“You can’t tell because you’re still under its influence, but the rest of us, the mutineers, have our complete powers of reasoning again, and we know the commander is telling the truth. If you break the mutiny, you sentence us all to death.”
Max Vonner, captain of the starship Orion, has been flying through space for the last two years toward the planet Omina.
He and the rest of the crew get regular runs through a machine meant to prevent space-sickness that the crew jokingly calls the “brainwasher.” Little do they know how right they are.
The doctor comes to Vonner near the end of their trip and reports that the machine may be malfunctioning and she can’t predict how the crew will react.
When Vonner expresses his confusion as to why this is such a large problem, she reveals the truth: in order to survive the mentally taxing two-year journey, the crew’s memories and feelings of Earth have been wiped and replaced with only the processes necessary to running the ship smoothly.
Vonner understands the necessity of the process, now knowing it was aptly nicknamed brainwasher, but that is not the end of his problems.
As the machine malfunctions, the potency of the brainwashing wears off, leading to erratic behavior from the crew, and in particular, his second-in-command, Ed Bardo. Bardo leads a mutiny and dramatically alters the ship’s course and plans in a misguided attempt to save the ship – save it from an imaginary problem brought on by space-sickness.
Will Captain Vonner and his loyal senior crew be able to subdue Bardo and regain control of the ship before they lose the ability to complete their mission?
Praise for Roland Starr:
“One of those books that is hard to put down.” – Cheltenham Echo
Roland Starr is a pseudonym of Donald S. Rowland, a prolific author whose works have spanned three decades, ranging from science fiction to romance, westerns to military fiction. His various names have been attributed to hundreds of titles, including Despot in Space.