Saturday, March 25, 2017

Star Trader Update - Academy Brats - 020.13

“Let’s make a pact.” Travis put one hoofed foot out and rose. He reached down and took the Scatter from Thomas. “You kids play nice while the Captain and I discuss our steps to get you all off this rock.”

I nodded toward my passengers. “Consider Thomas our guest.” I looked at Callen. “Why don’t you see what you can do about helping Ma-rye-a get Moby back online. We have more mouths to feed now.”

Travis motioned me into the bay and toward my pod. I looked down and noted his hooves were wrapped in small leather pouches. “That’s why I didn’t hear you coming,” I commented.

“They do make a bit of racket,” he confessed. “Just a little trick I learned as a mercenary.” He stopped at the pod door and placed his palm on the entry pad. The door didn’t open. I had it locked out. I never left my pod accessible to just anyone. I had learned that trick hanging around mercenaries. “Open it,” he ordered.

I just stood there. I wasn’t sure I wanted to comply.

“Trust me,” he said.

“From the man holding a blaster on me…” I pointed out needlessly.

“Then do it because I am holding a blaster on you. Show some faith.” He smiled at me though his iron-jar beard and I must admit, he looked sincere and I really had no choice at this point.

He was a mercenary and though he would have some time getting around Ma-rye-a’s lockouts, he could most likely do it. In that scenario, what would happen to my passengers if he chose to try to escape from this planet? I opened the door.

He walked in past me and placed the blaster and the scatter on the passenger seat inside and came out. “Lock it up.”

I obliged him and palmed the door closed.

“Now we are on an even footing. I don’t want anything more from you other than your promise you will take Thomas when you leave.”

I must admit, this was developing far different then I had imagined. “You might not want anything further from me, but you need me to fuse those cut for you.” I indicated his bleeding hands before I turned my back on him and headed toward the sick bay.


He sat quietly as I worked with the tissue fuser to close the open wounds on his hands. We could hear the kids down the hall in the galley.

“You think ham is good, wait until you taste a steak,” Drake said.

“Or a Muldavian Spritzer,” Mims chimed in.

“Or chocolate,” Tiff added.

“Yeah, one of Moby’s chocolate cupcakes, as soon as I get him up and running,” Callen’s muffled voice came from where he must have been below the control panel.

“Sounds like they are a good group,” Travis said.

“Yeah, I am pretty sure you and Thomas are the first non-humans they have ever met.” I leaned back. “Give it a try.”

Travis flexed his fingers. “Feels good. You’re not bad with that thing.”

“Had some practice,” I admitted. “How’d he get a name like Thomas? It seems so against species.”

“He was almost a year old and I’d been calling him, ‘son.’ The others in our little community at the time called him, ‘kid.’ A new guy was dropped off and he didn’t survive the landing.”

Inmates were shot down in pods hardly larger than their own bodies. Once the Galactic Council condemned you to a penal planet, they really wiped their hands of you.

“His pod got caught in a seasonal storm, a monsoon. Everything with his touchdown went wrong. The second chute on his pod didn’t deploy. His case cracked on impact and he landed in a place that any other time would have been a stream maybe six inches deep, but at that time was a flooding torrent. It swept him downstream. His pod got lodged under some debris and he drowned before we got to him. His name was Thomas Nelson. I can’t remember who started calling the kid Tommy first, but we all fell into it. It just stuck.”

I put the fuser away and sat down in the chair across from the bed Travis was perch on.

“Have you thought of how lost that kid is going to be out there without you? I can see you want to get him off, but you should do it the right way. Let me present him as a free man and unlawfully incarcerated.”

“He’s too old to be put in a home, and that would be just exchanging one prison for another anyway.” Travis hopped down. He leaned against the bed with his arms crossed over his chest. “I have a stash. He knows how to access it. I also have friends that will take care of him. Good friends.”

“Mercenary friends? Are you even sure they are alive after all this time? How long have you been here? Fifteen… Twenty years? A lot can happen to a mercenary in that time.”

“You’re right, but he deserves better than this,” he waved his hand to indicate the planet and its inhabitants. “If the Galactic Forces don’t know about your crash yet, they will in thirty-seven days. That’s when the low atmosphere drone does its fly-over to check on our status. You positioned your ship well. It will be spotted and they will send in the troops. We just need to wait it out.”

And I needed to have time to talk some sense into Travis. His plan wasn’t going to work. I registered my passengers with N.E.T. before I started this run and there were four, not five. The Galactic Forces were not idiots. They would check the manifest. But, if I pointed this out to Travis, what lengths was he be willing to go to get Thomas off the planet. Would he kill one of the kids to make the head-count tally?

Sunday, March 19, 2017

The Epic Saga Continues...

For the price of a fancy coffee, you can go on the Adventure of a Lifetime...

Join this character-driven space opera with book one to explore the known verse and meet our three heroes as their friendship grows and they fight the good fight for those oppressed, both human and alien.

Or order "The Beast Within" for your first summer reading escape. Government secrets, chaos and murder trail their alien fingers through this volume.

The Star Traveler Series

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Star Trader Update - Academy Brats - 020.12

Author's Note: Sometimes when you are doing a 'free write' as I do with this blog, just 'winging it' each Saturday, you might see something you want to change in order to make the story better and move it along. I changed one sentence in the previous post, but it made a world of difference to how this week's episode reads. Happy reading as...

The story continues...

Travis escorted me out to the ramp where I found the kids all sitting placidly across from Thomas as he held Tiff’s Scatter on them. Travis had asked me to carry the sandwiches and chips. Perhaps to keep my hands full or maybe because he was hungry. Kelexion’s were big creatures and known for their appetites.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Star Trader Update - Academy Brats - 020.11

“It’s gorgeous from up here,” Mims said.

We were all standing on the landing ramp of the pod bay looking out over the valley below. From up here, safely tucked away on our rock shelf, the golden valley rolled out before us dotted with oasis’ of green trees. We could see small herds of the grazing animals and the sky was a drift with the red birds sailing on the lower wind currents.

It was a beautiful sunny day with pristine white fluffy clouds salted throughout the sky. Some, we were even above, and they cast shadows across the plains below as they drifted to the west.

Off in the distance I could see the remains of an ancient civilization. It was a large ornate entryway carved into the cliff face on the opposite side of the valley. At one time, far earlier in its history, this planet must had housed a civilization which died away before it was chosen as a penal planet. That entryway might be where the criminals took shelter. I would pull out my binoculars later and have a closer look. Right now, I took a deep breath and thanked all the little miracles which had come together in order to get us this far safely.

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Star Trader Update - Academy Brats - 020.10

“I hate to nag, but if you guys don’t put a move on, we are going to have uninvited company on the bridge very soon!”

All night long we’d been listening to the criminals digging below Ma-rye-a in an effort to get to the broken gun turret and into the ship. They were here now and prying at the make-shift plate Drake and I bolted across the opening. There was enough of a gap that we could hear their voices drift up as they strained and cursed. I could make out at least six distinctive possible intruders. Far more then I was willing to deal with the kids aboard. I wanted out of here.

Sam, with the aid of Callen’s hands, had been working all night to get the power back up. “Get the engines back up,” had become my manta over the last few hours. If we could just harness hovering power it would be enough, although full-out thrusters would be my preference. I really wanted to get the Hell Out!

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Star Trader Update - Academy Brats - 020.9

I gave Callen some meds for his headache and applied a cranial patch to his temple in case it was a concussion which had taken him out the better part of the past two days. It was the best I could do considering I did not have the med eval system or Horus to confer with.

Callen was a good sport and once his headache started to subside he insisted on moving to the bridge to see if he could fix Ma-rye-a.

I sat down in my pilot’s chair after I rigged some dim lights so Callen could work. I was keeping an eye out the front viewport for the return of the criminal element we had a glimpse of earlier in the day. It was a little past midnight and the rest of the kids were on the bridge with Callen and me.

Tiff and Mims were sharing the co-pilot seat. Oh, to be young and slender again.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Star Trader Update - Academy Brats - 020.8

“Ladies and gentleman, grab your weapons! Tiff go to your station. Mims and Drake report to the bridge!”

I ticked through the preparations I set up with the teens in my head. They were all armed. It turned out Mims was the most familiar and practiced with a weapon. She went target shooting with her father at the local course. It was a little father-daughter time they shared each week. I gave her my back-up blaster.

Tiff was not as knowledgeable so I gave her the Rafter Scatter I had onboard. It had a wide enough spread that if she aimed it in the general direction she would hit something. I assigned her the duty of watching over Callen during any crisis. That put her in a more confined area with only one way for them to get in to her, and her to point her weapon.

Drake was husky enough to handle the turret gun from the Maximum Jacket Driver. I unmounted it and affixed the optional tripod to the gun. This also got it out of the turret and the hands of the inmates of the planet, should they find that way into the ship. Drake could carry it to an area, set up and no one would be able to get past him.

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