Terik Donato has lost his place in the universe. Casting aside a promising career, years spent in fleeting pursuit of truth has left him with nothing. But an ill-timed visit to the Sacramento, a space vessel well past her prime, could change everything for the former Mako-6 agent. Terik’s arrival vexes many on board, including Captain Garett Soness, but when both a terrorist attack and a bizarre anomaly catch the skeleton crew off guard, all onboard must band together.
Soon the surviving crew members of the Sacramento find themselves halfway across the galaxy, stranded on a planet where humans are not as alien as the crew would think. Their stay may be brief, as a brutal species seeks to enslave all in its path and kill all that resist. Terik Donato and Garett Soness will find themselves tested in the face of death, forced to become either the men they were meant to be, or the monsters they always feared they were.
Survival takes its toll in this first volume of The Dawn Cluster.
Targeted Age Group:: 18-55
What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
I have wanted to be a storyteller since grade school. The stories that had the most impact on me were always serialized, epic tales that took multiple books, issues, episodes or movies to tell. Only work of that length seemed viable enough to chronicle both the complex journeys of multiple characters as well as sweeping sagas that reshaped the universe the story took place. Detriment is the first installment in my own saga, one that I could only hope measures up in some small way to those that inspired me.
How is writing Science Fiction different from other genres?
Writing sci-fi removes the shackles of perception. You can tell ambitious and deep stories without coming across as too cerebral or preachy to the audience while at the same time you actually are in fact sharing profound social topics with them through a lens of fantasy and science. It is the best genre to educate via entertainment.
How Did You Come up With Your Characters?
I have always been prone to engage with stories told from the perspective of the damaged, lone wolf who has turned his back on everyone because of trauma. Ian Fleming’s James Bond, Marvel Comic’s Wolverine and Lethal Weapon’s Riggs led me to Terik Donato, a man conflicted between ethics and ego. Jonus Kaynic was the Terik who ignored his moral compass and Garett Soness was the Terik who ignored his emotions. All of their backstory gave me the emotional locomotive to propel them into the middle of this galactic disaster.
“REMOTELY TRIGGERING the timers, Kaynic ran into the facility as the explosives he rigged to the Lubican shuttles ignited. He turned the corner to face a scientist running towards him with a rifle. Before he could raise his weapon, Kaynic shot off three blasts, sending the scientist to the ground. His would be assailant motionless, Kaynic looked down at his ID badge.
Patrick Beetary. Damned traitor.
Kaynic’s headset crackled. “Kaynic, it’s Terik.”
“Where have you been, young man?” Kaynic asked, raising the pitch of his voice. “You didn’t call! I’ve been worried sick this whole time.”
“Had a situation in the Dyson Lab. Scraints’ been taken hostage,” The background noise was drowning out Terik. “Get out of here and stall the drop pod.”
“If I can find my way back out again…” Kaynic confessed.
“One other thing, our informant should be coming your way. Name’s Patrick. Get him to the exfil.”
Kaynic glanced down at Patrick’s lifeless corpse and winced. “Shit.”
“Yep, keep an eye out for Beetary. Check.”
About the Author:
Community leader. Particle physicist. International Assassin. Mark J Schultis is none of these. He wrote his first story in elementary school and has spent a lifetime keeping that childhood passion of storytelling alive, studying theatre and filmmaking before eventually earning his writing degree from the University of Pittsburgh. A perpetual night owl and pizza connoisseur, Mark was born and raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania where he lives with his wife and their two children.