Happy Monday/Memorial Day all!
Today I’m excited to share with you this excerpt from what looks like a very intriguing book!✈️
Celeste Three Is Missing
The world’s first earth-orbit passenger plane, the sensational Celeste Three, takes off from its base in Arizona, also the only place where it is designed land. On a routine flight the craft disappears.
On board is Viktor Karenkov, billionaire oil magnate who has used his wealth to evade prosecution for a murder he committed years earlier. Gregory Topozian, the murdered man’s friend, has been waiting for a chance to bring Karenkov to justice. With dogged determination and considerable ingenuity, he conceives an audacious plan.
Getting the craft down in total secrecy is key. And someone has to pay the huge costs involved.
Amazon US : https://amzn.to/2R29OLt
Amazon UK: https://amzn.to/2vQNixF
Author Bio –
After ten happy years of retirement in rural France, Chris Calder is back in England. He came late to writing novels, penning his first whilst incarcerated in a French hospital following cancer surgery. At the time he spoke little French. Unable to communicate effectively with the staff, he spent his time fleshing out his first novel. Five more have followed; light thrillers leavened with humour. Best of all, the cancer is now history.
Chris knows that readers of fiction expect to be diverted and entertained. He loves feedback and believes passionately that taking on board readers’ views improves what what he does. You can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Go on, he’d love to hear from you.
Social Media Links –
An extract from the book manuscript.
Context: A routine test flight of space plane Celeste Two, predecessor of Celeste Three.
“All done?” Test pilot Matthew Wallace glanced over his shoulder at his colleague, first officer Richard Palfrey, on a test flight of the prototype space plane Celeste Two. Palfrey had been carrying out the pre-descent checks.
“Uh-huh. Just gimme a sec.” He scanned his instrument display panel again. “Yep, all good. I’m telling you, this is one sweet aircraft.”
“So far, but this is only her third flight. Better than Celeste One. I like the extra power but you can’t make a judgment yet. How far to re-entry engine burn?”
“About three minutes. Time to cross-check with FCC.” He was referring to the Flight Control Centre at their base in Benson Flats, Arizona.
In the captain’s seat Wallace sat up suddenly. The instrument panel displays had just switched off. “What the hell…?”
Palfrey reacted immediately, flicking the switch to open the communication channel to the control centre. “FCC, Celeste. There’s a problem, all displays are out,” he said crisply.
In the flight control centre director Gus Mead had been relaxed, watching over the routine test flight when the call startled him. Did he hear right? His stomach knotted as he jabbed at the send button, his words sharp and clear.
“Celeste, FCC. Say again, please, we do not copy. Repeat, we do not copy.”
The reply came from the usually laconic captain Matt Wallace.
“Matt here, Gus. I say again, we have no telemetry. The screen is blank.” In the background the voice of Rich Palfrey could be heard swearing as he tried desperately to resuscitate the dead display.
Mead immediately turned to Robin Stevens, another of the test pilots who was on monitoring duty in the control room.
“Any suggestions, Robbie?”
Stevens looked horrified. “Blank display? Shit, I thought they’d fixed that. Right now Celeste’s on the primary glide path, too close to re-entry burn.”
“Oh, God,” Mead muttered. He took a deep breath and pressed the send button.
“We’re on it, Celeste. We got you on GPS, we can count you down to the burn. What have you tried?”
“Everything. Gus, we gotta have attitude info. The screen is blank.”
Mead was staring at one of the three monitors. He turned to Stevens. “Get on to Pickard, right now. I want options, fast.”
Stevens grabbed his intercom to call the systems and electronics expert as Mead pressed the send button again.
“Copy that, Celeste. We’re checking with Pickard.”
“Too late for that. Count us down, I’ll give it my best shot. We don’t want to go exploring space just now.”
Mead’s heart was pounding. He knew that the only alternative was an attempt at re-entry, with Wallace relying on his experience and skill to get the entry attitude exactly right. Chances were not good. His mouth went dry as he made the effort to stay calm.
“You are precisely one hundred fifteen seconds to engine burn, Matt. Keep trying, here we go.”
With the room now silent and all present watching, Mead started the countdown. He kept his eyes fixed on the monitors as the seconds drained away.
“…..fifteen, fourteen, thirteen…”
From Celeste, Wallace cut in. “See you guys later.”
“…five, four, three, two, one, ignition.”
The tense silence of the control centre was shattered by the familiar roar of the engine’s blast, confirming that the burn was working and for a few heart-stopping moments all seemed well. Four seconds later it ceased, abruptly. Instantly Mead reached out and stabbed at the intercom.
“Celeste? Come in, Celeste. FCC to Celeste, come in.” The director’s voice cracked, his anxiety increasing. “Come in, Celeste. Matt, come in, dammit.”
There was no response. With his staff watching in complete silence, Gus Mead’s face reflected the horror they felt. He sank into his chair and put his head in his hands.
Have a lovely day! XOXO Berit🌸￼