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PRAISE FOR G. J. KOCH’S
ALEXANDER OUTLAND: SPACE PIRATE
Alexander Outland: Space Pirate
is a delightful read, packed with insanely funny lines, wonderfully weird characters, and twisty thrills. A total blast of a book!”
—Carolyn Crane, author of the Disillusionists trilogy
“Like some twisted, exhilarating combination of a theme park and an orgy,
Alexander Outland: Space Pirate
is rocket-paced, sexy, thrilling, and fun, and no matter what you think it’ll be going in, you’re wrong. You might need a cold shower by the end, but you won’t regret the ride.”
—Jeffrey J. Mariotte, author of
Cold Black Hearts
“A fun read and an amusing vision of the happy-go-lucky pirate in space, desired by all women, working with the best misfit crew in the galaxy. There are strong echoes of Jack Sparrow, Harrison Ford and Errol Flynn in Alexander Outland. Author G. J. Koch has a good ear for dialogue, a mind attuned to devious plots, and a nice argument for why this space pirate would love the beaches and bars of Marseille.”
—T. Jackson King, author of
Little Brother’s World
is a stew of science fiction, comedy, action and adventure that nourishes the eyes, brain and funny bone.”
—Kevin L. Donihe, author of
House of Houses
“The most engaging rogue to hit the spaceways since
The Stainless Steel Rat
—Sandy Mitchell, author of the Ciaphas Cain series
Mark Twain said that whoever you dedicate a book to will be sure to buy a copy. In that light…
To John and Mary (you know who you are), this one’s for you!
pace. I’ve heard it called the final frontier, the last hope for mankind, where all dreams can still come true, and a variety of other noble-sounding phrases.
Know what space really is?
It’s the dull stuff in between planets.
Planets, now planets are where it’s at. People.
. A wide variety of women. Anything worthwhile’s on a planet. Unless, of course, it’s on a supply or transport ship, going from one planet to another.
The one good thing about space? It’s a great place to hide if you’ve relieved someone on a planet or a transport of what matters to them.
Not that I do that all the time. Well, not often. Well, not every day, okay?
You know, I left home because of this kind of pressure.
Never a day I haven’t been glad of that choice. Great-Aunt Clara, wherever you are: Thanks. I like life a lot better now that I’m nowhere near you.
essel Three-three-six-nine you are cleared to land.”
“Thanks, doll. You free later?”
“Captain Alexander Napoleon Outland?”
“That’s me. But you can call me Nap, babe. That’s what all my friends, and satisfied ladies throughout the galaxy, call me.”
“From me and all the rest of Thurge Mission Control—don’t flatter yourself.”
“Normally, it’s the ladies offering the flattering remarks, doll.”
“Shut up or I’ll direct you to land in an active volcano.”
Touchy. Of course, it could have been due to my activities the last time I was here. “You’re not Zahara, are you?”
“No. And you should thank your world’s god that I’m not.”
Well, one potential nightmare avoided. “Why so, doll?”
“Put it this way: When she finds you, you’ll wish I’d had you land in that volcano.”
“But, I’ll bet she thinks it was worth it.” I followed the coordinates. Nice, smooth landing strip. No volcano in sight.
“Not sure. I imagine you can find out yourself. We let her know you were here.” She had that tone, the one women get when they’ve really shoved it to you and are happy about it.
“You related to Zahara?”
“No. Not at all.”
I pondered. It’d been a while since I’d been on Thurge. It wasn’t exactly the garden spot of the Delta Quadrant, and there wasn’t a big call for black market magma. We were only back here because our current job required us to pick up a supply of the only thing Thurge had to offer. “Uh, Carolita?”
“Wow, you remember me. Enjoy catching up with Zahara.” Not so good. I remembered Carolita. Amazing in the sack. Nasty, nasty temper out of it. Probably why she was so great in the sack. “Carolita, how you been, babe?”
“I’m going to enjoy watching what Zahara does to you.”
I pondered. I could stay, get the magma I had a legitimate order for, and risk the wrath of Zahara, Carolita and, as memories came back, a whole lot of other girls who might not be inclined positively towards me. Or I could leave and find another way to make money.
“To you, Zahara, and all the other Thurge girls I’ve loved before—goodbye and good luck.”
“Vessel three-three-six-nine you are cleared for takeoff. Don’t let our planet’s atmosphere hit your tail on the way out.”
What can I say? My Great-Aunt Clara always said discretion was the better part of valor. Never too late to listen to her sage advice, right?
ap, why aren’t we stopping?” Randolph fell into the copilot’s seat. Would have been better if he knew how to fly, but the
ran a mean auto-helper program.
“Busy, busy, busy. Places to go, cargo to steal, new girls to meet.”
“Oh. Zahara was around?”
Lift-off. Nice. Smooth. Easy. I ignored the cursing I could hear from Mission Control. Zahara had arrived, thankfully, a moment too late. “And Carolita. Remember Carolita?”
“Yeah, I do. I’m surprised you do—she hit your head pretty hard. You had some trouble with short-term memory for a bit there.” Randolph managed to look almost conciliatory. Having a face like a basset hound helped somewhat.
“Yeah, and you had trouble with long term. Why did you let me take an order for magma and then let me come to Thurge to try to fill it?”
“I was working on the reactors and hyper-drives when you took the order. Like always. You know, why do you always try to make things my fault?”
“Uh, because you’re here?” Why did I get crewmen who asked the obvious questions?
“Nap, why the hell are we going back up?” Slinkie slithered in. The cockpit was getting crowded. Not that Slinkie was a bad addition. No woman from Aviatus was. The men, on the other hand, made Randolph look like the hottest male on two legs. Slinkie had a real name, not that I knew it. It didn’t matter. She was still the most gorgeous woman I’d ever seen, on any and all planets. However, we had a professional relationship.
“I figured if I turned down the legitimate job, you’d realize you loved me.”
“Oh, Dear Feathered Lord. Nap, we have been through this. You’re not my type.” She tossed her hair. Long, thick, brown hair, naturally streaked with a variety of red, gold and copper hues. She lived to toss her hair. Because it shimmered, even in the dark. I dragged my attention back to flying.
“Because I’m human?”
“I’m human, too, moron. We all are. Our ancestors bred like Lib-sunos. Earth rabbits, that’s what my great-great-grandfather called them.” Pure-blood Aviatians lived a long damned time.
“See? We’re compatible. So, why won’t you admit you love the Outland?”
“Aside from the fact that you actually call yourself ‘the Outland’? Because you’re a dog, and not in the looks department. Let me think, why aren’t we landing and doing the one legit job we’ve had in months… oh, feathers—Zahara, and Carolita. Oh, and I’ll bet Zithra, Lucia, and Amber were around, too, right?”
How did she remember them all?
couldn’t remember them all. “Uh, yeah. Right.”
“You don’t remember them, do you?” Slinkie’s voice could have cut diamonds. I risked a look. Yep. She had the eagle-glare going. Which was better than the vulture-glare. But not the dove-look, which I’d seen three times in my life. I’d been near death for all of them. Not a good trend, really.
“I remembered Zahara. And Carolita! All on my own. Nasty temper. On both of them. All of them. Thurge grows nasty chicks.”
That came out wrong. I winced in anticipation.
“They grow lavaettes.
planet grows chicks.” Now her voice could cut space ice.
“Earth term Nap’s adopted,” Randolph said quickly.
“You know, you’ve been using that lame-duck excuse ever since I hooked up with this crew. Nap’s been to Earth all of once. And he was a baby.”
“I was five.”
“I rest my case. Anyway, it’s still insulting to me.”