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Edition 4: Halo In The Sky by Gerry Huntman

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To raise his station, Nigel Taylor takes to the stars with the army. He returns a glorious hero, lauded by his countrymen. But will it win him the hand of the woman he loves or were his discoveries for naught? Many thanks to Gerry for donating this story, as we would love more steampunk, but we have not caught the attention of the market yet. SY

Three weeks following her return journey through the Alpha Centauri halo, the HMES Indomitable entered the Earth’s atmosphere. Slowly and precisely she exposed her antigravity coils, causing a reduction in the rate of her descent, allowing the ether ship to gracefully approach terra firma. The London-Berkshire region was covered in slate-grey rain clouds; the moisture gathered and glistened on the teakwood and brass finish of the giant ship in her approach for landing. Many of the Indomitable’s thick, glass portholes contained eager faces peering through them.

The giant conical ship silently descended towards the drenched green fields of the Sandhurst Military Etherdrome, her eight landing pads impressed upon the grass with a heavy thud. As the enormous weight of the ship settled on the pads, and the thick steel springs absorbed its enormous kinetic energy, the antigravity coils were fully covered with lead shielding, followed by the shutting down of power systems.

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