- Paperback ISBN: 978-0-9852095-3-7
- eBook ISBN : 978-0-9852095-1-3
- Audiobook ISBN: 978-0-9852095-4-4
- Published: June 19, 2013
- Available in: English
- Edition: First Edition
- Publisher: Sun Day Consulting, Inc
- Paperback: 290 pages
- Genre: Science Fiction / Space Opera
- Interest Age: 13 years and up
- Authors: Mark Fulcher, Annet Libeau
- Narrator: Steve Carlson
- Cover and Character Graphic Design: Craig Farham
Back Cover by Annet LibeauThey have already arrived…
In the distant future during a lull in the intermittent interstellar war, astrogator Quarr and her pilot Kryger are given leave to explore a remote solar system under the guise of searching out their adversaries. Quarr has personal reasons for undertaking the journey, reasons that just might get them both killed. Unbeknownst to Quarr, one of the ancient enemies of her people has already arrived at their intended destination, seeking to conquer and exploit the planet. And with an evil genius member of her family offering his services to the self-proclaimed deity, Quarr is in for a shock when their scoutship emerges from subspace and is caught in an unusual trap.
Unable to escape back into subspace, they fight their way to the planet where the invincible entity and its minions are conducting a reign of terror. When Kryger’s safety is compromised, Quarr is faced with a difficult choice: lose her pilot to the evil force or resort to a dangerous, almost forgotten practice that may bring with it catastrophic consequences.
Kryger listened to the hypnotic thrum of the scout’s powerful twin Stardrive engines for any break or change in rhythm. They had taken a longer jump than any previously recorded attempt for a two-man scoutship; already more than twelve hours in subspace at the mind-numbing speed of twenty-five light years per hour—a little less than eight parsecs per hour or a light-year in less than two and a half minutes.
In subspace, a transit-computer controlled faster-than-light spacecraft. The pre-set course couldn’t be altered before the ship left subspace at a predetermined point. Spacecraft were programmed to correct, or temporarily bypass problems, since human minds and reflexes were far too slow to respond in a vital split second when a malfunction occurred. If a serious fault developed, the computer would immediately start exit procedures into normal space.
So, there wasn’t much one could do when cooped up in a two-man scout during a long distance jump. After the initial gut wrenching, sickening lurch into the dull, unending gray blindness of the subspace dimension, and then the fierce acceleration to achieve faster-than-light velocity, there was no awareness of movement. The sensation of speed existed only in one’s imagination; the mind nudged to the edge of sanity by the visual isolation and the nearly soundless, far-off whispering of straining engines.
In a small ship, such as the scout, you put your trust in technology to look after your welfare; and those who wanted to make light of the scary reality joked that you didn’t have to be mad to be a scout-pilot, but it sure helped to keep you sane. There were no recorded accidents, and the theory was that the subspace dimension was a complete void. Still, nobody wanted to become a statistic.
Kryger arched his back to stretch his powerful two-meter body in the confined space. Shortly after they had entered subspace, Quarr—the astrogator accompanying him—told him that due to months of inactivity of their enemy, the Bikans, she’d obtained permission to visit a far-off system; of which the coordinates were given to her in early childhood. Unfortunately, she wasn’t sure whether her recollection was factually accurate. She told Kryger that she was trying to determine if her colony still existed, and if so, to locate her people, get reacquainted, and establish if they would permit her to return after countless years of forced exile.
Other than Kryger’s parents, no one knew that Quarr was a shape changer. Kryger found out when he questioned why she resembled his mother, believing she might be his sister. He was told the tale of how, many years before, his parents rescued a rare, brown leopard cub that was close to death from starvation. After reviving it, they were taken by surprise when the withered cub slowly changed into a small copy of his mother, cat face and all, except for her eyes, which stayed the same yellowish-brown color with round pupils.
Annet Libeau is President and Chief Executive Officer of Sun Day Consulting, a software consulting company. After discovering some of her father’s early, unpublished novels, Libeau’s own literary interests began shifting increasingly toward the science fiction genre. Since then, they have published a succession of novels. Libeau does her best writing at home in sunny Florida, and is an ardent scuba diver and traveler.
Mark Fulcher began pursuing his passion for writing after retiring from the software industry, where he traveled all over the world developing communications software for an airline reservation system. An avid horticulturist, for a time he had one of the most extensive desert plant collections in Johannesburg, South Africa and cultivated many Bonsai masterpieces. Fulcher currently lives in Johannesburg.