for a second. Then they both looked forward and saw they were about to smash into the wall.

Chapter 2

Jerry was shift foreman of the day crew. As soon as he felt the mine shaft sway, his heart sank into his stomach, and he knew this was the end. He knew they were deep inside the tunnel and there would be no way for them to escape. The rail system operated off power, and the passenger and mineral carts weren’t working. The electrical system must have been damaged during the tremors. He thought about running up the tunnel to safety but knew even the world’s fastest runner wouldn’t be able to make it out in time. He could hear cracks and pops coming out of the walls of the mine shaft. Dirt was falling from the ceiling. He pulled his team together under the entrance of their mining section, adjacent to the main tunnel.

“Hold tight, guys, help’s on the way,” Jerry said.

“You don’t fucking know that. We’re fucked. It’s like that mission in Mahmudiyaha. No one’s coming for us!” Rodriguez yelled in his thick New York accent.

“Standard protocol is to sit and wait. Ari’s up there, and he’s coming for us. Just calm the fuck down.”

“If we run, we’ll never make it. It’s five miles up. Can you run five miles in five minutes, idiot?”

“No one’s coming, Jerry. Shit’s coming down on top of us.”

Jerry felt his stomach drop. Was Ari actually coming? Was he making the right decision? He shared his crewmates’ panic and began to panic himself. Fear was spreading like a poison. Maybe they should make a run for it? He had to count on Ari, though. Ari always came through, one way or another. “Ari’s coming. Let’s hold off, boys.”

The group stood still and started yelling and screaming at each other. They began to pace around with their heads down, voices trembling. Jerry could see they were losing hope.

“I’m done waiting for this motherfucker. It’s time to go,” Rodriguez said. The mining crew’s spirit had finally broken. Convinced no one was coming, they decided to leave the safety of their side section and began to run up the tunnel. But as they were running out, they saw a bright light approaching them. They heard a booming, screeching sound.

“Get the fuck back!” shouted Jerry. They all turned around and began sprinting back to safety.

Their eyes focused on what was coming at them. It looked like a rocket with a man on it flying at them. Jerry’s first assumption was that it was some sort of equipment that got blown toward them and was rolling down the tunnel.

“Take cover!” shouted Jerry to his crew. They dispersed and took cover around anything they could find. Jerry found a pillar of a shaft and stood behind it, bracing for impact. After a few seconds, he heard a small bump. It wasn’t the explosion he had been expecting. He looked into the main tunnel, but all he could see was smoke. As the smoke began to clear, he could see a figure emerge from the cloud, walking toward them. It was Ari, and it looked like he was taking a joyride on a motorcycle.

Chapter 3

“Allons, boys!” shouted Ari from inside the smoke. Ari’s feet were on fire, so he was stamping against the ground to extinguish the flames. The crew rejoiced at the sound of their boss’s voice. Ari had served in the military for ten years before starting his mining company. His company slogan during his deployments was the French expression “allons,” which directly translated to “let’s go.” He often yelled at his employees with this slogan, and it was his signature motivational pep talk.

The crew happily approached the vehicle to board it. “Allons,” they all said in unison.

“What the hell is this?” Rodriguez asked.

“Salvation. Help me turn this thing around, and let’s get the fuck out of here,” Ari answered.

Without any hesitation and as if choreographed, the team knew to pick up the rescue vehicle and turn it around 180 degrees. With eight burly men fighting for their lives, the process took less than sixty seconds. With the bike now lined up to exit the tunnel, Ari could get his crew out to safety.

“Is this everyone?” Ari asked.

“One hundred percent accountabil—” Jerry began to answer.

But before letting Jerry finish his sentence, Ari hammered the throttle and sent the crew flying back in their seats. The motorcycle whined and zipped up the tunnel. The men began their assent up the tunnel. Ari began shifting gears as they started to build speed. The motorcycle was riding slower as they were now traveling up hill. As the motorcycle and passenger cart barreled up the shaft, they could tell the mine wasn’t going to last very long. They could hear pops in the walls and see cracks forming around the ceiling. It sounded as if the tunnel was hungry to take their lives and wanted to consume each one of them. Electrical lines along the way out were begging to spark like fireworks. Pockets of dust along the tunnel were exploding into their faces. As they approached sixty miles per hour, rocks and debris began to pelt them in the face. As they traveled faster, the rocks became more painful and seemed to get bigger in size. The small pebbles felt like needles, and falling rocks felt like they were breaking bones. The crew began to cover themselves up, but Ari couldn’t. He was in the open cockpit of a motorcycle. He had to hold the throttle and watch where he was going.

After a couple minutes of darkness and pain, Ari could see light at the end of the tunnel. He wasn’t worried so much about stopping but more about making it out, at this point. He clenched his teeth and pulled down the throttle harder. The bike soared and went screaming up the tunnel. The tunnel began to creak and moan. It shook and almost looked like it was swaying back and forth. It was as if the tunnel knew they were trying to escape and was making one last attempt to claim their souls. At the final one-hundred-foot stretch, a rock fell and hit Ari in the throat.

He couldn’t breathe and actually blacked out for a second. He felt the motorcycle starting to slow down. He glanced down at his crew. Their lives were in his hands, and he couldn’t let them down. Whatever it took. Unable to breathe and unable to see, he pushed harder on the throttle to save his crew. If he was going to die today, he was going to guarantee his corpse would still be attached to the handlebars. Bigger rocks were now hitting him across his body and knuckles. He grunted in agony. He could finally feel sunlight hitting his face. They emerged out of the tunnel with a plume of smoke exploding behind them as the tunnel collapsed. Ari blacked out.

*Advanced reads (excerpts) do not reflect the interior of the printed copy.  At Tactical 16 Publishing, our professional graphic artists create beautiful interior designs with attention to every detail, making the printed copy a work of art that is easy to read.


Three Planets by author Chris Clayson. Tactical 16 Publishing.

Three Planets

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