Viewers have probably realized this by now, but Heroes Reborn ain’t your daddy’s Heroes. Things have changed a lot between the two series, including the disappearance of several major characters. On Friday, fans will finally get a chance to bridge the gap when German publisher Bastei Lübbe AG releases all six tie-in ebooks. The first book in the series, David Bishop’s Brave New World, is a novelization of creator Tim Kring’s original script for the first episode of Reborn (we previously published an excerpt ahead of the series premiere).
Below is an excerpt from the second book in the series, A Matter of Trust. Penned by iconic Star Wars novelist Timothy Zahn (creator of such Expanded Universe standouts as Mara Jade and Grand Admiral Thrawn), A Matter of Trust shows the backstory behind Father Mauricio. Read it below, and keep an eye out Thursday and Friday for more exclusive excerpts from the rest of the Heroes Reborn tie-in series.
The truck bucked as it hit a particularly deep pothole. Paco yelped, and Mauricio smiled again. It was a bad pothole, but nothing like the pits on either side of it. As Condor liked to say, sometimes you had to take a slap to the head to avoid a kick to the stomach.
“Be careful, Mauricio,” his father warned. “Condor will be furious if you wreck his truck.”
“No hay problema,” Mauricio called back, his smile fading. Condor was going to be furious, all right, no matter what condition Mauricio brought the truck back in.
Because he wasn’t supposed to have it in the first place. He certainly wasn’t supposed to be giving anyone a free pass out of Mexico. If the boss caught him, Mauricio was going to get that kick in the stomach, and worse.
But he would take it. This was his family, and after five years he finally had the skill and the money to get them out of Mexico and start them on a new life. This was his shot, and he was taking it.
Condor would hurt him when he brought back the truck. But he’d eventually cool down. And even if he made Mauricio work for nothing for the next two years, it’d be worth it. This was his family, and he would do whatever it took to protect them.
Of course, once in the States, his mother would have to find a new church. It was a shame Mauricio would never be inside it long enough to memorize the ceiling pattern.
Because once this was over, he’d be done with religion. Forever.
familiar stack of rocks flashed past. “We’re here,” he announced. “We’re in the United States.”
The words were barely out of his mouth when everything went straight to hell.
The two off-road vehicles that had been lying in wait just out of Mauricio’s view exploded into a blaze of headlights, flashing red lights, and ear-splitting sirens. Mauricio’s mother gasped something he didn’t catch—probably another plea to God—while Paco broke out into a terrified litany of curses.
But it wouldn’t be God who got them out of this. Mauricio was already on it, kicking his speed to just below suicidal, daring the border cops to risk their lives matching it. If he could gain enough of a lead—and he knew he could—there was a spot a couple of miles ahead where his family could hide while he drew the pursuit away.
The cops probably thought they knew this area. But Mauricio knew it better.
It cost a few tense minutes, and probably what was left of the pickup’s suspension. But in the end the situation played out exactly as Mauricio had planned. “Get ready,” he called to the others as they approached the sloping turn he’d been aiming for. “I’m going to stop just past that curve and let you out. There’s a saw-tooth rock formation about fifteen meters off the road to the right—you can all hide there until the cops go past. I’ll lead them away and come back for you after I lose them. Do you understand?”
“But what if you—?” his mother began.
“I said, do you understand?”
“Yes,” his father said stiffly. “Be careful.”
“I will,” Mauricio promised. “Ready?”
He rocked around the curve, his wheels barely holding the road, and slammed on the brakes. “Go!”
They tumbled out. Mauricio didn’t wait to see if they made it to the rocks, but took off again as soon as the doors were slammed shut. He had to get moving before the border cops figured out that they’d gained a little on him and wondered why.
Unfortunately for them, it was the last bit of ground they would gain. The road was twisty and rough, and Mauricio was going to hit it as hard as he could.
There was a reason rational people didn’t take certain chances. And if it hadn’t been his family back there counting on him to lose the cops and come back, instead of some poor peons who had paid in advance for their passage, Mauricio might not have hit the ravine curve quite as fast as he did. But it was his family. And he did take the risk.
And he lost.
It seemed to take hours for the truck to bounce and clatter its way down the rocky slope. Mauricio held on to whatever he could—the door handle, the steering wheel, the seatbelt strap—his brain spinning, his body thrown back and forth, his empty stomach heaving with dry retching.
And then, suddenly, it was over. The pickup lay at the bottom of the ravine, inaccessible to the cops on the road above without rappelling lines or a helicopter. Mauricio lay inside the cab, his hips pinned to the seat by the steering wheel, the world outside as inaccessible to him as he was to the cops.
The world he’d known was inaccessible. But the next world was fast approaching. Even as Mauricio tugged uselessly at the steering wheel, he could smell the lethal aroma of gasoline drifting in through the shattered windows. The fuel tank was leaking … and after that mad dash, there would be plenty of engine parts hot enough to ignite the fumes.
Mauricio Chavez was about to die.
He tugged once more at the wheel. Useless. He pushed the door. Useless.
And with nothing else to do, he began to pray. O God. I haven’t been good. I’ve been evil. But I only wanted to help my family—
He snarled to himself. This was not the time to be lying to God.
Time to change tactics. If you’ll get me out of this, I swear to you I’ll change my life. I’ll go straight. I’ll quit Condor and the coyote business. I’ll—I’ll go to seminary and become a priest.
The smell of gas was getting stronger. His mother’s favorite prayer echoed in his heart and mind— O Lord, may the glory of your Holy Spirit spread His protection like a cloud throughout the heavens above me—
Abruptly, he found himself floating. Floating. Inside the truck.
And as far as he could tell, he no longer had a body. His first horrified thought was that he was already dead. A heart attack, maybe, before the truck could ignite and burn him to death. Was that God’s answer to his prayer? To give him a more painless death than Mauricio’s recklessness deserved?
But this wasn’t heaven. It wasn’t purgatory. It certainly and thankfully wasn’t hell.
Besides, if he was dead, where was his body? He was still in the truck, and there was no body trapped behind the wheel. Everything he’d heard about out-of-body experiences said that the actual body was still left there. Where had it gone?
For that matter, with no body and no eyes, how was he even seeing any of this?
And then he noticed something he hadn’t spotted before. In the faint reflected glow from the still-burning headlights he could see a cloud of white smoke or mist gathered around him.
No. Not around him. The cloud of smoke was him.
There was a warning crackle from the front of the truck. Shaking away his fear and confusion, Mauricio lunged toward the broken window.
He was outside, floating rapidly up and away, before he belatedly realized that his lunge had actually worked. He continued onward, moving like a wisp of cloud before a summer thunderstorm, trying desperately to get away.