New book Sample “Never Home Again”

Chapter 1: Trapped

Carron would never span the stars again. The damage was simply too severe to fix without a full yard refit. As the nearest yard was over five hundred light years away, and they were out of subspace contact with home as well as being far off course, they would likely never see home again.

Not that they could not let home know what happened, and that they needed help. That had already happened, at least in part. The message had been sent. It was just that, with the damage they received, it would take the message years to reach the nearest relay point before it could be beamed home.

Hopefully the navigator’s fix was close enough so that they would actually find the relay point with their beam. With the relay being 75 light years off, the soonest they could expect help was around one hundred years from now. While the trip out would be fast, the final run in to the system would take several years. There was simply too much junk drifting around to use hyper into the system. Flying at sub hyper speeds they would need to go very slow to avoid running over some of that junk.

Carron was on the side of a large moon. The moon, in tidal lock, forever faced away from the blue ball it circled. The moon, however, did not have air. The planet did. It was even, almost, breathable, after a fission. The pressure, even at the surface, was a bit high. The overpressure of nitrogen would be toxic at that pressure, but fortunately, there were nice, lovely mountains. Those mountains, being higher up in the atmosphere, were at lower pressure. Nitrogen would not be such a problem.

Nun looked across the shuttle bay where the last of the shuttles were being loaded. Everything had been carefully shut down to await help from home. He would not live to see that help arrive but perhaps his children would. After all, the year of this new planet was very close to the year of their own planet. On the mountains, the air was even very close to home. If one could avoid the lower realms of this world and the incredible heat, it could be almost like home.

There was an incredible diversity of life on this planet. One species, even showed a small bit of intelligence. Still, these creatures were very primitive. This made things easier, primitive creatures, would be simpler to control. To primitive people like these, Nun knew that they would appear to be gods.

Nun smiled! He had often wondered what it would be like to be a god. Now he was about to find out. One thing was sure though; if the samples brought back by the scouting party were any indication, they would not starve. In fact, one of the life forms tasted pretty good.

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Chapter 2: Fire in the Sky

The night was still, and all of the sheep had settled down. Even the watchful dog’s were laying down as nothing seemed to stir in the night. Aaron looked over the sleeping forms with watchful eyes. After all, it had only been a few days since several men, trying to look as if they were wolves, had tried to steal the sheep. Fortunately, he had several good dogs. The thieves had found that Aarons sling arm was accurate against men, just like it was against wolves.

His camp was well suited to his purpose, guarding the sheep. He was on one side of a small pass overlooking a high valley where the sheep were grazing. The other end of the valley led higher, into the mountains. In front and to the rear of his camp, the pass leading to the low-valley floor below. From the high side of the valley, the primary threat was from animal, his dogs could take care of that. On his side, it was usually men, men who were trying to steal the sheep.

His eyes swept toward the twinkling lights in the sky above. It was still well before moon rise, so the inky blackness of the sky was a tapestry of brilliant points of light. He was about to return his attention to the sheep when at the horizon he saw it.

Just above the distant line of trees, there was a star which should not be there. Aaron knew what the sky should look like. He had watched it almost every night since his tenth birthday. When the sky was clear enough to see the stars above, the velvety vault captivated his attention. Like many men before him, Aaron wondered what those tiny points of twinkling light were. He knew that, by the patterns they made in the sky, you could tell what time of year it was. In fact, farmers grew their crops based on the stars above. As for his sheep, stars told when to move them to the high pastures, and when to move them to the valleys below.

The stars were a constant. That is; most of the points of light in the sky were. There were the wondering stars. What seemed stranger, some of those wondering points of light seemed almost fuzzy. The wanderers just did not move right. At different times, different numbers of the wondering stars seemed to trace the vault of the night-sky. He had been told that there were five of these wanderers, but he had never seen all of them in the sky at once. He looked up, sure enough two of the wanderers were in the sky tonight.

Aaron had once been told that the wondering stars were god’s moving across the sky. While Aaron had never really believed that, still how could he be sure that they weren’t the gods? She shivered at that thought.

Strangely, tonight, there seemed to be a new, wondering star. This star should not be where it was. More important, the star was moving. One thing that fifteen years of staring at the night sky had taught him, stars don’s move! While it was true that the wondering stars did not move with other stars during the year, when they were visible during the night, they moved with all of the other stars. It was only when viewed over a number of days or months that it was possible to see that they were not where they should be in relation to the other stars. This star was actually moving. Not over days or months, but now! This star was not only moving; it was getting bigger. Much bigger!

It was then that he started to hear the sound. It was a deep roaring sound, almost like the sound made by a distant water fall but vaguely different. There was some roaring of this sound almost like a beast growling a warning. Terrifyingly it was getting louder. As the star grew bigger, the sound grew.

Suddenly the dog’s were all barking, and the sheep were on their feet ready to bolt. Aaron called helplessly to his dogs. All of the dogs were yapping; yelping almost as if they were in pain. Suddenly the sheep bolted, and Aaron was startled to see that the star had become a building with fire coming out of it’s bottom. He had never seen such a site and found that he was standing alone at his lonely perch above the valley floor. All of the sheep and the dogs had run away.

Aaron knew that he should run too. But, for some reason, he was not able to force his legs to work. That terrifying, flying building got larger. Growing as it got closer and louder. With a crackling roar which was so loud that it actually hurt, the building started to settle in the valley which had, until a few moments ago, held most of his sheep.

It was a monstrous thing. Even with the thing being over one hundred of paces away, he still felt the heat from the fires below. This sky building could not be a fallen star! Or could it? Perhaps it was raised up from the underworld into the sky just out of the range of his eyes. That would be just like the inhabitants of the underworld, trying to fool any mortal who saw the thing.

The fires sputtered and went out. With the fires, went his vision. For an instant, he was afraid that the beast had destroyed his eyes. It was then he realized that the brilliant light given off by the house had made him night-blind, just as one would become night blind by looking into a camp fire.

When ever he was alone like now, he always only had fires during the day, and well away from where he would spend the night. At night, he left the fire dark. Even in the winter on cold nights, it was usually seeing was better, than being warm.

Aaron moved to the back side of a rock, providing himself some cover from this flying house. It seemed like he moved just in time too as the night was suddenly lit as if by the noon day sun. Hiding in the shadow of his rock, he dared not look around to see what was happening until the light receded.

When dark returned, he chanced a look around the edge of the stone toward the building which flew. He had seen the builders kites, and had heard that other flying things existed far away, but never had anyone told him of flying buildings. As he watched, the side of the thing opened and several creatures came out.

His mind was stunned. The giants were here!

———————-

I hope you enjoy the first two chapters of my new work. Please let me know what you think.

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