Monday, April 6, 2015

Independence (Two Democracies, book 0) by Alasdair Shaw

 Release date: April 1, 2015
Subgenre: Military science fiction

About Independence


In the aftermath of a battle a ship drifts helplessly in space. Is the strange new warship they were fighting still out there? Will it come back for them? Commander Johnson faces a desperate race to get her destroyer back into action and save her crew.

"This is an incredible work ... suspense, mystery and intrigue."
"Loved every word of it."

'Independence' is a short story (6000 words) in the Two Democracies universe. The series will continue with the novel 'Liberty'. 



The bridge was a mess of confusion. The only light came from the few working consoles and the occasional flash of a shorting circuit. A klaxon howled in the background, almost drowned out by the rush of fresh air from the vents. A flicker. In that brief moment of illumination the crew appeared frozen in their tasks. Another flicker. A new tableau was presented. One more flicker then the emergency lights stayed on.

Commander Johnson ran through the priorities drilled into her since she had started Command School. Life support: Repulse was leaking air and down to emergency power. Sensors and comms: all external feeds down, internal net patchy. Weapons: the spinal railgun was useless now that the reactor was offline and the control system for the plasma cannon had been overloaded. Propulsion: docking thrusters only, she couldn’t even jump.
Not only were they still alive but it looked like they might have taken out a Republic hunter killer. She had been sure they had it but then they’d lost their sensors.
“Get me an external camera. Now.” She coughed on acrid smoke from burning plastic that still lingered despite the emergency flush. “Priority over everything bar life support.”
She had to know if it was still out there. She had to know if it was coming to finish them or limping off hurt. She couldn’t make decisions without information.

Johnson looked to Lieutenant Levarsson. She was slumped against the tactical station. She’d been the one to drop the nuclear mine when she saw the hunter killer about to cross their wake. It had been a reflexive action but had probably been what had saved them. There was a medic kneeling beside her now. He was presumably concentrating on the stats his Electronic Interface was giving him. Although Johnson’s EI wasn’t giving her anything useful right now, the medic’s would be interfacing directly with Levarsson’s.
“Damage report, Ma’am.”
She had been so intent on watching the resuscitation that she hadn’t noticed Sub-Lieutenant Hanke approach her chair. Inwardly cursing her loss of the big picture she accepted the tablet from him. With the net being down they had fallen back on humans to collate and deliver data.
“Thank you Lieutenant.”
She glanced at the congealed blood on his temple, trying not to make it obvious. He was 16 and he’d just seen his first combat. It was probably minor, scalps bled a lot, but she didn’t want him neglecting himself.
“Make sure you get checked out by the medics.”
The Lieutenant turned to leave then paused.
“Ma’am?” he asked carefully, “we shouldn’t be alive now should we?”
The demand for replacement officers was outpacing the ability of the academies to churn them out. She could spare him the lecture on defeatist talk this time. A few words in private when it was all over would be more effective anyway.
“Let's just concentrate on staying that way shall we? Carry on Lieutenant.”
The thing was she knew he was right. Given her post she knew more than most how badly they were losing.  No destroyer had ever stood toe to toe with a hunter killer and survived. Having to hide the truth weighed heavily on her. | Amazon UK | Google Play | B&N | Kobo


About Alasdair Shaw: 

I studied at the University of Cambridge, leaving with a BA in Natural Sciences and an MSci in Experimental and Theoretical Physics. I went on to earn a PGCE specialising in Science and Physics from the University of Bangor. A secondary teacher for over ten years I have plenty of experience communicating scientific ideas.

I grew up in Lancashire, within easy reach of the Yorkshire Dales, Pennines, Lake District and Snowdonia. After stints living in Cambridge, North Wales and the Cotswolds I have lived in Somerset since 2002.
I have been climbing, mountaineering, caving, kayaking and skiing as long as I can remember. Growing up I spent most of my spare time in the hills.

Landscape archaeology has always been one of my interests; when you spend a long time in the outdoors you start noticing things and wondering how they came to be there. At university I chose geophysics as one of my options.

I am an experienced mountain and cave leader, holding a range of qualifications including ML, SPA and LCL. I am also a course director for climbing and navigation award schemes.

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