Skip to product information
1 of 5

G J Ogden Books

Centrum Incursion: Darkspace Renegade Book #6

Centrum Incursion: Darkspace Renegade Book #6

Regular price £4.00 GBP
Regular price £6.00 GBP Sale price £4.00 GBP
Sale Sold out

The stage is set for the final confrontation on the Centrum.

The resurgent Darkspace Renegades are poised and ready, but the Blackfire Squadron and an increasingly desperate Dexter Stone are determined to stop them at all costs.

Work is almost complete on a unique heavy fighter capable of assaulting the fortress-like Centrum, but the Darkspace Renegades are forced to make an urgent diversion. With Hallam Knight’s life on the line, the unexpected mission yields a surprise benefit.

Meanwhile Cad Rikkard and Alexis Black join forces with a former enemy and resume their hunt for the Darkspace Renegades. The unstable alliance affords the Blackfire Squadron control of a new, alien weapon that could turn the tide of the conflict in their favor.

But for an increasingly frustrated and troubled Cad Rikkard, revenge and proving himself to be superior to Hallam Knight are no longer his only concerns. Darker thoughts now invade his mind.

Forced to step up their attack plans, Hallam Knight, Dakota Wulfrun and Dr. Rand embark for the Centrum. But the Blackfire Squadron and Dexter Stone, along with his elite Vanguard Enforcers, are determined to stop them.

The final fight is about to begin and, as usual, nothing goes according to plan.

Experience this action-packed sci-fi series that will keep you turning the page until the final, thrilling conclusion. If you enjoy reluctant heroes, bad guys you’ll love to hate, and a story packed with power armor, big guns and the occasional sword, you’ll love this fast-moving space opera.

Read Chapter One

CHAPTER #1

Another dull thud reverberated through the deck of the armored tanker, forcing Hallam Knight to release his hold on the turret control system to steady himself.

“That’s the third damn mine in as many minutes!” Hallam yelled over to his partner and pilot Dakota Wulfrun. “These renegades have really got the bit between their teeth today!”

The exertion of maneuvering the cumbersome tanker had twisted Dakota’s face into a pained grimace, and it was several seconds before she had the breath to reply.

“At least I’m managing to avoid them,” Dakota eventually yelled back before a heavier thud pounded through the tanker's thick metal beams. Alarms sounded on her console and her face twisted into a grimace again, but this time, it was more out of awkwardness. “Apart from that one, sorry…” she added, more than a little sheepishly, before reaching across to one of her consoles to silence the squawk of the alarm.

“Don’t worry, Dak, it will take more than that to punch through this beast’s thick skin,” replied Hallam, spinning the virtualized gun turret around and blasting a barrage of flak at one of the two attacking Darkspace Renegade fighters.

Their duo of combat escorts from the Consortium Security Force (CSF) were doing their best to keep the renegades away from them, but the tanker had still taken a succession of direct hits.

“Speaking of which, I’m getting an armor depletion warning for the port-side aft quarter, section four through seven. Keep our starboard side facing their next attacks, if you can.”

Dakota nodded and cut power to the main engines before activating the thrusters to maneuver the less-damaged starboard side toward the direction of the renegades' next attack.

“This tanker may be tough, but it’s about as maneuverable as an asteroid,” complained Dakota as the tanker slowly responded to her commands.

Hallam smiled and released another burst of flak toward the closest renegade ship, scoring a hit. Fragments of the heavily-armored fighter broke off and disappeared into space. Within seconds, the debris had vanished out of sight, lost in the void between bridge worlds. This was the empty expanse of nothing that had become known as Darkspace. Hallam had always found the term amusing, since all space appeared just as dark to him, but the lack of any nearby stars or planets did make the emptiness seem more acute. He hated the Darkspace, but the frequent interjections from the renegade ships meant he ended up stranded in the literal middle of nowhere on a weekly basis.

Hallam fired another burst, more to let the fighter know he was still watching than in a genuine effort to destroy it. He had no compunctions about taking down the renegades if necessary, but preferred to avoid a kill shot if he could. Hallam then watched as the smaller ship took another hit and quickly turned tail. A few moments later, the hypnotic crimson pulse of its Shelby Drive system throbbed into life, and the fighter vanished back into bridge space. The bright flare of blood-red light as the ship bridged imprinted the fighter onto Hallam’s retina, like the after-image of a camera flash that you accidentally looked directly at.

“I tagged one of them and it’s turned tail,” said Hallam, keeping his partner informed.

Dakota whooped with appreciation, then Hallam watched as she kissed the tips of her fingers and patted the head of a red woolen teddy bear mounted on her center console. It was a silly tradition and superstition that Hallam couldn’t help but find charming and endearing in equal measure.

“Thanks, Bob!” Dakota called out, returning her hands to the controls.

Hallam smiled. “You know, I’m pretty sure it's my gunnery skills, rather than Bob’s mystical power of fortune, that you need to be thanking…”

“Go on, say it!” Dakota called back, grinning. “It’s bad luck if you don’t…”

Hallam rolled his eyes and relented, “Fine… thanks, Bob!” he called out, aiming the commendation at the slightly ragged-looking red bear.

Dakota then patted the toy again before making further adjustments with the thrusters to keep their less-damaged side facing the remaining renegade. A series a sharp metallic pings, like ball bearings being dropped on a steel plate, permeated the cockpit space, and Hallam saw the damage panel light up with a dozen spots of red.

“That last renegade isn’t giving up easily,” said Hallam, noting that the damage was again contained by their thick armor. “It looks like it’s going for the main engines, though, so if you’re happy to coast for a while, I’d close them up.”

“Roger that,” replied Dakota cheerfully. “Engaging ‘turtle mode’ now…”

There was a powerful mechanical whirr as thick metal shielding wound out from the aft section of the ship before a hefty thump signified that their engines had been enclosed in heavy metal.

“I wish you wouldn’t call it ‘turtle mode.’ It sounds somehow a little disgusting,” said Hallam, releasing another barrage of flak toward the renegade ship, which was now heading away.

“That’s just your warped mind, Hal,” replied Dakota.

The augmented view panel at the front of the cockpit then suddenly lit up, bathing Hallam in an intense orange light as one of the fighter craft exploded into a blazing inferno. A second later, the hull of the armored tanker was peppered with the fast-moving remains of the stricken ship.

“Who was that?” asked Dak breathlessly. “Was that the other renegade or one of ours?”

“It was one of ours,” answered Hallam darkly, spotting that the transponder ID of their second escort had vanished from his panel. Then he noticed that Dakota looked almost relieved at this news. “Are you happy about us losing an escort or something?” he added, wondering what had promoted her curious reaction.

“Of course not,” she snapped, looking and sounding affronted. Then she paused to collect her thoughts before adding, “But don’t forget that these renegades are fanatics. I don’t want to be their target of choice for a revenge attack, is all.”

Hallam turned back to his augmented target view, but the remaining renegade and Consortium escort were still locked in battle, beyond his range. He released his grip on the turret controls, allowing the blood to flow back into his milk-white knuckles.

“I hadn’t really thought about it like that,” he admitted, letting the chair take the weight of his body. “But I guess you’re right. The Consortium are sure going to be pissed at losing one of their fighters, though.”

Dakota huffed a derisory laugh. “They’re more likely to mourn the loss of a precious Shelby Drive,” she replied bitterly.

“Don’t speak ill of your employer…” teased Hallam, though in truth, he agreed with Dakota’s sentiment completely.

The Consortium was the epitome of capitalist greed, rising to power through ruthless single-mindedness and total market dominance in more sectors than Hallam could remember. Dakota shot Hallam a dirty look in response, but then the remaining renegade fighter broke off and accelerated back toward them. Hallam sat bolt upright, feeling his pulse race.

“Damn it, this renegade just doesn’t know when to quit,” Hallam said, turning the tanker’s flak turrets toward the approaching vessel. “I’ll create a perimeter; if this fanatic wants to fly through it and turn itself to confetti, then so be it,” he added, programming the weapon system for a wide burst, set to detonate after one hundred meters. He squeezed the trigger and the flak cannons fired, turning the serene darkness into a mosaic of flying metal fragments.

“That certainly changed their mind,” commented Dakota brightly as the renegade ship spun on its axis and lit up its main engine, burning hard away from the barrage of flak.

Hallam saw the tell-tale pulse of crimson lights racing up and down the fighter’s wings before the ship disappeared in a flash of red light. With it, the Darkspace interjector signal vanished, and the tanker’s Shelby Drive began to spool back online.

Dakota whooped again before flipping the bird at the augmented view screen. “Suck it, renegade!” she shouted with gusto.

Hallam smiled, but then an alarm shrieked and his panel lit up with a red border.

“Torpedo!” he shouted, grasping the turret controls and scanning the area around where the fighter entered into bridge space. “It must have launched it just before jumping back onto the bridge!”

“I see it, bearing three, two, six, mark zero, two seven!” Dakota yelled. “Closing fast!”

Hallam spun the turret to match the bearing Dakota had called out; he hadn’t spotted the incoming torpedo yet but trusted Dakota implicitly. They’d only flown together for a few months, but in that time, they’d developed a quick rapport and trust.

“Firing!” shouted Hallam, unleashing the full force of the flak turrets toward where he hoped the torpedo was. The space ahead of them became clouded with fragments of metal, then Hallam saw it, arcing beneath the barrier. “Damn it, that fighter boomeranged us!” he shouted, turning the turret toward the torpedo and firing on gut instinct alone.

The dull, repetitive whomp of the turrets firing filled the cockpit, then the torpedo detonated amidst the hazy cloud of metal and smoke. More alarms wailed as the armored tanker was peppered with jagged chunks of metal from the torpedo’s fragmentation warhead. Hallam recognized the sound of an explosive decompression somewhere inside the ship and frantically scrolled through the damage readout.

“Hull breach, starboard fore-quarter,” Hallam called out before waiting with bated breath for the red indicator to turn green.

Come on! he urged, willing the light to change color. At that moment, he would have kissed Bob the bear on the lips if it would have helped. Then the light suddenly blinked and turned green, and Hallam flung himself back, releasing the breath he realized he’d been holding for the last few seconds.

“It’s okay, the safeties kicked in, breach sealed. We’re okay…”

“The armor soaked up the rest,” Hallam heard Dakota call back as he rested his head against the padded seat with his eyes closed. “We’ll look a damn mess, but it’s all easily replaced. We might need a night stopover at the Centrum while they sort that hull breach, though.”
Hallam sighed and opened his eyes again. “Great, a night cooped up on that fortress with the Consortium’s heavies breathing down our necks.”

The Centrum was the largest space installation ever built by human hands, but eighty percent of it was off limits to the select few visitors that were allowed to board. Hallam couldn’t blame them for being careful; without the Centrum, there would be no Randenite, and all twelve bridge worlds would suddenly have to become entirely self-sufficient. Earth would suffer even more greatly, having grown reliant on the resources supplied by these other planets, through the network of bridges.

“It could be worse,” replied Dakota, shrugging, “It does have probably the best bar, outside of Feronia.”

Hallam made a noise that sounded like someone gagging on a piece of rotten fruit.

“I can’t believe you like that awful leisure planet; I can barely take it for a couple of hours before I get a headache.”

Dakota laughed before retracting the shields around their main engines and setting them back on course to align with the bridge.

“Your headaches are just because I land so many punches to your baby-soft cheeks,” she said, winking at Hallam.

Hallam snorted again. “You wish!” he replied, genuinely affronted. “But if you want to try, then the Centrum does have a pretty good gym, and it’s been a few days since I last beat your ass.”

“You’re on,” replied Dakota before the radio light flashed on. “Looks like our combat escort is getting impatient,” she added before answering the hail.

“Tanker Romeo Sierra One Three, this is escort Agile One. Are you able to continue to the Centrum?” came the no-nonsense voice of the anonymous Consortium combat escort pilot.

“Roger that, Agile One. We’re just getting into position, then we’ll be underway,” Dakota answered with her usual jaunty tone. “Synchronize with our bridge countdown, over.”

“Understood, Tanker One Three. Agile One over and out,” came the stiff reply before the radio clicked off.

“Chatty bunch, aren’t they?” said Hallam with a wry smirk.

Dakota aligned the huge, armored tanker with the invisible bridge and set the countdown timer to three minutes.

“I’m not complaining; most of them are just as dull in person,” she said, returning a wry smile of her own. “I can’t believe you signed up to be one of the Consortium’s crack escort pilots. You have at least some semblance of a personality…”

“Nice…” replied Hallam, scowling at her. Dakota knew that Hallam’s dishonorable discharge from the CSF was a sore subject, but she frequently brought it up to irk him. This was mainly because Hallam had refused to tell her the story of how he had ended up being kicked out, three months after graduating as a pilot officer. “Just for that, I’m not going to pull my punches when we spar this time.”

Dakota laughed and threw her head back, suddenly snapping it forward again and clicking her fingers excitedly.

“Damn it, I’ve just figured out how that renegade managed to get a torpedo off without us noticing.”

Hallam sat upright and shifted his body toward her. “How? Is it some kind of new weapon?”

Dakota shook her head. “No, I forgot to kiss Bob after the second renegade bugged out. If I had done so, that torp would have flown well wide.”

Hallam smiled and shook his head. “I honestly can’t tell if you’re joking or being serious,” he said truthfully.

The pulse of the tanker’s Shelby Drive started to climb and Hallam saw the countdown reach sixty seconds.

“We’re about to bridge after taking some pretty heavy damage,” Dakota went on, looking at Hallam with wide, playful eyes. “Are you sure you don’t want to kiss Bob for good luck?”

“No,” snorted Hallam, shooting her a disgusted look. “It’s just superstitious nonsense.” Then he realized that Dakota hadn’t done it either, and he shifted uncomfortably in his seat. “Aren’t you going to do it, though?”

Dakota waved a hand at him dismissively. “Nah, you’re probably right,” she said breezily. “Superstitious nonsense…”

Hallam glanced at the timer and saw it had reached thirty seconds, then glanced back at Dakota, who still hadn’t moved. He cursed under his breath and bolted out of his seat toward her console before hurriedly kissing his fingers and slapping them on top of Bob the bear’s woolen head. Dakota burst out laughing and clapped.

“I knew it!” she said as Hallam skulked back to his seat.

“Not a damn word!” Hallam shot back, although he couldn’t help but allow a smile to curl his lips too.

Then the pulse of the Shelby Drive reached its crescendo, and the blackness outside was replaced by the swirling red borders of bridge space.

//end of chapter

Buy the series to keep reading!

Read the synopsis

#1 Bestseller in Alien Invasion Science Fiction on Amazon.

Darkspace Renegade is a fast-paced space opera adventure for fans of Battlestar Galactica and The Expanse that grips you from the first word and never lets go. If you enjoy reluctant heroes, bad guys you’ll love to hate, and a story packed with power armor, big guns and the occasional sword, you’ll love it.

"From beginning to end, non-stop action! It immerses you into space and the battles to save humanity from ancient alien technology. Read and live out worlds beyond the imagination!"
★★★★★
-Kerry S

Humanity depends on the star bridges. Hallam Knight must tear them down.

Hallam Knight is a Bridge Runner, one of the few people brave and stupid enough to crew armored tankers that travel between the Bridge Worlds and the Centrum, the galaxy’s only source of Randenite fuel.

As the galaxy’s rarest and most valuable commodity, Randenite maintains the interstellar network that supports billions of lives across a dozen worlds.

Without it, civilization crumbles.

Then when a bar brawl with infamous mercenaries, the Blackfire Squadron, almost costs him his life, Hallam is placed at the mercy of the Darkspace Renegades and their mysterious leader.

The Darkspace Renegades are anarchists and outlaws committed to destroying the bridge network. Or so Hallam thought.

Now, he knows a terrible secret, one that forces him to make an impossible choice.

To save humanity, the bridge network must fall.

To save humanity, Hallam Knight must become a Darkspace Renegade.

View full details

Please note that the below customer reviews are from direct purchases from this website and do not include the 2,100+ Amazon and Goodreads 5-star ratings. View a selection of those here.

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
0%
(0)
0%
(0)
0%
(0)
0%
(0)
0%
(0)