- N. N. Light
Solar Warden by Peter Fuller is a Spring Break Bookapalooza pick #scifi #militaryscifi #giveaway
Solar Warden Book One
Military science fiction
Everything you were taught about man’s exploration of space… is a lie.
USAF pilot Colonel Steve “Scarecrow” Richardson is injured when his F-35 crashes in the mountains of northern Afghanistan. He’s rescued by an unusual craft that whisks him up to the world of a secret space program that uses advanced “Star Trek” type technology to battle a malevolent alien foe determined to destroy humanity, all of which is completely unknown to the inhabitants of planet earth. He enlists, but must use all of his skill and experience as a combat pilot to master the advanced technology, and all of his resourcefulness to help his fellow humans overcome their alien foes, who are winning the conflict.
Throughout his struggle to adapt to his new life as a member of this secret space program, Scarecrow realizes that the enemy he and his fellow humans face have a dark, paranormal component to their existence that makes them as demonic as they are alien.
“Okay, this is not good …”
Colonel Steve “Scarecrow” Richardson was in the fight of his life. Plummeting to earth, his engine flamed-out and avionics de-energized, his F-35 Joint Strike Fighter had become nothing more than a meteor plunging to the desert floor. Following his wingman – he presumed now dead amid a fireball on the ground – and having failed to arrest his own descent or restart his engine, Scarecrow reached for his ejection seat handle. He hesitated. The thought of abandoning an 89 million dollar, state-of-the-art aircraft didn’t sit well with him, especially on its maiden mission. The thing still had its “new car” smell. With one hand on the control stick and the other clutching the ejection handle, he gritted his teeth and tensed as he released the stick and with both hands, pulled the black and yellow-striped loop located between his knees.
As the canopy blasted up and was swept behind the aircraft, Scarecrow shot vertical. The rush was disorienting, until he found the horizon, illuminated by the rising moon. Slamming into the airstream at still over 300 knots with less than 3,000 feet of altitude, the air hammered him as the parachute deployed with a crack, jerking his body and slowing his descent.
The impact and explosion of his own F-35 with the ground below and ahead of him played out in slow motion. Its fireball expanded and rose into the air, reaching hungrily towards him as he swayed under the nylon canopy. The shock wave knocked the wind out of him. On regaining his breath, he realized his trajectory, driven by his body’s momentum and the prevailing winds, was taking him right into the burning crash site. Attempting to avoid the flaming debris, he shifted his weight and adjusted his chute’s directional louvers.
Just a little more … just a little further …
Reflex caused Scarecrow to pull his knees to his chest as he drifted over the flames, hoping the few extra feet would be enough to keep him from catching fire. As he passed over the burning wreckage, a minor secondary explosion thrust flames upward and for an instant, they enveloped him. Clearing the plume, he was thankful neither he nor any of his gear had ignited.
In preparation for impact, he relaxed his body, went feet and knees together, then held his breath. Landing with a heavy thud in a tuck and roll, he sprang to his feet as the chute, caught by the early morning ground breeze, began to tug at him. He snapped the release and shook the harness off his body, then spun around to see how far he was from the wreckage of his fighter. He was barely a dozen yards away.
At this distance, another explosion could be deadly, especially as the plane’s full fuel load and ordnance cooked off. Sprinting away from the burning F-35, he began a frantic search for a firebreak or outcropping that could shelter him from a blast. There was none. Dodging brush and rocks, he raced as fast as he could away from the crash site, despite being weighed down with his flight gear.
Just when he thought he might make it to safety, the feared explosion erupted, launching shrapnel-like debris in all directions. A smaller piece hit him in the back of his HMD, cracking it open and pitching him forward to bounce and flop across the hard desert ground like a rag doll in a gale. While his helmet kept him from being killed instantly, Scarecrow still suffered a massive concussion. He managed to stop rolling, and lay face up on the packed earth. Dazed, he fought to remain conscious as flaming debris landed all around him. Unable to move, he was convinced that if he was hit again, it would all be over.
This time providence smiled on him, and he remained unscathed. When the echo of the explosion subsided, Scarecrow’s ears were filled with a loud ringing, augmenting the pain now growing inside his wounded skull.
Struggling to stay conscious, Scarecrow stared up at the sky. As he lay on the cold ground, he knew Bagram Base would be scrambling a quick reaction force (QRF). Unless they arrived soon, he also knew they would find him dead, overwhelmed by the head injury now beckoning him down into a seductive oblivion, or shot by a roving Taliban patrol.
Either way, he could no longer move, even if he wanted to. For the first time in his life, his fate was in the hands of others. Lying on the ground, Scarecrow drifted in and out of consciousness. He thought of family. His father was already gone – his mother was in an assisted living facility enduring her final days. His sister hated him, but despite her best efforts, her two pre-teen daughters adored their dashing Air Force uncle. He would miss those precocious girls.
His thoughts drifted next to his crew chief and his 18-month-old daughter, Brittany. Disappointment filled his fading consciousness, because now he would never know what her first word to her father would be.
Scarecrow thought about his life. The “flashing before your eyes” you were supposed to experience just before you died. Only disjointed failures played out in his mind. His whole life had been an ongoing attempt to protect people. That was why he joined the Air Force – to protect his loved ones and his country from their enemies. However, as he relived the key events of his life in his injured mind, he realized he’d failed to achieve his lifegoal. He thought of Sam. Of Chrissy. Both disasters of his own making. Add to that the loss of a wingman, not to mention the failure of this current mission. Other pilots would have to take up the slack and complete it. The mess he would leave behind was much larger than the burning debris field surrounding him.
Scarecrow rejected the survival instinct screaming at him to fight to stay alive. His body relaxed. It was better this way. Just let go – no more mistakes, no more failures. No more Sam’s, no more Chrissies, no more Retros, no more intact Tallie weapons’ caches. The world would be better off without him. Hopefully, on the other side there would be no more guilt, no more life and death responsibilities. He longed to be free from the overwhelming remorse that had haunted him for so long.
The irony wasn’t lost on him. Even though he was a combat pilot, Scarecrow hadn’t thought much about death. At least not about his own death. This was not the way he imagined he would die. He figured he would be shot out of the sky in a blaze of glory, his demise instantaneous. No time to think about anything. Yet here he was, lying flat on his back in northern Afghanistan, unable to move, the pungent odor of hawthorn and burning jet fuel stinging his nostrils as the first rays of the morning rose above the eastern peaks, setting flight to the stars above.
Though Scarecrow was no longer fighting to remain conscious, his ears still rang, and his head felt like it would explode. He took one last look up at the sky that had been his refuge and home for so many years before casting himself into the arms of the angels who would convey him to his eternal reward. But like everything else today, that didn’t go as planned, either. In fact, he was convinced he must be hallucinating.
In the sky above him, a shadowy shape appeared from nowhere. Unlike angels with white wings illuminated by the Shekinah glory of God, this angel, if that’s what it was, was dark. Black. Triangular. Silhouetted against the night’s fading stars, it had a white light at each of its three outer points and a larger red light in the center.
That’s got to be the most unusual angel anyone has ever seen. Perhaps I’m not going up. Maybe I’m headed in the other direction. Fitting, considering the failure that was my life.
It hovered more than 50 feet in the air, spinning ever so slowly. Even though he knew it was too far away, he stretched a hand toward it. Then, as his lids became too heavy and he lost his battle to keep his eyes open, Scarecrow sank into a state of unconscious bliss, his arm collapsing over his chest.
Above him, the dark, triangular angel proceeded to descend.
Buy Links (including Goodreads and BookBub)
Amazon.ca - https://www.amazon.ca/Solar-Warden-Peter-Fuller-ebook/dp/B0853CSRJZ/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1679421388&sr=8-3
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Books a Million –
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If money were no object, where would you go for a spring break vacation and why?
If money were no object, I would go to Hawaii. Being a writer of military science fiction, I would need a time machine, to go back in time to when my wife and I spent our honeymoon there in 1984. She passed away in January of this year, after a three year battle with cancer. I would sit on the beach incognito, and just watch her as she enjoyed her honeymoon with the former me. I would read her book of poetry over and over again until the pages fell apart. I miss her so much ...
Why is your featured book a must-read this spring?
Ever wanted to travel in a starship and visit a base on the moon or Mars while on your way to the edge of the solar system? Ever wanted to fly a space fighter and engage in combat with alien squadrons?
Ever wanted to serve in a space program like Star Trek’s Federation or Star Wars’ Rebel Alliance? Both are unobtainable, since they are 300 years in the future or in a galaxy far, far away.
Not so with Solar Warden. The story takes place in the here and now. The secret space program exists today, and you can enlist. This is not President Trump’s new Space Force–Solar Warden has been operational for over 40 years, protecting earth from alien attack.
Open the pages of Solar Warden and step into a world that is the future today.
One lucky reader will win a $75 Amazon US or Canada gift card
Open internationally. You must have a valid Amazon US or Amazon CA account to win.
Runs April 1 – 30, 2023.
Drawing will be held on May 1, 2023.
Award-winning author Peter Fuller worked in the Military History Department of the Glenbow Museum in Calgary, Alberta, Canada for eight years. He has studied military history for decades, written numerous articles and lectured at major museums and universities on the subject of military history. He has also been a regular panelist at NORWESCON since 2017. He has studied the UFO phenomenon since grade school. He is a member of the Mutual UFO Network (MUFON), and has had a few "close encounters" of his own. Most recently, he interviewed the son of a United States military officer about his late father's work on several special access projects for the secret space program.
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