Operation Chimera, by Matthew Cox and Tony Healey
Genre: science-fiction, action-adventure
Publisher: Curiosity Quills Press
Date of Publication: October 20, 2014.
Cover Artist: Ricky Gunawan (http://ricky-gunawan.daportfolio.com/)
Generations of war with the savage Draxx have left humanity desperate for a way to gain the upper hand.
A chance to turn the tide in their favor is all legendary Captain Nicholas Driscoll needs to hear to lead an expedition behind enemy lines to the Chimera Nebula – a region of space so unstable it remains largely uncharted.
Lieutenant Michael Summers sees an opportunity to matter, a chance to let future generations exist in a universe without constant war. He and other brave young cadets join the Manhattan for its first dangerous mission – to penetrate the Chimera Nebula and discover what it is the Draxx are doing in there.
But first the ship and her crew will be tested by enemies both outside and within…
About Matthew Cox:
Born in a little town known as South Amboy NJ in 1973, Matthew has been creating science fiction and fantasy worlds for most of his reasoning life. Somewhere between fifteen to eighteen of them spent developing the world in which Division Zero, Virtual Immortality, and The Awakened Series take place. He has several other projects in the works as well as a collaborative science fiction endeavor with author Tony Healey.
Hobbies and Interests: Matthew is an avid gamer, a recovered WoW addict, Gamemaster for two custom systems (Chronicles of Eldrinaath [Fantasy] and Divergent Fates [Sci Fi], and a fan of anime, British humour (<- deliberate), and intellectual science fiction that questions the nature of reality, life, and what happens after it. He is also fond of cats.
Find Matthew Cox Online:
Tony Healey is a best-selling independent author. Born in 1985, he has lived his entire life in the city of Brighton, UK.
In 2011, he found his fiction published alongside Harlan Ellison and Alan Dean Foster. A year later, his sci-fi serial FAR FROM HOME became a best-selling sensation, followed by similarly successful sequels. Since then he has collaborated with authors Bernard Schaffer, Matthew Cox and William Vitka on various projects. He has also had work published by Curiosity Quills Press. He is married and has three daughters.
For the latest on Tony’s various projects, visit his site http://www.tonyhealey.com
Excerpt: Chapter 4
A hundred or so men and women milled through two sets of doors along the south wall, filing among rows of auditorium seats. Fighter pilots in white, bomber crews in black, one squad of search and rescue in drab green, and a handful of electronic warfare operators in grey. The room sloped downward toward the front, a descending grade that ended at a large round holo-emitter table and a podium. The rear wall caused many of the arriving pilots to do a double take; the high-resolution star-map created the illusion of a hole in the hull.
Michael Summers took a seat on the right side, followed soon by Aaron, Liam, Emma, and Zavex. It seemed as though bunk assignments followed suit with unit membership; the clustering in Briefing Room A echoed the assignments of quarters. He leaned back in his chair, at ease as if they were about to use the giant star-map to view the latest Zinbaru game.
Emma kept her hands on her knees, staring at the tendons along the back as if the weight of her gaze would keep them from shaking. The reality of her surroundings sank in, leaving her second-guessing her decision. For a moment, she wondered if her father had enough pull to get her out of here. Rigid, she made fists and resisted the temptation. Across the way, one of the erratic Recon pilots decided to leap two rows of seats to get to an empty spot. His wild howl made her jump.
“That’s what I’m talking about,” whispered Aaron to Liam. He pointed at Emma with the hand he had used to shield his voice. “Look at her, poor little thing’s trembling.”
Liam scoffed. “You don’t honestly think she’s the only one in here that’s nervous, do you?”
“At least the others have the ability to hide it. I don’t want to get stuck out there with a nervous Nellie.”
She frowned at his less-than-quiet belittlement, and resumed the staring contest with her hands. Michael leaned forward, blocking the line of sight between Aaron and Emma, eyebrow cocked.
“I’ve seen her sim logs, Lieutenant Vorys. She’ll do just fine.”
Aaron squinted at him, then gave Liam a light elbow to the arm. “Why’d we get this guy anyway? What happened to Squid?”
Laughing, Liam rubbed his eyes. “Ahh, ol’ Squiddie had political ambitions. He didn’t fancy this hop; can’t run for office if you’re dead. You know this particular suicide mission was all strictly volunteer.”
Emma gawked at him.
“So…” Aaron glanced at Michael’s shoulder patch. “Dragon, eh? What’d you do to get that Callsign?”
“I had an old martial arts gi with a red circle on the back; it had a dragon head through it.” Michael coiled his right hand in the shape of a serpent about to strike.
“Spent most of his free time in personal combat holo-sims or watching bad movies where the words never fit the lips,” said a voice from the row behind them.
“Hey, Duck.” Michael shook hands with a pasty-faced man a head taller than everyone else in the row.
“Duck?” Aaron made a disapproving face. “That’s kind of a weak callsign.”
Michael laughed. “Academy guys always threw crap at his head, he never moved.”
“Hope he has better reaction times to particle beams,” Aaron laughed.
Eddie “Duck” Larsson frowned.
“What about you, princess?” Aaron leaned forward, challenging Emma with a glance.
“Sylph,” she said, in a voice much calmer than she looked. “Not sure if it’s because of my size or my sim score.”
“Sixteen kills, not one incoming hit,” said Michael with a raised eyebrow. “Impressive.”
“Only sixteen kills?” Aaron rolled his eyes. “I got ninety-three.”
“And you got blown up forty-one times. She doesn’t have a single incoming hit, that’s not death count.”
“What,” said Liam, blinking at Michael. “Did you memorize our dossiers?”
“Not quite, but I had to look at them.”
“Well, I don’t think my forty-four and eleven record is that bad.” Liam folded his arms.
Aaron put on an air of sanctimony. “You only got eleven deaths because you lurked at the perimeter in every damn match; real combat won’t afford you the opportunity to snipe.”
“Real combat won’t afford the opportunity to hot dog. You could get away with it in the sim because a helmet shock is a lot less permanent than getting vapped.” Emma couldn’t take it anymore. “It’s not about scores or kills; it’s about staying alive to go home. Dead pilots can’t stop Draxx.”
I am looking forward to checking this one out! You should too!!