Author: K.S. Ferguson
Genre: Mystery / Thriller / Sci-Fi
Rafe McTavish, security expert and new CEO at interplanetary mega-corp EcoMech, and his undercover ally Kama Bhatia, hacker and corporate spy, continue their pursuit of a ruthless blackmailer in the sequel to Calculated Risk.
When Rafe’s arrival on EcoMech’s frontier colony world ruins their adversary’s plan for supremacy, events take a deadly turn. As tensions amongst the workers rise and unrest turns to violence, Rafe and Kama must race to unmask a killer before Rafe and his family fall victims to a murderous hostile takeover.
K S Ferguson has published three novels, Calculated Risk, Hostile Takeover, and Touching Madness, and one critically-acclaimed novella, Puncher’s Chance (co-written with James Grayson,) which appeared in the June 2006 edition of Analog Science Fiction and Fact, America’s longest-running science fiction magazine. She enjoys writing suspense and murder mysteries in futuristic and fantasy settings, and also writes fiction in the guise of technical manuals for unfinished software—otherwise known as help documentation.
K S Ferguson website: http://www.ksferguson.net
Hostile Takeover at Smashword link: http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/455719
Hostile Takeover at Amazon link: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00LLP9LTY
Kama’s gaze slid to the flyer’s side window, and then down. The breath caught in her throat. A thousand meters below, a blanket of dense smoke obscured the ground. Hidden beneath the smoke, flames driven by a stiff breeze consumed endless hectares of noxious garraweed, the dominant life form on EcoMech’s colony world, Harvest.
The heat of the updraft buffeted the flyer and jolted Kama against the passenger door. She tightened her seatbelt a notch and tucked her duffel firmly between her feet. Then she ordered herself to stop thinking about the raging inferno below. They were perfectly safe at this altitude.
She’d seen the garraweed up close when she’d arrived at Harvest’s shuttleport. An ocean of two-meter tall golden stalks crowded the runways and buildings. With each gust of wind, billowing clouds of red dust spewed from the crimson flowers at the apex of the waving growth. The swirling haze of spores painted a spectacular blood red sunrise over Harvest’s too-blue sky.
At the flyer’s controls, newly appointed EcoMech CEO Rafe McTavish tossed her an apologetic smile. “Sorry about the bumpy ride.”
“Scorched earth,” she said. “Typical corporate approach. Do the eco-protesters storming your Mumbai offices know about this?”
He cast her a cool look. “No, and I’d prefer to keep it that way.”
His tone was light, but Kama heard the fatigue—and the warning. He’d sacrificed piloting his own company to take the job at EcoMech, all so he could pursue Leon Goldman’s blackmailer undercover. He didn’t need more complications.
Something mechanical screeched. Then a belch of oily black smoke puffed from the flyer’s right front nacelle. The craft canted right and dropped two meters. The pitch of the fans in the other three nacelles increased, and the flyer corrected back to level.
“We lost a fan,” McTavish said in a patently ‘don’t panic’ voice. “We’ll be fine running on three engines.”
Kama released the death grip on her duffel strap, irked that he thought she needed reassurance—or that she didn’t understand the mechanics of a flyer. Give her three hours with an industrial grade replicator and she’d design and build a four-passenger flyer that would run rings around this crate.
The flyer bumped and jounced through the turbulent air over the fire. Kama gritted her teeth.
“This thing has worse aerodynamics than a pig.”
McTavish turned her way, and his blue eyes sparkled. “You’ve flown a pig?”
“In simulations,” she replied.
He grinned and waited. She shifted in her seat and wished she hadn’t said anything.
“It was a genetic engineering lesson meant to teach the limits of genome manipulation. The pig had to be flight capable while retaining its ability to produce high quality ham and bacon.”
His grin broadened. “And did you succeed in creating such an animal?”
“On how you define flight?” he guessed.
She crossed her arms over her chest. “No, on how you define ham. It’s simply appendage muscle infused with carcinogens. The source appendage shouldn’t matter.”