Aaaand we’re back! (Lucky Updates – March 30, 2018)

Happy Friday, Readers!

At long last, I am happy to share that the paper copies of Lucky are once more available on retail sites such as Amazon. If you haven’t done so already, you can order your copy here: bit.ly/LuckyTheBook

I am also very excited to announce my first “official” appearance as an author! I will be attending El Paso Comic Con on April 13, 14 and 15! I am attending with the Fictioneers of the Desert, a group of local El Paso authors that also include YA novelist Jessica Bucher and award-winning mystery author LC Hayden. We are very excited to be attending El Paso Comic Con for the first time this year, and we hope to see you there!

I will also be attending an author panel at the convention on Sunday, April 15, at 11:00 am. I will be available to answer any questions in person at the panel and also afterward at the Fictioneers booth. For more information on El Paso Comic Con, visit: http://elpasocomiccon.com/

April and May are both going to be busy, busy months around here so I might not get to send email updates for a while. To stay up-to-date on Lucky and her adventures, please follow my social media accounts and blog:

 

Twitter: @RH_Webster

Facebook: R.H. Webster

I look forward to seeing you at El Paso Comic Con!
Happy Reading!
– Webster
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Lucky Updates – March 26, 2018

My most beloved and most patient Readers,

Lucky is doing well out in the world on her own. She currently has a 4.5 out of 5 rating on Amazon (out of a whopping two reviews but let’s think positive here) and just received her first unsolicited blog post review from Red Talon Books. You can read the blog post here: https://www.redtalonbooks.com/single-post/Lucky
In other news – for anyone looking to order Lucky from online retailers such as Amazon, I beg another few days of patience. There has been a mild kerfuffle with the printing company that I am trying to straighten out.
On my first run of paperbacks, there was a coding issue on the back cover, in the text. When the text was converted to a PDF file for printing, an em dash in the text turned into a weird letter with an accent over it. The back cover is still readable but looks a little bit less professional.
I conferred with my cover artist who had created the file, and we discovered a way to lock the em dash in so it wouldn’t turn into a weird code thing again. I received the file and re-uploaded it to IngramSpark for revision.
However, the file can’t be replaced until all the orders that have been placed are completed and shipped out. My mistake in all of this was a rookie error – I didn’t disable distribution before trying to change the files. I’ve been pestering the good folks at IngramSpark Customer Service to get it corrected, but it is a bit of a wait-and-see process.
If you are seeing the print version of the novel as “unavailable” on Amazon, this is why. I am trying to get everything corrected and back into circulation. What I need from you is that you please do not order any more copies of this book until we get this straightened out. Every time another copy gets ordered, a resolution to this issue gets pushed back another two to three business days. 
In conclusion to this rather lengthy update, I will let everyone on the list know the moment the book is back in circulation. Feel free to send me any questions or concerns that you might have (ordered it as a present, for example).
Thank you as always for your support and patience. Without Readers, authors are simply shouting into the void; and without all of you, I would never have gotten this book finished and published.
Until next time,
Webster

RELEASE DAY – March 15, 2018

Happy Friday Eve, Readers!

Today is the day we’ve all been waiting for! Lucky has been released for distribution and is starting to appear on the web!

That’s right, Readers – you can order Lucky today! For the rest of today it’ll be a pre-order, but it will become available tomorrow so the wait won’t be terribly long.

To view Lucky on Amazon, click this link: https://goo.gl/gJh5b3

I have a couple of author events coming in the next few months and will give more information about those as they approach.

For now, the best way to support Lucky is to read and review! Independent and self-published authors (such as myself) live off reviews left on places like Amazon and Goodreads. Since we often can’t compete against the noise generated by books published by larger companies, we rely on people who have read the book to tell their friends about it.

Thank you all for your patience and perseverance during the long, long journey this book has taken on its way to the publishing date. Words cannot accurately capture my emotions at this moment, but just know that my gratitude is overflowing.

Happy Reading!

– Webster

WE DID IT

Good afternoon, Readers,

I did it. We made it.

Lucky was enabled for distribution worldwide this afternoon and now I can’t stop shaking.

Now, before you rush directly to Amazon, there is a short delay between “enabled for distribution” and “being ravenously devoured by avid fans” (wink wink). Part of that delay is simply the refresh process that retail websites and systems go through. It can take up to thirty days for the information for the book to appear on websites like Amazon and Barnes & Noble. However, true to my word, everything will be released on March 16 and should start showing up in your searches shortly thereafter.

I will, of course, be posting more details as they become available, as well as links for purchase. But the big news today is that we did, against the odds, make it this far and that’s something.

A huge thanks to each Reader seeing this today. It’s been your support and patience that has enabled my childhood dream to become a reality.

Until next time,

– Webster

Quick Update – March 7, 2018

Good afternoon, Readers,

I am currently bundled up on the couch, fighting off a terrible cold and coughing my way to a six-pack.

Despite my illness, I wanted to give a quick update on how Lucky is doing. The ebook conversion has been completed and my physical proof copy is in the mail, due to arrive on Friday.

I made a few minor formatting changes today so that each individual copy of the book will be less expensive and easier to get your hands on. The validation and approval of these changes will take another day or two, and then I will be able to properly price the novel and release it to the general public.

I have received a couple of questions about the upcoming release that I will attempt to answer.

“Will the book be released in print as well as digitally?” Oh, yes. I am a huge fan of reading paper books, so I am definitely releasing the novel in both formats.

“Where can the book be purchased?” Once it’s released, it will most likely be available from major online retailers such as Amazon. You will also be able to order through physical retailers like Barnes & Noble and most other bookstores. I am currently working on a price structure that I can release to bookstores interested in carrying the novel on a regular basis.

I expect to have more news for you in the new several days, so (as always) stay tuned!

– Webster

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/RHWebster.ScienceFiction/
Twitter: @RH_Webster
Website: http://www.RHWebster.wordpress.com

HAPPY LUCKY PUBLISHING DAY

Dear Readers,

HAPPY PUBLISHING DAY!!!

Except that yes, there is going to be a delay in releasing the novel. I am expecting the delay to be about two weeks, so I am looking at pushing the release date out until March 16, 2018.

That’s the bad news. There is a bunch of good news, though.

All the art and text files for the novel have been uploaded to the printing company and validated by an actual human. Physical proof files are even now being printed and shipped to me. I have my fingers crossed that they will be here by the end of the week. The eBook conversion is in process, meaning that the novel will be available to be downloaded from sources such as Amazon and iBooks. I am currently working on promotional materials, such as handouts, flyers, and maybe even hat pins (provided I can find someone to do hat pins for less than my first born child). It’s all very exciting.

I am especially excited to share the new cover art with you! It is currently featured below and on my author Facebook (www.facebook.com/RHWebster.ScienceFiction/) and Twitter (@RH_Webster).

Thanks again for your patience. These processes take time but I’m finding that they typically take less time than expected, so stay tuned for more updates in the coming days.

– Webster

Lucky_cover

Lucky Updates – February 23, 2018

Good afternoon, Readers,

We are very quickly approaching Lucky‘s publication date! As with most major dates, the closer we get, the more my anxiety spikes out of control.

I am a nervous wreck, y’all.

The final baby steps towards being fully published are being (slowly but surely) taken. On the positive side, I have received the official Library of Congress Control Number for Lucky, so that it can be tracked and ordered by libraries across the nation.

On the negative side, there have been unforeseen delays with completing and submitted the cover art. The first draft of the art came in last week and while exciting, the cover needed work to improve its readability and visual appearance. I assure you all that it will be well worth the wait, as my artist is very talented and is bringing her own unique style to the project.

My fear, however, is that this will make Lucky miss her set publication date on February 28. We only have a week left to go at this point, and I have not yet been able to see a fully formatted and printed hard copy of the novel. I will need to review the proof copies carefully to ensure that everything is properly spaced, italicized, spelled, etc, etc. I don’t think this will take much more than a week at most, so my plan currently is to only delay the publication by a week or two.

This being said: If I delay the publication, I will make every effort possible to make sure that you are able to get your copies of the novel as soon as possible. The printing company that I am using is a Print-On-Demand service, which means that a book is only printed when it is ordered. Depending on the volume of orders at any given moment, it could take a few extra days for your copies to reach you.

I hope you will forgive this delay as it is with every intention of bringing you the best and highest quality book possible. I will keep everyone up to date on the most recent developments as much as possible.

Thank you as always for your support. I’ve uploaded Chapter 5 of Lucky to my blog for your weekend reading. I hope you enjoy!

Until next time,
Webster

LUCKY – CHAPTER FIVE

Of all the things she thought would happen to her when she entered graduate school, serving on a freight vessel on a trip across the stars was not one of them. She was still unsure of what had compelled her to volunteer, what had driven her to give up four weeks of perfectly good reading time secluded in her cramped bunk to be barked at by the Commander Gray Eyes himself. Maybe it was the money. Maybe it was curiosity about the man she’d be working with. Maybe it was simply madness. She scoffed quietly to herself. Of course, the primary reason had to be the money; while she had been able to purchase a ticket back to Earth, she always felt on the brink of financial ruin.

She stared at the back of Commander Donner’s dark head, vaguely noting the soft wave in his hair before he turned back around to her, boots and flight suit in hand. He was quite possibly the most difficult man she had ever tried to get a read on. She tried to figure out his command style and his habits from watching his interactions with the crew, but their time with the group during the briefing was too short and Barnes was clearly too kowtowed to even breathe normally in Donner’s presence. Now, everyone on the ship was caught up in the pre-launch duties that accompanied getting a hunk of metal so large off a planetary surface.

Her new flight suit and boots in tow, she quickly retreated to her bunk and changed, then headed back to the launch deck. Adrenaline coursed through her body, making her muscles feel weak and shaky. She noticed a few surprised looks from the other passengers as she entered the launch deck wearing her new uniform and hoped that they didn’t notice how badly her hands were trembling.

The launch deck was simply a more formal name for a common area in the middle of the ship, but it did come equipped with specialized launch seats that made the taking off process vaguely easier. Each chair was securely welded to the ship’s internal support structure and featured a five-point crash harness to keep the passengers in their seats. Oxygen masks were also supplied, as well as small vents to blow cool, fresh air on those feeling particularly susceptible to motion sickness. Lucky had been through a launch process of entering zero gravity, adjusting to new gravity, and then the fun of the catapult enough times to know that she could handle it without showering her new shipmates with her most recent meals. She looked at the other passengers around her, currently strapping themselves down. A few looked nervous; one elderly lady was even holding a strand of rosary beads in her hands and murmuring quietly to herself. The two retired crewers Donner had tried to recruit seemed perfectly at ease, holding their wives’ hands and settling into the seats as much as anyone could.

Seemingly out of nowhere, a woman in a flight suit identical to Lucky’s sat down in the seat next to her and started strapping in. She was murmuring under her breath in rapid Spanish. Lucky only caught bits and pieces but gathered that the woman was not a fan of takeoff.

“How is it you work on a ship and still don’t like the takeoff process?” Lucky asked her.

The woman looked at her in surprise. “Habla español?” She grinned. “No me gustan los guisantes, pero los como porque son buenos para mí.

Lucky gave her a skeptical look. “I quit eating peas as soon as I started cooking for myself. I don’t care if they’re good for me or not.”

The woman smiled again, wider this time and laughed out loud. “We are going to get along famously.” She held out her hand. “Janet Ruiz.”

“Cassandra Luckenbach.”

The woman nodded knowingly. “I heard about you. Joining the party for a few weeks, no?”

“As far as Newport, according to the contract.”

Janet shook her head. “Is it true Trigg assigned you to be his personal aide?”

Lucky frowned. “Trigg…?”

“The commander. You think we actually call him Edmund Donner the Third? Please.” She giggled. Lucky thought she could hear a layer of nervousness beneath Janet’s seemingly never-ending mirth.

Lucky frowned. “But you get to call him by—what is that, a nickname? I mean, isn’t he in charge of the whole ship…?”

Janet laughed again. “Girl, you’ve got a lot to learn about the merchant ships. And it’s not like the movies, either.” She shrugged. “It’s not like we’re in the military or anything. ‘Captain’ and ‘Commander’ are just formalities that we make the passengers use to keep everyone in line. Kind of like you don’t call your doctor ‘Joe,’ right? You call him ‘Doctor So-and-so’ and that keeps the professionalism between you two. But as for us, we all just call each other whatever. Except for Barnes. Everyone makes his life hell and makes him call them all the proper titles.”

“I take it he’s the sweaty one?”

“Exactly.”

Lucky settled back into her seat and tried to get comfortable. The seats were built for functionality and easy storage, not napping. Honestly, she was reminded of the roller coasters her brothers used to drag her to ride in Orlando on summer vacations. The human race had developed space flight, settled colonies on distant planets, and set up sophisticated trade routes through the stars, and still roller coasters had the most uncomfortable seats on any of the planets.

Stubb appeared at the hatchway of the launch deck. “Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen,” he said, stepping through the doorway. “I’m here to check that your takeoff harnesses are properly closed.”

As he moved from one passenger to the next, tugging harnesses and demonstrating the quick release mechanism on the latch, Stubb seemed to be running low on the good humor that Lucky had witnessed earlier. His process was quick and efficient, and before too many minutes had passed, he was in front of Lucky and Janet.

“I need to check your straps, Miss Luckenbach,” he said.

“You can still call me Lucky,” she said as he reached for her harness.

He gave it a sharp tug. “In the event of an emergency, this red button on the side will quickly release your harness. It is best not to press the button unless explicitly ordered to by a uniformed crew member.”

“Lucky, release your straps,” Janet said from her side.

“A uniformed crewmember that isn’t Janet,” Stubb added, fixing the other woman with an unamused glare.

“Oh, come on, Stubb, you don’t trust me to take care of our most junior crew member?” Janet dramatically fluttered her eyelashes, looking young and innocent in the face of Stubb’s unhappy expression.

Stubb unceremoniously reached out and yanked on Janet’s harness. “Not really, no.”

Janet stuck her lower lip out in a pout. “It’s not like I’d get her into any trouble, you know. Speaking of trouble, how is it going with you and your toothbrush date?”

“That’s not funny.”

“It’s a little funny.”

Stubb shook his head and walked away without another word, his expression still dour. “Have a good flight, ladies and gentlemen,” he called over his shoulder as the hatch closed behind him.

Lucky felt a pit forming in her stomach. Not even a full first day on her latest job and she was already well on her way to upsetting her coworkers. Well done, Luckenbach, she thought with a mental scowl.

“So, tell me, Lucky,” Janet’s voice broke into her thoughts. “How’d you end up in San Pedro anyway? I mean if there was ever a rock that no one ever wanted to be on, this one is it.”

“Field assignment for a master’s degree. I was only supposed to be here for nine months for an internship, but then I lost my research grant and my tuition assistance and didn’t have the funds to get myself home until now. I’ve been working jobs around the colony for the past two years.”

“Hard luck,” Janet said, tightening her straps one more time. “At least the San Pedro-Earth route isn’t super expensive.”

“And thank God for that,” Lucky said. “I might never have made it back if I’d been on one of the far colonies. One of my classmates was at New Los Angeles. Granted, he made it home in time for the new semester since his parents practically own one of the Earth-side airlines.”

“Did he lose his scholarship too?”

“He didn’t have one.” She made a face. “Silver spoon, et cetera.”

Janet’s reply was drowned by the sound of the rockets firing. The intercom in the seat crackled to life, Captain Conerly’s voice only slightly muffled in Lucky’s left ear. “Sit tight, guys. We’re cleared for takeoff, and we’ll be airborne in just a few moments. Starting ignition in five, four, three…”

Lucky leaned back on the headrest and gritted her teeth. Launch didn’t so much cause butterflies in her stomach as make her feel as if said butterflies were going to start chewing and come bursting through her chest.

“Here comes the fun!” Janet yelled over the sound of the engines, quickly crossing herself. Her legs swung free under her seat, as if she were an excited kid. Lucky smiled around her gritted teeth just as the engines kicked into full thrust. She felt the subtle jerk as the pilot released the brake and allowed the freighter to start rolling forward. The Rosebud, like most current space vehicles, was a unique hybrid of large cargo space plane and old-school rocket. The runways for the ships were longer than any other used in the history of flight, but had been the best alternative to a completely vertical takeoff. As the ship gained speed, the runway began tilting upward, slowly at first and then more steeply. At the end, it was nearly vertical and, like a giant motocross ramp, launched the ship straight up into the air. For many years, that had been the most dangerous part of the launch process, as pilots had failed to compensate for the innate desire of the ship to continue rotating and dive into the ground. Better training and better ship engineering had maintained a low number of crashes per year. As few as one or two crashes occurred in a single year for commercial transports, fewer even still for the military ships. Based on the weight Lucky seemed to have gained in the past few seconds, the pilot was exceptionally skilled in keeping the ship nearly perfectly vertical on takeoff.

She felt lightheaded and knew that the pilot was rotating the ship to enter high planetary orbit. Janet had stretched her hands out over her head as if she were enjoying a roller coaster, but her teeth were clenched tightly together and her face looked pale. The incredible noise made by the engines faded somewhat, and only a low-pitched vibration remained, making a nearly inaudible thruuuumm echo throughout the ship.

The intercom woke up with a feedback squeal. “Oops, sorry about that folks. Umm, this is the captain. We’re entering high planetary orbit. We ask that you please remain seated at this time with your seatbelts fastened and your tray tables in the upright and locked position. We will be engaging the catapult in about fifteen minutes or so, and then we will be on our way to Newport.”

“Mark thinks he’s so funny,” Janet said through clenched teeth. Her eyes were tightly closed now, too.

Lucky released her death grip on the arms of the chair and let her hands float in the zero gravity. The lady with the rosary beads across the way stared at the floating crucifix as if it had become possessed, and Janet’s long raven locks waved around her face as if she were underwater. Lucky couldn’t suppress a giggle as she felt her own shoulder-length brown hair floating around her face. She poked Janet’s arm. “Is it a bit humid today?” she asked sarcastically. “Feels a bit humid to me.”

Janet gave a forced grin and tried to catch all of her hair and twist it behind her head. The twist quickly came undone, so she grabbed it and stuffed it in her collar. “Welcome to space!” she said, the discomfort in her voice belying the positive sentiment.

Lucky Updates – Jan. 18, 2018

Happy Friday Eve, Readers!

Some big updates this time around, so buckle up!

Firstly, copy-editing is complete for Lucky! My wonderfully talented and incredibly focused editor Jessica has done a final run-through of the document and it is set and ready to go. And to be honest with you all, I feel like a fifty-pound weight has been lifted from my shoulders.

Secondly, formatting is complete for the print edition of the novel. This includes little things like italicizing the name of the ship and italicizing any non-English language words used in the novel, as well as more major things like having all the chapter headings be the same font and size! That was a pain – I’ve never formatted a novel before and it most definitely a learning experience. At the end, though, I did a few font tests by printing a couple of pages on my home printer and it looks like a real book. I nearly cried from happiness.

Formatting for the ebook is proving to be a little bit trickier. Most ebooks available today have a real-time movable type format so that the readers can change font sizes to suit their comfort. This means that I can’t simply upload a standard .pdf file to the website and just distribute it – I will need to have my manuscript converted to a more complex ebook format. I can either attempt to do it myself (jinkies!) or just pay to have my printer do it for me. I’m trying to learn to do it myself but at the end of the day (and for the sake of sanity) I might end of having IngramSpark perform the conversion on my behalf.

The cover formatting and artwork are still pending, since the amazing lady who is doing my art is also a graduate student and is kind enough to pencil me in around her insane study schedule. We have discussed the appropriate size and formatting for the cover, so it’s just a matter of time before we have new cover art to share.

As for publishing date…I am planning to officially publish Lucky on February 28, 2018. If this seems really soon and you’re wondering how I’m going to pull it off – join the club! Just typing that sentence caused an impressive amount of anxiety and panic. Excuse me while I go breath into a paper bag and try not to lose my breakfast.

From the research that I’ve done, there appears to be a short delay between official publishing date and “available” date, also known as the date you’ll be able to order the book from Amazon. I am working to make that span of time as short as possible but will have to keep you all posted as more information becomes available.

I’ve also uploaded both Chapter 3 and Chapter 4 to my blog for your enjoyment. You can read them at https://rhwebster.wordpress.com/. Feel free to comment on the blog posts or reply back to this announcement.

Hope you all have a wonderful (and warm) weekend!

Until next time,

Webster

Lucky – Chapter Four

Trigg reviewed his short list a final time before the pre-launch briefing started. There had only been three names on the list that were worth considering. Two were retired crewers, both older men with many years of experience. The third name was that of an Earth-bound graduate student, Cassandra Luckenbach.

He pinched the bridge of his nose, squeezing his eyes shut and fighting a headache born of stress and fatigue. It was doubtful that either of the former crewers would take the offer; most retired for a good reason.

That left only Luckenbach, with her too-wide eyes and easy, genuine smile. She had the air of an innocent girl with soft muscles and no knowledge whatsoever of how a ship was supposed to run. Her attempt at graduate school was the only reason she’d been added to the list—being admitted at all was a mark of intelligence and adaptability. Field research also pointed to…to what? A sense of adventure, maybe? Not really a qualification that Trigg typically looked for but, what the hell. His gut was making decisions that, thanks to lack of sleep, his head wasn’t fully wrapping around.

The briefing started out normally enough, with the typical warnings about pulling G’s during takeoff. At times, the Rosebud sustained 2.5 G’s for up to three minutes on takeoff. That, plus the lack of gravity before the internal gravity plating came online, often caused motion sickness or fainting in passengers. The captain of the Rosebud, Mark Conerly, gave the main briefing, which normally gave Trigg a moment to assess the passengers, but he kept his attention on Luckenbach, looking for any further insight into her personality. He noticed what seemed to be a spark of excitement in her eye. Or maybe fear? He couldn’t really say which.

Conerly began wrapping up his remarks with brief warnings about smoking on the ship (which was prohibited) and the punishment for offenders (which was a fine of phenomenal proportions). A few passengers groaned, but a stray spark in the wrong place on the ship could cause major problems, such as fires and explosions and even death. Rather risk a few disgruntled passengers than risk the whole ship.

Conerly concluded and turned to Trigg. “Sir, your comments?”

“Thank you, Captain.” He stepped forward. “Captain Conerly has covered all of the major safety regulations on board this ship. More detail can be found in the packet in your bunk rooms. If you have any further questions or concerns, they may be addressed to me.

“One other thing: my crew is a hand short. In the interest of maintaining a timely departure, I have selected a few names from the passenger roster for potential and temporary hire. Please remain behind if I call your name. Luckenbach, Crusoe, Wallis. Everyone else, thank you for your time and attention.”

He watched as the crowd dispersed, leaving behind the girl and the two ex-crewers. He approached them. “Thanks for taking the time to hear me out,” he said. “If you accept, you will be given an admin position on the command staff. A percentage will be discounted from your passage fare and refunded to your account. You will be given the power of refusal in order of relative seniority and experience on space vessels.” He glanced down at his notes. “Mister Crusoe?”

The older man shook his head, just as Trigg predicted he would. “Sorry, Commander. This is the fiftieth anniversary with the missus. I’d get my hide tanned should I attempt anything other than paying complete attention to her.”

“Fair enough.” Trigg turned to the second crewer. “Mister Wallis?”

The second man made some noise about not being physically capable of duties, and also declined. Trigg thanked them both and dismissed them. He then turned to Cassandra and sized her up.

Her eyes were still too wide, not just with innocence but there was physically too much space between them, space filled with a nose that was too wide as well, but with a tip that turned up slightly. She was lucky (no puns, he told himself) that her teeth weren’t gapped and that the weak sunlight of San Pedro had allowed her numerous freckles to dim, or else she would have been a prime candidate for a space-going Pippi Longstocking impersonator. Her loose, dark tunic hid her figure, but Trigg had the feeling from the size of the tunic she wasn’t the scrawny kid that Pippi Longstocking had been. All in all, the picture the graduate student presented was one of perfectly forgettable plainness.

“I’ll accept the position, Commander Donner,” Luckenbach said suddenly, breaking into his musings.

How much time did he just waste memorizing every feature of her appearance before she spoke? Blinking, he quickly tried to memorize his clipboard instead, wondering what it was about her previously considered “forgettable plainness” that had held his attention for so many moments. “Very well,” he said, his voice more gruff than he intended. “Please sign here.” He keyed the appropriate contract up on the flex screen and handed her a stylus. She quickly scribbled her name and handed it back to him. He motioned for her to follow him.

He led her to the bridge, pointing out various stations along the way. In the quartermaster’s closet, he obtained a flight suit and a pair of boots for her, guessing at her size. Then he showed her to his ready-room, where Barnes was busily scribbling on flex screens.

“My current aide, Benjamin Barnes. Mr. Barnes, this is Miss Cassandra Luckenbach, who has agreed to join the crew until Newport.”

Barnes did not look especially thrilled to be bumped from his admittedly cushy job as a Commander’s aide, but he greeted Luckenbach with the appropriate pleasantries. Trigg tried to feel a moment of remorse for replacing Barnes, but failed.

“Mr. Barnes, after takeoff and catapult, you’ll inform Miss Luckenbach of her duties. Then you’ll report to Lancaster in Cargo for reassignment.”

“Aye, Commander.”

Trigg turned back to Luckenbach. “You’ll remain bunked in your quarters below, since we haven’t cleared Sanchez’s bunk yet. Quite honestly, you’ll be more comfortable down there.” At her nod, he gestured to the door. “I’ll show you back to the launch deck. Please, after you.”