Vidan was again reaching out to the stars: sadder and wiser…and cautious, unwilling to repeat the mistakes of the ancestors. The Commonwealth was born, reaching out to lost colonies and establishing new ones, rediscovering lost technology and how to navigate the star-ways. Many of the lost colonies not only survived but thrived–and they remembered their abandonment and the harsh centuries of the Downfall….
Bain’s prayers are answered. Captain Lin Fieran wants him to stay on Sunsinger and join her crew for another evacuation trip to Lenga. When they get there, everyone has already been evacuated, so they move to the next world in the path of the Mashrami invasion. There, their task is made more difficult by pirates and people who don’t want to leave their homes. To make matters worse, Bain knows Lin wants him to stay on Sunsinger with her and Ganfer, just as much as he wants to stay, but someone in authority is getting in the way. Lin has to keep a secret from him, and if she tells him what it is, he might never be allowed back on board.
GENRE: Science Fiction ISBN: 978-1-876962-36-4 ASIN: B003XYEARO Word count: 47, 739
“Welcome back, Bain,” Ganfer said, and chuckled. The ship-brain’s voice echoed through the entire ship, following the boy as he ran up the slope from Sunsinger’s modified cargo hold to the bridge.
Bain was out of breath when he reached the round bridge of the Free Trader ship. He grinned at the sensor dome in the ceiling and leaned back against the hatch frame until his legs lost their wobbles.
“You see? I told you I would see you again,” the ship-brain continued. “You’ll need that link collar quite a bit from now on.”
“How soon until we launch again?” Bain asked, once he had caught his breath. He raked dark, sweaty hair out of his eyes. He pushed off the wall and walked over to his cubicle–his again!–and slung his bag onto the mattress.
“Not for two more days, at least. We have new sensors to install–replacements and upgrades. The authorities are giving Lin anything she wants, to keep her cooperative.”
“She growls a lot, doesn’t she?” Bain asked, laughing.
“It works, and she enjoys it.”
“Did I hear my name taken in vain?” Captain Lin Fieran asked as she appeared in the open hatch. She pretended to scowl at the boy. The expression didn’t last very long, and it made her grin seem brighter when it appeared a moment later. She mimed wiping sweat off her forehead and onto her green-on-blue striped sleeveless tunic. “That was a close call, Bain. Sourpuss Malloy doesn’t exactly like me, and if he knew how much I really wanted you to ship out with me… ” Lin shook her head.
“You really do want me on Sunsinger?” Bain asked. His voice cracked.
“Enough to eat dinner with that nasty old credit-pincher, if that was part of the bargain.” She slid into her seat at the control panel in the middle of the bridge and pressed a few buttons to check the status of the ship’s repairs.
“Is that a lot?” the boy nearly whispered.
“Bain,” Ganfer said, “Commander Malloy dislikes Lin very much because she refuses to eat with him. He asks her every time he sees her.”
“He smells awful,” Lin muttered. She winked at Bain, and in minutes they were red-faced with laughter.