01. Crash

01. Crash

Out Now

Captain Patrick Knox, war hero and a man who has seen too many dead soldiers, is on his final journey. His task? To take an aging ship full of colonists to a backwater farm planet, with a short stop at a prison planet to offload a cargo of serial killers.

After that, he’s done. He’ll sit with the ghosts of his dead and drink himself to oblivion.

Then an act of sabotage causes the colony ship to crash onto an unmapped and eerie alien planet, the majority of their supplies lost and their tech destroyed. There is little chance of rescue. Somehow, Knox must find his ragged band of survivors safe harbor on a primeval planet where murderers roam free, even the plants are carnivorous…and the only surviving doctor is a convicted serial killer 

Order Now!
Order Now
Buy from Amazon Kindle
Buy from Apple Books
Buy from Barnes and Noble Nook
Buy from Kobo
Other Books in "Status Unknown Trilogy"
About the Book

Praise for Crash

***** “Lost Meets The Walking Dead! …If you loved Lost or books like Mysterious Island you will love this book. Highly recommended….”

– Amazon review

*****“A gripping sci-fi adventure that stands out in the genre thanks to its amazing characters. 

Knox is a captain worth rooting for, and his relationships with his crew develop in fascinating ways as they’re forced to handle (or not) the life-or-death situations they find themselves in. 

Doctor Molina was a huge highlight for me – when the narrative switched to her point of view, I literally fist pumped! And in a book that’s not wanting for villains, the planet itself was one of the best. …”

– Goodreads

*****Crash is a gritty science fiction adventure featuring a classic man against the elements scenario.  The characters are compelling, and even those initially unlovable have multiple facets. The situation is a difficult one, which at once brings out the best and the worst in people.  You don’t know whether you will survive long enough to starve, or whether you will fill the belly of a predator or carnivorous plant. N.S. Shajay’s Crash is a brilliant debut…”

– Amazon review

**** “Lost In Space on steroids!”

Excerpt from Crash, by N. S. Shajay

Nearly six months since their departure from Earth, and Knox knew Joe Stetts was on the verge of tracking down the ghost maintenance that had been done on the ship. The other man currently sat at his workstation, looking at complex engineering diagrams focused on the ship’s heart.

That heart was the spot where all of Builder’s vital systems intersected; it was a vulnerability that didn’t exist in newer ships, but Builder was the last working ship of her class. Joe, supremely pissed off that anyone had dared touch the heart without the permission of the listed senior engineer, was spending what little spare time he had—and he didn’t have much, not with Builder requiring so much constant maintenance—going over the systems there piece by intricate piece.

That wasn’t the only development: Knox had just thrown one of his officers in the brig— personally—and was nursing a sore jaw. That Navigator Copernicus “Nic” Hall hadn’t meant to hit him didn’t alleviate the impact on Knox’s jaw.

But it wasn’t the latter that worried him.

“People are starting to get stupid,” he said to Bailey before remembering it wasn’t calm, competent Peyton Bailey seated beside him on the bridge but Min Dana.

Officially Builder’s third-in-command, Min was the daughter of a new aristocrat. She’d never been a sailor or a dirt pounder, never flown fighter jets or done stealth incursions. Instead, she’d completed her tour of duty in a secure administration facility on Earth.

Min was also the only person on board who wasn’t making a one-way trip.

For the new aristocrats, starship experience was a marker of status. That was the reason why someone in her family had pulled strings to get her on Builder.

Obviously someone who didn’t like her very much.

Min would be stuck on the colony planet for ten months before her ride home—a supply ship—came along. That probably explained her permanently bitter expression. Pity. Like most of the new aristocrats, she was visually stunning. Golden skin, silky mink-brown hair, knife-edge cheekbones, green eyes, perfect body.

That would’ve been an inappropriate thought had he felt anything toward her except teeth-gritted annoyance at being saddled with an ego-bloated administrator in a position where he needed someone like Jina Zhang or Joe Stetts.

“People are always stupid,” she replied in her precise accent. He wasn’t sure where it had originated, but it now marked the new aristocrats. The world “elite,” once more safely resident in their pristine space stations far above the teeming masses of Earth, had ridden out the war in guarded and barred dirtside enclaves and underground bunkers.

It was common knowledge that they’d held formal balls in those bunkers.

Good men and women had died so people like Min Dana could live it up.

Anger bubbled in Knox’s blood. The words Min had just spoken would’ve been a dry joke coming from Bailey. From Min, they dripped with contempt. Like most new aristocrats, she believed the rest of humanity beneath her. The only reason she spoke to Knox was because he was a certified hero.

After the medals and the endless use of his image by the propaganda machine that had fed a war that had never been about what Knox believed it to be about, he’d even been invited to attend a number of new-aristocrat functions.

He’d rather have taken a close-contact round to the gut.

Turning away to look at the readings flowing down the screen on his chair arm before he said something cutting, he—


Builder lurched as if she’d been kicked, throwing several crew members violently across the bridge. Barely managing to stay in position, Knox rapidly scanned the incoming data. “Report!”

It wasn’t Min who replied but Jina. “Massive systems failures shipwide!”

“I’m isolating the drive nexus!” Joe yelled. “Shit! It’s alerting me to fractures in the casing!”

Without that drive, they’d be dead in the water when it came to essential systems like life support, dependent on whatever energy remained in the solar panels on Builder’s exterior after this long in a coil. But if the drive blew, that was it for every soul on board.

“Hold it as long as you can!” he ordered Joe. “Shut down the instant the cracks begin to widen!”

Builder spun in dizzying circles, smoke an acrid, dangerous taste in the air.

“Bring propulsion online!” Knox had to take the risk of initiating propulsion within the coil—if he didn’t stop this spin, the ship would be torn apart in a matter of seconds.

“We’ve lost colony unit 17!” Jina yelled out. “No atmosphere!”

One hundred dead.

“Propulsion not responding!” his secondary navigator yelled out. “Joe!” Knox turned to his senior engineer.

“I’ve got nothing! It’s like she’s been gutted, multiple systems severed from the drive!” Joe called out from the engineering station. “Life support is hanging on by a thread!”

“We’re venting atmosphere in units 15, 13, 16, and 11!”

Every piece of information hit Knox’s brain at the same time, but instead of overloading, something cool and calm in him took over. The same something that had taken over in battle. He could visualize the setup of the damaged units, see that all the problems were sunbursting out from the ship’s heart.

“Bastards!” Joe said at that instant. “It wasn’t maintenance! They fucking hid a bomb in the heart!”

Knox’s war-trained mind had made the same connection, guessed it had been one of the Clean Galaxies fanatics who picketed every colony ship launch. However, right now, with Builder in catastrophic failure, that was an extraneous factor. “Evacuate to unit 12 and seal,” he ordered Jina, though personnel rescue and management should’ve been Min Dana’s job.

His third-in-command was sitting shell-shocked beside him, bloody from a cut on the head where something must’ve hit her when Builder first lurched. It was no excuse. Half the bridge crew was bleeding, including his navigator and Joe Stetts, but everyone else was doing their job.

“Evacuating!” Jina yelled while Builder continued its deadly spin.

Knox had already moved on to the next thing on his list. “Reroute life support through emergency channels and isolate, authorization Captain Patrick Knox,” he said, hoping like hell that enough connections still existed for his voice print to be recognized and that order to get through. If the heart had been totally destroyed…

Confirmed. Isolated. Emergency protocols initiated.

Knox continued on without pausing, rerouting and isolating as many systems as he could before the computer stopped responding; he knew his actions weren’t going to be enough. The ship was groaning audibly from the pressure of the spin. It wasn’t meant to be going so fast, wasn’t designed to withstand these forces. If the coil back-kicked them because of their velocity, the ship would shatter like crystal.

“Joe! Give me something!”

“I can’t! It looks like the critical cables have been severed!” A minute pause before Joe said, “I have to jettison the drive! No time for a shutd—”


The second explosion reverberated through Knox’s bones. Something slammed into his ribs. Shoving it away, he continued to try to reroute power to give them some control. And then the ship lurched again—right toward one of the thick purple-red “veins” that ran through the coil. No ship that had attempted to touch a vein had ever exited from coil space. People had soon figured out that you didn’t go near the stuff.

Except Builder was going to slam right into this vein.

No propulsion. No way to control her spin. “Brace! Brace! Brace!” he ordered through the communications system. “Grab hold of something and don’t let go!” It wouldn’t do them much good if the hull crumpled, but Knox had learned long ago that what people hated most was being helpless. Give them something, anything, to do and they’d immediately feel far less panicked. “That includes those of you on the bridge!”

His crew, who’d all been rushing around in a frantic effort to fix Builder’s broken systems, stopped, found handholds.

“Three”—Jina’s voice—“two, one, impact!”

Series: Status Unknown Trilogy, Book 1
Genre: Science Fiction
Publication Year: August 14th, 2018
EDGE OF YOUR SEAT SPACE SURVIVAL ADVENTURE. N. S. Shajay’s CRASH is the first of a space fiction trilogy very much in the spirit of old-fashioned adventure SF. Featuring lots of action and characters harder than the science, CRASH begins in a future where war and population growth have made getting out of the solar system necessary and science has made it possible – for some. Shajay pulls together a spaceship crash, planetside adventure with monsters and murderers, and man versus nature writ large in a read that reminds of a mid-period McCaffrey, Heinlein, or Norton. We’re waiting for the next one!
– Sharon Lee and Steve Miller, authors of the Liaden Universe®
About the Author
N. S. Shajay

N. S. Shajay is the penname for a NYT and USA Today Bestselling author who grew up devouring the works of Sharon Lee and Steve Miller, adventuring in the worlds of Lois McMaster Bujold, and revelling in the imagination of Anne McCaffrey.

Inspired by these masters, Shajay has launched The Status Unknown trilogy, an action-packed space adventure that follows a ragged band of crash survivors pitted against a deadly, primeval planet that is uninhabited … or is it?

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the page above are "affiliate links." This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."