Set at the edge of our solar system, amongst the many spinning stations and stones that make up the Kuiper Belt mining colony, Duncan Schaefer, a lowly chef, becomes infected with a virus that brings into question a number of beliefs held by the scientific community. The virus has a mind of its own and soon Duncan is on a quest to Earth to discover the truth about the strange mutations in his body, and his bizarre dreams of an inverted pyramid structure in distant space...something called the Extraction Point.
Below is a snippet from Schaefer's Integrity. Get the novel free here.
After the meeting with Carl I returned to my cabin, put on Kuiper Limit’s latest album and prepared for the launch. Halfway into the first piece of music we took off. Amidst a stomach-churning rumble of the high-pressure pumps firing steam into the propulsion chambers, we undocked from the Construction Station on what was to be – for me – the first of only three voyages as an employee on the Josiah. I sat glued to the monitor in my cabin throughout the launch. I watched as we lifted clear of the docking platform and cast away the last of the tethers. Then, with a burst of the pressure jets, Josiah eased forward and away to the left, slowly at first but picking up speed quite quickly. Down on the docking platform I could see a couple of servicemen waving goodbye before turning and walking off towards the lifts. Within three minutes the ship reached the main entrance to the dock and we slid out into the vast expanse of space.
I was instantly blessed with a stunning panoramic vista as the camera revealed the familiar and beautiful cluster of stars at the centre of our galaxy. The clarity and depth of what I could see filled me with a new sense of awe; an enriched sense of distance and perspective.
Back on Josiah once again, space felt different. There was something about being on a small ship – rather than a huge space station – that enhanced the sense of oneness with the endless ether.
What must life have been like for my ancestors? Back in mankind’s childhood, trapped on Earth, they never knew a life in space.
Kuiper Limit was playing loud in my ear. Yet again they had scored the scene perfectly. This was the beginning of my new life, and I could feel my throat tighten with emotion as I saw the Construction Station getting smaller and smaller in the distance behind us.
Soon after, I caught sight of my old home - the Entertainment Station - spinning away like a loose wheel in the distance as it emerged from behind the Construction Station. It too got smaller and smaller through my view-port as Josiah pulled me away, pulling me on to a new life.
The station itself was a big, grey and drab spinning disc. No artist would ever feel compelled to paint a likeness of its structure. All an artist would ever do is wish for it to be adorned with brighter colours. But survival in space was not about aesthetics, cosmetics and beauty; it was about functionality, safety and - above all - the integrity of the hull, which kept the murderous vacuum at bay.