Someone was terra-forming Venus and it certainly wasn’t anyone native to the solar system! First Lieutenant Sybil Hunter was dispatched with her crew to discover what was going on.
She’d expected the possibility of being shot down if it was aliens, as everyone thought.
Previously published as Sleeping with the Enemy.
Length: Full Novel
Word Count: 81,396
Genre: Science Fiction/Futuristic Romance
Available formats: PDF, RTF, Epub, HTML, Mobipocket (.prc)
© Cover Art by Jenny Dixon, October 2014
New Concepts Publishing
Lake Park, GA 31636
This is a work of fiction. All characters, events, and places are of the author's imagination and not to be confused with fact. Any resemblance to living persons or events is merely coincidence.
Moon Base 2028
The agitation that had driven First Lieutenant Sybil Hunter from her quarters in the barracks to the Cosmos observation center eased as the lack of activity reflected on the huge screens caught her attention. For a solid week, dozens of workers had been carefully going over the hull of the colony ship, searching for micro-meteor holes to patch. The ship-as yet to have its maiden voyage-had been liberally peppered with them during the transition from external shielding to internal, forcing a frantic search and patch operation before the tiny holes could seriously jeopardize the hull's integrity.
They were conspicuous now by their absence. Undoubtedly, they'd finished and withdrawn inside the ship once more to help the others working on finishing the ship's interior.
It was amazing how often the simplest things worked best, Sybil reflected. Not that they knew yet whether it would in this particular case, but every study and every calculation had pointed to a high probability of success. After the finest minds had wracked their brains for a solution to the 'gravity problem' for decades and come up empty-handed, they'd finally decided to give the 'harebrained' solution a try and it looked like it was going to work.
Of course moving an asteroid the size of this one out of the asteroid belt and into roughly the same orbit as the moon hadn't been an easy task by any stretch of the imagination! The fact that it had its own gravity had only made it that much harder, but then there wouldn't have been any point to the delicate operation if it hadn't!
Desperate times called for desperate measures, however. Poised to begin full scale colonization of Mars, they already had over a million volunteers signed up and the buses built a decade earlier to carry scientists, colonists, and sightseers to the moon were woefully inadequate for the task. Although advances in the past decade had resulted in ships that could make the trip to Mars and back three times faster than they'd been able to manage back in the teens and early twenties when they'd established the first bases for scientific studies, ferrying the colonists already signed up for land on the new world was a daunting task. With more people eager to escape the Earth and forge a new life on Mars every day, it had begun to seem an impossible task.
The U.S.S. Cosmos had been the solution, but it had its own problems. Although big enough to carry nearly a hundred thousand colonists at the time, the ship was far slower than the smaller crafts they'd built. It would take nearly six months to make the round trip, and that meant that the colonists weren't going to be in any shape to begin working when they arrived-not at nearly zero gravity. It would take months of rehabilitation to get them in shape even though Mars' gravity was only 38% of Earth's. The combination of 'gravity' suits, which worked in conjunction with electro-magnetic forces, and 'artificial gravity' created by centrifugal force used on the Moon colony wasn't practical, even if it could be done-and everyone had been pretty convinced that it couldn't-not on that scale.
It was critical to the success of the Mars colonization project that the colonists be able to start to work when they arrived. The Mars colonist dormitory/holding/and processing facility was being completed even as the final touches were being completed on the U.S.S. Cosmos. It was fully stocked to house them for at least a year, but resources were at a premium and would be until the colonists began to produce their own goods. The first colonists needed to complete their personal habitats and begin growing their own food within the first six months or it would seriously jeopardize the chances of the next group and every group thereafter.
So-the harebrained solution thought up by a pseudo-scientist who had no idea what sort of complications might arise from capturing and then building a ship around an asteroid with its own gravity. It had actually made construction of the ship much easier. Flying it was going to be a real bitch, but if they could manage it the colonists would arrive on Mars in excellent condition.
She was to have been a member of the crew that would take the Cosmos on its maiden voyage.