I’m happy to announce two of my poems have been published by Atomic Pub Press. Drop by Atomicpub.com to check out their fine website. The poetry and video art sections of their website are particularly good. http://www.atomicpub.com/
Here is an excerpt from my new novel “Gunrunner” I hope you enjoy it 🙂 Drop by Amazon.com to read more and purchase the book. http://www.amazon.com/Gunrunner-ebook/dp/B00B0IA308/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1358071193&sr=1-2&keywords=Dewey+Dirks
The giant blue sun occupied the entire span of sergeant Foster’s gunboat cockpit window. Its light cast an eerie white glow devoid of shadow about the interior of his ship. Comfortable behind sun goggles, he absently sipped at the straw of his Tift-2 standard issue nutritional supplement. His attention was directed not at the sun or its searing glow but at a large black oval blemish seemingly on its surface. In stark contrast to the withering light of the sun, it was devoid of any light whatsoever. Actually tens of millions of kilometers away from the suns aura, this was the space-time Lens he and two dozen other cavalry gunboats were assigned to monitor. The Lens, one of over two hundred scattered around Pansenate territory, was designated S-355. It facilitated deep space travel between the inner planets and the very edge of the Pansenate frontier. Up-spin from the Lens, five days away at hyper-light speed was the border of Ganit territory. A priceless piece of technology, the Lens represented Pansenate rule at the farthest reaches of civilization, and merited the cavalry’s close supervision of interstellar commerce through it. S-355 was also a special subject of attention because it was located just days away from the Pansenate border instead of the more customary habit of putting lenses much deeper into Pansenate space. Eighteen gunboats were arranged in a gauntlet leading away from the sun and Lens. The remaining gunboats clustered in three nearby groups ready to pursue anyone foolish enough to challenge the gauntlet and lucky enough to escape it’s many plasma cannon.
Suddenly, the dark interior of the Lens shimmered and sprang to life with the customary glowing maroon swirl pool of a time-shift wave. In seconds, a large ship appeared traveling out of the wave, trailing the green and blue wake of a disrupted gravity field until it was well away from the Lens. As suddenly as it appeared, the wave faded and the Lens returned to it’s void rest.
Sergeant Foster put down his drink and ran his finger down the arrival panel until he found the entry he sought.
“Lafayette, approach checkpoint S-355 and transmit clearance number, cargo and destination”, he droned into his microphone.
The ship’s flat black composite armor sucked greedily at the suns bright glare, reflecting no light as it silently glided into the gauntlet. This made its general silhouette, cockpit windows, weapons turrets and sensor enclosures very hard to distinguish at a distance. The sergeant removed his sun goggles and squinted. The Lafayette slowly drew near sergeants ship, coming to a full stop about 300 hundred meters away. Now he could see it was a huge bulk freighter, a semi-truck of deep space. This one lacked the bright logos and huge, happy, we’re-a-company-you-want-to-do-business-with slogans on it’s sides common to corporate liners. It was the ship of a freelancer, an almost illegal rouge of the space lines. Sgt. Foster made a mental note. A summary transit authorization wouldn’t do for this fellow. I’ll have to take a look at this guy with the scanner, he thought.
A long, tall, narrow rectangular hull supported the ships main engines. The supply bay, maintenance bay, and living area along with navigation, scanners and weapons were a collection of squat, boxy enclosures scattered about the hull forward of the engines. A small shuttle bay was located below the cockpit on the underside of the angled nose. The Lafayette was a little over one hundred meter’s long, able to carry 500 metric tons of cargo. The frontier could be a very dangerous place and its many weapons turrets made it as deadly as any warship and warned all it was not a ship to deal with in deep space. Two cargo rails extended from the underside of the hull on either side of the ship. Theses carried four battered cargo pods, each sporting the faded green and red logo of the long dead Has-Tracts Frontier Corporation. It was a beautiful ship in a sinister way, in spite of being over eighty years old. As the Lafayette powered down, the sergeant noticed with mild curiosity, its five new 1200X Tele-Spax engines.
The ships pilot, Montana Taurus said into his headset, “Freighter Lafayette. CL Number 2782. Mining supplies headed for Ganit 03RY.”
Sergeant Foster directed his interior scanner at the Lafayette. He slowly examined the ship’s cargo pods. His display revealed nothing unusual.
“Transit Authorization granted, have a safe trip”, he sneered. Regretfully there was no reason to shake this one down.
Taurus said, “Thanks. Catch you on the return trip. Lafayette out.”
Taurus entered several navigation codes into the computer and activated the auto-pilot then he set the scanners on long range and opened the throttles before relaxing in his chair. Nort, his mechanic and long time friend entered the cockpit and took the chair next to him.
“Anything notable about the checkpoint?” asked Nort.
“No trouble. The jammers did the job. You know, Hajkin electronics are magicians at hiding things.”
The Lafayettes clandestine cargo consisted of tons of heavy weapons destined for 03RY, a recently settled Ganit colony currently being fought over by two powerful Ganit government clans, the Farsei and the Bondov. Intended for the Farsei, the weapons would allow the Ganit to better indulge their favorite pastime, namely blowing each other to oblivion during the course of their endlessly convoluted squabbles.
Nort nodded his agreement on the effectiveness of jammers as he accessed the engineering computer to check on the engines.
“Everything’s working fine”, he said after studying the display.
“Keep an eye on the coupler temperature on three and five. I’m not sure we’ve got computer handling it right yet”, said Taurus.
Nort looked at the young Human sitting next to him. The spindly child he’d known since he was two had grown into a formidable man much like his father. Taurus was tall and slender but sinewy with taunt muscle. His face was a collection of etched angles with a narrow chin and high cheekbones broken on the left side by a long, ragged scar. He was quick to smile but a dangerous spark in his manner let all know that when humor left him he wasn’t one you would want to stand in the way of. His clothes reflected the covert nature of his profession. Taurus wore an unassuming baggy dark green shirt and loose black pants but hidden within their many folds were the paraphernalia of a gunrunner; throwing disks, knifes, an emergency med pack, several small grenades, a backup pistol and a tiny comm-unit transceiver. Around his waist hung the massive magnetico-combustion, or MC pistol Nort had constructed for him. Longer, heavier and much deadlier than the particle weapons preferred by most on the frontier, it could pierce even heavy body armor. Many foes had experienced unpleasant and painful surprise as their final emotion because of that pistol.
A pang of sadness ran through Nort as he remembered that the MC pistol he’d made Taurus’s father Kerry had failed to save him at the Bav Nebula when he was double crossed by the Sakti. When Nort found him, Kerry was mortally wounded and barely conscious. His last concerns were about his son. Before he died, he asked Nort to watch after Taurus. Nort honored Kerry with a warriors last rites after the manner of his people and made good his promise to remain Taurus’s companion. Just sixteen, Kerry’s death hardened Taurus into a man. Taurus swore revenge and saw his vow to its end before he turned eighteen.
As his father before him, Taurus cared little for the mediocre order and insulated existence of the inner worlds. Taurus’ mother had died of illness not long after Taurus was born; save Nort, he had no ties to attend, so he remained on the frontier to drift among the subject worlds of the mighty Pansenate. After a time he took up gunrunning, an extremely risky but very profitable profession that fulfilled Taurus’ sense of adventure and allowed him to indulge with state of the art technology his most coveted possession, the Lafayette.
“What’re you so thoughtful about?” asked Taurus noticing Nort’s scrutiny.
Nort just smiled and returned his attention to the engineering panel, “These new engines– they’re efficient. I think maybe you managed a good deal”, he joked.
“Deal?” huffed Taurus, “You know what price I got’em at.”
Nort chuckled, “It’s always money, isn’t it?”
Taurus didn’t bother to answer. Neither man was very concerned with it but it remained that Nort had little use for money and believed all humans, including Taurus, concerned themselves with it too much and too often. The two lapsed into a comfortable silence as was the custom for the two old friends contented with each others company.
The pair attended to ships functions for a while then Taurus turned on the Pansenate Issue-Computer. Taurus scanned the display as items up for vote were listed. Nort soon followed suit on a similar display beside his seat.
For Humans the Pansenate was a true democracy. Instead of elective representation, every Human in the Pansenate was a member of its ruling body, the Senate, and had a vote. Gone was the apathy of the ancient republics. Everyone was a political activist, each citizen was a potential diplomat, all high and low were politicians, everyone was a lobbyist. All Humanity took an active role in the day to day activities of the empire and all belonged to one or more of the numerous political parties. The executive branch of the government was headed by a thirteen member Politburo elected by the Pansenate to a ten year term.
Humans were very proud of their democracy. Indeed, many could be called arrogant about it. Unfortunately political power was extended only to Humans. The subject worlds were represented in the Senate by native delegations but they had no voting power. The “best interests” of the scores of non-Human species in the Pansenate were made by officials appointed by Humans. Still, much of Humanity saw their government as vastly superior to the military complex that ruled the Tone Empire or the to the Mafia Clans that ran the Ganit. Taurus counted himself among the minority who told themselves they knew better. It was some in this minority who looked out for the subject worlds and kept life for the luckiest of the conquered somewhere near acceptable. Sadly, even with the aid of concerned benefactors life was pathetic for many species, especially on those worlds of high economic import to the Pansenate. Humans were known for their ruthless exploitation of planets where e-bills could be made or that were unfortunate enough to have some exceptional technological value, such as Nort’s home world, Maharl.
The issues scrolled past on Taurus’s display. ‘Inggar Colonization Act’, ‘Funding for Nikon Class Destroyer Procurement’, ‘Poco Flour Import Allotments’, ‘Holbard Immigration Act’.
Each issue had links to the wording of the legislation, various lobby dissertations, promoting arguments, opposition arguments, statistics, and speeches by concerned Senators. Each man stopped his display occasionally to examine a topic in greater depth, skipping the issues he wasn’t particularly interested in.
Taurus stopped the readout as the ‘Shi-Arik’A Export Agreement’ crossed his screen and called it up.
“Well hell. They’re trying rape Shi-Arik’A. Another world’s gonna bite the dust.”
Nort glanced at Taurus and keyed in a request on his terminal for the details of the Act. Taurus shared his voting power freely with Nort. Indeed, Nort made the decision on a vote as often as often as Taurus did.
“They want to drain the Fal Sea there and export it for its high mineral content”, Nort said in disgust. He called up statistics, “Second largest inland sea on the planet. Damn, it’ll leave hardly any water reserves. Devastate global weather too, I imagine. I wonder if the bill can be blocked”, he pondered.
“Let’s see”, said Taurus examining the display for lobbyist’s and parties for and against, “Well, looks like it’ll be a close call. We’ll have to keep an eye on it. Maybe we can help if we call in a favor or two. I don’t know if we can do any good but well give it a shot.”
He thought a moment then scrolled the display back. He stopped the screen at ‘Poco Flour Import Allotments’. Poco Flour was one of the Ganit’s major exports to the Pansenate.
“You know, we might be able to come up with something over this Poco Flour legislation. He looked through list of parties opposing and promoting the issue and then at the list of concerned Senators.”
“See anything?” asked Nort.
“Well”, Taurus replied, “I see Dr. Klein Araman of the Lockery Party is singing up for it.
“We can work with him. He certainly was grateful for the work you did on Allbright for the Lockery’s.”
“Yea. I’ll send him a message offering our services.”
“Are you going to tell him about the Shi-Arik’A legislation now or wait for a reply”
“Now. No use batting around the about it. I’ll make it a stipulation for our offer to help.”
Taurus turned to the long range comm display and keyed in a message.
Hmmm, said Taurus, “Says here the Lockery’s are still using KR-176 encryption. I thought there were security issues about that method.”
“Yea, so did I, but you know the inner worlds don’t pay as much attention to encryption as we do out here.”
“Well, hell. If we want to talk to them we have to use it.” Taurus turned back to the comm unit and sent the message off.
He and Nort were soon back studying current issues and legislation. Several hours passed before they finished. The day wore on as the Lafayette traveled at hyperlight speed towards Ganit territory. After a time Nort left the cockpit for his machine shop in the depths of the ship. Taurus busied himself attending to the ships needs for a while then retired to his quarters.
Late the next day the Nort was sitting in the ships small galley sipping Fas tea from his home world. Presently Taurus walked in carrying a small box. Imprinted on it’s top in blue stylized lettering was the word ‘Intel’. Taurus sat down and opened the box. Inside were four small black cubes each about 3cm across. He began to inspect each one.
Nort glanced at the box. “Your new processors?” he asked……
I’m pleased to announce my newest science fiction novel, “Gunrunner” is now available on Amazon. Please drop by Amazon.com and check it out 🙂 Here is the link:
Gunrunner is the story of cargo ship captain Montana Taurus on an action packed journey to the Ganit Empire, a vast star federation ran by mafia governments. Double crossed while on foreign territory, Montana and his co-pilot Nort must depend on their ship and their wits to see them safely through never ending Ganit intrigue and back stabbing.