Humanity returns to space in search of a way home. The people of the Cygnus system were determined to find other life, maybe even return to Earth while they explored the known galaxy. Humanity would not be denied.
And they had the company of the intelligent species humans created centuries past, who evolved and became equals, partners in the journey to a better place. They were all the people of Cygnus VII.
From the ashes of their past, Cygnus was rising.
The motto of the Space Exploration Service was "the ship is life, save the ship." And the crew had done that, repeatedly, even though it cost lives. Everyone on board the Cygnus-12 volunteered for the Space Exploration Service because they believed that the risk was worth it. For all humanity, they went to space, to find what was out there, return with knowledge to improve their civilization. And if they could return with word that Earth was there, alive and well, then that would make every death that much more meaningful.
Cygnus Rising is the first book in a Space Opera series based within the Free Trader universe.
Craig Martelle may in fact be the hardest working man writing fiction today and his I have yet to read a single title by him that I didn't like. Cygnus Rising is the first novel in his Cygnus Space Opera Series. I recommend both it and Craig highly. – Terry Mixon
"Wonderfully done, really good characters, strong plot. Very well thought out, the science is solid, this is a really good story about humanity working together for a common goal."– Amazon Review
"Great start to a new space opera. Varied and wonderful characters, plenty of action, unique plot. What more could you ask for? I'm already reading the second in the series and looking forward to more!"– Amazon Review
"I'm a huge Sci-fi (and Fantasy) nerd, but consider myself a relative newcomer to the Space Opera genre...thanks to Craig Martelle, I'm hooked."– Amazon Review
Flames shot through the open hatch. Cain yelled, "Engineering's on fire!" The klaxons continued to scream, echoing down the corridor away from him. He sensed, more than heard, the anguished cry.
The hatch was open. The automated fire suppression system had failed.
He ripped open the damage control panel and pulled the tank out. He threw it hastily over his shoulder, reached behind him with a well-practiced maneuver to start the flow of air, and wrapped the dangling mask across his face. He draped the fire hood over his head as he ran. He didn't have time to put on the whole outfit. People he knew were dying.
He hit the flames of the doorway at a dead run. The intense heat scorched his bare forearms as he passed, and he yelled into his mask as he slid to a stop in the middle of the space, looking for survivors. A Rabbit lay under a terminal, an ugly scorch mark cut across his white fur, leaving blackened hair around burned pink flesh. The Rabbit moved–Briz was alive.
Cain slid him out from under the melting terminal. The Rabbit was dense and blocky, half Cain's height but the same weight. Cain pulled an equipment cover off the back of a chair, wrapping it around the Rabbit's head and over as much of his body as he could, then he hefted him up, trying to avoid the injury. Cain lumbered toward the hatch, ducked his head, held his breath, and jumped through the flames. He deposited the Rabbit in the passageway and raced back into engineering. Ellie was in there somewhere.
He should have been alarmed that the flames didn't seem to hurt as much this time. The next victim was a Wolfoid, horribly torn apart from the force of an exploded containment vessel. He saw something odd about the way the Wolfoid's body, bigger than a human's, was laying on the floor.
A pink-fleshed hand snaked out from underneath the gray fur. Without remorse, Cain heaved the Wolfoid's shattered body to the side. Ellie was dazed, but seemed to be okay. The Wolfoid must have taken the full force of the rupture, protecting her. Cain's breath caught as he looked at her golden blond hair, the ends curled and brittle from the heat that had passed over her.
He pulled her to him as blue lights started to flash, signaling the imminent flooding of argon gas into the compartment. He kneeled, rolling her from a sitting position to over his shoulder. He stood without much effort. She wasn't heavy and laid easily over his shoulder as he hurried for the hatch. The flames had died down somewhat, but he still ran through, hoping speed would keep them safe. Once through, he stopped, took off his hood and breathed deeply of the better air in the corridor. The hatch to engineering closed.
The klaxons stopped as someone helped Ellie from his shoulder, and he looked at the closed hatch. Anyone still in the space would be denied oxygen, just like the fire. The argon gas was supposed to be flushed in a matter of seconds, but it would be too late. He was surprised he didn't know how many people worked in that space. Three? Four?
"Holy Rising Star, Cain! You shouldn't have gone in there. Why the hell would you do something like that?" the captain's words were harsh, but his eyes were grateful. As the older man looked at the two survivors in the corridor, he added, "But I'm glad you did, son. Looks like you saved two lives, irreplaceable lives."
The two Hillcats waiting for Cain and Ellie in the corridor couldn't have agreed more. Carnesto yowled in pain as Ellie came to her senses. The burns on her lower body attacked her with waves of agony. He put a furry paw on her head to help her through the worst of it.
Why had Cain taken such risk knowing what his death would do to his 'cat, to his family? He'd had no choice. It was who he'd always wanted to be. It was who he was. He'd spent his short life trying to live up to one man, the Space Exploration Service Captain who showed him how a hero acts.