Antecedent's Legacy by Daniel Schinhofen
Zander Greaves grew up in Compton, California—violence, pain, and strife were his life for his first eighteen years.
His personality was forged by his childhood, and he was determined to find a way to make his past work for him.
As soon as he could, Zander decided to find work as a military contractor. The company he’d badgered for a job eventually hired him, earning him the nickname “Badger.” While most people dropped out of the lifestyle after a few years, Zander had found a place that felt right to him.
A decade in, he’d even found a couple of friends who stayed on with him. One was Devin Smith, the heavy weapons specialist for the squad and a proud Texan. Another was Selda Engel, their tech specialist. She’d slowly transitioned from a friend to a friend-with-benefits, but even that had started to become more.
On rotation again, Zander made a vow to ask Selda to recognize their relationship as more than just a casual hookup, planning to do so as soon as they were back off schedule. The universe, however, was about to remind him of a crucial lesson and old adage: “Life is what happens when you’re busy making plans.” Sent out into the desert on what looked like a wild goose chase, they were about to head back when everything changed.
Shifted by quantum entanglement from Earth to an alien planet, Zander and his squad would have to adapt—and quickly—if they wanted to live. As they tried to understand what was happening, the stark truth of their new reality thrust itself on the shaken humans. Giant machines of war were attacking an equally humongous bug.
And, quite unfortunately, the giant bug had a lot of little friends. The ensuing firefight ended with Zander left as the sole human survivor. Out of his dimension and wounded, he had to face an entirely new universe, and the Antecedents' Legacy would soon become the primary focus of his life.
©2023 Daniel Schinhofen (P)2023 Podium Audio
Everything had changed for Zander Greaves over the last few weeks.
He'd gone from being a private military contractor with his squad in the Middle East to being isekai-ed into a different multiverse.
He lost his friends and his lover, Selda, in the same hour of his arrival, sparking in him the mission to kill every single Entoma he could to repay them for his loss. Luckily, an alien named Crish arrived to help Zander adjust to his new reality.
His first few days were a chaotic mess as he tried to adapt, but it was his first day on board the ship Fractured Dreams that Zander discovered what his new life would be. He was one of the lucky one-in-ten-thousand: a person whose body accepted an AI of Antecedent technology. His AI, however, was special, taking on the memories and persona of his former lover, Selda Engel.
With Crish's and AI Selda's help, Zander came up with a mad plan to displace the pilot leader, Shivatin the Rakshasa, and take over that position. He had experience staying alive as a mercenary and used that to forge the fractured crew into a cohesive new whole.
As he was finally taking on the mantle of leader, Shivatin led a mutiny to take the ship from the captain and to kill Zander. The Rakshasa had no clue what he'd unleashed in doing so; Zander led his new team in a repelling action, killing the invading boarders, then pushing on to the bridge to take out Shivatin.
Veldiami, the captain of Fractured Dreams, took it one step further, boarding the other ship that helped in the mutiny to claim as salvage. It only took killing four—including the ship's captain—to secure it as loot.
Left on the other ship, the Righteous, to guide it to the nearest galactic hub, Zander made a deal with the remaining crew. They used the FTL drive to reach the hub that day, meaning Zander would find himself alone on MX Hub for two days before Fractured Dreams and her crew arrived.
What trouble could a human—completely out of his depth in a new universe and on an alien space station—get into before his crewmates arrived?
©2023 Daniel J. Schinhofen (P)2023 Podium Audio