Losing Dani Strumm
by B. A. Shields
“BEEP—BEEP—BEEP—the warning buzzers continued blaring, the lights flashed as the pod shook and rumbled with a deafening sound. Her teeth chattered from the vibrations as she tried speaking, “Mayday! Mayday! Alvarez, do you copy? Alvarez, this is Devo-1. Do you copy?” her voice vibrated as she struggled to concentrate.
Items began to break loose and shake throughout the cabin as Dani grasped the control stick with both hands, trying to correct the pod.
“Come on!” she yelled, pulling with all her strength as the ship continued to spin out of control.
“Devo-1, this is the Alvarez, we copy, over.”
“Alvarez, I’m in the escape pod. I’m going down. I can’t get it to correct; the explosion must have damaged the pod. I can’t control it,” she continued hitting buttons and manipulating the stick, trying to regain control.”
Dani was a natural in school, her only distraction, an absent mother, and a suicidal brother whom she felt overly protective. Maybe because she assumed the role when her mother abandoned them, or perhaps it was just her nurturing way.
She worked hard after graduating, joining the military to expedite her acceptance and training in the Institute, which almost guaranteed her entrance into the New Earth Corps.
The New Earth Corps is where she would set her sights on a once in a lifetime mission to Tau Ceti e, the nearest Earth-like planet, where she would become the first woman explorer in deep space.
The mission was only possible once every 60 years because of the strange elliptical orbit of Tau Ceti e, which made it impossible to reach in a person’s lifetime. However, modern technology did allow humankind to get to the edge of the planet’s orbit every 60 years for approximately three months. Deep sleep, or hypersleep, allows Dani to travel a great distance to carry out this dangerous and previously failed mission.
The last mission team was never heard from after a scouting trip to the planet 60 years earlier.
Dani dreamed her entire life of this mission.
Her job was a simple one. Release scientific orbital satellites around Tau Ceti e to gather important information for team two, which would form a landing and exploration party.
What could go wrong?
Within minutes of releasing the second satellite, something did go wrong, horribly wrong.
Dani would find herself scrambling for the emergency escape pod to escape a dying ship, and before long, on an alien planet with two weeks of supplies, two days of oxygen, a broken leg, and her rescue nearly two months away.
Losing Dani Strumm is part exploration story, part self-discovery, and it features a compelling and surprising tale of forgiveness. It’s about love, luck, fate, and a complex woman with one last shot at her lifelong dream.
This science fiction novel takes place in the all too near future.
While you wait, enjoy this Alien Language Translator just for fun...
PRAISE FOR B. A. SHIELDS' BOOKS
“…The highlight of the book is the characters. Author B. A. Shields takes time to introduce the side characters and bring them to life. The "bad guys" in the book are even shown as people who make bad decisions based on their own choice of self-fulfillment. One dimensional characters are not found in this book. The story is never rushed, and everyone decisions in the book have consequences which affect the other characters in the story....”
-- M McArt Vine Voice
"...The characters are well thought out, the storyline is so well written that you're able to fully "see" the story as you read...."
"...There is a great web of multiple storylines going on, and Shields weaves them all with clever dialog and just the right amount of visual description. Most importantly, he gives us the sense that some of these seemingly separate characters are going to cross paths at some point, and I won't tell you if they all do or not. Overall, a very satisfying read …"
-- S. Dewar
“I love the author's style of writing, and how he makes the characters so engaging and the storyline gripping, the adventures of the characters drew me into the story and made me feel like I was experiencing it myself. I love when a book can do that for a reader; then I start to read slower as the end of the book approaches because I don't want the story to end.”
-- Miss Snow