Captain William Star and his small flotilla—consisting of Bluebird plus new build probe ships Faith, Hope and Charity—jump back to the Moon to engage the OPFOR warships that destroyed Space Navy's home fleet.
But Charity is no longer showing on the scopes. Star fears her lost, along with her crew, but strange behavior from Bluebird's antimatter power source suggests the missing ship is trapped in the Warpstream. Star leads a daring rescue to get the crew off the stricken ship, but the mission is interrupted by a mystery hostile with deadly intentions. Adding to existing complications, Star is contacted by an honest-to-goodness little green man who tells him about the Hellspawn—the murderous race that attacked the human colony worlds and is now preparing to attack Earth. A Sci-Fi novella @ 21,500 words. —o— "New contact, dead ahead," Maninder reported. "Difficult to pinpoint, the echo keeps shifting. Close proximity. Signal is increasing in strength." Charity materialized out of the boiling energy maelstrom as if by magic. "Pilot, are you with us?" Star said, aware that they were steadily closing on the other ship. "Aye aye, sir," Halley responded. If she was feeling as mentally dull as Star did, she showed no sign of it. She gripped the control sticks, thumbed her intention to maneuver and fired Bluebird's thrusters in short bursts. She didn't halt their advance, but instead slowed their progress so they continued moving forward on a controlled approach. Charity seemed to be intact, there was no sign of damage to the hull or engines. Star switched to communications and pinged her. The system cycled through radio and laser pulse frequencies—Tarkov had disabled TAC as per Star's orders—but received no response. He linked to Charity's autopilot and was able to ascertain that power reserves had dropped to 5 percent. Pseudo gravity had been deactivated to save remaining power for life support systems. If Massey and her crew were still alive then they were weightless. Internal scans should have given him visibility of the crew's status and identified their whereabouts, but something—suspicion instantly hatched in his mind and grew—denied him that option. Star almost groaned as he remembered the forward airlock umbilical had been sheared away during the recent Kiskadee rescue operation. Connecting to Charity without this would be impossible. Could a replacement be rigged? He linked to Bosun Henderson's station but there was no response from there either, and no sign of Henderson. The Andromedan hadn't warned him that the short-range jump would magnify the discombobulation inherent in transitioning in and out of the Warpstream. Halley said, "Captain, I'm experiencing drift. Holding position will be difficult, but I can line us up on the airlock long enough for someone to jump across." She'd evidently remembered the ruined umbilical, too. Sarkozy stepped forward so Star could see him. The marine didn't say anything, nor did he have to. Marines were trained for combat in any environment, Sarkozy would be familiar with EMU operation. But one man might not be enough. He stood up. "Pilot, you have the bridge until I return." Halley and Fairbanks both looked at him with surprised expressions. "Sir, is this wise?" Sarkozy said. "Chief Murdock—" He stopped himself from completing the sentence. Star nodded toward the forward viewscope. "We have people aboard that boat. We're getting them off." "Sir yes sir." —o— While I am a long-time Trek fan, this is not Trek fanfic. All characters, settings and events in this series are original. The Starship Captain stories are based on the webcomics of the same title.