Monday, August 31, 2015

Short Story: On The Rocks


On The Rocks

The missiles and shells raced through the sky as Jaeger ran across the battlefield through the white cloud that had enveloped it. His armored carapace protecting him from most shrapnel of exploding warheads and mines as he sought out enemy soldiers. They were visually invisible but his scanners could detect them if they moved around.

He turned toward the two o'clock position and leveled his weapon after something appeared on his screens. The cloaked enemy unit was now moving slowly but it had been right there. Jaeger squeezed off a couple of rounds and then quickly rolled to his right. Barely avoiding the armored enemy that pounced at where he had been standing.

From his sitting position he put three exploding rounds into the armored chest plate of the enemy that looked to have already taken a beating. The enemy threw up and arm to protect the chest and backed up a step. Jaeger took advantage of this and activated the rocket that carried him and his four-hundred pound armored suit to his feet. Then he launched a sticky grenade at the enemy before activating his own cloak and moving away before the enemy thought to get close enough to assure mutual destruction.

He felt the explosion behind him, one more enemy down.

“All units to rally point Bravo! I repeat, all units to rally point Bravo immediately!” the voice of the commander shouted over the com link. The message was coded, because the enemy didn't know there was no rally point Bravo this time, they skipped it. It meant move to Charlie. Jaeger used the suits robotic legs to move fast toward RP Charlie, the jet pack to jump over craters and other obstacles along the way.

He almost didn't stop in time when he came upon the white armored carapace of one of his mates, trying to get off the ground. The suit had been damaged, the legs and jet pack were mangled pieces of scrap. He read the designation on the chest of the suit.

“Twelve!” he said on the suit to suit short-range radio “You aren't going to get that thing walking, it's too damaged!”

The response was a female's voice. “Then maybe you can carry me to Charlie!”

Unfortunately she couldn't open the hatch to get out. Jaeger was forced to pick it up and carry it on a shoulder. With his speed and mobility limited he had to be more careful.

“If we're being sent to Charlie, that probably means we're retreating.” she said.

“Strategic withdrawal.” he corrected her. He was right, they would just be sent back another day to try the same thing again. This rock wasn't worth beans, but it was a strategic point in the solar system for anyone wanting to take Andel.

They were soon out of the fog and closing in on Charlie but their sensors were soon warning them of heavy enemy concentrations. In fact it looked like the enemy had pretty much cordoned off rally point Charlie. There was no chance they could get through to the evacuation point. He set her against a boulder that was between them and the enemy.


“What about Delta?” she asked, breathing hard.

“Are you hurt?” Jaeger asked “Want me to rip the hatch off?”

She exhaled with effort. “Don't. My legs are injured, I think the suit is the only thinking keeping me from bleeding out.”

Jaeger slammed a fist into the side of the boulder in frustration.

Then he tried to calm down. “What's your name, twelve? Mine is Jaeger.”

“Baker, Lisa. Class of 2123.” she answered. He didn't know her, but it still bothered him that she was injured and trapped on the planet. Then she asked again. “What about rally point Delta?”

He thought for a moment. “Overrun. And Gamma was evacuated at the start because it turned out to be a hive of enemy activity. We didn't have good intel. We won't have good intel next time either. The enemy knows and they move things around after every engagement.”

“That's not good. My com has been out for a while.” she answered, her breathing labored.

He tried to nod but the powered-suit wouldn't let him. “I haven't heard anything from the commander since the order to get to Charlie. I have no idea what happened to them. If the evac is coming, and they're surrounded by enemy forces, they'll have to bring bombers.”

Jaeger didn't see how Baker, Lisa was going to survive this. It'd be difficult enough with an intact power-armor suit. In her state, she wouldn't last long.

“The suit is giving me all kinds of painkillers, Jaeger.” she told him through breaths “I won't suffer.”

Baker's voice continued to weaken for the next twenty minutes, even as he tried to keep her talking so she wouldn't just drift off. That is when the noise came. Loud thundering explosions rocked the ground all around Charlie, the bombers had gotten through.

“This is it, Baker, we gotta move!” he said as he lifted her up and onto his shoulders. He used the jets in his own suit to get down the hillside as fast as possible, heading toward Charlie through the still-smoking bomb craters and dead enemies. “Stay with me, Lisa!”

He could see ahead that the transport ships were lowering to the surface to pick up what remained of the formidable army that had been sent here hours ago. Jaeger's power-suit was running red hot now as he worried about being left behind. He threw down his main cannon to lighten the load.

Jaeger increased the magnification on his visors and he could see one transport lifting off, the other was already closing the hatches. Just one powered-suited figure was left outside to make sure everything was locked up correctly. He didn't understand why they weren't detecting him.

Her suit must have crushed his main com antenna somehow. They might not even know he was running through the boulders to get to them. Maybe they could detect the suit to suit radio at this distance.

“Hold up! Two incoming friendlies! Say again, two incoming friendlies! Hold up!” he said frantically, wishing he hadn't thrown down his gun. This would have been a good time to shoot into the air.

There were now two armored suits outside the ship and looking in his direction. He was relieved, they had seen them. “Get the medic! Get the medic!” he yelled into the short range radio. A side hatch on the ship was opened and a red cross armored suit exited, much smaller than the troopers suits.

“We can't wait forever, Jaeger. The enemy is sending reinforcements, they're right behind you.” the voice of his commander responded.

He arrived at the ship and set twelve down, his own suit took the occasion to break down and both of them had to be dragged aboard.

“Lift off, now! The bombers are coming back!” the commander ordered

“Aye, sir!” the pilot responded.

Jaeger was lying just inside the hatch, his suit was not working. He couldn't even open the hatch but he had made sure that Baker, Lisa was taken cared of first. Jaeger didn't know whether she was still alive, or would live but he couldn't fault himself for trying.

As for the enemy and this God-forsaken rock, he knew they'd send him again. As many times as it took to end this war and this threat to humanity.

--------------------------

If you like my stories, and I would like to keep writing them, you can contribute to the tip jar on the sidebar or buy one of my stories at Amazon. Every little bit helps.

Excerpt from "The Fourth" (Greyson's childhood)

A girl named Tara is the title character of "The Fourth" but another character who was intended to become the bad guy turned out to be a good guy, against the will of this author. Greyson is his name, and I spend a part of the book on his back story because it is kind of different. So here is a part of the intro for Greyson and his slave-girl Lunaria.

...


She carried the wooden sword, a rudis, and the bamboo shield to the field always making sure to stay a few steps behind Greyson. The other boys usually practiced and paid him no mind but this time they were staring with their mouths gaping at the naked slave-girl.

This amused Greyson as he tightened his leather harness and gloves. He would practice with the other boys until teacher arrived from having coffee with dad. 
 
"He is a little young isn't he, Senator?" the teacher was asking. He and Greyson's father stood on the deck behind the large family house sipping coffee and watching the boys "practice" with their wooden swords.

"He is an only child. I've tried of course, I have four wives and we know they aren't the problem." he dad answered "It has frustrated me for years and now he is too old anyway, by the time a brother reaches his age he'll be living his own life. Where ever that may take him".

"Yes, still. I didn't know they produced them so young" the teacher said and paused with the cup at his lips, then shook off another thought.

"Special order: It takes forever to get it right, but they managed. Took them long enough that is for sure".

"Does he call her his wife?" the teacher asked amused by the idea of an eight-year old married couple.

The Greyson's father smiled "Of course. That is what they are after all".

"I must go and see about training them, as amusing as it can be to watch them flail and shout" the teacher said.

For once Greyson felt like the center of attention for after every grueling turn his girl came and wiped his brow and gave him a drink of water. None of the other boys had a girl but they all had brothers. Greyson would never have a brother but his jealousy was quenched a bit by theirs. 

How many years would they have to wait to have a woman of their own? Seven or Eight?


Greyson imagined how frustrated they were at home keeping to themselves when a naked slave is around. The punishment for touching one of fathers’ wives was very brutal indeed and they might miss weeks of school or practice recovering.

Ha! He would mock them mercilessly for years. He could do anything he wanted to the girl and they had nothing to compare.

He could molest her in front of them... no, he couldn't do that. He was already too attached to her, he actually cared for her on the very first day. He had only owned her for a few hours and he already couldn't imagine life without her.

Greyson had already resolved to treat her better than Father treats his wives. Father made some of his drunken friends laugh by putting his hand between a wife's legs right at the table or the sitting room. No, Greyson wouldn't try to humiliate his girl.

Three hours later all of the boys were tired, they were shrugging off the leather and stripping to subligar. Everyone was sweating and when they reached the back of the house fathers wives were laying out jugs of lemonade and wash basins.

Greyson usually ran straight upstairs for a bath after practice instead of sticking around and try talking to the other boys. They didn't like him and he didn't like them much either. Today though, he looked around to see the girl holding out a glass of lemonade for him. It was amusing how the other boys looked from the naked women, fathers wives, handing out the lemonade to the girl standing just behind Greyson. Look was all they could do.

He accepted with a smile. She simply stood back and awaited his orders. How did they produce girls such as this he wondered?

After drinking his lemonade he went upstairs and took off his leathers and the girl was right there to pick them up and place them on the hook near the door where she had placed his rudis and shield already.

Greyson looked around. The room was cleaner than it had been since he could remember. Then he remembered how sweaty he was and went into his bathroom the girl was already there turning on the hot shower.

No reason to be shy, he told himself. She would never wear clothes so she definitely would not think anything of it. One of her duties is to bathe him, unless he tells her different. She had even taken off her sandals, he noticed. All she wore was the thin titanium chain around her neck that bore his name. 

... end excerpt ... 
 

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Saturday...

I seriously need to find time to polish off "The Fourth" and to continue working on "Lonely Space". I do want to start up another multi-part blog story soon though, I just need to decide which one to use.

I have some short stories I want to shop around and if they don't get bought (which would be, by far, most likely) I'll post them on the blog too. I have too many distractions at the moment to do a lot of serious writing. I have had several "ideas" that I need to flesh out. Maybe one of those can be my next ongoing blog story.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Oasis as an e-book



I decided to throw Oasis:Sci-Fi Novella (Link might change) on Amazon as an ebook with a terrible (free) cover for 99 cents. I doubt anyone buys it, but at least it will  be there.

It's 16,680 words long, so it's a lot longer than Reward: Stolen Planet.

If you have read all 6 parts on this blog, please feel free to leave a review at Amazon. 

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Notes

I don't really read fan fiction but somehow I started reading a FREE Harry Potter fan fiction story. I must have been really, really bored to finally decide to give it a look.

Well, there went my week. This monster is 2,000 pages long!

Harry Potter & The Methods of Rationality (which is free) starts with the premise that Aunt Petunia married a scientist and not a sad, pathetic guy like Dursley. Potter was raised by loving parents and he's also a boy genius. Did I mention there's a lot of humor too, this story doesn't take itself too seriously.


On meeting Draco Malfoy they got along great. Although the second time they meet 11-year old Malfoy says he is going to have to rape Luna Lovegood. Definitely not for kids, by the way. Most of the story is not like that, though. The Battle Magic class wargames are pretty cool, very enjoyable.

This book is better than the ones JK Rowling wrote. That is my humble opinion.

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I don't make any money writing stories on this blog and nobody donates anything to the tip jar. (cleans out the cobwebs) My e-book New Arrivals is now only $1.99 (or free reading for Kindle Unlimited subscribers)

 If you want to donate I will praise you here, or not if you want, or name a character for you or my first born....

Not really. lol





Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Oasis: Part Six



OASIS:
PART SIX


“I have got to do something!” Jake told his best friend.

Bolt stood there with his arms crossed shaking his head. “So you're getting into politics?”

Jake laughed and shook his head. “Not exactly. I am just going to set up an alternative to the two choices now available. Both of the existing choices are obviously bad. The Governing Council is corrupt and ineffective, and the pirates definitely do not have our best interests in mind. So, we have to set up something better.”

Bolt put the palm of his hand over his eyes. “Are you sure you haven't lost your mind?”

“Give me a chance, Bolt.” Jake said “The Star League will probably go along with the results of the snap referendum. We can't let the pirates win that and the existing council can't win that.”

Bolt held his hands out and shook his head “We're kids! Nobody is going to take us seriously!”

Jake nodded. “I know that. I have a plan.”

That did not make Bolt feel any better. After Lily and Tulip returned with some food and they had a meal together. “I want to name your fathers as candidates for my faction. I know your dad is still not well, Bolt, but I think this might give him a little protection. Lily, I think they would have to release your dad under the rules.”

Lily and Tulip looked and each other and the older girl answered “Then do it.”

Bolt just shrugged.

After they ate, Jake left the manufactory again and found the family dirigible anchored in it's usual location and rode up the vator. As soon as he reached the top he gave his waiting little brother and sister hug. His father was in the kitchen cleaning up.

“Dad, I really need to talk with you.” Jake said. They both sat at the table across from one another and his father clasped his hands together.

“Okay, Jake, what is this about?”

Jake thought about how to put it into words but then decided to do it his way, just go with it.

“I want to you to stand as a candidate in the election.” He said.

His father tapped his hands together and closed his eyes. “Jake, the Airship Vagabonds already have representatives who can...”

Jake shook his head. “No. You won't be representing the tribe. You'll be representing the people. The old ways have to go. They've failed us, that should be obvious.”

Jake slept in his room that night. The view of space vessels hanging over the city was distracting and disturbing. The invaders had made an offer that many people drooled for, while discrediting the existing government. This could be very bad. Jake didn't sleep well.

The next morning it was being talked about all over the colony, this mysterious 3rd option being offered by “unknown” forces. Jake wanted to laugh but he had to take the long way to see a couple of people. South east of the city on a small hillside was where the Solon was located.

Jake felt a little out of place among all the robed students and teachers but he reached the field and found that the Air Knights Administrator had already arrived, with some backup. There were three flying devices sitting in the field. Jake recognized one of the pilots.

“Hi Ria!” Jake said as he approached. She gave him a strange look in response. The Administration was speaking to Teacher Pak and Jake walked toward them.

“Hello.” Jake said “Administrator Brahma, Teacher Pak. Thanks for coming. I really want your help on this idea.”

Teacher Pak gave a little bow and began to speak but loud noises got their attention. Five loud motor vehicles, mostly two-wheeled approached. People were staring all around. These were riders. These were large men with animated tattoos on their exposed arms.

They parked their vehicles and approached.

“I'm Dungaree.” the first one said holding out his leather-gloved hand for a shake.

Jake gave them a bow and a wave. “I'm the one who called you here. My name is Jake.”

The large man didn't look impressed. “You seem a bit young.”

Jake nodded. “It was my idea but I can't actually be a candidate.”

The man nodded. “I see. You want to stay behind the curtain.”

Jake laughed. “I don't expect people to take this as seriously if they knew I was involved. That's why you guys are here. This effort has to include everyone, we aren't going to represent groups, we need to represent everyone.”

The man chuckled. “Everyone respects the Solon but I'm a Rider and they are Air Knights, I doubt most people will be wanting to vote for us. Especially those guys, holding out with their own water sources and treating their plateau like it's a separate nation.”

“We have deserved that. We will aim to rectify that image.” Administrator Brahma said in agreement.

“That image, as you say, happens to have a lot of truth.” Teacher Pak said “But the Riders are seen as criminals and we are seen a elitists here in the Solon.”

“This is the problem. Every tribe, I mean group, has enmity and detractors. I'm an Airship Vagabond, we're supposed to be aloof and snobby or something.” Jake told them “We need to show a united front. We cannot let a discredited governing council be the only alternative to an invasion and control by Matt Dillinger's pirates!”

The large Rider seemed to be grinding his teeth as he thought. “The boy makes sense. No way the governing council even wins a third of the vote.”

Teacher Pak was shaking his head. “The pirates have allowed only a few days before the plebiscite. Is there really a chance that we could win this?”

Jake wanted to pull his hair out. “We need to do this. We must do this.” then he pointed toward the city and the several space vessels hovering over it. “We cannot just surrender to this!”

Soon enough Jake had all Brahma, Pak and the Rider sign and hand scan themselves, this made them official candidates. Soon the mysterious 3rd faction would have names and faces associated with it and he hoped that the people of Oasis would pull back from the brink.

He went back to talk to Ria before Brahma left to return to the plateau.

“How is Bolt's father?” she asked

Jake had a feeling she was messing with him by asking something like that first, shake it off. “Getting better. I've asked him to be a candidate too.”

She tilted her head a bit. “I thought this wasn't about tribes any more, blimp boy.”

“It's not, I just wanted a good representative sample.” Jake told her. “How is everything on the old plateau?”

Ria grinned and shook her head. “Hectic. Preparations for war, trying to cajole the Star League to do the right thing. Trying to decide how much damage has been caused to our pseudo-independence by all of this.”

Jake had other things he would like to tell Ria but this wasn't a good time. The trio of pilots and Brahma would be heading back soon. Glancing over, Jake saw the Administrator returning.

“I'll talk to you next time.” He told her and she looked confused again as they parted.

Jake returned down the hill toward the city but as soon as he stepped onto the valley floor he was surrounded by three Authority soldiers and three pirates.

“Lookee here, we have us a rebel conspirator.” A balding pirate with an eye patch said.

“To the brig, no trial.” said the smallest pirate and then he laughed.

Jake put his hands in the air. “What is this about?”

The soldiers closed in on him and threw him to the ground, he tried to resist but they soon had bound his hands behind his back.

Jake tried to protest as they picked him up and dragged him to a waiting vehicle. They dropped him a couple times before managing to put him inside the back of the vehicle. A very bumpy ride followed, Jake imagined he would soon be covered in bruises. Then he was blindfolded and thrown into something else.

Jake felt the sunlight vanish. He was in shade, possibly indoors. It was silent even though there was a moving sensation once his heartbeat slowed down. Then Jake got the idea he was on a pirate shuttle being transported to one of the ships above Oasis City.

The next thing he remembered was being marched through corridors and pushed into a small room with a transparent wall. Soon enough he had a visitor.

Matt Dillinger stood on the opposite side of the transparent wall and activated the intercom.

“Little Jake Wagoner. First time on a starship?” The space pirate asked, walking back and forth across the transparent area as if he was the one in captivity.

Jake scowled. “Let me go! You have no reason to bring me here.”

The pirate laughed. “We know you are organizing a faction for the vote. Did you think we would stand idly by while you did this?”

Jake kicked the transparent wall. “It's within the rules you agreed to!”

“Ha!” Dillinger said “Star League rules. We're pretending to do this by the book. You did not really expect us to ignore you as you ruin everything, right?”

Jake sat on the cot and covered his eyes with his palms. Dillinger was right. I actually expected the pirates would play by their own rules. Was I that stupid? These guys never play by the rules, any rules. How do trust a pirate? You can't. They won't keep their promises but they will make sure you keep yours.

“I don't think you understand what you are interfering with, boy.” Matt Dillinger said. “There are great powers in the galaxy who see great potential for Oasis...”

Jake nodded. “How long have you been playing this classic generic villain role?”

The man looked confused for a moment. “This is no game, I assure you.”

Jake stood up from the cot. “Great powers in the galaxy see great potential for Oasis, you say. Where have they been? Why haven't they ever just visited and proposed their development projects? Why is their first idea to take the government hostage and force a vote to legitimize a coup? I would think great powers of the galaxy might have tried - I dunno – diplomacy or offering money first.”

Matt was right up to the transparent wall dividing them. “What is your point?”

“I don't know yet. I will, though.” Jake told him “Kidnapping me tells me there is more to this than you would ever admit.”

“Take a nap, Jake.” the man said before he walked away.

“You can't just leave me here!” he yelled and then heard the hatch close. Apparently, they could and did leave him there. Good. Jake sat on the cot and removed his right sandal and slid open a small compartment and tapped a button there. This would activate an emergency distress beacon. Jake never actually had to use it before and he hoped it worked.

Meanwhile the news of the third faction spread across Oasis. It's candidate list was available for perusal and its platform was simple. Oasis can be developed without space pirates and threats of violence and the old government can be replaced by something more representative.

Jake's father Travis Wagoner left the family dirigible with his two younger children. He brought them to the manufactory where he found Bolt, Lily and Tulip. He learned that Bolt's father was doing much better. He asked Lily and Tulip to watch over Jato and Tawni. Travis asked Bolt to go with him.

After they left the building Bolt asked “What's going on, sir?”

“Jake has been kidnapped.” the man said, then he looked up. “He's in one of those ships up there.”

Bolt shook his head. “I knew they'd be after him. I tried to warn him. He keeps running off by himself.”

Travis nodded vaguely and then said “I am heading to a faction meeting. Jake was supposed to be there, too. Come with me.”

They arrived at the back of a restaurant and was let in. Inside the dining area were most of the candidates their faction had signed up. Travis banged his flat palm on a table until he had their attention.

“I know this was supposed to be a strategy session. Unfortunately, the pirates have taken Jake and we need to get him back.” Travis told them. “Anyone have any ideas on how to get aboard one of those pirate ships?”

Administrator Brahma stood up. “I can get you up there, but I'm not sure they would answer a knock on the door.”

“We can open the door.” the leather clad Dungaree said with a short deep laugh.

“We'll need some armor and some weapons, I think there needs to be at least a six of us going in, but we'll need some distractions too.” Brahma told everyone. “I will make the arrangements. I assume you want this done ASAP?”

“Yes!” Travis answered. “Anyone know the layout of those types of vessels?”

On the plateau Ria and others were called to their Dragon flying vehicles. They didn't know what they were supposed to be doing yet though. Once she arrived she was stunned to see that every single flying machine was being prepped for a mission. Something big was about to happen.


A loud noise scared Tawni, Lily opened the door and looked outside. Two-doen motorcycles and other vehicles were passing by. She shut the door.

“Those are Riders!” she said

“What are they doing?” Tulip asked, looking up from her game of treyckers with Jato and Tawni.

“Looks like they're headed to the council building.”


On one of the ships hovering over the city, an alarm was going off.

“Boss!” someone said running up to Matt Dillinger in the corridor. “Something is going on! You have to see this.”

They entered the bridge of the ship. There were maps and images.

“The Riders have entered the city. The Air Knights are flying all over the place in random patterns, whatever they're doing, they are coordinated.” one of his top minions told him.

Matt shook his head and laughed once. “Looks like someone is hoping to unite the opposition against us.”

Dillinger ignored the fact that everyone around him was waiting for his command.

“Deploy the Silver Forces to the shuttles” he told them “Prepare the ship weapons for taking down the aerial vehicles.” He ordered “Reinforce the forces at the council building.”

There were so many Air Knights in the sky that the pirates did not notice the six two-man versions amongst them. Then one of them flew right to the hovering ship and the passenger jumped over the pirate vessel. His magnetic arms and legs caught hold and then he moved the seven paces to the right and started preparing to hack the lock code.

Soon enough there were five others sticking to the outer hull of the ship, waiting for the hatch to open.

It swung open and one by one they climbed aboard the ship on their rescue mission. Then they pulled out their white-colored submachine guns

“Scanner says we take a left in the corridor and then the next right.” Dungaree said while checking three shock-wave grenades he carried on his belt. Travis Wagoner and other volunteers followed him as they quickly moved toward the brig.

They never saw the enemy platoon getting into the shuttle on the other side of the ship. It was being mirrored on all of the ships.

“Shuttles prepared to launch.” said one of the crew and Dillinger nodded. “Once you arrive, feel free to crush the opposition. Let them learn a little bit about respect.”

...


The insertion turned onto the last corridor and found three armed guards. The team stepped out and began firing. The cone rounds caused no damage to the walls. To a human it feels like a kick in the stomach. The three guards fell. Nobody on the team was wounded but the armor plating on one of them had taken a beating.

They moved on and located the brig. The outer hatch demanded a pass code, which they did not have, so Dungaree smashed it. Then Administrator Brahma pulled out a small hacking tool.

...

“This is shuttle 3, door open, we are go!” the pilot said before pushing out of the shuttle bay and turning towards the city below. He was to ferry ten armored troops to the surface. Easy job.

“Hey!” he said when something flashed by right in front of him. Collision alarms were going off on the control panel. Then he noticed there were a lot of aerial vehicles flying around fast and randomly.

“What is going on? These guys are everywhere!”

Then Dillingers voice came over the radio. “Ram them, shoot them, I don't care. Just get to the council building!”

When one of the shuttles rammed into Jasper, the Air Knights knew that things had escalated. Hondo called out “All units, take out those shuttle thrusters!”

Ria flew up behind one of the shuttles and threw one of her boomerazor's. It broke one of the transparent maneuvering covers. Hondo activated the gun on his Dragon and shot the main thrusters on of the shuttles, it went out of control and then crashed into one of the dirigibles over the city and exploded into a fireball.

Ria nearly fell off of her Dragon when she saw the explosion. Once she was back to level flying she watched the flaming dirigible fall onto the city below.


The armored team reached the transparent wall. One of them connected a hacking tool to the lock on the cell.

“Who are you?” Jake asked

“Jake! We're getting you out of here!” one of them responded.

“Dad?” Jake asked, recognizing that voice.

“Hold still! We'll get you out of there.” another familiar voice said.

“Administrator Brahma?”


“Sir! The council building is being overrun.”

“Have the other shuttles landed?” Dillinger demanded to know. The loss of one was expensive but could be replaced.

“They are taking heavy ground fire.” he was told “Our troops there are requesting evacuation.”

Matt Dillinger turned around and kicked a bulkhead. All this work was turning into nothing. Oasis had looked like an easy mark. He didn't look forward to telling his financial backers that the mission had failed.

“Get them on board. Let's get out of here!”

“Some of the Authority soldiers that backed us want to come along too”

“There is no time for another shuttle trip! Leave them behind!” Dillinger ordered.

Shuttle 3 never even got to land before returning to the shuttle bay. Then the ship was prepared for returning to space.

The insertion team and Jake reached the hatch they had entered through. Jake looked out and down and then back to the others.

“How did you plan for us to get down?” He asked.

The ship thudded and they all reached for a hand-hold. Looking back outside, Jake's eyes widened and he yelled to the others. “We're moving up! We gotta go!”

He father pulled Jake close while Brahma and Dungaree strapped him to his father. A second breathing mask was placed on Jakes face, connected to his fathers suit. Then one by one they leaped from the hatch and Jake yelled. “This is crazy!”

His father leaped out of the hatch too. They spun a few times and the space vessel quickly became smaller and smaller in the sky above. Jake was awed at how high they were now. He could see the city below, there were fires, but the space vessels were gone.

A large circular winglet deployed around the pack his fathers suit carried. This slowed down their descent a little and gave him some control of the direction they drifted without needing to deploy any parachutes. All five of the others had deployed the same thing.

Jake wondered if these suits had come from the Authority or from the Air Knights.

That little valley and its lakes. This oasis. It was home for most of the people here. This is what it looked like from far above. The rest of the world was a dry desert. The pirates had made a good point, even though they were the wrong people to carry it out.

Jake would make sure it was carried out. He hadn't known what he would do with his life before, but making Oasis green would do fine. The whole world would become his home. No more tribes, no more corrupt council and forget about the Star League. The League hadn't even sent a form letter.

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I hope you enjoyed the six-part story. You can buy it as an ebook HERE for 99 cents.

NEW ARRIVALS is now only $1.99 

Or you can help me out by hitting the tip jar on the sidebar.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Another Update

Oasis: Part Six is coming soon. I am about halfway done with part 6, it's been hectic.

My ebook New Arrivals is now only $1.99 for this week.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Chapters

Deciding where to put the chapter break in the new novel is not easy. The story is basically in 3 parts and I need to make the first 2 parts alternate into chapters.


Wednesday, August 19, 2015

First Draft Prologue: Vacation Year

This was a prologue I wrote as an idea for an adventurous trip through several system for a "normal" family. Where they might get chased by pirates, arrested as criminals, get in the middle of a war, meets a lot of aliens... It might never actually get finished but this was the first part.

Title: Vacation Year


Prologue

San Clemente Junk Yard
3-12-2129

“It's a bit of a clunker, I will definitely admit to that” the old salesman said “But if you are missing any vital parts, feel free to find them on my lot.”

He pointed at the large compound strewn with wrecks of all shapes and sizes and colors. “If you buy this beast, then you get free scrounging on my yard for three months!” the man said, throwing this in to sweeten the pot.

The man and the younger boy looked at each other, they were still not sold. The salesman opened the hatch and they all went inside, through the airlock and he led them to the rear compartment. When he opened this up, the father and son both whistled.

They entered the room fully and were quite impressed by the engine. It was in pristine shape.

“Wow” the boy said “A 2121 Rolls-Chrysler HH Magnetic Feed Ion Pulse Engine!”

The father nodded “That was unexpected”

The salesman agreed “This engine is a sweetie too. Best thing about the whole ship. This is why I said it would always get you home”

“Please dad, please buy it” the boy said

“We should look around the ship a bit more before we buy it” the father said, but the salesman can tell he had hooked them. It was a pretty engine and it was definitely half the value of the whole wreck, maybe more.

“Sure” the salesman said “The life support might need a new pump and filter assemblies, might need to have that looked at by a professional. Life support is very important out in space”

“Come on dad” the boy said pulling him into one of the crew quarters where a bed and a small desk and tiny bathroom were the only visible amenities. The bathroom stank a bit of mildew and the drain looked positively nasty but these were minor fixes, really.

“It's old and used but a little TLC will get it back to work” the salesman said “It's got six cabins for crew, a small mess hall and then the cockpit up front of course. Down below are the air and water tanks and the cargo compartments, including a place for a vehicle with loading ramp”

“Any leaks?” the father asked

“I pressurized this ship a week ago, left it that way for three days. There was no leakage at all” the salesman said “I have had mechanics replace the air and water tanks, the coolant is new, we rebuilt the landing gear and serviced the communications system too”

“I want it Dad! I want it” the boy said

“Is this investment for your son here? It's a nice project I guess” the salesman ventured.

“I suppose it is for him, in a way” the father said looking up and around at the cockpit they just entered “We've always wanted to go see the colonies but never had the chance. I'm planning on taking the whole family, when this thing is ready”

The salesman nodded. “Well, I told you the price when you called, what do you think?”

The boy was jumping up and down excitedly “Say yes, say yes, say yes”

“All right then” the father said putting his hand out “14.5 million credits it is”

They shook on the deal. Then they took out their tabs and exchanged the ownership registration and the money by tapping them against each other one time.

“It's yours” the salesman said, the boy yelled “Yippee!” and jumped on one of the leather pilot chairs and spun around.

The father activated one of the control panels and looked at some of the status readouts, everything was in the green, some of them barely. It was definitely a bit of a clunker but it was serviceable. It would still need a few things before his wife and daughter would step foot on board.

“We are definitely going to have to upgrade this operating system, for one” the father said “It is very out of date”

The boy looked back from his pilots seat “Aye, aye Captain”

The father is William McDaniels and his son is Billy McDaniels, it was the boys birthday and shopping for a starship was his idea. It was his idea for the last three years, actually, but only this year did they have the finances to make it happen. In fact it had been William McDaniels life-long dream to see the colonies as well and now, at 48, he was going to make it happen.

“Talia isn't coming unless you install a new VR terminal in her quarters” Billy told his dad “It's going to be a long trip and we don't need her to whine us all to death”

As far as William McDaniel had plotted it out, visiting at least 12 colony worlds before coming back to Earth would take at least a year. Travel between the worlds would take weeks through hyper and they would be out of contact during that. Better upgrade the entertainment library too, they would all be going stir crazy on this trip.

It was a 78-foot Make-Way, it was rated as a Class-B Recreational Spacecraft. It had all of the standard systems for connecting to space stations and being serviced automatically at ground ports. This particular model was 22-years old, and some of it smelled like it. The ship was nothing special, except it was now theirs. That made it special.

William McDaniel wanted to replace the carpeting for one thing it was threadbare and torn in some places. There were a lot of little things, like painting the walls so it wasn't all mis-matched and splotchy. The salesman was right about having a professional inspect the life support systems, but also the exterior hull shielding, he had seen some cracks out there and they needed checked.

“Dad, this navigational computer is way behind” his son told him “It doesn't even know about some of the new colonies. It also hasn't been upgraded since Roosevelt Station broke up and burned in the atmosphere.”

“Yeah, that's funny” William said “Well, we could download a free version off the net or pay for a professional one, what do you think?”

“Some things are better not left to amateurs” his son said

“Okay, let's shut it down for now. I'll lock up. When we come back, we'll roll up our sleeves and start working” the man told his son “Burger on the way home?”

“Yes!” Billy said “If you throw in a chocolate shake I won't tell mom how much you spent”

Ouch.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

A Very Short Story: Tick, Tock


Tick, Tock

“Just step through the gateway, Mr. Vash.” the old man who ran the project told him. Vash was looking at the aperture of a hole in the universe. But he could see the other side, he could feel the breeze coming through from that other world.

This just was not possible.

“So, this is how all my money was spent.” he said, with a smile. The stern-looking assistant never looked away from the computer terminal. The older man frowned “This is a complete success, worth every penny. Also an investment that will pay you back a million fold.”

Vash still could not believe it. It had to be some sort of hologram, some kind of virtual reality. Still, he pulled himself together and stepped through.

He was in a wooded area. Leaves covered the grass on the ground, it smelled musty. To his left was a small river and after walking a short distance there were sidewalks and park benches. To his right there was a depression and a pedestrian rock bridge.

He knew this place. Vash had been here a few times as a child. He walked over the familiar bridge and eventually reached the parking area. There weren't any vehicles. The road beyond had steady traffic of 1980's model cars, some of them looked new. Maybe, possibly they had really developed a time machine!

He thought of the investments he could make that would make him a billionaire! Vash carried some old money that he could spend without worry about being caught. He knew there was a store a couple blocks over. No, he believed now. He needed more than a pocket full of change for what he had in mind.

Vash turned and went back into the wooded area. He found the location he had started. The gateway was not there. He mentally berated himself. Of course they would want to keep this to themselves and now he was trapped in the past.

Back in the present.

“Well, boss, how long do you suppose it will take for him to realize that he isn't in our past, but a past of a different time line?” the stern-looking assistant asked, taking off her glasses. Then she let her blond hair down from the tight bun. “I think we should celebrate, maybe we could open the gateway into a wine cellar of old France somewhere?”

“I'm far ahead of you, my dear” the old man said with a smile.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Short Note...



I need to focus on the novel and not the short stories for a while. I will still add two or three stories a week to the blog. That is the plan anyway. I need to find a way to make this hobby pay, even if a little bit.

I'm having computer problems, money problems and personal problems all at the same time. That stinks, but that is life. I found out for real today that rubbing two nickels doesn't actually do anything. 
It's harder to write when your hungry, good thing I have editing to do.

It's a pretty sad day when you're wishing for a Ramen Noodle fairy to drop out of the sky. I'll get through it, that is what us humans do, we just keep on keeping on. We are a very stubborn species and that is probably drove us out of the caves.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Oasis: Part Five

 

Oasis

Part Five



“Teacher Pak” The youngest student asked as they sat in a circle facing each other in in the plaza “Why do people fight?”

The bald man in the robe spread his arm. “People are human. Humans fight. As I have told you before, we are all people. These so-called tribes are all artificial designations. Families and people who love each other fight too, the people on this planet have family squabbles.”

“But what of the outsiders?”

The teacher nodded his head and cupped his hands together. “Those are invaders. They are not family with this world. They are part of humanity, but these are not good people.”

People in fact had gone into hiding. Besides the soldiers, pirates and the concentrations of 'tribes' outside of the city proper, the streets were abandoned. No shops had opened, no vendors could be seen as the patrols ignored the teacher and his students.

They could also see the Air Knights had set up camp across the lakes. Trying to get between the two sides had been their objective and they had accomplished that much. The question was, what could be done now. How could peace be furthered.

The space vessels hovering over the city were meant to intimidate and they did that job very well, the occasional shuttle between them and the council building was also noted throughout the day. Teacher Pak had no idea how long they might have to stay there. He knew the students would be thirsty and hungry and tired when nightfall came around.

Across the lake Administrator Brahma and some of his ablest squadron leaders of the Aerial Knights and the Colonel in charge of the ground forces kept watch on the city and the ships above it. They had sent their messages and all they could do now was wait for an answer. No answer would also be an answer, a bad one.

The stories and rumors were spreading. The Airship Vagabond dirigibles continued to move over the city freely. Brahma wondered if they were being a bit foolish to tempt the pirates. he thought it was only a matter of time until the pirates made their position clear, by show rather than by words.

“Administrator!” Young Hando shouted running up to the elderly man, he was holding one of the small flimsy news-screens. He took it from the youngster and held it close to his face. The headlines announced that the council would begin a broadcast soon, that it would be viewable everywhere on Oasis.

The Administrator handed the flimsy back to the boy and nodded. Clearly the ball was in the court of these space pirates. He seriously doubted the Space League would intervene. Once the pirates showed any control of the world and its populace they might just be recognized as the true rulers.

The space pirates clearly held an advantage in firepower and technology. Once they made their demands the game would be afoot. What percentage of the people of Oasis would welcome the promises of water and settlements? If that number were too high, a fight against the pirates would be futile. If it were low enough, they might succeed quickly in evicting these outsiders.

They had returned to the factory. Jake was insistent that they would need weapons this time. The pirates had weapons, the Authority soldiers had weapons and so did most of the others. Certainly the Airship Vagabonds would mostly stay out of the fight, but they were still hovering around. Not many of them had stayed passed the mountains where it would be safer.

Bolt, Jake, Lily, Tulip watched the manufacturing device as it worked. In less than twenty minutes a rifle was produced. Jake took it into his hands, it was well-balanced. He brought the scope to his eye and he could see through the wall to the outside of the building.

“Nice!” he said, then “What about ammunition?”

Bolt held out a hand and in it was a bunch of small cone-shaped projectiles. “It's laser will accelerate one of these to the speed of sound, the effective range is only 400 meters or so.” he explained “I'm not as good as my dad, this thing is still a little rough around the edges. It'll work but I can't promise how long that would last.”

The small cone-shaped projectile were usually ceramic, but in a pinch you could use a light-weight metal or even steel.

“I hope we never need to use it.” Tulip said, looking concerned.

“Whatever it takes to save our dads.” Lily said, smiling at Bolt. Jake felt left out for a moment, his dad was in the airship taking care of his younger brother and sister. Those dirigibles would be sitting ducks if the pirates decided to take them down. It's not like his father wasn't in some danger, but he wasn't sitting on a bomb surrounded by armed gunmen.

“There has to be a way to deactivate those explosives.” Jake said.

Bolt shook his head. “We don't even know what kind of explosives they're using.”

“What did that girl Ria say? What are the Aerial Knights planning?” Lily asked. Jake shook his head and shrugged.

“Whatever they thought they would accomplish with their attack went out the window when they discovered who the enemy was.” he said. He leaned the gun against the wall and turned on the flat-screen monitor.

“Matt Dillinger should be doing his broadcast soon. I guess we'll know more about what's going on, although most of what he says might be lies.” Jake said as the video feed started.

The space pirate was now wearing a suit. His short beard trimmed and his long blond locks still tied in a ponytail behind his head. He certainly didn't look like a space pirate. He was standing in the middle of the chamber floor but it was darkened. You could almost see the council in the shadow.

“Hello, citizens of Oasis.” he said in a surprisingly smooth voice “My name is Matt Dillinger. Let me explain why I am here and how this benefits all of you. Once I have said my piece, I will show you that  I am a man of my word.”

“Oasis is a desert planet. There are only two sources of real water on the whole planet, if you don't include the micro-frost on the southern pole. The lakes of the oasis that this world was named for and the wells on the plateau controlled by the Aerial Knights. Yes, they have been holding out from the rest of you while sharing your goods.”

Jake had a bad feeling about this.

The man continued. “The rest of the planet outside this little valley controlled by the council which calls itself the Authority, is lifeless. Many of your people refuse to submit and live in this city, you drive in your caravans, motor bikes, airships and the like. You know. You know this world was meant to be lived on, it was meant to be a real developed colony.”

“Instead this little group of people have determined to keep this planet a poor backwater world that doesn't even get proper notice by the Star League. The Star League doesn't think this planet deserves to be treated like anything more than it is. They see no potential because of the way things are here.”

“So, instead of doing nothing like this council wishes, the people should want more. Imagine Oasis as a green world, all that land waiting to be settled would be very valuable. Imagine lakes, reservoirs and cities all over the world. That is what a real world looks like. Your council wants to keep power over you, it wants things to stay as they are. They govern like a greedy cabal. They want to keep the pie small because it's theirs, instead of growing the pie for everyone.”

“A wealthy, thriving, green Oasis would need a real government that actually represents the people who live here, instead of one dictated by the so-called 'Tribes'. The Star League is never going to treat Oasis as an equal among the settled worlds. It is time for Oasis to embrace change. That is what I offer, I want to bring water, wealth and equality to your world.”

“So. Look at a globe of the world.” he said as a holographic appeared in front of him. “Look at all this empty land waiting to be used. By you. This is your future. You should have a say in it, don't let a council chosen by group membership to decide your future. Oasis has been restricted from growth by a cabal for far too long, so stand up for yourselves.”

Then the lights of the chamber brightened just a bit.

“The council members are alive and well. The businessmen and women and others who hold power in their positions are also fine. Nobody has been harmed. Nobody will be harmed. Once the voting is over, they will be allowed to go.” Matt Dillinger said with a grim smile. “The vote will meet Star League standards, it will be considered binding by the civilized galaxy. I'll give more details later.”

Then it went blank. Jake was dumbfounded. The others were quiet. He imagined that everyone who had seen it was having the same reaction.

“A lot of people are going to fall for that.” Bolt whispered. Lily and Tulip nodded.

“You can't fight popular opinion with a gun.” Lily told Jake. He lifted the gun and strapped it over his back. “I'll be back later.” he said as he left them stunned.

Jake walked through the nearest alley between a pub and a stationary shop and then walked until he reached the plaza. The Authority soldiers he passed ignored him as he walked up to the balding man in robes surrounded by students who were sitting and talking.

“You are from the Solon, right?” Jake asked the man. The man stood and gave Jake a curt bow and held out a hand. “I am teacher Pak, these are my students. How may I help you?”

“My name is Jake. I assume you heard the broadcast?”

The man nodded.

“What did you think about it?” he asked the academic.

“We were just discussing this very topic, Jake. Please join us in the circle.”

They made room for him and he sat, he laid the rifle on the ground in front of him.

“A lot of what this man, Matt Dillinger, said was true.” Teacher Pak said with a nod “Of course the old saying, even the devil can quite scripture, comes into play. Many of the promises and statements he made are absolutely good things for this world. But at what price?”

These were the same thoughts that Jake had been having. It was troubling. Just because the council might be wrong, doesn't make the pirates the good guys. These pirates were just doing what pirates always did, they were taking advantage of a situation. Instead of dealing in outlawed goods or stealing ships and cargo, they were offering the people of Oasis what they should have already had.

Teacher Pak saw the look on his face and nodded. “They are offering to sell us what is already ours, but at a hefty price.”

Jake shook his head. “Would the Star League really allow a government run by pirates to become full members?”

“They have their own goals and biases. Do you suppose there aren't many worlds that would want a piece of this action? Oasis would not be the first world to be divided up by other worlds if this is what they plan.” Teacher Pak told them. “Once the profits were made, the wealth looted, the pirates could scram and let a 'true' government take over. With immigrants outnumber us, that government could easily be one hostile to our interests.”

“I remember some Earth history. I read about how foreign powers controlled China for decades until the Boxer Rebellion. Is this what we might be seeing? Are the pirates being backed by other worlds or even the Star League?” Jake asked.

“Sounds possible.” one of the students said.

“I don't think the pirates would have done this without a lot of support.” the female student amongst the boys said. “They've never acted this way before. History is a good guide, after all.”

Teacher Pak spoke up again. “These invaders wish to be seen as benevolent. That is likely to be a thin veneer if it is up to them. If there are foreign powers controlling them, then this wish to be seen as benevolent could be a weakness. Mahatma Ghandi knew the British well, he knew that a peaceful protest would have more impact on them than armed rebellion. If they had been Mongols, Ghandi would have raised an army.”

History is a good guide to the future, as well as a good teacher. Learn from the past, learn from mistakes. The British had responded to violence by the Indians with cruel repression, but they responded much better to peaceful protests. This would likely not have worked with other invaders, one just had to know their enemy.

Jake stood up, pulled the rifle strap over his shoulder and started walking south. He crossed the dirt berm that divided the two lakes. He could see the ground soldiers of the Air Knights watching him like a hawk. As soon as he crossed he was blocked by two armed sentries.

“Who are you? What do you want?” They asked.

“I want to see the Administrator. Administrator Brahma.”

“Why would he want to see you?” they demanded.

“Tell him that Jake, the boy who flew to the plateau, wants to see him urgently.” he replied.

One of the pair turned and jogged away, the other glared at him and the gun strapped to his back.

Soon he was escorted to the encampment where Brahma was huddled around a low table with other older people. It occurred to Jake he had seen few older people on the plateau, but these must be in charge.

“Jake, what have you come to say?” Brahma asked.

He hesitated a moment. “I think you should withdraw. For the moment, anyway. Let this play out as peacefully as it can. You must have seen the broadcast.”

Brahma nodded. “Many will think that the pirate has a good point. They will think we have been keeping too many secrets to be the good guys. Although we are fellow citizens of Oasis, we have been too aloof for our own good.”

Jake nodded. “Fighting them right now would be seen as confirmation of everything he said. We both know they aren't the good guys, even if they are saying a lot of the right things. The Air Knights just cannot take the lead role in opposition. Too many people in the other tribes do not trust you any more than they trust these pirates.”

Brahma saw the point clearly enough. Others around the table were nodding. “The Authority soldiers and the pirates have not touched those Solon students for good reason. They cannot show their true nature at this point. Until they do, anyone who stands up to stop them will be seen as the bad guys.”

Jake took the rifle off his back and handed it to one of his escorts. “I won't be needing that.”

As he was leaving Ria came up to him. “We keep meeting, Jake. I suppose you have some kind of plan. You were the one who got into the council chamber when our forces couldn't.”

Jake smiled. “Not really a plan. We just have to play this right.”

“The leader of the caravans, Riders and Vagabonds were all invited to meet with Dillinger.” Bolt informed him as he returned to the factory building. Jake crossed his arms, “The Vagabonds don't have a leader.”

Bolt and Lily exchanged a glance. Then Lily carefully said “It's your dad.”

Jake sat on the floor. “What is he thinking?”

Bolt dropped down next to him. “Obviously he is going to offer to share the wealth. Probably offer them huge tracts of territory for their support.”

“What about the agrarians, merchants and others?” Jake asked.

“Different meetings.” Bolt said. “He is going to try and turn them against their own council representatives. Say they were mismanaging the world and corrupt. I can see that one coming a mile away.”

“What are we supposed to do?” Tulip asked “People are going to see the council as crooks. If the choice is between one band of crooks keeping us from developing and one band of pirates who offer everything people want...?”

Bolt nodded. “Some choice.”

Jake slapped the floor. “Good idea.”

They all looked at him like he was crazy. “What's a good idea?” Lily asked.

“There needs to be a different choice!” Jake told them. “Give me a computer with a keyboard. Lily, can you make something to eat? I have some thinking to do.”

He took the money he had gotten from Evander and gave it to Lily. “Some shops are actually opening.”

Bolt placed a screen and a keyboard in front of Jake and backed up. “Are you going to be causing trouble?”

“I hope so.” Jake said with a smile.


Part Six

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Friday, August 14, 2015

All In One Spot



I put the first seven chapters of Lonely Space in one location on Wattpad to make it easier to read. I don't use the Wattpad account much, but it's as good a place as any to park a 7-part story.

https://www.wattpad.com/myworks/47015192-lonely-space

By the way, the title doesn't seem to grab attention. I was trying to think of some alternative names for the story.

6,000 Years to New Utopia

Long Voyage to New Utopia

Voyage of the Salutem Novis: Book One - Revolting Robots

I don't know. I'll have to give a lot to this I guess. Eventually it will be published.
------------------------

As always I don't make any money doing this. (I wish I did!) Just bear with me. I will get Oasis: Part Five done soon.



Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Been busy...


I've been busy. I have submitted a few stories to paying sites (this one is not, lol) and have been working a little on my novels. (I go back and forth on those, it's slow).

I haven't had a lot of time to devote to writing, believe me - I wish I did. I would love nothing more than to be one of those people who could write full-time. I will have Oasis: Part Five posted soon enough! Promise!

Another thing is it's HOT here. I hate that.

Here is an unfinished story I was writing a long time ago. I only wrote two parts although my outline called for 10. It started off very lightly and would get darker and darker as it went on. In the final chapter I was going to have the main character involved in a real war and losing her powers.

The unfinished and abandoned story....

Force Girl

Part One

“Mom!” the girl in the passenger side of the sedan yelled. Her mother was praying, and normally you did not bother mother when she prayed but Tara was scared. They were blocked in by cars on both sides and behind them as far as they could see was a sea of vehicles trapped and all jammed together. In front of them was a crashed car with an engine fire, the driver was unconscious but not far away was a tractor trailer fuel tanker, it blocked the whole side of the highway.

The accident had happened during rush hour and the traffic jam probably went back for miles. The leaking gasoline from the tankers trailer was moving towards the car. Tara wanted out, all mom was doing was praying. Her mom had frozen like a deer in headlights.

Tara was scared to death, her heart was beating so hard and fast it seemed to want to pop out like an alien escaping. Then all of a sudden there was silence, then while she could still see the tanker through the windshield and her mom next to her there was no sound.

Then there were symbols and numbers moving across her field of vision no matter where she was looking. She felt different. What was happening.

Initializing... loading... then a lot of stuff she couldn't understand, just a jumble of words and numbers but she understood, sort of. She looked at her fingertips, this is where her power was located. The thing in her brain was letting her know that her forcefield generators were active. Her fingertips. She could see in her mind what she had to do. What she could do.

Tara climbed into the backseat and looked for a way to... disguise herself. All she saw was her little brothers football helmet and uniform and it kind of stank. It needed to be washed but he had left it in the car. Just this time, that was a good thing.

She donned the pads, jersey and helmet and unrolled the window, which her mother had told her not to do. As if keeping the windows closed was going to save them when 4,000 gallons of gasoline went up in an inferno.

Her mom called out her name, told her to get back into the car.

“Mom! Trust me! I know what to do!” she answered climbing from the rear passenger window to the top of the car and then to the hood. Standing on the hood she held out her hands and hoped this wasn't all just her imagination. Maybe the situation had made her crazy.

She held out her hand at the tanker trailer where gasoline was spilling from a gash and imagined it being pinched closed and willed her newfound power to make it happen. It worked, gasoline was no longer pouring across the concrete surface of the highway. She also knew emergency vehicles were far behind them through the traffic jam although she bet more were on the way from the other direction.

But she could use her power to carry the crashed car and its injured passenger to the emergency vehicles, she somehow knew that she could also fly. She had no way to explain this except that it felt like a program had been loaded in her brain and it just worked. Only she could see the forcefield bubbles that formed around the vehicle and herself, but they were very real.

There she was in her ridiculous costume in the air, in front of her and a dozen feet away was the car, flying over the hundreds of trapped cars below. She could hear people yelling and see them pointing to her, some held phones. Her identity safe because of her little brothers stupid white helmet with the peeling lighting bolt sticker on it.

Finally she sat the vehicle on the ground, paramedics and firefighters got out of their vehicles and rushed to the man, they called for the jaws of life. She told them to “stand back” and they did, then she used her powers to pinch off the crumpled door to expose the man being trapped because the steering column had been pushed into him.

The paramedics brought a stretcher and stood nearby and then she used her power again to push the steering column away from the man by several inches. He was free. He was on the wheeled stretcher, a gurney, and being wheeled toward where an air ambulance was hovering but lowering.

A cop walked up to her from the crowd of amazed onlookers and asked “What's your name?”

She couldn't think of what to say, not her real name for sure. “Force Girl” she answered and formed a bubble around herself and lifted off the ground, moving back towards mom. Instead she moved off to the side into some tall weeds and took off the football gear before rushing back to the car. Workers had arrived and started directing traffic, just one lane over the highway shoulder but it was a start.

“What happened? What did … how did... how?” her mom stammered in awe, as they finally got moving again.

“I'm not sure. Suddenly I just knew I could do that. I have no idea either.” Tara answered but she knew they were in her fingertips. Tiny, microscopic forcefield generators. It wasn't natural and it definitely wasn't normal. She was also aware of one more thing.

“I'm really starving” she said

“We just ate a big meal” her mother answered

Then Tara figured it out. “It's powered by me, I need fuel. I am worn out because I need more gas.”


After eating several cheeseburgers her mother couldn't help but shake her head. “I do not see where a little, skinny girl like you is putting it”

“I flew! I have super-powers” she said after looking around to make sure no-one else could hear. “If I have enough fuel I can do it again, it is the coolest thing that ever happened to me!”

“What are we going to tell your father and brother?” her mother asked, Tara put the empty soda cup-her third refill- back down.

“We have to tell them the truth, but nobody else. Nobody else must ever know who Force Girl is”

Her mother furrowed her brow “Force Girl? Really? Like some comic book character?”

They broke the news to dad and Jeffery at dinner. The TV was still re-airing the camera footage with fuzzy close-ups.

“My football uniform is famous” Jeffery said

“You can't tell anyone anything” his mother told him

“I know” he said quietly.

Dad had been quiet. “I guess we have to tell Tara the truth too, honey”

“Yes, I suppose”

Tara was still eating but stopped for this.

“You are adopted, as you suspected” he told her, she wasn't surprised. They were all blond and she wasn't. “You were found in the parking lot of a science lab that had exploded into flames. You had metal fragments in your fingertips and one tiny one in your brain. The doctors said they were better just left alone, since they didn't seem to hurt or cause problems.”

They were all silent a moment.

“I was a science experiment?” she asked looking at her hands again.

They hadn't known that until now.

“The best thing to do is lie low and not use your powers for a while” he told her “My company has tools, I will make you a real super-suit if you behave”

She was definitely interested in that. “Okay, I won't use my powers unless it is absolutely necessary”

“Good girl” he told her.


The next day she walked to school with Audrey, like always. Audrey was a bit nerdy with the glasses and everything but she was nice.

“I can't believe this Force Girl thing” Audrey said, Tara had hoped to avoid the subject but it seemed to be the biggest story on Earth at the time. “How cool is that? A real super-hero and it's a girl”.

“Yes. I saw it on TV too” Tara said.

Audrey was gushing though. “I'm going to start a fan club. I mean this was her first appearance and it was here in our city of all places. We definitely need a real fan club based here.”
“Right” Tara said, knowing that Audrey would make sure they were all in this club together. Sure enough Tom and Roberto were joining up too. Just great.


A few days later her father brought her to the garage. There he opened a box and pulled out a white and gold and blue uniform. It had a little skirt at the mid-section, just in case she was confused for another super hero, she thought sarcastically.

“This is made from a new micro-filament fabric. It is fireproof, waterproof and can control your body temperature to keep you from freezing or burning up.”

She was very impressed. “That is amazing. That means I can fly really high”

Her dad gave her a stern look. She added “I'll be very very careful, I promise not hit an airplane... or satellite”

“Tara!”

“Just kidding about the satellite” she told him.

Then he pulled out a helmet. “This has night-vision, infra-red, it can zoom in, has built in range finder for whatever object you are looking at, speed and altitude indicator and you can even record what you see and send it back to my computer. We can communicate real-time using cellular systems or wi-fi connections”

“Dad” she said taking it into her hands, it didn't feel too heavy “That is amazing, how did you do this?”

He smiled “My company is a defense contractor, we get some amazing stuff”

She was a bit overwhelmed. “I have to learn use this stuff”

“Tomorrow is Saturday” he told her “we can do some testing tonight and tomorrow night”

She felt tears of gratitude. “Thanks, dad, you are so cool”

“I know” he said.


She found that switching between the heads-up display on the helmet with her eyes almost as easy as using the forcefield bubble to fly. She knew to spread the forcefield going down onto as wide an area as possible, not only straight down. This gave her more speed and maneuverability and a few nights of flying in the dark gave her confidence she could this.

The built-in GPS and mapping system in the helmet let her know where she was and what was around her. Then on Sunday she took off just after dark for a couple hours of flying before bedtime. She picked up a distress call, an airliner had completely lost power and was losing altitude quickly.

She flew as fast as she could and was able to find the plane falling toward the ground and put a forcefield bubble around it. She guided the plane toward the airport, following instructions from the tower to the confused pilot. The radar operators thought that control had returned but the pilot didn't know what they were talking about.

Emergency vehicles followed the aircraft as it sat onto the tarmac without rolling. Cameras caught Force Girl looking at the plane as emergency slides erupted from the doors and people started getting out. After seeing this, she flew home. Hungry again.

“Did you see that video of Force Girl saving the plane last night?” Audrey said as they walked to school the next morning “They were showing it live and everything”

“That really was awesome” Tom said “I guess that means it wasn't just one time, she really is here to stay”

“Ohmygawd” Audrey said “Our fan club signed up a thousand members last night after that happened”

“My dad's aunt was on that plane” Roberto said, he hadn't said a word before. “It's like a miracle”

“She had a new costume” Tom said “None of the channels got a clear look at it though”

“Since she's local, I wonder if there is a chance she will find the fan club?” Audrey wondered out loud “wouldn't it be cool if she contacted us? Gave us an exclusive or something?”

Tara agreed, that would definitely be cool.




Part Two

 ...
Mom worries a lot. Even though the forcefield is amazing and protective when I am inside of its bubble she is worried. I don't even thinking crashing into a mountain would hurt me when I am protected by my forcefield.

It has gotten stronger but I also have better control if it. I can make it do some weird things, I can make boulders dance in the air like a ballet.

...

Audrey was now the coolest girl on Earth, officially. Everyone in town and maybe the planet was talking about how this girl received a letter from Force Girl. Delivered in person, in public. It was a simple statement of principle and she answered a few questions the fan-club had posted. Oh, and she gave them the status of being her official fan-club.

Tara still kicked herself over it. “Why, oh why did I do something like that?”

Meanwhile Audrey was being interviewed by television channels from around the world and saying she would post messages from Force Girl on her website when she got them. Tara figured that it was important to “be in touch” with the world. Force Girl would not be Batman, and this would allow her to deflect attention from her real identity. After all, Force Girl now officially likes raspberries, coffee cakes and lime sherbet. Blech.

“So, she definitely is not me” Tara could say believably.

Audrey, the nerd, was now popular in school. Tara, Audrey, Roberto and Tom were laughing about this a lot. The “cool girls” now treated her like one of them sometimes, instead of turning up their noses at her when they went by. The fame would wear off, probably rather quickly, but it was still funny.

Tara was doing some research online during social studies class when she saw the headlines about two children missing in the Grand Canyon. Apparently the girl, who was about 5, had dropped her Coping Connie doll from the viewing platform during the day, and sneaked out from the RV park to retrieve it. Her brother, 6, went with her.

That was sometime last night. These kids had been missing for close to 12 hours already. She wanted to get home, get changed and go look for those kids. Meanwhile she pored over online maps and learned as much as she could about the Grand Canyon. You never know, this might be material for a school project someday.

She told the others she would be getting picked up, so she would not be walking with them. What she really did was to fly home, risky but she decided it was worth it. Tara did not know exactly how fast she could get to the Grand Canyon but it didn't look far on maps. She updated the map tool on the helmet her father made while she changed into the uniform of Force Girl.

Her family had other ideas. It was supposed to be a “family day”, something they had planned for weeks. Well, talked about for weeks at any rate. Catch an early movie and have dinner together at a restaurant, a real one that would not have ketchup packets. Her parents would not like it if she took off and missed this.

They had been very clear on stuff like this. “There are billions of people on this planet. You cannot save them all, that would be impossible. You must let yourself come first sometimes.”

Alright. She packed her uniform and helmet in the trunk of the car. Movie and dinner went agonizingly slow. Afterwards though, she had her father open the trunk in the restaurant parking lot and told them she would be home a bit late.

Breaking the sound barrier was something she had done before but it still startled her a little bit every time. She was using the night-vision on the helmet and its GPS to find the canyon. Not too far from the RV Park she went down to see what she could do.

Tara was a bit put off by the size and complexity of the Grand Canyon. It would take forever to search by foot, and you would be able to miss two kids very easily from a helicopter or airplane. But if you have a forcefield bubble you can fly five feet off the ground at whatever speed you like. She didn't know exactly what she was looking for, but she would know when sees it.

The temperature had fallen pretty low. The desert ground does not retain heat because there was not enough moisture. Tara, though, was perfectly comfortable because of the special uniform her father had made for her. When she thought about it, she'd be mostly useless without the tools her father had given her.

Suddenly she realized she hadn't touched her math and geography homework. Sometimes being a superhero was a pain. There was no way tell she was going to tell the teachers “Sorry, I was too busy looking for missing kids in the Grand Canyon”.

There were mountain lions and coyotes in the canyon. She hoped the kids hadn't run across any of those. She adjusted her night-vision and soon had a mixture of night-vision and infra-red being shown to her. Maybe this is how an alien would see, she thought to herself.

After about two hours she was appreciating just how large the Grand Canyon was, if she couldn't fly she'd probably be lost for good. Her helmet told her it would be dropping towards freezing soon, although it wouldn't reach it. It was still far too cold for a couple of small children, tired and probably very thirsty and hungry.

Tara was also feeling hungry. This was the longest she had used her powers at one time. She knew her energy level was draining. This could go really wrong, she was starting to think. Then something caught her attention. Some small cave opening, one of many she had seen, was showing an elevated temperature.

She floated toward it. Hopefully it wasn't just an animal den.

Inside were two small children hanging on to each other. She pulled them out with a forcefield and then pulled them into her own bubble. Then she flew toward the RV Park, which was also the center of the rescue efforts.

As soon as she landed people were running from all directions. Flashlight, cameras, and then a sobbing woman embraced the children. A groggy looking reporter and camera man wanted to ask her questions, the mother was thanking her. All Tara wanted to do was get out of there and find something to eat.

She flew away from the Grand Canyon but had to set down near the Arizona-California border in a place called Needles. There she found most of the places closed but a couple of fast food joints were still running their drive through. There were no other customers at the McBurger so she flew through the drive through, counting the emergency money the super suit had included.

“I'll take 6 bacon cheeseburgers and a large chocolate shake, please” she ordered.

The girl who opened the little window was pretty surprised to see Force Girl floating on the other side, holding out the money. The girl took a picture with her phone before handing out the food, and Tara wondered how many people on the internet would see it before she even got home.

Tara's bedroom was upstairs and it had a tiny balcony. This is where she landed, the balcony door was unlocked. So tired, she took off the helmet and fell into the bed. In an hour she was still hungry and went downstairs to get some food.

“Mom!” she said, surprised to see her mother still up.

“Do you know how worried we get?” she asked “That helmet can be used to send us a message you know”

Tara had forgotten to stay in touch. It was one of the rules that came with the suit and helmet and she had broken it. “I'm sorry mom. I should have been in contact the whole time.” Not just when I run out of energy in the desert with hungry mountain lions running around.

“I should ground you” she said “Maybe if we don't let you play super hero for a few days, you will follow the rules and do your homework”

Tara had also totally forgotten about the homework. In the end she stayed up most of the night finishing them and barely had any sleep when Audrey was at the door.

“You look beat” her friend told her, and added hopefully “Studying late?”

“Finishing my homework, I had forgotten about it” Tara said, and it was true as far as it went.

“Did you see the news? Force Girl rescued those lost kids last night!” she said excitedly “I know she can't save everyone, but I was hoping she would show up for that one and she did”

“Cool. I'm really glad too” Tara said with an absent-minded. She was dreading falling asleep in class.
….........

After napping through social studies and science classes, she felt more normal. It was on the way home she started getting a weird feeling. She pulled a candy bar from a pocket and took a big bite just in case her energy level was low again.

“Did you see the news?” Roberto asked them, looking at his phone “There was a bank robbery but the bad guys are holed up with hostages!”

“When did that happen?” Tom asked

“Before noon” came the answer. Then as he passed around the phone, Tara was already dreading it but there was a picture of the bank from the air. That's the bank mom was going to, today.

“Oh no” Tara said “My mom might be in there”

“We have to go” Audrey said “We can't just go home now”

…......


By the time they arrived the whole area was blocked off. The police were everywhere. They got close enough to overhear a reporter telling the camera “This was a brazen armed robbery, and even though negotiations continue, these guys are seemingly ready to fight a real war.”

She could see right through the dark glass on the bank and even from that distance, she knew her mom well and she was sitting on the floor with other hostages.

Tara slipped away from her friends and ran into a nearby alley and took flight all the way home to put on her costume. Doing that in broad daylight was a risk but she didn't want to waste time with anything else.

She arrived and landed between the police and the bank itself. She could hear the crowd chatter pick up with her arrival. She walked toward the bank where a floor ceiling glass panel had been destroyed and walked right on in. The gunmen were shocked for a moment and she used this time to secretly throw a shield between the bad guys and the hostages lined up on the floor against one wall.

“My name is Force Girl.” Tara said, of course they already knew this. “You might as well throw the weapons down and surrender to the police outside.”

One of the gunmen, she noted there were three of them, pointed his weapon at the hostages and walked toward them. He stopped just before the end of his gun touched the invisible shield. He would probably be hit by his own ricochet if he fired, the idiot.

“No! We came here for the money and we ain't leaving without it!” the arab man said, meanwhile his African-American and Hispanic partners were backing off and looking doubtful. Then he turned and aimed his gun at his partners. “What are you two doing? Get the money!”

Tara did not want to drop the shield protecting her mother and the other hostages nor the one she used to protect herself. There was no way she could throw up another shield to protect the other two bank robbers. She was also starting to feel a little tired, using her powers burned a massive number of calories, after all. She had to think of something.

So she moved the shield protecting the hostages toward the gunman who was now aiming his weapon at Tara. She knew her shield was strong enough to stop a bullet, so it didn't bother her. Without the man knowing it, she had wrapped the shield all the way around him. The two accomplices looked like they wanted to get out of there, so she gave them the opportunity.

“You two!” she said “Get out of here! Now!”

Then man yelled “Don't listen to her! I'll shoot you guys too!”

He turned but his hand could no longer be extended, she tightened the shield and the man looked very alarmed. Now his arm was against his chest and the gun was aimed at his chin.“What's going on?”

The accomplices scrammed, running straight into the arms of the waiting police.

“Give it up!” Tara told him “Drop the gun already!”

She looked at her mother and the other hostages. “You guys are safe now, you can go!”

The line of hostages, a few elderly, rushed to stand up and get out of there. Tara walked up to the man who was still struggling in the shield.

“I can tighten it enough to squash you like a bug. You'd be nothing but liquid.” She told him, not knowing if that was technically true. Maybe if she had eaten recently and wasn't tired.

“I give up!” he said and sagged inside of the shield. He dropped the gun, she opened a hole barely big enough to leave it on the floor. Tara left him in the bubble shield and lifted him up and carried him outside in front of the bank where she put him down into the hands of several police officers.

The crowd cheered and she waved before flying home as quick as she could. She dressed back in the same clothes she had on before and rushed to the bank.

“Where were you? You missed everything! Your mom is okay!”

“I was over there!” Tara said pointing across the parking lot. “Better view of my mom!”

They bought the story, it was a relief. When she got him her mother and father were home and they embraced her tightly.

“I am so hungry!” she told them.

-------------

I might never actually write the rest of it. It's not really the kind of story I usually write, more spacey science fiction. I always appreciate anyone who buys my ebook (sidebar), although it doesn't sell much. If $2.99 seems too much, you can make a smaller contribution through the donate button on the sidebar.