Freefall; The First Dave Travise Novel.
Freefall started life as a short story about life on a farm in the future. I had also written another short story about a smuggler in space and it occurred to me that they could be joined up. I thought,”what if the smuggler went to the farm,” or something like that. Then I added bits to it over time until Freefall was the result. I self-published it in 2013, after a couple of people that read my draft liked it. (One of them told me that he was worried that he would have to pretend to like it. I reckon that was a compliment or even a relief.) So even though I think I could write it better now, it stays as it is.
Dave Travise is an interplanetary trader with a past. Trying to forget, whilst being constantly reminded is no way to live, but sometimes letting go is just too painful. And the “Freefall” is his past, so that’s part of the problem.
So when excitement comes back into his life, in the shape of a dead girl and a stolen disc, his world turns upside down. Events take control of his life, and before he knows how, he’s at the centre of a Galaxy-wide conspiracy, chasing the answers that explain the past and may hold the key to the future.
With the truth to reveal, he’s pursued by those who want it kept secret. The story goes from the civilised centre to the edge of exploration. A cast of pirates, smugglers, and legendary explorers all play their part in a story that’s older than us.
Or try a sample first,
Travelling faster than light is easy, you tell the Nav where you want to go and it does the rest. Like I said, in the old days, it took days of calculation but now, largely due to the tec developed on New Devon, it was simple.
As we moved further away from the mass of the planet and its moons the gravitational distortion decreased. “Myra,” I called, “we can go trans-light when you like.” There was the briefest of pauses and she replied.
“Okay, Dave, we’ve just got to get to my reference point, and then I can fire up the drive. That will be in five minutes.”
“Whose voice is that?” asked the gyrl, she had stopped her pacing and was sitting in the shadows in the corner of the control room, knees tucked under her chin. Her relaxed attitude suggested that she was no stranger to travel off-world, and not in a passenger ship type of way either. Freefall was no luxury boat, and it creaked and muttered to itself as it accelerated.
“That’s Myra, she was a…” I stopped; did I really want to tell her? That she was everything to me until the past caught up with us and I let her down? I glanced at the dent on the panel, she saw my gaze and my sadness and she raised her eyebrows.
“Okay, I understand,” she said. There was a painful silence that stretched out.
“One minute to trans-light,” came Myra’s voice, I don’t know why, but it suddenly sounded like a stranger, I didn’t want to share her with this person that I hardly knew, and in a flash was reminded why I was normally sat here alone. I moved to the audio when a different voice came on the speaker.
“Stop your vessel immediately, this is the Border Patrol, stop and prepare for soft docking.” I looked across at the gyrl, but once again she had melted away. I acknowledged the signal and Myra engaged reverse thrust. Freefall shuddered to a halt.
Two agents entered the lock; both carried side arms and had full body armour. The largest held out his hand. “Clearance please.” At least I got a please, that made me feel better. I hoped it was a random check; probably Griff had fouled up the clearance. I handed them the fax-tape.
“What are you doing? This says Silver Moons via Tauro, but you just altered course, now you appear to be headed towards the core.”
There was a swish of silks in the entrance.
“He’s taking me back to Callo, I needed to travel at short notice, I hope that’s not going to be a problem.” She had changed into one of Myra’s dresses, one of the more respectable ones, fortunately, and let her hair down, it made her look a lot older. And her voice sounded different, very assured.
“This is the amended clearance,” she handed him a small disc.
He put the disc in his scanner, and his mood changed on sight of the readout, “Thank you, Senator, that’s all in order, we are looking for a dangerous fugitive, we believe they are headed off the world.”
Both agents saluted the gyrl and then they turned back to me, still suspicious. “Why did you tell customs you were on the way to Tauro?”
“I was trying to avoid a complicated explanation, officer,” I grovelled, thinking that they had me there, when she broke into the conversation, with an air of command.
“That was my idea, officer, I apologise for the confusion, but the Captain was doing what I had told him. The fewer people that know I’m here the better.” I didn’t know if that was a good idea or not, she might be digging herself a hole. She had some guts, I’d give her that.
There was a brief silence; the agents looked at each other, then at her. She carried on, “Well, officer, you can see that it’s not us. Now, is there anything else?”
“No Ma’am, err Senator, have a good trip, and sorry to have bothered you.” With a nod to me, they saluted her again, then turned and went back to their ship. Twenty seconds later, they were detached and heading away.
“Well,” she said; “let’s get on with it then.” But I had had enough.
“Not one inch more until I know what’s going on, who you are and what’s so important about the bag. And you can drop the phoney posh bitch attitude with me as well.”
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