The Lucky Stripes Job (The Operative)

My office door was swinging open, slowly and quietly. Now, you gotta understand: I’ve got a squeak in that door that I’ve been training up for years now, and every time the super fixes it I put it right back in. It’s one of the hidden alarms of a professional paranoid, and the fact that someone had troubled to silence it had me on instant alert. With my left hand I turned a page to cover the sound of my right unclipping a slugthrower from under my chair arm. The door had stopped; it was now or never time.

Continue reading

The Ghost Ship Job, Part 2

This is Part Two of a two-part story. If you missed Part One, click here.

Lesser Ephebian Cloud, on board the Lady Royale; ship’s time: Unknown

I followed the droid through room after room, past varied attractions, virtual concerts, ballrooms, and endless buffets kept fresh indefinitely in stasis fields. As is the way of casinos, to get anywhere at all we had to pass through bank after bank of slot machines. After a while I started jogging, and the droid had no choice but to speed up or lose me. We went up ramps, then forward again in a vast spiral that ended perhaps fifty feet higher up from where I’d started. I promised myself that, on the way back, I’d find a damn elevator or die trying.

Continue reading

The Ghost Ship Job, Part 1

It’s time for another exciting episode of The Operative! Just in time for Hallowe’en, we present a tale of mystery from the deepest reaches of the Unknown. Read on… if you dare.

Deep Space, Lesser Ephebian Cloud, 0200 Ship Time

I was on my way back to Founder’s Landing after a very profitable courier job on Charmed World. I’d moved some papers from here to there for some strange aliens, and I was looking forward to some alone time. There’s nothing more lonely than a nebula.

Continue reading

Tales of Timmy Tim – Episode 1: Granddad’s Portrait

This is a short story series I’ve been working on. It’s a story about a cook, Timmy Tim, who comes from a long line of fearsome space pirates, and his sidekick, Slink. It’s meant to be a fun and humourous little bit. It was also inspired by the 90s game, VGA Planets.

1

The occasion called for baked apples and fresh roe, garnished with asparagus, string beans, and carrots. It was exquisite, refined, and no well-to-do, highfalutin aristocrat ever disapproved of it. The galley was empty, almost silent, except for the tapping of a chef knife on a wooden cutting board.

Continue reading

The Negotiator’s Parables

Lessons in Planets Diplomacy

Once upon a time in a sector two feet in front of my eyes, I tumbled down a wormhole and found a universe that was flat, the stars bright but still, and cows, worms, and iguanas lived on tiny white dots in the black. To my right, I saw a flock of birds caught in webs and a lizard eating a shoe. On my left there were many soldiers, some nearly human and others part machine. They were caught in an endless war of lies and blood. I averted my eyes.

It was then that I noticed the cricket on a rock near the path. He wore a dress shirt and a tie. As odd as it was, it was stranger still when he asked me to sit. He taught me about Space War and spoke of the Grand Queue. The wisdom of the cricket opened my mind and I decided to pass it on… to you.

Continue reading

Riding The Ghost Train

[Scene: Filthy Side Street, Charmed World]
[Music: “Let The Good Times Roll” on a scratchy L.P.]
[Shot: Train horn, discordant chord, D# major. Camera pans up past a sign reading “Single Resident Occupancy”, then across the elevated rail line and zooms in on an open window. Two men are inside, talking; one’s dressed for the street, one for the gutter.]


“How often do the trains go by?” he asked out of curiosity.

Continue reading

Founder’s Landing, Day Two, 0100 (Delivery Time)

Airlock On Delivery Vessel, Helmet On

I was standing just inside the hatch, looking down the barrels of two hand disruptors, each held by an identical crewman. But I was in combat armor; no need for a little thing like that to intimidate me.

“Oh, please!” I said through the suit’s speaker. “It’d take you half an hour to burn through my armor, and that’s if I was polite enough to stand still. Why don’t you put those silly things down and let me finish my delivery?”

Continue reading

Founder’s Landing, Day Two, Past Midnight

Suit In High Orbit; Strong Stench Of Terror

Gradually, I came out of it to see the face of Founder’s Landing tumbling overhead. A little at a time it started coming back to me; I was… I was… cargo?

OSTRICH TO CARGO, DO YOU COPY, OVER — OSTRICH TO CARGO…

Even as I clicked my mike in response, it came to me I’d been hearing them for a while. Suddenly, I realized where I was and what was happening. I’d passed out after all. I checked the timer — no, still on schedule. Thank the gods.

Continue reading

Founder’s Landing, Day One, 2350

Airlock In High Orbit; Tinny Taste Of Adrenaline

“You about ready?” Eddie asked. “Your window’s coming up, in about–“

“FIVE MINUTES!” Sanchez’s voice blared over the intercom. Eddie grimaced.

“Yeah, in about five minutes or so. Give or take. Just, you know, kinda guessing at it.” He helped with one of the clamps, checked the holster, and handed me the case. “We’ll be watching for you at the rendezvous in ninety minutes. Don’t miss us, or it’s a long walk back home.”

Continue reading