Knolan Cycle, Book II

Science Fiction

Date Published 11-01-2021

Publisher: PhoenixPhyre Publishing

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After returning from a successful mission with the Knolan Shock Forces, Hāthar needs a break. With Arra his mate pregnant and he still recovering from his last mission, Hāthar has compelling reasons for sticking close to home. But newly developed stealth technology has enabled Knola’s enemies the Valdrōsians to ambush one of Knola’s Deep Space Fleets, inflicting heavy losses.

Intelligence has identified the facility from which the new technology originated. Developing countermeasures, however, will require a raid to steal the technology and abduct the stealth project managers. Having recently defeated just such a raid, Hāthar is asked to evaluate the feasability of the Knolan plan.

The plan is insanely risky, but Hāthar senses he is the best choice to lead it. With the fate of his adoptive home hinging on the success of the mission, he sets aside his personal preferences in favor of duty. Eryinath-5, The Dancer Nebula continues the chronicle of Knola’s thousand-year war with the Valdrōsians—and the coming climactic clash that will determine the fate of Earth and our corner of the galaxy.


Chapter 3—Ambush in the Orython Sectar


“The Way is many things, but above all, it is eternal vigilance.”

Khuurus, First Guardian of Knola


The Guardian felt the presence of his daughter even before the door to the Command Center opened. He looked up from the situation screen and the worry on her face mirrored his thoughts. He looked at Amasadara.

“She’s heard, obviously,” his friend observed in High Language.

“How much do you know already?” the Guardian asked.

“Know is too strong a word, father.” Lynyth frowned. “Rumors have reached the Tower of the disappearance of half the fleet in the Orython Sectar. Relayed to me by several of my Waykeepers with Admiral Sharnakith’s fleet. Are they true?”

“As nearly as we can tell, yes.”

“There has clearly been a battle and we’ve lost.” Amasadara shook his head. “What is less clear is how so many ships could be lost so quickly. Without so much as a whisper of warning beforehand.”

A section of the inner circle of the Command Center retracted as the Oracle approached. She took one of the seats inside the inner circle of workstations and turned to face Amasadara. “Please continue, Uncle Amasa.”

“Admiral Sharnakith has located a sizable debris field at their last known, but it isn’t large enough to account for the loss of a whole Sectar Defense Fleet. There are a lot of Val hulks floating among the Orython DSF casualties, so Admiral Kendras’ fleet gave good account of itself. But we still have no idea where the admiral is…or the rest of her fleet.” Amasadara frowned. “Their continued silence is not promising.”

“I have feared something like this might happen ever since the Rykynaar engagement,” the Guardian interjected. “It is rarely a good sign when your enemy’s capabilities improve suddenly.”

“What insight have we gained from the shuttles we captured?” Lynyth asked.

“Very little.” Amasadara shifted in his chair. “It’s utterly new technology and superior to our own. Our technicians have no idea how it works and have been unable to reverse engineer it.”

“That’s disappointing,” Lynyth observed.

The Guardian grunted. “It is. What has led them to this breakthrough? Until now, the Valdrōsians have been skilled at adapting the existing technology they’ve pirated from us. But developing their own?” He shook his head.

“At the moment, however, I’m more concerned with locating whatever might be left of Admiral Kendras’ fleet. They are Knolans, and we must save as many as we can. It is also possible that a surviving Survey-Intercept officer might provide insight into how to wash through their countermeasures. If we can be ambushed and attrited as easily as apparently happened in the Orython Sectar, we are in serious trouble.”

“In the meantime, your Eminence, we must send out a Concordant-wide alert,” Amasadara suggested. “And have all Sectars prepare for mobilization.”

“Not yet.” The Guardian picked up a briefing stylus, tapping absently on the surface of the desk in front of him. “Mobilizing now will provoke questions we can’t answer, not to mention encouraging way more consternation...possibly even panic.” He stared at one of the displays in front of him.

“True, your Eminence, but we can’t afford to have another fleet taken by surprise like Admiral Kendra’s. Henceforth, our fleets need to be on fifty percent alert until we figure this out.”

The Guardian sighed heavily. “Make it so.” He tossed the briefing stylus on the desk and met his daughter’s eyes. “How is your newest Seed from Kurrithäal doing? Paul, I think his name is?”

“Very well, father. He is now fluent in Knolan and seems already to have found his Way. He is in training at the Academy. His previous experiences on Kurrithäal as…a Marine, I think they call them…has prepared him well for KSF duties. He seems perfectly at home with them. The Commandant at the Academy informs me he will complete training early. He believes him to be more promising than we originally guessed.”

“Given our current situation, that’s good news.” After a long pause, he continued. “How is Hāthar doing? I haven’t seen him since his return. Before I assigned him to the Rykynaar mission, I detected a strong sense of responsibility. I’m guessing he’s taking  his losses in his first battle personally? ”

“Yes.” The Oracle picked up the discarded briefing stylus and slipped it into the retaining clip next to one of the displays. “But the Syllamur assures me he will recover fully.”

“That’s good.” The Guardian glanced at Amasadara before continuing. “Has he had his corrective eye surgery, yet?”

“Scheduled but not completed,” the Oracle noted. “Purandra is in high demand.”

“Let me know when it is completed,” the Guardian ordered. “And what the outcome is. I may have a mission for him.”

About the Author

Dirk’s path to authorship wasn’t quite an accident, but almost. It’s not that he didn’t write. He did. Still, through two previous careers, first as a Marine officer and subsequently as a corporate trainer, Dirk started way more stories than he finished. But in the backwash of the 2008 financial meltdown, his employer filed for Chapter 11. Cordially invited to leave and not return, Dirk found himself out of work and excuses.

Since then, Dirk has published West of Tomorrow, Best-Case Scenario, Act I of Nyra’s Journey, a collection of short fiction entitled, Through the Windshield and Tier Zero, Vol I of the Knolan Cycle. All are available from Amazon in paperback and Kindle. His latest work in progress is The Year of Maybe, Act II of Nyra’s Journey, due out in 2022.

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