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Bargain Book: Distant Suns - The Silexous

Kindle Countdown Deal: Distant Suns - The Silexous reduced to 0.99c/p Jan 18th-22nd.

Anton leaned forward and studied the display. A ship, emerging from the dark side of the planet, was slowly coming into view. As he watched, more of the bow was exposed giving him an insight into the size of the vessel.

Glistening in the glare of the sun, the large white craft opened out, wider and wider from a pointed tip, to reveal more of the hull.

He turned to Lauren. “I thought the Cyroux were not due to arrive until tomorrow.”

She looked up from the display she was studying and stared at the image, then shook her head. “The Cyroux ship didn’t look like that.”

“They might have different vessels for different purposes,” Anton reasoned. “The ship we saw was on a scientific expedition. This could just be one from another class.”

Lauren stood and moved to a nearby console. “I’ll try to raise them.” She touched the screen, activating the communication pad and pressed the icon to transmit. “Vessel off our stern, please identify yourself.” She released the button, waited a moment, then, “This is Terra contacting the spacecraft off our stern, please respond,” she urged, when the speaker remained silent.

“Maybe they don’t understand us,” Anton suggested.

“In that case, they’re not the Cyroux. The Cyroux learn very quickly and mastered our language in less than a day.” She touched another section on the display and opened up a different comm. link to the planet. “We’d better report this in.”

A connection was quickly established and a disembodied voice was heard on the flight deck. “Hello, Joel here. What’s up?”

“There’s a ship coming around from the dark side of the planet. I’ve tried communicating with it, but have so far received no response.”

“Is it the Cyroux?”

“It doesn’t look like the original craft we saw.” Then, as the vessel cleared the planet and moved away from the murky effect of the atmosphere, Lauren leapt from her seat and lunged for the captain’s chair. “It’s the ship that attacked us,” she yelled.

“Get out of there,” Joel called, “go anywhere, just get away.”

Lauren pulled on the headset used to control Terra’s systems and was just about to instruct the ship to go to warp, when the screen was swamped by a powerful pulse of energy.

As the alien vessel grew larger, Lauren realised Terra was moving towards it when a set of numbers, indicating their location in space, changed rapidly on the holographic display which appeared ahead the moment her brain waves connected with the ship’s systems.

She instructed Terra to go to warp. Space ahead blurred slightly, but before the craft could make the leap, a pulse of energy was fired from the attacking vessel again and the warp drive was disabled.

“They’ve got us in a tractor beam, we’re being dragged towards them,” she informed the captain on the surface.

She now instructed the ship to reverse. For a moment, the numbers on the holographic display held static and Lauren had some hope they might escape the grip of the beam until another pulse pounded Terra, resonating throughout the hull, and the figures returned to their previous state, continuing to climb.

“What about the force field?” Anton suggested, dragging his eyes away from the enemy ship. “Could we repel them with the force field?”

“It’s on. It activated the moment the system sensed I was alarmed.”

A hiss, soft at first, but increasing with proximity, began to grow on the flight deck. It decreased slightly when the front of the alien vessel opened out to reveal a massive cargo hold. Then, as Terra continued to be dragged in, the hiss climbed again until it reached a painful level.

“What’s happening?” Joel called.

“We’re being pulled into the ship. They’re taking Terra inside their vessel.”

“The force field is overloading,” Anton informed. “The energy levels are into the red.”

“Deactivate it,” Joel instructed. “Do everything you can to escape. We’ll...” Then the link was severed as space behind Terra disappeared.


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