INTRODUCTIONWhen the evil emperor of Saltland enslaves the worlds surrounding his home planet, Captain Winston and his crew, eager to defend the innocent, depart from planet Gemma and risk a dangerous solar sail through space the Sea of Markoff - where time is dilated and murderous Saltland shape-shifting spies and female assassins await. The precious crystal cargo aboard the Captain’s ship must be protected at all costs.
Captain Charles Winston’s earliest memories included sailing the open waters with his father, Sir Admiral Winston Sr., on planet Gemma’s Grand Ocean, where the rugged Admiral voyaged more times than he cared to count. He liked to bring his son Charles with him now and again. The two Winston’s stood side by side just outside the ship’s wheelhouse on the quarterdeck. “Right rudder, 10 degrees. Steady on course 275 degrees,” the Admiral bellowed, as his helm orders reached the coxswain. He hoisted five-year-old Charles up towards the blusterous sky with two gritty hands as thick as old baseball mitts and placed him down gently, on a damp wooden surface next to the wheel on the bridge.
Waves taller than the Admiral’s vessel pounded the hull. With each blow, the old admiral’s voice rang out louder, until he drowned out the thunderous slapping of white water on steel. His crew, comforted by his voice and courage, turned to one another, nodded in understanding, and joined their leader in a chorus of “Whiskey Johnny.” The heroic Admiral held the wheel steady in his powerful left hand, while he anchored his son by the trouser belt with his right and winked at his son before continuing in song: “Oh, Whiskey is the life of man. Whiskey Johnny. Oh, I’ll get Whiskey where I can. Whiskey for my Johnny” “Oh, Whiskey here and whiskey there. Whiskey Johnny. Oh, I’ll get whiskey everywhere.”
Young Charles grew into Captain Charles Winston and went on to pilot ships in space. Before his father’s passing the two men often discussed strategies that could put an end to conflagrations in the Gemma quadrant and well beyond into the Sea of Markoff. “Saltland doesn’t follow the ancient Geneva protocols, Father, and someone must act.” “I agree,” confirmed the Admiral as he continued, “The Saltlanders are evil and aggressive warmongers. It’s in Maleficum’s nature to kill and someone has to stop him before millions more die.”
Standing in front of a mirror, the Captain looked at his own image and shook his head. “I wish you were here to help me make these enormous decisions Father,” he said aloud to himself. He imagined the Admiral’s booming voice replying, “If you firmly believe in the power of these crystals, then make the journey, and Godspeed!”