NEW STAR HORIZON (ENCORE)

IN ORBIT AROUND ALNIHAM ORION 4 ONBOARD THE HORIZON

TRANSMISSION FROM THE NEW STAR HORIZON

TO SPACE STATION AT ALPHA CENTAURI

TRANSMISSION AS FOLLOWS

THE HORIZON NEW STAR CLASS HAS FIRED ITS THRUSTERS AND SLOWED INTO ORBIT AROUND THE FOURTH OF SEVEN PLANETS OF THE BLUE SUPERGIANT STAR ALNILAM OF THE CONSTELLATION ORION

THE PLANET IS DESIGNATED ALNIHAM ORION 4

MISSION OBJECTIVE

HORIZON’S PRIMARY MISSION IS COVERT SURVEY OF THE PLANET AND RETURN TO ALPHA-CENTURI WITH THAT INFORMATION NOT TO ENGAGE ANYONE UNLESS THE CREW OR THE COLONISTS ARE THREATHENED

MISSION BASIS

30 YEARS AGO, THAT THE ‘ORION EXPEDITION’ TO THE 4TH PLANET NEVER EMERGED FROM THE WORMHOLE AND THAT EVERY ONE OF THE 40 SHIPS CARRYING THE COLONIST WAS LOST IN SPACE. TWO YEARS AGO, A SIGNAL WAS RECEIVED FROM THE PLANET ALNIHAM ORION 4

MISSION STATUS:

THE SHIP ACCOMMODATION OF 40 ONBOARD THE ENTIRE CREW IN STASIS CHAMBER UNITS DESIGNED TO PROTECT THEM AGAINST THE EXTREME EFFECTS OF TRAVELING THROUGH WORMHOLES

THE MAIN CREW IS AS FOLLOWS:

CAPTAIN SCOTT DRAPER MISSION COMMANDER

LIEUTENANT COMMANDER JIM QUINN EXECUTIVE OFFICER

COLONEL BARBARA SCHENCKLER M.D. MEDICAL OFFICER

MAJOR PATRICIA WHITE M.D. MEDICAL ASSISTANT

LIEUTENANT MICHELLE MCNAMARA FLIGHT COUNSELOR

MAJOR MATT STEWART ACTING SHIP ENGINEER

CHIEF WARRANT OFFICER JOHN CONRAD OPERATIONS

SENIOR CHIEF PETTY OFFICER BOB “O.D.” O’DONOVAN SECURITY

SERGEANT GREG HAFFS NAVIGATIONS OFFICER

ENSIGN PETER BELVEDERE COMMUNICATIONS OFFICER

PETTY OFFICER MIKE O’DONOVAN MACHINIST’S MATE FIRST CLASS

SPACEMAN 1ST CLASS ERIC SEAVER SENIOR PILOT

CORPORAL 1ST CLASS DORIS TRAVERS CO-PILOT

DR. JOSEPH DEFOREST ACTING SCIENCE OFFICER

DR. KEIKO MATSUI ASTROBIOLOGIST

SADIA MIRZA PHD ASTROPHYSICIST

AMBASSADOR APRIL FLOWERS ACTING ENVOY

THE FOLLOWING WERE ADDED TO HORIZON’S CREW:

SHUTTLE CREW

LIEUTENANT COLONEL MARIA MIRANDA SHUTTLE CREW COMMANDER

LIEUTENANT JETSENIA HERNANDEZ

ENSIGN RUTH NICOLET

ENSIGN DANAYA PATTERSON

CORPORAL ANDREA RODRIGUEZ

PRIVATE ALISON MUNDY

WARRANT OFFICER TATIANA DURAN

MESSAGE INTERRUPTED

JUST A MINUTE — JUST A MINUTE

PLEASE STAND BY

PLEASE STAND BY

PLEASE STAND BY

PLEASE———

NEW STAR HORIZON (ENCORE)

Hard Landing
The shuttle seemed to glide through the air like a powerful bird during flight. Alison Mundy brought it around and took off like a bullet through the thick bellowing clouds. She made one complete circle around the perimeter then turned and headed straight down into the planet’s lower atmosphere.
The mountains dominated the landscape, forming a range traversing the center of the main continent region. Out as far as the eye could see Heaven’s Peak stood almost twice as high as Mount Everest back on Earth. The origin of the name Heaven’s Peak was a point of contention for the team.
The early probes recorded the mountain and referred to it as the ROOF OF THE WORLD and from then on it became the focal point of all explorations to the planet. One likely possibility that the mountain memorializes the explorer probes lost trying to reach Alniham during the early wormhole runs.
On the mountain plateaus the winds blew very strongly, and there were severe blizzards even during the summer months. Permanent snow covered the highest mountain peaks. Valleys became snow traps as the high winds carried much of the snow from mountain peaks and ridges.
Sadia Mirza could pinpoint the signal as coming from Heaven’s peak itself. Dr. Deforest figured that it was unlikely though since no one could survive a climb to the top. “Heaven’s peak is the place to start.”
“And that’s where we’re going?” Sgt. O’Donovan lamented.
“That would be correct.” Matt confirmed.
FOOT NOTE: Four-hundred times I get asked why the ship doesn’t land itself. I’m old school, it would take too much fuel to land the ship so they use shuttles instead. When they write their own Sci-Fi they can do whatever they want to.

NEW STAR HORIZON (BOOK ONE) ENCORE

THE MOST RECENT INHABITANTS
Jihan Aurora stood on her mountaintop lookout where she could see the entire desert all the way to the mountain ranges they called the outlands. She could see a mighty dust storm sweeping across the desert floor and she hoped none of the desert dweller’s caravans were caught in it though she knew the dwellers and the outlanders were a hardy bunch so she knew the storm be nothing special to them.
Then she turned her eyes to the night sky. It was an exceptionally clear night and in the distant darkness she could clearly see the bright stars Mintaka, and Alnitak. along with their sun the star Alniham they formed the BELT OF ORION as seen from Earth. Her grandfather spoke fondly of Earth, with its green valleys, purple mountains, and blue oceans and matching blue skies. That was hard to imagine.
The other two stars supposedly had no inhabitable planets. As she gazed around her desert world she wondered if her planet was in fact uninhabitable too. Life there was difficult on a good day. But Alniham Orion 4 was the only world she had ever known. Its oceans were pale purple and the sky was a reddish pink in the day and hazy indigo at night.
Then there was the Khad. They enslaved the colony upon their arrival. Like the planet Jihan knew no other way of life. The struggle that came with it had driven her to often want to escape. But even the calm night could not soothe her troubled mind. She was being forced to marry the prince of the House of Basrilian. Many colonists blamed them for the deaths of the original crew including her father Captain Aurora and that had been a thorn of contention for the Khad Regime.
Jihan sighed realizing just how much she missed her Governess Old Bethany. She predicted things would change one day. A spaceman would come and rescue the colony. this very same spaceman would become her Jihan’s husband. Old Bethany had never been wrong. Still the whole thing sounded like a fairy tale and how could it ever come true?
Just then Jihan was startled by a bright flash of light in the sky. Having watched the Khad Armada ships come and go for years she knew the difference between a shooting star and a spacecraft entering the atmosphere. But this one was somehow different from any she’d ever seen.
The star seemed to be decelerating until it was on a smooth trajectory as it disappeared beyond the east horizon. If it was indeed a spaceship establishing orbit it would have to reappear over the other horizon at or near the same height.
Jihan rushed across the mountaintop to a ledge where she could see the western horizon. Trying hard to catch her breathe she eagerly waited for her star to reappear. After several moments, nothing happened.  ‘It must have been a meteor.’
Disappointed she began to walk back down the path wondering how she could have let herself get so excited. Then it occurred to her it was decelerating meaning it would take longer to travel around the planet. With renewed energy, she sprinted back up the path. Before she could catch her breath again she saw her star coming into view over the western plain.
“OH MY GOD THEY’RE HERE.” She shouted. “Old Bethany you are never wrong. I should have never doubted you.” Her mind raced as she tried to put what was surely the impossible into perspective. “The prophecy… it’s true.” It took a moment then for the first time in years Jihan believed again. Bethany stood before her always in her working garments with her unkempt hair a blanket of clothes under her arm. ‘One day a ship from Earth will come. The ship will be led by a spaceman. He will free us from the Khad Empire. And you will marry the spaceman and become the first Queen of Alniham. When that day comes don’t forget to pray.’
Jihan fell to her knees and began to pray.

 

FOOT NOTE: NEW STAR HORIZON came about from a short story I wrote about a picture for an online contest. Turns out the contest was actually for children, probably why it got my attention. The host site really liked my story idea thought it was not appropriate for their age group. But it sparked me to try an write a novel based on the idea.  As they say; the rest is history…

 
 
 

NEW STAR HORIZON (BOOK ONE) BONUS

SO FAR AS WE HAVE YET ASCENDED  

Jihan stood at her spot on the mountain top. From there she could see the troops overrunning the green energy dome that covered her fellow colonist. She hated herself that she was not there with them waiting to die.

She was about to turn away when something caught her eye. There were two flaming balls of light up in the sky. Coming down out of the sky came two flaming streaks. The air cracked as a sonic boom ricocheted off the mountain walls. The first one came down to the west of Heaven’s Peak. It detonated with blinding white light. The second flash exceeded the glow of the first and Jihan had to hide her face from the blinding light. When she could see again a pair of matching white mushroom clouds rose to the height of where she was standing. Nothing could be seen below the towers of smoke and fire.  

Jihan turned and ran down the path of the mountain where she was so tired she fell to her knees and began to cry uncontrollably. The Khad’s were dead, but so were the colonists and Matt. It was the price of freedom. But the price was much more than she could ever have imagined it would be.          

Jihan was beside herself with grief. She had never dreamed that her people would decide to sacrifice themselves in the face of defeat. To see them all obliterated in front of her eyes was more than she could handle. Beyond the loss was the complete unknown. Her life had come crashing down upon her. Yet to make matters worse she was still alive. Only then did she understand what her mother must have felt the moment before she plunged herself into the raging river. All this time Jihan could not comprehend how she could kill herself and leave her only child behind. It was clear just how much pain she must have been in.

Up ahead there stood the very same river she had lost her mother to. She had very little time to decide but even less hope to live for. There was no point in continuing in the agony. She would join her mother and father.

Just then Old Bethany appeared shaking her finger at her. “How could you kill your own child?” 

“What?” Suddenly Jihan stopped walking and placed her hand on her belly. “What are you telling me?”

Old Bethany spoke again. “Kill yourself kill your child.”

“My child?” The realization was stronger than the pain she felt over her loss. It was a realization filled with hope. It was Asim’s child she was carrying. For that reason, she wanted to live. To find him and tell him they were to have a child. Jihan hurried down the path towards Asim’s camp.

Behind her Old Bethany transformed into Rumana.