About The Book
Captain Starcrost is not having the carefree, adventurous life of a star pilot promised in all the space academy brochures. He’s broke, his star freighter is in dire need of repair, and there’s a bounty on his head. His desperation has led to a foolhardy quest to find a fabled treasure that brings good fortune to the wearer, the Emerald Enigma.
Every captain needs a trusty starship and a crack team of crew members by their side. Unfortunately, the bitter pill of reality has brought him Iris, a ship computer with passive aggressive resistance to his commands; Blix, a hulking, copper-scaled, lizard man with an aversion to battle; Nelvan, a time-traveling teen from the past, oblivious to this new future; and Jasette, a beautiful but deadly bounty hunter looking to take over the ship.
Enter a charismatic and clever nemesis named Hamilton Von Drone, whose dark past has already intertwined with our misfortunate captain and left a painful scar. To complicate matters, as every good nemesis must by their evil nature do, Hamilton is employing his vast wealth on the very same quest for the Emerald Enigma.
Paul Regnier is a technology junkie and web designer with a fascination for all things futuristic. He has turned his childhood love of storytelling into a professional pursuit.
Paul lives in Orange County, CA with his wife and two children.
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We set off down the port side and stopped a quarter of the way down the hall. Without a word we got to work unfastening the utility panel and hefted it onto the floor. I poked my head into the dark chute and looked up. A narrow passage rose up, with a bright square outline at the end revealing the exit panel to the bridge above.
I reached into the dark chute and felt around blindly until the cold metal rung of the ladder hit my palm. “You ready?”
Blix peered in and wrinkled his nose. “I just showered.”
“Follow me, that’s an order.” I started up the ladder, keeping my eye on the thin square outline of light above. The air was as musty as it comes. I coughed into the arm of my jacket. I vaguely remembered a passage in the starship manual about flushing maintenance vents at every refueling.
The soft metal tones of Blix climbing the ladder rungs echoed from below. I thought about how smart it would have been to come up with a plan of attack before we had entered the chute. Now it was too late. We had to be quiet as mice to maintain the element of surprise. I had a grand vision of leaping through the maintenance panel of the bridge, DEMOTER drawn, and blasting the intruder into oblivion. It was going to be glorious.
I reached the panel and tried to peek through the cracks. Unfortunately it only granted a view of the floor from the base of the navigation chair. I could just make out a pair of black shoes in the center of the room, but it was hard to be sure.
I looked down to send a signal to Blix that I was headed in but it was all murky grey light beneath me. I decided that after I blasted the panel off the wall he’d get the message.
Grasping the top ladder rung with one hand, I drew the DEMOTER with the other. I held it toward the panel and took a deep breath.
This was going to be fun.
I squeezed the trigger and the sharp explosion of an energy ray resonated through the chute with a horribly amplified echo. A spray of hot sparks ricocheted back at me as the panel flew into the bridge in a trail of smoke.
A dull ringing filled my ears. I rubbed my face against the shoulder of my jacket, trying to remove the painful sparks, as a burning smell filled my nostrils. It was entirely possible my hair was on fire. This was not at all going as I imagined.
The unconscious Jasette hovered upright in suspended animation. The containment field made her blue and silver hair whip slowly about her face as if she were under water. An opaque blue cylinder of glowing energy surrounded her, giving off a slight hum and the faintest hint of cinnamon. I like cinnamon. Whenever I can manage it, I opt for the cinnamon upgrade.
With her eyes closed she reminded me of the beautiful fembots that line the cavernous castle hallways of Mar Mar the Unthinkable. Hundreds of gorgeous robots that stand motionless like statues until someone dares to upset the delicate temperament of Mar Mar. It isn’t difficult. He might have one bad grape and fly off in a rage, summoning a wave of vicious fembots into the royal kitchens to obliterate the cooking staff.
“Is she okay?” Nelvan stood next to me, his sad, puppy eyes looking up at Jasette.
“Who cares?” I glared down at him. “She almost terminated us and you’re wondering if she’s okay?”
Nelvan lowered his head, a look of shame on his face. I was starting to like having him around. It gave me a quick, cheap sense of power.
“Her hair is rather magnificent, wouldn’t you say?” Blix looked on from the containment grid control panel nearby. His fingers were delicately working the touch screen controls as if creating symphonies on a synthboard.
“Sure, whatever. How’s the power level?” I took a sip of velrys and braced myself for the news.
“Sixty four percent.” Blix said. “Perhaps the energy cells were drained from her little escapade.”
“Yeah, well, she’ll pay.” I scowled up at her. “Computer, what’ya got from the uniweb on our prisoner?”
“Conflicting results, Captain,” the computer said. “The initial scans showed her as a peace ambassador from the Klebborse sector.”
I huffed out a laugh. “Peace ambassador?”
“Subsequent scans uncovered additional profiles including: Star Ranger, Interstellar pastry chef, Lounge singer, advanced weapons specialist, freelance feral cat juggler, remote colony grief counselor—” The computer said.
“Hold it. How many professions did you find?” I said.
“Two thousand, three hundred and forty seven.”
I looked over at Blix with raised eyebrows.
“Interesting.” Blix tapped on his scaled lips with a finger. “A bit of unraveling will be required for this puzzle.”
I took a step closer to the containment field and studied her a moment. Her black power suit, sleek and custom fitted as it was, obviously held some powerful little computerized secrets. Plus, her beauty was disarming, which made for a lethal combination. I had to get rid of her before she tried any more of her tricks.