Marooned on board an alien-built space station deep inside dangerous Clan space, all the survivors from the destroyed star cruiser Archangel want is to go home. Or do they? Captain Mitch Dufrain has found love here, 20 years after he lost his first family. Chief Engineer Rilla Lansing has discovered new purpose after fleeing both retirement and her long-dead marriage. Senior Ordinary Aristotle Merchant looks forward to seeing the survivors colonize the planet the station orbitsbut First Mate Thalia Eriknova, stranded among unchanged humans, wonders when and if shell see her native Themyscira and other womyn again.Meanwhile, on Lansings home-world at the border of Clan space, a lone survivor from the ship that wrecked the Archangel lives a paroled prisoner of wars existence and plans for the day when he can return and (if necessary) finish the job as Clan Cranstons honor requires. When Rilla Lansings diplomat ex-husband needs Chandler Cranstons help, the clansman gets his opportunity at lastand the resulting rescue mission sails straight into an ambush as the space stations mysterious builders return.
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Nina M. Osier started writing at the age of two, when her parents decided to write down her stories and read them back to her. She lives in a turn-of-the-century Victorian house in Augusta, Maine, where she writes, gardens, and wishes humans didnt have to waste time sleeping.Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:
“All hands, this is Eriknova.” It was time to move now. Past time, perhaps. But the incoming ship was arriving sooner than Thalia had anticipated; and while she still didn’t know what to expect from whoever or whatever was aboard it, her own people would soon have to face finding out.
“We’ve got company, and it’s not Commonwealth company. The good news is that it’s not clan folk, either. I’m not sure right now that there is any bad news, but that remains to be seen. The ship that’s about to dock looks to me as if the station’s Builders built it, too.” She kept her voice utterly calm, her tone serious but unalarmed. “I’m on my way to the upper docking port to meet them, and I want everyone to stay where you are and keep right on doing what you’re doing. Except Ton and Celeste—you’re with me. I’ll meet you there, stat. Everyone else, keep an open link and stay calm. That’s what matters most. We’re uninvited guests on these people’s space station, is what I want you to remember. Whether they see us as hostile, as trespassers, or what we really are—castaways who needed a refuge and found one here—is going to be determined by how we behave when they meet us for the first time. So we’ve got to make damn sure we give them a good first impression! Eriknova standing by.”
She stared fiercely at Aristotle Merchant as she finished her impromptu speech. She asked him with her pickup temporarily muted, “Are you okay with staying here, Ari? Or should I put Ton or Celeste on watch, and take you to the docking port with me?”
“I belong here, ma’am.” Merchant didn’t seem a bit surprised by the offer, but he clearly wasn’t inclined to take her up on it, either.
She nodded. “Okay. Here we go!” she said, and marched toward the docking port with her back and shoulders parade-ground straight.
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