Young Jim Endicott has but one dream -- to attend the Solis Space Academy, the gateway to the stars and the far-flung civilization known as the Confederation. But unbeknownst to Jim, he has a secret encoded in his DNA. A secret that threatens an empire.
Jim's Academy application sets of an explosive chain of terror, hurling the young man into an adventure beyond his wildest dreams. With the help of a beautiful fellow outlaw named Cat, who is as tough as she is tender, Jim begins to unravel the shocking truth about his own origins -- and uncovers the fatal deception that has split a bitter humanity into warring factions bent on mutual annihilation.
About the Author
William Shatner's career as an actor, director, producer, screenwriter, recording artist, author, and horseman has spanned more than fifty years. One of pop culture's most recognizable figures, he is also a major Hollywood philanthropist. Shatner and his wife and three married children live in Los Angeles.
Read an Excerpt
The space cruiser grew slowly larger against the vast sweep of stars, shining, white, overwhelming in its power. Jimmy Endicott hung in the virtual dark, in utter silence, his heart pounding at the approach of the great ship. He could smell the tang of his own nervous sweat, almost feel the vacuum strain against the imponderable mass of the vessel. It was a perfect meshing of man and machine that, for him, embodied the highest hopes and deepest dreams of all humankind.
Someday I will be a part of you, and you of me. Someday you will call me Captain.
The splendor of endless space was breathtaking. Jimmy felt a momentary vertigo, as if he were actually falling forward into the approaching maw of the cruiser. Reflexively he put his hands forward to shield himself from the impact
"Jimmy! Turn that thing off. Dinner's on the table, birthday boyo. Eat it now or I'm throwing it to the hogs."
The ship began to break up before his eyes; long cracks snaked across its perfect surface, showing fading stars beneath. Then, as he reached up and gently tugged the cyberjack from its socket beneath his right ear, the entire virtual vision vanished, and he found himself staring at the mundane walls of his room.
Jimmy blinked and glanced at the doorway.
Hogs? Where'd you find a hog, Mom? Can I have five minutes?"
"Five minutes? You sure that's all?" Tabitha Endicott said.
"Sure, Mom. Just one little thing ... Okay. Wash your hands first."
He swung his swivel chair until it faced his desk. "Computer, generate Me 'academy application' and print it. "
Obligingly,his "axe"the name everybody used for Universal Access Units, the miraculously small machines that allowed access to the InterworldWeb, also called the Wobbly for reasons nobody remembered anymore-responded by printing out a copy of his preliminary application for entrance into the Solis Space Academy.
He closed his eyes as he visualized that legendary military space school on distant Terra, thirty light-years from his small room in a house in Prima City, the capital of Wolfbane, the first interstellar human colony. What a leap, of both distance and imagination. But he would make it, he promised himself. He would become part of the quest, as humanity took its first steps into the far reaches of the universe. Or, he thought, feeling embarrassed at his own melodrama, he would die trying.
He checked over the application a final time, making sure that everything was filled out correctly. It was just a preliminary application, but Solis Academy took only the best of the best, and the entrance process was long and grueling. Small mistakes counted. The earlier he started, the better his chances would be.
Name, James No-Middle-Initial Endicott. Age, sixteen. As of today, at least ... Height, five feet, eleven inches. Weight, 165 pounds. Hair, dark brown. Eyes, green.
Interests: Weight training, tae kwan do martial arts, track and field, computers, theater, exobiology, personal weapons training. He stared at this litany. His life had always been a busy one. But did this look too much like the lifestyle of a boy unhealthily obsessed? Striving a little bit too hard for perfection, maybe? He shook his head. Ask Dad about it, see what he says.
Parents. Carl and Tabitha. Endicott. What a banal entry for the two people who meant more than anything in the world to him. What could he say? Mom and Dad, and that was it. All and everything. "Supply complete genotype records for applicant and parents." That would be the subject of the conversation at dinner. Part of his little surprise. Today was his birthday. He knew they would plan something special for him tonight, and now he would do the same. He tried to imagine how his dad would feel when he showed him the application. He had always told him, "Son, do your best. You might as well aim as high as you can, and put everything you have into it. There is no shame in failure, only in never having tried at all."
Jimmy Endicott nodded to himself. It was good advice, and now, with this scrap of intelligent paper, he took the first step down the long road of fulfilling it.
He stood, folded the paper and stuck it in his shirt pocket, then headed for the bathroom to wash his hands. He was sixteen. He still did what his mom told him to do.
He hummed softly while the fresher sprayed water and odorless disinfectant on his palms. There might be no shame in failure, but he didn't care. He had no intention of discovering whether that was true or not. Failure? Failure was for other people.
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