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ISBN-10: 1-55404-463-4
Genre: Science Fiction/Fiction/Adventure
eBook Length: 154 Pages
Published: June 2007

From inside the flap

Sixteen years have passed since Promise Tide and Chrissy DuPries successfully forged the many factions of resistance forces into a cohesive unit, capable of facing Ė perhaps one day defeating Ė The Unbreathable, a force of evil attempting to control Earthís societies through the ubiquitous, all-powerful NATech conglomerate.

Things have not gone well.

Though the coupleís love for each other has increased, as well as their personal wealth and their influence in the Resistance, The Unbreathable has grown even stronger and has deeply penetrated the Resistance, and now threatens to destroy all thatís been accomplished.

The Resistance leadership has decided upon a bold and dangerous plan to save mankindís society. Promise Tide must come out of hiding and discover the location of the Groundfatherís soul Ė the man who created the Pisces race over 300 years prior Ė and use his knowledge to discover a weakness within The Unbreathable and force it to ruin and destruction.

With this final mission of Promise Tide, the ghosts of the Pisces race will see the conclusion of their peopleís purpose. And it is left to Promise Tide, the last of her kind, to bring victory that will ultimately free Earthís people, or suffer a failure that will cost Promise her life, her love, and ensure the enslavement of a planetís society for all time.

TAU (Excerpt)

Chapter One

Earth Date: May 12, 2432

"Three Twenty-Six to Deerkin Spaceway Control." Thomas Stewart patiently waited for a reply. "Deerkin Spaceway Control, please reply."

I hung over him, weightless, watching. My ship, the Three Twenty-Six, had been traveling at 2000FTL for a week and a half now, and the Deerkin system would be on us in three hours. Only we needed the System Pilot to give clearance and guidance.

"Any luck?" I asked.

"Uh-huh. All bad." He reached over his head and fiddled with the companel. "SM is online and diags out perfectly. Weíre sending all right. Theyíre just not rec--"

"Three Twenty-Six," came the crackle. It reminded me of our trip to the moon aboard the DL White so many years ago. How many? Sixteen! Hard to believe.

"This is Deerkin Spaceway Control. What can we do for you, Three Twenty-Six?"

Thomas -- we never called him Tom -- nodded his head approvingly and slid into the pilotís seat and powered in. The shipís controls glimmered and beeped to life. I pushed off gently and took the copilotís seat beside him.

"Yes, Deerkin. This is the Three Twenty-Six, private yacht from Earth, requesting permission to enter Deerkin space with the aid of your System Pilot."

"We have you on holo, Three Twenty-Six. Did you say Earth? What brings you all the way out here?"

Thomas glanced at me.

"Deerkin, this is Promise Tide, owner of the Three Twenty-Six. We are traveling to Deerkin for personal business and a ship refit."

"Roger, Three Twenty-Six," came the crisp reply. "Please dock at Customs on Pluto. Youíll rendezvous with the System Pilot there. Deerkin Spaceway Control out." Every inhabited system named their furthermost planet Pluto, and used it as a combination customs,border patrol, and visitor center. It saved confusion during intersystem travel, though ironically, the original Pluto, orbiting Sol, was demoted to planetoid several times over the centuries, only to be restored to planet status.

"Okay.... Got it!" Thomas pulled up the holo of the Deerkin system and projected it onto the forward port. A three-dimensional display projected onto a transparent two-dimensional surface sounded confusing, but it was ideal for space travel. The holo projected both inside and outside the ship, making for a very believable image.

"Rats. Plutoís on the opposite side."

"Donít worry, Thomas." I ruffled his hair as I got out of the seat. "Weíre underneath the system, so itís an easy course in. Besides, itís not like weíre on a schedule." I glanced at the companel, but couldnít see the readouts. "Is Chrissy off-line?"

Thomas glanced up at the panel.


"Sheís been on for two hours now." I tugged my lower lip. "Oh well, sheís probably ready for an excuse to get off."

"Promise!" he scolded, grinning. "My delicate ears!"

"Jerk!" I playfully smacked him in the back of the head. "I meant get off the comm!" I huffed my indignation. "Men!"

I left him laughing and pushed off to our bedroom hatch located on the ceiling ten meters behind the pilotís bubble.

As the only surviving member of the Pisces race, Iíd been given every Pisces asset as remuneration against the hate crimes that humans had committed against us. As a result, I had more than a couple coins to rub together. My ship was only one indication of that wealth.

Chrissyís and my living quarters on board were another indication. Expression would be a better word. With a forward bedroom set above the pilotís bubble, full bath, swimming sphere, dining area and meeting room, it was by itself nearly a third the size of the eighty-meter ship. And since Iíd used polarized aligned titanium for the entire outer hull, the view was spectacular while also giving us privacy. I hadnít skimped on the rest of the ship, either, but being the owner had its perks.

And its problems. As I entered the meeting area from the floor hatch, Chrissy was just reaching an exasperated state that didnít bode well for whomever she was talking to.

"I donít care what the power consumption is, Captain!" She desperately wanted to stamp a foot, I knew, but refrained. It was too undignified an action for the Craftsman to make. "Itís very important that we take out that NATech listening post. It cripples much of our activity on the islands and French coast." She calmed herselfand spoke with more control. "I have complete faith in you, Captain Gillaine, and in the Sixth Regiment. Notify me once the mission is complete."

"Yes, maíam." Captain Gillaine was one of our best officers and as such wasnít put off by Chrissyís outbursts.Nor mine, on the rare occasions I became involved. "Weíll take it out, no worries." His Aussie accent was still fresh, even thirty years after leaving his home country. íTairtriesí, rather. "Gillaine out."

The holo flashed off, and Chrissy visibly relaxed. I vaulted up from the entrance into our quarters. We kept a twenty percent gravity here to help Chrissy fight her bouts with space sickness. I went to her and rubbed her shoulders.

"Ooooh!" she moaned. "That is so nice, Sunshine." She put a hand on one of mine, but let me keep rubbing.

"After sixteen years of wedded bliss, I should know what my Sweetie likes," I murmured in her ear, my warm breath causing her back to ripple with a shiver. "Are you finished for today?"

"Uh-huh. Hey! I didnít say stop!" I laughed and continued rubbing her shoulders and neck. "With luck, Iím probably done for the next four or five days. Oh!" she exclaimed as I coaxed a small crack from her neck.

"Good," I said. "Itís probably for the best. Iím going onverse once we get to Deerkin Pluto."

"Are you sure you should, Promise?" She held my hands and let me pull her to her feet. "I donít think the Resistance is ready for this step. Once you initiate it, stopping will be impossible."

We passed through a solid wall that was actually a ghost door, and into our bedroom. We lay down on the bed and stared up through the hull at the multicolored lines that raced by at 2,000 FTL.

"I know." I nodded. "Iím nervous, too. But I also know this is the absolute right time, whether weíre ready or not." I squeezed her hand. "Besides, I have more faith in my Sweetie than she does. Youíre doing great, Chrissy."

She sighed. Whether from comfort or unease I couldnít tell. Probably both.

"Letís do it, then. Iíve never gone wrong following my Sunshine."

"Nor I you."

"Why on Deerkin Pluto, though? Why not access here, where you know youíll have privacy? Wait. Never mind. I keep forgetting."

I laughed. "Yep. We have our own privacy keeper on Deerkin. And heíll be meeting us at Pluto." It was my turn to sigh. "How Iíve missed him!"