When the supergiant star Antares exploded in 2512, the human colony on Alta found their pathway to the stars gone, isolating them from the rest of human space for more than a century.
When a powerful warship materializes in the system without warning, the commanders of the Altan Space Navy are alarmed. They dispatch one of Alta’s most powerful ships to investigate, only to discover the unknown behemoth is battered and helmed by a dead crew.
This is disturbing news for the Altans as the defeated battleship would have easily defeated the whole of the Altan navy on it’s own. And if that ship was able to stumble into the Altan system, so too could the force responsible for its destruction. Something must be done.
It is the 24th Century and humanity is just gaining a toehold out among the stars. Stellar Survey Starship Magellan is exploring the New Eden system when they encounter two alien spacecraft. When the encounter is over, the score is one human scout ship and one alien aggressor destroyed. In exploring the wreck of the second alien ship, spacers discover a survivor with a fantastic story.
The alien comes from a million-star Galactic Empire ruled over by a mysterious race known as the Broa. These overlords are the masters of this region of the galaxy and they allow no competitors. This news presents Earth's rulers with a problem. As yet, the Broa are ignorant of humanity’s existence. Does the human race retreat to its one small world, quaking in fear that the Broa will eventually discover Earth? Or do they take a more aggressive approach?
Whatever they do, they must do it quickly! Time is running out for the human race...
The Makers searched for the secret to faster-than-light travel for 100,000 years. Their chosen instruments were the Life Probes, which they launched in every direction to seek out advanced civilizations among the stars. One such machine searching for intelligent life encounters 24th century Earth. It isn't sure that it has found any ...
It is the 43rd century and humanity occupies a substantial chunk of the Orion Spur, the small galactic arm in which Sol is located. Homo sapiens Terra has become Homo sapiens Galactica.
Following the invention of faster-than-light travel in 2530, the Great Hegira went from a trickle to a flood as human-occupied space expanded at an exponential clip. Over the centuries, rivalries grew, as did star system navies. When widespread war finally came, it raged across entire sectors.
Mass bombardments of enemy planets took their toll. Much that had been built during the preceding thousand years was smashed in flashes of nuclear fusion.
A dark age descended. Eventually, a new Pax Galactica took hold. The return of stability brought with it a renaissance. Much knowledge that had been lost was regained.
Much, but not all.
On worlds across human space, parents told their children stories of a place where once dwelt knights and princesses, magicians and dragons, where bold warriors sallied forth to victory or defeat.
What the children did not learn was where this magical place could be found. The years of chaos had robbed them of that information. The stellar coordinates of Sol were lost.
And with them, the location of Planet Earth.
A World Asunder
A century after civilization fell in a day and a night of tectonic cataclysm, scattered communities have regained a fraction of what humanity lost on that Day of Destruction. One such is the Duchy of Hampshire on the southern tip of England.
Hampshire is at war with the Califat de Normandie. It is a war that has been profitable for merchant sea captain Ethan Scott of the Sailing Barque Hellespont. Despite the money to be made, Scott prays for the war to end. Each time he puts to sea, he risks his ship and the lives of his crew on his ability to evade the Norman raiders in the Channel and the Eirish Sea. It is a gamble he will inevitably lose if he keeps at it too long.
The Duke of Hampshire has problems of his own. War is expensive. If he doesn’t find additional resources soon, he will be defeated. The Duke plans to send an expedition to North America to discover whether the fabled wealth of old still exists there. For that, he needs a ship.
Scott’s chance meeting with a beautiful woman presents both men with the solution to their respective problems. Soon Hellespont sets sail for America and the mysterious Wall that scholars believe precipitated the fall of civilization, and which may yet destroy the world.
When the sun flared out of control and boiled Earth's oceans, humanity took refuge in a place that few would have predicted. In the greatest migration in history, the entire human race took up residence among the towering clouds and deep clear-air canyons of Saturn's upper atmosphere. Having survived the traitor star, they returned to the all-too-human tradition of internecine strife. The new city-states of Saturn began to resemble those of ancient Greece, with one group of cities taking on the role of militaristic Sparta ...
Starhopper was humanity's first interstellar probe.
It was designed to search for intelligent life beyond the solar system. Before it could be launched, however, intelligent life found Earth. The discovery of an alien light sail inbound at the edge of the solar system generated considerable excitement in scientific circles. With the interstellar probe nearing completion, it gave scientists the opportunity to launch an expedition to meet the aliens while they were still in space. The second surprise came when Starhopper's crew boarded the alien craft. They found beings who, despite their alien physiques, were surprisingly compatible with humans. That two species so similar could have evolved a mere twelve light years from one another seemed too coincidental to be true.
One human being soon discovered that coincidence had nothing to do with it ...
A Discovery Of Major Impact ...
The new comet found near Jupiter was an incredible treasure trove of water-ice and rock. Immediately, the water-starved Luna Republic and Sierra Corporation, a leader in asteroid mining, were squabbling over rights to the new resource. But all thoughts of profit and fame were abandoned when a scientific expedition discovered that the comet's trajectory placed it on a collision course with Earth!
As scientists struggled to find a way to alter the comet's course, world leaders tried desperately to restrain mass panic, and two lovers quarreled over the direction the comet was to take, all Earth waited to see if humanity had any future at all ...
Duncan MacElroy was an ordinary engineering student before he went out for a six-pack of beer one night and never came back. Instead, he found himself embroiled in a war for the dominance of Paratime, as well as defending our own particular version of Earth from predators on both sides of the battle lines. For he quickly discovered that "parallel universes" aren't, and that a single individual can make all of the difference in the worlds!
Eleven works of shorter speculative fiction that run the gamut of time and space.
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