In 2205, we learned the answer to one of the oldest questions of all time. Are we alone? They brought medicines with them that nearly wiped out diseases, and extended the human lifespan into the centuries. They helped us study advanced technologies, and expand our colonies hundreds of lightyears from Earth. It was a golden age that many thought would never end.
Then their enemies brought War to us all. We gave them a belly full of it. We drove them out of Alpha Centauri and assembled the largest, most powerful fleet that had ever flown under Terran banners. Third Fleet was our best hope to defeat them and bring a quick end to The War. Their first strike was at Epsilon Reticuli. It failed.
In the aftermath of Epsilon Reticuli, the heavy cruiser Los Angeles leads the remnants of her squadron back to Alliance space with information that could change The War forever. But Los Angeles will soon find that the enemy has not been idle while Third Fleet sailed, and returning home will be far more difficult than she or her crew ever imagined.
First Printing, May 2015
Revised Second Printing, August 2017
About the Author
Hello, my name is Medron Pryde, and I am the creator of Jack of Harts. Jack of Harts is a place I hope you like. It’s a place where we did things right, where we built a world we would be happy for our children to grow up in. It’s not perfect. There is conflict. But by and large, we made the hard decisions, and we did what needed doing. We made a good world. I know today that stories tend to go much more dark than that, dystopian futures where we have destroyed our world or enslaved our populations. Places where even the Good Guys are more dirty and hairy than they are clean-shaven and happy. Jack of Harts is not like that. It’s not a world where somebody takes a step forward to fix something and gets knocked two steps back. I don’t like those worlds. I don’t want to spend a lot of time imagining them. Jack of Harts is based in many ways on what I grew up wanting. I was raised in a Christian home, told to do onto others as you’d have them do onto you. I watched Bonanza, where the Cartwrights helped anybody who came along needing it. On Superman, I watched the Big Blue Boy Scout (even if he was in black and white) fighting the Bad Guys each week for Truth, Justice, and the American Way. On Quantum Leap, a man lost in time always found a way to make the world he dropped into each week a little bit better. On Star Trek, a bunch of people I liked traveled through the stars to go places that no man had been to before…because it was there. In Battlestar Galactica, Buck Rogers, and Star Wars, the plucky outnumbered heroes came back swinging with a smile, a joke, and a hearty laugh, and they never gave up hope that they could find or build a better world to live in. These are the stories I grew up with. These are what I enjoy, and these live on in my optimism. In Jack of Harts, I try to capture that. The characters of Jack, Charles, and Aneerin, just to name a few, are all people who lived in a world before The War came. When that happened, they aren’t the people who crossed the border to hide from the draft, the people who gave up hope and found a bottle or a needle to hide behind. These are the people who stood up, walked into a recruiting office, and volunteered to defend their ways of life. They may cover it up by saying they’re just in it for the money, or because that person over there just needed taking care of. But don’t let that fool you. They are the best of us, a reflection of the true Big Damn Heroes who grab a rifle, a pistol, and a bulletproof vest (or maybe a fireproof suit) to protect our freedoms and our lives everyday. Jack of Harts is a place where I like to think these people would like what they see. It’s a place I enjoy going to when I write, with people I’d like to share a beer with. I’ll keep it that way. I hope it’s a place you’ll enjoy reading, and I hope you come back each day or maybe each week to read some more. So have a good one, and I hope to see you again. Medron Pryde