In 2207, humanity is the dominant force in the galaxy. The Syndicate governs the humans, and its leader, Joren -- a former Marine sharpshooter -- oversees it all. When enemies attack a scientific research vessel, the SRV Maelstrom, Joren sends friend and fellow Marine Carter Therres to rescue an enigmatic and somewhat antisocial professor. The situation quickly spirals out of control, however, and soon the three men find out just how fast the mighty can fall.
Captain Carter Therres doesn't know what to expect aboard the Maelstrom, but it sure as hell isn't the gorgeous man waiting in the maintenance ductwork. Ash Mracek is unlike other men Carter has known, and the scientist's past involves something much more sinister than the Academy bombing for which he was framed. Now it's a race to save Ash -- and possibly Joren -- before their enemies can take them out of the picture for good.
ExcerptCoriolis 1: Distress Signal
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Copyright ©2012 Mychael Black
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"Dr. Mracek, we have the latest results in the dark matter tests. It seems you were right. The atmosphere of Aldebaran Beta holds the key to understanding how the Revenants can survive dark space."
Professor Ash Mracek took the datapad and looked over the information streaming across the translucent blue holo-screen. "Have Nelog run the numbers against the existing records. I want irrefutable proof to present to the Syndicate."
Ash watched his assistant Orla head back toward the labs. In a few years the young Tessi would be running her own research vessel. Ash relied on her friendship almost as much as her brilliance. Most people didn't expect Tessians to be smart, but he had the feeling that was more due to idiots wanting to see Tessians naked. Orla, like the rest of her kind, was pretty -- in a somewhat reptilian sort of way. If rumors on the station were anything to go by, Orla already had a multitude of would-be suitors hell-bent on doing damn near anything to get her pale green butt into bed.
Shaking his head, Ash continued on to his cabin, hoping for a brief reprieve before he had to face the Syndicate. Holo or no, he'd taken this gig to get away from humans. Hell, he'd been out here so long, working with various alien races, that his own kind had become more foreign to him than his daily encounters with the human-like Bysin or the feline Atji.
As the lead scientist, he did enjoy a few perks. His cabin boasted a huge picture window that looked out into the dark vastness of space. The bed was actually rather comfortable, and the bathroom was private. Of course, there was also his sitting area, complete with a state-of-the-art holo projector. He didn't use it much, though, preferring to avoid contact with anyone beyond his colleagues here on the station. The light blinked on the holo just as he walked into the cabin, and Ash sighed. So much for a bit of downtime.
He keyed in his personal access code and stood still while the beam scanned his body. A figure flickered into view on the holo's platform, and Ash gave the man a nod.
"Do you have any news for the Syndicate regarding the Revenants?"
"I do, but we're still analyzing it."
"What can you tell me right now?"
Ash held the datapad flat, and a small projection of a planet shimmered over it. "We believe the atmosphere of Aldebaran Beta is key to the Revenants' survival."
"Hmm." The Syndicate leader nodded. "Keep at it then. I expect to hear back from you soon."
The holo flickered off, and Ash tossed the datapad on his bed. He hoped Orla and the others found what they needed and quickly. The Revenants had already sent raiding groups to some of the furthest colonies, which meant they were on the move. If a clue to how the wraith-like race existed in dark space could be found, then maybe the rest of the galaxy could find a way to stop them.
He left the holo and stared out into the black void through his window. At one point he'd enjoyed the company of his fellow humans, but when someone had needed a scapegoat, he'd been it. The Syndicate had had no choice but to send him deep into space. They couldn't afford to strip his job away, considering no one else knew the things he did -- or at least that's what he'd been told. Now, though, he didn't care.
As he gazed out at the stars, something in the distance shifted. Ash focused on it, or tried to, at any rate. The object hovered for a brief moment, before shimmering out of view. Then it reappeared. Much closer.
"Oh, my God."
Ash ran out of his cabin, smashing the security alarm button in the hallway. The entire station erupted into chaos as everyone scrambled to safety. There were only a few guards onboard, and Ash took off at a run toward the security office. No vessels ever came out this way except to drop off supplies, and only one race had ships that looked and moved like the one he'd seen. He reached the security office and found the guards mobilized, readying their weapons.
"Is it true?" one of the younger ones asked.
Before anyone else could answer, Ash did. "Yes. Starboard side. It's a scout, but that means more will be here soon."
"Bring 'em on." The youth grinned.