Book Excerpt from First Admiral

February 19, 2014 at 10:34 am 1 comment


Space Opera is one of my dirty little secrets. I  absolutely love the genre. So when I got an email about hosting “First Admiral”, I couldn’t say no. Here’s an excerpt – hope you like it!

Book Excerpt

Dejectedly, Billy Caudwell started the long slow walk home to explain to his mother the torn uniform and scars he had acquired at school that day. Lifting a nearby stick, he began to slash the stick through the swaying grass on the side of the hill as the shadows of the day lengthened. Imagining himself as some great avenging hero, he slashed down the grassy enemy as he stamped his way triumphantly down to the roadside. On reaching the roadside his mood changed. Feeling very anxious about what awaited him Billy began to drag his heels as if he could somehow postpone the inevitable. Absent-mindedly, he dragged his weary and pained body in the direction of home. He was so engrossed in his own misfortunes that he did not notice the roar of the small sports car engine until the driver shouted over to him.

 “Excuse me son,” the polite voice said from behind him.

Startled, Billy turned to see a small British Racing Green open-topped sports car. Billy recognised the type of car right away; his father had once worked on one of these for a friend of his as a favour. The sports car was being driven by a smiling, smart, young man with dark hair.

 “Is this the right way to Dunryan?” the well-dressed young man, James Dinwoodie, asked him.

It took Billy a few moments to realise that the young man was asking directions to the R.A.F. base that was about five kilometres out of town. Eager to help, Billy walked briskly over to the vehicle.

 “Where did you say you wanted to go, Mister?” Billy said eagerly, his eyes greedily and enviously devouring the sleek lines of the sports car.

 “Dunryan,” the intelligent, stylish youthful man replied, “is this the right road?”

 “Oh, wow, are you a pilot, Mister?” Billy asked excitedly spotting the blue R.A.F. tunic, complete with wings above the left breast pocket, laid out on the passenger seat next to him.

 “Yes son, that’s why I’m looking for Dunryan,” the dapper young man replied patiently with a smile.

James Dinwoodie had experienced the same eagerness and awe at the R.A.F. pilots he had met when he was a boy. He well understood that it might take a few minutes to get anything coherent from this excitable red-haired youngster.

 “Do you fly the new jets?” Billy questioned wide-eyed with excitement.

 “Well, I will, provided I get to Dunryan on time,” Dinwoodie pressed for the information he required.

“Oh, sorry Mister,” Billy began to grasp reality “you need to go….” Billy pointed in the direction behind the vehicle and began to explain.

Unfortunately, Billy Caudwell never had the chance to tell the young R.A.F. Officer just where the Dunryan base was located. As he was about to impart the important information, the world disappeared into a bright blinding white light and a loud roaring whoosh. The next thing Billy knew he was in a sparsely furnished grey metal room with a strange creature staring at him.

 “Aaaaargh!!!” shrieked Billy, falling in an ungainly heap, with wide-eyed terror, onto his backside.

His mind stricken with sheer naked terror, he shuffled and scampered rapidly backwards. In his panic stricken flight his shoes scuffed, squeaked and slipped on the metal floor until he was jammed up against a cold metal wall.

 “No!!  It can’t be!” the strange creature howled, knowing that she had miscalculated almost at the moment that the young human and the red amorphous mass, the mortal remains of James Dinwoodie, had appeared.

The adolescent human had been too close to the teleport beam, and she had only calculated for one of them.

 “No!” yelled Samarasa again, kicking the Central Control Column weakly with impotent rage.

The whole thing had gone horribly wrong. The entire mission and all of her efforts had been wasted. She felt the anger, frustration and disappointment seethe through her body like a river in torrential flood. In her fury, she lashed out, with some venom, at what remained of Flight Lieutenant James Ian Dinwoodie; which shuddered grotesquely under the savage blow.

After a few moments of self-chastisement she realised she would have to cover her tracks, and swung into action. Billy Caudwell huddled into a metallic corner and cringing with fear frightened he would wet himself, looked for an escape. His instinct told him that escape was unlikely, and his mind began to calm down from the sheer naked panic of the abduction. His intuition told him to do something or he would find himself dead in the next few minutes. From years of placating bullies, Billy dragged up the first thing that came to his petrified mind to disarm the situation and make contact with this strange creature.

 “Does everyone in your country speak English, comrade?” he asked timidly, knowing that this was probably a life or death gambit for him.

The idea of an alien in an alien craft, despite the popularity of science fiction shows on television, was still too incredible for his mind to contemplate. To Billy Caudwell’s imagination the much easier explanation was that this creature was a Russian sent to spy on his country.

 “What!?” the creature in the blue overall with the yellow and green blotchy skin with jet black hair had snarled absent-mindedly, and, strangely, breathlessly to him.

To Billy, she continued working without turning away from whatever foreign fiendishness she was up to. At the same instant the red mass that was James Dinwoodie disappeared in another flash of blinding white light. On the large screen in front of the alien, the car belonging to the young officer was struck by a yellow bolt of light.  It then promptly exploded in a great yellow-flamed, black, petrol-fuelled roiling and smoking fury.

Still outraged with herself at her own stupidity and carelessness Tega Samarasa had not grasped fully what the young human had said to her. With her mind totally fixed on sorting out the mess, she had teleported the remains of the young officer, who was her original target, back to his vehicle and had then destroyed it with a pulsar-cannon bolt. It was only then that she grasped the significance of what the young human had said.

 “What did you say, pink-skin?” she rasped turning to him and shoving her yellow and green blotched face up close to his.

Cringing away, mainly from the awful smell and terrifyingly alien face, fearing his last hour had come, Billy had tried to shield himself with his arms.

 “I asked if everyone in your country spoke English,” he responded softly from behind his last line of defence.

He hoped against hope that this creature would not send him the same way as the red mass, to a burning, smoking death

 “What makes you think we would all want to speak your silly language?” Samarasa probed, a wild idea beginning to formulate in the back of her mind.

 “Well, don’t you have your own language in your country, comrade?” he asked, “It’s not like it’s the movies or anything like that, is it, where everyone and everything in the entire universe speaks English?” Billy responded, praying that he had given the right answer.

This young pink-skin is quite intelligent, and it can make some very complex deductions, almost like an adult, Samarasa thought to herself. She stared long and hard at the chubby, red-haired human she was just about to kill out of hand for ruining her complex, well-laid abduction plan. Maybe, she thought to herself, the mission is not a complete waste. Maybe, she mused, I can salvage something out of this awful disaster.

 “I take it you have a name, pink-skin?” she asked calmly.

 “Billy,” he responded swallowing nervously “Billy Caudwell, Miss,” adding the honorific after a short pause.

He had gotten her attention, he considered, and began to feel just a little bit safer. He knew he was still not out of danger and would have to proceed very carefully indeed.

Well, well, thought Tega Samarasa, smiling and starting to feel the fatigue of her exertions, he also knows a little bit about ingratiating and manipulating people. Maybe there is some useful material here after all, she contemplated. Looking at her options, Samarasa noted to herself that she was certainly not fit enough to track down another suitable military adult. Her limited time left was leaving her with the options of either aborting the entire mission or making the best of what Fate had thrown to her.

 “How old are you, pink-skin?” Samarasa wheezed brusquely.

 “I’m fourteen years old, Miss,” Billy responded slightly more confidently, tentatively letting his arms fall, but still on the lookout for a potential escape route.

“Well then, fourteen years old Billy Caudwell, my name is Tega Digima Samarasa, I am not from one of your puny Earth countries. I come from a planet called Garmauria. I am an officer in the Garmaurian Fleet,” Samarasa said softening her voice.

Billy said nothing, still unsure how to respond to this new approach from the strange creature.

 “I am here on a mission to save the universe,” she wheezed, “and I have chosen you to help me with this mission.”

“Wh….wh….why me ?” stammered an astonished and petrified Billy Caudwell, still not entirely sure he would survive the next hour.

 “Because you are young and intelligent; and, because if you do not help me, then I will have to kill you,” Samarasa gasped icily, “So, you really don’t have a choice.”

 “Maybe I’ll report you to the police, have you arrested and put in prison,” Billy blustered, starting to feel much safer.

 “Really, pink-skin?” Samarasa responded calmly, “How exactly will your Police Guardians rescue you from a spacecraft several hundred kilometres above your pathetic little planet’s atmosphere?” she indicated the View Screen which showed the clearest image of the Earth Billy had ever seen.

Open mouthed, he stared for a few moments at the image, and tried to get his mind to process what was going on in any reasonable manner. He failed. However, his survival instinct was strong enough for him to understand that if this was some strange alien fiend intent on destroying Earth, then it would have no qualms about killing him.

 “Well, what’s to stop you killing me anyway?” Billy responded somewhat astonished at the calmness in his own voice, still crouched nervously in his corner.

 “Well, young pink-skin, you’re not short of courage either. But, you’ll just have to trust me, won’t you?” Samarasa wheezed, “Come with me,” she added moving towards the Control Column.

Cautiously, Billy stood up and followed her warily to the metal island in the grey metal room.

 “Hold this a moment,” Samarasa instructed, turning and handing Billy a metal cylinder.

It had taken a fraction of a second for Samarasa to implant the Mind Profile of the First Admiral into the young human’s brain. To Billy, it felt like an electric shock jolting up his arm into his brain for just a fraction of a second. It happened so quickly that he did not have the time to protest or even respond by dropping the small metal cylinder. With a mixture of astonishment and outrage he stood holding the metal cylinder, which was swiftly recovered by the alien.

 “Well, there you go. Still alive young pink-skin?” she asked quietly, watching carefully the effects of the device on the young human.

The last thing she needed now was for the young human to keel over and die, after she had implanted the Mind Profile of Teg Portan into him. Though she still had another copy of the Mind Profile, she was unsure she would have time to use it.

Billy, still rooted to the spot with astonishment at the attack he just sustained, had a strange feeling of being very different. For a few moments he felt dizzy and quite sick, however, it passed leaving him with a feeling of calmness and confidence. Looking around the room he began to recognise things, and their functions, that he had never seen before in his young life. He already knew that this alien was a Garmaurian, yet now he knew where Garmauria was. He also seemed to know the history of Garmauria, and strange powerful space craft he had never set eyes upon. He had memories of space battles in places he had never dreamt of, with creatures his mind could not conceive of.

 “There’s something you need to see now, pink-skin,” Samarasa broke his reverie drawing his attention to a viewing platform and passing her hand over the control plate.

Billy Caudwell’s real education was about to begin, and his life would never be the same again.

About the Book

Book 1 First AdmiralIt’s not easy being an ordinary teenager leading a hazardous and exciting double life.

The Garmaurians, the most advanced species in the universe, wiped themselves out with a bio-weapon in a senseless civil war. And, in a desperate attempt to protect the secret of the potentially dangerous Trion technology – the ability to manipulate the fundamental particle of the universe – their leader sends one last covert mission to Earth. The mission goes horribly wrong, leaving Billy Caudwell; an overweight, acne-scarred 14 year old, with the Mind Profile of a military genius, a huge battle fleet and a mission to unite the intelligent species of the universe in a Universal Alliance.

With people to rescue, space fleets to battle and villains to defeat, Billy has to overcome his own inhibitions, insecurities and a vicious bully before he can start saving the universe.

Welcome, dear readers, to the exciting universe of First Admiral. – Over 3,000 copies sold.

Author Bio

 The author, William J.Benning was born in Dumfries (south west Scotland) in 1963. With his 50th birthday fast approaching, Benning has decided to grow old disgracefully. An intensely private individual, Benning recently returned to his home town seeking inspiration for his passion of creative writing. At age 18, Benning left home to take an Honours Degree in Psychology at Strathclyde University in Glasgow. He has some very fond memories, and many nights of vague recollection – which are, on the whole, probably best forgotten (!) – from his student days. After graduating, Benning had a career “false start” moving into the world of Pest Control Management. However, after several unhappy years, he switched tack and took further qualifications in Personnel Management, carving out a successful and enjoyable career in Human Resources as well as Learning & Development. Throughout his career, Benning has worked to support the activities of the British Red Cross.

From his early days as a First Aid Volunteer, he enjoyed working for the organisation which gave him further skills and built his self-confidence. Progressing within British Red Cross, Benning became a First Aid Instructor (Trainer), Assessor and Lecturer plus becoming invoved in training other Trainers and Assessors. Having returned to Dumfries to further his writing career, Benning now lives alone, but has been adopted by four members of the Canine Community. With four dogs in his life – and a newly arrived litter of Tibetan Terrier pups – plus a newly published novel, life is never going to be dull for Benning. William likes his sci-fi, but is also keen on military history and speculative fiction. Among his fiction favourites are Harry Turtledove, the late George MacDonald Fraser, Bernard Cornwell and Clive Cussler. William collects Edinburgh Crystal and has a terrible weakness for malt whisky. He has published his novel First Admiral with Malachite Quills in 2012.


Buy your own copy of the First Admiral series here:


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