Authors: Tom Bielawski
Tags: #Science Fiction & Fantasy, #Science Fiction, #Adventure, #Heck Thomas
A Heck Thomas novel
This is a work of fiction.
All of the characters and events portrayed in this novel are products of the author's imagination.
Any resemblance to real persons or events is purely coincidental.
The Orion Deception Part One Copyright 2012 by Tom Bielawski.
All rights reserved.
Cover art created and copyrighted by Tom Bielawski
"Tom Bielawski is a bright light in today's dark sea of new writers. His writing gives me hope for the next generation of dreamers. I highly recommend both him and his works."
-NYT Bestselling author, Tracy Hickman.
"Tom is a great new literary voice in a sea of indies."
-Bestselling independent author, MR Mathias.
A few words about Cystic Fibrosis (CF):
I am a CF Dad; someone I love needs a cure. CF is a genetic, inherited, disease that affects the lungs and digestive systems of about 30,000 children and adults in the United States, and 70,000 worldwide. A defective gene and its protein product cause the body to produce unusually thick and sticky mucus that:
-clogs the lungs and leads to life-threatening lung infections;
-obstructs the pancreas and stops the natural enzymes from helping the body break down and absorb food.
This disease used to be a death sentence. Now, more and more people with CF are living into their 30's, 40's and beyond. And that is thanks in large part to organizations like Cystic Fibrosis Foundation (CFF) and others who have supported and driven the research community with awesome fundraisers, studies, and media attention. Please support CFF.org, Cystic Life (cysticlife.org), Boomer Esiason Foundation (esiason.org), or any other great organization that is helping to fight this terrible disease.
Heck Thomas sat at the controls of his cruiser,
drifting away from the
as he watched the remnants of the wormhole disappear from his scanners. Gone. Just like that.
he demanded silently.
Why couldn't I save her?
Anger surged through his veins as the ship's sensors lost the final traces of the wormhole. Anger at God, at the terrorists who did this to him, at himself. Then he became torn by emotions that conflicted with his savage fury. Grief, sadness and anger; all ripped his spirit to shreds along with his rapidly slipping grasp on his self-control.
was a powerful cruiser and it was very capable of delivering the wrath of his fury upon the nearby
, the flagship of the modern criminal organization dedicated to replacing the Commonwealth with a communist dictatorship state.
was the place where his girlfriend, Detective Laylara Espinosa of the Moon Police Service, had been held prisoner over the past few days and used as leverage to force him to recover the lost technology known as the Centaurus Project. At the same time he was framed for the destruction of the
and the murder of her crew, as well as the murder of a Secret Service agent and the kidnapping of Detective Espinosa,
became a wanted fugitive. His career and his life had been destroyed.
He had a lot to be angry about.
Slowly his breathing came back under control and he was able to reach through the red haze of hatred and flip the switch on Business Mode, that state of mind where the career lawman forced all his emotions into a mental strongbox, surviving solely on cold logic. Finally, he could think again. This was no time to get lost in a panic of emotion; it was a time for revenge. Cold, hard, revenge.
scanners had recorded the exact location of the wormhole before it vanished. Now there was just cold, empty, space taunting him with gently flickering stars and drifting asteroid debris. The Centaurus Device beckoned to him from its place on his console, its activation light blinking ominously. Heck held his finger amid the holocontrols of the Centaurus Device, thinking about the choice before him. Could he do it? Could he brave the unknown for her? Did he really love her that much?
Truth is, I just don't know.
And the not knowing was what shamed him the most. The wormhole was gone, but the device that he now possessed would reopen it for him. He just didn't know what would happen when it did. No one did. The Centaurus Project had been a secret project to explore wormhole science long ago. Several manned and unmanned expeditions went through the wormhole, and nothing had ever returned. The project had been scrapped.
What would happen when the device activated and ripped a hole in the very fabric of time and space? What would happen when he passed through that very hole? Would his ship be torn to pieces? Would he be transported to the Centaurus System as most scientists of the time had thought? If so, only God knew what he would find there.
He thought about that for a while, slowly drifting toward the location of the wormhole. The adventurer in him wanted to go through with it. He had no family left in the System, and his closest friend had become a traitor. A dead traitor. But the cop in him was a bit more practical and warned of all the different ways this could end badly. Did it matter? Did he really want to continue policing for a government so troubled with corruption?
Just then his sensors went wild, and alarm chimes activated indicating hostile missiles were inbound from three directions at once. He quickly shoved the throttle forward and engaged his thrusters. The missiles were inbound fast and he didn't know enough about the workings of the Centaurus Device to trust that the wormhole would offer him an avenue of escape. So he trusted in
and took evasive action.
The holocontrols scanned and identified the inbound missiles as Commonwealth Ruger Class missiles, the same used by the Marshal’s Service and the Bureau.
"Attention, this is Commonwealth Marshal's Service Cruiser
! Stop firing!" he shouted over the Commonwealth hailing frequency.
When he received no response he activated his missile countermeasures, hoping to fool the missiles with false signatures and radio jamming.
"Stop firing dammit!" he shouted over the hailing frequency as he spiraled and rotated his craft to avoid the missiles.
But the only answer came in the form of concussive blasts of cannon fire. The cannons used by the Commonwealth Fleet and police services were used mainly to create explosive forces to alter a fleeing spacecraft's trajectory and interfere with its maneuvering capabilities. Heck was having a difficult time keeping his cruiser under control from the barrage of cannon fire, even though he had not suffered a direct hit. A direct hit from one of these cannons could have devastating consequences.
"What the hell?" he shouted. "I am a Commonwealth Marshal! Cease fire! Cease fire! Cease fire!"
The countermeasures he deployed from
seemed to be working and the missiles were drawn away from his cruiser. But the cannon fire was still doggedly trailing him, making it exceedingly difficult to get his cruiser up to top speed. Heck suspected his pursuers were, in fact, Bureau agents sent after him. But why wouldn't they at least talk to him on the radio? Why not demand his unconditional surrender? He knew what the Bureau was after, though he was genuinely shocked that they would resort to murder to get it.
"So you want the Centaurus Device after all, eh Director Hall?" he snarled, deciding that he might as well get in a parting shot over the hailing frequency. "And I thought you were better than that slug, Gem Revelier!"
The enemy didn't rise to the bait, however, and the disciplined foes maintained their radio silence. Heck was in trouble, he was outgunned and outnumbered. Bureau cruisers were every bit as powerful as his own, and there were at least three of them on his scans. They should have killed him by now.
"You can't have it, Hall!" he shouted. "And you won't risk destroying it along with my ship. So why don't you just force someone to make you a new device?"
He was answered by a barrage of heavy machine gun fire from a pair of the Bureau cruisers. While he had been able to dodge most of the 50 millimeter bullets, a few got close enough to
for the Phalanx Defense System to activate and vaporize them.
That was close
, he thought grimly, wiping sweat from his brow.
If they can't have it they might just take my advice and blow me away!
Heck took advantage of the brief lull to go on the offensive and turned off the radio. He singled out one cruiser and flew straight at it while he launched a barrage of missiles at the other two. He fired
50mm cannon at the ship before him and chased it as it maneuvered out of his path. Heck had no desire to engage all three of those cruisers in a dogfight he could not win. But his furious, if brief, offensive forced his attackers to react to him instead of continuing their own barrage. His plan worked, and the enemy cruisers were forced to flee and evade the missiles and bullets that
sent toward them, giving him the precious seconds he needed to reach open space. As he zoomed out from between the three enemy ships now coming about to attack again, Heck vented
empty fuel cells.
A cloud of nearly invisible vapor spilled out behind
just as a Ruger missile homed in on Heck. As the lawman had expected, his enemy was still trying to incapacitate his ship with concussive forces rather than destroy it. And when the missile detonated in the vapor cloud, the ensuing explosion created a blinding flash of light and a burst of spectrum interference that made the enemy ships' sensors simply go offline.
Heck Thomas rocketed away from the wormhole at
top speed and headed into the perilous and ever moving debris cloud of the Asteroid belt. As he had hoped, his pursuers had not followed. He piloted
into a crater on a large asteroid and anchored the cruiser to the surface, shutting down all systems but basic life support. The temperature inside the cabin grew colder and his nose and ears grew chill. Heck wondered just what the Hell was he going to do now.