Authors: Stuart J. Whitmore
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The author lives with his family near Puget Sound in Washington State. He is a strong believer in creativity for the sake of creativity and he has released to the public many works, of various types, for free or low cost. He shares free photos on morgueFile.com, free sounds on freesound.org, free illustrations on openclipart.org, and free written works on a variety of sites. Apart from creative pursuits, Stuart enjoys outdoor activities such as kayaking. He is a veteran of the US Air Force and has a bachelor's degree in Computer Science.
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The following is a sample from the beginning of the main story in
Journey to Yandol, and other stories
, available in print and e-book editions from popular online retailers.
JOURNEY TO YANDOL
Alex Nabihr slumped deeper into the conn, her fatigued body refusing to keep up with her still-racing thoughts. The closing comments in the case of Modak 6 v. Nabihr echoed in her mind. “The justice system of this planet…” Alex snorted softly; “justice” didn’t fit in the same sentence as the Modak System. Had she been up against a farming peasant, she might have had a chance. Butting heads with Police Commissioner Bandy Perrine, on the other hand, was an exercise in futility.
“Alex… is that short for Alexandria?” the voice of her passenger interrupted her thoughts.
“No, it’s short for Alex,” she remarked bluntly. “I generally don’t take passengers. If I hadn’t had court costs to cover, I wouldn’t have accepted you. And when I do accept passengers, I generally do not permit them access to the bridge.” After a pause, Alex swung the conn about to face the man she was taking to the Fellight System. “Please return to your cabin. Accommodations are minimal, but you are welcome to whatever food or drink you can find.”
Ravin Sabik ruffled his fingers through his coarse, dark hair. “The only food I sought was food for the mind. But if there is none to be found…” The sallow-skinned man let his voice trail off with a slight smile, maintaining eye contact with the fair-skinned, fair-haired woman pilot.
“I’m selfish; I keep the best food for myself,” Alex stated flatly. “We’re nearly out of Modak now, and we’ll make the jump to Halene in about twenty minutes. Then it will be Zaire, then on to Fellight.”
“I’m familiar with the route,” Ravin nodded, the faint smile never fading from his lips. Alex shrugged and spun about in the conn, pointedly ignoring the man. The soft swishing of the door announced his departure a moment later.
The trip to Halene and Zaire was uneventful. Aside from the rote tasks of piloting the Sweet Journey, Alex spent her time reviewing her problems on Modak 6 and trying to make sense of it all. After unloading her cargo of fruit products on the planet, Alex had given the Sweet Journey over to port maintenance for scanner calibration. To pass the time during the maintenance work, she had settled into a booth in a nearby bistro to enjoy a tall coffee, iced. It was a soothing relief after the headache-inducing heat of the deserts of Central Ma’kalin. Within moments of relaxing in her window booth, Alex met Commissioner Perrine.
Her first impression of the commissioner was negative. To the tall pilot, Perrine came off as a short, fat, greasy drunk. There was nothing about his appearance or demeanor that would suggest he held an official position. The commissioner had approached Alex and asked to sit down. She agreed out of boredom mixed with curiosity, but in retrospect she regretted the decision. Alex had accepted Perrine’s offer of another coffee, after which the man made it bluntly clear that he wanted to spend the night with her.
“I think not, but thank you for the coffee,” was her immediate reply. Alex was accustomed to her looks attracting men of all walks of life, but she had few friends who were male. The only man Alex could think of in any romantic sense lived in the Lopez system, and she missed him beyond words. Commissioner Perrine would have made a poor substitute, but he couldn’t fathom rejection. Instead of accepting her refusal, he had reached out and grasped Alex’s hand tightly.
Alex immediately knew that walking out was the best move she could make. She had no doubt that she could have overpowered the man, but her experience had taught her that there was only one path a physical confrontation would lead to. She would end up in court, being blamed for “teasing” the man and causing the fight. It was much safer to simply swallow her pride and walk away. When she rose to her feet, however, Perrine also stood and grabbed her by the arm. She pulled away forcefully, and Perrine let go of her so suddenly that she lost her balance and sat down hard on the floor. Her reflex to draw her pistol brought forth the two “peace officers” in the bistro, and she soon found herself in a local imprisonment facility with her pistol permanently impounded. The impfac was notably more secure than most of its type on other planets, and this difference was not lost on Alex. Modak 6 was definitely on the rough side….
...and if you like where this story is going, you’ll just have to get a copy of it for yourself!
The good news?
Journey to Yandol, and other stories
was released under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike license, so it is possible to
get it for free
from a friend (and you can pass along copies of it too). On the other hand, the e-book edition is very inexpensive and available through many online book retailers, and buying your copy may make it easier to load it onto your e-reader of choice.