THE LONG, STRANGE JOURNEY OF LEIF THE LUCKY
There we were, sealed into a small, spartan transport spaceship bound for an antimatter production facility in the hands of a crazed terrorist who wanted to make a nova in the sky, humanity’s fate in the balance, and we were calling each other names.
This is the story of Leif Grettison, a crew member of humanity’s first flight to the stars, even though he had not planned on taking that trip. The year is 2069. The Troubles, a decade plus of proxy and direct warfare among the US, Russia and China, had brought the world to the brink of apocalypse. It was close enough to finally scare the leaders of the powers into signing the Geneva Treaties, a set of agreements pledging peace, cooperation and the dismantling of the military complexes.
A centerpiece of this is the International Space Commission, organized to promote business in space to serve the world and to launch the starshot as a rallying point for all humanity. The pilots of the mission are drawn from each of the three major powers while the crew is comprised of the best and brightest scientists the world has to offer. However, political expediency has played a role in the assembly of the crew and they are riven by academic jealousy, personal dislikes and the same political and ethnic animosities that produced the Troubles.
Leif is the only member of the crew who is neither a scientist nor an engineer. He is the winner of the BerthRight Lottery, a publicity stunt to send an “everyman volunteer” to the stars. He is a US Army veteran who saw much combat during the Troubles. When he meets one of the pilots, Captain Yang Yong who flew for the PLA Air Force during the Troubles, they both have the same immediate reaction: hate at first sight. However, an interstellar mission far away from Earth’s help faces many hazards, foreseen and unforeseen, and the return home carries an insidious danger of its own. Handling these threats requires skills that are not in the realm of science. If the crew is to reach their destination and return alive, Soldier-boy Leif and Fly-girl Yong will need to figure out how to work together. That is, if they don’t kill each other first.
Copyright © 2019 Colin Alexander