Please welcome Claudine Kapel to The Qwillery with an excerpt from A Chance of Light, the 2nd Ryan Cole Adventure.
“We don’t have a lot of information,” Cole noted to his team. “But Colonel Beecham believes an alien spaceship either landed or crashed in the Mojave Desert last night. He wants any help we can provide in tracking down the craft and ensuring it poses no threat to national security.”
Ashcroft began projecting images on the screen from the files Cole had received from Beecham.
“We have reports from various sources claiming to have seen a light in the sky,” Cole observed. “As you can see, we have some video footage and photographs, but they’re not particularly conclusive.”
Ashcroft clicked to the next image.
“More compelling, however, is the radar information,” said Cole. “Based on this information, the military estimates the craft is about a hundred feet long.”
“Given all their surveillance equipment, why can’t the Air Force find it?” asked Williams. “Based on the radar information, they must have some sense of where it was going to land.”
“True,” said Cole. “But it was on radar for only about ten seconds. So the projected area where it likely landed or crashed is quite large. Still, Beecham is troubled that the Air Force can find no trace of the craft at all. We suspect it may have some sort of stealth shield that’s keeping it hidden.”
“Hence, the high security risk,” said Dalton. “An advanced spacecraft with a stealth shield can represent quite a threat.”
“And it’s not just the craft itself that represents a threat,” added Cole. “If that technology falls into the wrong hands, we’ll end up with a whole new problem.”
“From that, I take it we may not be the only ones hunting for the ship?” asked Jackson.
“I think we can safely bet Antoine Drake—not to mention every other major arms dealer—is hot on its trail.”
“Terrific,” said Jackson. “So how are we supposed to find something that’s invisible?”
“That’s why the U.S. military pays us the big consulting fees,” said Dalton. “If it were easy, they wouldn’t need us.”
“We have one other complicating factor,” said Cole.
“Beyond the fact that the spaceship is invisible?” sighed Jackson.
“The light in the sky last night has drawn some media attention,” Cole noted, giving Dalton a meaningful look.
“You know Amber would never interfere with our work,” said Dalton.
“I know,” said Cole. “But she’s not the only one making inquiries. So Beecham would like to find this spaceship before it becomes front-page news.”
“And we’re sure it’s not a weather balloon or something equally innocuous?” asked Jackson.
Ashcroft frowned and clicked back to show the analysis of the radar information. “That would be one hell of a weather balloon.”
“I know,” said Jackson. “But we live in hope.”
“So what do you think?” asked Dalton, looking at Caitlin. “How likely is it we’re dealing with a craft with advanced weaponry?”
“On a comparative basis, it appears to be a small craft,” replied Caitlin. “But it was engaged in space travel. So we can be certain it has advanced technology and weapons, at least by our standards.”
“What would it be doing so close to Earth?” asked Cole.
Caitlin shrugged. “That’s hard to say. It could be some sort of research and exploration vessel, mandated to chart the various star systems in the galaxy. It could also be a small military vessel. Beings from other worlds do patrol the various sectors of space.”
“But what brought it here?” asked Dalton.
“It could have been engaged by another ship and shot down,” said Caitlin. “Or maybe there were technical difficulties and it made an emergency landing.”
“Those scenarios both suggest the ship landed or crashed here unintentionally,” said Cole. “And I think those are viable possibilities. I doubt beings from some advanced civilization would want to just drop out of the sky in a ship that far exceeds any technology we have on this planet. The repercussions would be significant.”
“Unless the ship was here on some sort of reconnaissance mission,” noted Dalton. “These beings could be allied with Drake or some other human faction.”
“In such a case, they still wouldn’t want to be observed,” said Cole. “So crashing here before witnesses was probably not part of the plan.”
“You think the ship crashed versus just landed?” asked Jackson.
“The speed and angle of descent suggests that was not a controlled landing,” said Cole.
“If the ship was en route to connect with Drake, then its going down unexpectedly is a break for us,” said Dalton. “Regardless, Drake is probably searching for it as we speak.”
“So we need to find it,” said Cole. “And by we, I mean Sigma. If Beecham finds the ship first, I’m worried he may go in shooting. We currently have no evidence the beings on the ship have any ill intentions toward the people of Earth. As Caitlin said, it could just be a research vessel. Not every being from another world seeks to ally itself with Drake.”
Cole looked at his team. “So that’s what we have. Jackson, I need you and Ashcroft to see if you can triangulate where the ship may have gone down. Beecham promised to keep us in the loop of any additional analysis his team completes.”
“We’re on it,” said Jackson.
“Sarah, see if you can pick anything up on the ship itself or where it might be,” Cole added. “Any insights on landmarks or attributes of the local terrain could help Jackson and Ashcroft tighten the search parameters.”
“Got it,” replied Sarah. “I’ll keep everyone posted on anything I come up with.”
“I wonder who else besides Drake might be in pursuit of this spaceship,” said Dalton.
“You’re thinking this might interest someone like Barclay?” asked Cole.
Wilson Barclay’s business interests included gunrunning and the buying and selling of alien artifacts. Barclay had recently tried to kill Cole in retribution for Sigma’s interference in his business affairs. But they hadn’t seen him since.
“In the past, Barclay has shown interest in alien technology that could be leveraged as a weapon,” noted Dalton. “At one time, he had a guardian stone in his possession.”
“True,” acknowledged Cole. “But I still think alien technology is much more Drake’s arena than Barclay’s. Drake is the one who has the vision of global conquest.”
“I hear you,” said Dalton. “And I think it’s a given Drake will be all over this. But as you said, we can’t overlook the possibility that a crashed spaceship with a potential cache of advanced weapons will attract the attention of others as well. Possibly even Barclay.”
Jackson frowned. Even though there had been no recent signs of Barclay, the memory of what he had almost cost them was still fresh. He saw Caitlin grow tense at the mention of his name.
“So, as always, we need to proceed with caution,” said Cole.
“With a capital C,” said Dalton. He glanced at Cole wearily, knowing his friend would be the one most likely to encounter trouble first.
A Chance of Light
A Ryan Cole Adventure 2
BookBaby, June 4, 2016
eBook, 325 pages
Spaceships don’t just disappear...
When an alien spaceship vanishes after crashing in the Mojave Desert, Ryan Cole and his team are tasked with finding the craft and securing its cache of advanced technology.
The investigation proves perilous as others are also hunting for the ship, including arms dealer Antoine Drake and his alien allies.
When Cole agrees to help a woman from his past, it leads to a dangerous encounter with Drake and startling revelations about the alien presence on the planet. He finds himself in a race against time to uncover the location of the spaceship and the nature of its mission.
But discovering the secrets of beings from other worlds comes with a price. Because when humans and aliens collide, the truth can be deadly.
A Darker Rain
A Ryan Cole Adventure 1
BookBaby, November 17, 2013
eBook, 354 pages
“It’s definitely not a good time to be going into the woods of Hawkley Ridge.”
When a red-eyed wildcat threatens ranchers in the Pacific Northwest, Ryan Cole recognizes the danger is far more menacing than the ranchers realize. Cole specializes in tackling unconventional security threats, particularly those with alien origins.
His investigation puts him in the crosshairs of Antoine Drake, an international arms dealer with a penchant for weapons from other worlds. Both men are also in pursuit of powerful alien artifacts known as guardian stones.
Cole and his team of investigators embark on a dangerous quest to recover the guardian stones before they can be assembled into the ultimate alien weapon. To succeed, Cole must also decipher the wildcat’s deadly secrets.
But in the woods of Hawkley Ridge, it’s easy for the hunter to become the prey.
A Darker Rain is the first book in the Ryan Cole adventure series.
A Darker Rain is Claudine Kapel’s first novel. She lives in Toronto and enjoys books, music, and travel. When not working as a consultant, she can be found writing, reading, or contemplating what else may be out there.