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In an unexpected reversal of fate, Jezlynn Chambers finds herself not only serving on a Space Service Corps Ship, but under the command of Captain Lucian Krayne, the only man sheâ€™s ever loved, the one she left. Her mission to contact the Khajari government before the current truce erupts into warfare turns into her a fight for survival and Jezlynn finds itâ€™s one thing to think you can accomplish a goal, quite another to achieve it.
Several hours later, third-shift completed the first half of their double shift. Lieutenant Lenoir Blunt slapped Hechtâ€™s arm. "Letâ€™s break.â€
She looked at the Class S-20, third largest of the Embassy shuttle vessels under a maintenance overhaul in the interior repair bay. The ship hung over their heads in a huge sling above the safety cradle where shuttles usually rested for most routine work.
She and Ensigns Hecht and Schug had just finished the microscopic inspection of the shuttleâ€™s lower skin sections. The job was tedious, but an important safeguard for hull integrity. Usually the markers studded the skin showing sections needing repair, but this shipâ€™s lower hull was in good shape. Lenoir called up to Major Chambers and Lieutenant Swoboda who remained above, inspecting the skin covering the upper hull.
"Weâ€™re finished down here. Good news! No new skin needed. Weâ€™re breaking.â€
Lieutenant Swoboda answered, "Go ahead, good job! Iâ€™ll join you in a minute, weâ€™re almost done here.â€
Lenoir noticed Major Chambers kept working, as usual, and did not expect her to join them. She took note that she could now easily address her superior officer as â€˜Major,â€™ and smiled; a step indeed.
The Major kept to herself, delivered her orders in an economy of words, explaining any problem the crew didnâ€™t understand. Blunt respected Chambers because she had never met anyone else so competent, or so patient showing others her skills, but she wasnâ€™t sure she liked, or trusted, her.
The four-member crew had discussed their crew leader thoroughly over the last few months and Lenoir knew the others now respected Chambers, a true change of heart. Still, their relationship with her was strange. They didnâ€™t doubt her competency but her dedication to duty, to the Corps, was questionable. Swoboda had advised them, "learn everything you can from her in shuttle maintenance and piloting skills. Ignore the rest.â€ It was hard.
The Major remained remote with them on a personal level. That worried Lenoir. She often found herself in the unusual position of defending the major to her friends. She was unsure, though, if the major would support the crew. Smiling, she remembered how two months ago â€˜the majorâ€™ was a derogatory address. Now, it was said with respect.
The three were on the deck heading for their coffee when they heard the ominous sound of a cable stretching beyond its limits. If broken, the whipping end could easily maim or kill. All three turned and ran back toward the shuttle.
"Get down,â€ Lenoir yelled, but she saw it was too late. The weak cable stretched further, too unstable to allow safe descent from the upper hull. The shuttle already tilted at a precarious angle. The major crouched on the upper hull, but Swoboda had slid dangerously down the shuttleâ€™s side. He was hung up in his twisted safety harness. A strap caught on one of the shuttleâ€™s thrust valves. His tether was coiled and caught between two projecting jets. Lenoir saw he could barely move, barely breath with the strap squeezing his chest.
Seeing them approach the major screamed, "Stay back!â€
They watched helplessly as the major moved, cautiously but quickly, along the top of the shuttle towards Swoboda. With a sinking feeling Lenoir saw Swoboda slump, stopping even his feeble attempt to free himself.
The cable made an ear-piercing whistle and dropped the shuttle slightly. The major clung to the rounded slope of the surface as the shuttle shuddered into a new position. She slid but managed to grab Swobodaâ€™s tether before falling, then used the tether to slip down to Swoboda. Lenoir saw the effort Chambers made to free the harness held by the valves and Swobodaâ€™s heavy body. She failed. Swoboda sank back against the shuttle, his body motionless.
Rhobin lives and works in the Northern Michigan where she draws inspiration for her art and her scifi/fantasy stories.
Book Publisher: Wings e Press
No. of Pages: 434
Paper Weight (lb): 17.8