Kathryn Emmente must decide who is friend and who is foe when her spaceship explodes under mysterious circumstances. Many among her crew are killed and the rest are left helpless and stranded on a terra-farming colony moon of Jupiter. They have no means of communicating with Earth or even the nearest stellar platform for aid. Kat soon learns that the detonations aboard her ship and the deaths of her fellow crewmates may not have been as accidental or incidental as they first appeared. She begins to suspect that one among the survivors may be operating on a hidden, sinister agenda--and that she and her young daughter may be the next victims.
Funny, Kat thought, studying the stellar display, watching the computer trace lines across the monitor, plotting and arranging course adjustments so minute by the readings she’d almost question their necessity. Funny, it doesn’t feel like Easter.
But there it was, undeniable on the monitor displays. At least seven months in cryostasis away on Earth, it was Easter Sunday. Back there, in Illinois, she imagined her family would just now be settling in for the traditional Easter feast. Her mother would be bringing out a turkey, steaming and probably too dry, and the table would be laden with mashed potatoes, gravy, homemade cornbread dressing, rolls and her sister Allison’s green,bean casserole.
The dressing will be too runny, Kat told herself. The gravy too lumpy, and Jerica would just wrinkle her nose at it all anyway. And then we’d have to sit through an hour or so of Allison bitching about her job and how her ex doesn’t pay his child support, and snapping at her kids for picking at each other. Some fun.
Some fun, but she found herself missing it anyway. Easter had always been a difficult time for her, full of unpleasant memories she didn’t feel much like thinking about, and she had somehow found a comfort and strange sort of solace from being with her family. No matter how weird they could seem.
She pressed a couple of buttons on the terminal in front of her, locking in the new coordinates the ship had plotted out. They were running late; a small system glitch just prior to their coming out of cryostasis had left them a little over a day behind schedule.
“Good thing it happened then and not earlier,” Alex had remarked. “Or Christ only knows where we might have ended up. Uranus or something.”
She’d laughed. They all had, but none of them had really found it funny. And they’d all been keeping a watchful, wary eye on the bridge since then, making sure the system didn’t decide to make another odd decision and send them off,course again and out into space.
“It’s not like out here, you get lost, you stop in at the nearest Denny’s and ask for directions,” Alex had told her.
Kat agreed with him. The trip was already going to cost her five years, and she knew she’d have to get used to the lonely, empty feeling deep down in the pit of her belly that came with spending a holiday away from the familiar bustle of her family, because there were a lot more ahead of her. She didn’t feel like getting lost in deep space and never finding her way back home.
Ordinarily, her crew would have rendezvoused with the one previously stationed at the X,1226 terra,farming colony post, but because they were running behind, the other crew had already launched from the moon’s surface, heading toward them and the stellar platform Kat’s crew had departed from four days earlier.