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Tuesday, July 10, 2012

New Release: OUTSYSTEM by Michael Cooper + Excerpt

OUTSYSTEM

by Michael Cooper
Publication Date: July 9, 2012
Pages/Format: 350; Paperback & e-book
Genre: Science Fiction
Purchase: Amazon | B&N
About Outsystem:

Someone is out to stop the GSS Intrepid, an interstellar colony ship, from being completed on schedule and beginning its journey to 82 Eridani. When anti-colonial activist groups are suspected, Major Tanis Richards, wrongfully disgraced officer in the field of military intelligence and counter insurgency, is brought onboard with all due haste.

Events in Tanis's past have motivated her to leave Sol and start a new life elsewhere. She soon discerns that more than simple activist groups are arrayed against the ship and its crew. There are corporations and governments that have a vested interest in ensuring that the Intrepid never leaves the Sol System.

Tanis tightens security and fights political red tape while running up against assassins and mercenaries sent to the stop her and the Intrepid at every turn. The new friends and relationships she forges strengthen her resolve to protect the ship and keep its crew and colonists safe as they endeavor to head outsystem.

Read on for an awesome excerpt from Outsystem!

CHAPTER 1 OPENING

Tanis entered the forward observation lounge on the Steel Dawn III. The windows were crowded with passengers, weary after the two-week voyage from Earth, catching their first glimpses of Mars.
Her HUD identified the passengers and she saw that most were fellow colonists, destined for the Intrepid and ultimately the world of New Eden. Near one of the windows on the starboard side stood Patty and Eric, who she had spent some time with during the voyage.
Threading the crowd, Tanis walked to the window and stood beside the pair. Eric looked up at her and smiled a greeting. Patty nodded and pointed toward the planet.
“You can just make out the ring now.”
Tanis peered out the window and cycled her vision to a higher magnification.
“So you can.”
The Mars 1 ring was a large orbital habitat which wrapped around the world like a glistening silver halo. It was over one hundred and eighty thousand kilometers in circumference, and sixteen hundred kilometers wide. It rotated at over twenty-two thousand kilometers per hour above the blue-green planet. On the world below, the Borealis Ocean filled the viewport, and the large Mariner Valley lakes slowly slipped past the day/night terminator.
Built in the twenty-fifth century the ring was a marvel of human engineering and provided the energy management to terraform and power Mars. The Mars 1 ring was the gateway to the stars. Without it, modern terraforming techniques would never have been invented.
“Home sweet home,” Eric said.
“Not exactly.” Patty pointed to her left. “You can see the Mars Outer Shipyard coming around the ring over there. That’s where the Intrepid is being completed. We’ll be staying on the station or the ship, I imagine.”
The Mars Outer Shipyard was a thousand-kilometer arc which was tethered to Mars’s second artificial ring, the Mars Central Elevator Exchange, known by the locals as the MCEE. That outer ring linked to Mars 1, and from there massive elevators provided access to the planet below.
Though it was not the largest planetary superstructure, Tanis always found it to be one of the most beautiful. The Marsians had opted to build it with materials that glistened in the sunlight. With all of the orbital stations and outlying habitats tethered to the MCEE it sometimes appeared as though the planet had been caught in a celestial cobweb.
“I can’t make it out,” Eric said after peering out the window for a minute. “You two keep forgetting I have these organic eyes. Not special hopped-up mod jobs like yours.”
Patty laughed. “Well, I don’t know how hopped up mine are; the major has the super eyes.”
“Your tax dollars hard at work,” Tanis smiled.
“So how long till we arrive?” Eric asked.
Eric had only a rudimentary Link to the shipnet. While he could look it up himself, Patty and Tanis already had the information overlaid on their retinal HUDs.
“Just over an hour,” Tanis said.
“Doesn’t look like it should take that long.” Eric leaned forward, still trying to make out the shipyards.
Their discussion was interrupted by an announcement over both the shipnet and audible systems.
“All passengers, this is your captain speaking. We are beginning our final descent into the Mars Outer Shipyards, which the locals call the MOS.” The captain pronounced the word ‘moss’. “In thirty minutes there will be two 0g maneuvers separated by a hard 15g burn. We apologize for that hard burn, but Marsian traffic control has busy inbound lanes today and we need to clear the space as quickly as possible.
“During these maneuvers we require you to be in your cabin, and strapped down to your bunk, for your safety.
“Mars Outer Shipyard is a class 1A environmental space with 0.8g centripetal gravity and a standard temperature of nineteen degrees Celsius. Be sure to have your customs forms filled out and debark only after the announcement is given to do so.
“Thank you for flying Dawn Transport. To all of you colonists, good luck, and to everyone else, we hope to see you again.”
“Well, I guess I’ll see you ladies after we finish docking,” Eric said.
“You will indeed,” Patty said. “We’ll meet tonight for drinks at that restaurant I mentioned.”
“You going to come, Tanis?” Eric asked.
“I’ll see. I have to report in and get my assignment by 0800 station time, but if I’m not busy, I’ll be there.” The military life brought her comfort, but the last few weeks on the Dawn had given her a taste of what a more relaxed life could be like. It made the offer tempting.
With final farewells the three left the lounge with the other passengers and proceeded to their cabins.
One of the privileges of rank was that Tanis had a room to herself. She made certain all of her belongings were secure, and lay down on her bunk. She didn’t bother to strap down, but did hold on to the rails along its sides. The ship shuddered several times as it shed all of its velocity relative to Mars. The process took several minutes, following which the vessel rotated and the engines fired again.
The cabin systems displayed a holo count-down and also flashed a warning that the air would jell to help ease the discomfort of the upcoming maneuver. The cabin systems knew her body could hold up the strain, so the nano-injectors didn’t deliver the frame firming nano bots into her body, but it was quite likely Eric was undergoing the rather uncomfortable procedure at the moment.
The captain wasn’t lying; the 15g burn was hard. Tanis’ body weight increased to over a ton and she was pressed deep into the acceleration cushioning of her bunk as the ship matched the twenty-two kilometers per second orbit of the Mars Outer Shipyards. Once that velocity was reached, the fusion engines powered down, eliminating the gravity their thrust had created. In the resulting 0g Tanis let go of the rails and allowed herself to slowly rise above her bunk as the air thinned out once more.
She could feel the telltale vibrations of thrusters firing as they eased the Dawn into its external berth on the planet side of the MOS. Once the ship was in place and latched onto the station, the thrusters slowly phased out until the physical coupling supplied the ship’s angular momentum. During that process the ship gradually fell under the centripetal force of the shipyard and achieved the station-standard 0.8g.
Tanis let the increasing gravity pull her back down to the bunk. It was an experience she always enjoyed; a ritual that had persisted since her first stellar flight with her father some sixty years earlier.
An announcement came over the shipnet indicating a successful docking. The passengers were reminded to remain in their cabins until the debarkation signal was given.
Shortly afterward, the low thud of the passenger and cargo umbilicals linking the Dawn to the station could be felt through the ship. Fresh air from the MOS filtered through the vents. Tanis could practically taste the difference after the stale stuff the Dawn had been recycling over the last few days.
The debarkation signal came over the shipnet and a glowing green icon flashed on the door’s holo display indicating that passengers could leave their cabins. Tanis took her time giving the sparse space a final check, making certain nothing was left behind. It would give the corridors a chance to clear out. No point in rushing into a crowd of people.
The sounds of other passengers outside her cabin had ceased and Tanis had just stepped into the corridor when another tremor shook the ship. It was followed by the roar of an explosion flooding the hall, forcing Tanis to grasp the doorframe to maintain her footing. A moment of stillness followed and then alarms began to blare. Tanis set her auditory systems to filter them out, only to have the telltale whack of pulse rifles and the chip of beam weapons fill the silence.
In a single swift motion she dropped her duffle and pulled her pulse pistol from its holster. She couldn’t imagine who the hell would use beam weapons on a ship. One shot in the wrong place and it would disrupt the electrostatic shields and cause explosive decompression.
The sound of high-pitched whines and supersonic booms joined the other weapons fire. Even better, Tanis thought, some idiot was using a railgun!
<Some idiot has a death wish,> Angela commented.
<Except they’re wishing for our deaths,> Tanis replied as she bent to a knee and pulled her lightwand from the duffle.
Angela was attempting to query the shipnet to determine what was going on. <It’s at the dock. Someone blew two of the umbilicals and started firing on passengers as they debarked.>
<That’s going to be a massacre! Have they boarded the ship?> Tanis asked.
<Hard to say, with sensors are jammed in that sector, I’m guessing someone is hiding something... so yes.>
<Your guesses are usually right.>
Angela’s reply was smug. <Of course they are.>
<Can you raise the captain?>
<Shipnet is sporadic, looks like it’s under some viral attack.>
<An all-out assault? This is more than some robbery.>
<Your guess is as good as mine,> Angela responded.
Tanis took a deep breath and altered her thinking patterns for combat. Any concern and worry left her as the calm born from being in more firefights than she could remember took over. Controlled and cool, no emotion. Feelings got you killed.

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4 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. I believe it! The excerpt from chapter 1 is killing me to find out what happens next; I love when the action starts early in a novel! :P

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  2. Thanks for posting my cover and excerpt! I hope your readers enjoy it even though its science fiction and that may not be their normal bailiwick. I've found a lot of female (and male) readers really enjoy Tanis as she's a strong female character that commands the respect of her colleagues, but doesn't come across as overbearing (or as that other b-word).

    Also, there's a romance inside the story that certainly has excited my wife.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're welcome Michael! One can never go wrong with a strong female lead, or romance for that matter! :P Thanks for stopping by. :)

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