My pal, Tony Healey, and I have been working on the Far From Home series for such a long time that it's gotten more and more difficult to leave with each installment. This novel/novella was not supposed to be written, or released, for several months, but Tony couldn't help himself. After finishing the twelve-part serial, he thought he was ready to move on to something else for a bit. [spoiler alert] That's why the initial serial had a tight ending with very few loose ends.
But I guess Jessica King and her crew kept calling his name. So here it is, the first in a trilogy set in the Far From Home Universe, and you all get first peek at the first chapter. The book's Official Launch is today although hardcore FFH fans are already buying kindle copies.
Starbase 6 was a welcome sight as it loomed into view. The Defiant slowed from the tremendous speeds of exiting the Jump. As it approached the huge Union space station, Lieutenant Kyle Banks handled the helm controls of the ship with consummate skill.
Feels good to come back here, Captain Jessica King thought to herself. Like coming home.
After more than a year away on a mission of exploration, they had returned to Station 6 for some much needed supplies and minor repairs. The Defiant had also been promised a few upgrades, and Jessica fully intended on making sure she got them.
The old girl could use them, she thought. And the much needed rest . . .
"Starbase control has made contact, Captain," Ensign Olivia Rayne reported from the comm. station, her hand to her earpiece.
King nodded. "Patch me through."
She waited a few seconds for the connection to be made. "Captain Jessica King, Union Starship Defiant."
"Please state your prefix number," an artificial voice said.
"T.U. zero-one-one-three-eight," Jessica said.
There was a brief delay, then the voice announced that they were cleared to dock. "Docking bay three. Please do not exceed standard thruster speed."
"Close channel," King said.
Just like old times . . .
She looked ahead at the large, circular space station. Tall centrifuge at the centre, spokes extending out at the middle to form a wide outer ring. Along the ring were enough docking bays to accommodate up to twenty vessels, with many of the bays currently occupied.
Lieutenant Banks brought the Defiant – an old but well-kept Archon class battleship – to a relative crawl and lined up the port side with the slowly rotating docking ring. At one time, Archon class vessels had been the backbone of the fleet. Now they were little more than relics. While the Draxx war raged, they still had a purpose. But now, in this newfound era of interstellar peace, the Archons were slowly being taken out of service.
Decommissioned. Scrapped. Thankfully, there were no such plans for the Defiant.
The thought of her being dismantled, ending up as salvage, made Jessica shudder.
"Aligning to dock," Banks reported, his voice taut with effort as he concentrated on the task at hand. Starbases were not designed to accommodate simple and easy docking manoeuvres.
"Keep her steady, Lieutenant. You know the drill."
"Aye," Banks said. His hands flitted over the controls, the Defiant edging to the left to butt up against the station. "I could do this with my eyes closed."
Jessica smiled. "Well, please refrain from doing so on this occasion, Banks. I'd like my ship kept in one piece for the time being. It'd be a shame to crash just before we park."
"Yes Ma'am," he said with a chuckle.
"Less than two metres clearance," Commander Chang reported from the science and tactical station to the Captain's right. The Defiant nestled up to the dock with a slight bump a moment later.
"Good job Mister Banks. Commander Chang, activate all moorings and equalize atmospheres," King ordered. She got up from the captain's chair. The Defiant was now under the momentum of the station itself, like a very heavy passenger on a merry-go-round. "Power down all non-essential systems. Commander, observe standard protocol."
"Yes Captain," Commander Greene said as he relayed her orders to the rest of the ship. Every department would shut down those systems that weren't needed while the Defiant underwent any repairs and refurbishments that had been scheduled for her.
"When the bridge is cleared, come and find me," Jessica told him.
The Commander nodded. Jessica ran her eyes over her team – Kyle Banks at the helm, Olivia Rayne at the comm. station, Lisa Chang at the science and tactical station, and Del Greene by her side as her second in command – and all she could feel was pride at having the fortune of serving with such a fine group of men and women.
"I'll be in my quarters," Jessica said as she left the bridge. "Well done everyone."
|Click here to find Enigma on Amazon.com|
Huh. I thought the first chapter revealed a bit more than that. I suppose you'll just have to check out the book while you're waiting in those long lines at the mall.
By now, you all know Tony's bio. He's from England. So please, stop asking him to fire me because I don't catch his spelling errors. He writes in the Queen's English. They spell funny over there. ;)