Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Short Story: The Transport

I know I haven't been posting here much, but my latest project is taking most of my time.  I wrote this short story awhile ago in response to a writing prompt.  If you like it, let me know in the comments.  I may develop a novel (or novelette) version in the future.

Also don't forget that all of my work is 50% off or more on Smashwords for the rest of this month


So without further ado, I give you The Transport



The Transport

Kiandra swore as another blast impacted the shields. They were in trouble and she knew it. Jake pulled at the helm control adjusting their course again. "It is no good captain, I can't maneuver fast enough. The Isanguard is a transport not a fighter."

"I know Jake, just do what you can. At least we are giving them a challenge." Kiandra's face cracked into a half grin.

"Wish I could be more of a challenge!" Jake yanked the controls into a free fall spin then back up so fast even the inertia dampeners couldn't eliminate the effect on their stomachs.

Kathy looked over her screen and frowned. "They are jamming us sir, I can't get a signal past them."

Kiandra's brows met. "Even the new theta frequency?"

Kathy nodded. "Yes sir, it was the first one I tried. What I don't understand is, who are they?"

"I think I have a hunch. Jego? Did you get a scan before we raised shields?"

The blue skinned Tirsaian nodded. "Yes sir, but I couldn't determine the designing species."

Kiandra gripped the command chair tightly as another blast hit the shields head on. "Any traces of element U334?"

"Why yes. Is that significant?"

"Sadly yes, it is the Sonairans."

The whole bridge crew turned to face Kiandra. "The Sonairans?" they said in unison.

"Yes, rumors high up in Earth Force said the Sonairans might have been amassing for an attack. And I think we got too close for their comfort."

"But why now, after centuries of peace?" Kathy shook her head.

"Well, officially, we never did find out why they stopped themselves last time. But I have always suspected that another threat, larger than Earth Force, needed their full attention. And now it with that situation handled, they have decided to pick up old gauntlets." Kiandra cringed as another blast raked the ship.

"Captain, shields are almost gone. We can only take another hit or two." Brett tapped several commands into his engineering console.

"We need to get away and warn Earth Force. Head for the asteroids." Kiandra pointed to the large belt of blasted rock far off to the starboard side of the Isanguard.

Brett's eyes wend wide. "Sir? Begging your pardon, that is suicide. With our shields so low and the damage we have already sustained--"

Kiandra glared at Jake. "I gave you an order. I am confident you can out maneuver the hunks of rock in our path. The ones shooting at us may be another story."

"Yes sir," Jake said as he gunned what was left of the engines and pulled the controls to the right.

"Hey Kiandra? Earth to Kiandra? Are you in there?" Isaac said waving his hand in front of her face.

"Huh? Yes I am here," Kiandra said shifting in the uncomfortable bus seat as it hit another pot hole and shook.

"Are you sure? I was talking to you."

"I am fine," she sighed, "I just have a lot on my mind."

"Oh? I don't see how. It is only the first week of school, we haven't got into anything heavy yet."

"Just because you haven't paid attention doesn't mean that a lot has happened in the past week." Kiandra glared at the boy looking back from the seat in front of her.

"Well sorrrry. What put the burr under your saddle?" Isaac turned around and plopped back into his seat with a small thud. Isaac thought about Kiandra. Every time he tried to talk with her, she seemed to be miles away. He knew she didn't have a boyfriend, but her beautiful long blond hair and young curves had many guys interested. However, she wasn't interested in them. While many had tried, Isaac was determined to be the one that did get through.

"Captain you were right, the asteroids are interfering with whatever they were jamming us with. The theta frequency is working again," Kathy said.

"Good send Earth force of our coordinates and tell them to send everything they have. The Sonairan fleet has to be very close for them to risk attacking us like this." Kiandra sat back in her chair. "Tell them the fleet must be along our original flight path."

"But if their exposure is such a threat, why didn't they send more ships after us?" Jego checked his scanners again, making sure other ships hadn't joined in.

"I suspect they figured one ship was enough when they could keep us from contacting Earth Force. At least--" Kiandra swore in slow motion as another highly charged stream of energized ions impacted their focused energy shields. Her head turned thirty degrees as a large smooth panel, a foot to the right of her padded captains chair with its high back and captain's controls mounted into the arm rests, flickered. The flicker was slow then began to increase its deadly dance of light and dark until a spark started in the corner of the panel. It grew exponentially reaching to the center, where it joined energy streams from the other corners creating a deadly bloom of electrical energy which grew in size until the internal conduits could take no more. The blast started inside, beneath the control panel itself, then expanded outwards in a large rupture of energy that sent particles of the panel flying in multiple directions. She looked back to see the giant hole where one of the Isanguard's shield regulators called home. The alternate source, further down the rusted but worn smooth decking, tried to keep up, despite its reduced stature.

The Isanguard's edges came to life as energy shot out in a tightly focused thrust beams sending the ship in the opposite direction with a spiraling arc through space that sent every stomach into a tailspin. Another tightly focused stream missed the main energy protection bubble, but did hit the secondary one causing the reactor more of its greatly needed energy to evaporate.

Above Kiandra, hidden in the upper layer of the bulkhead, a tiny fissure started in the energy distribution web. It suddenly mushroomed into an all out leak burning through insulation and joining other lines carrying power. As they joined the level of energy begin to burst out in a cloud of particles containing gas and insulation. The bulkhead groaned under the sudden stress sending micro fractures throughout its mass. The cracks spread out in a destructive radius until several met causing the large portion of the ceiling to succumb to the gravity and inertia of the latest maneuver. It fell down behind Kiandra sending lighted, sparking, conduits swinging in her direction. She quickly ducked as one of them swung in an arc that missed her head by a micron, but a spark shot out digging into her face. The cable continued on its swing until the other end could hold no longer and the beaten and fraying composite structure ripped apart letting the cable continue on its way until it impacted the center of a status screen on the opposite side. Another spark from the cable reached into the already damaged screen circuits and overloading them, causing it to expand outward to relieve the energy that now had nowhere else to go. Acrid smoke poured from the new fissure wrenching any lungs that dared breathe it.

Throwing the bits of insulation, dirt, dust, and bulkhead aside, Brett tried to reach one of the alternate consoles that still glowed brightly. He tapped the normally smooth, but now pitted and etched glass panel as it attempted to read his quick movements. Another groan from the metal above as the thrust systems fired again sending Brett flying into the metal wall in the opposite direction.

Outside one of the thrusting beams flickered, sparked, then imploded under the unusual strain. The loss of one gave the others extra power that sent the ship in an even more erratic maneuver. Kathy's stomach could hold no longer and she leaned away from the communications controls as hot liquid splashed onto the dirty deck plate.

Jego's blue hand wiped the dirt from the glass panel under his nose, etching it in the process. The indicators showed the other ship's power systems flickering as energy built up in one area of the ship with exponential speed then erupted outward in a tightly focused blast that reached out squeezing their shields in an iron grip. The screen glowed brighter yet, wavered, then faded from existence. Jego swore in his native Tarsaian as he leapt from his console, and in a heartbeat reached another that still glowed, faintly. After a few taps the screen reluctantly brought up the flickering images of another ship as it moved faster than the damaged screen could show.

The large display screen placed carefully up front and center of the disaster that was once a bridge showed the other ships between scattered lines of static and stars then flickered and winked out as it failed completely. "Status?" Kiandra shouted as the crew turned and glared at her. "Okay let me rephrase, what do we have left?"

"Kiandra?" Isaac said looking back.

Kiandra's eyes focused on the boy's face. "Yes?"

"Can I ask you something?"

She shrugged. "I guess."

"You said you have a lot on your mind. Like what?"

Kiandra smiled. "You know, I don't think anyone has ever actually asked."

Isaac's eyes went wide. "Really? A pretty girl like you and no one ever wanted to know what you were thinking?"

"They might have wanted to know, but no never asked ... wait you think I am pretty?"

Isaac smiled. "Of course. From one to ten I give you a twenty. No one ever told you that either?"

"No."

"Then they are fools."

Kiandra's smile deepened. "Why don't you move back here with me. It will be easier for us to talk."

"You bet." Isaac looked at the bus driver then flipped back to sit with Kiandra in one fluid motion. "I think we have our first class together too today. Writing composition is my favorite class."

Kiandra's eyes sparkled. "Really? It's my favorite too."

Friday, July 1, 2016

Smashwords Summer Sale 2016

I am pleased to announce all of my books are 50% off (or lower) during the Smashwords Summer Sale.  Be sure to use the coupon codes below at checkout to get the discount.

Italian Fever use coupon NB43
Soulmates use coupon CW72C
Time Rock use coupon SP67J
Red Warp is currently FREE and no code is required!

And if you do have a moment, please remember to post a review at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, iBooks, Goodreads, Smashwords, or the e-bookstore you frequent. Thanks!