A tale of friendship, romance and political intrigue set in a
future where humanity has spread its seed across a few
thousand planets. A civil war has devastated the economy and
billions of citizens will perish without aid from the benevolent
A junk dealer may have unwittingly found a secret technology
on a derelict battleship that might save humanity from
starvation and stop the evil Scoryn Hegemony.
Hegemony by Christopher Wittkugle
Fifteen years ago an old battleship named the Godiva was retired by the Solon Impyre's Galactic Navy. It was purchased in a private auction by a noted scientist, Dr. Orli Noblessar. It went missing, along with the doctor and his daughter, soon after.
Since then, every space salvage outfit in the galaxy has been looking for that ship. There have been a several sightings of the vessel over the years, but only one has been considered reliable. A corporately owned freighter ship was destroyed in a remote solar system by a “ghost ship” that matched the description of the Godiva.
Now, the search may be at an end.
Johnny Hiro and his crew may have just located the Godiva after searching for her for years. They believe that there is technology hidden on that ship that could either save or ruin the Impyre.
But, there's a problem. Hiro's former best friend and business partner has just been released from prison, and he has plans of vengeance after what he claimed was a false conviction.
Also furthering the difficulties with recovering the Godiva is the fact that a galactic civil war has just ended and the entire infrastructure of the Impyre is crumbling. Fuel is such a rare commodity that interstellar space travel has been suspended.
Can Hiro and his team bring back the Godiva in time to save the galaxy from total economic ruin, or will an unknown dark force rise up and replace the benevolent Solon Impyre with the evil Scoryn Hegemony?
Captain Rahji’s footsteps echoed down the long, dimly lit corridor that bisected the Lucillia’s oval shaped observation deck. His late night walks were a common occurrence, and the crew took little notice of his passage, other than to give a few quick salutes. He found the peacefulness of the "after hours" soothing. His footfalls were steady and rhythmic, which also helped to sooth his nerves. He would walk slowly, but with purpose, touring all the decks of the Delico Star-cruisers Unlimited deep space freighter. His arm came up in a motion made automatic by years of repetition, as he glanced at the antique timepiece he wore on his left wrist. Time always seemed to move so slowly these days.
Dr. Filippi, the personal physician that had been assigned to him by the company, had told him that his insomnia was incurable. The most likely cause of it was his lifetime of service in the Impyrial Navy. Always being awake, never able to relax and waiting for the next enemy to launch an attack had taken its toll on him. In forty-seven years of service, Omar Rahji had seen one hundred sixty-eight ship to ship battles with pirates, dissidents and various other non-conformists. He had survived them all without so much as a scratch or contusion.
Now, however, there was only the blasted insomnia to grapple with. Even though he did get the amount of sleep required by regulation in the hyper-sleep chamber, he rarely felt rested these days. This fact showed in his haggard and worn face.
He looked at the watch again; thirty-two seconds had passed since his last glance. He walked on.
As usual, he re-lived old battles in his mind as he walked. The events that happened in his life between those battles seemed almost trivial and useless to him. His marriages, and subsequent divorces, even the birth of his only son had paled when compared to the sense of purpose he had gotten from doing battle. Dr. Filippi had tried to explain this as Rahji’s way of coping with the horrible things he had seen in the worst of those battles. But Rahji didn’t want it explained, he was perfectly happy with his memories. He had always viewed himself as a born commander, and felt that his exemplary record attested to that fact.
But there were no more battles now. He had retired, or rather had been forced to retire, a little more than four orthodox years ago. He had received High Honors of the Impyre, but his age disqualified him from field command. Rather than enter the lower echelons of Impyrial Fleet Command, he opted for his retirement package and decided to travel the galaxy that he had spent so many years of his life defending. He even spent a little time on his home world of Akhara with his son, Vherjai.
But it wasn't long before he became restless and accepted command of the Lucillia.
The Lucillia was a mid-sized bulk cargo carrier, specially equipped with large fuel storage capabilities for making deep runs to far removed parts of the galaxy. Owned by the Far Star Carriers Company, she was a fast and nimble ship, especially for one of her size and intended purpose. Her firepower was above and beyond what most cargo ships carried, so Rahji liked her well enough, to be sure.
The Far Star Carriers Company, or FSCC, was a small corporation owned and operated by retired naval officers. They, in turn, only hired ex-Navy personnel. The fleet that they had amassed might have been small, but the number of skilled sailors aboard and the modifications that were made to the ships made them undesirable targets for pirates and brigands. This was a necessity for the multitude of deep runs for which they took contracts.
The Lucillia was on one of these deep runs now. She was en route to some desolate, out of the way planet on the very frontier of the Southern Galactic Arm named Namarri. Her cargo was one hundred seventy thousand mega-grosses of medical supplies. It seemed that the residents of Namarri had accidentally released a vicious and virulent biological weapon. Rahji gave it little thought; it was just another drop-off for him, then he would be off to the next planet. Even though things like this happened quite regularly all over the galaxy, it was more common out here on the edge of the Impyre. Law and Order held little sway in these parts.
He detested that.
Even in a few of the core solar systems that mentality was showing through. The Seven Impyrial Fleets had their hands full dealing with the uprising. Several of the dissident noble houses had banded together and formed the Coalition of Houses Scorned. Conflicts were breaking out all over the civilized galaxy, almost on a daily basis. Of the three and a half thousand planets known to be colonized, the number the Impyre was in control of stayed right around two and a half thousand. This number fluctuated daily, for various reasons, but since the uprising, it had been slowly dropping.
Rahji saw the reports of the battles on the holo-casts whenever he would “go ashore” at any of the Lucillia’s ports of call. These reports would trigger the memories of his own battles, long since past.
He was beginning to understand that he had not only grown accustomed to the fighting, but had come to expect it. To live for it, really. He had realized one day that he missed it dearly, and somewhere deep down, he longed for it constantly. A part of him felt that he should die as he had lived: in battle with the evil of non-conformity.
He had never told Dr. Filippi about that, afraid that he might lose his command.
He reached the end of the corridor, and the doors of the personnel lift opened automatically when he approached. They closed behind him with a barely audible "thunk". The brain-wave sensor on the control panel sent out an invisible beam, and scanned this latest occupant. In a matter of microseconds, it had determined that Captain Omar E. Rahji wished to return to his cabin on deck twenty-two, and the lift’s motor engaged. With a movement that happened so quickly that he barely perceived it, the doors opened again and the main corridor of deck twenty-two lay before the Captain.