Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Star Traveler Update - CU

The four of us were sitting at the table in my galley playing CU. Arr and I sat across from each other with Jake at one end and Kayo at the other. The huge dar-dolf had his chin lying on the table top just a few inches from the bowl of red raspberry goo chews. He was slobbering in anticipation of Arr or my next tossed goodie. Arr flicked him a chew high over his head. He lunged up to catch it. When he came down his butt hit the metal cabinet behind him making a loud bang as the door struck hard on its hinges. The galley really wasn’t big enough for three people and a dar-dolf.

“Stop spoiling him, Arr. He’s not going to be worth shit if you keep it up,” Jake said, in an exasperated tone. 
“You’re making a pet out of him. He didn’t even growl at 3su when we came aboard.”

“He’s met her,” Arr defended Kayo. “He knows she’s a friend.”

“Kayo! Down!” Jake ordered.

The dar-dolf’s head slipped below the edge of the table and came to rest on Arr’s foot under the table. He might not be worth a thing for Jake, but I was sure he would kill for Arr and his supply of goo chews.

Arr reached over with his napkin and wiped the table top of Kayo’s drool. I saw him deftly palm a goo chew on his way back to his lap. He handed it to Kayo under the table.

“Don’t think I didn’t see that,” Jake said. He met the kids smile with a resigned shake of his head. “Play – it’s your turn.”

Arr dropped two chips on the pile in the middle of the table and then added a third. “CU,” he said and the play passed to me.

I tossed in three and added another to sweeten the pot. “CU,” I said.

Jake didn’t even look at his cards. They lay face down on the table in front of him. He threw four chips in the pot and raised another two. “CU”

Arr stared at Jake for the length of a long slow breath. Jake stared back. The pause in the game grew. I felt like I was in one of Jake’s favorite old westerns, in the middle of a showdown. Their eyes were locked.

Arr shoved the remainder of his pile of chips to the middle of the table. “CU,” he said with a satisfied smile.

“Not fair. You’re cheating,” Jake said and threw in his cards. “I fold.”

I am sure I had a look of puzzlement on my face. It wasn’t even his turn and he had given up. Jake was known in our circle of friends as one of the best and luckiest CU players in the verse.

“Tell her what you’re doing,” Jake said to his partner.

“I’m not cheating,” Arr assured me. “Jake just doesn’t like it because I can read him, unlike his regular competition.”

“Damn it. He can hear my heart rate,” Jake explained. “I can control my expressions, but damn if I can control my heart rate.”

Arr smiled. Kayo had lifted his head to lay it on Arr’s knee and the henu leisurely stroked it. “I can’t help it if I have good hearing.”

“You can’t pass the hours playing CU with Arr on a boring job unless you’re willing to lose your pay before you even collect it.”

“Must come in handy when you’re listening for the approaching enemy though,” I commented.

“Must admit, it is good to have him around then,” Jake admitted with a smile. “I just got to remember not to play CU with him.”

“I’ll suggest something else next time,” I said as I rose from my chair. “Let’s go watch a vid. I picked up a copy of “High Noon” off the NET for you Jake.”

Jake grinned like a kid. “I knew I liked riding with you.” He stood and threw his arm around my shoulders. 
“Let’s go.” He looked back at Arr. “Come on kid. You are going to see one of the best westerns ever made tonight.”

“What’s a western?” Arr asked. I knew some of his background and his culture didn’t include vids, much less westerns.

Jake just rolled his eyes at me like ‘what am I going to do with him.’ “You’ll see,” he said. “Put the goo chews away so Kayo can’t get into them.”

Arr came to his feet, unfolding like a lithe cat. He stretched and then picked up the bowl and put it in the cupboard, but slipped Kayo one last treat.

“I saw that,” Jake said over his shoulder without turning around.

Arr just patted Kayo’s head and followed along behind.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Star Traveler Update - Company

“I think you’ll be comfortable in here.” I padded the door open to my guest quarters. Kayo, Jake’s protect Dar-dolf, almost knocked us over trying to get in the door first. He started sniffing around the baseboards. I reassured myself that he was ship trained and would use the cargo deck for his business and not the carpeting of my lovely guestroom.

They are nice rooms. Cassie and I fixed them up when she came onboard a few years back. I picked Ma-rye-a for the layout of these rooms anticipating transporting people as well as cargo. The rooms are side by side with a bath in between however, the sound deadening wall that divides the rooms retracts into one of the sidewalls to the bathroom if you would like one huge room. And, it is huge - lots of luxury, like what you would get in a high end Space port.

“This is sweet,” Jake said in admiration. “If I wasn’t so fond of the Calpernia I might be tempted to do a trade in.” He tossed his duffle on one of the beds. “I got dibs on this one.”

Kayo followed Jake’s bag onto the bed.

“Down,” Jake commanded. Kayo didn’t move. Jake reached over and grabbed the animals halter and dragged the reluctant dar-dolf back to the floor.

Arr placed his duffle on the floor beside the other bed and immediately started to dig in it. He pulled out a pair of soft leather knee high moccasins. He shucked out of his spacer boots and slipped on the leather as I gave Jake the rundown on the amenities of the room.

“And, there is a wall here,” I padded the sensor to activate the wall closure part way. “So you guys can share or if you like, you can divide the room.”

“Is the barrier soundproof,” Arr asked without looking up from lacing his leathers. I thought I heard a bit of taunt in his voice.

“Completely,” I answered proudly.

Kayo had stuck his nose in Arr’s open bag and grabbed a glove. Arr nonchalantly removed the glove from the animal’s sharp tooth filled mouth. “That will come in handy in the evening,” Arr replied, again without looking up.

Jake picked up a pillow and threw it at Arr’s head. The henu moved so fast the pillow didn’t have a chance of contacting. He moved like a cat, lithe and nimble. “I don’t snore,” Jake assured me. As if I cared.

“Of course not,” Arr said with a smile. “He just breathes heavy.”

Jake tossed another pillow at Arr. That one missed too. I could see this was a long running gag between the two. Kayo decided to get into the game and started tugging on Jake’s pitching arm. He growled, sounding fierce to my untrained ears. I stepped back, but Jake just twisted his arm loose and pushed Kayo down on the head. “Down,” he instructed the dar-dolf. Kayo ignored the order and went over to nose in Arr’s bag again.

It was not going to be dull having these three aboard for a week.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Star Traveler Update - Good bye Olympus

Ma-rye-a and I did a Kishrid spiral in space. We were finally free and clear of Olympus. What I had hoped to be an adventure had turned out to be drudgery except for a few random incidents. The encounter with the centaur would have made it all worth wild if we had only made a couple of trips, but a month and over two dozen trips later and the event paled.

I am anxious to see civilization again. I am a city girl at heart and love the crowds rather than open muddy spaces. Olympus has the perfect amount of rainfall, all in the evening hours, for maximum foliage growth, but if there is no greenery and the top soil has been removed it just crates a giant quagmire. I hate the Krackow.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Star Traveler Update - Next Gig

I had my ‘Ear’ on and was talking to Sam aboard as he belched out our latest shipment from the ship. “Watch the load, Sam. The ground is really soft on this side of Ma-rye-a,” I warned. The landing site for this shipment was a mire of mud. It had been stripped by the Krackow of any vegetation it once had and mined of any precious metals. It was just a massive pit of ooze.

“Right, Captain,” Sam acknowledged. The small transport he was guiding came to rest a few feet away alongside the ship. “This is going to take a few hours, boss. Why don’t you get some rest? I can call you when I’m finished.”

I rubbed my face for the umpteenth time. This job was getting old. If it hadn’t been for the encounter with the centaur and the occasional run in with Bronwyn it would be such a bore. I had hoped that I would get to see more of Olympus, but air space was restricted and the glimpse of the centaur turned out to be a really rare event.

Only two more runs for the Galactic Officials and I could take off. I already had my name up on the NET and Ma-rye-a scouting for the next job.

“3su?” Ma-rye said in my ear. “I have a call coming into you from Timothy.”

“Put him through,” I instructed. I heard the line open and chatter along with music on the other end. “Tim? 3su here.”

“3su, how ya doin’?” he asked in his full bass.

“Fine. Just finishing up a job on Olympus.”

“You got in on the terra firma job?” I heard a woman giggle in the background on the other end.

“Ya, at least the transport part.”

“How much longer are you tied up with that?”

“Hold on a sec, Tim” I said. “Sam, you got a pallet out here that is sinking,” I said. “You need to get some ground wire under it.”

“Got it, Captain,” Sam answered. A moment later the claws were maneuvering into place to reset the pallet on ground wire spread beside it.

“Sorry, Tim. We have a bit of a mud problem at this site.” A big bit of a mud problem.

“Bummer.” Tim was the only human being I knew of who still said bummer. I heard the woman giggle again. This time she was pretty close to whatever Tim was transmitting over.

“Ya, bummer. Back to your question, I have two more runs and I’m finished. Why, what’s up?”

“You know Jake’s ship the Calpernia?”

“Sure.”

“Well, its thrown a stabilizer and its tied up at Refitting Station Terrell. She’s kind of an old model and they have to fabricate the pieces. He and Arr need a lift to their next job. I told Jake I’d ask you.” I could hear glasses clinking and someone turned up the music. He was in a bar somewhere. Wish I was there instead of in all this gunk. “If you can get them there, I can pick them up when they’re finished. I’m tired up right now myself and will be for the next month or so.”

“When do they need the pick up?”

“As soon as you can get there. Their job is open ended as to time. They can wait for you if it’s not too long.”

“Tell them I’ll be there by the end of the week.”

“Will do. Thanks.” Tim chuckled at something someone else said on his end. “See you on the next fly-by.”

“See ya.”

I clicked off the ear and did a little happy dance in the mud. I could hardly wait for the change of scenery.

Don't forget to check out Vol. 2 of the Star Traveler Series "The Heirs of Henu"   linked to this site.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Star Traveler Update - Tea?

“How was the trip?” Bronwyn asked as he sat down with his tray across from me in the commissary.

“Not bad,” I said around a mouthful of scrambled eggs. “We made good time.” This was the second time running into Bronwyn in the mess hall. “And yours?”

“No snags. I sometimes wish I had a larger ship. If I had one like yours I would have made this set up in a couple of trips. As it is I will end up doing more than a dozen.” Bronwyn’s assignment along with others was to help transport the medical supplies to establish a hospital for the crew that would be working on the terra firma project.

“But, a job this size doesn’t come along often,” I said. “And usually you need the speed of your smaller ship to make those deliveries a larger one like Ma-rye-a can’t.”

“Ya, you’re right.” He took a sip of his pitch and made a face. “They sure feed you good here, but their pitch could use some work. You could float a spoon in it.” He set the mug down and took a bite of his malfit bits instead.

“That’s the reason I drink tea. You can make it any strength you want. You can even carry your own blend.” I pulled my flat tin of loose tea from my pocket which I always carried to the mess. “Want to try some?”

“Sure.” Bronwyn took his mug of pitch and poured it down the drain at the end of the clean up bar. He stepped to the drink station and filled up with hot water.

I emptied my filter bag of my used tea on the edge of my tray, than refilled it with fresh leaves. “Let it seep for 2 minutes, any longer and this one gets a bit of a bite.

He popped the bag in the mug. “Smells good,” he said in satisfaction as he took a whiff over the rim of his mug. “What kind is it?”

“This one is from my last trip to Valaria. I bought it from a street merchant. He said he blended them himself. I am going to have to look him up again. I really like it. Has a nice fruity flavor without being an herbal. I don’t care for herbals. I like a nice black tea.”

Bronwyn took the bag out and raised the mug.

“Wait,” I cautioned. “Put a pinch of this in it.” I handed over my pouch of Flolate.

“More tea?” Bronwyn asked as he peered into the bag.

“Nope, a sweetener from a plant on Rigil Three, and its properties not only sweeten, but also make the tea leaves sink to the bottom,” I explained

“So I won’t go around smiling at ladies with specks between my teeth.” Bronwyn smiled as he dropped a pinch in his tea. He did have a nice smile. He stirred. The Flolate dissolved and the tea leaves sank to the bottom of his mug. He took a sip. His eyes closed in contentment and he said, “I am going to sit with your every day from now on.”

“I’ll remember to bring more tea,” I said with my own smile. I have indoctrinated another into the world of tea.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Announcing a NEW Blog!

Hi Everyone,

Check out Volume 2 of the Star Traveler Series, the continuing saga of Jake and Arr's adventures.
Hold on to your blasters - it's going to be a bumpy ride.

Star Traveler Update - Bronwyn

“What did you do?” I asked Bronwyn as I raised my cup for another drink.

We were setting in the commissary provided for the transporters and workers while they were on Olympus. I ran into Bronwyn in the chow line. He asked how the delivery of the Golden Screamers to Andrew Daily, which he pawned off on me, had gone. I made a few choice remarks to the effect that I would never accept another ‘shift’ from him no matter what it paid. We fell into seats at the same table and started trading stories. He was making deliveries as I was. He had made six trips to my three – smaller, faster ship.

He was telling me about an encounter with a Pegasus above the MFD barrier in flight. While approaching for a landing he met one coming straight at his side. He could not maneuver out if its way fast enough.

“Well, I couldn’t let it just hit me. It would have broken its neck, so I opened my side bay door and let it fly in.” He took a bite of his malic root chewing happily on the crunchy plant. “When its hooves hit the metal of the deck, it just came to a stop.”

“It landed in your ship?” I asked in disbelief. I had totally forgotten about eating.

“Sure did. Big as life. She was snow white and had the most beautiful blue eyes.” You would have thought he was describing a lover, but I knew how he felt having had the encounter with the centaur just a few days ago. 

“She didn’t seem frightened at all - maybe a little leery.” He pointed his malic root at me for emphasis, “Her wings were probably twenty feet across. She spread them when I came toward her.”

“Did you get to touch her?” I was breathless. To see one of the Olympians without a barrier between you and them was unheard of.

“I tried, but like I said, she was leery. When I approached she shied away. I thought she might fall out the bay door, so I backed off. She stamped her feet a few times at me. Then turned and took off back through the door.”

“Incredible,” I said.

“Really incredible,” he said with a glow in his eyes.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Star Traveler Update - Visitation

I stood stark still in the mud on our side of the MFD. The Centaur was right in front of me, within arm’s length, on the other side. The MFD barrier gave me a perfect view of him. Up close and personal. From his side, he would be looking at his own reflection. The barrier was above and surrounded the chewed up area the Krackow had left behind. It ran between us and the inhabitants of the planet and was meant to keep them calm and uninfluenced by our technology. The most they would notice of our presence would be the mirror on their side. Even the entry for our ships was planned not to interfere with the Pegasus' who might fly over or around our installation.

The centaur was magnificent. His body was a sleek chestnut brown – his tail a flowing mass of coal black hair so long it almost touched the ground behind him. His muscular human shaped torso was golden brown – his hair as black as his tail ran in a thick braid down the middle of his back. He pranced side to side studying his reflection, his hoofs striking up the grass in clumps on his side. Unlike a bird, you could tell he had no illusions that his reflection was another centaur. He knew it was him and he was admiring himself. He was worth admiring.

He turned to leave and I wished I could call him back. I couldn’t get enough of him – the soft wispy hair that fell over his hoofs, the faint running of short hair down his back which must have evolved from the presence of a main. He only walked about five lengths of his body away and turned. He stood motionless for a moment except for his front right hoof pawing at the ground. Then all of a sudden he charged at the barrier directly in front of me. Even though I knew he could not penetrate it I involuntarily jumped back. He slid to a halt just before contacting the MFD and reared up on his hind legs. He was enormous – at least twice my height. When his front feet came down to the ground once more he was smiling. He liked what he saw. You could tell he thought himself as magnificent as I did.

He leaned forward and placed his hand on the barrier. As though he could see me, I snuck slowly up and pressed my hand against the barrier and his on the other side. He tilted his head and looked directly at me. If I didn’t know better I would have thought he was staring at me. His eyes were mesmerizing – almost a lime green with flecks of forest green and brown in them. I leaned forward to study him closer. So much was in those eyes.

All at once something caught his attention to his right and his hand fell away. The moment was over. I exhaled, just realizing I had been holding my breath. When I followed his gaze I could see another centaur in the distance – a female. Her body was a lovely buckskin color and the skin of her torso the shade of a smooth latte. Her hair and tail were blond.

She must have called to him, though I could not hear it. He turned and with the flick of his tail galloped off to meet her. They greeted each other on the rise with a nod and moved out of sight over the grassy hilltop.

My knees felt weak. I sat down on a stone by the barrier and kept gazing out at the landscape on the other side. It was nothing short of an Eden. Velvet smooth, grass covered rolling hills, flowering shrubs, crystal clear streams that ran into china blue pools, trees whose limbs swept down over the stream banks into the water or built umbrellas of shade on the the hills, and a sky so many shades of blue you almost felt it should have a color name all its own.

This was my second delivery to Olympus. Sam would be finished unloading soon and we would be off for another load. I hoped the centaur would come back for another look at himself, but with miles of MFD to choose from he probably wouldn’t. But, I had seen him. My first centaur.

I love my job.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Star Traveler Update - Olympus destroyed

I have arrived at Olympus. It is atrocious what the Krackow did to this area of the planet.

If you are not familiar with the Krackow let me enlighten you. They are a race of ‘Stripers.’ It is their cultural policy to move in on planets stripe them of all their resources and then move on. They destroyed their own planet and because they had space travel technology they just got in their ships and went to find another world to butcher. They are, in the true sense, barbarians.

Their activities mutilated a stretch of the planet’s surface hundreds of miles long and thousands of miles wide. It spans a whole continent. The Krackow must have come in force and been here a while before the Galactic Official discovered them.

They have been evicted now, but the damage they did is going to take months to correct even with terra forming equipment.

I’m was in hopes of catching a glimpse of my first unicorn or centaur soon. However, I have been told by my fellow transporters that they have run away and hidden. It is horrible. The Officials on site confiscated hides, feathers and skins from the Krackow. They don’t know how many have been killed.

It is just so pathetic.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Star Traveler Update - Mythology or Reality?

I just dropped Daniel and his team off. Sam is loading the delivery for Olympus.

Carrie has been cruising the NET for all the information she can find on the planet. She seems fascinated and I can’t blame her. The story of Olympus goes back centuries. When earthlings first found out about the planet and its inhabitants there were many who believed that the home of the ancient God’s had been found. Later it was proved that this was an evolution that paralleled our earthling myths. How it happened, who was responsible for our planet acquiring a mythology so similar to a planet’s reality so far from earth was unknown.

I was looking forward to seeing centaurs, Pegasus, nymphs, mermaids, cupids and satyrs. A myth made of flesh and blood.

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