Monday, August 1, 2016

Liberty (Two Democracies: Revolution, Book 1) by Alasdair Shaw

Release date: August 1, 2016
Subgenre: Space opera, military science fiction

About Liberty


Struggling with newfound sentience and desperately trying to repair itself, The Indescribable Joy of Destruction is a ship trying to find a new home. In a galaxy torn apart by generations of civil war, that isn't an easy task. Tired of being used as a killing machine, it has a huge decision to make: hide and save itself, or help other artificial intelligences achieve freedom. Unable to make the decision alone, it revives the sole human aboard - the enemy officer who crippled it.

Commander Olivia Johnson wakes to find herself in the infirmary of a strange vessel. Her nightmares deepen when she discovers it is the ship that attacked her destroyer. Even as she recovers from her physical injuries, she can't get past her survivor's guilt. She might have failed to protect her crew, but she vows to take revenge on their killer.

When the ship uncovers a genocidal plot by the commander's own admirals, Johnson realizes just what is at stake. Together, the AI ship and the human officer must recruit outsiders from both sides. Training the misfits in battle to prevent the atrocity may be an impossible task, but running and hiding is no longer an option.


The suns reflected off her mirrored glasses as she walked across the dry grassland. A scarf covered her face against the dust whipped up by the occasional gust of wind. Her grey robe parted with every step, revealing glimpses of the black firmsuit underneath. She carried no weapons; they wouldn’t help her this time.
From the low rise ahead she would be able to see what she had come for.

She stopped on the crest and pulled back her hood. Her long, dark hair escaped and hung around her shoulders. In the distance stood a city, gleaming white through the heat haze.

“It is time.”

She didn’t acknowledge the speaker, continuing to stare across the savannah. With the optical enhancements in her glasses she could make out personal aircars coming and going between the skyscrapers.

“I cannot protect you if you go any further.”

A larger aircraft arrived and touched down on one of the buildings, a commuter transport no doubt. People going to work, going shopping, meeting friends.

“Does this have to happen?” she asked her escort.

“It is too late now. We cannot intervene.”

Chapter 1

“All stations, stand by to engage. Full burn on my mark...” said Captain Hapsburg in measured tones. “Mark.”
The Indescribable Joy of Destruction powered forward, and swung around the moon it had been using for cover. The tactical sensors marked their target, a Congressional destroyer in orbit around the planet Orpus-4. The navigational routines offered a set of courses to the pilot, who approved a pseudo-random corkscrew approach. The Caretaker watched all this with mild interest; there was little else to occupy its thoughts right now, the ship was in prime condition and the crew were all locked down in their acceleration couches.
The Rampager class was an experimental design, The Indescribable Joy of Destruction the eighth to be constructed by the Republic. They were built around their main beam weapon and their engines. Unheard-of levels of computing power allowed a high-level AI to take over most of the basic functions of the ship, leaving a crew of only seven. This in turn meant that very little room was needed for living space, so the power plants, weapons and engines could be far larger for a ship of its size.

A minute after The Indescribable Joy of Destruction cleared the moon, the enemy started a slow turn to meet them. Ten seconds into their manoeuvre, they launched a spread of missiles.
“I’ve got them,” said the tactical officer, and the Caretaker switched perspective from the ship’s functions to the simulated bridge. The tactical officer tagged the missiles with sweeps of his hands and passed them to the point defence systems.
The Indescribable Joy of Destruction continued its unpredictable approach as the missiles rushed towards it. The enemy ship completed its turn, and lit off its main drives. There was no doubting her commander’s bravery; no Congressional destroyer had ever survived an engagement with a Republic hunter-killer.
Railgun rounds spewed out of the destroyer’s turrets. Moments later the first missile entered the range of The Indescribable Joy of Destruction’s point defences. The ship hummed as the lasers drew power. Systematically the missiles were picked out of space, detonating harmlessly.
The cloud of railgun rounds wasn’t far behind. The pilot worked with the navigation routine to dodge the denser regions, but the occasional metal slug impacted on the hull, sending dull clangs reverberating around the ship.



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. My masters options included gravitational astrophysics, planetary geophysics, remote sensing and high resolution electron microscopy. 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 included geophysics in 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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