Ascension by N.J. TangerGenre: Science Fiction
Halfway between Earth and a distant colony planet, the Chimera’s navigator dies in mysterious circumstances. The artificial intelligence that makes faster-than-light travel possible rejects all her backup navigators, including Navigator’s Assistant Ashley Samuelson. Something has corrupted the ship’s intelligence, and unless Samuelson can figure out what, all 40,000 colonists and crew aboard the ship will die.
The Chimera personally tasks NA Samuelson with locating a new navigator by testing every person on the ship, but the testing criteria don’t seem to make sense and time is short. Working with his talented girlfriend Amaya, Samuelson does as the Chimera asks, while also trying to find the source of the fault in her system that caused her to reject her backup navigators.
With the ship in limbo, social order begins to break down and anarchy ensues. The corporate interests who paid for the journey institute martial law to preserve order, adding a new layer to the atmosphere of distrust and misinformation. As Samuelson and Amaya close in on answers about what happened to their ship and navigator, a brutal coup d’état erupts, engulfing the ship in chaos.
Working against the new, self-appointed captain of ship, Samuelson and Amaya discover a dark presence at work on the ship, one intimately connected to Samuelson’s past. Only by overcoming his personal demons can he save the Chimera, and in turn, the woman he loves and their unborn child—if he doesn’t lose his sanity, and all hope for the Chimera, in the process.