Just another one, first book in the Ybanji War cycle in my FTI series. Lots of space naval action along with some interstellar politics.
So, here’s a snippet from it:
Li paced as much as his small cell would allow. Despite Coll’s best efforts the wormhole trap had died, dropping them into realspace outside of comm range of Chakentak. Fortunately, Eres were diligent about maintaining patrols near their homeworld and a Middle Fang class vessel, about equivalent to a Terran heavy cruiser, had picked up their distress call.
Li had shown them their records, carefully gone over why they were certain that the ships they had fought had not been crewed by Eres, and asked for contact with the Terran embassy. The only response had been silence.
He did not know what had become of his ship, or the rest of his crew. He only knew that the Eres had apparently recovered food stores from the Jin Long. Eres biology lacked two of the essential amino acids for human nutrition and contained three that were completely absent from Terran life. It was not poisonous. One could eat it and it would fill the belly but without the right supplements a person would soon be just as dead as if they had no food at all.
A buzzer interrupted Li’s pacing, announcing that the door was about to open.
The door slid aside to reveal a man, Asian ancestry, like Li himself, but with a thinner face than was common to Li’s own ancestors. Japanese, Li thought.
“Mr. Li?” the man said, “I’m Captain Nobuta Tanaka, Terran Embassy to Chakentak. You asked for representation?”
“Oh, thank God,” Li said. “I don’t know what they told you but those weren’t Eres we fought. I swear it.”
“At, ease, Mr. Li,” Tanaka said. “I’ve seen the tapes. Had Eres hunters been in command of those ships you would not have survived.”
“Then why….” His gesture took in the cell.
Tanaka raised a hand, palm up and tilted his head slightly.
Li laughed and waved him on into the room.
After entering, Tanaka turned and spoke to the large Eres following him. “Sheshak, if you please.”
The Eres stepped through the door which slid shut behind him.
“The problem,” the Eres said, speaking from a vocoder implanted in its jaw, “is… your term is ‘political.’”
“Political?” Li sank onto the cot that cantilevered from the rear wall of the room. “Oh, great.”
“It’s okay,” Tanaka said. “We’re going to get you out of here.”
“My friend, Tanaka speaks truth,” the Eres, Sheshak, said. “We have an… internal problem. Some do not want to admit it. More do not want outsiders to know of it. Even I am not permitted to say more than this.”
“It has to do with those ships that attacked us, doesn’t it?” Li said. “Eres ships, but without Eres crews, or at least not Eres military.”
Sheshak spoke in Eres-chak to Tanaka.
“Sheshak says he cannot confirm or deny that.” A slight smile played at the corners of Tanaka’s mouth. “Suffice to say that certain factions wanted to make you disappear into a very deep hole.”
Li sucked air over his teeth.
Tanaka raised his hands. “It’s okay. I’m here to escort you to Chakentak. We’ll put you up at the Embassy until the New Delhi rotates back to Terran space. They’re scheduled to go in three weeks. That will give time for their chief engineer to oversee repairs to your ship. They’ll escort you back home.”
“This trip has been a disaster,” Li said. “Do you have any idea how much money I’ve lost, even with insurance?”
The smile was back on Tanaka’s face. “You’re heading back alive, with your ship mostly intact. Considering what you ran into, I think that counts as a win.”
Li could not help smiling himself. “There is that. There is that, indeed.”