Gene Roddenberry's Andromeda: Through the Looking Glass

Gene Roddenberry's Andromeda: Through the Looking Glass

by Josepha Sherman

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781429980579
Publisher: Tom Doherty Associates
Publication date: 05/26/2005
Series: Gene Roddenberry's Andromeda , #4
Sold by: Macmillan
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 240
File size: 272 KB

About the Author

Josepha Sherman has written over 50 books, including Star Trek, Highlander, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and Xena: Warrior Princess tie-ins. Her original works include Son of Darkness and The Shattered Oath. She also has written many short stories, along with young adult novels, folklore works, non-fiction titles and children's books. She lives in New York City.


JOSEPHA SHERMAN has written over 36 novels, including Star Trek, Highlander, Buffy, and Xena tie-ins. She also has short story and anthology credits to her name, along with folklore and original fantasy and science fiction novels. She lives in New York City.

Read an Excerpt

Gene Roddenberry's Andromeda

Through the Looking Glass


By Josepha Sherman, James Frenkel

Tom Doherty Associates

Copyright © 2005 Tribune Entertainment Company and Fireworks Entertainment, Inc.
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-4299-8057-9



CHAPTER 1

ANOMALY


Do not go gentle into that good night.

— DYLAN THOMAS


A better idea than that: Don't go there at all.

— DYLAN HUNT


It was, Captain Dylan Hunt thought, downright pleasant to, for once, be able to actually relax a little, settling back peacefully in his command chair. It was the first time in ... however long it had been ... that he'd had a chance to do this. A long time since he'd been able to acknowledge that, aside from it being a captain's command chair, with all the emotional impact that came with that status, the thing was actually rather comfortable.

All around the Andromeda Ascendant there was nothing but nothing, a nice, empty patch of space. It was the type of utter emptiness that was (assuming that your ship was in excellent working order and you had plenty of oxygen and other necessary supplies) downright peaceful in its lack of anything or anyone else. For a short time at least, Dylan thought with an inner smile, there was no one to fight, no one to attempt to befriend, no one to debate or otherwise try to persuade to join them or, for that matter, to leave them alone.

There was just open space, Andromeda Ascendant, and her small crew, who for once were not even arguing with each other.

Beka and Rommie — the latter there as a shimmering image "standing" next to Beka's console — were carrying on a quiet conversation that sounded as if it were about ancient and modern methods of navigation.

Seamus Harper, off with no one but a few bots in the Machine Shop, was happily working on a new, improved star analysis device with all the eager enthusiasm he always put into a new project.

Tyr Anasazi, completely alone and apparently liking that fact very much, was just as happily working out in Hydroponics, AKA (to him at least) the shipboard gym. For all Dylan knew, the Nietzschean was even trying once again to figure out what Dylan saw in that old Earth game, basketball.

Rev Bem was on the Observation Deck, lost in a tranquil Wayist series of meditations and, as far as the monk was concerned, not alone at all. He was at one, presumably, with the universe.

And Trance was doing, well, whatever it was that Trance was doing wherever it was she was doing it. No telling with her.

Just one big family, Dylan thought with a touch of wry humor . That's us all right. One big, really weird, really dysfunctional family.

Still, it wasn't a bad idea for everyone to have a few moments of downtime. Good for morale.

Including mine.

And of course the downtime couldn't last. Without any warning, Trance came rushing onto the Command Deck, her eyes wide and wild and their vision not quite focused, clearly seeing more than one level of existence or probability.

"Something's wrong!" she cried. "Almost wrong! Something is going to be wrong!"

Well, that was perfectly clear. For Trance.

"Could you be a little more specific?" Dylan began carefully.

But then Rommie broke in over his voice, starting up almost exactly at the instant that Trance finished. "Dylan, there's a good and immediate reason for her warning. My sensors are picking up something ..." She paused, clearly making some swift analyses, then shook her head in an almost human fashion. "I don't know how to put this into words. I'll just say that we are about to get caught up in some truly strange disturbances in the space-time continuum."

So much for peace and quiet, Dylan thought.

All around the ship, what had been open space a moment ago suddenly exploded into a wild swirling of colors and patterns — red-violet, electric blue, green, gold, and colors that made no sense to human eyes, everything flashing, blazing and changing — fractals, spirals, eerie pinwheels of matter and glowing space dust. There should have been sound; the human brain wanted sound, maybe even some grand, cymbal-crashing music, to go with all that sudden chaos.

Beka summed it up for them all. Staring at the suddenly bizarre region of space erupting around them, she said, "What the hell is that?"

But without waiting for an answer from Rommie or anyone else, Beka sent Andromeda into a sharp banking turn to the left, so suddenly and with such force that Dylan just barely clamped his hands down on both arms of his chair in time, fighting to keep from being hurled right out of his seat.

"And what the hell was that?" he asked.

"Sorry. Didn't want to run us into ... whatever that was."

"Anomalies." Rommie's voice was filled with static, and her formerly steady image rippled wildly in the air in front of Dylan, breaking up and reforming again and again.

There were times when Dylan forgot that Rommie wasn't human. And times when he was starkly reminded that she wasn't. Like right now. "What kind of anomalies?" he prodded.

"They ..." There was the pause that meant Rommie was going through all her computer data. "There are numerous wormholes and ... other, more unknown phenomena." Through the static, she managed to sound, well, almost embarrassed at having to admit that she didn't know what they were. "Some of the wormholes are merely pinholes, but others could swallow us if we make a mistake. And none of them are stable."

"'We' meaning 'my,'" Beka said under her breath, just loudly enough for Dylan to hear.

Rommie ignored her, smoothly continuing, "What's more, there is no predictable pattern to their appearance or size."

"Yeah, right," Beka muttered. "I know the drill: Activate Live Pinball in a Pinball Machine Maneuver."

That was, a stray wisp of memory told Dylan, an archaic game from old Earth, one that was still found in some spaceport bars — which was presumably where Beka had learned about it. An archaic game, maybe, but he got the point.

"Hang on, everyone!" Dylan broadcast.

Over the next few minutes, Dylan silently agreed that, yes, being a Live Pinball in a really warped Pinball Machine really was what it felt like, with Andromeda twisting and diving and all but tying herself into knots without warning. Hanging on for dear life like everyone else, Dylan found himself suddenly wondering what would happen if only part of the ship, say maybe one of Andromeda's engines, slipped into one of those constantly opening and shutting wormholes.

Not physically possible. I hope.

"Ships," Beka said suddenly, her voice tense with concentration. "Off starboard. A fleet of them."

"Rommie, report," Dylan ordered.

"They are unfamiliar ships," Rommie added after a pause as she put their images on-screen. "I have nothing on them in any of my databanks." She sounded a bit embarrassed about that, too.

Dylan frowned. "Beka?"

She spared them a quick glance, and then returned to her grim-faced "pinball" piloting. "New to me."

"Anyone?"

Trance shook her head. "N's" came in from Rev Bern, Tyr, and Harper.

The ships didn't look like any that Dylan had ever seen, either. Of course, that in itself wasn't very alarming, or even very surprising. Space was, to put it mildly, big, and there were many space-faring races out there, more than even Rommie could have cataloged.

She could, however, do a lot with what was available. After a few seconds, Rommie began efficiently rattling off statistics for the other ships, almost as though trying to make up for her previous lack of hard data: relative speed, relative size, relative weaponry.

She, Dylan thought, staring at the images on the view screen, could have added "relative beauty or lack thereof" to her categories.

Granted, starships didn't have to be streamlined, not as long as they stayed safely out in the frictionless vacuum of space and didn't enter any planetary atmospheres. But even allowing for that fact, the six vessels making up the approaching fleet could only be called one thing: downright ugly. They were as graceless and bulky as cargo freighters — but their engines looked alarmingly powerful, far more than any normal freighter would need. And those were definitely gun ports on their dull gray hulls.

Dylan frowned. "There's no reason to think them hostile, not yet. They're probably just caught up in the same rough patch of space —"

"They're powering up weapons," came from Tyr, who had practically dived for the weaponry console.

"— and then again," Dylan continued, "maybe not." How they hoped to hit anything, let alone a ship moving as swiftly and unpredictably as Andromeda in all this chaos ... "Hold your fire, Tyr."

"But —"

"Hold your fire! You're not going to be able to hit them any more than —" He broke off abruptly as a blast of red fire shot from one enemy ship ... and missed them by so wide a margin that it looked like a distant comet.

"Any more than they can hit us," Dylan finished levelly. "Get my point? Rev, you there?"

"I am," came the calm answer over the comm.

"See if you can open up any sort of communications with them. Find out who they are. And why," he added as another blast was fired off ... and once again missed them completely, "they seem to hate us so much."

Meanwhile Beka was continuing her fierce swoops and turns of Andromeda without a second's hesitation, her lips back from her clenched teeth in a silent, determined snarl. At least, Dylan thought, they didn't have to worry about her being distracted from her work, even by unknown enemies with lousy aim. She was a pilot first and foremost.

"Sorry, Captain," Rev Bem said suddenly. "Nothing. Whoever they are, they most definitely don't want to talk with us."

"Why am I not surprised?" Dylan retorted. "Keep trying."

"I'm firing back at them!" Tyr snapped.

"No, you are not!" Dylan ordered. "Tyr, be sensible!" Assuming, of course, that a Nietzschean warrior with his blood up could be sensible. "Even you couldn't hit a target under these circumstances. And no, damn it, that wasn't a challenge! Don't waste ammunition, got it?"

There was a mutter of something hot-tempered from Tyr that Dylan prudently refused to hear. But at least Tyr seemed to have gotten the point of what Dylan was saying because he didn't fire.

"Good," Dylan said, "but now let's see about —"

Beka's frantic yell cut across his voice. "Look out! Everyone — look out!"

Rommie's image winked out. Andromeda Ascendant slewed roughly sideways in space, for the moment utterly graceless, and Dylan —

— was suddenly enveloped in dazzling blue-white light, unable to see, barely able to hear —

We've been hit! he thought wildly. One of the anomalies, whatever it is, whatever it's doing to Andromeda —

"Dylan!"

That was Beka's shout. He dimly heard the others shouting in alarm as well, something about him, something about, "Dylan's gone!"

That didn't make sense. He was right here — wasn't he? Everything was surely normal, if chaotic, light had never hurt anyone, no matter how garish, and Andromeda Ascendant and her crew were real and solid about him —

No!

In the next second, there was nothing, there was nowhere, there was no up or down, there was no sight, sound, scent, no solidity, there was barely a feeling even of self, just one flash of utter terror of this all at once not being and room for only one quick thought:

Is this death?

No one answered.


But now there seemed to suddenly be a "now" again. Without any sense of how much time had passed, if it had at all, he was solid once more, in that instant knowing that he was once more Dylan Hunt. He also knew, without knowing how he did, that what had been his reality had just dissolved itself and reformed itself about him in quite a different way.

Re-formed itself into, uh, what?

As his brain and vision cleared, Dylan straightened, standing frozen in sheer, disbelieving shock. About to yell to Beka, Get Rev Bem in here, fast, I think I'm finally going out of my mind, he closed his mouth again. Oh no, all this was just too tangible in every sharp detail to be nothing but some strange, anomaly-born delusion.

All right, panic wasn't going to help him. And it wasn't as though absolutely everything was wrong. This was still the Andromeda Ascendant.

Or maybe that should be, this was an Andromeda. It certainly wasn't his Andromeda. There was the same general shape to the Command Deck, but apparently Rommie, if Rommie this still was, had suddenly and arbitrarily decided on a completely different color scheme. It was a truly ugly one, too, with walls and consoles now painted in a narrow spectrum of dull greens and browns that were spiced up with an occasional misplaced jolt of garish orange.

Someone has a really terrible sense of design.

And while he was on the subject — the current crew wasn't exactly a thing of beauty, either.

But then, the Andromeda he knew was not and never had been crewed by man-sized biped green-scaled dinosaurs.

"Toto," Dylan said, "I don't think we're in Kansas anymore."

CHAPTER 2

THE ANDROMEDAE


For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.

— SIR ISAAC NEWTON, THIRD LAW OF PHYSICS


For one truly bizarre moment, Dylan was sure that it was his crew who had been miraculously turned into ... dinosaurs? But that didn't make any sense at all.

Of course, neither did this.

Fortunately, the dinosaurs, the saurians, whatever they were, were just as stunned by Dylan's sudden materialization as he was. He really doubted that he could have handled a rush by all five.

They were bipeds, and roughly of human height and shape, but definitely more powerfully built. Their hands bore long, curving claws, and their heads were ... well, Dylan decided quickly, their ancestors must have had elongated lizard jaws — velociraptors, his mind whispered. Evolution had rounded their species' faces, but they were still made up mostly of jaw, one smooth arc of bone from forehead to what would have been chins in human faces.

Their slit-pupiled eyes glared at him, glinting orange, and their bodies were covered with those dull green scales. Possibly because of the natural covering those scales provided, they wore only trousers of some dark, smooth material — and holsters holding impressive-looking side arms.

Intelligent dinosaurs. Well, that wasn't impossible. He'd heard or maybe read somewhere that back on old Earth, scientists had found velociraptor fossil skulls with indications that that particular species of dinosaur had been developing more complex brains than the other dinosaurs. If that infamous meteor hadn't hit and if mammals hadn't managed to advance into the top evolutionary slot, velociraptors might have been the ones to fill the intelligence niche instead.

No meteor strikes on their world, I'd guess. No mammals, either. Or else these guys' ancestors ate them all.

And how in hell did I get here — wherever "here" is?

Part of his mind, which was trying relentlessly to be logical in the face of all this madness, went right on analyzing the saurians. They were presumably not as warmblooded as humans, since the ship's temperature was warm verging on hot, although it wasn't unbearably hot, fortunately for him.

Like humans, the saurians varied slightly in height and weight, as well as in skin color. Some of them were a darkergreen than others, or rougher of scales. But, a little unnervingly, the saurians gave him no clues whatsoever as to which of them were male or female — assuming that their species even had male and female.

Look, I don't care if they reproduce by budding. I just want to know where I am and why I'm here!

But before he could organize his stunned brain to say anything, a dark-green saurian exclaimed, "Look at him! Those are not scalesss covering his body — they are full-covering clothesss! He isss v'hun of the smooth-skinsss!"

The ferocity with which those words were spat out gave Dylan an alarming glimpse of sharp fangs.

Carnivore fangs.

Of course. I couldn't get thrown in among herbivores, oh no. That would be too simple. This just keeps getting better and better.

"V'hait," another saurian said, his voice — maybe it was a male — chill and utterly without emotion. "That isss not a sensible conclusion. Neither the smooth-skinsss nor v'he have the technology for a transfer such asss v'he have just, undeniably, v'hitnessed. Nor do the smooth-skinsss hide their naked skinsss in such a strange fashion. Their coveringsss are more primitive, not like v'hat thisss one v'hears at all.

"You, who are you? V'here isss Captain Huun't?"

I understand them, Dylan realized with a new shock. I shouldn't be able to understand them.

Whoa, wait, unless ...

Oh. Oh no, that can't be.

Yes, but that would explain a lot.

Hey, there are alternate dimensions, he argued with himself. At least in theory. And this is no stranger than being three hundred years out of my birth time.

Oh yes it is! himself argued back at him.

"I am Captain Hunt," Dylan told them, testing his sudden theory and enunciating very carefully. "I am Captain Dylan Hunt of the Andromeda Ascendant."


(Continues...)

Excerpted from Gene Roddenberry's Andromeda by Josepha Sherman, James Frenkel. Copyright © 2005 Tribune Entertainment Company and Fireworks Entertainment, Inc.. Excerpted by permission of Tom Doherty Associates.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

Contents

Title Page,
Copyright Notice,
ONE - ANOMALY,
TWO - THE ANDROMEDAE,
THREE - THE OTHER,
FOUR - OH CAPTAINS. MY CAPTAINS,
FIVE - QUESTIONS AND SOME ANSWERS,
SIX - SMOOTH-SKIN SITUATION,
SEVEN - CAPTAIN SMOOTH-SKIN,
EIGHT - STRANGER IN A STRANGE LAND,
NINE - DIPLOMACY,
TEN - THE MISSING LINK,
ELEVEN - OF POETS AND PACIFISTS,
TWELVE - CURIOUSER AND CURIOUSER,
THIRTEEN - WAR AND PEACE,
FOURTEEN - MUTINY,
FIFTEEN - A THING THAT MUST BE DONE,
SIXTEEN - CHOOSING A NEW PATH,
SEVENTEEN - WE MAY BE BETTER STRANGERS,
EIGHTEEN - DYLAN ON THE RUN,
NINETEEN - CAPTAIN KAFKA,
TWENTY - UTOPIA LOST AND FOUND,
TWENTY-ONE - THERE'S NO PLACE LIKE HOME,
Also by,
Fight or flight, no way around it,
ABOUT THE AUTHOR,
Copyright Page,

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