AN INTERVIEW WITH THE AUTHOR
What interested you in writing science fiction?
Science fiction novels provide wonderful adventures in unexpected places with unusual characters and strange circumstance. I’ve enjoyed them all my life including stories such as Jack Campbell’s The Lost Fleet series and it inspired a story that I wanted to share. Midshipman Henry Gallant was the result.
Did you research asteroids/ asteroid belts, comets, meteors and other dangers in the universe?
Yes. I feel that science fiction should be based upon actual scientific principles. I researched the technology included in the story and tried to project their development path into the next century.
Did you have to research genetic engineering? How do you weave that thread through the book's plot?
Genetic engineering is current an important topic in our society and humanity faced difficult choices as it develops over the course of the next century. In Midshipman Henry Gallant, genetic engineering plays an influential role in the background but it is cast against another important innovation that also may prove a future threat: Artificial Intelligence.
How did you arrive at the plot?
I worked to develop the characters and basic circumstances of a possible future. Then I let the characters control the flow of action by letting them behavior according to their own make-up.
Will there be more books in this series? What are you working on next?
I am considering a sequel.
As the last star fighter in squadron 111, Midshipman Henry Gallant is on his way from Jupiter to Mars. With the United Planets' fleet on the verge of annihilation, he can expect no help as he passes through the asteroid belt and threatening aliens. With so much uncertainty about the aliens’ capabilities and intentions, analyzing the captured computer equipment in Gallant’s possession could prove crucial.
The fate of Earth could rest on the abilities of Midshipman Henry Gallant. Unfortunately, it is his abilities that have been much in doubt during his tour of duty. In an era of genetic engineering, he is the only Natural (non-genetically enhanced) officer left in the fleet. His classmates and superior officers have all expressed their concern that he will not be up to the demands of the space service. Only bright and attractive junior officer Kelsey Mitchel has shown any sympathy for him. Now as his navigator on the last fighter in squadron 111, her life as well as a good many others, depends of Henry Gallant.
A massive solar flare roared across the pockmarked face of the sun producing static interference on every display console operating in the tiny spacecraft as it approached the United Planets' battle cruiser Repulse in orbit around Jupiter.
“No need to worry young man, we’re almost there,” said the aged pilot.
“I’m not concerned about the storm,” said newly commissioned Midshipman Henry Gallant. Eagerly, he shifted in his seat to get a better glimpse of the massive ship that was to become his new home for the next two years.
The pilot maneuvered expertly to minimize the worst effects of the x-ray and gamma radiation until the craft made its tortured way from the sunlit brilliance into the cold black shadow of Repulse. The tiny ship quivered gently as its tractors reached out to the behemoth warship, slowly drawing alongside.
When it attached to the Repulse’s docking hatch, Gallant transferred to the warship and made his way to the bridge. He found the Officer of the Watch standing next to the empty captain’s chair surrounded by its nest of displays and virtual readouts. The officer rested his hand briefly on the panel concealing the Artificial Intelligence (AI) tactical analyzer.
“Midshipman Henry Gallant reporting aboard, sir,” he said, standing as tall as his seventeen-year-old gangly figure would allow. He tugged at his uniform blouse to straighten the buttons into proper alignment.
“Welcome aboard, Mr. Gallant. I’m Lieutenant Mather.” Mather was of average height, barrel-chested with sharp-angular facial features. Stoic, he showed little interest in the new arrival. “Please give me your comm pin.”
Gallant handed over his pin and Mather made several quick selections on a touch screen console. He swiped the pin passed the chip reader which loaded the ID and personnel information into Repulse’s computer.
Gallant took the opportunity to look around the spacious semicircular compartment with its numerous apparatus and instruments. The captain's seat was centrally located and he noticed that many of the other chairs were also unoccupied. Apparently some watch stations were only manned during conditions of higher alert.
He observed the watch standers carrying out their ritual duties. The communication panel was manned by a midshipman who looked occupied with an incoming message. The radar station was also manned, but by a technician who was diligently studying his display. Gallant couldn't tell what he was tracking, but there were several blips on the scope. The weapons and astrogator positions were vacant; several science analysis stations were operating automatically.
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Contact: H. Peter Alesso