So, many, many years ago, I had this idea for a story where my character, Mega, would be whisked offworld to fight in an alien arena. This image has been in my head for all that time.
As I've conceived the story that goes with this cover, and the ones to follow, Mega has suffered a major blow to his confidence. A month ago, he was beaten bloody for the first time in his life. He had always thought he was indestructible. He thought he was stronger than anyone. He was wrong. Kodiak was stronger.
His body had healed, but his spirit...that will take some doing.
The Guardians are sponsored by Century Aerospace Technologies, a Texas aerospace company run by Marcus Lamar Denham, also known as the armored hero Centurion. Denham and fellow Guardian, Corona, have been working on a new type of engine, a reactionless drive based on the technology of Corona's people, the Eld. The ultimate purpose is to equip Earth to resist the inevitable invasion from Corona's enemies. This new engine is built using native technologies, on Elden principles and scientific knowledge.
Mega is the test pilot. The plan is to take off, orbit the Earth a couple of times in low orbit and return. And, the first part goes without a hitch. Once in orbit, the ship's drive energies are detected by a cloaked Drao ship in high orbit. The Drao, the ancient enemies of the Eld, have been watching...waiting.
And, when a ship bearing an Eld energy signature pops up out of Earth's atmosphere, the trap is sprung. A transportal is opened in the ship's path and it vanishes from all knowledge.
37,000 light-years away, the transportal opens and Mega's little Dart pops out in orbit over a large, gray planet. The limited flight instruments available in the Dart give Mega scant information about the planet below. Larger than Earth, with 50% higher gravity, a dense, but breathable atmosphere. An alarm begins flashing on the control panel, something has triggered a warning from the Eld flight computer, causing the Dart to accelerate and maneuver away from the planet. Ravek! Ravek! it repeats. At that point, the proximity alarm sounds and the Dart is swallowed by a giant cruiser in orbit around Ravek, the Drao homeworld, seat of the Truhl empire.
When the little ship is examined and a "mere" human is found inside, the cruiser's commander is....disappointed. Paul Joseph Chandler, Mega, is dumped into the ship's brig, along with a collection of captives destined for the Imperial Arena.