The ship’s AI has lost control of the engines and core systems. Battling a saboteur who strives to isolate him, his last act is to wake Colonel Tanis Richards from stasis.
Tanis finds herself alone on a dying ship, unable to contact the AI. She must discover what has happened and save the Intrepid from burning up in the star’s angry red light.
Even if she is successful, the journey to the colony world of New Eden is just beginning. With decades of travel ahead, she will have to find a path in the darkness.
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Beyond lay the bridge’s foyer; the place where Priscilla, or Amanda—the ship’s two physical avatars—took turns providing the main interface between the humans and the Intrepid. The avatar’s pedestal was empty and the holo emitters were offline. Even more than the main hall, this room had always been a riot of light and color—usually white, grey and light blue if Amanda was ensconced, or red, pink and violet if Priscilla was running the show. Tanis slipped through the darkness, a shiver ran down her spine and Tanis couldn’t help but feel like she was the only person on the ship.
There wasn’t a single person who hadn’t looked out into the cold, dark blackness of space and feared falling into it, lost and alone in the emptiness for eternity. Out here, far from even the most rudimentary civilizations, Tanis couldn’t help feeling those thoughts creep into her mind again and again.
She took a deep breath, pushed the tendrils of fear aside and strode down the corridor to the left, past the executive conference room toward the bridge.
Her nano arrived first and sent an image back showing it to be empty, a fact she confirmed moments later as she stepped into the heart of the ship.
She drew another deep breath through her nose. There were traces of human pheromones. Her augmented olfactory system informed her that people had been here a scant five or six hours earlier.
Tanis felt the solitude pressing around her ease back as she settled into a duty station. The holo interface sprang to life around her and she brought up the last month’s logs.
About the author:
Michael Cooper has been writing since the day he closed Return of the King and wanted more. He's written a lot of fantasy that he never tried to get published, but one day decided to try his hand at science fiction, of which he has published one book (Outsystem) and is working on the sequel, A Path in the Darkness.
Michael is a software engineer at a company which builds sites and services around the open-source CMS named Drupal and enjoys the creativity involved in building web applications.
When not writing stories or code Michael is spending time with his wife and daughter, or doing carpentry--a hobby which he has been growing over the years.
His other interests include astronomy, cars and racing, blacksmithing, movies, and just about any creative work one can do.
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