I've lost count by now, but I still have a few in the queue. Thanks for those who have played along with us. I've seen some minor publicity on various blogs, so thanks for that and keep 'em coming. I'll keep playing until we run out. And now for the latest...
Like Icarus on Lustrous Wings
“Captain, District is on the line for you. Urgent orders, Sir.”
The message came to me from Combat Information Center, and yes, “Combat” is a joke on a satellite tender. Unlike the beauties of the Royal Fleet, out practicing their war games, our tender was little more than a janitor ship. To us, urgent orders meant that a recreational pilot had probably bumped a private corporation's satellite out of orbit or knocked off a transceiver.
I left the bridge, where I was observing my deck crew replacing a gold-foil sheet on a nav satellite’s solar panel, and headed below to receive the call in my cabin.
“Captain Hurd,” I said into the handset.
A voice said, “Please hold for the Admiral, Captain.”
Then, an older man’s voice came through. “Hurd, Admiral Asanzy.”
Asanzy headed up District command out of Station Loy. Loy was over seventy years old, the oldest space station still in service--no new gear for this under-funded and over-worked Orbit Guard.
“Go ahead, Admiral.”
Asanzy said, “We have intelligence that a Neoplastian tug is en route. We expect it to cross into our air-space in the next twenty-four hours. I need you to intercept and detain.”
“You sure we’re the best resource for that, Admiral?”
Not really a lot to say on this one. Using a very serviceable writing style, the author sets the scene, jumps into action, and we have what I think must be the story problem--an under-equiped maintenance ship going up against a baddie of some sort. I caught on to the unfamiliar lingo via the narrative. No idea what a Neoplatian tug actually is, but hopefully we'll find out quickly. I'm assuming it's bad, though by the Captain's reaction, it might not be too bad. It might be nice to have an internal right before that laast line of dialogue to clue the reader into tension levels. Or, maybe the guy is ho-hum about it at first and then finds himself in doo-doo. That might work in a novel, and it might even work here, but it can be risky gambit in the short form where tension is paramount.
Even so, I would definitely read on.