Destiny I

In this  first novel of the Destiny Series, Alex and Barbara, by order of the Scienta High Council, are contacted by Second Senior Council Cretall. They are taken from Earth and delivered to the waiting Alliance Flagship DSR Perella, and taken to Peraxa Major, Alliance Capitol Planet. Here, and aboard the Perella, they are medically enhanced. Then taken through complex training regiments, preparing them for the impossibility they must soon accomplish.

 

                                          Excerpt from Chapter One: The Directive

Planets Appearing first as little more than a hazy distortion the shuttle matured from silhouette to substance.

“You all right babe?” Alex said.

“Scared to death.” Barbara replied. “You sure about this?”

“We still have time to run. Freedom’s that-a-way,” Alex said raising his fist, a thumb stabbed over his shoulder.

“Yep. But curiosity’s up there,” Barbara said, aiming a digit into the evening sky.

“That’s my girl,” Alex said.

Fully visible now, the shuttle’s entry portal opened and Cretall walked down the ramp.

“So, you have decided,” he said.

“Yes. Yes, we have. But let’s go quickly, before we come to our senses.”

“Well then, in you go,” Cretall said with a quiet chuckle. “Pelate will get you settled.”

Nestled inside the ship, they stared through the clear opti-portal, into the woods. Reality screamed as the ship rose, home on the wrong side of the view-port. Excitement stumbled over anxiety.

Cretall nimbly caressed the flight console, and the ship came about, aimed into the evening sky. Their home melted into the horizon, soon swallowed by stars.

“Configuring viewer to nav-screen,” Cretall said. “We will engage tachyon drive when we have cleared atmosphere. We should arrive at the Perella in approximately two point six-seven-five standard hours at warp-Two.”

“Warp-Two?” Alex said, puzzled by the statement. “Like the movies? So that’s for real?”

“Warp-One, Alex, is roughly the speed of light. It is a near constant.”

“What do you mean near constant? The speed of light is absolute. One-hundred eighty-six thousand two-hundred forty miles per hour. Most physicists believed that faster-than-light particles cannot exist because they are inconsistent with known laws of physics.”

“To your science, maybe. The universe is a big place, Alex. Sometimes physics gets confused. And this, my friend, is definitly a discussion for another time.”

“Warp-Two it is,” Alex said with a smile. Next stop, the Twilight Zone.”

“Now stop that,” Barbara said.

Alex stared at the nav-screen as the tiny blip of the shuttle raced away from Earth and into the stars, toward the waiting DSRV (Deep Space Research Vessel) Perella. “Can you adjust the screen to real-time?” he asked.

“Certainly. But at the speed we are traveling you wouldn’t even see a decent blur. However, images can be captured along the way.”

Cretall reached foreword and tapped the Nav-Screen, and his hand danced over the console. A smaller view-port popped into a corner of the foreword viewer. He turned to his assistant.

“Pelate,” he called gently. “Would you mind if Alex took the second seat for a while?”

“Not at all,” He said with a grin. Pelate stood and moved toward the rear. “Flight Second at your command sir,” he said to Alex as he passed. Alex quivered in a rush of excitement. He scurried toward the vacant seat like a school boy bound for his daddy’s lap behind the wheel of the family station wagon.

“Thank you,” he said in a hurried gasp.

Barbara kneeled next to him, stretched an arm around his shoulder and cocked her head toward him. She opened her eyes wide, and puckered her lips in feigned envy.

“Now stop that,” Alex said.

Barbara rewarded him with a playful flick on the ear. Cretall stretched a finger, pointing to a module on the command console.

“Image collection,” he said, “both timed and manual.” As Cretall moved his finger across a small pad a cursor in the form of a faint cross traveled over the main screen. He selected a point in space, and then double tapped the screen. The smaller view window winked as the main screen enlarged the selection.

“A snapshot of space, Alex, relative to our current position,” Cretall said. “Touch here and drag your finger to zoom in, out or pan. This is the statistical function,” he said striking another crystal. “It will display distance, telemetry, analysis and so on. Now you try.” Alex devoured the opportunity, Barbara huddled beside him to coached site selections.

Pelate, seated quietly to the rear, keyed a private comm-channel between himself and Cretall. “Giving the children something to play with, are we?” he said with a quiet laugh. Cretall turned and smiled.

“Cretall?” Alex said after a time, his tone an odd assembly of curiosity and alarm.

“Yes Alex. What is it?”

“We have noticed an unusual cluster. It appeared to be tracking our movement.”

“Show me,” Cretall said. He fully expected to explain a spacial echo, or simple calibration. Alex skillfully reinitialized the scan, and then isolated the sub-sector containing the anomaly for another look at the curiosity.

“There, do you see it?” Alex said. He pointed to a cluster of four tiny blips on the screen.

Cretall studied the image, impressed with the competent re-alignment. “Precisely how did you identify this, Alex?”

“I would not have noticed, except the signal maintained both formation and relative distance through several scans. Naturally occurring phenomena would have been distanced. The formation would have varied with altered view angles. These did not.”

“Well done Alex,” Cretall said. He re-keyed the viewer to tactical scan, resetting to a spot trace of the four suspect blips believed to be tracking them. At maximum magnification they are still little more than indistinct points of light.

“Let’s try something,” he said as he initialized a level one probe. Energy signatures splashed across the screen. Cretall’s face thickened in recognition.

“Korellan stealth pods,” he said. Cretall activated a comm-link. “This is High Council envoy on secure link to Etarra sector patrol. Do you copy?”

“Council envoy, this is Etarra patrol commander Gaul.”

“Colonel Gaul. Good to hear from you. This is Second Senior Council Cretall on a dispatched Diplomatic envoy returning to the Perella. We may have been compromised Colonel. Can you assist?”

 

   Excerpt from Chapter nine: Settling In

   “Good afternoon, Admiral,” men and women said as they passed. Neemah politely acknowledged each, calling many by rank, most by name.
They twisted through winding corridors, into deck lifts and through ships compartments. To his surprise, Alex could quite easily recall their exact route. Two armed security officers snapped to attention as they approached a secured portal. One of the men stepped in front of the closed doorway, blocking their path.

“Admiral, Sir,” the guard sounded off looking directly into Neemah’s eyes. He quickly glanced at Alex, and then back at Neemah.

“On my authority Sergeant, meet Lieutenant Stevens, and step aside. You are to remember the Lieutenant the next time you see him. And flag the surveillance photo for other shifts. He will not be challenged again.  Am I clear?”

“Yes Sir,” the guards said in unison, clearing a path for them to pass. Neemah waived his hand over the keypad, and the portal opened. The guards stood motionless as they entered, and the door closed behind them.

Alex stood in jaw dropping silence, mesmerized by sight of the sleek, pale blue Battle-Pod sitting no more than fifteen feet in front of him. And then a gruff, intemperate voice bent around the lustrous pod.

“Lamp-2, is that you? You come to bitch, gloat or admire, Admiral?” Neemah’s face softened and relaxed into a broad grin.

“Tinker, you crusty old asteroid. Drag your sorry booster out here where a decent man can get a look at you.”

“Decent, you say? Then you must not be alone.” Neemah fired an uncharacteristically animated look at Alex, a side of the stoic military man few are fortunate enough to witness.

Tinker, as the Admiral called him, came into sight, travelling slowly around the front of the magnificent pod, his movement stiff and cadenced. He stopped, staring unbelieving at Alex, raised his hand and shook a finger.

Alex stared awkwardly back at him. From just below the left shoulder it reminded him of the large, multi-jointed arm hanging from the shelf in the surgical suite. Judging from the man’s jerky movement, one or both legs may be similarly fitted.

“I knew it,” Tinker yelped. “And just who the fargle is this, Neemah? You’re not gonna get my rocks roasted over this little pile of shizzle, are ya?”

“Relax, Tink. This is the pilot, Alex Stevens,” Neemah said, taking Alex by the shoulder. “Alex, meet lieutenant Colonel Reinby Tolstram.”

“Former Lieutenant Colonel,” he scolded. “My friends call me Tinker. But I don’t know you, so best just keep your yap shut.” Alex’s head snapped toward Neemah, wide eyed and with an open mouth.

“Now be civil, Tink,” Neemah said. “Well, say hello to the man, Alex.”

“Ahh, very pleased to meet you, Mister Tinker,” Alex said timidly. He looked up at Neemah, mouthing a single word, “Pilot?”

“Yes, Alex. I will explain later.”

“Nemah, you didn’t bring one of them puberty filled booster busters to see me, now did you? And loose the mister, fella’. It’s just Tinker, or Tink, if you’re really feelin’ friendly.” Neemah looked down at Alex and smiled.

“I think you and Tink are going to get along just fine, don’t you?”

“So, you’re the unlucky bastard that gets to fly this space crate, huh? And all this time I thought Neemah’s the only one crazy enough to climb into these custom coffins. Guess the Doc’s been fiddlin’ with you too, huh son? So what brings you down to my little slice of insanity anyway, Neemah?”

“Well, Tink. When I heard that Professor Rydell brought you here to finish the Model-X, I had to see for myself, old friend. And, I wanted to introduce Alex to both you, and the Pod.”

“Well sure he brought me in for the job. Who else is going to breathe life into his hair brained ideas? You know, the man couldn’t get a turbo flush to work without me.” Tink raised his mechanical arm and began spinning the hand at the wrist, laughing wildly.

“You just love showing that thing off, don’t you?” Neemah said.

“Aww, hell Neemah. You know that every mechanic in the fleet would give his left burner for a fine tool like this. Besides, it’s great for mixing drinks. Or don’t you remember?”

“Please, don’t remind me. I was on an aspirin diet for two days.”

“Yeah, but we sure had fun, didn’t we partner? Those were the days.”

“That we did, old friend. That we did. Well, Tink, I just wanted to stop by and introduce Alex. We really must be going now. We will be seeing you soon, okay?”

 

This novel is complete at about 90,000 words, and seeking representation.

 

 

 

 

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