Title: Solar Warden
Author: Peter Fuller
Genre: Military Science Fiction
After Air Force pilot Steve Richardson crashes his F-35 in the mountains of Afghanistan, the last thing he sees before blacking out is the UFO that caused his flame out.
And it's coming for him.
Steve didn’t expect to survive his injuries, but he did...to find that the universe, as he understands it, will never be the same again.
Steve is aboard the space carrier SWS Nautilus, flagship of the Solar Warden fleet—a military arm secretly tasked with defending Earth from an extraterrestrial threat he can hardly believe is real.
Asked to join the program, he struggles to master technology half a century beyond his training and experience. But he has to learn it if he’s going to help defend humanity from complete and utter annihilation.
And he has to learn it fast.
The Nautilus is under attack, the enemy vanguard is on its way and the aliens may not be the only ones who want to see him fail.
“As Hutch led his charge down the passageway, without warning, several squads of marines rounded a corner and approached them, marching in cadence. They were in full combat gear, of a configuration that Richardson had never seen before. Their body armor, their weapons, everything about them was foreign to him. The last time he had seen so much armor was during a trip to New York as a boy, when his father took him to the armor gallery at the Metropolitan Museum.
As they passed, Richardson looked into the soldiers’ faces. He had met marines before, known marines, had friends who were marines. But in all of his years of military service, Richardson had never seen an expression like the ones that defined the faces of these marines. They were hard. Harder than anything Richardson had witnessed from a warfighter before. These marines had seen action. Lots of it. But of what nature? What enemy could change these men and women so that their expression was one of fear, desperation, dread, courage and determination all rolled into one?
In time, the two pilots arrived at a hatch with a nameplate that read, “Crew Lounge.” Hutch put his hand up to stop Richardson. “What you’re about to see … what I’m about to show you …” Hutch sighed. “Whatever you thought you knew about humanity’s exploration of space … about our place in the universe …”
Hutch went silent as his eyes finished the sentence. Richardson cast him a puzzled look. The CAG opened the hatch and motioned for Richardson to enter.
What Richardson saw as he ducked through the hatch took his breath away. They were in a spacious room, furnished with loungers, long sofas and small tables accompanied by chairs. One bulkhead was a bank of ethereal monitors, many of which were displaying various news channels from around the world. Behind the set of tables and chairs, a bulkhead contained a bar with a food service area. The room was peppered with crew members, all relaxing as if in a normal setting.
None of this surprised Richardson. Instead, his eyes were glued to the exterior bulkhead. But in fact, there was no bulkhead to speak of. Instead, there was a full length window, deck to overhead. And beyond …
The azure-blue curvature of the earth, backed by the blackness of space, stippled with a million tiny points of light. A magnificent star-field split violently by the dark rift.
Richardson stood speechless. He didn’t attempt to approach the window, but instead kept his eyes glued to the galactic panorama beyond it. Hutch stayed at his side, waiting in silence as his guest processed the experience.
Then without warning, a black, triangular-shaped craft drifted by the window on its way to the hangar bay.
“That!” Richardson shouted as he jabbed his index finger at the unusual spacecraft now gliding in silence across his field of vision. “I saw that. One of those, just before I passed out after my crash. What is that?”
Several crew shot a glance in Richardson’s direction, startled by his sudden outburst. Once they spotted Hutch, they ignored the colonel and returned to whatever had previously occupied their attention.
Richardson almost stumbled and fell as he lunged at the large viewport, his legs still unsure beneath him. Hutch reached out to catch him, but Richardson recovered and made it to the viewport. The colonel stretched his arms out and his hands thudded against the transparent alumina. He pressed his face to the clear surface, attempting to observe the enigmatic black triangle as it disappeared into the hangar bay to their left. Then he pushed away with both hands and resting his forehead against the cold, translucent window, peered down at blue-green Terra-Prime below them, speckled with puffy white clouds.
“That’s one of our tactical reconnaissance craft,” Hutch said. “Its designation is ‘TR-3B.’”
Richardson wasn’t listening. He’d forgotten about the jet-hued triangle. He was now staring down at the planet beneath them. “You were right. We’re not on the earth. We’re actually in orbit …” He looked up at Hutch. “How is this possible? How did I get here?”
“The TR-3B you saw before you passed out was piloted by me. I was on a combat mission. I was one of the ‘UFOs’ that buzzed you.”
“Combat. You were chasing that bogey. The one that knocked out my systems.”
“Yes,” Hutch continued, “after I destroyed the bandit, I headed back in your direction, and then spotted the smoke from the explosion of your F-35. I did a life-signs scan of the area, and my sensors zeroed in and identified you lying on the ground.” Hutch turned and looked his guest in the eye. “You were in a bad way. I knew I had to get you to help as soon as possible. I couldn’t take you back to your base – that would blow my cover. And I couldn’t take you to a civilian hospital for the same reason. My only option was to bring you up here to my Boat. Our medical facilities are far more advanced than anything back on earth, so I knew you would get the best care here.”
“I owe you my life …” Richardson said as he continued to stare at mother earth below them. “… Thank you.”
“I’m just relieved you’re okay.”
“Probably should have let me die,” he whispered. “Would’ve done me a favor.”
“I’m sorry, I didn’t hear what you said.”
“Nothing. But who are you?” Richardson turned to face his benefactor.
“Well, you haven’t travelled into the future, Colonel, I can assure you of that. You’re still in the present.”
“If that’s true, what’s the date?” Richardson eyed him with skepticism as the CAG replied. Hutch waited for him to continue.
“No nation on earth has the capability to build a spacecraft of this size,” Richardson broke the silence. “A carrier no less, with squadrons of black, triangular tactical craft? And you mentioned a fleet? How is this possible?”
“Why don’t we sit down? I’ll get you a cup of coffee and explain everything.”
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November is a time to be thankful. What are you most thankful for this year?
In June, my wife was diagnosed with cancer. She underwent surgery, and is now taking treatments to complete her therapy. I’m thankful that she is now on the road to full recovery. God is good!
Why is your featured book worth snuggling up to?
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.
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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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