Archived – Was Once A Hero by Edward McKeown


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Reluctant privateer Robert Fenaday searches the stars for his lost love, Lisa, a naval intelligence officer whose ship disappeared near the end of the Conchirri War . He’s joined by the genetically engineered assassin, Shasti Rainhell, whose cold perfection masks her dark past. Both are blackmailed by government spymaster, Mandela, into a suicidal mission to the doomed planet Enshar. Leading a team of scientists and soldiers, they must unravel the mystery of that planet’s death before an ancient force reaches out to claim their lives.



I’ve enjoyed a life-long love affair with science fiction. I write believable people in extraordinary situations, balancing romance, humor, adventure and reasonable extrapolations of science in stories that I believe people will want to return to. Whether it’s in the short stories of my “Lair of the Lesbian Love Goddess series” or in the Fenaday and Rainhell novels, classic “Planet” tales of a crews of unlikely companions facing unknown dangers, my intent is to give the reader the sort of page turning, involving adventure that Andre Norton wrote and leaven it with the emotional complexity and ambiguity that CJ Cherryh brings to the field.


While the experiences of the SF Universe are out of reach of those unable to pay for a rocket ride, I use my own background to try for an underlying verity in my characters. I’ve parachuted, flown in gliders, hang gliders and strapped to the floor of military helicopters. I’ve been rated as an expert shot and carry a black belt in the martial arts. I’ve been paralyzed by fear, exhilarated by love and walked into fights, both literal and metaphorical, that I knew I could not win. I have the good fortune to be married to the talented artist Schelly Keefer.



“What’s our status on ground troops?” he asked, adjusting his breather and zipping his leather jacket.  It was bitterly cold in the ship’s shadow.


“Pickings have been better than I expected,” she said, putting Johan out of her mind.  “With the war over, the economy lousy, there are lots of hard cases available: LURPS, Commandos, and Air Space Assault Team troops.  Mars seems full of people with little concern for life and hungry for money.” Shasti knew the type too well, having been raised from childhood as an assassin in the Denshi Order on Olympia.  She’d developed an eye for the good, for the ones putting up a front and for the plain crazy.  She made her picks, hoping she read people—standard humans as she thought of them—correctly.


Fenaday grimaced, “Great.  Well, the contractors showed up an hour ago and began the most extensive maintenance Sidhe’s ever received.  I’m glad Mandela’s footing the bill for it.  We’ll have shipwrights around the clock.  I’m having them pay particular attention our shuttles and fighters.”


Something tickled Shasti’s senses and she turned away from him.  In the distance, just coming around a machine shed, a group of people came into view.


Fenaday stepped forward to stand next to her, eyes narrowed.  “What’s that?”


“Must be Mandela’s contingent.  About fifty of them,” Shasti said.


“I wish I knew how you do that,” Fenaday muttered.


“Just rely on it that I can,” she replied.


The group passed the gate to Sidhe’s launch pad, led by another forgettable individual.


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Stay You & Happy Reading,


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