|Cover Artist:||Don Semora|
|Series:||Earthfleet Extended Universe|
|Publication Date:||December 2011|
Back Cover Blurb
Thrown headlong into a vast, hostile universe, Edmond Clayton|Captain Edmond, and the crew of the Destiny, must learn the ways of the galaxy and return home safely to Earth, or risk their extermination at the hands of the Juinah.
The story begins with a quick flashback to a Brayburn Society colony deep in the Rocky Mountains, where three scientists briefly discuss their efforts to create a starship and find a suitable captain for it. It then flashes forward to the present where it provides a brief update on our favorite characters before turning to Mike Clayton (now retired) and Sarah as they greet a reporter from Earth who is portaled up to the Society Joint Commerce Station for an interview with them. Mike then proceeds to tell her about how Earthfleet first got started. The story then flashes back to 1801, in the Boston shipping docks where schooner captain Edmond Clayton is met by two men from the Society who speak to him about joining their organization as a ship's captain. He is reluctant at first, but eventually agrees. They then take him out to their colony, via an advanced repulsion drive powered shuttlecraft. This sudden exposure to advanced technology is a bit much for Edmond, but he slowly adapts to it. Once there, he meets several scientists in charge of the Destiny starship project.
Shortly after he is fully immersed into Society life, technology and more, and made an inductee. He then begins to meet his future crew members, including Albert Lent, Maxwell Conner, Henrietta Taylor (who later becomes his wife), and several others. At first Edmond struggles to make the leap from 1801 living to what would easily be late 21st century standard of living. However, Henrietta steps up and helps him adapt, which begins the foundation for their long and colorful relationship. Even so, Edmond continues to struggle, causing other members of his future crew to step in and provide him assistance in learning and adapting to the highly technological life within the Society. As this is occurring, the Juinah pay a brief visit to Earth hoping to discover if they can exploit it or not. However, as they arrive, they witness some of the Society's technology first hand, surprising them in the process. This worries their leader, Za'gard, who chooses to wait and see where this will lead. However, before they can learn much, they're run off by the Gayik'Von.
Nearly two years then passes without incident before the Juinah return. However, in that time the Destiny has been completed and is ready for her maiden voyage, and her captain, Edmond, has fully integrated into Society life and become an outstanding member. With the ship now ready, he and his crew climb aboard, don their space suits, and head into orbit. After a brief systems check they set course for the moon. However, unknown to them, Za'gard and his flagship, the Vargah, are awaiting him on the dark side of the moon. As soon as the Destiny moves within visual range of the ship, Za'gard orders the crew transported aboard and the ship captured, which it is. However, in order to do so, they knock out Destiny's engines and power core, rendering the ship inert and destroying her engines. The Vargah then begins transporting the confused and surprised crew across the galaxy towards Asarath. However, while on their way, they meet a young Gayik'Von boy named Pelk who secretly hacks Za'gard's ship and takes control of it using a small PDA he carries everywhere with him.
Once the Vargah arrives at Azarath, Za'gard disembarks, along with most of his crew, leaving behind just a handful of men. Seeing the opportunity, Pelk transports the rest of them into deep space, turns the ship around, and then heads towards a Gayik'Von military base where his father, Commander Tay'Tan, commander of the destroyer Kal'eck, is stationed. Realizing his ship has been stolen, Za'gard gives chase to them in the Tenk. However, they realize it's too late to capture the ship, as the Gayik'Von have it. So they hide nearby until an opportunity can present itself. Meanwhile Tay'Tan sends Pelk and the crew of the Destiny back to their home planet of Jalc, along with the heavily damaged Destiny. Once there the crew are greeted by Six Paws the Chief Librarian of Jalc, who takes Edmond's crew, and his ship, as his guests. Meanwhile, Za'gard successfully recovers his ship, but not before the Gayik'Von rig it with a hidden tracking device. Back on Jalc, Pelk talks with his friends K'vin, Tari and Viceroy about Edmond's crew.
With his Jalroan servants seeing to the needs of Edmond's crew, Six Paws goes and meets with his senior librarian, where it's revealed that he's not all that he appears to be. As Edmond and his crew get to know Pelk and his friends better, Six Paws meets with Sarah, who's local name is "Sha'Kra'Ree" and discusses the recent arrival of the Gin. Out at Azarath, Za'gard arrives at the station to check on his business ventures, and is disappointed with the results, which are due to a war between the Juinah Lords. As he's busy with this, Shanomar is nearby following him, trying to keep an eye on the Juinah lord when he discovers Callent, and saves him from the slavers. Callent then swears his life to serve Shanomar wherever he goes. But Shanomar isn't sure he wants to accept it. Even so, he welcomes the young Sevedith into his company. The story then covers some of the bickering and fighting within the Juinah. Back at the estate of Six Paws, Commander Taylor becomes sick and is at risk of dying. To save her, Six Paws summons four expert healers from the local Yib monastery who see to her healing. Edmond then stays by Henrietta's side until she wakes up.
Out in the galaxy, Talfard and Za'gard pit their forces against each other in a battle for dominance in a nearby star system. After a heated, yet highly strategic battle, the fight comes out as a draw, even though Talfard claims victory in this fight. Back on Jalc, Pelk wakes up to find Taria pounding away at her PDA. When he asks her what's up, she reveals a plan to get the Destiny flying again. They then take it to Edmond and Six Paws. As they're doing this, Shanomar watches from a distance. Elsewhere, Ba'ka hatches a plot to kill Edmond and his crew, and use it as leverage to overthrow Za'gard. Back on Jalc, Pelk acquires the first piece in their efforts to rebuild the Destiny. However, the shuttle that he gets a hold of isn't powerful enough to do the job, so they can't use it for parts. But they can use it to gather the parts they need. All they need first is the money to get the parts.
In the meantime, Pelk, Edmond, Robert Kendall and Charles Smith take their recently acquired shuttle and head to a nearby market. However, shortly after arriving they're attacked by Tarwn and his band of Transforms. But, with Shanomar's help, as well as Six Paws and his Jalroan servants, they protect Edmond and the others from Tarwn's attack. On their way back home they discuss what happened and the possibility that they have gotten on the bad side of the Juinah. Elsewhere in the galaxy, Tay'Tan has been working behind the scenes to try and locate the Juinah and all the parts of their crime network. Shanomar then greets Six Paws at his house. They talk briefly before Shanomar mentions that he intends to follow Edmond and the others out into space when they go parts shopping again. Six Paws agrees with the idea. In the meantime Pelk works to train Smith on how to fly the shuttle while Taria and the others work on funding for the refit project.
Later on Edmond, Pelk and the others arrive at a deep space merchants station where they land and begin hunting for parts for the ship. Back on Jalc, having located a possible buyer, the crew of the Destiny begin stripping out all the damaged, dead parts from the ship for a local junk collector to inspect. Back on the merchant station, the Juinah locate Edmond and his crew and try to take them captive, but they succeed in escaping. They then go back to shopping as others continue to make plans against them. Eventually they find a warp engine for the Destiny, but the shopkeeper wants too much money for it. So he says, "Pay up or fight my champion for it. If you win, you get it free." Smith accepts the challenge and beats the Bondian's challenger easily. After winning, the shopkeeper agrees to give them the drive for free, but not until after he sabotages it. Seeing this, Shanomar undoes the sabotage, after which Pelk and the others leave with a pristine warp engine. However, as they continue shopping, they come across a group of Lareshians that chase them across the station. Edmond's group soon loses them, stealing a warship belonging to Lord Talfard. They take it out into space, circle around, and then pick up their own ship.
Meanwhile, Za'gard, Talfard and several other Juinah lords meet as Azarath to discuss the war between them. It's also revealed that Tay'Tan and the Gayik'Von are closing in on the Juinah and are waiting for the right moment to pounce. As they argue amongst themselves, Pelk and the others return with the parts for fully repairing Destiny. Albert then gets busy, along with Taria and her friends, and begins the rebuilding process. As they do, Six Paws offers to teach them everything they need to know on how to use their new systems, of which they agree. At Azarath, Za'gard is warned of the pending attack and fights his way to freedom, sacrificing his fleet in the process, in order to allow him to escape. However, the rest of the Juinah lords and their fleets are not so lucky, as they, and Azarath, are exterminated. As Pelk and the others work to refit the ship, Za'gard, Dom Sevore, Trell, and a number of others work to take control of the Juinah through treachery and treason.
After two months of hard work, the Destiny's refit is complete. They take it out for a test flight and encounter a few issues during the flight, which they eventually solve. Although, at the same time, the limitations of the ship and her engines becomes clear as she's limited to just a paltry Warp 6, as anything about this creates instabilities in the engine that shake the ship violently. Meantime, Za'gard, having sorted out the problems in his kingdom, hears that Edmond and crew are heading back to Earth soon. So he plans to follow them as soon as they leave, and get his revenge against them by destroying their ship. Za'garg tries to destroy them as they leave Jalc, but is thwarted by Gayik'Von escorts that go with Edmond and his team. But, when they leave the Destiny, four days later, as they enter into Sol Space, Za'gard makes his move. However, as he begins his attack, attempting to destroy the Destiny, Tay'Tan shows up with his destroyer, the Kal'eck. He then coordinates with the Destiny to help bring down the Vargah. But, despite their best efforts, the Vargah is the superior party in this fight. Even so, the Kal'eck and the Destiny inflict considerable damage on the Vargah.
Eventually Za'gard's ship is so badly damaged that he's forced to withdraw. However, just when the Destiny and the Kal'eck are about to declare victory, two more Juinah warships show up, throwing the advantage firmly in Za'gard's favor. But, this advantage is only temporary as Gayik'Von reinforcements arrive and exterminate the two Juinah warships, saving the Kal'eck and Destiny at the same time. One of the Gayik'Von battleships then takes the little Destiny aboard their ship and helps them make repairs. Elsewhere, despite having fled almost certain destruction in Sol Space, fate catches up with Za'gard and he is destroyed by a group of six Gayik'Von battleships that shadowed him as they open fire on the Vargah and destroy it. Having completed repairs, and after Tay'Tan has time to speak with his son, the Destiny, and their new Gayik'Von friends return to Earth, much to the surprise of everyone in the Society. They welcome Destiny's crew home, as well as their new Gayik'Von friends. And, as they're celebrating Destiny's return, Sarah watches from a distance as she begins looking forward to studying the human race. The story then ends with an epilogue that gives a quick overview of what became of Destiny's crew, and the ship as well, which is housed at the Society's starship museum and on display to this day.
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