Note: I generally don’t do this, but I’m proud of my efforts today so I’m going to share the preliminary synopsis for Parallax: Genesis, the second book in the Parallax Trilogy. Please keep in mind that this is a preliminary synopsis and may not necessary reflect the final story. In any case, enjoy. 🙂
John Pratt has been in some sticky situations. He’s faced the enemy in battle, watched his life get taken away over accusations of treason, and encountered his former co-pilot working for a race of beings determined to invade the Milky Way.
After thwarting their attempts to recapture him through mind control manipulation, Pratt finds temporary refuge in the Mixton System, where he gathers clues to the Signiferians and his connection to them. When an unexpected event reveals him to them, they attack the system, causing him and his crew to narrowly escape Mixton with the help of System Militia and United Earth Union reinforcements.
During the battle, his ship is damaged by a stray shot and its Hyperspace Regulator is damaged, stranding him and his crew in Hyperspace. After regaling his partner, Alliance Intelligence Agent Ariel DuBois and his new engineering crew, Jonathan and Michelle Pi, with a story about the loss of the Beacon Ship, Meridian, Pratt goes to the Forward Gunnery Station to brood in solitude. DuBois joins him and they discuss the situation. A call from the Pis pulls him out of his despondency and takes him back to the control area. When he gets there, the Pis explain that they have a way to disrupt the Hyperspace Engine in such a way as to drop them back into Normal Space. However, the cost of this maneuver is that once back in Normal Space, the Hyperspace Engine will be out of commission until extensive repairs are made. In addition, there will be no way to accurately plot where they will reappear because certain components need to be cannibalized from the navigation computer. Stranded in Hyperspace or randomly reappearing back in Normal Space are tough choices, but Pratt decides to allow them to do it. They make preparations for the attempt. Hours later, amid a shower of sparks and several electrical fires, the ship drops out of Hyperspace luckily within contact of a space tug which gives them a tow to a station orbiting Pluto.
After settling their affairs to get their ship repaired, Pratt and DuBois book a flight from Charon Station to Earth. When they get to Earth, Pratt accesses her portable computer and works on deciphering clues in the Signiferian Database. A group of clues stand out and after some speculation, evidence emerges of a possible location of an ancient base located in The Black Hills of South Dakota and long considered a place of mystery and supernatural potential. They arrange travel to the outskirts of The Black Hills and enter on foot, bypassing a number of suspicious security outposts along the way. Their suspicions are confirmed when they encounter a weapons testing center built close to their destination in The Badlands. Skirting carefully past the security patrols, they make it to their destination at the foot of a large grass-covered mound.
At first, they are stymied by the abundance of nothing they find except for a narrow cave opening. Pratt surmises that the base must be located underground to avoid detection by indigenous lifeforms and may be activated by a hidden switch. They explore the cave and find a wall etched with unusual markings. The symbols correspond with ancient Sioux and Lakota Indian Tribes but as Pratt uses his computer to analyze them, a power feedback begins and forces him to shut off his device. The symbols turned out to be warnings from both groups not to disturb those who lay beyond the barrier yet ironically gives the means to produce an opening in the wall. Pratt figures out the instructions and opens a path through the wall into a tunnel beyond. Opening the door triggers a cave collapse and they manage to make it through before the way behind them becomes impassable and hard to breathe.
They continue down the tunnel, eventually reaching a metal door untouched by time and inscribed with clearly visible Signiferian markings. They don’t have the means to decipher the markings, but Pratt and DuBois realize that the door uses a genetic lock keyed to certain DNA sequences. Pratt tests a theory by placing his hand into the lock’s receiving mechanism. When it doesn’t respond, he takes it one step further by making a small cut in his left palm and placing it in the receiver, allowing the DNA in his blood to come into direct contact. The gamble pays off as the door grinds open and allowing them passage.
Inside, they find a treasure trove of Signiferian information, including their plans to breed a slave race from early hominids, their success in doing so, the exporting of slaves to several worlds in The Milky Way, and the ultimate abandonment of their settlements due to a virus created in the evolutionary process that proved deadly to Signiferians. They also find electronic maps of an extensive Hyperspace transport system from Earth to the galaxy NGC-4822, presumably the Signiferian Home Galaxy. One of the transport system nodes allowed entry near Alpha Centauri in an area known as the Mersey Anomaly. After disabling the power overload system, Pratt records much of the knowledge contained in the Signiferian computers when he notices a silent alarm has been tripped. The genetic virus contained in his blood has activated a biohazard protective measure designed to destroy the facility to prevent the spread of the virus. They barely make it out before the facility crashes down around them.
Trapped in the cave tunnel, they search for a means of escape before the air runs. Just before they succumb to lack of oxygen, Union troops break through the rubble and rescue them. They are revived before charged with trespassing in a restricted area. Pratt and DuBois protest, showing their credentials, but the Security Commander disbelieves them and has them confined until their story can be verified. Shortly after their incarceration, a Signiferian ship attacks the settlement, drawn there by the base’s ancient distress signal. When the battle seems lost, Koren arrives with a pair of accompanying Locknar warships and successfully defeats the invaders. Citing Diplomatic Privilege, he takes Pratt and DuBois into custody and returns them to retrieve their ship at Pluto. Thankful goodbyes are shared and Pratt sets course for a science station studying The Mersey Anomaly, Pegasus Station.