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Maiden Voyage

Maiden Voyage

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PREQUEL to the STAR MAGI SAGA

A journey of discovery to the stars turns into a hunt for a murderer on a distant planet. 
But things go from bad to worse when a Space Dragon appears.

On her first interstellar journey to the stars, Amanda is stunned at the magical and technological marvels that she discovers. But during her absence, a friend back home on Earth is murdered in cold blood. 

Swearing revenge, Amanda hunts down the killer, tracking him to a distant planet, thousands of lightyears from Sol. 

Things become even more complicated however when a Dragon, flying through the void of space appears, and it's not here to make friends. 

This is the prequel to the epic space fantasy series, The Star Magi Saga. 

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A Wider Universe
Proxima Centauri

The Arkady dropped out of warp, its Flux Drive powering down, slowing the Aetheric Craft down to sublight speeds. In front of the ship, her destination planet grew from a pinprick until it filled the front viewscreenin less than a second before stopping.
Amanda stood up, rising from her chair on the bridge of the Arkady and stepped up towards the main viewport to get a better look at the incredible sight before her.
She couldn’t tell right away how big the planet was compared to Earth, but she guessed it was not too much bigger. However, its size wasn’t what amazed her, it was everything else here that stunned her into slack-jawed silence.
This was the first time Amanda had left the solar system and visited another planet in her newly built Aetheric Craft, the Arkady, and the sight before her was not one she would quickly forget.
The planet was surrounded by a series of huge artificial rings. Three larger ones encircled the planet, but their inclination to each other was different. The chunkiest one, and the largest in diameter, wrapped around the equator, while the smaller, inner pair, were tilted in opposite directions. But there were more rings than just those three, she noticed. She spotted lots of much finer rings and strings of orbiting satellites spaced between the three main ones. She could also see huge spikes reaching up from the surface of the planet, through its clouds to orbital platforms much closer to the surface of planet than the rings.
Meanwhile, the planet itself looked like it had been extensively settled, with what looked like almost a planet-wide city covering the surface.
Using her Aetheric sight – her Magical vision – Amanda noticed that the planet and its rings were covered in bright glowing concentrations of Magic, confirming that the society out here was very much a mix of highly advanced technology and mystical enchantments, just as she had been told it would be.
As she watched in wonder and awe, countless ships moved all around her, boosting in towards the planet, or out, away from it. She also spotted a few circular structures, the insides of which glowed with energy as ships entered them and disappeared, or appeared out of them. These must be the non-magical warp gates she’d been told about, the only mundane method of interstellar travel.
‘Holy shite,’ Amanda said to herself as she took in the vista. She knew that Magi had colonised space and had expanded out into the stars, but this was the first time she had seen it with her own eyes. Her prior experience had been almost entirely earthbound before now, with only a few trips to the Magi council’s castle on Enceladus — Saturn’s icy moon — before today.
Her mentor had told her that the Magi had expanded out into space, but he’d been vague with the details. Not because he was trying to hide anything from her, but because it was outside of his experience.
It wasn’t until she’d met Cyrac and his mentor Lux, who were visiting a friend of Amanda’s, that she’d really come to understand that the Magi had been colonising space for thousands of years, since before the ancient Egyptians walked the Earth.
Cyrac and Lux had talked long into the night with Amanda, telling her about the incredible places they had been to and what was really out there.
The more she’d heard, the more she wanted to travel there, which naturally led her to build her first Magical starship.
They were known as Aetheric Craft and used Magic to propel them through space at faster than light speeds. Having recently finished her ship, which she’d named Arkady, she had been keen to take it for a test flight.
Zipping around the Sol System was great, but this had been the true test. Her first interstellar flight and she’d completed it successfully.
A beep sounded from the console behind her, making her jump and snapping her out of her trance. She looked back at her chair and realised her ship was being hailed.
Sitting back down in the command chair, she tapped the icon that was flashing and opened up the channel.
‘Errr, hello?’ she said, unsure what to say.
‘This is flight control, welcome to Axia,’ said a soft, feminine voice.
‘Hi. Um, thank you,’ Amanda said. ‘Pleasure to be here.’ There was silence on the channel for a moment, until the person on the other end spoke again.
‘Sorry, have you submitted your Indicia yet?’ she asked.
‘Oh, sorry,’ Amanda said, suddenly remembering what Cyrac had told her about travelling the stars, visiting other systems, and the protocols that were in place. One of which was that when you entered a new system or wanted to dock or land somewhere, you usually transmitted your ships identification and other data, which were known as its Indicia.
She panicked for a moment as she was unable to remember what to do in her flustered state, but she soon composed herself and with a thought, directed her ship to transmit the data along the channel.
‘Aaah, there it is, thank you… Oh, just out from Sol, are you?’ the woman asked.
‘That’s right, it’s my first time out here, and it’s… It’s incredible.’
‘I’m glad you think so. Thank you, miss, everything checks out; may I help you with your onward journey?’
‘Umm,’ Amanda thought and looked out the window at the huge planetary structures before her. ‘Well, can I dock at one of those rings? I’ve never been here before, I’m not staying long, and I’d love to see a little of the sights,’ she said.
‘Of course, then, may I suggest you visit the Red City? I’ve sent over the coordinates for you and assigned you a docking bay. Have a pleasant visit,’ she said and closed the channel.
Well, she thought, that seemed easy enough. She looked down at the console and saw an option to lay in a new course, using the destination that Axia control had sent over. She tapped the blinking icon, and with a brief working of her Magic, directed the ship to follow the course.
Amanda sat back in her chair and enjoyed the view as the Arkady glided through the traffic and made its way towards the planet’s north pole, where she could see a colossal platform hovering above the surface, connected to the surface by a collection of space elevators beneath it. Atop the platform itself, she could see countless buildings up there, with a massive central tower in the middle of it.
Amanda frowned for a moment and wondered if she could get some further information about where she was and what this Red City might be that she was approaching.
Reaching out with her mind, Amanda directed the ship's core to request access to the local Net. The Arkady was instantly connected, and she could now access this information through her Link with the Arkady’s core.
Information blossomed in her mind as she hunted for what she wanted to know.
The populace of Earth knew the star this planet orbited as Proxima Centauri, but the Magi had named it thousands of years ago when they had first come here. Currently, the star was known as Cardinal to the interstellar community, and the planet was Axia, home to the Nexus Arcadia.
Amanda recognised this name. Cyrac had told her about the Nexus Arcadia recently. The Nexus Arcadia was the union of many nation states, alliances, and empires that controlled this area of the galaxy. They were mainly Magi controlled groups, such as the various Magi Dynasties, the Sol Protectorate, the Draconic Alliance, and many more, and they met in the Union Council, here, at the Red City.
Basically, Amanda thought of them as the good guys, although, that was a loose term, given that according to Cyrac, they fought amongst themselves all the time, bickering over territory, trade, corruption, and more. Not unlike countries on Earth.
She also noticed that just like on Earth, where the Magi were primarily divided between the Arcadians — Magi who believed they were a part of humanity, and that humanity needed protecting — and the Nomads — Magi who saw themselves as above humanity, and thought nothing of hurting and killing them. Out here the divide was apparently the same, except the names were different. There was the Nexus Arcadia or what Amanda thought of as the good guys, and the Corpus Nomadica, who served the Crux. The bad guys, Amanda thought with a wry smile, knowing that the divide between them was more shades of grey than a hard black and white line.
Given that the Red City was the seat of the Union Council, she guessed that the traffic controller, who was probably a Riven — a human without Magical ability — had sent her here because she’d seen that Amanda was listed as a Magus on the Indicia.
She smiled and shrugged to herself. She guessed she could understand their reasoning, but it did feel odd. Back on Earth, the Magi lived in secret, hiding amongst the masses of humanity and fighting the darkness in the shadows, but out here, the Magi were not a secret at all. They were well known and an integral part of the society that had been built amongst the stars.
This would take some getting used to.
The ship swooped low and powered down towards the Red City, which grew ever larger in the main viewport until the Arkady made its final descent to the landing pad that had been assigned to her in the huge docking bay. The ship landed without any trouble and came to a final rest.
She sat back in her chair for a moment and blew out some air through her lips, making them vibrate. She’d made it, she thought as she relaxed in the chair, feeling tension she hadn’t realised was there lessen and ebb away. She wasn’t on Earth any more. In fact, she wasn’t even in her home system any more. She was a few lightyears away on an alien planet, which just so happened to be populated by humans.
It didn’t get much more bizarre than this.
She jumped up out of her seat. ‘Well, this planet won’t explore itself, Amanda,’ she said to herself, and started to make her way through the ship to the rear loading ramp, three levels below her.
Reaching the main cargo bay, she instructed the ship to open the rear ramp, which levered down to the pad below. Amanda stepped forward, feeling a little nervous as she walked down the ramp, looking around her at the huge bay she found herself in. There were lots of other landing pads to either side of her in this vast hanger on the rim of the Red City platform, many of them with ships of all shapes and sizes resting on them. The hanger itself was mainly weathered chrome and grey metal, but there were a few metal statues spaced around as well as other decorative elements. Before her, a dirty looking man and woman in workers overalls stood chatting close by. The man spotted her and broke off from his conversation to walk towards her.
‘You need a refuel, miss?’ he said.
‘Ur, no, I don’t think so,’ Amanda said, not feeling terribly sure what the right answer was given how new this all was, but the more she thought about it, the more she felt sure she didn’t need it.
‘You after supplies? Anything at all?’ the man continued with a sniff.
‘No, thank you,’ Amanda answered, her tone more confident and with a finality to it.
‘Suit yourself,’ he said with a shrug, before nodding to her ship. ‘I’d close it up if I were you, otherwise, it might not be here when you get back.’ He smiled at her and walked back to his friend before they both wandered off, heading towards the next ship that was coming in to land.
Amanda looked back at her ship, and with a small mental nudge through her Link to the Arkady’s core, the ramp rose up and closed.
Turning back away from her ship, she saw a marked path that lead to the far wall. Nearby, a holographic display floated towards the edge of the landing pad with an arrow pointing off down the walkway with the word “arrivals” next to it.
The hanger was huge, though, and she didn’t want to spend half of her time here in the hanger bay, so she concentrated and worked her Magic, pulling the local Essentia into her and pressing her desire upon the Magical energy.
With a whip-crack of displaced air, she Ported across the entirety of the hanger bay, appearing at the far wall next to the exit.
Nearby, a worker jumped as she appeared out of thin air close to him.
‘Fray, don’t do that,’ he said, shaking his head and walking away. Amanda frowned at him as she pondered the strange word use, but guessed that “fray” was used as a curse word out here.
She walked out through the door and into a long wide corridor. She saw a light at the end and moved towards it, passing various side corridors. Around her, people walked in all directions, going about their business, and Amanda couldn’t help but stare at them and their curious fashions.
It seemed like fitted clothing was all the rage out here, although the outfits were often embellished with loose fabric worn over the top, from sashes to cloaks and half-skirts and anything else she could imagine. Some of the people here were also clearly modified in one way or another. As she exited the corridor and stepped out into a large open area — a public square of some sort — the variety of people grew even wider. She spotted people with more organic body modifications, such as brightly coloured artificial skin, through to fur or extra appendages, like a tail or wings. Others seemed to prefer more cybernetic augmentations, such as artificial limbs and such. It seemed like changing your body was common out here, even more so than getting a tattoo back on Earth.
Amanda moved left and wandered up the street, looking out over a railing to her right at the city that stretched out into the distance beyond. It was like something out of a science-fiction computer game or Hollywood movie, except it was real.
As she walked, she noticed that a few people were looking at her own clothing and frowning at her, or giving her other curious looks.
She looked down at herself, at the ripped jeans she was wearing and the camisole top and knew that she looked very much out of place. No one was wearing twenty-first century Sol fashions out here, it seemed.
Amanda looked up and scanned the area. Were their shops in outer space? she wondered. Did people sell things out here? She looked around her, realising that she had been so preoccupied with the people and the view, that she had not noticed that there were, in fact, plenty of shops.
Amanda raised her eyebrows, and then looked down at herself, and then at other people. She could, of course, just conjure a new outfit out of thin air with a quick working of Magic. But where was the fun in that? she thought. At the very least, she wanted to inspect some of the clothing on offer here.
It didn’t take her long to find a clothing shop, but she found herself feeling a little intimidated by it as she stood out front looking in. She was being ridiculous, of course, as there was nothing to worry about in reality. She knew it was just that this was an unfamiliar environment and everything was new to her.
With a deep breath, she walked into the shop and started to scan the racks of clothing.

About the Author

Hi, I'm Andrew Dobell. Welcome to my website.

I'm the creator of the sprawling multi-series urban fantasy Magi Saga Universe, and the action-packed New Prometheus cyberpunk series.

I'm a storyteller at heart and have always loved creating worlds, characters, and thrilling narratives through both art and words. I enjoy spending my free time with my family and have a keen interest in cinema and genre fiction.

I'm also an artist and have worked for many years as a professional illustrator and cover artist for other authors.
I love creating art based on my novels.

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