Commander Charles Kwetche is appointed to the elderly NASA frigate, Cabot; his mission, investigate the disappearance of the European cruiser Onbevreesd in the Jovian system. As he probes into the loss, Kwetche finds a deepening mystery involving the exobiological expedition of an industrial conglomerate; the alarming actions of a United Nations cruiser, and a mysterious signal aimed at Europa.
European Space Ship Onbevreesd:
46 Million Kilometres from Jovian System
16 December 2070
Captain Rasia Osmuska pulled the end of her ponytail from her lips as the gentle whir of the cabin’s single air vent, a nebulous white noise as ubiquitous as the deep thrum of the fusion generators or the high pitched sigh of pressurized fuel lines, faded until the intruding silence grew overwhelming. She allowed the compu-pad she had been reading, detailing the Engineering Officer’s latest Operational Defect Report, to float before her.
“Kurwa mac,” she muttered as she wiggled over in her vertical zero G sleeping bag and tapped an icon on the computer display beside her.
“Machinery Control Room, Engineering Officer of the Watch,” answered a bored voice.
“Captain here,” Osmuska said. A glance at her clock said it was nearly 02:05 Earth Standard Time. Checking her annoyance she asked in halting English, “My ventilation just crash. What is matter?”
“Air Processing System Two dropped offline with an overheating alarm. The Chief’s on it,” the EOOW replied, his voice suddenly attentive and serious.
Osmuska rubbed her face, willing the edge from her voice.
“Understood. Keep on it.”
A faint unpleasant odour emanating from her nightshirt reminded her that the failed air processing system was only the latest mechanical issue to strike the Onbevreesd. Last week, the ship’s laundry failed, and the difficulty in replacing one simple yet key component had proven to be an annoying and very pungent headache. Osmuska wrinkled her nose and sighed in disgust.
“Must wash in shower tomorrow,” she said as she grasped the compu-pad drifting before her. She tapped the glossy surface and scrolled through the preliminary Operational Defect Report received from the Chief Engineer a few hours ago. It was an alarming read, and one that she had been musing over these last few hours, for it meant a difficult decision.
|Denzel Washington||as Commander Charles Kwetche|