NEW CONTEST – STAR CHASER: THE TRAVELER
It’s my pleasure to announce that Soooz Says Stuff has partnered with Quicksylver Publications to bring you a contest as part of the worldwide launch of a brand new Sci-Fi/Fantasy series, Beyond the Outer Rim. The prelude, Star Chaser: The Traveler is now available for purchase on Amazon in paperback or on Kindle.
Here’s how it works…
1. Read the excerpt from the novel included below.
2. Go to the facebook page for the series (https://www.facebook.com/beyondtheouterrim) to find the contest link and information.
3. Answer one simple question relating to the excerpt that you read.
And that’s it! Just that simple.
At the close of the contest, THREE winners will be selected from all correct answers and each winner will receive a copy of Star Chaser: The Traveler, signed by the author, and a 'swag bag' of goodies from the exclusive launch party.
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Excerpt from STAR CHASER: THE TRAVELER
Dungias was going to be introduced to Gavis Station for the first time… twice, though it took some time for him to get over how Nugar looked.
“This is nothing,” Nugar said, waving off the interest.
The first presentation: Nugar allowed Dungias to ride with him as he boarded his fighter-craft and launched from the gunship before it could reach the line of ships awaiting their docking assignments. Nugar was directed to a special place at the station to land his ship. The aged Vinthur quickly explained to his student that it was a place reserved especially for Travelers. Dungias was awestruck at the incredible range of sizes the ships came in. Nugar’s customized fighter was on the smaller end of the comparisons, but it was hardly the smallest.
“Is that a pressure suit fitted with an engine?” he asked, looking at one of the stalls.
“Which is why it’s not at a docking slip,” Nugar advised. “Those things are pretty damn unstable. Still… sometimes you try to get as close to the black sea as possible.”
“Would I be assuming too much if I were to say that tone speaks of past experience?” Dungias asked.
“Take hold of the stick back there,” Nugar commanded.
“It’s not the first time you’ve been at the controls of a vehicle,” Nugar snapped. “Now take the stick and trust yourself for a change!” Dungias steadied his breathing as he put his right hand on the control stick and his left on the thruster control. It was a 360o movable handle, parallel to the floor, mounted on a lever that moved forward and back. Any movement from the handle would activate thruster jets. Moving the lever forward would increase forward thrust, and moving it back would activate reverse engines. “Automated landing cycle has been disengaged.” Nugar reported and Dungias could feel the nose pulling down.
“What is that?!” he quickly asked.
“I disengaged our automations; the docking system is not mine to command,” Nugar answered as he activated the armour for his fighter-craft. “And the Traveler docking system is notorious for catching many unwary Travelers at the end of long journeys, only to have them crash at the end.”
“No unnecessary movements,” Dungias whispered as he gently pulled back on the stick and eased the thruster lever forward. His light touch received a quick and ample response from the fighter.
“Instead of what you fear, tell me, what do you feel?” Nugar asked as he closed his eyes. “When you look beyond the fear, what do you feel?!”
Just over ten thousand trams from the docking aperture, Dungias calmed himself and tried to sense what his teacher might be talking about.
“He called it the black sea,” Dungias remembered. “And it is cold… very cold! But there is something else.” Dungias recalled what it was like to go swimming; something he had to plan and schedule in order to keep from encountering ill will. But there were many times when he would swim out to the middle of the pool and just float. “Yes, I see it now. I can feel it!” The thrusters fired, but never at too great a yield, and hardly for too long. The rocking of the ship settled to a slight shimmer and Nugar smiled.
“Well done, Dungi! Superb, in fact!”
Dungias piloted the ship to the allotted docking slip and the fighter was quickly secured. Nugar looked at his watch and chuckled.
“Are you up for a bit of a game?”
“Lead the way, Teacher!”
“That’s a good lad!”
The two of them ran back down the docking slip and Dungias could see Nugar take the stairs up to a catwalk which led to the main entrance for the docking bay … the main spacecraft entrance! He looked hard at his teacher, but the Vinthur’s strides were not shortening, nor were they slowing down. The end of the catwalk was in sight and there was no railing to prevent anyone from falling off the edge.
“There you go again!” Nugar shouted, almost singing what he was sensing coming from his student.
“It’s not about what you fear,” Dungias panted. “… it’s about what you feel beyond the fear!” Dungias looked away from the catwalk and put his sights on Nugar. He did not run like a mature man, but a child running toward a favorite toy. Making the final turn, a smile broke across Dungias’ face and he ran faster, beginning to overtake his teacher.
With very few strides in front of him, Nugar looked to the right. The whooping and hollering of other Travelers reached his ears. Each one of them had a smile on their faces and cheered Nugar on. He waved once at the collective and dove off the end of the catwalk. He was surprised to hear a cry of joy behind him. Looking back, Nugar could see Dungias still climbing from the leap he had taken. Both of their bodies passed through the atmospheric shield.
“Lean to your right, boy!” Nugar directed, holding out his right arm and throwing all of his bodyweight to his right shoulder. Without the artificial gravity, there was little descent to their flight paths, but even outside the station, there was some pressure, warmth, and breathable air. The cool air blew through his long hair and made his clothes flap around his body.
Dungias looked around Gavis as he flew. There was so much more to see from his vantage point. It did not look anything like a space station. The horizon reminded him of Threm, but now he was the slide-sled and he flew high and fast. The construct was massive; from the plating and paneling, to the lights and windows, to a couple filled with eager eyes gawking at the two flying forms that were, for some reason, not dying. He was distracted by the cackling of his teacher and he looked down on the man who was nearly glowing as brightly as the smile which shone across his face.
“Atmospheric curtain,” Nugar called out. “It extends beyond the portals of the station for nearly fifty trams! The trick is staying near a functioning entry port. Release your fear and fly with me, Dungi!”
“What fear?!” Dungias cried out as he soared ahead of Nugar. Keeping his heading going around the station, Dungias threw his body into a spin with his shoulders rotating clockwise. After three spins he threw out his arms and leveled out before diving straight down. Ten trams, then twenty, thirty fifty, then one hundred and still he flew. He leveled out again and flew along the side of the station, screaming out as he glided around the outside of the station. Dungias performed another spin and Nugar tensed up as it appeared his student was about to hit hard against the side of the station, but he leveled out with his chest parallel with the plating. Dungias allowed his fingertips to drag along the hull before pulling away from the station.
“Look at him!” Nugar thought, actually having to give some effort to keep up with his student. “I won’t have to teach him how to observe the world around him and gain from it. The landing schedules were on two of his consoles. There are at least three ways we can reach our destination. Leave it to my student to take the most precarious route. Yes, because if he is going to be the next Star Chaser, we want him to play it safe!
“Haa!” Nugar laughed at his own sarcasm and pressed for more speed. Dungias was beginning to pull away, and the danger of the route he had chosen was beginning to look simple for him and potentially treacherous for the Traveler.
As Dungias dove toward the security port, the large doors were only beginning to open and the fast-moving shuttle was making its way inside. Dungias landed on the nose of the craft and jumped clear of it, employing Pax’Dulah to give himself more lift and speed. Nugar timed his landing on the craft and used the blowback of the turning thruster to push him toward Dungias.
“Your left hand, Dungi!” Nugar called out and while laughing, Dungias jumped away from the station and held out his left hand that slapped against the forearm of Nugar’s extended right hand. “Now pull against me!” While the direction of their flight path did not change, the two spun around each other with their arms serving as the axle of this most impromptu wheel. Dungias looked up at the stars; his view, for the first time, unhindered by glass or iro-form. The majesty of them took hold of his mind and soul. As he gazed at them, it felt as if he could hear them singing.
“But what would a Star sing?” he thought.
“Get ready,” Nugar directed, bringing Dungias back to the moment. “And keep pulling!” They both screamed like children as the speed of their rotations increased. “Release!” Nugar commanded and Dungias was slung forward to the next public entryway while Nugar was sent toward the plating of Gavis.
“It can’t be!” Dungias exclaimed, knowing that what he saw was indeed quite accurate and very true. H’Dalvi’s gunship, which seemed so much larger from the outside than it had appeared during the many walks he had taken along its corridors, was making its entry into the station. Dungias smiled as he careened toward the large spacecraft, and he landed on the foredeck just in front of the bridge window. He squatted down and waved at Commander H’Dalvi and his bridge crew.
“Well, it’s been a few dockings since I’ve seen that,” Narwyss said with a smile as he recovered from the surprise. His voice helped the rest of the crew return to their duties more quickly.
“I agree,” Turo added. “And the last time either of us saw it, I believe it was a Vinthur.” The Sub-Officer folded his arms across his expansive chest and smiled. “That was a fine wager you made.”
“I took it as solid advice from a trusted resource,” Narwyss replied. “And speaking of good wagers, tell the crew that we are going to have a celebratory meal at ShoSoro’s. Anyone pulling guard duty gets two plates brought to them.”
“That will be quite costly,” Turo pointed out.
“It is already paid for, and there’s a few credits remaining for me to spoil my officers,” Narwyss said as Nugar landed beside Dungias. “Oh look! They come in pairs! Helm, make this as bumpy of a landing as you can manage.” There was laughter on the bridge as the Commander took his leave.