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My thanks to my wife (Cheryl Dunagin-Farren) for putting up with my obsession to spend all my free time writing.

Cover design by Heather Zak. If you would like her to do a cover for your book, send me an email at


Chapter 1


This is how life was meant to be enjoyed, thought Ken as he stretched out on the deck of his 12 meter sailboat. The pleasure craft was drifting aimlessly, the only sound being the gentle slap of the waves as they caressed the side of the ship. Ken was watching a spectacular sunset and enjoying every minute of it. The sun hung suspended in the evening sky looking like a gigantic reddish-orange ball sitting on top of the water's surface. As he watched, it slowly sank below the horizon.

The stars began to peek through the darkening sky. As Ken tried to make out the constellations, an insect buzzed near his right ear. He ignored it, hoping it would go away. Instead, it got closer and the buzzing louder. As he reached up to brush the offending insect away, the dream faded into oblivion. The buzz of the ship's com system continued, announcing the fact that someone was determined to interrupt the captain's sleep.

Captain Ken Stricklen shook his head to clear away the last vestiges of the dream before hitting the acknowledge button. "Stricklen," he said, not bothering to hide his annoyance. "What is it?"

"Sorry to disturb you sir," replied a voice Ken identified as belonging to his executive officer. "We have picked up an unusual gravitational anomaly. I believe it might warrant a closer look."

"Gravitational anomaly? What is so unusual about this anomaly that warrants my personal attention at this time of the morning?" Ken was obviously upset. Being the captain of an Alliance heavy cruiser, he was used to being awakened in the middle of the night, but this sounded like a problem his XO could handle.

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