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BEN Books - Samaritan
In deep space, a science vessel discovers a bone yard of derelict ships and a survivor who needs a Good Samaritan to take her home. The catch: her planet is located at the center of a black hole.
The science ship Aquarius, under the command of Captain Jeremiah Rains has finally reached the end of its exploratory mission to the depths of uncharted space and is returning home to Earth.
Captain Rains and his skeleton military crew are tired and bored from the lack of adventure they expected to find out in the great beyond. The scientists, however, are extremely happy with their many discoveries.
When the ship comes upon the wreckage of a destroyed space vessel, the crew is surprised to find one survivor; a woman, quite possibly the most beautiful woman any of them have ever seen. Her name is Lari and all she wants is someone, some Good Samaritan, to take her home.
The catch is that her planet is located at the center of a black hole.
SAMARITAN is a novella by author Bobby Nash
Jeremiah Rains’ eyes snapped open at the enthusiastic outcry from the ship’s navigator. As he had been doing often of late, Captain Rains had all but tuned out everything going on around him while letting his mind drift. Once, not too long ago this would have been the last thing a career flag officer such as he would have allowed while on duty.
But things were a lot different than they used to be.
Including the good captain.
“Say again,” Rains said as he bolted from the captain’s chair, wincing as a twinge of pain shot up his spine from having sat stationary for so long.
This was another uncomfortable aspect Rains had learned to accept recently.
Such minor afflictions served as painful reminders that he had lost almost a decade on this mission. He felt like he had been sitting still, sedentary for far too long. An odd feeling considering how fast his ship traveled. He wanted - needed - something exciting to happen soon or he was going to explode.
“I have a contact at bearing three-three-zero-mark-two, quadrant four search grid,” navigator Jackson Taylor announced as his hands deftly played over the controls in front of him.
Taylor had served as navigator on the prospector ship Aquarius since its initial launch eight years earlier. No one knew this ship as well as he did.
Not even its captain.
“Talk to me, Taylor.”
“Scanners register a massive debris field, Captain.”
“Define massive, Mr. Taylor” Commander Wilma Forrester, the Aquarius’ second in command said as she marched onto the bridge. The commander was all business, stern, and apparently always standing at attention. Taylor was not a fan of the lady or her style. Much like the rest of the crew he tolerated her presence. The commander did not have many friends on board, but he suspected that was exactly how she liked it.
Taylor grunted as he moved the grid from his screen to the main viewer at the front of the bridge.
“Holy...” Rains muttered as he stepped forward for closer inspection.
On the screen before him was a panorama of twisted hunks of metal and free floating blobs of miscellaneous detritus scattered among millions upon millions of fragments slowly tumbling through space. The debris field looked unnatural, out of place against the backdrop of the gaseous space cloud in the distance, its swatches of orange, red, and purple scarred by the gray and twisted remains of what had once been many massive starships.
“That’s how I define massive, Commander,” Taylor said as he pointed at the screen, sarcasm dripping off each word.
Captain Rains perked up. Finally, a small voice in his mind said. Something to do! “Have all science sections suspend their current assignments,” he ordered. “I want all available scanning devices on that field. This is the most conclusive evidence we have that we are not alone out here and I want every scrap of that debris field recorded.”
“Aye,” Forrester said as she relayed the order to the Aquarius’ mostly scientific crew. As a science vessel, the ratio of scientist to military officer on the Aquarius was eight to one.
“Finally found an order those scientists won’t argue with, eh, Cap?”
“Yeah,” Rains chuckled, slapping his navigator on the shoulder. “Good job.”
“You want me to get us in closer, boss?”
Rains smiled as he dropped back into the captain’s chair. “What do you think?”
Taylor smiled. “Yes, sir. Moving in for closer look. Aye.”
As the Aquarius’ main ion engine pushed the ship forward toward the debris field, Jeremiah Rains felt more alive, more useful than he had since this little mission into the great beyond had begun. He had spent the last eight plus years shuttling boring scientists who told boring stories to the far corners of the cosmos. His superiors back home had promised him adventure and excitement far beyond his wildest imaginings.
So far he had been greatly disappointed.