Welcome to the Twenty-Second Century!
Ever-turbulent humanity has reached out to the stars and found itself challenged by several "exosapient" species whose motivations are as unusual as their physical forms. Troubleshooters like Caine Riordan must contend with both humans and aliens during this epic plunge into the high-stakes exploration, statecraft, and warfare that churn and change our post-contact world.
But no world is defined just by the characters who occupy center stage. "Lost Signals" digs deep into the lives—and struggles—of those beyond the spotlight by bringing together twenty new voices and new stories in a format that blurs the line between fact and fiction in the Consolidated Terran Republic.
With stories by:
Charles E. Gannon
Robert E. Waters
Robert R. Chase
Walter H. Hunt
Vonnie Winslow Crist
Lawrence M. Schoen
Robert E. Hampson
Jean Marie Ward
Charles envisioned a universe where the Consolidated Terran Republic holds sway, against a backdrop of exosapient species, warfare, and exploration, and then invited twenty new writers to come play in it. If you love "shared universe" tales, this one is for you. – J. Scott Coatsworth
"Fans of the Caine Riordan/Terran Republic series will love this book. The interstitial material that connects the stories of various authors is a series of future news articles; fitting since Caine Riordan was originally a news reporter."– Wendy S. Delmater, Internet Reviewer
"This is a great anthology of stories from the Caine Riordan universe and the Terran Republic. Even if you have not read any of the other Terran Universe stories or books, this is still a great collection of stories that can be read on their own."– NPetro, Internet Reviewer
"This collection of stories not only adds to an exciting and fun story line but are engrossing in their own right. This book had me entertained all weekend. Now I have to get that housework done I neglected. Not if the next book comes out soon! Well worth your time!"– Ken, Internet Reviewer
From his vantage point at eighty meters altitude, Wilder saw the Chrysler Cargomax's front left tire blast apart, streaming black tatters. The boxy van—a new hydrogen-oxygen fuel-cell model—lurched, swerved, slewed around to a broadsided stop in the middle of the road. Wilder slowed the cutting-edge government aircar; the whine of the lateral thrusters faded, the growl of the verticals increased. The aircar dumped velocity, shuddering into a slow forward crawl.
Chu—a greenhorn field agent straight from Quantico—looked up. "Something wrong, Colonel?"
Wilder nodded at the Cargomax as they passed over. "Blow out—but a damned odd one. Tire went flat too fast. See if you can raise Security back at Picatinny; maybe they've—"
The commo pager toned once, twice: incoming message on a secure channel. Chu raised a hand to his headset, toggled open the circuit. A wash of static was supplanted by: "Juliet Delta Bravo Niner, this is Picatinny Security. Be advised: real-time analysis of local ambient audio indicates possible gunfire, your current sector. Repeat: possible—"
Chu interrupted. "Negative, Picatinny: not gunfire. Have observed truck with single tire blowout. Repeating: not gunfi—" and then Chu stopped. Wilder was accelerating, pulling the aircar into a tight, about-face loop. Chu took his hand away from the headset. "Colonel?" he asked, "Is something—?"
"Relay the truck's coordinates to Security, Mr. Chu." Wilder's eyes were back on the truck as they swung to reapproach it. "Security's right about the gunfire. That tire didn't blow out; it was shot out. That's why it flatted so fast. And given our proximity to the fusion reactor complex, I wouldn't be surprised if—"
The Cargomax's rear doors swung wide; two tongues of stuttering brightness licked out of the dark maw of the cargo bay. Considering the conditions, the marksmanship was impressive: two rounds of six millimeter caseless drilled into the aircar's fuselage. The rest of the autofire spray went wide and low.
Chu gripped his seat's armrests. "Shit!"
Wilder accelerated, climbed, banked hard, came around for another pass. "Relay the coordinates," he repeated, as he leveled off and activated the nose cameras—which began tightbeaming directly to Picatinny Security and uplinking to the Pentagon. The muzzles of two assault rifle stared up at them, elevating slightly as they tracked the approaching aircar. Wilder grimaced: being shot at by terrorists had not been on the day's agenda.