Unfamiliar Territory, Chapter 3“Captain Bova to the bridge.”
The request was met with a stir and an irritated groan.
“Captain, you’re needed on the bridge.”
The groan was louder this time, but the recipient still refused to budge.
Finally Hudson Bova sat up, shook the fog of sleep out of his head, and reached over to tap the comm panel set into the wall. “Yeah, okay, what is it?” He blinked and looked at the clock display. “Shouldn’t you be asleep?”
“Judi woke me up,” said the voice on the other end. “She picked up something on her scopes.”
Bova sighed and swung his legs out over the edge of the bunk. “Alright, alright, I’ll be right there” he said, the last word lost in a yawn.
There was movement underneath the blanket next to him, and a bronze-skinned hand came to rest on his arm. “Something wrong?” Moira Blish mumbled groggily from the pillow, her dark almond eyes still half-li
Unfamiliar Territory, Chapter 2“Everything ready on your end, Doctor?” Mathilde said into the radio microphone.
“As ready as we’ll ever be, Mathilde!” Doctor Schwachkorb’s voice said, his voice small and tinny out of the small speaker grille set into the Trans-Universal Rocket’s control panel. “You’re cleared for liftoff. Good luck, Dash!”
“My luck is always good Doc,” Dash said as he pulled the lever to engage the rocket’s turbo-boosters and the silver finned dart lifted vertically from the launch pad. As the rocket rode its trail of flame into the sky, leaving behind the Space Command Jupiter base and the moon it was built on, Dash glanced back at his companions. “Well Plugg, how’s the ride so far?”
“Smooth as silk old buddy,”said Plugg Hardclench, running a hand over his seat’s bakelite armrest. As Dash Manhunk’s oldest and most trusted friend, Plugg had accompanied him on many adven
Unfamiliar Territory, Chapter 1The doors opened with a soft hiss, and Dash Manhunk strode purposefully into the Research and Development Laboratory on Space Command’s Jupiter base. As he moved his tall, muscular frame through the cluttered labyrinth of computer banks, racks of glassware, and machines that seemed to serve no other purpose than to beep and print arcane readouts Dash felt his lantern jaw clench with barely controlled disdain. He had little patience for scientists, always immersed in their theories and measurements and experiments. He was a man of action, and couldn’t help but view anyone who would rather spend their lives in these laboratories, hunched over their chemicals and screens, twisting dials and fiddling with calculations, with distrust and contempt.
“Ah, Dash, my boy!” Doctor Ekelhaft Schwachkorb looked up from a bank of readout displays as Manhunk approached. “So good of you to come!”
“Let’s skip the pleasantries Doc,” Dash said dismissiv
The WallThe wall was old. Even its more recent sections had stood for centuries, weathering the elements, wind and rain, plant and beast. Many miles of its length were covered with vines and other plant growth, so thick that a man could plunge his arm in up to the shoulder and just barely brush the stone with his fingertips. The wall held the memories of thousands of years, silent witness to great battles, famines, plagues, and revolutions. It had been a distant backdrop to the Cult Wars, and had been crossed during the Age of Explorers nearly six hundred years later. No one knew who its original builders were, or why they had felt the need to erect such a structure, enclosing over a tenth of the supercontinent’s landmass within one continuous ribbon of stone and masonry. Some claimed it had been erected as a deterrent to hostile tribes inhabiting the lands outside, citing as evidence the remains of what looked like ramparts on some sections. Others claimed it had been built to change th