SAVANNA, Book Two in my Science Fiction series ‘Operation Stargate’ has been released. It is now available from the following outlets:
Assuming the existence of a Star portal on the planet Savanna to be a secret, the humans don’t know that the Accilla, the Spiders, and other spacefaring races are fully aware of it.
Jeremy Sheppard, a newly appointed Captain of the Solar Space Force to the military outpost and Dennis Collins, a civilian, must join forces to thwart a conspiracy to control the Star portal.
Here is another excerpt:
Only one road ran from the outpost to Crystal City. It was nothing more than dirt and not well maintained. Sheppard was happy to be safe inside an armored vehicle as they rolled across the rocky and pitted surface. He imagined the road would not be in a good condition after a heavy rainfall.
It didn’t look like there’d be any rain soon, and he was grateful for that. Looking out of the window at the landscape and the sky, it was difficult to accept he was on an alien planet. Savanna was much like Earth, starting with the vegetation, the soil, the color of the sky, and even the gravity. Not all planets humans tried to colonize were this ideal. Some were outright unpleasant, and yet, humans attempted to tame them and make them livable.
Of course, there were penalties to be paid. Over the centuries that’d passed since humans finally joined the other spacefaring races, some of the planets refused to be made into the image the humans visualized. Instead of the planet changing, humans changed. Subjected to harmful radiation, humans adapted, genes mutated, and the results were not always desirable. He remembered spending time on Deadrock, aptly named for the number of settlers who died after one of the early colonization ships crashed on a planet never designed for humans. Most of them died during the first years, but some survived. They worked the land, they built homes, and they adapted. Their descendants changed inside and outside. When this lost colony was finally found, the humans living on it were barely recognizable as humans. They were more alien than some of the real alien races.
“You’re awfully silent, Captain Sheppard.” The trooper driving the vehicle broke into his thoughts. His chuckle sounded almost amused. “Still trying to figure out which mischievous devil chose you to join us on this planet of continuous fun and excitement?”
“Colonel. Wainwright called it Outpost Despair,” Sheppard said.
One of the two troopers sitting behind Sheppard laughed. “That’s one of the nicer names we call this outpost.”
“From what I’ve seen this far, it isn’t that bad,” Sheppard said.
“You’re right, it doesn’t seem so bad, at first. After being here for as long as some of us have been, you will realize what seemed so nice is nothing but a variation of hell. The boredom drives you crazy, and the realization you’re stuck here for good. No assignments, no promotions, no action. You’ll get tired of seeing the same old faces every day and listening to the same old stories, because there are no new ones. A war could be raging out there, we’ll never know. The only excitement we get is when someone new, like you, joins us.”
“You could always resign and become a farmer,” Sheppard suggested.
“If I would have wanted to dig around in the dirt, I would never have joined the military in the first place. Besides, it isn’t as easy as it sounds to resign from the military. Have you ever read the fine print? You’ll have to undergo a partial mind-wipe to prevent you from spilling any military secrets, and you’ll lose any privileges you may have, including your pension. I for one am not willing to do that.”
“Neither am I.” Sheppard turned around to look at the trooper. “By the way, I never caught your name.”
“I’m Lieutenant Edward Fox, and this guy with the red hair beside me is Randall Foster, Sergeant Randall Foster, actually.”
“I’m Jeremy.” Sheppard shook Fox’s hand.
“I’m Robert McCallum,” the driver said with a little chuckle. “Just plain Trooper McCallum. No special rank. Never made it.”
“Doesn’t make any difference. Nobody gives a crap about rank here anymore. We’re all on first-name-basis,” Foster said. “Or last name, whichever you prefer.”
“I have no problem with that,” Sheppard said. “What’s the assignment we’re on, anyway?”
“Supply run.” McCallum smirked.
“What are we getting?”
“You’ll see. You’re lucky you’ve been chosen. You must have made an impression on the Colonel. It usually takes him awhile to trust newcomers enough to make them part of an important assignment like this.”
“I suppose I should feel honored. What’s the story with Colonel Wainwright, anyway?”
“Nobody really knows. He has his own demons to fight, like most of us.” McCallum glanced at Sheppard sideways. “Like you, Captain Sheppard.”
When Sheppard said, “I have no demons to fight,” all three men laughed.
“Of course not.” Fox snickered behind him. “They sent you here for a little holiday. A long holiday, Captain Lilli-white.”
Sheppard stayed silent. He didn’t get angry, because he didn’t sense any malice. They were only having a little fun at his expense. So far, he hadn’t met many of the other troopers on the outpost, but if all of them were like these three, it wouldn’t be too bad, and he could accept his situation. Only one thing he couldn’t accept, the fact he may have to spend the rest of his career on Savanna. That would really be a form of hell.