Thursday, June 4, 2015

Have you ever thought of where luck comes from; a big bucket, a particular ray of light, or that strange cloud that seems to be hovering and moves as we move . Some days can be triumphs or disasters. The people who look inside our heads tell us it is the power of suggestion. Sometimes you wonder as you tempt lady luck.

Every day someone scratches a winning ticket, but I have never met one. Do you suppose they are taken away after they have screamed their heads off, and put into some kind of restraint? Or are they just trotted out each day so that ordinary mortals may feel the urge to try.

I have stood in awe and watched sane men and women scratch their way through the ticket, the surface of the table and eventually the table. As if the glittering prize had slipped under several layers of plywood. The poor unfortunates gnash their teeth, frown at the clear sky, mumble something unintelligible as they shamble away knowing that the grocery money has been seriously depleted.

One particularly disastrous day as I led the way from the newsagent, I mentally bemoaned my fate and fell over a wheelchair. I resolved to complete the day without further incident. I should have checked with the fates, because I had not seen the end of that day. Arriving home I collected my dogs, bait, and fishing rod and set out for our fishing spot.

Everything was normal until I had a bite. The reel seized up, the fish disappeared and wonderful lumps of nylon appeared. Ten minutes later we tried again. Another bite; the reel seized up and my lips moved erratically. I took the rig off and put it on the chair. Metres of line were lost in a maddened frenzy as dusk descended and blackness enveloped me.

Not a problem, we have a torch. It was as useful as a burnt match. The fishing line suddenly had a life of its own and another ten minutes disappeared into the past. Finally we were about to rig up when I discovered one of the sinkers had sunk, into the soft sand. One sinker would have to do in the mouth of a force-nine gale. Reaching for the hook and swivel on the chair, I discovered that it also had a life of its own and had fled.

Perseverance is the name of the game that was not going to stop me. At this stage I determined to catch a fish. Bending to pick up the bait, I looked around to discover that my bait, an inert bag of bait, had been resurrected and eloped with the hook and swivel. Not a problem, I picked up the chair to fling it into the bush. Somehow it had wrapped itself around my leg and I was flat on the ground.

Looking around to see if I was on a movie set, I sheepishly slunk to the car. The tackle box that would not previously give up its treasure of sinkers promptly emptied its entire contents down the gap in the back seat. I put the rod through the gap in the window and turned to go to the drivers' side. 

Alas the cloud had not finished. I was now attached to the rod, and certainly not in passion. As the hook drew blood my resolve not to scream was shattered.

I didn’t go back to that fishing spot again, in case somebody waited with a restraint and whisked me off to the place where all those winning ticket holders are confined.


One way to wake up!

On a cold winters morning I was – of course off world, where I spend most of my waking hours –much to the chagrin of anybody trying to get any sense out of me. I wandered through the remains of an ancient civilisation looking for clues to the current conflagration now raging in this quadrant of the galaxy. 



My boots were scuffing the crap lying about until a glimmer of something interesting caught my eye and as I bent down a ruddy great mouth fastened onto  my wrist and commenced trying to remove it in one bite. My mouth went into a rictus as my other hand came up to rip the offending beast from my hand when I suddenly came upright in bed with tiger wrapped around my hand and giving me the best view of a wild cat.




As I sat on the side of the bed I managed to remove him by pushing him off (never in my presence harm an animal –for any reason) and as he turned around he meowed just as the kitten he is although he is a rather large cat for his age. Trying to stem the rush of blood while Tiger is imploring me for his breakfast it was 4am for god’s sake, I rummaged through the medical kit for something to stop the rivers of blood cascading from my hand. One handed trying to hold a rag to my hand and finally found a pad to soak it up. Off to the kitchen to feed the beast followed -of course by our dog we embarked on what Tiger thought was the most important task, feeding the beast. So, animals settled and blood flow finally stopped, I went over recent events.




Forget about the ancient civilisation, I must have had an arm hanging down from the bed –Tiger waltzed in after his forays around the neighbourhood, hungry as usual, found my arm and thought –‘you beauty Ill ring the food bell and get this one to feed me’. So my day started well, here it is 4.15am in my chair nursing a severely emaciated hand, looking at Tiger lying in front of the heater, peaceful as a lion, puddles looking worried and me thinking that life is full of surprises, and did I find anything on that abandoned planet –oops here I go again.


Friday, May 1, 2015

Time Reserved - The arrival of the Em-Ship Menneker

On Amarcan fires raged without control. The great city of Tirinae had swelled its population beyond normal due to the influx of people escaping the ravages occurring in the hinterland. The cities defenders were hard pressed. In space a war had been raging for days as ship after ship had been destroyed.
Aboard the Windforce directions were given to deploy all ships to a perimeter. The dreadnought had moved into this space to protect the flanks of the Amarcan fleet.


‘Deploy the cruisers in this quadrant, and move the Tauran battle phalanx to this area, nominating the quadrant on the battle map. The commander continued. ‘We move on their station in three sectors.’ The command was given. There were four figures grouped around the battle hologram, the space before them was filled with an array of craft from Xxen craft to Phalanx Battle Cruisers. A battle of attrition was raging until a Dirkoron Warp ship appeared.

The Warp ship approached Amarcan with smaller craft clustered in its shadow. The refracted light emanating from its bulk were tell-tales of the anti-matter force which drove this great symbol of awesome power. The space beyond the Warp ship was still rippling as if a motionless sea had been disturbed. Waves of energy spread outwards like a wayward giant flexing its muscles. But these indications were not energy but synergy. The Warp ship had crossed the barrier and behind it the entrance to the Dirkoron Empire.

That this symbol of power was here now stirred the Commander of the Windforce to frenetic action.

‘Captain, move the Windforce to the apex of Amarcan and its moon, the fleet is to land. Contact Ollicipie and report that a Warp ship has appeared . . . do it now.’ The Commander leant over the console. Moving his hands feverishly he sent to all ships in the group, the signal ‘The Windforce will engage the Emship; all fighters are to ground on Amarcan.’

He stared at the console his eyes not seeing, arms rigid. ‘How and why, I have only heard of these giants, but never seen one. Who could mistake it, it is as large as creation.’ Sitting, his anxiety lining the wrinkles beneath his eyes. ‘Why now, why is that here? My planet force, these plasma weapons against a Warp ship.’ His head shaking, a sigh escaped his lips. ‘Well, off to oblivion we go, but some of them will come with us.’ Standing, he gave the order to engage.

At that point the ships communication system sprang to life and a voice was heard, commanding and insistent-

COMMANDER REMKIN, THIS IS THE EMSHIP MENNEKER, WE HAVE COME AT THIS TIME FOR A PURPOSE


DO NOT ENGAGE YOUR WEAPONS, WE WILL ALLOW 2 SECTARS FOR YOUR FORCE TO LEAVE THIS DEFENCE SECTOR, HEED MY WORDS...

‘The Warp ship has appeared, at last where Dargurion?’

‘Sire by the planet Amarcan.’

‘Pressing the stud, Maruk trailed a talon across the translucent star map. ‘Here,’ he stabbed. ‘On the rim. Dargurion, what is the number .of complements of the Menneker‘

‘It has 100 with it Lord.’

‘Excellent,’ said Maruk, I want point of sighting with them quickly Dargurion.’

Dargurion exited through the empanelled wall and ascended to the communication chamber atop Spectres way.

Entering the room he quickly attained an assessment of the communications net.’ Give me a time for crossing to the Masters.’

‘Sir, one sector, they are sending now, we will have the inner circle shortly.’


Dargurion stepped down from the entrance and hurried across to the seating platform. The enclave sang with hidden power. A circlet of Zinian metal embedded in the floor gave off a glowing ethereal pulse. Above this circlet stretched in a full circle an interconnected series of pulse machines with entrance ways from the consoles spread concentrically around the communication platform. This was the Zinian time trap used by the power to communicate with Maruk. The triloputers were attempting the difficult task of fixing image transfer with the Menneker.


As the pulses generated grew in intensity the centre of the comm-circle became iridescent and then opaque. The warm misty light danced and coalesced as if endowed with form. Engineers so identified by their uniforms moved into the centre and consulted with a portoputer. Whilst two others, ethereal now in the opaqueness glided to a coordinated pattern within the circlet to triangulate the floor area. At each point of what was now becoming distinct was placed a pulsing light. At a command they moved from the area and once again consulted the triloputer, satisfied they reported to a figure standing to one side.

Dargurion consulted with the transfer commander and walked onto the platform. Waving an electronic beam from side to side he covered the floor space while looking at the response of the hand-held machine.

‘Commander,’ spoke Dargurion, ‘commence transfer with the Menneker, the path is secure.’

The room darkened as the intrusion of light exploded to the bounds of the platform, coalesced, bulged, gathered form, scattered like shards of plastiglass, reformed and became rigid. Like a gigantic bubble it held, pulsed again, and then assumed form.

‘Connection imminent, holding, holding, synapse complete, connection, synapse complete.’ The triloputers voice came from the air, the voice was all round. ‘Reporting transfer connection with the Menneker.’

Dargurion dismissing the engineers turned to the console and consulted the triloputer.

‘What is the period of transfer?’

‘Image transfer can be held for 2 sectors. The Menneker will then change station to commence bridging.’ Pressing his digitiser he reported to Maruk.

In his eyrie Maruk’s brooding presence alarmed the Tameleon. Maruk paced constantly seeking reports on the status of the Halpen. His gruff reply to Dargurion was left as a companion as he stepped aboard the grav-unit and swept into the corridor; ascending to the comm-room he gave instructions. Once in the chamber he glided over to the main triloputer, looked at Dargurion and then back to the time-trap. ‘Everything is ready,’ prompted Maruk.

‘Yes Sire,’ replied Dargurion.

‘Good, have the engineers removed and assemble my Imperials here immediately. Signal Menneker that I will confer with the masters alone, except for my security troops who will seal this area.’

‘Yes Sire.’

At Dargurions command the waiting cohort of Imperials burst into the enclave and removed the engineers. Spacing themselves Maruk’s bodyguard encircled the time transfer. Weapons held firmly and primed for burst fire. At Maruk’s order Dargurion commanded the ‘puter to lock on to Menneker and begin transfer.

‘The Lord Bortok is moving from the seat of where all life began, to the star sector threatened by the arrival of the Emship Menneker. He is aboard Genesis.’

‘Good, now we will have a chance, at least of a fair fight.’

‘Where will he emerge,’ the commander of the Ollicipie requested.


‘My Lord, he will confront the Menneker.’


‘What – signal the commander of the Windforce – tell him – no do not code, tell Remkin that the Wanderer will appear before him – instantly.’

On board Windforce Commander Remkin was studying the message

‘The Lord Bortok will confront the Menneker. Your valour in attempting to shield your force from an Emship will be honoured – but only if you are alive. Stay your command Remkin - message ends- Ollicipie.’

On the bridge the view was awe-inspiring. The Menneker crowded known space, explosions told of asteroids disintegrating as they violated the Em ship’s space. Remkin studied the message - looked to the ceiling - then spoke reverently. ‘To all my commanders, to all my fighters, the Wanderer is here- he is here now.’

The wavering path between Windforce and the Emship bespoke of turmoil. Of dimensions gathering force – far from the centre of life - but still with the V-drive, the Genesis emerged - first as a gamma wave - the light refracted from the nose of the Windforce. A wavering pulsing light then the Genesis materialised. At the same time a voice penetrated all conscious thought. ‘Your message to the Windforce is welcome Menneker. You will leave this sector of space within the instant.’


The behemoth pulsed several times as streaks of latent power erupted towards the Genesis. The Genesis grew in size and radiated a throbbing rainbow of circles of light. The lethal thrust from the giant Emship surged into the ring of power and was consumed.


From within the Genesis a ray of concentrated light spread across the path between the two ships and grew solid. It reached into the space within the boundary of the Emship, where no asteroid could live and penetrated the hull of the Menneker. As the Genesis sat pulsing, the side of the awesome Emship split open like a ripe melon – folded up and engulfed itself. ‘As if space had eaten,’ was how Remkin reported the incident.

‘One moment we were threatened with death, then the Lord Bortok emerged – the Emship disappeared.’

‘He has been successful in his search for the equation that unlocks the secret.’

‘What – permutation’

‘Apparently, how else do you make an Emship return to its dimension?’

 ‘Yes, but what has started this -?’

 ‘From where all life came from as we know it – planet Earth.’




Sunday, April 5, 2015

Another Life - Another Time

Off to starboard, the blinks of small cats eyes were stars an unfathomable number of light years away. As the distance closed, they grew in size or intensity. It wasn’t black out there not as black is meant to be. It’s a beautiful empty expanse with baubles called planets sometimes surrounded by smaller bodies, significantly called moons. I have seen deserts with more panorama than the space outside the viewport. However, deserts end at civilisation, space never ends, and for a human out in this limitless vacuum, it is hard to describe. Space is clear of smog, heat and perspiration; because it is numbingly cold and will boil your eyes in a heartbeat. The habitable planets owe their atmosphere and ability to hold life to the plasma/hydrogen/quron star in this quadrant. Now the Nemon has it off the port side behind the gas giant we are currently orbiting.


The Illurian adjusted his eye protectors as the plas-glass portal opaqued to see-through status. The Consortium of three who currently dominated Illuria appointed Leylink to assist specified trading partners in obtaining certain minerals. The Nemon was a gesture of Illuria’s need for other – more specific requirements, and Leylink was to cement that partnership. At 2 meters, the Illurian would touch the scales at 100k, as their bone structure wasn’t as dense as on a high gravity planet. The white mane of hair fell from a prominent, narrow skull more elongated than Earthers and the facial structure – eyes/nose and mouth were closer to leonine in perception. The narrow neck joined at the shoulders which being extremely wide, reinforced the skeletal build. The arms were longer with tapering fingers. Overall, the effect was human-like. An Illurian in National dress was not unlike the regal and majestic Maasai people of Earth.

The infinity of space still held him in thrall, even now, as he wondered how deep and how far the racing gas clouds had come. Ahead, a single planet blocked the flickering light from the distant stars and brought him back to the current task. He was standing on the bridge of the cruiser – The Nemon. It escorted the bulky Starmine as the manoeuvring jets bumped it out of low orbit around the latest find; a moon sized asteroid rich in metals - a rare find in this fragment of space. Starmine entered the asteroids ionosphere and without breaking trajectory downslided into the orbs gravity ring.

Squalls of icy winds ripped at the gas clouds as they fled across the tundra. The high wind chill froze any unprotected skin or machinery not wrapped in plas-steel. The vacuum of space provided an eerie silhouette to the ship falling in from orbit. The spherical silver craft moved into the foreground against the star field as it sliced through the pulsing wall of energy. The configuration of the bulbous vehicle and the broken terrain merged for an instant.The sleek plas-steel craft wavered, condensation wafted about its body. The tundra was consistent, it was a blasted wasteland marked by meteor strikes.


From the middle nacelle of the engine housing a rod extended with owl-eye sockets; as the rod extended, the owl-eyes opened, and a light too bright for unshielded eyes, bored into the tundra below. Molten cinders and steam exploded as the white hot lance speared into the ground. Starmine settled further following the beam as the lance bored deeper then shut down. Worker-robot craft separated from the mother ship and white-hot lights swept back and forth, as they joined in the assault; the grinding of mesh gears and searing heat swept the area. The mother-ship sank to the surface as if exhausted after the long flight.

Plas-mesh supports sprang from the sides of the vehicle on thickened rods stabilising the craft as it settled onto the undulating surface. Then the reason for the large bulge in front of the Starminer became apparent. The bulge opened splitting at the middle and large wheeled vehicles roared down ramps onto the tundra. Massed troops with weapons formed ranks and marched to the vehicles, while even stranger craft hovered overhead. As the last of the mining machines ran onto the escarpment, the landing ramp closed, allowing the behemoth to return to an elliptical orbit.

The ancillary thrusters decreased speed and the asteroid hunter turned as if bearing into a lee wind, impossible in airless space. It continued its gyration until it was forward of the primary goal; a signal was then sent to the Nemon.

With its forward momentum arrested Starmine sailed into position alongside a structure forming in airless space. An opening appeared in the side of Starmine opposite the elongated skeleton and several more respirator clad figures appeared. Moving out from the ship, other metal objects appeared and smaller tug ships towed the components into parking stasis. The activity moved across the abyss as a telescoped section of metal appeared through the doors. Unending, the movement continued. Figures swarmed over it until a pattern emerged.

Smaller carrier craft came into view and thrusters burned, turning the area into a sea of stars. Curtains of bright lights erupted from the belly of the behemoth as more objects appeared and wrestled into position by the tugs, which then swarmed over the ballooning structure.

A huge knitting needle of plas-steel passed through the centre emerging from the other side. Carrier craft swarmed about to a plan. The tugs moved about this silver globe attaching hawser lines. In concert, they moved and the globe moved. Quickly thrusters engaged and in a concentrated manoeuvre, the globe entered the atmosphere of the mass that only hours ago had been a rogue asteroid.


‘As soon as the Reclamator reaches the surface have those supports plugged and we could start drilling within one day.’ The figure spoke from the bridge of the Nemon, as he surveyed the orbiting steel balloon that was slowly moving to the surface of the asteroid. The tall stick-like Illurian watched as the ships thrusters jockeyed the craft around the orb as the Earther joined him at the command observation portal. ‘Where did you find this one?’ said the rich throaty voice.


‘Out by the nebula on the edge of the cleared zone; there may be another in the area shortly. 

Friday, October 31, 2014

The Adventures of Snowpuss and Gidley -prologue


The brownstone office looked down on William Street in downtown Sydney a good brisk walk from Circular Quay, if you had the time and inclination, or a five minute trip by car, but certainly not in peak hour, a meeting was taking place. Five people sat around the large conference table. Members of a special undercover squad with rather unkept hair and stern looks all watched the man at the head of the table.

 ‘The situation is out of hand; Rottnest has lost its parrots and we are catching stupid people carrying one bird, reptile or snake, but not the organisation. God help us if these idiots ever tried harder. Who is running this show and how many are we missing. Our endangered species list grows by the day and it isn't enough that we slaughter our own animals indiscriminately but these bludgers are walking through our airports with rare parrots, snakes whatever all rolled up in magazines.

 What I ask you is going out in bulk by ship by plane, by bloody UFO’s for god’s sake. It’s a well organised criminal organisation with international tentacles and lots of corruption’.

He sat back exasperated.  Throwing his pen on the table he cast about at the concerned faces, ‘can someone have an idea – please’.

The air outside grew colder as tufts of mist off the road wafted past as the recent shower wet the windows steaming off the bitumen,  shadowing the mood  in the room.

‘These jokers have to be taught that here in Australia they can’t do what they like, we have laws, crappy ones at best  but in the main our wildlife laws are strict -   in a sense they are, and yes’, he answered with one raised eyebrow ‘we have lost more wildlife in 200 years than in all the years before, we must stop the rampant destruction or our kids will have to visit zoos just to see a parrot – blast, I love the little buggers coming in of a morning to my bird bath and seeder, they make my morning – I don’t want that to stop, but some bugger is causing this on a wide scale and I want his ass on a plate –now!’

Sam sat back, he agreed but passion wouldn't do it, human, on the ground intelligence was needed, but where to start, where was the operation, where. Ideas were thrown around but a starting point was needed, undercover work had used four squads, twenty men and nothing apart from several tourists had been caught. They needed a break and soon or parrots would disappear in one lifetime and a little girl would keep asking her father the same question –‘where have all the parrots gone Daddy’.

It wasn't just the parrots or the wildlife wallabies, tree kangaroos, quokkas and platypus were being taken, even from legal private zoos. The scope of the crimes were unknown but they were extensive and told of a large scale operation, well maintained and sourced and must be done with help from authorities all on the gangs payroll, that was the conclusion drawn from the meeting.

Sam didn’t have a clue –where to start – where?

The meeting had ended and disgruntled men and women trooped out frustration their companion.

‘Sam, before you leave how about a word? The large man, over six foot, an ex Aussie rules player he had been given this job to curb the export of Australian animals and the violence that followed when people got in the way.

‘What’s brought this on’, Sam asked.

His Boss tossed a loose lock of hair brushing it away the eyes travelled to the window and back to Sam –‘Can you keep a secret’?

 ‘Of course but-’,

‘No buts this is confidential and stays that way. Okay someone up top way up top had an episode –something has rattled him, something big. No I know but it’s a secret he had more of an epiphany – let’s call it a moment, something showed him that what we are doing is wrong and more emphasis should be put on saving the animals, in short not just the environment but  the animals which are an important part –just as important as the sea life.

 You see if the whales are lost the sea dies. Our unique ecology depends on our native animals for soil, plant and mineral conservation. The land will die if the animals disappear and the fauna –plants will die out and our way of life will suffer –evaporate was the word he used, evaporate just like that’, as he clipped his fingers. ‘No one has ever seen him so spooked’.

 Christ’ said Sam, ‘what got to him?’

 ’Don’t know but he is telling treasury that more money is needed now – and they agree, it’s a bloody miracle, more money for agents from the treasury, but there it is.’

‘Now Sam, you caught the top man in the recent pedophile case and I am looking to you to get answers. the illegal wildlife trade is third only to that in drugs and human trafficking in scope and value; numbers in the order of tens of billions of dollars are at stake according to the Global Financial Integrity organisation, and CITES agrees that there are billions involved. The team has great agents and I am not playing favourites, but I have to depend on someone to get answers or my little girl will never speak to me again.

‘Well’, said Sam, ‘in the report black cockatoos, parrots and wallabies were highlighted. So because of your daughter I am going to concentrate on the birds and wallabies, basically the birds. International air traffic is well controlled maybe a cargo plane or my bet is a ship, comes in with legal cargo, goes out with mixed crates, and our stuff will be in some of them, not all as customs would be on to it, but trying to sort through all the cargo is a demons job. So I’m betting on the seas, so off to see somebody and I’ll travel up the east coast and stop when I get a sniff’.

‘Good but remember get backup if you get a bite, we will monitor your locator chip and your calls should use the ‘warrigal’ identity, okay’.

Sam smiled, ‘sure Boss and don’t worry we’ll find them’.

‘Yes that’s what worries me, if this is as big as I think you could be in for a shit-storm’

Sam wandered down the stairs to the basement where his turbo-charged Subaru was parked. He climbed in, checked the fuel level and headed for the Harbour Bridge and the road north, the hunt was on.

Sam pulled into a rest stop and pulling his laptop out he connected the system to global-net and checked his mail.

‘Nothing much but the reports indicates that these jokers are locals with professionally built cages –unusual right I’ll ring Colin and see'.

After talking to his friend in wildlife section of Dept. of Environment Colin informed him that they were scared and not of him, something about the delivery and they didn’t mind going to the lockup.

‘Jeeze Sam whatever you’re into watch yourself, these almost wet themselves at something’. 
He signed off and called another contact at the police station in Taree.

‘Good day Jock, yeah I was talking to Colin, the jokers with the cages, parrots mainly but something about it, they were scared stiff according to Col. That case of yours, you think they were supplying on a regular basis, and there were what 14 cages, a bit much for a local operation don’t you think'.


 ‘Yes - what I thought local guys have become organised and it look as if they trap and then deliver to somebody, not on-sell as they use to. ‘I’m going to set myself up on the coast and do some snooping, do the usual, a bum on the lookout. Righto I’ll call in and then go over what you have, and move up towards Port, any contacts there, right see you soon’.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Luck is a Four Letter Word

Have you ever thought of where luck comes from; a big bucket, a particular ray of light, or that strange cloud that seems to be hovering and moves as we move . Some days can be triumphs or disasters. The people who look inside our heads tell us it is the power of suggestion. Sometimes you wonder as you tempt lady luck.

Every day someone scratches a winning ticket, but I have never met one. Do you suppose they are taken away after they have screamed their heads off, and put into some kind of restraint? Or are they just trotted out each day so that ordinary mortals may feel the urge to try.

I have stood in awe and watched sane men and women scratch their way through the ticket, the surface of the table and eventually the table. As if the glittering prize had slipped under several layers of plywood. The poor unfortunates gnash their teeth, frown at the clear sky, mumble something unintelligible as they shamble away knowing that the grocery money has been seriously depleted.

One particularly disastrous day as I led the way from the newsagent, I mentally bemoaned my fate and fell over a wheelchair. I resolved to complete the day without further incident. I should have checked with the fates, because I had not seen the end of that day. Arriving home I collected my dogs, bait, and fishing rod and set out for our fishing spot.

Everything was normal until I had a bite. The reel seized up, the fish disappeared and wonderful lumps of nylon appeared. Ten minutes later we tried again. Another bite; the reel seized up and my lips moved erratically. I took the rig off and put it on the chair. Metres of line were lost in a maddened frenzy as dusk descended and blackness enveloped me.

Not a problem, we have a torch. It was as useful as a burnt match. The fishing line suddenly had a life of its own and another ten minutes disappeared into the past. Finally we were about to rig up when I discovered one of the sinkers had sunk, into the soft sand. One sinker would have to do in the mouth of a force-nine gale. Reaching for the hook and swivel on the chair, I discovered that it also had a life of its own and had fled.

Perseverance is the name of the game that was not going to stop me. At this stage I determined to catch a fish. Bending to pick up the bait, I looked around to discover that my bait, an inert bag of bait, had been resurrected and eloped with the hook and swivel. Not a problem, I picked up the chair to fling it into the bush. Somehow it had wrapped itself around my leg and I was flat on the ground.

Looking around to see if I was on a movie set, I sheepishly slunk to the car. The tackle box that would not previously give up its treasure of sinkers promptly emptied its entire contents down the gap in the back seat. I put the rod through the gap in the window and turned to go to the drivers' side. 

Alas the cloud had not finished. I was now attached to the rod, and certainly not in passion. As the hook drew blood my resolve not to scream was shattered.


I didn’t go back to that fishing spot again, in case somebody waited with a restraint and whisked me off to the place where all those winning ticket holders are confined.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

The future

As the Halpen fled Dragon pass another made their way to Tinurth, in another part of the wastelands. This area and indeed the planet, which had been a trading highway, had been abandoned, for most life forms had vanished from this system. The term ‘most life forms’ would not describe Hardon Williams, in any of the numerous languages/dialects in this piece of space.  Adventurer, vagabond, womaniser or drifter, the description of Hardon might even stretch the vocabulary of a word-smith.

His Dove-wing flyer, the Necromancer, had many improvements from its original design specifications; one in which he had invested a wad of negotiable coin of the realm, was the engine configuration. Designed and installed by an Illurian it was superior to those built by the Xinian artificers. The redesigned motors ran on the principle of hydrogen-mass conversion and the light speed achieved ensured that Hardon came away from any negotiation with all his parts intact.

Another innovation had been the weapons. He had insisted on energy form generators instead of the single stream laser, in vogue for a short time and rapidly disproved as the owners disappeared. And of course the mass projectiles for anything bigger than a cruiser had been prudent and economical. The addition of a light refractor to give the ship the benefit of a wavering form, or more succinctly becoming a shadow when the light favoured such a tactic had improved his trade negotiations by the power of one prime figure.

So, why was this fine figure of an intelligent, economical and organised human being stuck on an inhospitable escarpment in a wasteland, with his flyer stationary and parked on the flatlands below? The thick red hair pinned to his scalp by the wrap around head cover itched. The gloved hand pushed at the slightly skewed nose, more to see if it had any life as the eyes scanned the incline of the opposing slope leading from the edge of the escarpment to the bare land below.

‘Not too much of a drop, the slide will be fun. I’d say that Garrick wont’ be making this rendezvous. I was stupid to come, not much profit in it, more the curiosity value.
Nevertheless, a long lost jewel from a royal collection sounds like something you would find on Earth, certainly not out here, but diamonds have their uses, more than a fridbit of jewellery for a woman’s arm. The pulse generator needs a new one. Oh well, maybe another day.’ With the last word, he jumped forward feet first hurtling down the slope of loose sand and scree.

Minutes later he stood at the door of his flyer as the sentry droid reported activity in the space above the planet.

‘Sir, an unidentified ship has entered orbit. It does not match the configuration of the vehicle on the log.’

‘Fine Andros, let’s get on board, activate the energy shields, warm up the guns, and would you mind, a cup of tea as well please.’

As the door closed, gliding on plas-wheels, Hardon sat at the console amidships, where he could see forward and around through the mag windows. Above and slightly forward, the screen showed pictures of the planets ionosphere.
The triangular lines flowed intersecting with a pulsing dot. ‘We have contact Andros – lift off and into orbit and we’ll have a look at our visitor.’

As the Necromancer lifted off, drawing on the planets natural gravitational forces and aligning the magnetic waves, the dove-wing accelerated slowly. Flying through varying layers of atmosphere the sleek craft engaged shadow-drive and entered the ionosphere. The pulsing dot soon appeared as a cruiser – an unmarked cruiser.

‘Andros, move us out of here –quickly. I don’t want to play with a cruiser – what the hell do they want – because there is nothing down there they could possibly need - or are they scouting – a bit big for a scout. Take us along the horizon and head for the other side of this planets moon. We will come around the other side as he goes to ground, then we are out of this quadrant, there may be more.’

Still scratching his thick head of hair, the itch remained; his other hand took the proffered cup of tea. ‘Ah Andros, the tea is the correct temperature, thank you.’ One hand held the cup, whilst the other caressed the armaments pod. The cruiser was no match for the Necromancer but he knew there would be a base or Mother –ship out there somewhere in space.

The air around him inside the ship was a warm 33 degrees whilst the air outside, that is the vacuum of space he did not want to know about. The more of it between him and the stranger was what concerned him and the whereabouts of his contact and why they had not made the meeting.

Steaks of anti-matter trailed behind the Necromancer as it put the satellite moon between it and the unknown menace of a battle cruiser. The droid set course for the next habitable planet, Illuria.

‘Try to contact our source Andros, the tri-beam should do it, as long as it doesn’t bounce off anything and get picked up by our friend out there.’ His hand waved at the planet they just left and the now orbiting battle cruiser. The well-used thumb and first finger twirled the spoon, pushing at long dissolved and expensive organic sweetener, sugar.

Triluminal distance narrowed between where the Necromancer was and where it had to go. Distance in space was perceived, certainly not actual, you could be some distance from here, or from a planet, but from two places in space the distance was Triluminal, a time distance not a spaced distance. 

The night had swept across the southern hemisphere slowly. The second moon would make its ascendancy towards the darkest hour, so twilight reigned, bringing just enough light for the inhabitants to continue trading and bartering in the open air market at the centre of the town.

Harden had landed at the port and taken a flyer into the central business sector where he made his way through the throng to one particular building.  Ascending to the floor he wanted, this company could not afford a flyer arrival point, so it was the old lift. He walked into the vestibule to be met by a droid. His security card scrutinised he sat and waited. 

The Illurian he waited for - Tar’kel, the name was shortened for Terrans, as our teeth are blunter and our tongue does not have the elasticity needed-was his contact, among other interests, for speedy acquisitions: those that circumvented the exorbitant taxes and ‘t,aitha’ – the time honoured bribes.

A triumvirate of powerful people currently dominated Illuria; capitalism the terran way had not made inroads –yet. That would come,’ he smiled, ‘and would it, before all my birthdays have come and gone?’ Harden had been here before; the waiting area was spacious with tubed chairs and tables with an assortment of plants and books placed in alcoves. The carpet was made of the modern fibre – self-cleaning and each day changed colour depending on the particular weather outside the glassed recesses - called windows on Earth. 

The Illurian had two varying persona. His work entailed freight between Illuria and the outlying settlements, sometimes off world, but his main task was as head of an interplanetary group interested in restoring free trade commerce between planets. To this end, he had formed relationships with several influential people and Harden was one of his off world contacts.

Harden had also heard of an intergalactic war raging without end and considered the possibility that this meeting had more reasons than he had been told. ‘I need the diamond for the pulse generator, and probably Garrick has found another buyer. Tar’kel could have simply off-loaded it at the warehouse, instead he had insisted on this meeting. Diamonds, this far from the source, were a rarity, and I could use Ilithian crystal instead, but the difference was as between steel and plas-chrome.’ The door across from him opened and the flipit of white hair preceded a tall Illurian who stepped out and glided, instead of walked, as if he was still in low gravity to Harden and grasping him by the arm said, ‘come’.


As Harden went to his meeting with the enigmatic Tar’kel the war was coming to Harden, sooner than he expected.