Saturday, January 21, 2023

Juggernaut Snippet

My new release, Juggernaut, is being offered at the very special price of .99 cents for a limited time only. The story was originally published as a shorter version in Pets in Space 5 (no longer available). It's a book in my Inherited Stars series, and yes, this one has a StarDog as a character.

In fact, she's one of the very first StarDogs!

Here's a scene from the story. (Edited for length and context.)

Scene Set-Up

Lieutenant Commander Dekessa "Dek" Garr is dropped into the hot seat by her commanding officer when he announces he is making a mysterious departure and leaving her in command of a security team at a top secret dig site tagged as Site D. 

Even more unsettling, a stranger has just arrived at the highly secure site and she has been provided with no intel about him or his purpose at Site D. 

She intends to turn their first introduction into an opportunity to learn more about the man and his reason for being there.


Dek waited until the graying major finished giving his safety and protocol rundown to the visitor, before stating crisply, “Thank you, Major. I’ll take it from here.”

Remm looked up. “He’s all yours, Acting Commander.”

She strode to the table directly across from the stranger but didn’t take a seat. The visitor gave her a frowning once-over and also got to his feet before glancing back at Major Remm.

“This is Lieutenant Commander Garr,” the major said. “Currently our acting commander in charge of security operations.”

The visitor gave her a stony nod. “Acting Commander.”

Dek took considerable time with her assessment of the interloper. Keen black eyes, and not shy about holding eye contact. His features were angular and a shade darker even than her bronze skin, but his hair was black. It was also a bit on the short side for her tastes, but completely professional, nevertheless. The light shadow on his chin told her he hadn’t shaved for a day or so, but even so, he didn’t look scruffy.

On second thought, maybe he wasn’t Rathskian. At least not entirely. He had that intense look about him, yes, but his face was more refined—almost as pretty as a gigadam Tectolian—and lacked the scarring kensmarcs the Rathskian subspecies wore as badges of honor. He had their stature, though, maybe a mark or two taller than her…and he wore sand-camo field gear.

Didn’t anybody tell this guy that Site D is subsurface?

He had a hard set to his jaw and looked about as pleased to be on site as she was to have him here.

“This is Telon,” Renn explained. “His partner goes by a code name. CaSandra.”

“Partner?” Dek angled her head. “I wasn’t briefed about this.”

“She’s classified,” Telon answered. “As is her presence here.”

Dek narrowed her eyes. “And where is your partner?”

Telon exchanged glances with the major. “She’s here.”

He reached down beside his chair and lifted an object onto the table by a handle set into the top. The rectangular box appeared to be made of punched polymer with wire mesh on the side facing her.

“Say hello to the commander, CaSandra.”

Two little golden paws pressed against the mesh from the inside. The creature attached to them gave a high-pitched bark, followed by quiet chattering.

Startled, Dek backed off a step. The animal’s soft amber eyes studied her from behind the mesh with its shiny nose molded tight to the thin bars.

“What in Empora’s Hades is this?” she demanded.

“There isn’t a name for what she is,” Telon answered quietly. “She’s a bio-construct, a first-generation prototype with canine, feline, weasel, and mongoose DNA.”

Dek raised her gaze to the stranger. “Bio-constructed for what purpose?”

His eyes went dark and deep, like the ocean just before a storm. “I’m not at liberty to discuss that, Acting Commander.”

He reached for the wire mesh screen—

“What are you—”

—and flipped it open.

Dek backed off another step and gripped the stunpulse secreted in a pocket of her field uniform. The golden creature exited its crate, eyeing her cautiously, and sniffed the air. Its pointed ears twitched before it bolted up Telon’s sleeve and perched on his shoulder, chattering quietly in his ear.

The man nodded and met Dek’s eyes. “Cassie says she’s on your side. And she’d like you to release the weapon you have hidden in your uniform.”

The little beastie squeaked again.

“Please,” he added.

Dek dropped her chin, squinting. “Is this creature telepathic?”

“Not exactly,” he replied.

The bio-construct leaned toward Telon, nuzzling the side of his face…and purred. Huh. Just like the kitten she’d had as a kid. The man reached up to stroke the animal’s head. Cassie craned her neck and closed her eyes, emitting a happy gruff-gruff.

Dek’s heart warmed a degree or two.

Gigadam thing’s adorable.

She displayed her empty hand. “Tell her if she behaves, she has nothing to fear from me.”

Telon grinned. “You just told her yourself, Acting Commander. She understands you perfectly.”


Lieutenant Commander Dekessa “Dek” Garr is second-in-command of a security force that protects a discovery buried deep inside an ancient lava tube. The implications of the find are staggering, and the stakes are high if their enemy—the Alliance—ever learns the truth about Site D. When her commander suddenly departs with zero warning and a mysterious visitor arrives, her job becomes a whole new level of complicated.

Sno Telon has an exercise to perform, and he isn’t about to let anyone stop him--including the dedicated acting commander known as Dek. But when his partner, CaSandra, a bioengineered dog-cat-weasel-mongoose, takes an immediate liking to the team leader, Sno realizes there’s much more to the woman than harsh words and hard scowls.

When Dek is attacked by an invisible foe who infiltrates the off-limits excavation, she immediately suspects Telon as the obvious culprit. But her interrogations of the man don’t go as planned and an unlikely bond forms between them as they reach a startling conclusion. Could the invisible perpetrator actually be an Alliance spy who’s about to blow open the secrets of Site D?

Can Dek trust Telon and his StarDog partner to help root out a possible Alliance operative, even if it means breaking every security protocol in the process? If her instincts about Telon are wrong, Site D’s secret could be lost forever…and her life along with it.


Juggernaut is available on Amazon as an e-book.

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