In the aftermath of a battle, a ship drifts helplessly in space. Is the strange new warship they were fighting still out there? Will it come back for them? Commander Johnson faces a desperate race to get her destroyer back into action and save her crew.
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"This is an incredible work ... suspense, mystery and intrigue."
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"It is excellent. For those of us who enjoy a 'Star Trek' style of science fiction, his tale is a 'must' read."
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'Independence' is a free short story (6000 words) in the Two Democracies: Revolution series.
The bridge was a mess of confusion. The only light came from the few working consoles and the occasional flash of a shorting circuit. A klaxon howled in the background, almost drowned out by the rush of fresh air from the vents. A flicker. In that brief moment of illumination the crew appeared frozen in their tasks. Another flicker. A new tableau was presented. One more flicker, then the emergency lights stayed on.
Commander Johnson ran through the priorities drilled into her since she had started Command School. Life support: Repulse was leaking air and down to emergency power. Sensors and comms: all external feeds down, internal net patchy. Weapons: the spinal railgun was useless now that the reactor was offline and the control system for the plasma cannon had been overloaded. Propulsion: docking thrusters only, she couldn't even jump.
Not only were they still alive but it looked like they might have taken out a Republic hunter-killer. She had been sure they had it, but then they'd lost their sensors.
"Get me an external camera. Now.” She coughed on acrid smoke from burning plastic that still lingered despite the emergency flush. “Priority over everything bar life support."
She had to know if it was still out there. She had to know if it was coming to finish them or limping off hurt. She couldn't make decisions without information.
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