Operation Chimera, by Matthew Cox and Tony Healey
Genre: science-fiction, action-adventure
Publisher: Curiosity Quills Press
Date of Publication: October 20, 2014.
Generations of war with the savage Draxx have left humanity desperate for a way to gain the upper hand.
A chance to turn the tide in their favor is all legendary Captain Nicholas Driscoll needs to hear to lead an expedition behind enemy lines to the Chimera Nebula - a region of space so unstable it remains largely uncharted.
Lieutenant Michael Summers sees an opportunity to matter, a chance to let future generations exist in a universe without constant war. He and other brave young cadets join the Manhattan for its first dangerous mission - to penetrate the Chimera Nebula and discover what it is the Draxxare doing in there.
But first the ship and her crew will be tested by enemies both outside and within…
About Matthew Cox:
Born in a little town known as South Amboy NJ in 1973, Matthew has been creating science fiction and fantasy worlds for most of his reasoning life. Somewhere between fifteen to eighteen of them spent developing the world in which Division Zero, Virtual Immortality, and The Awakened Series take place. He has several other projects in the works as well as a collaborative science fiction endeavor with author Tony Healey.
Hobbies and Interests: Matthew is an avid gamer, a recovered WoW addict, Gamemaster for two custom systems (Chronicles of Eldrinaath [Fantasy] and Divergent Fates [Sci Fi], and a fan of anime, British humour (<- deliberate), and intellectual science fiction that questions the nature of reality, life, and what happens after it. He is also fond of cats.
Find Matthew Cox Online:
Website (http://www.matthewcoxbooks.com/wordpress/) | Facebook(https://www.facebook.com/MatthewSCoxAuthor) | Twitter(https://twitter.com/mscox_fiction) | Goodreads(https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7712730.Matthew_S_Cox)
About Tony Healey:
Tony Healey is a best-selling independent author. Born in 1985, he has lived his entire life in the city of Brighton, UK.
In 2011, he found his fiction published alongside Harlan Ellison and Alan Dean Foster. A year later, his sci-fi serial FAR FROM HOME became a best-selling sensation, followed by similarly successful sequels. Since then he has collaborated with authors Bernard Schaffer, Matthew Cox and William Vitka on various projects. He has also had work published by Curiosity Quills Press. He is married and has three daughters.
For the latest on Tony's various projects, visit his site www.tonyhealey.com
Find Tony Healey Online:
Hope, dreams, and regret hung thick in the air, mixed with the antiseptic scent of new membranes in the atmosphere scrubbers. Lieutenant Michael Summers, duffel slung over his left shoulder, trudged along the steel-blue corridors of Horizon Station. All around him, the air vibrated with the din of activity and near-tangible presence of people. Small children, too young to comprehend where their older siblings were going, darted among a crowd visible through the doors at the end of the hallway.
A few others walked in the same direction, clad in the same white uniform of a newly minted officer. In two years of Academy, they never had managed to give him one that fit. At least this time―when he was taking a trip he might not return from―they finally got his size right.
Two Milsec soldiers snapped to attention and saluted as he reached the door they flanked. Arc plasma rifles clicked against pale grey armor-covered legs. Michael returned their salute as he passed out of a narrow, inclined hallway and into wide-open concourse. Ordinarily, shuttle departure platforms were off-limits to civilians; given the nature of the day, however, command had given a pass to immediate family. Captain Driscoll, the officer in command of his new assignment, had personally approved it. That order alone had earned him much respect among a crew he had not yet seen face-to-face. Even his name evoked a sense of mythical awe; some of the stories that filtered through the Academy about him seemed like the sort of thing that got wilder with each retelling.
On Michael’s left, a row of stairways led up to where sixteen shuttles perched just inside atmospheric retention fields. Four inches of energy separated the air in here from the vacuum-darkness of space, and made the front ends of the loaf-shaped craft glow azure. Large view panels and a sloped, flat front end made the shuttles look like oversized minivans, only on struts and pads rather than wheels. Plain white, their only adornments were the large TDF logo on the side near the rear and the various red and yellow arrows painted here and there to indicate important panels and “no step” locations. Michael spent a moment observing flight crews scurrying about to prep the shuttles: silver hoses loaded electrogel, tech carts connected to the avionics systems ran diagnostics, and shuttle pilots worked through their preflight checklists. The chemical reek from the e-gel whipped by on a frigid breeze; the air chilled by the vacuum outside the atmo-fields created a strong gust that clung low to the deck. Michael gave the hoses a wary glance and sped up. E-gel went from semi-liquid to pure energy in the power cores of ships too small for dedicated reactors, but it also had violent tendencies when exposed to air. If something went wrong, he did not want to be anywhere nearby.
Toward the station-side wall, several columns ringed with comm terminals bore the brunt of the crowd. Individuals whose families could not make the trip in person crowded around them, while closer to the departure shuttles a mass of sobbing mothers tried without success to change the minds of their sons and daughters.
As if it was that easy. Michael chuckled to himself.
He turned on his heel and joined the shortest line. His mom would not be able to get here all the way from the colony on Bophor; her arrival at the graduation ceremony last week had been an unexpected surprise.
The minutes ticked by. Two small boys ran circles around his line, oblivious to the emotion in the air and content to publicize their boredom by running around and screaming. One despondent person at a time, the line moved; with each departing individual, he inched closer. The last man in front of him had it out with his pregnant wife―she did not approve of his volunteering for service on the Manhattan. When all the guilt she flung at him failed to erase his signed contract, she hung up in a huff. The man sighed, let his head bonk into the terminal, and took a deep breath. He turned; from his blue coveralls, he appeared to be one of the flight support crew.
At the sight of Michael, he snapped a quick salute. “Morning, sir.”
“Airman,” said Michael with a nod.
They pivoted to slide past each other. Michael wondered why a man with a baby on the way would have volunteered for such a risky deployment. Those questions were not his business, but he gave the crewman a confident nod and a pat on the arm.
“For what it’s worth, we’ll all do everything possible to make sure you get home to her.”
“Thank you, sir.” The airman smiled through his nerves and saluted.
Except for the shimmering green logo of the Trans-Gal system, the otherwise dark screen caught a weak reflection of Michael’s head. Shaved on the sides, his flat top lived up to its name. The idea he was now out of Academy and could let it grow a little brought a half-smile, though his dreadlock days were long gone. He swiped at the terminal, brushing the star-map to the side with several passes of his hand until the pale cream-colored dot where his mother lived came into view.
Planet Bophor zoomed in to fill the entire screen after he tapped it. The surface moved in a slow spin to the left, threads of cottony clouds drifted in the opposite direction to the planet’s rotation. At the bottom, a black rectangle appeared with a faint green line through the center.
Michael cleared his throat and addressed the screen. “Initiate outbound. Colony TZ-B11. Khana Marie Summers.”