The future is broken. Garth ‘Nickels’ N’Chalez doesn’t know how he knows the future is broken, but after being invited to enjoy a ten-year stint in Trinity’s officially-unofficial crew of roughnecks and madmen known Universe-wide as Special Services in lieu of paying for … accidental damages to a Tynedale/Fujihara mining facility, there’s no one better to make that assessment.
And from his point of view, it couldn’t be more broken.
But he’s gonna find out, even if it kills him, because it’s not just the future of the Universe that doesn’t make sense, it’s his whole damn life; being woken up from deep cryosleep –in a spaceship that technically shouldn’t exist- and being told that you and the other fourteen people you were found with napped away the last thirty thousand years of Human expansion across the Universe and then being interred for an entire year so you can be grilled non-stop by an increasingly angry Historical Adjutant who fell just shy of actual torture and then being politely told that since you were the only one to not be killed in a rather fantastic and wildly violent, destructive bid for freedom, you get to pay for the umpty-gazillion dollar facility can kind of make a guy feel like something’s wrong, dreadfully wrong, with everything, everywhere.
The fact that he has highly specific amnesia about who he is, what he and the other fourteen were doing in the ship, why they were there, how the ship was constructed, well, that only hammers home the whole ‘everything is broken’ feeling. But Garth Nickels can sure as hell tell you anything you might ever want to know about the A-Team. Or Bugs Bunny. Or Rob Zombie. But nothing historically significant.
Well, Garth did his bid in Special Services and made quite a name for himself. Granted, it’s a name he’d prefer stay lost to the darkness across The Cordon where he did horrible, awful things in the Trinity AI’s name, but it’s a name nonetheless. During that time, the thirty-thousand year old Specter discovered that he not only has the same kind of powers and abilities as those who got killed during their escape, his seem to grow in direct correlation to the threat. He has become a man of strength and speed, of violence and mayhem, and he does not like it.
But he’s free now, from the haunting Specter he became, free to hunt for something that he suspects might only be a dream: somewhere out there, in the depths of Trinityspace, there is a ship the equal of the one he and his fourteen cryosleep buddies were discovered in. The dreams tell him there are answers within, and he’ll do anything at all to find the answers to who he is, and how the future is broken.
Garth’s quest takes him to Latelyspace, the last of the Sovereign Systems, thinking the task ahead would be easy.
How wrong can one man be?
As it turns out, very.
Garth's exploits on the Latelian home world of Hospitalis set in motion a chain of events that will have him labeled Foreign Devil before he's done. It'll take every ounce of self-control, patience and luck one Universe-weary ex-Specter can muster, but will it be enough?
About Lee Bond
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Published May 1, 2011
Science Fiction & Fantasy, Literature & Fiction.