Nineteen-year-olds Molly Long and Betsy Nelson have been best friends for years and are traveling to their first semester of college. But an unexpected invitation to join Joe Murdock's Interstellar Projects derails their plans. They decide it's a challenging proposition and a way they can use their high ideals and values to protect planet Earth.
Molly and Betsy are impressed with the concept of the projects-using alien technology and the idea of trying to upgrade science and improve humanity. The projects span four other planets outside of Earth's solar system, and the young women are in for the experience of a lifetime as they live and train in space and are involved in important missions.
When the space shuttle is involved in an accident, they are able to confirm that alien ships are landing on earth for nefarious purposes. Murdock is attempting to train his people as quickly as possible to enable them to protect Earth. In the meantime, new aliens are being discovered and discovering them in return, and Joe's group must determine if they are friend or foe. Murdock and his dedicated team at Interstellar Projects work tirelessly to protect Earth from new alien attempts to annihilate humanity.
|Product dimensions:||6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.22(d)|
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Interstellar ProjectsAlien Intent
By Sam Dore
iUniverse, Inc.Copyright © 2012 Sam Dore
All right reserved.
Chapter OneIt was a grey, rainy day with lightning flashing and thunder rumbling. Joe was sitting under the awning on Fairchild drinking coffee and reviewing the events of the last twelve months. It had been a good year. A threat to the earth had been given a major setback, and there were two new alien races interested in friendship, alliances, and trading with Joe's group and Earth. Lisa and Richard, Wendy and Wayne, Jennifer and Tim, and Connie and Vernon had all managed to get married during the year. Wendy and Connie were pregnant now, and with things finally slowed down a bit, everyone was thinking about setting up housekeeping and growing families instead of fighting aliens. Even Karen had gotten together with a nice man, and it looked like they were going to tie the knot shortly. Robyn and Linda were married and ranching cattle on the other continent, while Connie's brothers had each taken an area and set up shop for breeding different types of horses. Lois and Bernard had married, then taken an area for breeding miniature horses.
Between Joe's group, the Kanth, Xenth, and Jemkaw, it had finally been decided that the easiest way to deal with the aliens from the cigar-shaped ship was to exile them on a planet where they and their families could live out their lives. In a few generations, someone could visit them to see if there was any reason to let them open relations with the races that exiled them there. Since no one knew why they harbored such hatred, it was everyone's hope it would disappear over time. In the meantime, the planet was listed as off limits to everyone. Warning buoys were set in place, and the planet was patrolled from a space station manned by a mixed group of Kanth and Jemkaw. Joe had volunteered his people to help but was told that unless something happened, it would be handled by the Kanth and Jemkaw as partial payment for all Joe had done for them. They were experienced in this area since they already handled some of their criminal element this way. Earth had calmed down after the major effects of the radiation had worn off, and the crime rate was down a good 25 percent already. Even the Middle Eastern nations had lost some of their aggressive nature.
Joe's organization had almost finished refitting the space station in the Saurian sector by now, and they were digging into all the new technology of the saucer-shaped ship, trying to get into its computers and learn the language to see where it came from and, hopefully, when. The Jemkaw were cooperating with Joe's group too, and they were also digging information out of the ship. When it all came together, it was going to be interesting seeing what had happened to strand them all at once. The military and NASA were having a field day with the space station that had been left at the Nevada air base. Joe and his people, along with General Makepeace's people, had gone through it with a fine-toothed comb several times and finally decided there was no threat there, so they removed the force field and let everyone have access to it.
Relations between Joe's group and the Xenth, Kanth, and Jemkaw were flowing well, and treaties and deals were being worked out. Earth was still fighting the situation, and they hadn't heard from the Merganthrops yet. As far as anyone had been able to tell, the Rheemus had been wiped out, unless there was a colony on some other planet, because their home world was uninhabited when Joe's people went to investigate. They were picking up whatever information they could get there too. One goal was to find the solution to the neutron mine problem and be able to turn them all off someday. Joe's group had opted to have General Makepeace become one of their members, and they had quietly given him a physical and were training him whenever he could sneak away for a short time. It speeded up communications, and it already appeared to have saved his life. Since the president was so opposed to their organization, they'd feared something might happen covertly to the general, so the safest approach was to have him secretly join Joe's group for his last few years of service.
At the moment, Joe had three teams out with ships exploring new sectors of space, one of which was thought to be an area the fourth Xenth team had gone to four thousand years ago. So far, other than turning up two planets that were inhabitable by humans and were, again, too much like Earth to be a natural occurrence, not much had been found. Joe thought they might be good planets to start colonies on. There were a lot of people on Earth who wanted to have a change of lifestyle and get away from the stress and strife of everyday life. Joe figured there were only a couple of ways the colony idea would work—one way would be a type of self government, probably an agricultural community. He'd still have to keep an outpost on the planet to tend to medical needs; and if something unusual showed up, they'd have instant communications to deal with it. People could either be rotated there or just become part of the population if they desired. Before something could be started, it was obvious there were going to be tons and tons of things to consider and deal with. The other way to colonize would be to use his own people and keep recruiting from Earth and training them; then they could use their technology, and there would be a lot less problems. That would mean a massive training program, along with some way to sort certain types of people out. It would be slower that way but less trouble. Well, time would decide that.
In the meantime, the Kanth, Xenth, Jemkaw, military corps, and Joe's people were all interacting without a problem. Joe had instituted a few rules that helped, one of which was that Fairchild would be considered neutral ground for all races, especially if they had problems between themselves. Anything other than diplomatic discussions was to be done off planet. Another rule ensured that everyone who wasn't part of Joe's group was identifiable. The military always wore their camouflage; the Kanth and the Jemkaw were given a badge to wear; and everyone wore translators that worked through their computer, George. If they were off planet and outside the force field, they all wore an identifiable blue flak jacket when they were around or working with Joe's people. The military were trained in emergency flight procedures, how to run and access some of the technology Joe was using, and how to live with the personal force field. The Jemkaw and the Kanth were just trained in use of the force field and some of the basic technology, such as the food processors, waste management, and material procurement. They hadn't wanted to be part of Joe's organization yet, so he kept their access more limited. The military personnel, on the other hand, were joining Joe as fast as they could get their terms of service over. The general had had to institute a six-year program for his Elite Corps just to keep them around long enough to be useful.
They'd added some ships to their fleet, and Karen had taken a vote among the medical staff for the naming of the medical ship. They settled on Caduceus for a name. When Joe asked about it, they explained that, although the Rod of Asclepius is the actual symbol for the medical system in America, the Caduceus is often used in its place by mistake. It's a balanced design of two intertwined snakes around a pole with wings, compared to a single snake around a staff. Since the ship was going to fly, and the name was easier to pronounce, they liked their choice.
The Youth Corps was back in business again at the earth base, which was only partially staffed now. Everything that could be was moved off planet in the event of another attack. Jackie had already commented that things were going much smoother now, and there wasn't half as much trouble with the new kids as there had been in the past.
Things were definitely looking good.
"Morning, dear," said Julie as she came out with a cup of coffee in one hand and a baby in the other.
"Good morning. I see we're baby-sitting this morning," replied Joe.
"Yes, Darlene and Jim are over sparring and working out with the simulators for a couple of hours, so I said we'd be glad to keep track of Cole for them while they were busy."
"Did Gus ever get the simulators working for the Kanth fighters we found in our ship?"
"Yes. That's what they're practicing on today. We modified the engines, and now we have so much speed and punch with those things that they far exceed what they used to do. We modified the onboard computer, so now we can pinch space with them, and their firepower has quadrupled because of the power in our new engines. I only hope we never have to use them in a real situation."
"How are we doing on our other projects so far?"
"As you know, the space station is almost finished now. We ran almost four years ahead of schedule with all the help we've got."
"Sounds like we need to find some more projects for everyone."
"Maybe, but so far, we're keeping everyone busy on the two new ships we're working with. Linguistics is having a ball trying to figure out some of the languages they're running into. Gus is tearing his hair out occasionally, and everyone else is busy and excited."
"Any luck with any of the memory nodes we've found so far?"
"The ones from our space station have given us a bunch of locations, but we don't know what they are yet. We're trying to get the numerical system down, so we can try sending some probes out to look. We left the ones from the space station at the air base on Earth. We're still trying to understand the language."
"By the way, I heard that the elephants and morples we planted on Magnolia appear to be doing pretty well now since they've gotten used to each other," Joe said. "The Xenth came by the other day all excited because the morples were breeding. Betty and her crew have a whole slew of things growing now too. I had to have Diane fly Morgan and its crew over there a couple of weeks ago to spend some time enlarging their greenhouse facilities on the surface."
"Yes, I'd heard they'd gotten a bunch more plants from the two new ships we're working with," said Julie. "Any news from Gomer and his crew yet?"
"All I've heard so far is they traded the Kanth for the specifications for those geological buoys we found around the planets near Earth, and he's been getting a bunch built. I think some of your crew are modifying the program that runs them for him and adding a black hole link, so we don't have to get to it all the time to download the data. He wants to set them around a few of the oddball planets we've found to see if he can figure out what's happening on them. His latest find is one that's volcanically active all over. It actually isn't safe to be on the surface it's so active. If it hadn't been for our force fields around the shuttles, we would have lost one of them a week ago when a new volcano suddenly emerged and erupted as they were flying over."
"Well, it's good to know our safety precautions are paying their dividends."
"There's something else that's beginning to pay dividends, dear."
"What's that, Joe?"
"I was talking with Roger and Carol the other day. They've been working with the Xenth who are part of our organization and are experimenting with having them send pictures on the net through George. You remember, George said it used to be common with his people; but Jessica was the only human who seemed to be able to do it."
"Yes, I'd forgotten about that."
"Once some of them worked with it for a while, it began to work for them. We'll probably be able to get pictures on the net now in some cases. For now, though, we may have to use a monitor to see them because Roger says they don't come through the communicator to us the same way they seem to for the Xenth."
"Well, we win a few, and we break even on a few, I guess. It's the joys of alien technology."
"Do we have any useful information from our ship on the seashore yet?" Joe asked.
"Not much yet, but it should be forthcoming soon. The crew has it pretty much cleaned up now, and they've been washing everything down with distilled water. It still has a bit of an odor, but not at all as bad as it was for a while."
"Any idea what kind of propulsion it used?"
"Not yet. Things are pretty corroded. It must have been under water for a long time to be in this bad a shape. According to Bernard and Paul, when they analyzed some of the alloys, it took a lot to get them in such bad condition."
"What else is going on that we haven't thought about lately?" asked Joe, reaching over and taking Cole from Julie's arms.
"Doesn't seem to be too much. So far we've been able to stay on top of most things. I did hear that the president doesn't look like he's very popular right now, so he might not get reelected this time around."
"I wouldn't mind that. I liked it better when James Thornson was in office, and we could just work with everyone instead of having to work around them all the time. This last situation put us in a position I didn't want to have to be in. It made us dictators to a nation that wouldn't cooperate, and they'll be destroyed if we don't do something because they don't have enough technology available."
"We'll have to watch and see, I guess. We don't realize how good we have it here. We have freedom of choice, which has been severely limited on Earth, and we can regulate the kinds of people we recruit. I've been looking at it lately, and Earth is becoming a whining community. Not even counting the wars, with all the environmentalists and others just in the U.S., all they do is whine in the courts; then the courts allow them to dictate regulations even when they have no authority to do so. They appear to be messing up the economy, and their current moral standards are quite prone to the proliferation of diseases. Then there's the lack of ethics. There's the 'I deserve to be fed and housed whether or not I work' syndrome. I've also noticed that in the last few years, the amount of alcohol consumption has drastically increased."
Joe smiled. "You sound like a mother talking about her kids."
"I admit it probably isn't our business, and we can't do much about it, but we are, after all, from Earth, and I care about it. It makes me feel bad to see how self destructive they are and how much they're missing out on because of their attitudes."
"If you remember when we started this organization, we figured we'd be separated or isolated. We thought Earth probably wouldn't accept what we were doing. When you look at where we are now, it's amazing. We're spread out on five planets, counting the earth; we have relationships with three, and shortly four, other races that we didn't even have a clue existed; we have more than fifteen thousand people and their families working with us who think similarly to us about the future; and, amusingly enough, it appears we've saved the Merganthrop planet and Earth from destruction. Not to mention getting a cure to the Xenth people for their plague, curing a shipload of sick Kanth, and clearing up a communications system for a whole race. Not bad for 'a couple people with some high ideals whose chance of success was slim,' to quote Jessica when she first met us."
Julie smiled at the thought. "Yes, I guess we haven't done too bad when you put it that way. Speaking of Jessica, it seems to me I've been seeing her and Nadine keeping company with a couple of handsome men from the Elite Corps for the last few months."
"Yes, dear. If you'll look around, you'll notice that it's going on quite a bit now that things have slowed down somewhat. Everyone's not having to concentrate so hard, and they're having time now for vacations and time off. They're starting to think a bit of themselves again, instead of just others. Everyone's worked hard for the last few years. We all deserve as much of a break as we can get at the moment. It may or may not last for a while. But we can't sluff off either."
"True. Things do seem to happen suddenly around here."
Chapter TwoMolly Long and Betsy Nelson were best of friends. They'd just graduated from high school and were headed for their first semester of college. Both were nineteen-year-old brunettes. Since neither had been into the party and drinking crowd, they'd been a bit isolated in school and had become best friends. The boys they'd met disappointed them with their short-sighted and selfish goals. They wanted higher goals than the kids around them, so they worked hard and got good grades, then applied for college. Their finances were a bit limited, but they'd been able to procure some loans to cover the first two years. They'd heard about the dinosaur museum and decided that taking biology and veterinary training would be fun. They both loved animals and managed to bring home strays of all kinds during school. Molly's pockets were always empty because of some stray cat or dog that needed doctoring for something, and Betsy was always spending her money to feed the animals. Their trip to college had started out well, but now they were behind schedule and were going to be late for their first classes. They hadn't been speeding, but for some reason, they were sitting beside the road in their car, and a policeman with his car lights on was behind them. They were waiting to see why they'd been stopped. The policeman had just asked them to wait and then gotten on his radio while they sat. It was already twenty minutes since they were stopped. Molly noticed in her mirror that a FedEx truck had stopped behind the police car. The delivery man got out with an envelope and was talking to the policeman, who then came over to Molly and Betsy's car with him.
Excerpted from Interstellar Projects by Sam Dore Copyright © 2012 by Sam Dore. Excerpted by permission of iUniverse, Inc.. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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