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Higher Mission

Author(s): Larry Hammersley

To widower Joe Cramer, his only mission is to provide care and a cure for his ill daughter, Cindy. Paired with Mona Watson, they mine Saturn’s rings for radioactive boulders, plunge into the ocean beneath Europa’s crust in search of blind fish and dive into Jupiter’s atmosphere to learn the secret of The Great Red Spot.
 
While Witherspoon, the solar system’s tycoon, pays them well, he has his own agenda. He plans to send Cramer and Mona on the most dangerous mission of all: a trip to the star, Sirius.
 
Cramer wants to refuse. Exceeding the speed of light isn’t possible, so the trip will take several years. To complicate things he discovers he has feelings for Mona that need to be ignored to complete the mission and return home. Will Cramer ever see his daughter again?

Excerpt


“This is Dirk. We have a member of your crew. We’ll deliver him safely if you give us the storage tank with the blind fish,” Dirk said into his suit mike.
 
“No deal,” the answer came over Cramer’s receiver as well. He recognized Sanchez’s voice.
 
“Then we’ll kill him,” Dirk replied, no hesitation, no uncertainty, no bluffing in his voice. Cramer sank to deep despair, picturing the proverbial plug nickel of higher worth than his life. He confirmed that feeling as he spotted on top of the main building a large canon swiveled in their direction, its spherical energy storage chamber behind the ribbed barrel glowing bright red.
 
Simultaneously, the rover driver jumped out his door and Dirk reached across in front of Cramer for the passenger side handle, but Cramer beat him to it. He opened the door and leaped for the snowy surface just as the canon emitted a scarlet beam in their direction. The blast exploded the pirate’s rover into a thousand pieces, the debris striking Cramer and sending him tumbling in space away from the blast. During his somersaulting he spotted Dirk flying above him, frozen entrails trailing his lifeless body. Cramer couldn’t see the other man among the tiny pieces of metal and plastic from the exploded rover.
 
He felt his own suit losing pressure. The self sealing mechanism kicked in and barely managed to handle the small leak. He lost consciousness as his oxygen pack provided him its last gasp of air. At the point of blackout he saw Europa’s icy surface coming up to meet him. His whole life seemed to flash before him like the time on Earth when he fell into the old fishing hole and almost drown forty years ago. The last image burnt into his mind before oblivion struck was Cindy’s face in the Martian hospital.

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ISBN (Print):
ISBN (Electronic): 978-1-77155-000-0
Genre: Science Fiction
Date Published: 10/07/2013
Publisher: BURST

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