I will be posting links as soon as they are available for the book ($15.95) and Kindle version (3.99). No Nook or Smashwords. That’s Plan B, which is entitled MARKETING. Plan A is entitled CREATE A BODY OF WORK. We’re nearly done with Plan A. The PeaceKeeper Corps is my 5th book. Book number six, Sky Dancers, is scheduled for an August or September release.
In the meantime, to celebrate PeaceKeeper’s release, I’m treating you to the first few pages of the novel…
Here it is….
“Captain Faulkner,” the pilot blurted. His eyes remained fixed on his instrument panel while the ship shuddered and jerked. “She’s not responding.”
“Not responding at all?” Captain Brennar Faulkner leaned over his pilot’s shoulder, dark blue eyes scanning the same panel. He braced himself as the ship bucked, veered sharply, and then continued to shudder as the pilot struggled to maintain their course.
“No, sir. She’s being pulled back into the atmosphere,” the pilot replied calmly, though his fingers trembled as they moved expertly over the panel.
“Have you tried auxiliary drives?”
“Nothing. It’s as if something is draining our energy reserves, sir.” The pilot glanced up as he spoke, his eyes troubled. “I’ve never experienced anything like it, sir.”
Faulkner glanced over at his second in command, First Sergeant. Seth MacDougall.
Their gazes locked.
“Put all you can into the bridge shield!” Brennar commanded the pilot. “Mac, tell the crew to report to the bridge, on the double,” he told his second.
“Bren—“ Mac stepped toward him.
“Just do it.”
With a nod, Mac did as he was told, even though they both knew it would be useless.
“Bridge shield up, sir,” the pilot reported.
“Send out the distress signal.”
Brennar held his breath, hoping others would make it to the only semi-secure area on their small shuttle. Too few, he thought as his gaze flickered over the pilot, co-pilot, communications officer, and Mac.
“Captain!” the pilot shouted, “a surge in the auxiliaries!”
There was a pause—like a large inhalation—and then a retina-searing flash followed by crushing pressure roared through the ship.
Metal groaned in protest as the hull burst into shards like glass.
Inside, the explosion shattered bones and bulkhead with the same intensity.
Outside, it looked like a bright flare was abruptly extinguished, its shock waves gently rocking the ARK shuttles, which had already launched in response to the distress signal.
I slowly realized I was hearing several voices, but only one was familiar. And then there was a blinding light.
Where was I?
I tried to move my head away from the glare, but there was no relief.
“I believe he’s back with us,” said a voice.
“Captain, are you in there?” inquired the familiar voice, quietly commanding but with just the hint of amusement.
I tried to open my eyes, but the light! Too much! I tried to tell them, but couldn’t speak past my dry throat.
“Cut the lights by fifty percent!” someone barked.
“Okay, sir,” said the familiar voice, softly. “Try again.”
I felt my eyes fluttering open and focused on the source of the familiar voice. The broad features leaning over me seemed as familiar as the voice, but I could not recall his name. His skin was dark, his kinky salt-and-pepper hair cropped short. He had an eager expression, as if everything he saw was a puzzle, and he exuded a confidence making others believe he could, indeed, solve those puzzles.
“You are in restraints, Captain, for your safety.” He watched to make sure I understood and then continued, soothingly. “Do you know who you are? Don’t try to speak. Just nod if you know.”
I nodded as much as the restraints allowed.
“Good, very good. Now, do you know who I am?” he asked conversationally.
“But am I familiar to you?”
Again, I nodded.
“Good! This is very good, indeed, Captain.” He lifted and cradled my left hand. “Now, can you move your index finger for me?”
I concentrated and found I could.
The man beamed at me, making me feel oddly victorious. “All right,” he said in his calm voice, “I will quickly try to get you up to speed, sir, while your corpus comes back online. Don’t try to move anything but your index finger. If you wish me to slow down or repeat myself, simply lift the finger. If you have questions, sadly, those will have to wait until you can speak. But I know you fairly well, and I believe I can anticipate your questions.” The man smiled again. “This is not the first time you’ve found yourself in this situation, so understanding should return relatively quickly. Are you ready?”
I lifted my finger, curious.
“Good. You are Captain Brennar Faulkner of the PeaceKeeper Corps, Division A. On your last mission, while you were off-planet, your ship was shot down. You and your crew were blown to bits.”
I had a brief memory of a sudden explosion, cries of agony and surprise, blinding color, sorrow I could not save more, and then nothing.
The man continued. “Fortunately, we were able to Resuscitate some of them. I am your primary physician, Micca Gauge. I have been your primary doctor for more than forty years now. You call me Doc.” He paused his eyes crinkling at the corners. “Do you remember me now?”
Yes! I raised his finger. I tried to smile. Doc! How many times have I seen that same slow smile upon awakening from a Resus? How many times have I heard ”Welcome back, Captain“ in his rich, sonorous voice? Once I recognized Doc, I knew I was safe, no matter how many monitors and scanners were attached to me.
“Good, and do you remember the ambush?” Not really. I wiggled my finger from side to side.
Doc snorted. “And is that because you remember some and not all of the ambush?”
I raised my finger. Smart guy, Doc.
“Understandable. This is all exceptionally good news, Captain. Now, please listen carefully to what I am about to say, because it may create some confusion until you are totally back and aligned with your corpus.
“Your ship was shot down fifteen years ago. (Fifteen years!?) You have not been Resuscitated the normal way. Instead, we have replicated your corpus in a body made of a newly developed, ultra-secret, silicon-based substance called Silistel. It was a gamble, and it took us fifteen years, but we have obviously succeeded or I would not be having this conversation with you. Do you understand this?”
I raised my finger, my thoughts darting around chaotically. So many questions.
“Good, good. You may not like this next bit of information, Captain. “
I honed in on his expression.
“We need to send you back into your seed atoms, sir. Your corpus is still too unstable. You are our first Silistel Resus, and we want to be one hundred percent sure it will be fully functional before we turn you loose.”
“Where?” I asked, barely managing a faint croak. Still so many questions.
Dr. Gauge squeezed my hand. “You are not to worry. You are very safe. You are too important for us to take any chances. If we are unsuccessful, we have a carbon corpus at the ready. “
“Where?” I croaked again.
“Your seed atoms?”
I lifted my finger.
“Safe, very safe, indeed. We will tuck them away again while we work, wrapped quite cozily around the central column of a 3rd, an Unawakened One. Untraceable.”
No! No!! I had to speak. They didn’t know…what? The explosion! It was on the edge of my consciousness, I was about to send an urgent message to headquarters… …get my seed atoms out!… must warn them.
“Not to worry, sir. Your host is a 3rd on an Unawakened planet. There is absolutely no chance of any bleed-through or discovery.”
I tried again to speak, to make them understand.
Dr. Gauge nodded to someone next to him. “We are sending you back, now, Captain. Just a few more adjustments.”
No! Wait! I moved my finger frantically.
Everything went limp.