The X-Files meets Forrest Gump
Fifty previous Torkiyan missions were lost to space and time, but new technology gives Mission 51 a better chance to reach the legendary planet Cerulea.
Zeemat is one of four crew members assigned to the mission, and despite thorough preparation, their journey is marred by tragedy and the arrival does not go as planned. He finds himself alone among a sapient species on Cerulea, individuals who both help and hinder his mission directives to explore, conquer, and colonize this new world. On top of that, he has plans of his own.
He befriends a native, Linda Deltare, and learns to communicate. As their relationship grows, they struggle against a powerful system that aims to exploit and destroy them.
To survive, Zeemat and Deltare must help each other fight their common enemies — the military and the highest levels of government. Zeemat will have to resolve his conflicting feelings, confront his personal failings, and ignite his inner power.
Will he honor the mission directives and remain loyal to his people, or will he find his own place in a strange new world?
Mission 51 is an immigrant story that is out of this world!
A Note from the Author:
I met Dr. Linda Deltare during a birding festival at West Virginia’s New River Gorge in the spring of 2010. I was struck by the enthusiasm of this elegant, elderly lady as she observed a constellation of Starlings sweeping through the sky. I remember her looking away from her binoculars excitedly exclaiming, “Did you see how they responded in unison to the leader’s chip call?”
She focused her gaze right at me, and since there was no one else was nearby, and I was uncertain whether her question was rhetorical or not, I felt obliged to respond. “I’m afraid I didn’t hear the chip call or see the flock’s response,” I said. “To be honest, I’m not that tuned-in to communication behavior in flight.”
She started an animated ramble about flock behavior until she stopped herself short, apologizing. “I’m sorry. I get carried away by that sort of thing. I’ve been interested in communication theory since my college days, part of my Master’s work and doctoral thesis.”
“Oh, please go on,” I told her. “I may not know much about it, but I’m interested. I love learning new things about bird behavior.” What I said was true. I was interested. I never lied to Dr. Deltare — or almost never.
So we had a nice conversation about this and other similar avian topics as we worked our way back to our group of fellow birders. We then encountered each other on and off for the next few days, establishing a comfortable acquaintance. At the end of the festival, we exchanged the typical farewells — “I hope we run into each other again some day at another birding event.” I meant it. She impressed me as a smart, pleasant, and interesting lady.
Curiously, we did run into each other, time and time again over the next few years, at almost every birding event I ever attended. I saw her at the Maygration in Cape May, New Jersey, then at the Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge in the North Carolina Outer Banks. I saw her at Hawk Mountain in Pennsylvania, at Merritt Island in Florida, at Magee Marsh in northwest Ohio, and again at the Rio Grande Valley in Texas. Our little acquaintance gradually grew into a warm friendship. We shared each other’s cell phone numbers and email addresses. So after that, I was not as surprised to see her at other birding events, as we both obviously shared the hobby and passion. But really, looking back, it was a little weird seeing her everywhere I went.
One day, she even showed up in my home town of Winston Salem, North Carolina, at one of our regular Audubon activities at Bethabara Park. I was taken aback at her presence, surprised at how far she must have come for such an unimportant event, or perhaps just to see me. After an enjoyable morning of birding, I asked her to join me for lunch and she readily accepted. It was then she finally unloaded the burden she had been carrying, and for whatever reason, she decided to unload it on me.
“Ferd,” she said with a coarse cough, while lighting up a new cigarette using the dying ash of the one...