Book Five of the Jack Commer, Supreme Commander Series

Airman, Later Colonel, Laurie Lachrer, USSF copyright 2013 by Michael D. Smith

Nobody ever considered that the fascist Alpha Centaurian Grid, linking twenty trillion citizens of the seventeen suns of the Alpha Centaurian Empire to their psychopathic Emperor, might turn out to have an important benefit to Sol. The United System Space Force embarks on exploration beyond Alpha Centauri only to encounter a far worse predator that, unknown to anyone, has been kept at bay for thousands of years by the Centaurian Grid. What exactly lies outside our comfortable circle of firelight?

The Wounded Frontier is forthcoming from Double Dragon Publishing.

Synopsis

General John J. Douglas copyright 2014 by Michael D. SmithAfter the 2075 restoration of a benign telepathic Grid to Alpha Centauri, Supreme Commander Jack Commer returns home beset by bad news: his son’s housekeeper K’ufunb just suicided in a spaceship via a failed Warp Transfer, Mars is panicked by the renewal of the Grid, and ship’s engineer Draka Sortie is resigning to marry Martian Empress Mandy. Navigator Will Connors announces he’s quitting as well, and embarrasses Physician/Engineer Laurie Lachrer by revealing that the two recently started dating.

To top it, the star Iota Persei, 34.36 light years from Sol, has disappeared, and the USS Jupiter is destroyed there after encountering a Dyson sphere 967 million miles wide. Jack readies the untested Typhoon V for Iota Persei, assigning Laurie to the ship and asking a reluctant Will to stay on as navigator.

Two Heroes and Villains of the Thirties robots, molded on a famous dead General Douglas and a teenaged Laurie Lachrer, demand that Senior Martian Scientist Kner equip them with Illegal Human Artificial Genitals, but Kner botches the surgery and flees the robots in his private saucer. He’s hurtled to the Iota Persei sphere, flung backwards in time to the moment the Jupiter was destroyed.

After his Martian HAVOTT robot M’rrpla rams the saucer into the sphere, Kner finds himself running an infinite corridor of multicolored blocks. K’ufunb, who killed herself with Warp Transfer and is now a logical pattern emanating from the blocks, explains that Kner has come to Garr/thahg, the Alpha Centaurian afterlife, and that she’s been here herself for twenty billion years.

Stymied by multiple acts of treachery, Jack Commer and the crew of the Typhoon V are captured at the Iota Persei Dyson sphere by the Wounded, a race that kills suns to create spectacular quasar artworks fifteen billion light years away.

Characters

Jack Commer, Supreme Commander, United System Space Force
Amav Frankston-Commer, Jack’s wife and planetary engineer
Colonel Laurie Lachrer, Typhoon III Physician/Engineer
General John J. Douglas, the Alien Hunter, killed by terrorists in 2034, reconstituted as a robot
Kner, Senior Martian scientist
Z’B, Martian infant, eighteen years old
Mandy Frederick, Empress of the Martians
Draka Sortie, President of the United System Council
Commander Lee Borman, Typhoon V Weapons Officer and United System Senator
Commander Will Connors, Typhoon V Navigation Officer
K’ufunb, Fkuuh scrubwoman
M’rrpla, Martian robot pilot
General William C. Scott, Supreme Commander of the United System Space Force, retired

Contents

1. Leaving Andertwin
2. The Castle
3. A More Vigorous Government
4. Consort to the Empress and Other Irregularities
5. Maybe a Touch of that Star Drive Anxiety After All

6. Iota Persei
7. Spaceport Chaos
8. Aboard the MATS
9. Meeting in Progress
10. The Angry Debates about the Grid

11. The Existential Equation
12. General Scott
13. Message for the Council!
14. The Pavlovian Response
15. Never Underestimate Anyone

16. We Haven’t Probed Very Far for Several Reasons
17. Douglas Buys Laurie
18. Borman the Amplified Thought Adept
19. The Martians at 2075
20. The Operation

21. Laurie and Laurie
22. Recycled for You!
23. Aboard the M’rrpla
24. The Two-Hour Mission
25. Physiological Effects

26. At the Sphere with Amplified Xons
27. The Recognition of a Fellow Machine
28. SABHAVOTTR!
29. Typhoon III Sort of to the Rescue
30. Z’B

31. I Am Here to Gather Everything!
32. The Journey
33. The Wounded on the Sunlit Plain
34. May I Explain the Process of Assimilating You?
35. A Development We Can’t Explain

36. The Negation Array
37. Spherequakes
38. The Long Walks
39. The Equation at the Top of Trans-Simultaneity
40. I Know a Quintillion Ways of Repairing Your Neural Circuits

41. The Black and White Emperor

All words and images copyright by Michael D. Smith