Welcome to Outcast Station by @NancyNorthcott is a Toasty Reads pick #sciencefiction #giveaway
Title: Welcome to Outcast Station
Author: Jeanne Adams & Nancy Northcott
Genre: Science Fiction
Welcome to Outcast Station
The Accidental Plague by Jeanne Adams
Outcast Station is a backwater, but for BVax Scientist Ravinisha Trentham, any posting is better than washing dishes. Ravi is top in her graduating class, but only Outcast would hire a McKeonite. Someone on station wants her dead, but when a plague breaks out, Ravi may be their only hope. If the murderer gets to her first, everyone will die.
The New Badge by Nancy Northcott
Deputy Marshal Hank Tremaine crosses the wrong person and lands at Outcast Station, the armpit of the Terran colonies. His hostile boss promptly assigns him to a backcountry murder. Solving it will help redeem his reputation and get him back to more civilized space. Failing to find the killer, though, will bury his career once and for all.
Excerpt From The New Badge:
They hustled their prisoners into a lift, up to the second floor, and into an already-crowded holding cell that faced the heavy glass window of the booking office. As the gold-furred, feline guard reactivated the cell’s force screen barrier, Dree said, “I have to handle the booking, but you should go report in. Elevator’s halfway down this hall. Take it down to the ground floor and turn—”
“Marshal Tremaine,” said a metallic voice over the intercom. “Marshal Tremaine. Report to the chief deputy marshal immediately.”
“Guess I better go,” he said. “Thanks for meeting me.”
“Sure. He’s in 103, two doors down to your left from the elevator. And Hank…”
Lowering her voice, she added, “Don’t sit unless you’re invited to, and always call him sir.”
“Barnet,” the man behind the booking screen called, “you got charges to list or not?”
“Coming.” With a last warning look she hurried away.
Finding the chief deputy’s office took only a couple of minutes, but the setup was odd. No chief Hank had worked with before had an outer office or a reception area. But maybe this guy was formal. Hank could live with that. He stepped in and gave the middle-aged man at the reception desk, who wore civvies, his name.
The man spoke into a headset, listened for a minute, and said, “Chief Winslow will be with you shortly.”
Hank nodded his thanks. The reception area was not painted but paneled in gleaming, dark brown wood. Four blue leather chairs sat against the wall in front of the desk. Behind the desk was a closed, eight-paneled door with brass fittings and a nameplate that read Chief Deputy Marshal Arlen Winslow. It had to lead to the inner sanctum.
Okay, then. Not just formal but maybe a little pompous. Unfortunately, Hank hadn’t been able to pick up any scuttlebutt on the guy. If he’d been here long enough to fall off radar, that was a bad sign.
Despite the Report immediately summons, Winslow didn’t emerge to call Hank in. Hmm. Did the No sitting unless invited prohibition apply to the reception area?
Best not to risk it.
He had time to check out all four of the pictures on the walls, scenes from around Paradise Station, including an interesting beach resort, before the receptionist said, “Chief Winslow will see you now.”
He led Hank to the door, opened it, and stepped aside. “Deputy Marshal Tremaine, sir,” he said. Once Hank was inside the room, the receptionist closed the door.
The man behind the desk, either studying or pretending to study a tablet, had a stocky build, a gray buzz cut, and a bit of a gut that might or might not have been muscle. His stony expression didn’t change as Hank crossed the surprisingly large expanse of dark green carpet.
Carpet? In a marshal’s office? Yeah, definitely pompous.
Hank advanced until he was even with the two chairs across from the desk. Standing casually between them, he waited.
Winslow leaned back in his chair, clasped his hands across his stomach, and studied Hank. The silence stretched, but Hank refused to blink. He could speak up, take charge of this interview, but if he wasn’t supposed to sit uninvited, speaking first would likely not start things off well.
“Did I miss something?” Winslow asked in a smooth, deep voice worthy of a vid star.
“About what, sir?”
The chief deputy shrugged. “About you. Like maybe the part where you were read into the post roll before you charged into a bar and started banging heads. Did I miss that?”
“No, sir.” Hank kept his voice even and his face bland. Asshole.
Yeah, he’d acted prematurely, but the circumstances made that a forgivable breach. Which Winslow had to know as well as he did.
Yet the guy was baiting him.
“I’ve read your file, Tremaine. Asked around, too.” The chief deputy paused, and the gleam in his eye had Hank bracing.
Winslow continued, “Chief Deputy Johannson and I were at the academy together. So I know all about you being a hotshot.”
Being a hotshot was what Johannson and his nephew, the nominal on-scene commander, called Hank’s decision to go in alone and rescue a hostage while the nephew dithered. The fugitive who’d kidnapped the woman was about to shoot her, and everyone else in the strike force had backed up that assessment. They’d said he should get a medal.
Instead, he’d gotten sent here. With an asshat of a CO who was out to get him before he’d even reached the station. Shit.
“Nothing to say?” Winslow raised a steel-gray eyebrow.
Something that might have been disappointment flickered over Winslow’s face before his expression became assessing. “I don’t tolerate insubordination, Tremaine. Remember it.”
Definitely disappointment that time. The chief deputy stood. “Let’s get you read in and charge your weapons. We’ll do that by the book.”
What a shock. Winslow would get one if he thought Hank didn’t know the regs. This looked to be a posting that would give him plenty more practice pretending to stoic calm.
In the doorway, the chief deputy stopped. “Good thing they got working cams in that bar,” he said. “Otherwise, we might have to delay reading you in.”
Again, he paused. Again, Hank refused to be drawn.
Winslow smirked at him. “You’re a witness, and without cams showing you were nowhere near the victim, you’d be a murder suspect. One of the men on the floor of that bar turned up dead.”
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What makes your featured book a must-read?
The medical mystery in the first novella and murder mystery in the second twist and turn as they build to the resolution. Both stories feature characters who’re looking for a fresh start, only to land in difficult circumstances with the stakes quickly escalating to life or death.
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Nancy Northcott childhood ambition was to grow up and become Wonder Woman. Around fourth grade, she realized it was too late to acquire Amazon genes, but she still loved comic books, science fiction, fantasy, history, and romance. She currently enjoys attending and volunteering at science fiction conventions.
Nancy has written freelance articles and taught at the college level. Her most popular course was on science fiction, fantasy, and society. She has also given presentations on the Wars of the Roses and Richard III to university classes studying Shakespeare’s play about that king. A sucker for fast action and high stakes, Nancy combines the elements she loves in the books she writes.
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