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v. 2.11S

ISBN: 978-1-4486-8914-9 (print version)



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ALSO BY DAVID DERRICO



RIGHT ASCENSION,

The Prequel to Declination



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For my mother, Debra Derrico.



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CHAPTER 1

16 Nov 3050


The bridge seemed cold, Anastasia thought, though she distantly realized that it was probably just her nerves. The chair she sat in—the captain’s chair—felt uncomfortably new, and she could not help but fidget self-consciously. Though the memory-gel cushion had quickly adjusted to her form, it somehow lacked the comfort of her previous command chair, which had, through years of use, totally adapted to her. More importantly, she thought, she had totally adapted to it.

Anastasia fought to suppress a shiver, something in the back of her mind preventing her from getting comfortable on her new ship. The hairs at the nape of her neck tingled, thankfully hidden from view by the long black locks that trailed down her back. She made a conscious effort to push her impending mission from her thoughts, with little success.

Unconsciously, Captain Mason ran her slender fingers over the chair’s armrest controls. Just about every system aboard the magnificent ship could be controlled from there, though Anastasia certainly did not doubt the need for the vessel’s other seven crewmembers. After all, she remembered, she had been one of those crewmembers on a similar ship not so long ago.

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