Authors: J.R. O'Neill
A JON RYDER ADVENTURE
The Garden Planet
BY J.R. O’NEILL
Copyright © 2013 J.R. O’Neill and Blue Mountain Publishing
In accordance with the U.S. Copyright Act of 1976, the scanning, uploading, and electronic sharing of any part of this book without the permission of the publisher constitute unlawful piracy and theft of the author’s intellectual property. If you would like to use material from the book (other than for review purposes), prior written permission must be obtained by contacting the publisher at [email protected] Thank you for your support of the author’s rights. J.R O'Neill (12-17-2012).
Blue Mountain Publishing
Copyright © 2013 Blue Mountian Publishing and J.R. O'Neil
All rights reserved.:
Thank you for buying
Episode I - The Garden Planet
Published by Blue Mountain Publishing.
This marks the first in a series of Episodes and Seasons. We would like to invite you to join the Summit Climbers Club where you will receive special offers, bonus content, and news about our latest eBooks. We also update our books from time to time. Amazon will not notify you of this. Sign up below and we will.
Sign up for the Summit Climbers Club Now
Or visit us at
It was just after five pm ship's time, when I got the message to abandon my current mission, the mission I had been working on for over five months. My task had been to track down one individual by the name of Max Decker. Now Max had been on the run for over five years. In addition to me, all the resources of Space Force, as well as all the intelligence agencies under the control of the Federation of Planets, had been brought into play.
Now Max was not the usual skip that I would be tracking. I usually went after the average criminal, a job I was quite good at, my success rate being just about ninety- five percent. No, Max was not the usual skip. He had been running from Space Force ever since the Arula conflict, when after returning to New Earth he had expected a hero’s welcome. What he had gotten were jeers and sneers, he had been spit at and been the object of even worse gestures. To say he was disillusioned would be an understatement. He had served with distinction, saved countless Federation lives. Still his welcome home was rejection, unlike other returning veterans from previous wars. The result was that Max went rogue. He stole a ship right from under Space Force’s nose, a high-speed destroyer. And for five years he had terrorized those who he thought were doing wrong, a kind of modern-day Robin Hood. He would take the plunder and then strand the pirates in disabled ships; then once clear he would anonymously notify Space Force. However, the treasures he took were distributed to the impoverished citizens of the Federation.
Now in most people’s minds he was a hero, but to the government he was a pain in the ass. His actions were showing that the Federation’s agencies were unable to control piracy or even reel in the most wanted man in the galaxy.
This was when Space Force Intelligence reluctantly turned me, Jon Ryder, onto his trail. A trail that had led me and my own little warrior, the ship named Shadow, onto a chase that led to dozens of planets in just over six months, but even with all the power that Shadow had, as well as my remarkable intellect... well, at least Shadow had the power, whether I would have the intellect was still to be seen.
In any case, I had finally cornered Mr. Maxi on the planet called Altra Six, above which orbited Macdill Space Base. The largest Space Base of the Federation. Now why Max would have chosen to come here totally mystified me. However, mystified or not, I was within hours of placing Robin Hood into custody and collecting the million credit bounty in my pocket; a pocket that was by now becoming increasingly empty.
So being called off the case was almost more than I could bear. Although I am no longer a direct officer of the Federation, they do put many credits in my pocket and a direct order from no less than Admiral Rosen even I could not ignore.
Therefore, it was with great reluctance that I ordered Shadow to divert from the spaceport on Altra Six, to Macdill. When I walked onto the station I was immediately led to Admiral Rosen’s office. I was then left sitting in the outer office until a young woman with long flowing blond hair, a skin tight jumpsuit that left little, if anything to the imagination and a face that belonged on an angel came in. I sat there fantasizing about her for all of ten seconds before she spoke her first words to me.
“Get your lazy ass off the couch and come with me.”
“Sure sweetie, whatever you say.” I said, as I made no move to get up.
“I said get your ass up!”
“Ask politely and I just might.” I replied, while thinking,” Who the hell did she think I was, some plebe? I give the orders on my ship and I rank as full Captain in the Space Force, albeit retired.”
“Ask politely! You bounty hunter piece of shit, if I had it my way you would never even be here.” Her sharp and venomous remarks took all the humor out of me.
In less than a second I was out of my seat reaching for her. About a half-second later I was on the floor with her boot in my crotch. I realized then, and not for the last time that I was not dealing with someone’s secretary.
She reached out her hand and helped me back to my feet, then unceremoniously led me into the inner office of Ed Rosen, where he gestured us to seats.
Now I did not know what to expect, but from the grim expression on good old Ed’s face I knew it was not going to be a social call, probably a hijacking or maybe a kidnapping something that would require my special skills. What I heard next was way beyond even my wildest expectations.
”Jon, I see you’ve already met Agent Osgood.” Ed said while taking in my disheveled appearance.
“Yeah, I’ve had the pleasure.” I replied with as much sarcasm as I could muster after having my manhood so unceremoniously deflated by the woman who had by now taken the seat next to me. I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not the toughest guy in the universe, but I have always been able to take care of myself, for sure I have never been taken down as swiftly, as I had just been. And by a woman who could easily pass for a top fashion model! One thing was for sure, there was a lot more to her than met the eye.
Ed began the conversation, “Well let me elaborate on Sara, she is a special agent of S.F.I. working undercover for the last five years, and she was with the New Earth terrorist task force before that. This is why you are here.
“She needs a date for the prom?” I asked jokingly, a comment that earned me a look of pure contempt. This girl just did not seem to have a sense of humor.
“Jon, cut the crap! This is the most serious thing we have ever dealt with, and together we have dealt with some serious shit! So shut up and listen for once, please!”
“Ok.” I replied. The last of the good humor I could muster was finally gone. “Tell me what this is all about?”
“You’ve heard about the restoration of the original planet Earth?”
“Of course, I haven’t been lost in space for the last twelve years!”
“Maybe not lost in space, but you have surely been lost.” Ed replied with as much sincerity as I had ever seen him display. And he was right. Ever since the murder of my wife and daughter, I had just poured myself into my work, taking out the scum of the galaxy any way I could. Sometimes alive, other times not. To me it had not mattered. I held all criminals, but especially the pirates, to blame for the destruction of my life. In so doing, I had probably broken just about every rule there was. However, it was the result that mattered to me. My own life had held little value since the murder of my family. My need for revenge was all consuming. Still the actual culprits had not been caught, so I figured if I killed every scumbag in the galaxy sooner or later I would get them, and when I did their deaths would be far from pleasant.
“So, tell me the problem that was important enough to pull me off a mission that I’ve invested seven months and countless credits on.”
“We’ve received a terrorist threat against Earth. As you know, every ethnic group in the galaxy insisted that they be involved in the restoration of their homelands, and in general this worked out quite well. Guided by the Archeological Association of the Federation most of the work is complete. The only problem encountered was in the Middle Eastern portion, Jerusalem in particular. As the work to excavate and restore the ancient city was to start, both the Jewish sector and the Arab sectors of the galaxy insisted that the land belonged to them. The infighting and outright violence almost ended the project. Then surprisingly, the Arabs gave in and the Jews rebuilt the temple as well as restored other parts of the city. At the time, we all breathed a sigh of relief. Now that relief has turned to terror. We have received a ransom demand from the Arab League of Worlds. They claim to have developed a device capable of destroying the Sol system including Earth. Along with their demands came a spec sheet on the device. We’ve had our best scientist working on this and their conclusion is that the device, designed to collapse the star, will in reality create a black hole that once generated will be out of control.”
“What? It could eat up the entire solar system?”
“At the very least, although it will probably “eat” the entire galaxy!”
Now this statement sent my mind reeling, how the hell could this have happened?
“Where is this thing and how do I deactivate it?”
“We don’t know where it is, other than in the Sol system somewhere. It is well shielded and appears to be foolproof. Our greatest problem is that it will take five numerical keys to deactivate it. Now, trying to get five groups of Arabs to agree on something is just about as hard as getting the Democrats and Republicans in the Federation to agree on anything. To say the least, you’re the best undercover agent we have, and here is another.” He said indicating Sara with a glance. Then continuing, “Hence, one of your new partners, Miss Sara Osgood. “
I glanced over at the ice princess that was seated next to me. For one of the first times in my life I was totally speechless. I never worked with anyone, at least not since the deaths of my family. Up to that point I had been rising quickly through the ranks of Space Force, had actually reached the rank of Captain before being transferred to S.F.I. After the murders of my family I had resigned my official commission but had taken on the cause of elimination of piracy and the slave trade in the galaxy.
This was where my little super ship Shadow had been born; she was originally designed as a luxury yacht. At just over four hundred feet she was by far one of the biggest private ships in the galaxy. By the time S.F.I was done with the refit, authorized by none other than Admiral Rosen, Shadow was probably the most sophisticated and heavily armored ship of her size anywhere. The interior had suffered no ill effects. It was still as luxurious as it had been when she was built, boasting solid teak wood floors, oak paneled walls and private baths in all four of the main cabins. There were as well, top of the line food synthesizers. She was now powered by four General Electric subspace motors that are capable of bringing her to within a thousand miles per hour of the speed of light. This was quite efficient for local maneuvering. Yet, the highlight of the power system was the hyperspace drive also manufactured by GE. The drive was originally designed for the fast attack cruiser Avenger. Sadly for Space Force, and yet good for me Avenger was never built due to the budget cuts instituted by the ridiculously short sighted administration. The drive allowed Shadow to travel through hyperspace as fast as, or faster than, any other ship. However, by far the most important upgrade was the central computer system, a state of the art neural net. An organic computer modeled on the human brain, yet infinitely more powerful. I tended to interact with it as though it was alive. Well, I guess in reality it was. The armament was just as impressive. Shadow had a five phase defensive shield, four five-megaton torpedo launchers and ten disrupter rays, more or less like laser beams but far more concentrated, and far more deadly, overall Shadow was a dream come true for someone like me.