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Cold Cut to Xentia -Foreword

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Bart Landers wiped away a thin film of scatter-sand that had built up over his convex helmet visor as he looked up towards the sun. Half shielding his eyes he squinted, for even through the tinted plastic the glare was blinding. He checked, with some concern, a temperature gauge that protruded from a silver gauntlet on his left wrist, which monitored and controlled the cooling system of his land-suit. The moulded-in dial was set at maximum and the ‘reading’ beneath its non-reflective casing showed that it was functioning correctly, but as Landers had commented a while ago he still felt “mighty warm” under a tropic sun and a super-heated atmosphere.

 Having walked some ninety metres, almost knee-deep, through soft yellow sand, he stopped to catch his breath. A rest from the exertion also gave the respirator of his land-suit chance to replenish the breathable air-supply. The horizontal fins on each side of his helmet fed the processed mixture of filtered and recycled air through tubes into a frontal mouthpiece. The sickly sweet taste of air from a land-suit was something that once inhaled was never forgotten.

 After a brief respite, Landers turned round and looked back over the two golden-brown furrows he had cut through the sand where, at the point of his disembarkation, hovered his personal spinner. The gleaming metallic fuselage of rose pink rippled under the energy field of its activated protection shield. A momentary flash of turquoise-green transparency, glistening in the air around the flying craft, showed the extremity of the field.

 ‘Everything all right, Max?’ Landers spoke quickly, still short of breath.

 ‘A-OK, Captain’ came back the crisp electronic voice of his robot co-pilot over the two-way radio receiver built into his land-suit helmet.

 Landers could just make out the vague shape of the robot staring at the controls of the spinner although the electrical motion of the shield, vibrating and distorting the image, hurt his eyes.  

 ‘Keep a sharp eye out, Max,’ he said, with seriousness in his voice.

The Mechanical Android (series-X) turned his expressionless metal face towards the spinner’s view-screen. ‘Affirmative, Captain,’ replied the robot.

 The spinner gleamed in the sun, hovering some two metres above the top of a flat hill of firm sand and rock. Apart from the occasional whooshing crackle of the shield and gentle hum of the motors no other sound could be heard. Behind the spinner the deep eggshell blue of a tropic sky remained unbroken by cloud.

 Slowly, Landers turned around carefully scanning the vast panorama of sand and dunes that stretched away to the horizon. The yellow desert plain, bordered by brown and blue shadow, was scorching in the twisting heat haze of the midday sun, arid and forlorn. Landers viewed it with a heightened sense of fear and awe. At one point in the distance a giant salter lay rotting on its side. The great hulk was streaked with brown and orange, its corroded superstructure hardly recognisable for the magnificent ship that it undoubtedly once was. A gaping metal hull, twisted with age, the only visible clue that the entire landscape as far as the eye could see was once a submerged marine world of enormous proportion. It seemed unbelievable that according to historic records, perhaps thousands of metres above his head, ancient water-going vessels carrying unknown cargoes, passengers and crews had plied their way to the far corners of the great seas where now all was but dust and desolation. He stared at the remains of the rusty relic from a bygone era; its wreckage shimmering in the sun, speculating as to whether the vessel had sunk in a storm to its present position

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Cold Cut to Xentia contains 20 chapters, 335 pages and a quality cover in smooth matt lamination.

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Earth has become remote, inhospitable and largely deserted due to its heavily polluted, toxic atmosphere and severe geological disturbances. The majority of the population, out of necessity, are forced to relocate. As light-speed is attained and greatly surpassed, spaceships enable resettlement on the distant planet of Exallon-4, and its planetary group, with capital ‘Centros’ forming the headquarters of the new, and highly controversial, Exallonian Empire. Amidst diverse, and in some cases hostile, alien cultures, and with intergalactic travel and communications made a reality, mankind now takes a precarious place trading and dealing with other strange people and worlds; especially from the recently acquired frontier planet of Densemone-2. Whilst back on Earth, under an expanding sun soon to go nova, the few remaining drome (domed recyclable oxygen maintaining enclosure) buildings, still in operation, protect the last of the population. Within these colossal structures personnel responsible for the management of ore, shipment, processing and dispatch make up small city-sized communities. From here miners and equipment travel to and from excavation sites and mining bubbs (basic utility building bubble systems). Also allowed on-world clearance permission, from drome administrators, are the water-carrier maintenance crews and the elite trouble-shooters known as outsiders…

This book can be read as it is but to enjoy it further, and to the full, a short description of terms used in the text is listed at the back of the book along with the various domains and ruling peoples. A general map of space is also included (frontispiece) and it is recommended to look at these sections before commencing.

This is the end of the extract. Cold Cut to Xentia develops into an exciting story, and not at all what might be expected. A book that will surprise and astound.


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The following Extract has been taken from: Chapter 1