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As launch approaches, Michael initiates changes that he sees as necessary if he succeeds, eventually, in persuading his crewmen to accept his wild plan, so as to keep Cleo safe. He announces that since the voyage home could take an Earthyear, seven people will engage in activities intended to keep them productively busy. Each will engage in pure research on a project of his choice, and six will offer courses to Leonard, who lacks an advanced degree. That announcement generates a huge surge of excitement. Riding the crest of that eagerness, Michael sets the crew scouring the station for the scientific equipment they’ll need.

Cleo, who had begun a fascinating line of research before the Columbians arrived, sees this opportunity as a last brief reprieve before she must face a merciless enemy and suffer the consequences of mounting her rear guard action. Never free now from the fear of what will happen when they arrive, Cleo resolves to store up happy memories that will sustain her through the rough times looming ahead. While building their booty into Eleven, Nigel’s former crewmen test the life-support system, which successfully functions independently of the station’s system.

Michael and Marvin perform the direly risky launch of the escape vessel. To Michael’s vast relief, the Phoenix (formerly Section Eleven) flies like the proverbial bird. Once again Captain of a functioning ship, Michael organizes the work aboard. As worried as the Captain regarding what could happen to Cleo upon their return, Nigel persuades her to undergo the demanding physical training routinely given to military recruits. Once again, he sparks an outburst of virulent anger in Cleo, but this time, his reasoned explanation of his motives dissolves her ire, and finally sheds some light on the enigmatic personality of a man she learned to love long before she understood him.

Michael places Nigel in charge of the fitness program. The Lieutenant offers a proposal that shocks the Captain to his core. Nigel then volunteers an explanation of the factors that have altered the emotions driving him, further shocking Michael. The two men achieve an accord deeper than any they had ever before managed, and make a beginning at genuine friendship.
At long last, Michael makes the eloquent appeal to his crew that he planned almost from the start, regarding the wild plan guaranteed to alter all their lives. Breathlessly, he awaits their response.

This action-filled narrative forms the third volume of the ninth novel in a series of nine books portraying an ongoing saga of futuristic action, adventure and romance.

About Mary Ann Steele

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Published January 9, 2008 by Double Dragon eBooks. 281 pages
Genres: Science Fiction & Fantasy, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

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