Rating:

5 Small Stars
The Messenger

Newton is kind of unique name for a hero, but no one that you can really relate to, so he calls himself, “Dash”. Dash Sawyer is an ordinary courier with his ship as his sole companion. The Slipwing is his ship and it’s nothing spectacular. The only thing remotely different from his ship and most courier ships is that it does have a Fade engine which allows travel in unSpace. That’s where ships can travel unimaginably fast so getting to a destination takes less time, but does cost fuel, a lot of fuel. And Dash didn’t get paid for his last delivery!

So, Dash is now unemployed and looking to the “Needs Slate” to see if he could find a courier job within a relatively short distance away that would pay some upfront so he could fuel up and go where needed. He found on that might be perfect. He could stop by Penumbra, get some fuel and hen be on his way to Traveler’s Landing. What he didn’t expect was to hear a distress call on his way to Penumbra. Knowing that he had to answer it, he was hoping that he could assist quickly and be on his way. Then again, those in distress might just be eager to pay for his rescue or whatever.

That’s how he meets up with Leira and Viktor. Their courier ship, meaning small ship, was being chased by a much larger war ship and it was just about ready to catchup to the smaller vessel. Dash makes some remarkable flying maneuvers and manages to dock with the small ship allowing Leira and Viktor to transfer to his ship. Then he takes off using the Fade drive and gets back on course for Penumbra. Before his leaves the vicinity of his escape, he does see the small ship destroyed, so the people onboard his ship have nothing much left. They did bring a small supply of anti-deuterium, fuel, so he could actually get to Penumbra.

Once at Penumbra, he figures to borrow enough fuel to fill his ship and then continue on to Traveler’s Landing. What he doesn’t expect is that his usual supplier and creditor has had enough of his non-payment and isn’t willing to give him anymore credit. Except, if Dash would take her nephew with him to where ever, she was willing to forgive his debts and completely fuel and fix his ship. While Dash didn’t really like the idea of having a semi-permanent passenger aboard his ship and a teenager at that, he reluctantly agreed. So now Conover joins the Slipwing.

They head off to Traverler’s Landing, but then a discussion occurs about why Leira and Viktor were being chased. She shows him a crystal or Lens as it’s called later and tells him it is priceless. It comes from a region of space forbidden by normal travelers because it is closely guarded by the Clan Shirna. This is a religious sect with very strict rules about protecting the Globe of Suns and the Pasture. The Pasture is where a vast collection of Unseen technology resides. Why it’s there and what’s it purpose, no one knows. The Unseen are an ancient race long though extinct, but
Clan Shirna believed they would return one day.

It turns out that this crystal is actually a highly sophisticated piece of technology. And, as everyone knows, it is very, very valuable. It would even be more valuable if they had other Unseen tech to go with it. And that’s where everyone aboard the Slipwing goes dumb and decides they might want to go back to the Pasture to see what else they can find. Their troubles have just started.

Good writing by Mr. Chaney and Mr. Maggert. I’ve read works from both authors so their teaming up makes for an exciting read and a great start to another series.