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Authors: Jasper T. Scott

Tags: #Science Fiction & Fantasy, #Science Fiction, #Colonization, #Exploration, #Genetic Engineering, #Hard Science Fiction, #Military, #Space Fleet, #Teen & Young Adult, #Space Exploration

Excelsior

BOOK: Excelsior
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Excelsior

 

 

by Jasper T. Scott

 

 

http://www.JasperTscott.com

 

@JasperTscott

 

 

Copyright © 2016 by Jasper T. Scott

 

THE AUTHOR RETAINS ALL RIGHTS

FOR THIS BOOK

 

 

 

Reproduction or transmission of this book, in whole or in part, by electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or by any other means is strictly prohibited, except with prior written permission from the author. You may direct your inquiries to [email protected]

 

 

Cover design by Tom Edwards ( http://tomedwardsdmuga.blogspot.co.uk )

 

 

 

This book is a work of fiction. All names, places, and incidents described are products of the writer’s imagination and any resemblance to real people or life events is purely coincidental.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cover design by Tom Edwards ( http://tomedwardsdmuga.blogspot.co.uk )

 

 

 

This book is a work of fiction. All names, places, and incidents described are products of the writer’s imagination and any resemblance to real people or life events is purely coincidental.

 

 

 

 

 

 Table of Contents

 

    Copyright Page

    Other Books by Jasper T. Scott

    Acknowledgements

    Dedication

    Dramatis Personae

    PART ONE: OPERATION ALICE

    Chapter 1

    Chapter 2

    Chapter 3

    Chapter 4

    Chapter 5

    Chapter 6

    Chapter 7

    Chapter 8

    Chapter 9

    Chapter 10

    Chapter 11

    Chapter 12

    Chapter 13

    PART TWO: WONDERLAND

    Chapter 14

    Chapter 15

    Chapter 16

    Chapter 17

    Chapter 18

    Chapter 19

    Chapter 20

    Chapter 21

    Chapter 22

    Chapter 23

    Chapter 24

    Chapter 25

    Chapter 26

    Chapter 27

    Chapter 28

    Chapter 29

    Chapter 30

    Chapter 31

    Chapter 32

    Chapter 33

    PART THREE: THE LAST WAR

    Chapter 34

    Chapter 35

    Chapter 36

    Chapter 37

    Chapter 38

    Chapter 39

    Chapter 40

    Chapter 41

    Chapter 42

    Chapter 43

    Chapter 44

    Chapter 45

    Chapter 46

    Chapter 47

    Chapter 48

    Chapter 49

    Chapter 50

    Chapter 51

    Chapter 52

    Epilogue

    

    ABOUT THE AUTHOR

 

 

 

 

Acknowledgments:

 

A big thank you to my wife for her support, and to my fans, who've read and reviewed my previous books. Thanks go out to my editor, Aaron Sikes, and to my volunteer editor, Dave Cantrell. Their feedback was crucial to polishing this book. Also credit goes to Tom Edwards for his jaw-dropping cover design.

 

Finally, thank you to all of my beta readers, … your names go here!

 

Thank you, all of you!

 

 

 Dedication

 

For my wife and all the other women who have shared Catalina’s struggles. And for all the veterans and the soldiers on active duty who know what it is to leave loved ones behind to fight a war you hate for a country that you love.

 

 

Dramatis Personae

 

 

 

 

The Crew of the Lincoln

 

 

 

Bridge Crew (White Deck)

 

O-6 CAPT - Captain Alexander de Leon

 

O-5 CDR - Commander Sirena Korbin

 

Ship's Executive Officer (XO)/Mission Counselor/Medic

 

O-4 LCDR - Lieutenant Commander Eduardo Stone

 

Starfighter and Drone Command/Mission Geologist/Head of Security

 

O-3 LT - Lieutenant Rogelio Williams

 

Sensor Operator/Mission Meteorologist/Quartermaster

 

O-3 LT - Lieutenant Luis Hayes

 

Comms Operator/Mission Technical Specialist/Senior Information Systems Techician

 

O-3 LT - Lieutenant David Davorian

 

Helmsman/Mission Astrophysicist

 

O-3 LT - Lieutenant Guillermo Cardinal

 

Weapons Chief/Mission Botanist

 

O-2 LTJG - Junior Lieutenant Viviana McAdams

 

Chief Engineer/Mission Biologist

 

O-2 LTJG - Junior Lieutenant Sofia Vasquez

 

Other Crew

 

O-4 LCDR - Lieutenant Commander Dr. Diego Crespin

 

Head of Ship's Medical Corps (Blue Deck)/Mission Microbiologist and Pathologist

 

O-3 LT - Lieutenant Seth Ryder

 

CAG, Commander of the 61st Rapier Squadron

 

O-3 LT - Lieutenant Julio Fernandez

 

Executive Officer of the 61st Rapier Squadron

 

Enlisted

 

E-6 PO1 - Petty Officer First Class Pedro Suarez

 

E-5 PO2 - Petty Officer Second Class Carlos Ramos

 

Civilian

 

Ambassador Maximillian Carter

 

Mission First Contact Specialist/Mission Documentarian/Minister Plenipotentiary

 

Alliance Leaders

 

President Ryan Baker

 

O-11 FADM - Fleet Admiral John Wilson

 

O-9 VADM - Vice Admiral Gaulle

 

O-8 RADM - Rear Admiral Leona Flores

 

Confederate Leaders

 

Chancellor Wang Ping

 

Minister Wang Jun

 

Admiral Chiangul

 

Admiral Zhang

 

Civilian Characters on Earth

 

Catalina de Leon

 

David Porras

 

Dorian Porras

 

 

 

Part 1 - Operation Alice

 

 

 

“Such then is the human condition, that to wish greatness for one's country is to wish harm to one's neighbors.”

―Voltaire

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter 1

 

“Don’t go, Alex.”

 

“I don’t have a choice, Caty. I go where they send me, remember? That was the deal. Move up North and pay for our upgrades with two terms of service.”

 

“But you’re almost done! Ten years was the deal. They can’t ask you to serve longer than that!”

 

“We’re at war.”

 

“It’s a cold war. No one’s shooting at you up there.”

 

“Fleet Command doesn’t see the difference.”

 

“It isn’t fair.” Catalina wiped her eyes and shook her head. She looked away, out to Anchor Station’s launch platform. Alexander followed her gaze. One of the climber cars sat waiting on the platform, big enough to be a skyscraper. Two more just like it could be seen rising one below the other on the opposite side of the elevator ribbon. The higher of the two was a mere glinting speck against the broad blue sky.

 

Alexander turned back to his wife. Her lower lip was trembling. As he watched, a tear ran down her cheek and landed on her lips. He leaned in and kissed it away.

 

“Don’t cry,” he whispered.

 

“How can you ask me not to cry? I don’t even know when you’re coming back—or if.”

 

“Shhh.” Alexander pressed his forehead against hers. “I will come back. Do you hear me? I promise.”

 

“Don’t make promises you can’t keep, Alex.”

 

“I don’t, Caty, you know that. I promised I’d get us out of the South, and I did. Life’s better now.”

 

“No, it’s not. Not if I don’t have you. It wasn’t supposed to be like this. You signed up for the oceanic navy, then they transferred you to space, and now they’re sending you away indefinitely! They won’t tell me how long you’ll be gone, or where you’re going… They tricked us, Alex! They’re sending you because your service is almost up. They don’t want to let you go.”

 

“Caty…”

 

“We should have stayed in the South.”

 

Alexander shook his head. “No. Even if I don’t come back, at least I was able to save you.”

 

“For what? So that I’ll live long enough to die alone when World War III breaks out?”

 

“That won’t happen. Neither the Alliance nor the Confederacy is that stupid. It’s all just posturing.” Alexander took a few steps forward and cupped Catalina’s beautiful face in his hands. “Listen to me. Time is nothing to us now. If anything we’ve got too much of it. If you can wait for me, I’ll find you. The maximum period they can send me away for is another ten years. That’s how long I would have been on reserve.”

 

Caty shook her head. “I’m only twenty-nine. Ten years is a third of my life! That’s not nothing.”

 

“Maybe not yet, but it will be.”

 

“You really think we can last that long without seeing each other? How do I know you’ll wait for me?”

 

“I can. I will. I’ll message you every day. It might take a long time for the messages to reach you, but they will. Count on it.”

 

Catalina shook her head. “What about children, Alex? We said we’d have three. A girl and two boys. We even had names picked out!”

 

“None of that has changed! It’s just delayed, and you don’t have to worry about your biological clock anymore.”

 

“That’s not the point. I don’t want you to leave me a widow, Alex!”

 

He shook his head. “I won’t.” He felt a knot forming in his throat, tied so tight he could barely speak. “I love you, Caty.”

 

Her face crumpled, and she broke down in tears. She rushed in for a hug and he held her, stroking her head, and offering more empty reassurances. Ten minutes went by like that and then came the final boarding call, booming out from the launch platform.

 

A pair of petty officers walked up to them, their spotless black uniforms shining indigo in the sun. One of them cleared his throat and stepped forward. He snapped to attention and saluted. “Captain de Leon! By your leave, sir… we are at T-minus thirty minutes and counting.”

 

Alexander nodded and kissed his wife goodbye.

 

“Wait, I have something for you…” Catalina said, reaching into her pocket.

 

Alexander watched as she produced a shiny golden locket on a chain and handed it to him. There was an engraving on one side that read,

 

Time is an illusion.

 

-Albert Einstein

 

And another engraving on the other side that read,

 

Love is the only truth. Let mine be yours.

 

-Catalina

 

Alexander’s mouth curved into a sad smile, and his eyes grew warm and blurry as he turned the locket over and over in his hand.

 

“Aren’t you going to open it?”

 

He looked up and nodded quickly, blinking away tears. He depressed the catch at the top of the locket and it sprang open, revealing that it was actually an old mechanical pocket watch with a real photograph—not a hologram—of him and Caty on the inside front of the case. It was all so anachronistic, a kind of physical proof for Einstein’s side of the watch—Time is an illusion. The kiss Caty was planting on his cheek in that photograph was the proof of his wife’s side—Love is the only truth. Let mine be yours.

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