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Authors: Jim Rudnick


Prison Planet (THE RIM CONFEDERACY Book 3)

BOOK: Prison Planet (THE RIM CONFEDERACY Book 3)
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Prison Planet
















Prologue for Book Four

"After a failed planetary rebellion, the rebel leader and his men are all given life sentences on Halberd, the RIM Confederacy prison planet and sent to the maximum island penitentiary—a prison that has never had a successful escape.


And under his Admirals orders, Captain Tanner Scott has also been sent to do RIM Navy duty on the planet with the mission to give up his alcoholism dependency. While he knows that this is what is expected of him by the Admiral, he finds it more difficult to do that he’d ever imagined.


Tanner meets a woman—the sister of the rebel leader and while he falls in love with her, he is not sure that the feeling is mutual. Yet he tries to straighten out his life and his drinking but instead he is faced with the choice of a lifetime—love or death.


Against incredible odds in the middle of a prison planet escape, he makes his choice . . . and more than his own life depends upon that choice . . . forever changing the future of the RIM!"










By Jim Rudnick

This is purely a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are products of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously.

Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

This book may not be re-sold or given away with permission in writing from the author.

No part of this book may be reproduced, copied, or distributed in any form or by any electronic or mechanical means past, present of future.


Copyright © 2015 Prison Planet
Jim Rudnick

All rights reserved.

ISBN-13: 978-0-9939410-9-2




For my Susan…

Prologue ~

“Loading over there …” the guard in the Station Provost uniform said and pointed back to the left. In front of him, about twenty very tall immigrants shuffled aside as the one in the front had to sidestep toward the large conveyor belt to tote his goods over there.

“Next,” the bored guard said as he checked his tablet display and counted off the heads in front of him.

“Eighteen, nineteen ... nineteen? Where’s twenty?” he asked, and no one in front of him answered.

“Twenty? Where’s the last person on this docket?” he barked out.

From the rear of the long lineup in front of him, a young woman pushed and moved others out of her way and ended up in front of the guard.

“Here! I’m here—sorry, I was handling the dolly with our exotics and trying to remind the customs fellow that they’re clearly marked NO X-RAY ... but yes, sorry, I’m here,” she finished and then stood quietly in front of the guard.

“And I take it you’re in charge, right, Ma’am?” the guard said dryly.

“I am,” she said, “the Countess Tibah al-Rashid of Olbia in the Caliphate realm, and you will not address me as ‘Ma’am’ either,” she said just as dryly, but as a Royal, it counted.

“Um ... Highness, I am so, so sorry,” the guard stammered and half-bowed as he waved his arm with a flutter to call over help.

Springing up beside him, a squad of guards suddenly appeared and quickly moved from one immigrant candidate to the next one, filling out the forms on their own tablets. You could see he wanted to ask why a Countess—a Royal—would in fact be an immigrant farmer to this planet, but you could tell he knew better too.

“Highness, you mentioned some kind of ‘exotic’ items?” he said, and she smiled down at him from the full six and a half feet of her stature.

“Yes, that is exactly what I said, Provost. We are importing a selection of our exotic vegetable seeds in their insular containers—and they cannot be x-rayed! You may want to search them all by hand, of course, but no gene-altering x-rays will be allowed—just as your own Halberd statutes command,” she said quietly and pointed back along that far wall to more than a dozen large tanks of purported seeds. They both walked over to the first tank and the guard looked it over, hefted it in his two hands, and nodded.

“Feels like lightweight contents, seeds I’d suppose … so yeah, no x-rays needed. You have, um,” he said as he glanced at his tablet, “thirteen cases. Yes, I see they’re all here,” he said. “Corporal Stevenson, mark these all as PASS and ship ‘em out,” he finished and turned back to the Countess.

“Umm, Countess—I see that you’ve chosen the river lowlands as the site for your new farm from the available land bank—might I suggest that you reconsider?” he said and looked up at her.

From her taller vantage point, she stared down at him, her jet-black hair framing her quite pretty face, and then smiled at him.

“I appreciate your concern, Provost, ah, Provost Sargent, but this was the choice made by us—the farmers, of course, but also by our scientists as we have need of that soft loamy soil for our new specialized vegetables.” She nodded to him and was about to leave to pass by the exit gate at the Andros EL station when he interrupted her once more.

“Not a problem, Countess, but a gentle reminder that the river often floods in spring, and that can cause some major erosion, so I’d plant as far off from the river line as you can,” he finished and nodded to her once again.

“No need then for us to worry then, is there?” she answered and then flowed around him.

Smiling at him, Countess Tibah waved her peers to follow her, and they all moved through the gates and toward the LRT that ran the city streets. Four of her compatriots helped load the seed tanks on board, and then they all took seats as passengers. Tibah made her way up the center aisle and spoke succinctly to the driver, as this was a new experience for her.

“Um … driver, can I ask if this coach goes to … um, Jeremy, what is the geoPOS?”

From the rear, another immigrant moved up to stand beside her, searched on his wrist-mounted PDA, and then spoke up.

“We’re at seventeen Riverun Road,” he offered.

As the coach slowly pulled out into traffic at the front entrance of the Andros EL station, the driver nodded. “Yes, Ma’am, we go right by it,” he said.

All of the new-to-Halberd ex-Olbians oohed and ahhed as the LRT coach moved off the spur and out into the traffic on Andros main street. Along the boulevard, they occasionally passed other cars and trucks making their way. Once in a while, an EL pod went by. Most were yellow, but some were black.

Curious, one of the children asked, “Driver, why are some pods yellow and some black?”

“Citizen,” he responded, “the yellow pods are always reserved for citizens only. The black ones always are used to carry convicts and you may also see red ones that carry prison personnel or police. Is that what you needed to know?” He smiled in the rear view mirror at the youngster.

“Yes, that’s fine,” the child said politely, and she dipped her head back down to chat with her sister.

“Driver, local time, please?” said someone else.

“1520 hours in Oncu, the second month of our fourteen-month year, and dusk will occur at this time of the year at 2115 hours. Our summer will be in five months’ time too—is that what you needed to know?” he asked.

Silence was the answer.

Shops went by, as did pedestrians who were walking along the streets, as the coach slowly climbed the gentle city hill ahead, and the grade flattened out as it moved away from the Andros city core and the EL station where the space elevator terminated on land. Far above, at almost 33,000 kilometers, the upper EL station, Pikes Station, sat at the top of the elevator, commonly referred to as the EL, and it was where these Olbia immigrants had off-loaded from their transport to Halberd, the prison planet of the RIM Confederacy.









“Ten-hut, Captain,” Admiral McQueen barked at the Navy officer who was sitting in the foyer of his office as he strode past and waved Tanner into his office. He moved around the desk, took his seat heavily, stared for a moment at the papers in the only open file folder on his desk, and then looked up.

Captain Tanner Scott stood at attention with his thumbs aligned with the seam in his uniform trousers and his eyes staring straight ahead. His face was slightly pale and pasty. He was not looking forward to this, but how bad could it be? After all, just a year ago hadn’t he found and defeated the Pirates that were then the scourge of the RIM? Hadn’t he just shepherded that Sleeper ship through their foray into the RIM and ensured they had all made their final port over at Throth? Who knew ... this may even be a congratulatory meeting, he thought.

“Wipe that shit-eating grin off your face, Captain. You’re not here for your enjoyment. In fact, this may be the last time you ever are here in this office—or on any Navy property,” the admiral said as he stared up at the younger officer in front of him.

“How many crew and officers on-board a RIM cruiser, Captain?”

“Sir, the normal cruiser is 23,000 tons, with approximately two hundred ninety crew and sixty-five officers, Sir,” Tanner said. This was not going to go well.

“So at any given time, Captain, there are more than 300 Navy personnel under your control—not to mention, yes, the huge ship that you also control, yes, 600 feet of ship at FTL speed. Sounds like quite a responsibility …” he said quietly and then leaned forward to point at his captain.

“So, why in Hades’ name would you do that drunk, Captain?”

Tanner froze. His mind searched for an excuse, a response, a rationale, a reason, an explanation ... but there was none. There was no answer he could give, so he stood there at attention. Inside, he was hollow and that was all that he felt. Nothing but shame.

“It has come to my attention that this is well out of the closet, so to speak, Captain. You’ve been outted by many RIM citizens—yet you’ll be glad to know, though I don’t understand why, not a single crew member has verified what others have said. Not a one. Loyal they all are to you, Captain, even though I know—as do you—that they are simply covering your tracks. You, Captain, are a drunk. And you, Captain, should be court-martialed immediately,” he said, his voice still low.

He stood and turned to face the bookshelves behind him, reached for a knick-knack, and toyed with it in his hand. It was a small carving from a bone of an animal from Koo in the Earldom of Kinross. He’d received it as a gift from that tech world. It’s ship's sails billowed under full wind load and the cannons filled their ports, ready to fire—just as he felt now about firing his friend Captain Scott. He squeezed the amulet in his hand and spun around, his voice now rising.

“But that will not happen, yet. You and the
are hereby posted to Halberd, the RIM prison planet, for the full year’s duty of being the RIM Navy coordinator there. Job is pretty easy if boring as hell. But it’s not the job that you’ll need to work on, Captain— this is your final chance to sober up.”

He tossed the charm on his desk, and it skipped a couple of times until it came to rest. He looked at it and then up at Tanner.

“Comments, Scott?” he asked.

Tanner nodded then said with as much softness in his voice as he could, ”Sir, can I ask that my ship and crew do not get sent along on this ... prison duty? Sir, they did nothing wrong and so the punishment should be— “

“Negative, Captain. They covered for you, so they’re all going—one year on Halberd is almost a sentence for them too—you will have other duties though. There’s new volcano force fields to be transported too. You’ll also need to pick up new prisoners for transport to Halberd from Skogg, Hope, and Roor before you even arrive.”

He sat once again, toyed with the carving for a moment, and then looked up.

“You are to sober up completely, Captain. No excuses. You have a year to get back to active duty, but trust me, Tanner—if you do not measure up, then you’re out of the RIM Navy. I will know too, and by everything that is holy, you will either come back a sober captain or you will be drummed out of the Navy. No excuses, understood?” he barked at the now white officer in front of him.

BOOK: Prison Planet (THE RIM CONFEDERACY Book 3)
5.76Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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