Space Junk

This was an author that I hadn’t read before so I didn’t know what kind of story I’d be getting into. Turns out it was a very well written story with lots of intrigue and well developed character set. It starts off with the Solar System at war with itself or rather the Chinese bombing a Martin colony and a UN (United Nations) warship having to retaliate. Commander Lyla Lasseter, Captain of the U.N.S. Merkel, had the duty to conduct the retaliation even though she didn’t relish the idea of killing innocent civilians. So she did her duty until she received a very strange message that read, “Cease”.

That message came from an artificial object, definitely not something human made, but totally in control of all systems aboard the U.N.S. Merkel. They could no longer fire on the Chinese colony if they wanted to. The question was, were they going to be allowed to do anything? At least the entity hadn’t cut off life support so that was a positive sign. It was also a sign for the entire Solar System that humans were not necessarily in-charge any more.

The object turned out to be an alien artificial intelligence that needed a place to replicate. It chose the Solar System since it had an abundance of mineral resources and a human population capable of developing or extracting those resources from the various planets and asteroids in the system. The alien called itself, “Waymaker” and clearly stated that it would not allow war in the Solar System any further. It wanted to provide a peaceful environment for the humans to develop and evolve as well as provide it with the resources to replicate itself as it was the only one in existence at this time. It also freely provided the humans with an abundance amount of advance technology to include greatly superior computer coding and software.

The UN quickly becomes Sol Corps which now oversaw the supervision, colonization, and protection for all Earth and its colonies…”* Why it had to be a corporation isn’t explained, but apparently, any business that wanted to get in on the mining of mining resources or protection people and assets had to contract through Sol Corps. It was backed by the Waymaker so it definitely had the power to enforce the “rules”.

So, with that many humans found themselves working in underground mining colonies on Mars, various moons and even asteroids. They were not the best paying jobs and there was a growing concern that the miner’s welfare wasn’t a priority for Sol Corps or for the Waymaker. As the years progressed, a lot of civil unrest was coming to the surface. While out-right protest and work stoppages hadn’t occurred yet, they certainly would if conditions for these miners didn’t improve.

Then General Metrell has a mission that he wanted Commander Lasseter to command. It involved a new ship, the Aria. This mission was a colonization mission, but it was to go far outside the Solar System. Up to now, humans didn’t have interstellar flight capabilities. But with the technology provided by the Waymakers, they could now build a ship to go very, very far away from Earth. The crew and the ship were not going to be large since this was actually a seed ship, something to see if long-term space travel was possible and to test the ship and it’s crew for future flights of its kind. The crew was going to number forty-eight supposedly picked during a lottery after Commander Lasseter hand-picked her bridge crew. It turns out that General Metrell did a lot more hand-picking so he knew the crew was capable of conducting the mission. Nothing was really left to chance.

The actual mission would not start for five years after the initial confirmation of Commander Lasseter as the mission commander. The ship was built in that time as was the crew trained. Additionally, there was one other thing the crew had to agree to and that was to accept nanite injections which would ensure they could live well beyond the twenty years this mission might require. These nanites went to work repairing their current aliments. It took five years for the full nanite treatment to be completed so after that time the mission was launched.

Five years after that launch, we’re aboard the Aria and things aren’t going so well. The ship is having problems and not those you would associate with a ship built to such exacting specifications. There were numerous small and just annoying problems cropping up every day. One minor engineer, Jack Halverton, complained that the hardware wasn’t at fault. He complained that the software, which was predominately Waymaker operating system, had too tight of specs and they needed to be loosened up. Captain Lasseter didn’t agree. Unfortuntely, she and the majority of the crew would soon experience a fatal “glitch” that purged the ship without warning. There were six crewmembers who just happened to be on a shuttle at the time of the purge. Jack Halverton was one of them. Why the ship did the purge wasn’t going to be easy to figure out, but it seemes that the command came from Sol Corps HQ. Things couldn’t get much worse or could they.

A pretty good story that covers quite a lot of time. Be sure your aware of the time-line because this crew isn’t the normal human crew. They take their time doing things so you need to read the dates at specific chapters. I believe this crew and others will be around in the next book, “Freezer Burn”, available 14 June 2022. I’m going to be looking for it in just a few days.

* Aukes, Rachel. Space Junk: A Military Sci-fi Series (Waymaker Wars Book 1) (p. 12). Aethon Books. Kindle Edition..”

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