The Lost Fleet: Beyond the Frontier: Dreadnaught

BOOK: The Lost Fleet: Beyond the Frontier: Dreadnaught
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Table of Contents
 
 
Ace Books by Jack Campbell
 
THE LOST FLEET: DAUNTLESS
THE LOST FLEET: FEARLESS
THE LOST FLEET: COURAGEOUS
THE LOST FLEET: VALIANT
THE LOST FLEET: RELENTLESS
THE LOST FLEET: VICTORIOUS
THE LOST FLEET: BEYOND THE FRONTIER: DREADNAUGHT
THE BERKLEY PUBLISHING GROUP
Published by the Penguin Group
Penguin Group (USA) Inc. 375 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014, USA
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Penguin Books (South Africa) (Pty.) Ltd., 24 Sturdee Avenue, Rosebank, Johannesburg 2196, South Africa
 
Penguin Books Ltd., Registered Offices: 80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England
 
This is an original publication of The Berkley Publishing Group.
 
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental. The publisher does not have any control over and does not assume any responsibility for author or third-party websites or their content.
 
Copyright © 2011 by John G. Hemry.
 
All rights reserved.
No part of this book may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or electronic form without permission. Please do not participate in or encourage piracy of copyrighted materials in violation of the author’s rights. Purchase only authorized editions. ACE and the “A” design are trademarks of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.
 
 
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
 
Campbell, Jack.
The lost fleet : beyond the frontier : dreadnaught / Jack Campbell. p. cm.
eISBN : 978-1-101-51403-0
1. Space ships—Fiction. 2. Imaginary wars and battles—Fiction. I. Title. II. Title: Dreadnaught. PS3553.A4637L’.6—dc22
2010054262
 
 

http://us.penguingroup.com

To my uncle Oliver Holmes “Rick” Ulrickson, who sailed for his last home port in May 2010. The youngest in my mother’s family, with six older sisters, he somehow survived childhood to serve in the Navy, work in aerospace (including NASA’s Johnson Space Center Mission Control tracking system), and mentor many students at Texas Christian University. He was an amateur historian, he read a lot, he sang, and he was active in the civil rights movement in the sixties and seventies, but his proudest achievement in life was undoubtedly his family. You’ll be missed, Uncle Oliver.
 
For S., as always.
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
 
I remain indebted to my agent, Joshua Bilmes, for his ever-inspired suggestions and assistance, and to my editor, Anne Sowards, for her support and editing. Thanks also to Catherine Asaro, Robert Chase, J. G. (Huck) Huckenpohler, Simcha Kuritzky, Michael La Violette, Aly Parsons, Bud Sparhawk, and Constance A. Warner for their suggestions, comments, and recommendations. Thanks also to Charles Petit for his suggestions about space engagements.
THE FIRST FLEET OF THE ALLIANCE
 
ADMIRAL JOHN GEARY, COMMANDING
 
SECOND BATTLESHIP DIVISION
Gallant
Indomitable
Glorious
Magnificent
 
FOURTH BATTLESHIP DIVISION
Warspite
Vengeance
Revenge
Guardian
 
SEVENTH BATTLESHIP DIVISION
Colossus
Encroach
Amazon
Spartan
 
FIRST BATTLE CRUISER DIVISION
Inspire
Formidable
Brilliant
Implacable
 
FOURTH BATTLE CRUISER DIVISION
Dauntless
(flagship)
Daring
Victorious
Intemperate
 
SIXTH BATTLE CRUISER DIVISION
Illustrious
Incredible
Invincible
 
THIRD BATTLESHIP DIVISION
Dreadnaught
Orion
Dependable
Conqueror
 
FIFTH BATTLESHIP DIVISION
Fearless
Resolution
Redoubtable
 
EIGHTH BATTLESHIP DIVISION
Relentless
Reprisal
Superb
Splendid
 
SECOND BATTLE CRUISER DIVISION
Leviathan
Dragon
Steadfast
Valiant
 
FIFTH BATTLE CRUISER DIVISION
Adroit
 
FIFTH ASSAULT TRANSPORT DIVISION
Tsunami
Typhoon
Mistral
Haboob
 
FIRST AUXILIARIES DIVISION
Titan
Tanuki
Kupua
Domovoi
 
SECOND AUXILIARIES DIVISION
Witch
Jinn
Alchemist
Cyclops
 
THIRTY-ONE HEAVY CRUISERS IN SIX DIVISIONS
First Heavy Cruiser Division
Third Heavy Cruiser Division Fourth Heavy Cruiser Division
Fifth Heavy Cruiser Division Eighth Heavy Cruiser Division
Tenth Heavy Cruiser Division
 
FIFTY-FIVE LIGHT CRUISERS IN TEN SQUADRONS
First Light Cruiser Squadron
Second Light Cruiser Squadron
Third Light Cruiser Squadron
Fifth Light Cruiser Squadron
Sixth Light Cruiser Squadron
Eighth Light Cruiser Squadron
Ninth Light Cruiser Squadron
Tenth Light Cruiser Squadron
Eleventh Light Cruiser Squadron
Fourteenth Light Cruiser Squadron
 
ONE HUNDRED SIXTY DESTROYERS IN EIGHTEEN SQUADRONS
First Destroyer Squadron
Second Destroyer Squadron
Third Destroyer Squadron
Fourth Destroyer Squadron
Sixth Destroyer Squadron
Seventh Destroyer Squadron
Ninth Destroyer Squadron
Tenth Destroyer Squadron
Twelfth Destroyer Squadron
Fourteenth Destroyer Squadron
Sixteenth Destroyer Squadron
Seventeenth Destroyer Squadron
Twentieth Destroyer Squadron
Twenty-first Destroyer Squadron
Twenty-third Destroyer Squadron
Twenty-seventh Destroyer Squadron
Twenty-eighth Destroyer Squadron
Thirty-second Destroyer Squadron
 
FIRST FLEET MARINE FORCE
Major General Carabali, commanding
3,000 Marines on assault transports and divided into detachments on battle cruisers and battleships
ONE
 
INNUMERABLE
stars like brilliant diamonds carelessly flung across endless space shone upon the hull of the civilian passenger ship. Bright, but cold, their light far too distant to give any warmth, the stars formed constellations in which humans tried to find meaning. Admiral John “Black Jack” Geary, watching those stars, thought about the fact that the constellations changed depending on where you were, but the meaning of it all somehow didn’t change.
He just wished he knew what that meaning of it all was. He had lost one battle, long ago, and discovered much later that the loss had meant something much different than he had imagined. Lately, he had won much bigger battles; but what those meant, what his future would be from this day forward, remained as uncertain as whatever messages the stars wrote across the sky.
The passenger ship had exited the hypernet gate at the particular star known to humans as Varandal. Over the dozen decades since it had been built, the ship had traveled between many stars, and while the stars themselves had burned on unchanging to the naked eye, the ship had felt those years. Men and women had worked to keep its systems functioning and its hull strong, but where the life of stars was measured in billions of years, the life spans of human creations were often less than a century.
This ship was old, moving almost as deftly as ever, but feeling the accumulated stress of years in the materials from which it had been built. It should have been replaced long ago. However, a civilization caught in a seemingly endless war couldn’t afford such luxuries; instead, it diverted those resources to warships to replace countless other warships lost in countless battles.
But on this voyage, now that peace had come a month ago, the crew had spoken of rumors of new ships. No one knew for sure. So far, peace hadn’t brought any major improvements, hadn’t brought money or lives to replace what had been lost in the long war with the Syndicate Worlds. No one even knew exactly what “peace” was. No one living had been alive the last time humanity knew peace, before the Syndics attacked the Alliance a century ago.
No, that wasn’t right. One man still living had been alive then, miraculously surviving a century in survival sleep to lead the fleet to victory, to bring this peace, which somehow felt not all that different from the once-endless war that had finally come to an end. And now he looked at the stars and wondered what new turns awaited his life.
Alliance government warns of threat to all humanity from alien race.
Geary lowered his gaze back to the news headlines scrolling under the star display. “When we left Varandal a few weeks ago, the existence of intelligent aliens was still supposed to be secret.”
Sitting on the bed nearby, Captain Tanya Desjani glanced over at the headline before resuming her scrutiny of a ration bar. “We fought a battle with them. The whole fleet knows they’re out there.” She waved at another display set on one bulkhead, the new ring on one of her fingers flashing a moment as the star sapphire set within it caught the light.
BOOK: The Lost Fleet: Beyond the Frontier: Dreadnaught
6.42Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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