Archive for October, 2009

 

Join me at the Ottawa Public Library – Hazeldean Branch in Kanata on Thursday, 05 November 2009 from 7pm to 8:30pm.

I will be discussing my Sci-Fi novel Death’s Door – Where Right and Glory Lead. I will also speak about the research, writing and publishing process.

Registration is required – Please visit the Ottawa Public Library website by CLICKING HERE or phoning 613.836.1900

  • Ottawa Public Library – Hazeldean Branch is located at 50 Castlefrank Road in Kanata

Death’s Door – Where Right and Glory Lead, can now be purchased at Preston NewsStand, located at Tower III, Preston Square (347 Preston Street in Ottawa).

Excerpt of ‘Home World’

Posted: October 12, 2009 in Books

Damage alarms would cycle on and off as smoke and sparks lit up the darkened bridge of the Starlight. Captain Knox held her right arm close to her body with her left, trying to protect the broken limb while a medic put a ring bandage around a piece of bone that was protruding at an angle. At first she thought the bone was hers but the medic quickly realized, and pointed out to her that it was from the leg of a crew member that was scattered around the bridge.

She couldn’t remove it however as there was too much bleeding and this would at least control the flow until she could get to sick bay where the doctor would remove the bone and repair the artery and wound. Knox winced from the pain as the medic completed the bandage, applied a pain killer patch on her neck and then moved on to the next casualty. There were many casualties as the Starlight took several direct hits from an unknown energy weapons before it managed to limp behind a large planetoid.

Knox slowly reached down and after picking up a piece of conduit that had fallen into her chair threw it aside but out of the way. Half her bridge crew was dead or injured and replacements were slow in arriving, everyone having to deal with their own catastrophe.

She coughed and said, “Damage report!”

No one answered at first, but an older Ensign, coughing and spiting blood on the decking spoke up from the tactical console. “Auxiliary bridge is cut off from ship access – no comm traffic in or out. Damage control crews are swamped and only twenty file percent have reported in. The repair robots have been assigned to vital sections only but progress is slow. Medical is spread throughout the ship – casualties on every deck. Starboard missile tubes four through ten are open to space, port side tubes all report faulty outer doors or no launch computer access and unable to fire. It leaves us only three workable tubes and they are loaded, but have to fire using manual guidance and programming. Laser turrets on the belly are operational but targeting computers are down – top side batteries are all gone.” He took several breaths and found it hard to breath, the smoke becoming chocking as the venation system struggled to clean the air.

A medic reached the Ensign and gave in a needle with a breathing compound in an effort to help oxygen reach vital organs. He continued, “Engineering reports jump engines are gone and we only have minimal propulsion with maneuvering thrusters.”

Knox was an optimist but it was hard to see a bright side to what was happening. The decoys had worked but it didn’t take the Horde ships long to figure out what was real and what wasn’t. The final sensor data confirmed that the attacking ships were of Horde design so it was pretty much safe to assume it was the Horde.

Knox was shaken from her chair and she fell to the ground when an explosion somewhere on the ship rocked it. What the fuck was that she swore to herself.

“Report!” she winced in pain as she picked herself up off the deck.

“Secondary explosion in starboard missile tube fifteen – one of the repair robots cut through the containment bottle trying to get to trapped crew. Three tubes on either side of fifteen is now open to space – all crew lost in that section.” The Ensign was a professional but he had a hard time holding back his emotion.

“Fuck!” Knox swore out loud as she tried to take in the death of her ship. “Do we have access to the sensor buoys?”

“Yes sir, they were on the belly section not touched by the attack. Status lights are green but we have no way to confirm that.” The tech was a bit confused as to why the captain was asking about the buoys.

“We’re not in position, but launch the remainder and send them on their way. Their internal AI will take over without input from the ship. We came out here to do a job and we may as well finish it. Besides, we can use the network once it’s up to see what the hell is going on outside, assuming we can even tap into the network with all this damage.” Knox coughed. “Comm, load a message packet, flash status. Drop all our logs into it and send to command.”

She took her good arm and wiped back the sweat that had built up on her forehead, running her fingers through her hair. Her eyes were burning as she blinked. Turning to see the ship status board, she noted that the fires reported earlier were slowing coming under control and the surviving crew was safe for now. She also realized that there was still a lot of work left for the damaged control crews as they worked overtime in a feverously pitch to contain the ship wide damages. She took in a deep gulp of air and almost suffocated on the sulfur like smell that resulted when so much of the protective covering on the damaged power and optical conduits burned away.

At once the sensor technician spoke up, breaking the silence, “Captain! Limited external sensors are online.” The young tech checked her board and confirmed the readings before continuing. “We have short range sensors only but we can get a good read of our immediate area out to five hundred kilometers.”

Knox smiled and walked over to a working monitor, “Send the feed to the A-six monitor.” She studied the screen as it came to life with the data. The Starlight was on the far side of a planetoid that was part of a series of asteroids and other small bodies that could have been from a collision of to two or more large asteroids. Either way it was helping to mask the big but damaged ship. Knox said to the officer on watch, “shout down all non-critical emissions and use passive sensors only. No active energy signatures – go to silent running.”

The order was repeated and carried out amongst the ciaos that was taking place on the bridge. Knox didn’t know at this point if the missiles they fired had any effective results or if the enemy ships were still out there. If they were still out there and out of sensor range they only had to wait the Starlight out and as soon as they showed their heads, come in for the kill and finish them off. It wouldn’t take them much at this point thought Knox. The air scrubbers began to kick in and clean the foul air chocking the bridge as the recovery crew removed the dead and injured. Damage control was working on repairing damaged systems at the same time. To Knox, the bridge looked as it did during initial construction as she remembered the confusion on the ship when she made her initial inspection tour.

“Auxiliary bridge is reporting sir, there’re using text only – internal communications is still out in that section and no video feed is available. They report two dead and only one injury.”

“What about the XO?” asked Knox as she peered down at the communication station officer.

“It was the XO that reported in sir.”

Knox was relived to hear her executive officer was alive as she had grown fond of the Commander over time. Any other emotion other than relief however at this time would have to wait. Knox pulled over one of her screens and called up a schematic of available resources, including offensive missiles. She wanted to be sure that there was enough of a punch left in case she had to fight off another Horde attack. In the back of her mind she knew any gesture of confrontation would be futile and that they were dead. She was determined to go down fighting if it came to that.

Most of the port missile launch rails were still locked out with launch doors unable to open. Crews were trying to space walk and open the doors from the outside but it was doubtful at this time if this would work. Knox had a thought however, “Missile control – relay to port tubes to rig demo charges on the door slides and blow them off. I want those tubes open and ready to fire in one hour.”