The Fallen Race, my Military Science Fiction/Space Opera novel, will be released on 1 February on Amazon as both an ebook and a paper copy. The ebook will be $ 4.99, the paper copy will be significantly more.
Here is the back-cover synopsis:
And here is a section from teh beginning:
June 1, 2402 Earth Standard Time
Nova Roma Empire
The seven remaining ships of Convoy 142 writhed at the heart of a maelstrom.
Baron Lucius Giovanni clutched at the arms of his command chair as the enemy fire battered the War Shrike yet again. The short, dark haired man peered at his displays with dark, almost black, eyes. His black and silver vac suit bore the eagle symbol of Captain’s rank on the collar, and his shoulder bore a patch with the snarling wolf’s head of Nova Roma. He acknowledged the fresh round of damage reports. His eyes went to his Executive Officer, “Tony, can you get anything past their cruiser screen?”
Commander Doko shook his head. The confines of the battleship’s bridge seemed even tighter with the acrid stench of ozone and shorted electronics. “No, sir. Their cruiser’s firefly systems are too strong.”
Lucius rolled his tongue around a mouth that felt dusty and tasted like ash. His eyes went to the sensor plot that showed what remained of the ships of the convoy. As he watched, the destroyer Sicarius dropped out of the formation in a broad cloud of debris and far too few escape pods. “Very well, keep hammering their cruisers.”
Lucius looked over at his brother in law, “Any new orders from Commodore Torrelli?”
“No, sir,” Commander Reese Giovanni-Leone said from the communications section. Everyone on the bridge had expected one command from Torrelli ever since the initial ambush. One battleship couldn’t take on six dreadnoughts, not with any chance of survival. But if they charged into the enemy formation they would disrupt it. That might save the convoy.
The hell of it was, Lucius would rather take that chance than watch the convoy slowly vanish under the enemy guns. Soon enough they’d loose enough sensors or weapons and the enemy missiles would get through. They already had the bad luck to jump in on the Chxor force in close vicinity to Venture’s refueling station. The escorts couldn’t survive that firepower much longer and the merchant ships would not survive after that.
“Don’t know why he’s waiting,” Lucius muttered. His ship rocked again under multiple impacts. “Not like the bastard can’t be happy at the chance to give that order.”
Commodore Vito Torrelli grimaced as the Augustus shuddered. The elderly dreadnought had held up far better than the convoy’s other escorts. The forty year old dreadnought had far more resilience and armor than any other ship in the convoy. Even so, an early hit had opened the bridge to vacuum and slaughtered most of his navigation section. Other hits had wrought serious damage on the old ship. Commodore Torrelli was well aware that his ship was bound to Nova Roma for extensive refits even before all of that damage. “Order the War Shrike to close in on Regal‘s aft quarter.” He grimaced as he saw Lucius Giovanni’s ship swing into position immediately.
He could almost see the aloof expression of the other ship’s commander. He wants me to send his ship into the throat of the guns, want’s to die a hero’s death, Torrelli thought… as if that could ever make up for what his father did. “I won’t give him that honor,” Torrelli muttered. He noticed a flicker on one of the enemy cruiser’s firefly systems. “Guns, focus on cruiser three, hammer me a gap so we can hit these bastards!”
The enemy dreadnoughts hid behind the massive, pancake-shaped defense screens of the cruisers. Those overlapped screens and the massive jamming of the cruiser’s firefly systems counteracted the better targeting systems of the Nova Roma warships.
As Vito Torrelli watched the displays, he could hear the unvoiced criticisms from his rival. It felt like he could feel Lucius’s breath on the back of his neck. “Dammit, get me a shot!”
“That bastard can fight,” Lucius said. The Augustus had received the brunt of the enemy’s fire. A comet’s trail of debris, air, and water vapor trailed behind the battered dreadnought, but Commodore Torrelli continued to fight.
“Cruiser three just went down, sir, I’ve got a shot!” Commander Doko shouted. A moment later both warships poured their fire through the suddenly opened gap and into the dreadnought left exposed. Every remaining gun and missile tube aboard the War Shrike fired into the gap.
Lucius snarled as explosions rocked the enemy vessel. A massive cloud of debris enveloped the lead Chxor dreadnought. “Looks like we gave them something to remember us by!” The Chxor formation adjusted though, and a moment later the damaged dreadnought disappeared again behind the defense screen of another cruiser.
“Sir! Augustus just sent Code Black!” Reese said.
Lucius felt his stomach drop. The other warship lay only a hundred kilometers distant, close enough for visual. He looked at his sensor repeater just in time to see the dreadnought’s port side engines erupt in a chain of explosions. The massive ship began to rotate as its starboard engines threw it into a spin. The stresses over-taxed the ship’s frame and the midships section ripped apart in a slow-motion avalanche of sheering steel.
Lucius watched as four thousand crew died… and he could do nothing.
Lucius let out a tight breath. Only five ships left remained and Convoy 142 had a new commander. His eyes raked across his navigation display. The civilian ships didn’t have the acceleration to escape the Chxor. They didn’t have the time to calculate a jump through shadow space to take them elsewhere. Even if he threw his ship at the Chxor, the remaining transports couldn’t elude the enemy, not without someone to screen them.
“Message to all ships,” Lucius said, his voice suddenly hoarse. “Prepare and execute blind jump immediately.”
There was a sudden silence on the bridge.
“Solarius Endeavor, Unicorn, and Trade Enterprise acknowledge,” Lucius’s brother in law said. “Regal reports damage to their jump drive and that they’ll have it up as soon as they can.”
Lucius felt a cold mask settle over his face. The War Shrike couldn’t take the full firepower of the Chxor, not for long. “Tell them to expedite and that we’ll cover them until they jump.” He watched as the other three civilian ships jumped away into shadow. He wondered if any of them would emerge again.
As if on cue, a fresh barrage swept in from the Chxor ships. Alarms wailed and Lucius felt the deck heave as multiple beams tore into his ship. His eyes focused on the inbound missile tracks. Without the Augustus, they’d lost most of their interceptor fire.
Lieutenant Livianus’s hands flew across his station. He took the sensor data and picked off the missiles one after the other. His precise shots almost stopped them all.
Two missiles slipped past his fire. One swept past as the helmsman continued his evasive maneuvers. The proximity fuse detonated only five kilometers in front of the War Shrike. The Chxor used missiles based off of captured human munitions. Fundamentally identical to the pilum ship-killer missiles, they packed a sixty megaton fusion warhead.
The sudden burst of radiation hammered into the War Shrike’s magnetic fields that held the plasma defense screen in place. The massive induction coils exploded like bombs at the massive surge of power.
One exploded out into Engine Room Three and killed fifty-eight crew. The other detonated only fifty meters away from the bridge. The four armored bulkheads between there and the bridge absorbed some of the effect. The aft bulkhead of the bridge shattered.
Shards of steel whipped through crew members and equipment alike. Half the weapons techs died before they knew what hit them. The concussion ripped Lieutenant Livianus out of his shock chair and smashed him against the forward bulkhead hard enough to leave a red smear.
One shard flew like a spear and slammed into the back of the communications officer’s chair. Lucius’s brother-in-law let out a scream of agony as it bit through his left shoulder.
Lucius’s gaze locked on the shard of metal that pinned Reese to his seat. He felt something twist in his own guts as he heard Reese’s scream.
The explosion itself vaporized fifty meters of armored hull and opened the ship’s entire forward section to vacuum. The hard radiation and the wave superheated plasma took the lives of two hundred more of Lucius’s crew in an instant.
The first missile’s simple tracking system lost the War Shrike and continued past.
The Regal had no countermeasure systems to prevent that missile from acquisition. The missile detonated on top of the unarmored transport. It vaporized the aft end of the vessel and sent the ship’s fusion plant into overload. Lucius grunted in anguish as the seventy five civilians aboard died almost instantly.
Luicus shook his head. His sensors told him that only his ship remained. He cut his seat restraints and staggered through the smoke and noise of the bridge. He shoved a corpse off the top of the navigation station. Lucius flipped up the clear plastic cover, the surface slick with blood.
His fist hammered down on the jump initiation.
Hope you enjoyed!