Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub
Retail ePub from OverDrive
Note: the file has metadata saved with Calibre, though it's not a conversion. However, it is exactly how I got it from OverDrive so it's still considered retail.
The Fleet thought the wars were over, but as a deadly race of insectoid invaders, the Ichton, sweep through the galaxy, races new to the Alliance are in dire need of aid. Star Central answers with the mammoth battlestation Stephen Hawking. The Hawking takes the fight beyond the boundaries of human space where the Ichton prove to be a formidable foe. Meanwhile, within the pseudoplanet's stratified decks, the pressures of constant combat and close quarters may become the enemy's most dangerous advantage. For the first time in one volume: the complete stories of the Stephen Hawking, its multi-race military and civilian crew, and its desperate fight against the Ichton.
“Prepare to go hyperspace on my mark—now!” He felt the ship leap to his command, the jarring shudder of megatons of matter being wrenched into another dimension, the accompanying surge of vertigo that was the body’s way of acknowledging that shift of existence. All the exterior screens had gone to white, for a ship in hyperspace jump was blind and deaf. He found himself almost holding his breath as he counted out the mere seconds that the jump would last, for the battle zone he had selected was
widening the gap in the Mantran defensive wall. The convoy’s second vehicle was also a tank. It continued the work of destruction as it shuddered onward. The defenders’ fire quivered on the Ichton shield, but the Mantrans couldn’t repeat the concentration that had overwhelmed the leader. “They can’t stop it,” Dresser whispered. “It’s over.” The image volume went red/orange/white. The dense jewel of the mother ship blazed through a fog that warped and almost hid its outlines. The blur of
the hill of glassy waste. As Globin climbed down, he glanced after the expedition’s file of sleds, just in time to see the last slip over the horizon. “How now, Globin?” Plasma asked. Behind him, the crewmen muttered. “We take it apart, bit by bit,” Globin answered. “Slowly, my children, and gently—do not dismember an ally as you seek to demolish its prison.” They whittled away at the huge hill with lasers, a slice at a time. After fifteen minutes, Globin called a halt, feeling apprehensive.
in groups of three, singling out one ship each. Quickly, separate Fleet ships peeled off to flank and pierce the enemy, reinforcing their outnumbered colleagues. But it left a hole in their hemisphere—and through that hole stabbed a large Ichton ship with a score of smaller ones about it. Rear guns lashed out at them, but too late—only a few died in fire. The view shifted—the Ichton column was heading straight for the Hawking! “Batteries fire as soon as the enemy is in range,” Brand’s voice
ship around and slammed a volley of torpedoes into the stricken cruiser. Brilliant explosions shuddered out into the blackness of space. The Ichton cruiser was still trying to reply with her guns when her FTL equipment vaporized and she was gone as though she’d never been. Meanwhile, Frank had been dawdling in the asteroid belt, not wanting to turn on his FTL just yet because he wanted to know what was happening. Then the remaining Ichton ship suddenly began to lose power. The blast from its