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Sometimes an author begins writing a story before they are aware of its genre. Did you choose your genre, or did it choose you?
Science fiction novels provide wonderful adventures in unexpected places with unusual characters and strange circumstance. I’ve enjoyed them all my life. Scifi offers me an opportunity to express some of my ideas.
The plot thickens, or does it? Which one are you, a pantser or a plotter?
I tend to develop a rough outline at first, but as the characters develop a strong sense of behavior I modify the plot to accommodate them.
Stories such as Jack Campbell’s The Lost Fleet series inspired a story that I wanted to share. Midshipman Henry Gallant was the result.
You are introduced to your favorite author. Who is it, and what is that one burning question you must ask them?
My favorite Scifi author is Robert Heinlein. I would ask about how he was able to span the emotional range from rage to laughter in developing his characters.
MIDSHIPMAN HENRY GALLANT IN SPACE
By H. Peter Alesso
As the last star fighter in squadron 111, Midshipman Henry Gallant is on his way from Jupiter to Mars. With the United Planets’ fleet on the verge of annihilation, he can expect no help as he passes through the asteroid belt and threatening aliens. With so much uncertainty about the aliens’ capabilities and intentions, analyzing the captured computer equipment in Gallant’s possession could prove crucial.
The fate of Earth could rest on the abilities of Midshipman Henry Gallant. Unfortunately, it is his abilities that have been much in doubt during his tour of duty. In an era of genetic engineering, he is the only Natural (non-genetically enhanced) officer left in the fleet. His classmates and superior officers have all expressed their concern that he will not be up to the demands of the space service. Only bright and attractive junior officer Kelsey Mitchel has shown any sympathy for him. Now as his navigator on the last fighter in squadron 111, her life as well as a good many others, depends of Henry Gallant.
A massive solar flare roared across the pockmarked face of the sun producing static interference on every display console operating in the tiny spacecraft as it approached the United Planets’ battle cruiser Repulse in orbit around Jupiter.
“No need to worry young man, we’re almost there,” said the aged pilot.
“I’m not concerned about the storm,” said newly commissioned Midshipman Henry Gallant. Eagerly, he shifted in his seat to get a better glimpse of the massive ship that was to become his new home for the next two years.
The pilot maneuvered expertly to minimize the worst effects of the x-ray and gamma radiation until the craft made its tortured way from the sunlit brilliance into the cold black shadow of Repulse. The tiny ship quivered gently as its tractors reached out to the behemoth warship, slowly drawing alongside.
When it attached to the Repulse’s docking hatch, Gallant transferred to the warship and made his way to the bridge. He found the Officer of the Watch standing next to the empty captain’s chair surrounded by its nest of displays and virtual readouts. The officer rested his hand briefly on the panel concealing the Artificial Intelligence (AI) tactical analyzer.
“Midshipman Henry Gallant reporting aboard, sir,” he said, standing as tall as his seventeen-year-old gangly figure would allow. He tugged at his uniform blouse to straighten the buttons into proper alignment.
“Welcome aboard, Mr. Gallant. I’m Lieutenant Mather.” Mather was of average height, barrel-chested with sharp-angular facial features. Stoic, he showed little interest in the new arrival. “Please give me your comm pin.”
Gallant handed over his pin and Mather made several quick selections on a touch screen console. He swiped the pin passed the chip reader which loaded the ID and personnel information into Repulse’s computer.
Gallant took the opportunity to look around the spacious semicircular compartment with its numerous apparatus and instruments. The captain’s seat was centrally located and he noticed that many of the other chairs were also unoccupied. Apparently some watch stations were only manned during conditions of higher alert.
He observed the watch standers carrying out their ritual duties. The communication panel was manned by a midshipman who looked occupied with an incoming message. The radar station was also manned, but by a technician who was diligently studying his display. Gallant couldn’t tell what he was tracking, but there were several blips on the scope. The weapons and astrogator positions were vacant; several science analysis stations were operating automatically.
As a scientist and author specializing in technology innovation, H. Peter Alesso has over twenty years research experience at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL). As Engineering Group Leader at LLNL he led a team of computer scientists and engineers in innovative applications across a wide range of supercomputers, workstations and networks. He graduated from the United States Naval Academy with a B.S. and served in the U.S. Navy on nuclear submarines before completing an M.S. and an advanced Engineering Degree at M.I.T. He has published several software titles and numerous scientific journal and conference articles, and he is the author/co-author of six books.