One of my oldest science fiction tales, “The Pleiades Dilemma” is featured in the Tuscany Bay Press Planetary Anthology Sol.
It’s now available for pre-order on Amazon for delivery to your Kindle device on November 10th.
And now, another excerpt:
“Argonaut to Hudson.” Eledoro’s voice echoed from their helmet speakers. We are less than 30 million miles from the Sun and my instruments are telling me the Object has picked up speed, not much, but if it accelerates anymore and I won’t be able to match velocities. The cables won’t hold.
“Then get out of here.” Oriana looked at her husband as he spoke.
“We’ll take care of the rest.”
He studied her sapphire eyes, watched wisps of blond hair float inside her helmet. “Disengage the cables from the ship and back away on thrusters.”
“If you hurry, you can do whatever it is you plan to do and get back in time.”
“If we determine that the emitter has to be fired manually, I can’t do that until the Object is in optimal position, and that’ll be too close to the Sun for Argonaut.”
“We’ll follow as long as we can, just in case.”
“No, you’ll plot a return course, slingshot around the Sun and head back to Earth. The safety of the crew comes first.”
“But what about you?”
“We’ll be together. That’s all that matters.”
In the Argonaut’s command module. Eledoro looked back at the others. There were tears in Soleil’s eyes, Ravi sat stiff-lipped and anguished, and Cyrus grimly nodded his head inside his helmet.
“Okay, Commander. Following orders. Disengaging tether cables and firing thrusters.” He worked the controls and the ship shuddered like an angry child. The ventral cameras picked up four steel lines snaking randomly in the vacuum. Eledoro piloted Argonaut away before they presented any danger.
“I’m plotting and executing a return course now. Diverging from your trajectory, putting a lot more distance between us and the Sun than you’ll experience. Good luck Elio, Oriana.”
“Thank you.” Oriana’s voice quivered.
“Oh, and Elio, I do trust you. I’m sorry I had to put you in a position where you couldn’t trust me.”
“It’s for the best, Eledoro. May God bless the crew of the Argonaut, may He guide your footsteps toward peace, and may He see you all safely home.”
“Acknowledged, Commander. Good-bye.” The co-pilot could feel his throat close and his chest ache with grief and loss.
Here’s another announcement.