The new Jonathan Bartell novella, Permutation, is out today.
This is number 4 in the series. Each volume is a complete story and can be read out of order.
It’s also available in audio.
The Jonathan Bartell series combines a space setting with crime or mystery.
In this volume, Jonathan and Gaby render assistance to a space station that has stopped responding to messages.
Here is the beginning:
Astoria Station, a small mining settlement in the Asteroid Belt.
Owner: Prosperity Mining, a specialist independent contractor, mining rare earths for the Lora manufacturing station, also owned by Prosperity Mining.
Consignment: Testing station for mining samples.
If they were responding.
And Astoria Station hadn’t been responding to correspondence, official or unofficial, for a number of days.
Jonathan Bartell, in his cabin aboard the transport ship Renae Stellaris, which belonged to the same company, had watched the reports track through his news feeds for days.
First the questions Is anything going on? then the discussion What should we do? and then the speculation They probably have some power malfunction.
He had plotted the ship’s course.
Then he’d gone to put his case to the transport ship’s captain.
They were in the area, he said.
No, the station hadn’t issued an SOS, but someone should investigate.
They might be able to save lives.
They already knew there hadn’t been a major blowout, so the issue had to be something internal.
Problems like this could be traced back to issues with the atmosphere inside the station and the recycling plant. Jonathan was a specialist in recycling—something the company should know, because he and Gaby were en route to work on a joint venture between Prosperity Mining and the Space Corps.
The captain wasn’t happy, because it would mess up his schedule, he said, but space law dictated that when a vessel or station was in trouble, the nearby ships were obliged to render assistance.
The Renae Stellaris was the closest vessel, and even if there hadn’t been a call for help, there was clearly something wrong.
So this was how Jonathan and Gaby found themselves on board a small shuttle drifting past the grey walls of the non-responsive station, looking for a sign of life, or a sign of disaster.