Artecht Alliance

Artecht Alliance Book 1: Not In Kansas Anymore

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Seeking an escape from her life back in Kansas, Dottie signs up on a whim to become a Federation space captain! – of a tiny, solo-crew cargo hauler. Alone in space and wishing for adventure, Dottie goes off course to an uncharted star system to answer a distress call. Sure, the call is in an alien language she’s never heard, and yes, she’s probably going to get fired on her first Federation mission, but… to adventure!

After being forced down to the planet by an alien probe in orbit, Dottie meets Croen, a handsome grey-skinned man with vivid purple eyes and an energy rifle pointed right at her. Learning they are in a shared predicament, they set off together in search of the probes’ origins, what happened to the aliens whose ancient ruins litter the jungle, and how to get back home.

Along the way, they’ll face challenges, meet unexpected friends and learn home is where your heart is.

NOT IN KANSAS ANYMORE is available at:

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Excerpt

Dottie had done time in the crash simulators during her training. The procedure had been drilled into her skull through various scenarios, including one in which the ship lost power while landing on a planet. Strap in, launch the emergency distress beacon, deploy the buoyancy stabilizers, aim for water. There was nothing in her training, though, for how to deal with being pulled down to a planet by an alien probe. Not that she could deploy the beacon or the stabilizers if she wanted to. The ship’s systems were locked and unresponsive. Gritting her teeth, she held on and hoped the damn alien probe knew how to land her space barge of a ship without killing her.

Or destroying the cargo from her first ever space mission. Damn. She was not looking forward to explaining how her cargo had ended up on an alien beach in an area of space she wasn’t supposed to be in.

As the ship neared the beach, the probe slowed down and the console beeped. “The probe has deployed the ship’s landing gear,” the Computer informed. “Preparing to vent manifold.”

“Delay that,” Dottie commanded. “Do not vent. As soon as the probe releases us, I want you to recharge the impulse engines for planetary launch and get us back into orbit, pronto.”

“Unable to comply. The probe has locked engine control.”

“Then unlock it!” The ship listed left then right as the landing gear balanced the ship at the edge of the jungle where thinly trunked, broad-leafed trees met white sand.

“Unable to comply. Control access has been encrypted.”

“Dammit. Well, do you have any good news?” Dottie asked sourly while scowling at the viewscreen’s display of what she might consider a nice vacation spot if she hadn’t been forced there by an alien probe.

The computer twittered a beep, as if laughing at her. “Landing complete. You may now safely disembark.”

“Thank you,” Dottie replied flatly. Feeling stubborn, and a little helpless, she crossed her arms indignantly and remained harnessed in the flight chair. Outside, the probe’s tractor beam disengaged and the cylinder hovered for a moment before taking off and disappearing out of view. “What? Not going to stay and see the fish you reeled in? Figures.”

Expecting some sort of alien welcoming, or unwelcoming, party to show up, Dottie waited safe and secure inside the ship. And waited. And waited… “What the hell?”

She sat there for twenty minutes, but the viewscreen continued to show her nothing but the split line of jungle meeting seashore. Unstrapping the harness, she stood up and paced the cabin, pausing with each pass by the hatch and debating with herself about the reasons to, or not to, open it. The computer had already confirmed the air was breathable and the environment pleasant. There were the unknown ‘large lifeforms’ somewhere out there, but sitting in the control-locked ship was getting her nowhere.

“Well, if they’re not going to come say hello…” Dottie stopped at the hatch, steeled her resolve and opened it. The compression seal hissed and the hydraulics groaned as the hatch split in two, the top half lifting up to the sky and the bottom half forming a ramp to the ground. Unexpected birdsong filled the cabin, along with the sounds of crashing waves against the shore and a breeze rustling the large elephant-ear shaped leaves canopying over her ship. At her feet, the white sand shimmered with a strange, flickering yellow luminescence, and above her head the smoky lavender clouds passed by against a peach sky.

“Computer,” she murmured, her eyes wide. “I don’t think we’re in Kansas anymore.”

“That would be an accurate assumption. This ship disembarked the Topeka Boeing facility on stardate-”

“Stop ruining the moment,” Dottie muttered.

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