by Dale Musser


Publisher DM Books

Published in Science Fiction & Fantasy

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Book Description

The continuing saga of Thibodaux James Renwalt and hsi adventures as the richest and most powerful man in the universe and his fight to preserve the Galactic Federation

Sample Chapter

Death was not a new experience for me; I had died once before in the battle to recover the DUSTEN, which occurred shortly after I had discovered the TRITYTE and arrived in Federation space.  I remember that experience; my life faded into blackness and then a light surrounded me.  I suddenly found myself in a grassy meadow surrounded by trees.  Lunnie was there to greet me and tell me that it was not my time to die and that I needed to return to life and to her sister Kalana.

My second death was on Goo’Waddle – at least I believed I had died.  They tell me that I was not “completely dead," though I certainly would have been, had they not gathered what parts of me they were able to pull from the wreckage of my crashed ship and rushed them to the medical facility on my space yacht, the NEW ORLEANS,and there they literally knit me back together.  I say “knit," as I gather I was pretty much just pieces of meat and fragments of bone and not truly a ‘person’ anymore.  Even if I had been physically whole, I’m not sure exactly how much of a person you could have called me at that time.  All I had wanted then was to strike out like a savage, wild animal to destroy the sources of my mental anguish; but to be honest, much of what I felt had been self-induced and the person I was most angry with was me.

This time my death was different. I had truly died and was reborn and, like in natural birth, it was in great pain that I entered life again.  My last words to Kala before my fighter crashed into the planet and darkness descended upon me had been to tell her I loved her.  This time it seemed that the darkness lasted a long time.  There was no light or sound, no feelings, no emotion of any sort; only a chasm of obscurity and silence.  It was a comforting darkness – not one of fear or coldness, just stillness – until I opened my eyes and a torrent of light, sound and pain assaulted every sense in my body and mind.

At first I was confused as to where I was.  I searched my mind, looking for my last memories in an attempt to orientate myself.  I remembered choking on smoke and fumes and seeing the ground as it rushed up to meet me… and I remembered saying, “I love you Kala,” just before all went dark. 

Kala – I remembered Kala and suddenly the pain in my heart was greater than the pain in my body.  Kala had told me I was going to be a father just before I slammed into the hard ground of the planet Goo’Waddle.  Kala – the love of my life.  I could recall the anguish in her voice as she cried out “Tibby NO!,” before the darkness enveloped me.  Where was Kala now and what had happened?

I tried to move and was instantly overcome with stabbing pain everywhere at once.  I felt something or someone holding my hand.  I turned my head to the right and observed a small head shrouded in long black hair and a cheek pressed against my hand.  Whoever it was appeared to be asleep.   “Kala?” I croaked out from my dry and raspy throat. 

The small head stirred and lifted from my hand.  The dark, sleepy eyes peering at me from the tiny face suddenly opened wide.  It was a small young girl.  I knew that face… Jenira – it was Jenira, Tanden’s sister!  Tanden!   Suddenly more memories and anguish flooded into my mind – the surreal image of Tanden’s small body as it was tossed through the air, falling to the ground stories below, and the face of a ruthless man staring over a railing to look at the broken and lifeless body. 

Jenira was now stirring from her bedside post.  A broad smile lit her face as she rose to her feet and circled the foot of my bed.  I tried to follower her movement, but my vision seemed strange and two-dimensional.  Jenira began shaking someone nearby who was sleeping in another chair.  Kala…!  It was Kala!

“What?” I heard Kala say.  “What is it?”

Jenira pointed and turned to face me.  Kala’s eyes followed and relief seemed to spread across her face.  “Tibby!  You’re awake!  Can you hear me?!  Can you talk?!”

“Kala!”  It was all I could say, as I tried to focus my eyes on her.  I suddenly realized I was seeing with only one eye.  I tried to raise my right hand to my face, but the pain was too great.

“Oh, Tibby,” Kala sobbed, as she gazed at me through tear-filled eyes.  “I was afraid I had lost you!”

“Water,” I croaked.  Jenira immediately grabbed a bottle of water from a stand next to the bed and held the nub of the bottle to my lips.  I sipped slowly as Kala continued talking.

“We were lucky to get a team to your crash site just minutes before your brain activity ceased and your organs completely shut down.  They pretty much shoved you into a stasis pod in pieces and evacuated you here to the NEW ORLEANS as quickly as they could.  It took A’Lappe and the medical unit nearly 20 hours to piece you back together again.”  Kala was stroking my cheek now, at least the portion that wasn’t bandaged up.  I stopped sipping on the water; without a word Jenira removed the cup and set it back on the stand. 

“How bad?” I asked.

Kala lowered her eyes and moved her hand down to hold my left hand.  She seemed to be searching her mind to decide exactly what bits of information to share with me.

“The med-units did all they could, Tibby, and even then we didn’t know whether you would survive.  You lost an eye.  They’re growing you a new one using cells they salvaged from your damaged eye, but it’ll be a few months before its ready.  You had extensive internal damage to your liver, spleen and one kidney, but they were able to repair those.  You lost several appendages, but they’ve all been reattached and are already beginning to heal.  In a few days the nanobots in your body should have all your limbs and organs fully functional again and you should be able to start moving about.  You had so many broken bones in your body – I can’t even begin to relate them all.  The medical team had to cover nearly all of you in Synth-a-Skin patches after repairing your tissues and numerous nerves.  Entire sections of nervous tissue had to be replaced with synthetic nerves.  You will probably experience some pain and mobility problems until your body adjusts to those.  The medical team believes you will make a full recovery.

“Tibby, I am so angry with you!  Why did you have to go after Shydak like that?  We will find him eventually!  You – ”

As soon as Kala started to bridle me, Jenira tugged on Kala’s sleeve and silently gave her a chastising glare.

“I’m sorry, Jenira; I’ll stop fussing at him, okay?" Kala said as she smiled weakly at Jenira.  She reached out and moved a dark strand of hair that had fallen across Jenira’s face before addressing me again.  “Jenira has barely left your side since they completed your surgeries.  She spends most of her time here, she’s not spoken a word since – well – since the events back on Goo’Waddle.”  Sadness overcame Kala’s eyes as she spoke.

“How long…?” I croaked weakly.

“How long since you made a fool of yourself?”  Kala scolded.  Jenira scowled and Kala again tried to calm herself.  “It’s been over three weeks.  You’ve been kept in an induced coma to give the nanobots in your bloodstream time to knit your bones and organs to a point where you would no longer be in danger and would be strong enough to endure the pain of healing.”

“Are we still at Goo’Waddle?”  It was taking all my energy just to say a few words.

“Yes.  You left things a real mess down there; but Kerabac, Padaran and Marranalis are sorting things out with the help of Tondor – and Andy, I might add.”

“Tondor?  Alive? I wheezed.

“Yes, Sondan was wrong about Tondor having been killed in the explosion.  Tondor had been preparing a boat for your use when Sondan blew it up; but Tondor was thrown overboard in the blast.  Padaran is now setting him up to resume as leader of the Ruwallie Rasson in his absence when we leave.  Right now the Ruwallie Rasson appears to be pretty happy.  They managed to capture three of the Brotherhood corvettes, as you anticipated, and they were also able to score a number of smaller Brotherhood ships that were on the ground.  Moreover, they have made slaves of several hundred Brotherhood members on the planet and have raided their homes and businesses during the conflict.  They’ve become quite rich with the loot they acquired.  All in all, the Ruwallie Rassons are quite pleased and proud.  Very few of them have doubts or are complaining like before; they see these events as a further sign of the will of their gods as the explanation for all that has transpired.  Most of the Brotherhood fled the planet when they realized that the Ruwallie Rasson and the androids had joined forces with you in the battle.”

I was glad to hear of these developments.  Even though it was my intentions to end slavery everywhere that I could, however, allowing the Ruwallie Rasson to capture Brotherhood members and make them slaves somehow seemed like poetic justice.

“Logden?  What about Logden… and the solbidyum?”

“Now those developments have been interesting.  When the Brotherhood searched him after we were captured, they weren’t able to find the solbidyum.  They assumed he had hidden it somewhere and intended to pick it up later; but Marranalis noticed that the devices incorporated into our wrist bands by A’Lappe were detecting the presence of solbidyum every time we were near Logden.  After transporting Logden here to the NEW ORLEANS, A’Lappe examined him, thinking that perhaps Logden had swallowed the capsule and that it was in his stomach or digestive tract, but nothing showed when they scoped him, so A’Lappe scanned his entire body.  He found the capsule embedded in Logden’s thigh.  Logden had made a deep cut in the muscle and implanted the capsule far into the tissue and then allowed the wound to heal.  A’Lappe and Cantolla have since removed the solbidyum capsule and Commander Wabussie has taken possession of it as a legal representative of the Federation.  We are holding Logden in one of the empty crew quarter compartments under guard.  He is to be turned over to the Federation to face charges of piracy, once we get back to Megelleon.

“What of Andy?”

“Ah, yes, the androids.  We were concerned about how they would react to your crash, in light of the promises you made them.  So far they have been very patient.  Andy has been acting as their spokesperson and has said that they are willing to wait until you are healed to talk to you.  However, in the meantime, Padaran has come up with an idea that I think is ingenious.”

“He does that.”  I coughed and stared at Kala – or perhaps peered would be a better word, since I only had one eye to see with.

There was a slight pause as I gazed at her; and then Kala said, “Oh!  You want me to go on!  Well, with all the fighting and upset around the planet the local government didn’t know what to do.  Most of their support and direction came from the Brotherhood; so when they fled, the government surrendered!”

“What?!”  I exclaimed a bit more enthusiastically than I intended; and I was rewarded with waves of pain.

“That was our reaction, too.  No one expected the entire government to step down and we were unprepared when they did.  Padaran and Kerabac both agreed it would not be in the best interest of the people to have the Ruwallie Rasson be responsible for the planet’s government; but the androids were another matter.  They are not prone to corruption, nor can they be threatened – and they are certainly not lacking in skills.  Padaran negotiated with them to run the government and to maintain peace on the planet until a democratically elected government can be put into place.  Since it will be a year or more before you can find a planet for the androids and transport them to their new home, the androids agreed to take the offer.

“Padaran thought this up?”

“Yes, Tibby.  I have to admit, I was impressed.  He’s been coming to me for advice on how to arrange all the specifics, because of my training as Federation diplomatic attaché.  My particular skills are coming in rather handy in this matter.”

“Why are,” I paused to cough, “you not down there helping?”

“WHY?  Tibby, I was not about to leave you here like this.  You’re my life, Tibby, and I belong here with you!  Padaran and the others come up here when they need to talk to me or we communicate over the com system.”

I lay still a moment and then asked in a low voice.  “Is it true?”

“What?  Is what true?”

“About us?  A baby?” I asked, looking at her intently and wondering what she would say.

Kala’s face broke into a huge grin as her eyes glazed with tears.  “No… Not A baby – we’re having twins!"  Tibby we are going to have two!”

“Twins?!”  I couldn’t help smiling through the pain.  “Kala, I’m so sorry,” I gasped, “I was such a fool.”

“Yes, and I plan to never allow you to forget it,” she said with a combined grin-scowl.

All this time I was keenly aware of Jenira, who remained at my side, gently holding my hand.  I looked at her a moment and then Kala said, “Jenira, I think Tibby could use some food – perhaps a bit of soup.  Could you get him some?”

Jenira smiled and nodded as she let go of my hand and, with an eager look on her face, quickly left the room.

When she was out of hearing range, Kala said, “Tibby, Jenira has not spoken a word since Tanden was killed and she has attached herself to you like glue.  I think, after all she has lost, she sees you as the last solid and good thing left in her life.  You tried to save both her and Tanden; you rushed to her aid on the platform during the battle; and you went after the man who was responsible for Tanden’s death, the man who tried to kill her.  She sees you like a father, protector and hero all in one; and she is terrified that she might lose you.  I think she fears that, if you die, she will be forced to go back to a life of slavery.”

Jenira was a young girl of rather small stature.  She was perhaps 14 or 15 by Earth standards, but she might have been older; it was hard to tell.  She and her younger brother, Tanden, had been taken from their parents and sold as child sex slaves on the planet Goo’Waddle to satisfy a debt their father owed the Brotherhood.  Over time, Tanden had aged too much physically to satisfy the perverted men who sought out young boys, so he was sold as slave labor to the plantation owners, where he harvested plants used to make the illegal drug called God’s Sweat.  We had rescued both children just a few weeks earlier and reunited Tanden and Jenira shortly before Tanden was killed.

“Kala, what do I do?” I gasped.


“I would say that for right now you just concentrate on healing… but I wanted you to know about this.  The things you do impact more than just your own life.  Every member of your crew depends on you; all those people on the planet depend on you; Jenira depends on you; the androids depend on you; and, Tibby, I depend on you. The fate of this planet is in your hands.  Your life has greater meaning than you realize.”

Excerpted from "TOO LATE FOR EARTH: SOLBIDYUM WARS SAGA - BOOK 4" by Dale Musser. Copyright © 2015 by Dale Musser. Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher. Excerpts are provided solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
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Author Profile

Dale Musser

Dale Musser

Dale Musser was born in 1944 in a small rural community in Pennsylvania. From 1967 until 2012 he was employed as a structural and piping designer in the marine and offshore industry, the cogeneration power industry and in hard rock metal mining. His work at three shipyards and assignments with several engineering and naval architectural firms during his career in Virginia, Texas, and Maine took him to such places as London, U.K., Abu Dhabi, U.A.E., Scotland and Mexico. During this time, he was responsible for the design of reactor compartments for nuclear aircraft carriers and submarines for the U.S. Navy and the structural designs of numerous offshore semisubmersible oil rigs, tanker ships, supply boats, and other vessels and equipment used in the offshore industry. After the death of his wife in 1999, Mr. Musser changed careers and went to work in Arizona and Utah in the hard rock mining industry. He retired in fall of 2012 and currently resides in Mesa, Arizona; however, his plans for the near future involve a move to New Mexico.

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