Coming in September : The Long Haul comes to an end
Earth. The home planet of her ancient ancestors. If she didn’t act fast, her fighter would be blown to bits before she made it into the upper atmosphere. A plasma blast burst against the fighter’s rear shields. The controls before her went dead for a moment and lit back up. The ship was re-routing power from the main batteries, compensating as quickly as it could to protect its systems from the enemy fire.
“Just like Oread.” Kella said to herself. But she wasn’t anywhere near the moon orbiting the planet Pega. Oread was fifty light years away, and she wasn’t with Hail. Kella was alone this time, and Earth’s moon was currently on the other side of Earth. She had two choices - take the enemy fighters on, or make a run for the planet.
There was a third choice. Self-destruction would ensure Earth’s safety. It’s what Captain Sulafat and the others would expect her to do.
But Kella wouldn’t voluntarily surrender her life. There was too much to live for. She had a husband and a baby daughter. She would fight until the very last second against impossible odds to see them again. To hell with her training.
To hell with orders.
The long haul home just got a lot longer, and a whole lot deadlier.
RETRIBUTION (The Long Haul Book 2)
Alderamin 4 loomed outside Ly Sulafat’s window like a great purple and grey bruise against the backdrop of space. The Hunn-ephei home world. Five and a half lightyears from the planet of Pega. The prison ship had made the journey in less than six days.
“It probably isn’t as bad down below, Captain,” Hadar Cen said next to him. “I’ve been assured humans can even breathe the atmosphere at surface level without oxygen assistance for up to thirty minutes.”
“How comforting,” Sulafat replied quietly. “Do you have to keep calling me that?”
“Captain? Of course I do. You’re still our leader whether you like it or not.”
“Some leader. From ten thousand followers to forty.” He’d almost said forty-two. It was still hard coming to grips with the loss of two of his crew. Milun Mosa Cyon had committed suicide two weeks into their captivity. She was only twenty-one years old. Platoon Chief Benes Yildun had died accidently—or so the Pegan officials had claimed—during a routine prisoner quarters inspection. Sulafat sighed and looked away from the depressing alien world. He leaned closer to Hadar and whispered. “I haven’t given up on us, son. We’ll figure a way out of this. I may not live long enough to see the day, but I’ll make sure the rest of you get back to Earth.”
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Since the days before mankind could harness fire and paint on cave walls, two important questions have travelled with us throughout the millennia—is there life after death, and are we alone? There remains a big, fat blank after the first question, but in the year 2322 the people of Earth received an answer to the second.
We were not alone.
Fifty light years from Earth a planet in the star system 51 Pegasi had intercepted our first radio transmissions sent out through the cold quiet of space more than three and a half centuries earlier. From these primitive initial signals, the citizens of Pega—a name we later gave to this second planet out from 51 Pegasi—inferred that we were a barbaric species, set upon a path of self-annihilation through greed and violence.
The Pegans began to prepare in the unlikely event that we might make it out to the stars and spread our vile way of life along the way. A single message, a warning, was sent back to Earth.
We are aware of your existence. We will end you.
First contact had been made, and the people of Earth didn’t take kindly to the introduction. Mankind had colonized Mars and many of the far moons orbiting Jupiter and Saturn. Now their sights set out farther. They would journey from their solar system for the first time and engage the Pegans in something they had done a million times.