After a lot of work, and taking longer than I wanted, Exodus: Empires at War: Book 13: Retaliation is out and available on Amazon.US and Amazon.UK among others. The war is really heating up, with the New Terran Empire and its allies beating back the latest Ca’cadasan offensive and going on the counter attack. And Sean, the Emperor, has ordered an audacious plan to take off the head of the Ca’cadasan Empire. Currently I am working on Refuge: Book 5, and expect to have it out around Christmas, possible before, more probably right after. Next will probably be the next book in the second Deep Dark Well Trilogy, Theocracy 2.
The first book of the Kinship War series, on contract from Arc Manor, is on track to be turned in prior to the required date. After that, except for the second book of the Kinship War series, my plans aren’t set for 2018. I will most probably continue the Exodus series, both Empires and War and Machine War, hopefully to completion. When I have wrapped those up, I will write some novels set in the beginning of the Empire and work through the history.
And, I am involved in the Lost Signals Anthology of three times Nebula Award Nominee Charles (Chuck) Gannon, whose Terran Republic series is the impetus for the anthology. There is a Kickstarter for the project, which has passed the initial and first stretch goals. I will be contributing an action filled short story to the anthology. And tomorrow, Tuesday, December 5, 2017, I will be the chat guest on the Facebook page, and there may be some giveaways. The Kickstarter page is here.
And now, an excerpt from Exodus: Empires at War: Book 13: Retaliation:
“We’ve got the first formation coming through the center,” said Grand Fleet Admiral Gabriel Len Lenkowski, his holographic image looking around the table. The wrinkles on his face were even deeper than usual, indicating his heightened concern. “Twelve thousand ships, by our best estimate. Designated Alpha.”
The huge holo of the front floated over the conference table, the force in question highlighted in red, a vector arrow showing its projected path, straight into one of the major base systems of that region, Saures.
“We have contact with two other forces, designated Bravo and Charlie. Both are approximately the same size as Alpha, and from the projections they appear to be looping around, on a course to come in around Saures and cut it off. My staff think they are trying to force a major engagement in that system. I would like to bring them to battle in normal space before they reach their target. Unfortunately, they don’t have to drop down into any of the systems along the way.”
“Do you think you can take them in hyper?” asked Grand Fleet Admiral the Duke Taelis Mgonda, his own image frowning as he studied the holo.
Sean kicked back in his chair, one of the few corporeal beings actually in the conference room, along with Vice Admiral Mary Innocent, his staff intelligence officer, and Admiral Ekaterina Sergiov, the director of Combined Intelligence. Several of the grand fleet admirals’ staff were also in attendance by holo, along with Grand High Admiral Sondra McCullom, the Chief of Naval Operations, Grand Marshal Mishori Yamakuri, the Imperial Army Chief of Staff, and Field Marshal Betty Parker, the Commandant of the Imperial Marine Corps.
It still amazed him that they were having a real-time conference when some of the attendees were thousands of light years away from each other. Prior to the deployment of so many wormholes, the only way they would have been able to keep in touch would have been through couriers, at least to those places that weren’t connected by hyper-link, which still took over a week to reach from the capital of the Empire to the frontier. The old way worked, after a fashion, in that orders and assessments could be passed. Always far behind the real-time events. Assessments would come in too late for anything to be done about them, orders would go out to commanders no longer facing the situation those orders were meant to deal with. No, they could almost control the action at the front, though Imperial doctrine still called for the man or woman on the spot to make the determination and give the orders.
“Oh, we can take them, alright,” said Len with a tight smile. “Especially if we move our ships around through our mobile gates. It’s just that we have a much better power ratio against them in normal space.”
The Emperor had to agree with that assessment. Many of his ships were still hyper VI, able to move at a pseudospeed of just above ten thousand lights. Unfortunately, all of the Caca vessels were the more advanced hyper VII, able to get up to over forty thousand lights, four times that of VI. The Empire was no longer building hyper VI craft. Everything being laid down or coming out of the building slips was hyper VII standard now, but there had been a lot of hyper VI vessels in the fleet at the beginning of the war. In fact, over ninety-five percent of the warships in the Imperial order of battle had been VI, the VIIs restricted to some battle cruisers, light cruisers and destroyers used for scouting. Many of those older ships had been destroyed, but many had also survived, and were no longer able to keep up with the predominantly VII forces. Those ships were best used for system defense, or taking systems, though the wormholes and multi-purpose missiles still allowed them to strike at ships in the higher dimensions. Also, inertialess and warp fighters couldn’t operate in hyper, and so were more or less useless between systems.
But the hyper VII ships that had wormholes were more than a match for their Caca opponents. The two problems they had were that the Cacas now had wormholes of their own. Not in the numbers the Empire deployed, thank God, but enough to become a worry. And the gates that allowed the Imperial ships to move from place to place as fast as their ships could get through the portals didn’t allow other wormholes through. So, though they could send thousands of ships to reinforce threatened areas, the wormholes that made them so effective couldn’t go with them.
“They obviously aren’t going to give us that advantage until they hit Saures,” said Mgonda, shaking his head, then reaching off the holo for something, his hand disappearing for a moment before returning with a mug of some liquid.
The other grand fleet admiral was in his dress uniform, unlike Len, who liked to wear casual shipboard clothing even when in high level meetings, if he wasn’t really there. The duke had a broad face and nose, dark eyes looking out from under bushy eyebrows. Mgonda liked to say his family was descended from the Zulu tribe of South Africa on Earth. From what Sean had seen in the records, his face did resemble those of the fierce warriors. Which proved nothing, with all the genetic mixing that had gone on in the Empire.
Sean reached for his own cup, only to discover that it was empty. He nodded for his steward to bring him a fresh cup, then looked back at his admirals.
“I think we need to hit them with everything we have on the way in,” said Sean, looking from grand fleet admiral to grand fleet admiral to grand high admiral. “Hit and run, with our fastest wormhole equipped ships. And everything we have that can’t catch them or run from them will be waiting for them in Saures.”
“Sounds good, your Majesty,” said McCullom, looking at the deployments as they appeared on the holo. “But what if that’s not all they have?”
Sean scratched his nose for a moment, thinking. What if they had something else coming forward, and hit him someplace they weren’t ready. Lenkowski had a fleet of over forty thousand ships, Imperial, Crakista and Elysium. Eight thousand capital ships, while the Cacas probably had a similar number in their fleet. Mgonda had thirty thousand ships in his fleet, still in the process of taking back the Fenri systems and ejecting the last of the Caca vessels in that region. He also had Elysium ships in his force, but the majority of his vessels were Imperial. There was a fleet of twenty thousand ships in the Republic, mostly the vessels of that nation, along with Crakista allies.
And far back behind the lines, in five base systems three hundred light years back, were the ships he was hiding from the enemy. Another fifty thousand vessels. They could be committed to action if necessary, but they were there to provide the nucleus of the promised offensive he was going to spring on the Cacas. The offensive he had promised his people and Parliament for over a year. If they were committed to action, the offensive might be delayed by a year or more while ships were repaired and missiles were replenished.
“Might I suggest, your Majesty,” said Mgonda, setting down his mug and reaching for a cigar. “I think we can wrap up this business in Fenri in a week or less. Then I can move my fleet in on a vector that cuts the Cacas off from their logistics.”
“They’ll still have their wormholes,” cautioned McCullom. “We won’t be able to completely cut them off from their support.”
“But the duke has a point,” said Sean, looking into the dark eyes of the admiral as he puffed on his cigar. Sean hated the habit of smoking, but as long as the duke was blowing his smoke two thousand lights years from his nose it didn’t bother him. “They don’t have that many wormholes, and any they have to use as gates are wormholes they won’t be able to use for other things. I think that’s an excellent idea, Duke Taelis. Now, if we could get President Graham to commit the Republic to come in on the other flank.”
“I doubt that she would be willing, your Majesty,” said the CNO, shaking her head. “She’s still terrified that the Cacas will be coming back.”