QSFer Arshad Ahsanuddin has a new sci fi book out:
One man will destroy the past to save the present.
The price is too high.
But it may already be too late to stop him.
Life settles into a routine for the inhabitants of Chiron Colony, humanity’s first interstellar settlement, after the threat of the time traveler Gifford has apparently been eliminated. But the Hourglass and its leader, Admiral O’Dare, are not content to rest on their laurels, convinced that time travel remains a palpable threat to human civilization. When Annette Sutton uncover a possible secret plot to eliminate the principal members of the Interscission Project decades in the past, when they had only just met, the colonists’ idyllic peace is shattered.
Can Martin and his people head off disaster as the Admiral moves to destroy the potential for time travel, once and for all? Or is there a deeper agenda in play? As loyalty and duty become pawns in the race to prevent the erasure of all that they have accomplished, Martin will have to decide once and for all how far he will go to save everything and everyone he loves.
Book Three of the Intercission Project
CSS Labyrinth, Lunar Space
Admiral Calvin Teague stood on the bridge of the CSS Labyrinth, an advanced prototype destroyer designed to minimize detectable materials and emissions. It was the closest thing to a stealth warship the Confederation Navy had been able to produce, and he’d had to call in a number of long-standing favors to get it out of the shipyards for an unscheduled shakedown cruise. Or so he had told the Admiralty. He had also declined to file a flight plan, ostensibly to better test the Navy’s ability to find him. The truth was that he needed to be here, watching, and he couldn’t afford anyone outside of his handpicked Bridge officers knowing he was present.
The Janus space station, the pinnacle of civilian space construction, loomed large in the forward viewscreen. If he allowed himself a moment to reflect, he could appreciate the magnitude of the achievement. The establishment of a stationary port at the lunar farside Lagrange point would allow for much more efficient exploratory missions to the rest of the solar system, and would be on the forefront of a new wave of space colonization. But that was an insight he couldn’t allow himself, or it would poison his resolve.
The communications officer answered. “Team Alpha reports successful insertion. Team Bravo is making their run now to the secondary maintenance dock.”
Calvin nodded. “Notify me as soon as they’re in position.” He clasped his hands behind his back as he watched the slow turn of the station’s habitat ring. Not long now.
* * *
Commander Michelle Atkins waited impatiently as the passengers ahead of her gathered their belongings and disembarked. She hated using civilian transport. The inefficiency of the passengers irritated her. Finally, she stepped off the gangway to the commercial transport and was immediately swept up in a bear hug by her husband, Patrick.
She embraced him for a moment and then pulled away. “Thanks for meeting me. I know you’ve got a thousand things to worry about before the dedication ceremony.”
Patrick stepped back, grinning widely. “Nonsense. Of course I’m here.” He kissed her on the nose. “I always make time for you. I’m just surprised you came.”
She smiled at the way his shock of red hair hung down over his forehead, making a sharp contrast with his vivid green eyes. So like the boys. Their twin sons had inherited her olive skin and black hair, but their eyes were pure Patrick.
“The boys are fine,” she said. “They’re being monitored twenty-four hours a day in the isolation ward. It’s not like chickenpox is life-threatening. They don’t need me hovering over them all the time.” She took his hand in hers and squeezed his fingers. “I wouldn’t have missed your moment of triumph.”
Patrick slung his free arm across her shoulders. “There’s still an hour before the ceremony. Shall I give you the ten-credit tour?”
“Darling, I’m your wife, not a tourist.” She leaned into him, her dark blue Navy uniform stark against his tan suit. “You can splurge for the eleven-credit tour.”
He chuckled as he led her out of the cavernous landing bay, which was crowded with shuttles for the visiting dignitaries. They walked down the wide central corridor into the hub of the station. Stepping out of the entry tunnel, Michelle gasped at the view. The central hub was laid out in a ring, the artificial gravity adjusted to maintain the illusion that they stood at the base while the rest of the facility extended vertically into the sky ahead and behind. But the sides of the hub drew her eye the most; each was covered with a shallow transparent dome that showed the stars on the left and the lunar surface on the right.
Patrick flushed slightly at her praise. “I knew you’d appreciate it. Solid diamond matrix buttressed with titanium filaments for support, for a completely unobstructed view.”
She raised an eyebrow. “A little extravagant, though, isn’t it?”
“Not at all.” Patrick gazed at the expanse of the station with obvious pride. “This will be the primary jumping off point for civilian expansion into the rest of the solar system—and beyond. People need to be reminded why we’re here, why this place is so important.”
She entwined her fingers with his. “It’s important because you forced them to let you build it right, without cutting corners.”
He grinned at her. “Come on. Let me show you the reviewing stand. You can see the entire station from there.”
They rode one of the spoke elevators that extended from the base of the wheel up to the circular observation room at the center of the hub. The elevator discharged them into an open spherical space that mirrored the design of the hub below. It was currently set up with chairs running the length of the central ring, each situated to give a perfect view of the round stage in the center, dominated by a detailed scale model of the earth. Patrick stared critically at the crowds of people attending the dedication ceremony before leading his wife to another set of elevators, marked Administration. This ride was significantly shorter and let them off at the offices built underneath the ring of the reviewing stand. Patrick walked to a door outlined in green and tapped his security code into the lock. The door opened, and he ushered her inside.
“This will be the office of the station’s commander,” said Patrick, gesturing to a desk with an integrated computer workstation flanked by two chairs. “It’s a little less crowded than upstairs, but it has the same view.”
Michelle glanced around the windowless office. “Does it?”
He tapped a control on the desk, and the walls and ceiling suddenly disappeared, leaving only a panoramic view of the station itself. “Real-time holographic views of the entire station,” he told her. “From here, the station commander can see anywhere on board, if necessary.” He pointed to various landmarks. “Beyond the hub is the habitat ring, where the station personnel and visitors will be lodged, connected to the hub by the main elevators. Around the hub itself are two main docking stations, North and South, for the largest spacecraft, and eight smaller docking stations spaced out between them. The four main power plants are located at equidistant points between the docking stations: here, here, and…”
Michelle eyed her husband sidelong as his travelogue trailed off. “Is something wrong?” she asked, noticing his frown.
He indicated one of the docking bays, which contained only a single vessel, although the others were heavily populated. “Docking bay six developed a major failure of its internal security sensors. We’ve taken it out of service until after the ceremony, when we’ll have more time to figure out the problem. There shouldn’t be any ships docked there.”
He sat in the commander’s chair and typed a series of instructions into the computer workstation. “Janus, acknowledge.”
“Janus online,” answered the station’s computer.
“Has the internal security fault been repaired in docking bay six?”
“No. Docking bay six sensors remain offline.”
“Then why is there a ship docked there?”
“There is no record of a vessel docked in bay six.”
“But I can see it from here.”
“There is no record of a vessel docked in bay six.”
“I just told you that there is.”
“There is no record of a vessel docked in bay six.”
Patrick leaned back in his chair and peered over his shoulder at the ship that wasn’t supposed to be there. “Patch me through to Security.”
A moment later, a human voice answered. “Lieutenant Daniels here, Station Security.”
“Lieutenant, this is Patrick Atkins, the construction supervisor. I’m in the commander’s office in the hub. Why is there a ship parked in docking bay six?”
“No ships should have been cleared for bay six, and I would have been notified if there had been an emergency touch down,” snapped the Security Officer. “What makes you think there’s a ship there? I’m not reading anything in port.”
“I know, but I can see it visually from here. I suggest you send someone over there right now to investigate.”
“Roger that, Mr. Atkins. We’ll handle this.”
Patrick signed off; then he typed a series of commands into the terminal. Immediately, a hologram of programming code appeared in the air above the desk.
“What are you doing?” Michelle leant over him, peering at the arcane symbols.
“I’m pulling up the security software routines for the station and comparing them to the archived reserve copies.” Patrick scratched his chin while he waited for the computer to finish its analysis. “That should determine whether someone has deliberately tampered with the software.”
Michelle felt a sudden chill. “Sabotage? Pat, the station is crawling with VIP’s, both civilian and military.”
“I know,” he answered, his brow creased. Suddenly, a series of equations began blinking in red on his screen. “Damn! There’s extra code added to the security subroutines. No wonder we were locked out of the security sensors.” He toggled the computer verbal interface again. “Janus, acknowledge.”
“Purge the security surveillance subroutines and reinstall from protected reserves. Authorization: Atkins475128.”
“Voice print confirmed. Software purge complete. Reinitializing security surveillance now. Security monitors online.”
“Give me a visual of the interior of docking bay six.”
An image appeared in the air above the desk. It showed a number of people, all armed with pulse rifles, standing guard over the shuttle, while another group pushed a bulky object down the gangway on a luggage sled.
“Merciful God,” whispered Michelle.
“Janus, alert Security that there are armed intruders in docking bay six,” said Patrick, his voice cold.
“Janus, belay that order,” said Michelle, staring at the object the intruders were struggling to unload. “This is Commander Michelle Atkins, Confederation Navy identification AtkinsMB421784, declaring Emergency Distress Condition One. Evacuate the station immediately, and get me the station’s head of Security on the line, now.”
“Michelle, what are you doing?”
Ignoring her husband, she kept her eyes on the screen as alarm klaxons began to sound in the background.
“This is Captain Terrence of Station Security,” said an angry voice. “Commander Atkins, what the hell are you playing at? This is a civilian station. You have no authority here.”
“Captain, we don’t have time for a pissing match. You have at least a dozen armed hostiles in docking bay six.” Michelle swallowed the knot of terror in her throat. “From what I can see, they are in possession of a class-five tactical antimatter warhead, estimated yield ten megatons. More than enough firepower to blow the entire station completely to hell. Get the people out while there’s still time.”
“I’m on it, Commander. God help us.”
Patrick walked around the desk and put his hand in hers. “Is there anything we can do?”
She shook her head. “Not unless we can take them out before they can arm the bomb.”
Patrick stared back at the display, as the intruders scrambled to pull apart the casing of the warhead. “Janus, do you have access to the control subroutines for docking bay six?”
“Shut down the atmosphere curtain in that bay and detonate the explosive bolts on the outer doors. Authorization: Atkins475128.”
“Warning: the docking bay is currently occupied. Your order will result in decompression of the entire compartment.”
“Understood. Emergency override code: Havoc.”
On the screen, the shimmering force field across the outer doors went out, and then the doors themselves were torn apart, tumbling into space. Most of the intruders were immediately swept away by the sudden gale, flying into the void after the doors. A few of them, however, managed to latch onto secure handholds, despite the suction. After a few seconds, the wind died down, and Michelle and Patrick watched as the intruders choked to death in hard vacuum.
“Were we in time?” asked Patrick, his voice hushed.
By profession, I am a hematopathologist, a laboratory physician who specializes in diagnosis of diseases of blood, bone marrow, and lymph nodes, such as leukemia and lymphoma.
The Interscission Project is space opera/time travel/gay romance, and is planned to be four books in length. The first two books are Zenith and Azimuth, available now in ebook, print, and audiobook formats. The third book, Insurrection, will be available on July 30 in print and ebook formats. Advance Reviewer Copies are available. The audiobook edition will follow in Fall 2016. The final book in the series, Ascension, will most likely be available in early 2017.
The Pact Arcanum Saga consists of five books: Sunset, Cathedral of the Sky, Sunrise, Moonlight, and Starlight. It is best described as non-explicit, near-future, space opera/gay vampire romance. Yes, I realize the irony that I’m a blood doctor who writes about vampires. ;)
Primary Website: http://pactarcanum.com/
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/author/pactarcanum
Facebook Page: http://www.facebook.com/interscission
Goodreads Profile: http://www.goodreads.com/pactarcanum