The starship Lady MacBeth encounters a long-abandoned alien spacecraft, with its escape route still intact - but leading where? If the crew claims salvage rights, the technology inside could make them wealthy enough to buy planets. But first they need to make sure it's as empty as it seems . . .
Of all the short stories I've written, this was probably the most fun and the most difficult to do. This is fairly hard SF, set firmly in the Night's Dawn universe, it concerns the starship Lady Macbeth when Joshua Calvert's father Marcus Calvert was her captain. Given the history already established in Reality Dysfunction, I had to write inside clearly defined parameters to make it dovetail in to the Confederation timeline. This is their last flight together, which means Lady Mac had to come out badly damaged but still spaceworthy. On top of that, the flight had to be an experience which stopped Marcus from wanting to fly her again. Like I said, fun tying all that up.
This short story was featured in "Interzone - July 1997" which was edited by David Pringle. The cover of this edition of Interzone featured artwork by Dominic Harman entitled "Escape Route".
The story also appeared in "Year's Best Science Fictiion, 15", edited by Gardner Dozois and will feature in "Best Of The New Stuff" also edited by Gardner Dozois.
The story is also featured in the of short stories set in the confederation universe of the Nights Dawn trilogy, A Second Chance At Eden.