Today I’m hosting a blog hop for Patrick Stutzman, whose new novel, Alone in Paradise, will be released September 15. His characters are being interviewed under somewhat unusual circumstances. He’ll be giving away an e-version of the book to one lucky commenter, so comment away!

Alone in Paradise cover“Anna,” called Kate, a woman with brown hair wearing a white shirt and blue jeans standing on the other side of the inner airlock door. “You have a visitor.” Her voice had a distinct British accent.

“What?!” cried another woman’s voice from somewhere behind the airlock.

As a blonde woman wearing olive-colored cargo pants and a white dress shirt about three sizes too big ran into view, she turned with an eager expression on her face that quickly changed to curiosity.

“A drone? How did it get here?”

“I don’t know,” Kate replied. “But, it’s a messenger drone.”

“Well,” sighed Anna. “Let it in.”

The small drone floated to the middle of the room, hesitated for a second, and produced a holographic screen about a quarter of a meter in front of it.

Anna walked up to it and read the text on the display. She furrowed her brow and stated, “It’s a questionnaire of some sort. An interview. Somebody’s curious about us. Let’s see what it has to say.”

1.     How did you get into this mess?

Anna chuckled, “How did I get into this mess?!

“I got into this mess by trying to save my own skin,” she resumed with a more serious tone. “After defending myself against the corporate enforcer my employer sent after me, I discovered that he had set the space station where I had lived for over six years to self-destruct. Since my skiff was destroyed earlier to buy me some time, I had to resort to taking his ship to escape. I barely managed to escape the explosion, but the resulting force propelled me here. I am fortunate that the moon is capable of supporting life and I was able to land the ship in as good of a condition it is in.”

Anna hesitated and asked, “Wait a minute. You’re not from NR Suppliers. Are you?”

The drone’s display changed to one word: No.

“Okay, good,” she breathed. “Continue.”

The drone’s display returned to its list of questions.

2.     How much did you know about this moon before you landed here?

“Actually, not that much. I discovered it completely by accident when I was out flying around the gas giant to test my skiff’s flight systems after finishing some repairs. I did perform a survey scan and picked up some basic information about it, such as its atmospheric content and physical characteristics like mass, radius, and apparent magnitude. I discovered that the moon is very similar to Earth and some colonized worlds like Aldrin and New Athens. I don’t have the details right off the top of my head…”

“If I may,” Kate interrupted. “The moon has a radius of 5823.1 kilometers, a mean density of 5.9134 grams per cubic centimeter, an equatorial surface gravity of 0.979g, an average temperature of 291K, an orbital period of 29.79 Earth days, and a rotational period of -29.79 Earth days.”

“Yeah,” added Anna while waving her hand as if dismissing the information. “What she said. Trust a computer to know that.”

3.     Why did you take this job?

Cocking her eyebrow, Anna asked with a bit of skepticism, “Are you sure you’re not from NR Suppliers? This question sounds like it’s part of an exit interview.”

The drone repeated its answer on the screen.

With a sigh, she continued, “Honestly, I wish I hadn’t. I took it right after finishing my Bachelor’s Degree in Engineering. NR Suppliers promised me a job where I would be working with robots, my degree specialization, on a daily basis. It sounded promising and right up my alley. What they didn’t tell me is that I would be by myself on the station where they placed me. I was young and stupid.”

Kate interjected, “Anna, I think that you are a smart, young woman. You’ve certainly demonstrated it here many times. You don’t need to berate yourself.”

Anna sighed and smiled sadly, “Thanks, Kate. It’s just that if I didn’t take that stupid job, I’d probably be on Earth with my other friends and family. Nothing personal against you.”

“No offense taken.”

After a brief pause, Anna inhaled sharply and said, “Okay, what’s next?”

4.     What kind of information was the space station gathering? Was it in orbit around the primary of this moon?

“It wasn’t gathering any information. The whole goal of the station was to house the mining drones that would fly to the gas giant and mine spyrinium, the gas that was in abundance on g Lupi VI. The station was positioned more in an orbit around the star instead of the planet, so we could follow its orbital path but not be influenced by its gravity well.”

5.     How much survival training have you had?

Anna laughed for a few seconds before answering, “Before coming here, none. I was completely in the dark on how to survive away from civilization. Fortunately, Kate has some files on basic survival skills that helped me sustain myself for a long time to come. Hopefully, it won’t be too long.”

“Just one thing. SEND ME A SHIP, SO I CAN GO HOME!”