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What brings a battle cruiser to Nordheim?
Thanks so much for hosting me. It's very easy for a person to react to circumstances which only affect him/herself but sometimes, especially for those in positions of authority, people have to make decisions which impact not just themselves but others around them, including people they don't know. What's more, people acting only for themselves may selfishly impact others. This is the gulf that separates (say) the foot soldier and the general and these are the issues my new novel, 'Starheart' examines. One the one hand we have Jess Sondijk, a small time freighter captain with her own problems, and on the other Admiral Hudson, who must consider the security of the Human Confederacy. Sometimes the needs of the few must be overridden to provide for the needs of the many.
In this background we have Jess Sondijk, who runs a small freighter called Saintly Maid. She's a smuggler, avoiding the local taxes to transport goods between Kentor and her home planet of Nordheim. She doesn't really see it as a criminal activity and it pays the bills. Of course, her best friend and first officer, Santh Dekstra, is involved. So far, Jess has been able to get past the local surveillance – much to their chagrin. But things get complicated when Admiral Ullric Hudson's battle cruiser, Defender, parks itself in Nordheim space. The Confederacy warship has better equipment for detecting smugglers than the Nordheim Militia. So when she's boarded, Jess is worried.
"Just in time," Santh said as she slid back into the captain's chair. "Their cutter has attached to our airlock."
The airlock status gauge flashed orange. Airing up prior to release. The numbers rose… seventy, eighty, ninety. The gauge glowed green. Jess pressed the hatch release. The boarding party appeared in her view screen, eight people, suited up in black, helmets on. The spheroid shape of an InfoDroid drifting beside them sent a shiver down her spine. Even her security couldn't beat one of those. Still, even an InfoDroid would need to scan the right place and they hadn't the other times. She crossed mental fingers and hoped her luck hadn't changed.
Three of the boarding party, InfoDroid in tow, clumped off to search the cargo hold. Two started searching the common room, and the other three… She rose to greet the trooper who stepped onto the bridge. The other two, both armed with laser rifles, stood outside.
The leader took off his helmet, revealing an attractive young man staring at her with unabashed admiration. "Er… ma'am… Are you Captain Jestinia Sondijk?"
Jess smiled. "Correct, Lieutenant…" She checked his name patch, "Douglas. And this is First Officer Santhias Dekstra."
Douglas cleared his throat and stiffened into a more military posture.
"You and your first officer are to be transferred to Defender for interrogation, ma'am, while the boarding party makes a thorough search of your ship."
Her nerves twanged. "Oh? Is there some sort of problem, Lieutenant? We're on our way to the space station to dock. I wouldn't want to miss my arrival slot."
"Those are my orders."
"We'll comply, of course. Please," she thrust out a hand. "Lead on."
She followed the officer through to the airlock off the hold and into the cutter, Santh at her heels. This was unexpected. And scary. Usually they searched the ship, looked at the trade manifestos and left empty-handed. She exchanged a look with Santh. He'd know enough to keep his mouth shut. If this trip was intended to unsettle them the move had worked. The butterflies in her stomach were performing a salsa.
I'll be at http://spacefreighters.blogspot.com.au/ tomorrow for a little bit more about that initial meeting and you'll meet Admiral Ullric Hudson.
To celebrate the release of 'Starheart' I'll be giving a $25 Amazon gift voucher to one person who leaves a comment on this, or any other of the blogs I visit until 10th March. So leave a comment here and you'll be in the draw.
Greta van der Rol loves writing science fiction with a large dollop of good old, healthy romance. She lives not far from the coast in Queensland, Australia and enjoys photography and cooking when she isn't bent over the computer. She has a degree in history and a background in building information systems, both of which go a long way toward helping her in her writing endeavours.