Lieutenant Jodenny Scott is a hero. She has the medals and the scars to prove it. She's cooling her heels on Kookaburra, recovering from injuries sustained during the fiery loss of her last ship, the "Yangtze, " and she's bored -- so bored, in fact, that she takes a berth on the next ship out. That's a mistake. The "Aral Sea"""isn't anyone's idea of a get-well tour. Jodenny 's handed a division full of misfits, incompetents, and criminals. She's a squared-away officer. She thinks she can handle it all. She's wrong. "Aral Sea"""isn't a happy ship. And it's about to get a lot unhappier. As "Aral Sea" enters the Alcheringa -- the alien-constructed space warp that allows giant settler-ships to travel between worlds, away from all help or hope -- Jodenny comes face to face with something powerful enough to dwarf even the unknown force that destroyed her last ship and left her with missing memories and bloody nightmares. Lieutenant Jodenny Scott is about to be introduced to love. Author Sandra McDonald brings her personal knowledge of the military, and of the subtle interplay between men and women on deployment, to a stirring tale that mixes ancient Australian folklore with the colonization of the stars.
Sandra McDonald has been a Hollywood assistant, a software instructor, a bureaucrat, and an officer in the United States Navy. Her short fiction has appeared in "Realms of Fantasy, Strange Horizons, " and elsewhere. She lives in Jacksonville, Florida.