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Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000035_00022]The long awaited sequel to Lone Wolf is finally here! I am proud to announce Shakazhan – Lone Wolf Series Book Two, is AVAILABLE NOW!

When last we saw our heroes, Matilda Dulac and Wilhelm VanLipsig, the happy, though somewhat stressed, couple had followed the villainous John Riley to the inhospitable surface of the planet Iyundo, three standard years’ travel from civilized space.

They and their ship, the Galactic Mining Guild vessel, Flotilla, had pursued Riley to Iyundo. Once there, he continued to evade them, guided by an evil entity known only as Kahlea. With the Kahlea’s help, Riley escapes once more, this time employing an ages old teleportation device.

Our story begins where Lone Wolf left off. But that’s not the part I’m gonna share with you. You can read that in another entry here.

Excerpt from Shakazhan

Little does the crew from Flotilla know it, but they were followed by the Galactic Marine Ship Hannibal. The Chairman of the Galactic Committee, Aisulov, is aboard the vessel. Their mission? To track down the source of a galaxy wide transmission that caused widespread chaos, including the destruction of Aisulov’s home planet.

The Hannibal certainly didn’t expect to find Flotilla here. Below is the conversation between Flotilla’s captain, Marc Slatterly (Wil & Matilda’s friend) and the captain of Hannibal.

Galactic Marine Ship, Hannibal—Approaching Iyundo, 2240 GMT

Galactic Committee Chairman Aisulov wasn’t the first person woken on his vessel. In fact, he wasn’t even the second or the fifth person roused on the Galactic Marines flag ship, Hannibal. Aisulov was the last person thawed because his security measures had to be in place before the doctor could wake him.

Only his personal physician could initiate and complete the process. The duty weighed heavily on the unfortunate man. If anything went wrong, he paid a heavy price. The Vandaran people believed in a life for a life.

It was with this unhappy thought in mind that Dr. Stanley J. Savolopis, III began defrosting the Chairman of the Galactic Committee. Fortunately for Dr. Stan, as well as Chairman Aisulov, the process went smoothly and the leader of the Galactic Committee was amongst the thawed once again.

Dr. Stan made the mental observation that being frozen for three years had done nothing at all to improve Aisulov’s personality. He was still obstinate and dictatorial. Far be it from the doctor to point out that Aisulov had made this trip voluntarily, not forced to by his job. Stan was trapped by both distance and contract. He could do nothing to escape from his current position, short of killing himself—not an option, as far as he was concerned.

Dr. Stan’s reputation as the best doctor in the galaxy had ensnared him. Aisulov refused to take no for an answer. Stan’s wife, Karyn, also made it impossible for him to decline, insisting this was the most prestigious job a doctor in the entire galaxy. She envisioned herself being the toast of parties, lauded as the wife of the best physician in the known universe. Stan hoped she was enjoying it. He preferred to continue his medical research.

Smoothing his light brown hair with one hand, he straightened his uniform as he gazed in the mirror of his quarters. Medium blue eyes started back at him, taking in a face that rarely betrayed his emotions. Stan was a professional and a consummate concealer. If he weren’t, his wife and Aisulov would have figured out how much he hated his job.

Far from known space, the crew of Hannibal was on edge. A mysterious transmission, nearly three years ago, led to the destruction of several planets. When Aisulov’s home was annihilated, along with his wife and children, he insisted on following the path of the cataclysmic communication, personally.

Captain Benjamin Drexel, commander of the Hannibal, paced the bridge as he assessed their situation. Three years of cryo sleep had brought him and his crew to a place no other ships should be. And yet—there was a mysterious ship in orbit around the planet.

Angry and flummoxed, Drexel scrambled his fighters and raised his shields. Taking his seat in the big chair, he prepared a greeting—both friendly and intimidating, for the captain of the other ship.

“Any luck identifying that ship, Warrant Officer Wilson?” He barked at the young woman on communications.

“No, sir. Still getting the robotic garbage scow reading off her.”

“Well, we can all see that’s a lie,” his second said, making a rude gesture at the screen.

“Thanks, Ray,” Ben snapped.

“Anytime, sir,” Ray replied, nonplussed.

Making his daily rounds, Dr. Stan headed to the bridge. Curious about the furor, he went to the captain’s ready room. Not finding Drexel there, he headed to the bridge, a cup of coffee for the captain his excuse for being there. Captain Drexel turned to speak to the doctor. Before he could properly thank Stan for the coffee, he was interrupted.

“Captain,” it was his First Officer, Ray Schmidt. “You need to see this.”

Drexel turned suddenly, knocking the coffee from Stan’s outstretched hand. Cleaning bots scurried underfoot as the men moved around the oval shaped room. After watching the screen a moment, Drexel called for red alert. The blaring klaxon started, propelling all hands to their battle stations. Checking the weapon and fighter status, Ben ordered Warrant Officer Wilson to do a full sweep. A damaged ship and the remains of another filled his view screen.

“Any luck figuring out who she is?” Drexel asked the petite brunette.

“I’m getting varying readings, sir. I get a feedback that identifies it as a Mining Guild robotic garbage scow. But our scanners read it as a Planetary Class Mining Vessel? The other ship—it can’t be identified, sir. It shouldn’t exist. . . .”

Yet there it was.

“Hail them, Wilson. Let’s see who answers.”

“Aye, Captain.”

The hail went out and a few moments later the screen flickered. Ben stared into the bear-like countenance of a gigantic man with dark red hair. He looked slightly familiar, but not enough to have a name attached to the face. He held his arm in such a way that Ben couldn’t see his ID tag.

“Greetings, Captain. Fancy meeting you here,” the unfamiliar captain greeted Ben.

The other man was either an idiot or trying to be flippant, Drexel couldn’t be sure. Ben’s concern wasn’t the politeness of the man he addressed. His job was to assess the situation and deal with it.

“Your signature reads Mining Guild robotic scow, Captain. Mind explaining?”

The other man’s gaze never left his, but Ben saw a slight flicker of movement to the left side of his screen. Something was decidedly going on over there.

“That was a diversionary tactic,” the Mining Guild officer said with a forced smile. “Captain?”

“Drexel. Galactic Marine Cruiser Hannibal. And you’re obviously not the garbage scow that our scanners insist that you are.”

The red haired captain smiled. “Very true, Captain Drexel. We are the Guild Mining Ship Flotilla and I’m Captain Slatterly.” He moved his arm so Ben could read his identity tag.

Leaning toward the screen, Ben shifted his shoulders uneasily. The name of the captain and his ship rang multiple bells. This was the man who had attacked and wounded Wil over sixty years ago. The same man now led the vessel Wil was rumored to have taken in pursuit of John Riley.

Flotilla? Yes, we had heard you went after Riley. Am I to assume, Captain, that Riley has been terminated?”

Slatterly held his hands out in a plaintive gesture. “I wish I could say definitively that he had, Captain Drexel. That would be an erroneous statement. Riley’s ship is destroyed. He set it for self-destruct. He jettisoned prior to detonation and landed on planet. Members of our team followed him. I don’t know their status. I’m expecting a report presently.”

Drexel’s dark eyes narrowed. He tapped his black, neatly trimmed mustache with long fingers. Something was wrong with this picture, but what it was, he couldn’t be sure. Slatterly was telling the truth, but Drexel sensed he wasn’t telling quite all of it. This secrecy smacked of Wil’s involvement. Growing more wary by the minute he forced his face to remain neutral.

“Who were the team members who went after Riley?” Drexel asked abruptly.

Ben wanted a straight answer, a lot rode on that. If Wil was in the middle of this fiasco, he’d be the one in pursuit. Slatterly had something planned. What it was, Drexel didn’t know. His own fighters were in flight. Pending Slatterly’s answer, they’d attack. Already crippled, the was little the mining ship could do against a Galactic Marine Corps warship.

“Their names are immaterial, Captain Drexel.”

“Humor me please, Captain Slatterly. Their names?”

Five fighters hovered near the belly of Flotilla. Slatterly wasn’t kidding around. Drexel wondered in passing what a Mining Guild vessel was doing with fighter support. That was highly irregular, not to mention illegal, but he let it slide for the moment. Motioning to First Lieutenant Schmidt, Ben signaled for the fighters to launch on his mark, which he gave just a few moments later. He’d get answers even if he had to shoot first.

“Captain Drexel, let’s not play games here. I’ve nothing to conceal from you. Their names are immaterial, but if you must know, Colonel and Captain VanLipsig are on planet with Riley in custody.”

Ben fought again for control, winning this time. Wil was here? That clarified the situation a lot.

“VanLipsig. Wilhelm VanLipsig?”

“The one and only, Captain Drexel.”

Drexel called his fighters back to the ship, knowing that Slatterly would’ve seen them in transit and watched them turn.

“I had no idea Wil was here.”

“You know Wil?” Slatterly was stunned.

“Hell, doesn’t everyone?” Ben chuckled, the humor reaching his dark eyes.

“Friend or foe, Drexel?”

“Friend, Captain Slatterly. Decidedly a friend.”

The Marine fighters returned to the ship. Ben canceled his red alert, sensing Slatterly had done the same. The Flotilla’s fighters headed back to their hanger.

To purchase Lone Wolf and Shakazhan click here.

dellani photo dark redDellani Oakes is a slightly less than crazy author who makes her home, not in deep space, but on the east coast of Florida. When she’s not writing, she’s editing, reading, writing reviews or attending the to the needs of her family.

Dellani claims she has enough books finished to keep her publisher happy for years to come. Included in this bounty are three more books in the Lone Wolf series – with a fourth one still under construction.