A reluctant hero. A daughter in distress. A human colony to save.
When astrobiologist Jules Rammis returns to Earth after saving the Terran colony on planet Tartarus, he hopes to spend some quiet time with his six-year-old daughter Lisa, who has inherited his telepathic skills. Their plans change when a powerful denizen of planet Halcyon summons them both to his pristine world to destroy a Terran ravager, the Dream Czar of Halcyon.
Reluctant to take his daughter with him on such a dangerous mission, he soon learns that the alien will not take no for an answer. After the infuriated creature threatens to kill them both and destroy the treacherous community of Terrans on Halcyon, Jules has no other option but to accept the mission.
Can Jules keep his daughter safe, complete the mission and save the inhabitants of Halcyon before it’s too late?
The second book in Jean Kilczer’s Star Sojourner Series, Halcyon Nights is a standalone novel, and can be enjoyed even if you haven’t read other books in the series.
I hit boosters, lunged skyward. Beneath me the trio set up their weapon. ”Shit!” I exclaimed as an explosion rocked the hovair. Below me, a boulder on a hill did a million years of eroding in a second that was very split. Tickbag whined and slid across the metal floor, his claws trying to dig in as we tore into the night sky. I felt his fear as another layer of my own. The comp corrected for buffeting winds as I made a dash for the other side of a hill. I flicked on my console screen and saw people swarm to their air vehicles on the Flats below. Six sets of headlights lifted and followed me as I headed for the hills. I switched my screen to nightvis, scanned, found a tight box canyon and dived into it. Too bad the ship’s sensors couldn’t see around corners! Too bad it wasn’t equipped with a satellite tracking link. I checked rear visuals. The lights swooped down behind me. Those rads had the oysters for this box canyon, all right!
“Follow this!” I muttered, flew a nape-of-the-earth line inside the canyon, saw moon-silvered boulders and pine trees rush by like a stream. “Hang on, Tickbag!” I banked, headed for a cliff wall and yanked back hard on the stick.
My stomach caved against my backbone as the sheer ridge dropped away and the hovair streaked skyward in a shuddering climb that pinned me to the seat. Tickbag whined. I heard his claws scrape as he tried to get a grip. With my teeth clamped I hung onto the stick and watched a windscreen of stars. Through my port window, I saw the pursuing craft rise to follow.
“Here we go!” I muttered, slowing, and threw on full reverse thrusters. The hovair lurched over its right wing in a sickening dive. Tickbag howled. I sympathized as we plummeted. “And here we go again, son of a bitch,” I warned the frightened dog, tugged back on the stick and forced the sport craft into a pull-up that seemed to defy Einstein’s laws of gravitational wells.
I leveled, forced out a breath and bored toward my pursuers. Lights parted from the pack as two craft separated and left me a hole. When you act crazy, even your enemies give you some space. Red flashes from the leader’s wing stingers went wide.
A burn of hatred in my mind. There it was again! A tel-link. I felt the leader’s anger, his determination. He’d have to take me or lose face.
Then I was past them. They’d be a long time doubling back. Shit! The leader’s craft rose to follow me in that wingover maneuver. He’s scared, though. I can’t block out his desperate attempt to fight panic. He concentrates hard on guiding his ship. But he hasn’t grown up with hornet cubs, as I have. Didn’t spend months with nothing better to do than push the limits of his skill in self-destructive despondency up there in the sky. A cold grip of fear in my stomach as his hand freezes on the stick. He’s too close to —
The cliff! I project to him. Pull her up! I moan as his silent scream rips through me and his craft explodes into the rock face. Terror! Inside my chest. Terror as the great void opens. Alone. I try to shake the link as he drifts into geth, the Loranths’ name for that state between lives. Alone through a black chasm. A scream without a voice. Jesus and Vishnu! I’m locked with his spirit. I bank the hovair, circle above the blazing ruin of his ship, and project soothing thoughts to the poor bastard. Geth state’s peaceful, I send. And fun. You’ll like it there. I kept an eye on the returning pack of hovairs.
A light from within the well of the leader’s death. His kwaii, soul in Terran, drifts toward it, hungers for it.
See you in the next life, brother, I send before his final break with this life, and try to cut the link, afraid he’ll take my own spirit with him. I bank the hovair away.
Gone now. His kwaii. Where I can’t follow. Not yet, anyway.
My ears still rang from the roar of the tag’s exploding ship. In the eerie red glow I glanced back at Tickbag. His bulging eyes caught fire points of light and he whined pitifully. Did he wish he were back in the bar, being kicked by the grizzled drunk? Couldn’t blame —
“Cull!” A woman’s voice came through my radio. I maintained silence as I climbed. ”You’ve won the night and we salute your skill and courage. We’re prepared to make you an offer you can’t refuse. Join us. The pay is good, the rewards are many. It’s important to have family.”
“Already have family,” I lied.
“Then have a nice life, superstar.”
“You too, rad. Keep your Geiger charged and don’t take any hot creds.”