Time Burrito needs your help!

timeburrito_kindleFor those of you who’ve been following this blog since I’ve been writing silly irreverent humor essays, this book is for you. I finally found a story that’s a perfect marriage of my love of humor and Science Fiction. The good news is that you are going to get a copy of it for free, but I’m going to need your help. Time Burrito is in the running for a publishing deal with Amazon, but it needs nominations to do it.

Nominating doesn’t take much time, and you’ll get a free kindle copy of the book if it’s selected. You can nominate by clicking the link below or the picture of the cat on a burrito flying through space. Be sure to check out the excerpt before you do.

Nominate Time Burrito here.

Here’s a short description of the book: Pete’s food truck at the University of New Mexico isn’t going well. Seniors dare freshman to eat his burritos. Frats use them for pledges and pranks. Rumors fly around campus that they are chupacabra ground up with rat. Pete needs a change, and it comes in the form of a physics experiment gone awry. After being sucked into the past, he stumbles across an ingredient that goes great in one of his creations. First, there was Marty McFly. Then there was Bill and Ted. And now Pete—

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The Zombies Are Here

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I ate they brains ere I killed thee…

Othello and Zombies is now officially out on kindle and in paperback. Even better, it will be only 99 cents for the kindle edition from now until the end of October! The book is a modern horror comedy-Shakespeare mashup. Here’s a preview of the first two chapters:

Chapter 1

Rodriguez leaned on the metal door. Bloody hands slipped through the cracks, clawing and grasping at him, hungry for his flesh. “Yo, man! Give me a clip!”

Iago, leaning against the other entrance to the dank sewer room, yelled, “You used your clip ration already. These bullets are mine!”

As if to accentuate his point, Iago blasted the head of a flesh-eating scullion that poked its dripping maw through the ever-widening crack in the door.

“Are you really going to bring up rations now?” Rodriguez yelped while he pulled a box cutter from his belt and nicked a rotted pinky finger.

“Use your machete!” Two more head shots. Two more bodies.

“It got stuck in the skull of a scullion trying to eat my brain!”

“You always do this! Every time we go on patrol, you miss half your targets and have to use my ammunition. It’s no wonder Othello doesn’t relegate you to domestics because of your sorry track record.”

“You’re just jealous because he picked Casey as his second.”

“Fuck you, man! I earned that. My scullion count is way higher than anyone else’s! There’s a pile of bodies in my wake a mile high, and here I am, about to die in a goddamn hole with you because you have a hard-on for the boss’s wife!”

“Oh sweet Desdemona, I’d make her mona, if you know what I mean.”

The momentary distraction was all it took. The scullions burst through Rodriguez’s doorway. He flew back and hit his head against a low-hanging pipe and went down for the count.

Iago stumbled back from his door. He pulled another gun from his belt. The horde of scullions flooded into the room through both doors. He stretched out his arms on either side. The muzzles flashed as round after round tore through the air. The corpses piled up, but the pack surged forward.

A scullion with a jawline that was more bone than flesh went for Iago’s arm. Another with hollow sockets for eyes went for his thigh. In the end, it wasn’t Rodriguez’s fault. The jerk never had a handle on reality. The man told everyone he was a tax accountant before the apocalypse, when in reality, he dressed up as the Statue of Liberty and waved signs around every tax season.

The person that Iago really blamed for his death was Othello, the self-proclaimed president of the new world order. The asshole had the audacity to walk around like he was Obama or something when he was nothing more than a jobless bum before the scullions came.

Iago should have been the one to inherit the earth. He won Survivor three times. He was in talks about his own show. He was slated to become the next fucking Bear Grylls, and Othello wanted to put Casey as the second in command of what could be the only pocket of humanity left on the planet! Casey was a manager at an In-N-Out Burger before the end, not the next Mad Max.

Maybe humans deserved to die, except for maybe today. Iago kicked the scullion going for his thigh and landed another headshot in the one going for his arm. He sent two rounds after the two that were going after Rodriguez’s unconscious form. Once his clips ran dry, he pulled two swords from his back. It was a daishō set he had liberated from this asshole producer he used to tolerate for the sake of television.

The producer called the swords a “Kitana” and “Wakisaucy” and would brag about how a real ninja used “those very blades to get revenge.” The asshole told the story during every party at his house, and they partied at his house almost every week. Iago would roll his eyes at the inaccuracies and would keep his mouth shut because he knew how to play the Hollywood “everybody is your friend” game. When laws and Hollywood parties ceased to have meaning anymore, Iago spray-painted, “READ ABOUT SAMURAI FUCKFACE” above the empty case of the swords. However, the chances of the producer being scullion food and unable to read Iago’s snide comment were high.

In the time since, Iago had used the weapons to get himself out of many situations like today’s. He sliced a scullion in the skull with his Katana. Another went for his back, and he stabbed it in the eye socket with the Wakizashi. He stabbed another, whirled around, killed two more, and chopped his way through the horde.

When the last one knelt in front of him, as he had hacked off its legs at the knees, he yelled, “Thou villainous pottle-deep devil-mon!”

With one swoop, the head rolled from the scullion to the other side of the room. Its teeth chattered, as Iago had left the brain intact. He turned to the pile of bodies near Rodriguez. He kicked the corpses off of him and noticed one was still alive, and gnawing on his fallen partner’s right hand. Iago cursed and poked his sword through the back of the scullion’s skull.

He ripped off Rodriguez’s sleeve and created a tourniquet using a pen he kept in his pocket. While he was tightening the wrap, Rodriguez began to stir and looked down at his arm.

“What are you doing?” Rodriguez yelped.

“You’ve been bitten,” Iago said. He positioned his blade over his comrade’s arm and gripped it.

“There must be some other way. I can…”

The blade came down, and Rodriguez screamed. Iago used a portable propane torch to cauterize the wound, and his ill-fated companion passed out long before the job was finished. Finally, after Rodriguez was as stable as he could be, Iago laid on the ground for a few moments. They had been scavenging for days. Food stores in the camp were dwindling. Iago had nothing substantial to eat in a while. The adrenaline high that had kept him going receded. Iago’s vision went dim, and he passed out.

_______

The scullion head that Iago had decapitated fluttered his jaws in anticipation of the meal. The jawline could be seen through the rotting flesh. It swayed back and forth until it toppled face first onto the floor. It landed in such a way that every time involuntary muscles attempted to bite at the ground, the teeth caught and inched the head forward. The head slowly made its way towards the sleeping form of Iago. Tasty flesh sprawled out for the plucking.

It was a mere nose length away from its target if it had any nose rather than the tattered flesh that remained of its olfactory organ. Just as it was about to bite down on the tasty flesh of the sleeping man, a peg leg came down on the scullion’s skull and pierced its brain. The abomination died.

The owner of the unusually sharp peg leg was accompanied by another set of boots that were worn and tattered, as they were designed for day trips into the woods. It had been two years since the television stations stopped broadcasting, and the once shiny gear that gleamed on the shelves of sporting goods stores throughout the country was now worn and battle hardened.

“Ask them the questions,” the owner of the boots said.

“I’m not going to ask your stupid questions,” the peg leg man responded.

“I’m telling you. The questions offer insight into their character. They will let us know if they are worthy of joining our clan!”

“It’s a township, not a clan!”

“Haven’t you read any post-apocalyptic fiction? People revert to tribal…”

“If those questions are so important to you, why don’t you ask them the goddamn questions?” The peg leg punched his partner, and his partner hit back. The two were quickly locked in a tussle.

Iago had been feigning sleep. The moment he heard the two scuffle, he sprang into action. With a flick of his wrist, his two blades were up in the crotches of the two gentlemen who had saved him while he slumbered.

The men froze in their tracks. From the torn clothes, the grime under their fingernails, and the scruff of their beards, Iago could tell these men had seen a lot of action. That gave him some hope because he knew that only an idiot would try to test Iago now. Not that he had expected to see any idiots. Most of them got themselves killed in the first few months after the scullions arrived.

“What questions? And what town?” Iago demanded. He was pretty sure Othello’s kingdom was the only one left in Southern California. Othello had united the gangs pretty early. They were used to being shit on by society, so the scullion apocalypse wasn’t anything different. When the National Guard, the LAPD, and the Army fell, Othello welcomed the survivors into his conclave too. Othello only had two rules: If you were human, you were in. If you harmed a human, you were scullion bait.

Iago thought it was stupid to let people in, but it had somehow worked for a while. People kept coming, pooling supplies, and helping each other. It took the scullion apocalypse to get the residents of L.A. County to help each other out, but they did. Othello built a wall around parts of Watts, Lynwood, Willowbrook, and Compton to keep the scullion bastards from feasting on their flesh, and life continued inside the wall as close as it could be to life before.

However, paradise never lasted forever.

Farming in an urban area with polluted chemicals from the leftover wasteland of the city, not to mention a fucking desert, proved harder to work with than originally thought. Crops failed. Yields were low. The food from the world long ago began to dwindle. The rationing started. The scouts had to go further and further to find less and less. Iago knew it was a mistake to trust people when resources were scarce.

“The questions are sort of a personality test…” the man with the boots said. Iago didn’t know what to make of them. However, unlike Othello, who just seemed to trust anyone that wasn’t a scullion, Iago was a little more cautious. When Iago didn’t cut off the man’s genitals right away, he elaborated. “They are harmless questions. Meant to define your character.”

“Oh, give me a break,” the peg leg man said.

“Hold on, I got this,” the boot man said. “Since it all started, how many walkers have you killed?”

“Walkers?” Iago said.

“Undead, eat-your-brain types. See your head and say, Nom, nom, nom!” He made fake biting gestures. Iago was about to just kill the fools and get it over with when the man with the boots added, “You know, every post-apocalyptic group has a different name for them. This group from Gallup, New Mexico called ‘em biters, whereas we call ‘em walkers.”

“You mean the rampallian, fustilarian scullions! I’ve killed too many to count,” Iago said. He let the swords drop, and the men visibly relaxed. He was interested now. His sister, Emilia, had been in Albuquerque when the apocalypse struck. He hadn’t heard what happened to her, or to anyone in New Mexico, for that matter, and there was a lot of desert to cross between L.A. and Albuquerque.

“So how many humans have you killed?”

“You don’t ask a person you’ve just met that!” the peg leg man cried. “Hi, how are you? My name’s Tony. How many people have you killed?”

“It’s all part of the process. Trust the process,” the boot man replied.

“Eleven,” Iago cut them off.

“Why?” the boot man said with all seriousness.

“Why what?” Iago said.

“Why’d you kill them?”

“The scullions or the humans? You’re being a little vague.”

“I told you they were stupid questions!” the man with the peg leg yelled.

“No, they ain’t!” the boot man argued. “I’m telling you there is no better way to find out if they can come back with us to New Mexico.”

The swords were swift. Before they were able to blink, their crotches were in peril again. “What’s in New Mexico?”

“We have a base! A military base in Albuquerque!” the boot man cried.

Iago pressed the swords harder against their jeans.

“Look, we can take you there, but the Brigadier, he don’t take kindly to strangers, especially ones who threaten his own,” the peg leg man offered. “You’ll need to surrender your weapons.”

“So you can rob me?” Iago said as he pressed, literally and figuratively.

“Do you think we would waste time trying to rob two capable men like yourself? We are on an important mission from the Brigadier.” The peg leg man said.

Swords biting denim, Iago said, “Who’s the Brigadier?”

“He runs the base!” the man with the boots cried out. “Please don’t hurt us! We’ll tell you anything you want.”

The man with the peg leg slapped his partner. “That man is on a need-to-know basis, and he does not need to know.”

“I’m also the one with the sword,” Iago said. And with a swish of his blade, the man with the peg leg collapsed to the ground in fear, blood, and pain. He was now missing much more than a peg could fix. “Now, if you don’t want to end up like your friend here, I suggest you tell me everything.”

_______

Sometime later in the day, Iago slung the wounded Rodriguez over his shoulder. He walked to the top of an overpass. There were a few abandoned vehicles here and there. A few even had rotted scullions inside twitching and gnawing at the windows as they passed. The day was hot, and the sun was blazing overhead. Iago wouldn’t last long, but he had to see it for himself.

He crested the overpass and left Rodriguez leaning against a burned-out European sports car. He walked to the edge and gazed at the freeway below. The freeway was surprisingly clear for a very long stretch of road. Most of the roads were pot marked and cluttered with vehicles. This freeway, in particular, was just clear enough to act as a runway for a plane.

The plane in question was a large military C-130 transport. It was big enough to hold an army, yet the only two people using it were peg leg and boots. They were given the mission to find survivors and bring them back to Albuquerque. To Iago, it was freedom. He even knew how to fly a plane. Iago had never flown a C-130, though he figured that the principles were the same. He also knew of a library where he could dig around for some manuals on the way back. It couldn’t hurt to do some prep work.

He pulled some bloody keys from his pocket. They were the keys to the plane. He inspected them and grinned to himself. He pocketed the keys and walked back towards Rodriguez.

“Don’t worry, buddy,” he said as he picked up his friend. “We are getting out of this urban hellhole, but first, we need to make a stop at home and get you patched up. Don’t worry; we’ll be back. There is no use in letting a perfectly good plane go to waste.”

Chapter 2

Rodriguez dreamt of bacon, a large hot skillet of bacon, sizzling, nice and crispy, and ready to be eaten. His mouth watered and his stomach grumbled. He could almost smell the salty goodness. However, there was a pain in his arm. It burned. Flesh seared from his bones. He woke with a yowl.

A man with a blowtorch and welding mask bent over his arm. The sparks of the torch sprayed in every direction, burning his flesh, and singing the hair on his arm. He tried to yank his arm away, but he was strapped down. A metal rod prevented him from biting his tongue.

Rodriguez looked in horror at his arm. Attached midway onto his forearm was a machete. The man in the welding mask was attaching a weapon to where a hand should have been. Rodriguez’s memory came slowly back to him. They were on patrol. They were in a mall. The scullions broke inside. Half the crew died. The other half scattered. There were sewer entrances in the basement. Iago, Rodriguez, and a third person, a first officer, sailor, he couldn’t be sure.

They hopped into the basement. The sailor was overrun. They barely made it into a room that would be their metal tomb. Scullions clawed at the doorways. He couldn’t hold it any longer. The rabble swarmed through the entrance. Then… he couldn’t remember… he was bitten. Iago cut off his right hand at the mid-forearm.

Iago’s face appeared over Rodriguez, upside down from his point of view. A wide grin contrasted with Rodriguez’s worried frown as his strapped-down body squirmed in pain and fear. Iago leaned closer. “You did it, my friend! You are the man of the hour.”

Sweat poured from Rodriguez’s face. His eyes contorted in agony and terror.

“If you hadn’t so kindly gotten yourself bitten, we may have never met the cronies of one Brigadier General Brabantio of the United States Air Force, stationed in… care to guess?”

Rodriguez wanted it to stop. Muffled screams were all that would come out.

“That’s right! Kirtland Air Force Base in Albuquerque, New Mexico! Apparently, there is still some semblance of civilized society left. And what’s even better is that, after some persuasion, and some missing body parts, I learned about their secret mission.”

Tears streamed downed Rodriguez’s face. He wanted the man to stop. He didn’t need a sword arm! If only Iago knew what he was thinking…

“Oh, don’t cry. Don’t cry. It’s really good news. They are here to find the Brigadier’s daughter, who just happened to be doing her tour as Miss California when the apocalypse struck.”

Rodriguez wanted to die.

“What’s that? Oh yes, quite right. Des happens to be Miss California! Desdemona doesn’t just turn the heads of men like you. She’s a sort of Helen of Troy. She’s the kind of daughter one Brigadier would mobilize armies to get back. People fight wars for her.

“We just have to get to Albuquerque first. Tell the Brigadier about Othello’s true character. Hell, you may even win her heart in the process. I heard she digs guys with big swords. Looks like you got a big one too. Though I suggest you use your left hand when you make love to her.”

Rodriguez almost choked on his own tears. Iago’s head lowered out of view, and when he poked back into Rodriguez’s field of vision, the merciless man’s grin was gone. “By the way,” Iago added. “I say this as a friend. Don’t ever use a sexual pun on a woman’s name again. You’ll never sleep with her that way.”

The nameless welder continued to meld metal and flesh. The blade was glowing orange. Rodriguez would never forget his blade again.

Continue reading: Othello and Zombies

Time Agency

 

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Free Aug. 15-19, 2016

I wanted to take some time to let you all know about my latest book release called Time Agency. This book is the first book I ever wrote, and I did it by writing one page a day (no more, no less) until it was complete. Playlist of the Ancient Dead became the first book I published (second that I wrote) because back in early 2014, I attempted to get a traditional publisher. While the book was considered “good enough to take a closer look” by the editors, it was rejected about two and a half years after submission.

So now my time travel thriller has time traveled to its 2016 release. And better yet, it will be free for Amazon Kindle August 15th through the 19th. You can get the book here. Here’s the description of the book:

Fugitive 07760 woke to a busy city street. His memory was blank. A well-dressed man approached him. He left a locked briefcase at 07760’s feet.

An agent named Nanette tracked 07760. Her agency had been following the anomalous man through time. But the case was different than all the rest. Her well-dressed protégé had given the fugitive the briefcase. A fellow time agent getting involved was cause for panic.

07760’s memory came back slowly as the technology in his body began to regenerate his neural pathways. Fragments of a past bubbled to his conscience. He wasn’t sure if it was worth reliving. There was a blond woman from years ago, and she disappeared because she was curious.

He was on the run because he asked a simple question. “What’s the future like?” There was much information about the past. Historians would travel back, blend in, and record “real” history, but 07760 was not allowed to travel to the future. Why was future travel restricted to some mysterious agency division?

There was no time to think. The time agents are on his heels.

Download Time Agency

 

Othello and Zombies

 

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A horror-comedy of Shakespearian proportions

I have another book that could be considered for a publishing deal with Amazon. This one is an adventure of Shakespearian proportions, and it has zombies. I need your help to even be considered. You can help by clicking the link below then clicking nominate. Not only will you get a free copy of the novel if you nominate and I’m accepted, but you’ll also help an indie author launch his career. I’m also going to sweeten the deal. If you nominate and comment below with your email address, (or fill out the contact form above), I’ll send you a free ebook copy of my Dystopian thriller Atmospheric Pressure.

 

You can read the first few chapters and nominate here:

https://kindlescout.amazon.com/p/3881GOSNIGZXL

 

I need your help

Atmospheric_Pressure_01As many of you may have read in your email, Kindle Scout didn’t select my book, Atmospheric Pressure. However, I did get serious consideration as it took them a long time to decide, even after other books were rejected that ended at the same time as mine. If you’d still like a free copy please leave a comment with your Amazon email in this post, and I’ll get one over to you. However, if you could spare the $3 to buy the book that would really help me out. The first month of book sales are the most important in the life of a book. If it gets enough sales, it will appear on many Amazon lists and continue on its own. If it doesn’t, it disappears into obscurity. If you have a Kindle Unlimited account, all you need to do is download it for the sale to count.

Please think of the $3 as your contribution to an independent artist. And if you’d like to donate more than three, you can by gift copies for your friends and family. All you need is their email address. You can purchase the book here.

Kal’s Revenge (Teristaque Chronicles 4)

It’s been a while since I’ve updated this space. The 4th story in the Kal series is out, and I have a teaser below. The 5th story is still in the works and should come soon. I have some big exciting news that I will share pretty soon, but for now enjoy Kal’s Revenge.

One more item before the story, the Playlist of the Ancient Dead kindle edition is only a dollar right now, and it won’t be for long. I suggest getting it now rather than later.

K-RevengeKal tapped the light display on her forearm. The countdown displayed 4:53. The seconds seemed to go down quicker when the cold vacuum of space threatened to devour her if the timing wasn’t perfect.

“Damn it, Hayden. Where are you?” She yelled at the airlock door between her and the void.

She stood on what would be considered the ceiling of a tiny airlock in the belly of a Tricore deep space mining vessel. However, ceiling was a relative term because she was in a Zero G zone, which was helpful because she was about to hand deliver several large crates a Teristaque Mech would struggle to carry. They were drifting in a carbon nanotube mesh sack that she had used to haul them to the airlock.

The vessel, a Tricore class A0C1H7, was almost entirely automated. It would travel through the most outer reaches of space with a solar sail on one side collecting starlight to power the ship. The other side of the sail collected space dust. Since almost every element floated through space from some long forgotten super nova explosion, the ship collected the raw materials that kept Tricore a leading supplier of replicator cartridges essential for every space faring culture.

The space dust caught on the collection end of the solar sail would eventually make its way down to the center through micro vibrations created from the interstellar wind. It was a genius design. In the center of the craft, an automated refinery separated the material into its elemental components. Then they were packed in to ready-to-be-used cartridges for small to medium sized spaceships. A nearby ship in desperate need of supply would dock and purchase a cartridge for a price a dying man would pay a warlord for water, and the A01CH7 would generate gobs of money for being one of the only deep space pit stops.

The crew of the Tricore vessel was only seven people, and four of them were advanced robotic repair crews who kept the refinery going. The other three would keep the ship from breaking down, and repaired the solar sail when the occasional asteroid would tear a hole in the thin material. They all acted as a flight crew. None of the men and women on board the long-term deep space vessel were responsible for security. In fact, there were no weapons on board. They had no reason for protection when they would never see the customers. A ship desperate enough to do business with a Tricore vessel, wouldn’t even see the crew as the transaction was entirely automated. The customers would dock, pay a fee, and find an airlock full of goods minutes later. Kal had no intention of paying for her goods.

It was an ideal target for a robbery had Tricore not been a Teristaque owned and operated company. The Teristaque, who called themselves humans, were one of the most brutal races in the galaxy. They enforced swift and decisive punishment, especially for deep space thieves. A pirate looking to score some replicator materials from an unarmed vessel would be on the wanted list of one of the largest armadas in the galaxy. Only the suicidal and the stupid robbed a Tricore vessel, especially because every approaching ship was carefully logged. The logs were then transmitted to the Teristaque network in the event a pirate’s reach be longer than their wit.

Six of the crates taking up most of the space in the airlock were Tricore Solution Number 3, a mix which supplied an average twenty person vessel with replicator supplies for about a month per crate. Kal’s vessel would use about half that, so the crates surrounded by her carbon mesh netting would last about year or so. However, six crates from an A0C1H7 was small in comparison to what she could have scored from the vessel, but a heist that could be misconstrued as inventory error was a much more desirable outcome than her vessel being tagged as an enemy of the Teristaque Empire, or as humans said (because humans under exaggerated their terror), The United Planets of Earth. Six crates would be enough to refuel with the five-finger discount, but not enough to do any more than confuse a crew and maybe earn one of them a chewing out from a superior. It was that seventh crate that was too intriguing to leave it in the possession of the Teristaques.

_______

A day before Kal found herself in an airlock waiting for Hayden. She found herself waiting for Hayden in a different capacity. Grannork, Seayolar, Maker, Haath-Nlo, and the couple other prisoners who decided to stay after their escape from the Fendpaake Asteroid Mining Prison were all waiting for Hayden. Grannork, who was an Orcandu with a foul temper like most Orcandus, was the first to vent his misgivings. “I will hoist Hayden by his entrails if he takes any longer.”

“Then you wouldn’t have any more of my delicious SPAM cakes,” Hayden said as he brought a steaming dish of canned meat products arranged as circular patties, stacked in a pyramid shape. He sent the tray down in the center of the mess hall table and everyone took a few patties, where as Grannork took a mound.

While the SPAM was decent considering they had run out of raw carbon for their replicator a week ago, it was nothing like a fresh banjer from back home. The memory of Kal’s village seemed like it was out of the distant past, even though it was a little less than two years ago. She had almost forgotten what her mother looked like. It didn’t happen overnight. It was subtle. During her months in prison and the year they had spent petty thieving in the stolen vessel of Dr. Feslerk, she thought about her mother less and less. Soon she forgot what it was like when her mother smiled, when she sang, and when she laughed. The only image that remained was her mother’s face contorted as she died under the fire of the Teristaque. She cried the morning when she couldn’t remember the sound of her mother’s song.

When they first broke free of the prison, they took inventory of the vessel. There was a lot of scientific equipment and experiments from the mad doctor. Since Haath-Nlo, her crippled insectiod cellmate from prison, had interspecies medical training, he was able to help them figure what they could sell and what they could keep. After they sold a bulk of the equipment, they cut the leaving prisoners their share and the rest decided to stay onboard.

Kal had found herself in command of the group not because she was qualified to lead a band of space pirates, but more because she was the one who always stepped up to make a decision when no one else would. She was also the one who had ideas when the fence who bought their medical equipment asked them about a job. She never called herself captain, but it was Maker who said it first, and the nickname stuck.

Ever since she fell into the role of captain, she reserved all her tears for the shower. In prison, she did everything to fight back tears. The inmates would serve her for all three meals if they saw her crying. Once she was out. It was like all the bottled emotion exploded from her. She mourned the loss of her village for the first time. However, she suffered in silence. To the rest of the crew, she was confident and capable. They didn’t know she was falling apart on the inside. She didn’t even talk with Hayden, who was human, and despite their feared reputation, seemed to always want to negotiate peace between the crew.

Hayden was the only Teristaque member of the crew. Through persistence, and grudging acceptance on Grannork’s part, he convinced the crew to start using the word human at least in reference to him. Since Grannork’s clan had been all but wiped out by the Teristaques, the hulking Orcandu seemed to have a personal quest to kill all humans on sight, Hayden being one of the only exceptions. Half of Hayden’s job, aside from piloting the ship was advocating on behalf of the humans. It was a little beyond most of the crew to discern the difference between a human who was a part of the corrupted government system bought and paid for by the interstellar corporations, and a human who was just trying to eke out a living for themselves.

Hayden also worked his way into Kal’s sleeping quarters. The attraction to Hayden wasn’t a surprise because of her half-human DNA. They both were attractive and liked each other. The surprise was that Kal had existed at all. Very few alien species were compatible sexually speaking. Even on the off chance that two species who evolved on different worlds had similar enough physiology for the desire for sex to occur, it was rare when a child could be conceived. Most interspecies couples used advance scientific methods to create offspring. A half human and half Nigramotoian natural birth was rare.

After breaking free from the prison, Kal had contemplated going to her homeworld of Nigramoto several times to gain insight into her origins, however, the trip would be a suicide mission since her planet had the largest army of Teristaques in the entire galaxy. The decrand coming from the planets core was worth more than half the UPE’s worth. Since everyone in her vessel were escapees from a Teristaque prison, going to Nigramoto was too risky for just information. Even though they had secured fake IDs and could dock on Teristaque stations, she couldn’t justify the trip. She had to hold out for a day when a job would lead her home.

Sarge, another escapee from the prison, who got her into this mess in the first place ended up on Nigramoto. Kal had a suspicion that he had information about her origin. It seemed like more than a coincidence that of all villages, he ended up skulking about hers. Both Hayden and Kal knew Sarge was up to something on the planet, but they didn’t know what and didn’t have time to find out. They had the more immediate concerns of running the ship. Which was why after a series of petty theft and small heists, Kal found herself plotting one over a casual SPAM dinner.

“I can make our ship disappear on their sensors,” Maker said. “I only need to plant the device on their array.”

Seayolar, a snouted alien with a raspy laugh said, “Then they’ll have already registered our S-ID by then. We spent a lot of money getting a stolen S-ID with a clean history from the Teristaques.”

“Ah that is why Grannork will fly me on a shuttle to purchase some supplies. I can attach myself to one of my space resistant bodies and ride on the outside of the craft. It will be a simple matter of floating to the array while Grannork completes the transaction.”

“What’s the point of stealing if we are going to pay for it?”

“The point,” Hayden interjected. “Is that we will be taking much more than we have bought. My friends used to do this back home. One of us distracted the clerk with a small purchase while the others leaned over the counter and stole the baseball cards.”

Seayolor roared with laughter. “You stole child cards!”

“Enough,” Kal interjected. “The point is that we can fly within their proximity sensors without being registered. Once Grannork and Maker fly away, the Tricore crew will not see anyone in the area unless they happen to be looking out the window. Meanwhile, one of us will go inside and secure a couple of crates.”

“Who’s going to be stupid enough to climb inside?” Seayolar interjected.

“Easy,” Kal said. “Me.”

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#PotAD 3 – Sharp Dressed Man by the #ZZTop

This song and band are the perfect introduction to Murphy. There is something over-the-top and larger than life about ZZ Top. Like their beards, they don’t do anything halfway. Murphy is not a partial commitment sort of guy. When he finds his focus, it’s all or nothing. Strangely enough, the man in this video is probably the same age as Murphy now:

 

On a completely unrelated note, ZZ Top was my only near death experience going to a concert, and I was at a Black Sabbath with Ozzy reunion tour where you could hear the roar of a massive adrenaline soaked mob echoing through the city streets towards you after their New Years show. Despite having been to metal shows that were banned by Satan, ZZ Top was the one that almost did me in. I was near the front row, and two mosh pits a had broken out on either side of me. In the chaos, I was knocked off my feet and tumbled to ground. The audience began to trample me.

A hand of a very large Native American man picked me up by the scruff of my jacket. He lifted me off my feet and set me back down again. “You better be more careful,” he said as he charged through the mosh pit cheering and screaming. In a daze, I wandered towards the back of the show, and watched the rest the concert from a safe distance. In case you’re reading this, thanks random guy large enough to burrow through a crowd to save a near trample victim. You’re the sharp dressed man.