Saturday, August 25, 2018

Set of five very short tales in different lands

Been a while since I have posted anything new. As some of you may now I post stories each week on Google +, part of an ongoing event every Saturday with other writers there. Any genre is possible. And if you are on G+ they are posted in a Collection called something like SaturdayScenes 2018.  

This week I decided to post stories that take place in other lands. Each one is a flash tale, or a bit longer, based on a picture. Lately I have been doing a lot of those and hopefully this year I will publish an anthology of around 22 of these stories. But with these stories I considered stories that take place on spaceships or another planet, but I wanted other lands here, not in space.

The first takes place in Africa and was written many, many months ago. The last takes place in Japan and was written not that long ago. The others are in-between. I revised them all today so they will be a bit longer and, easier-hopefully-to read. In case you have read them before. They are 3,069 words long totally. They are historical, general fiction and science fiction. Two take place in Africa, one around Norway but more North, one in the Middle east three or four centuries ago and is part of my Dark Castle series-which are posted on G+, and the last one in Japan. One takes place during the War of Roses or one of them.

So without further adieu here is story one:

The Tower
The boy and girl, tall and lanky, even though in their early teens, walked toward the end of the hills. For now they were called Esiankiki and Loiyan, but that would change as they grew.
Both felt not right for the mountains they were leaving were strange to them. Not at all like the Savanna. They feet ached from the hard rough surfaces they had walked on.
They stood the beginning of one side of the part of the Savanna where they came from. The trees they knew still grew here and some of the animals they killed or competed with came here too. The air felt warm as it should. The scents of grass, the droppings of lions, and desert air all grew as they walked closer to the natural border. Loiyan thought he heard the cough of a lion far in the distance, but little of any other sounds.
It would be good to get back to the foods they knew, bread made from the grains they had grown with.
Before going home though both had wanted to see the Tower. It looked manmade shape under many and many years of grime, but very few stories passed down to the next generation told of it. No one knew when it had been built or why. To worship the Red god or the Black one maybe. Loiyan thought it was something the evil Red god would like. Esiankiki wasn’t sure. It had different levels, each one with what looked like walls that swooped up to a sharp point. The oi-boni had never restricted the Masai from going there but he had given warnings, as far as they knew no one had climbed to the top-fear maybe or that it was just different?
Both had some honey to eat so they did not worry about food. Water might be a problem later. It took them two hours or more to get to the tower. Up close it looked both man made and natural. Neither knew how that could be but each agreed on that.
Loiyan placed the palm of his hand on it: rough like the huge rocks they had just climbed over but warm. Esiankiki placed her ear to it. She thought she heard something but so faint she couldn’t be sure: she said that she didn’t like the roughness against her ear’s skin. She pulled Loiyan back when he wanted to taste it with his tongue. Too rough for that she said.
Around the other side they saw a way in, or up. What could be very old steps, worn smooth by feet and weather. With very careful steps they went up. The first level had a place to walk but they couldn’t see over the edge of the wall even as tall as they were. The same with the second level. As far as they could find there was no way in, and no places to sacrifice offerings mixed with grass. Maybe that was on the top. But once they reached as far as they could go still nothing. The inside of the walls looked and felt smooth. The bottom had smelled of age and something neither one liked. But up here only air. They saw lions and tall grass further on, for the walls had grown shorter on the way up.
No blacken areas with very old ash so no sacrifices up here either. So what was this used for? To watch the lions, to see if any enemies were coming? The People did sometimes fight.
They examed the walls carefully for long minutes. Loiyan found lines in the inner wall like a doorway, The People used curtains over doorways, but they knew others had wood and metal doors, some with metal and what was called glass. They both had been to cities, ridden in cars and a train. They had seen a helicopter land. That had been noisy, worse than a very large pride of lions Loiyan had been trapped in when very small. All of the beasts roaring at once had deafen him. The helicopter’s noise had been louder than a big rain storm with lightning and thunder. But if this was a door he nor Esiankiki had seen any way to open it. He tried to slide his fingernails into the cracks but something stopped them. Esiankiki noticed the indentations near waist level on one level, but they didn’t seem to do anything. Loiyan who had the hearing of a warrior thought he heard clicks from inside when he pressed then indentations, but nothing happened. Both felt tiny vibrations in the door but they did nothing. Esiankiki thought she tasted in the air something like what flavors the air when lightning strikes. The space in-between the lines grew warmer but only a little. That made no sense.
After a while they gave up and walked down. Back at the bottom they saw more lines in the tower but they were shaped wrong for a doorway for any person. And they all went into the ground. So they knew the Tower went deeper like a huge rock. These doors looked like something that slid out maybe. Esiankiki stated that she wasn’t sure why she thought of that. Loiyan thought it would be something larger than a hut if so. With a final shrug-that the People had picked up from the shorter white visitors-they left and finally headed home. The People or someone else had lived in the Tower many many ages ago, they were now sure of but who? And how did they get the doors to open? They would never know. Maybe The People had climbed those steps and but they came away with more questions that could not be answered so they either forgot them or decided not to bother others with unanswerable questions. Maybe when Loiyan became a warrior he would ask and come back with others who knew more than he did. For now though they would just go home, it had been too long since they had seen family.


The Last Viking

The Viking looked over the side of his ship. The mountains rose out of the ocean, higher than he would want to climb anymore. The day looked cloudy and cold even though he was viking and therefore used to cold. While not as deep as in some places the water here was still deep enough to hide monsters, or even an angry whale.
Askell glanced along his longship. The wood looked aged, it had nicks, claw marks, and blacken areas. That last fire they barely got out in time. He supposed he could get one of the new style of ships with multiple masts but he, and his crew, were too old to change that much.
He stroked his grey beard, looked down.
"To port now!” He shouted
Something scraped the hull as the longship turned too slowly.
So this ocean was not deep, those rocks were hard to see. Movement under the water, Oh oh, something huge lived down there.
It neared the surface and before he could cry out for them to raise oars, three of them hit it. It thrashed, caused water to splash into the longboat. Cold water that soaked their footwear. The oars didn’t break, thank Odin.
He snarled, spat bile out. Nothing would sink them in this cruise.
Once the water settled again he ordered them to head for the distant bit of land. It had what looked like a strip of land they could beach the longship. Further in lay the base of a tall cliff They might be able to build housing right next to the cliff and have fish, birds and seals and maybe even smaller whales to eating and to use for tools and clothes.
He looked around. No one would be chasing them this far, but if they did they would pay for that with their blood, for his crew still kept their weapons sharp.
Askell double checked the depth and for any other movements. He would have to be on his toes to make sure nothing else hindered them.



Jacob snarled, he wouldn’t let them smash him into the mud. He shoved against one man the same age as himself. That worthy went “ufff” as another two bodies jumped on top of the others. Some of them let out exclamations too. His lighter brown skin could easily be identified among their black skin. They all were from around here while he came from somewhere different.
He twisted his body one way then another, kept his legs moving so they couldn’t be grabbed. He sneezed: someone wore an awful cologne. Probably Kensu.
Someone used both hands to shove him harder, forced his face toward the mud patch on the parade ground. The whole area was plain dirt, not even grass. Mud holes were not rare even though most of it was dry dirt. Light metal bleachers filled one side. But they would be of no advantage to Jacob, nor would the various light and speaker poles around the area.
Jacob surged his back upward to flip off whoever was on his back. It didn’t work. He thought it was time to start punching and jabbing. A second thought, no one used fists, hands or feet as weapons. They all depended on brute strength, and their weight, to get his face into the mud.
Their grunts and heavy breathing filled his ears, but no name calling or obcentaites, which surprised him. He managed to get his feet and hands on the ground: one hand and knee splashed the mud around. He shoved upward and managed to stand as his attackers fell off. However his victory lasted one-second for someone tackled him and rolled with him toward the mud. Kerrich, he thought for. Sweat matted his hair, the clothes of those that touched him were clammy with it. He spat out the mud in his mouth-at least they used fresh water and mostly clean dirt.
Again he tried to get his hands under him so he could shove off the ground, but two more joined in the, what was still called, a dog pile. His face inched closer to the mud. No! These guys weighed a lot even though he had proven himself the better, stronger fighter.
With a snarl he surged upward, but only moved an inch, more poundage landed on him. He could smell the mud, at least it seemed to be just water and dirt. Before he could take a breath his face smashed down into the mud. It filled his mouth when he breathed in, splashed up his cheeks, got in his ears and hair. A roar of victory followed that and with a suddenness that surprised him all of the weight vanished.
He jumped up, turned to face them. Eight young men stood in badly formed semi-circle. Their formation instructor would not be happy with that a part of his mind said.
Half of them looked unsure, would he attack them?
The leader stepped forward but only so close.
He said, “Congratulations, you will be the first cadet to become Captain.”
Jacob blinked, they knew that?
“We honor you with our traditions.”
He nodded, for he knew of this one where they congratulated another cadet to raise in rank, but never expected to have it done to him. They had never really excepted him.
He spat though, to get the taste of the mud out of his mouth.
Jon-Wel said, “The commissary has a new batch of Mars Malt beer. You can wash out your mouth with a bottle. I will buy the first one.”
Jacob didn’t know if that was part of the tradition or because Jacob didn’t usually have much money unlike them. But…
He smiled, “I would be happy to wash the mud out that way,”
Some of the men looked relieved.
The leader nodded and motioned toward the store.
Jacob thought, He may never be one of them, but he had their respect and well wishes, that was good.


The Way Stop Castle

Jounn turned in his saddle to face his friend Brock. He felt glad they had stopped. The horses hoofs had been stirring the sand dust. It made his mouth dry when he breathed it in, not to mention making him cough.
“There is the castle I told you about.”
After he spoke he looked back down from the small dune they both had stopped on. Night covered the desert which is what they wanted. It cooled quickly here after the sun went down. But the dark made it better not to be seen.
The castle, a ruled by a neutral Duke far from England, sat on a hill. The neutrality though will probably have to change to one or the other roses, he thought. The structure looked gray tall and narrow with a full moon behind it. A village in front of it. Guards walked the wall. The gate looked still open even this late.
Brock said, “That wall, most be a good ten feet hight and what? Three feet thick. It would hold an army for a while. If one came here at all.”
“I am not fearful of armies, but of sudden changes of neutral Dukes. Or of an assassin.”
“You think they would really send one after us?”
Jounn shrugged, “They have done it before. During the last bit of fighting, which I can barely recall, my cousin was challenged to a duel by someone who turned out to be en expert swordsman. After the duel the man disappeared but left a rose. I have heard of that all my life with warnings to be watchful.”
“But if you don’t trust the Duke, why stay here?”
“We are not staying here. We present ourselves and the Duke gives us a suite of rooms. He knows me so will not think it strange that I would come here. We say we need to mediate over the conflict so we need to stay in the rooms without being disturbed. Once settled we change to less conspicuous clothes, bathe and be rid of traveling odors then head down to the stables. In my last two visits I learned that there is a back gate through the wall. It is small but a horse can get through. We get our horses and leave that way. Even if a guard sees us and if he should report it the Duke would be still able to say that he gave us rooms and then we left without even a proper thank you or good bye. That he knows not when, or where we went. Or even if we left the castle. We could be hiding among the vassals and others that live here.”
“Do you think that will work?”
“I believe it will, but we still need to be on our toes and watch. We will be able to get supplies for a long trek through the desert, but we hide our trail and head South, which might further confuse anyone that is sent after us.”
“Well, that plan is better than no plan, or just running.”
“As I said we will watch and keep our hands close to our swords and daggers. If he portrays us we will sell our lives dearly. If he is still neutral than we go as I said and leave him with an excuse.”
His friend nodded and said, “Than we should make sure we have no roses on us then he can say he did not realize we had chosen sides.”
Jounn nodded, picked off a brooch off of his chest, while his friend ripped off a fastener on his cloak, and started his horse down the dune.


Way of the Samurai

“You are late.”
“I know, Father, I have no excuse,” even though I did-saying good bye and finding my round hat had not been easy. I had tied my waist long hair into one braid. My long dress would be help against the cold. I wore a lighter outfit under it, if it warmed. I suspect that my Father had on something under his armor. His helmet with the grimace face hid his face as it should. He wore his two favorite swords and I am sure a third. He stood between the posts of the gate as the sun sank. He looked magnificent.
He grunted and nodded once.
Our road led between two tall strands of bamboo over a rough surface. No one had come this way in years so they had not kept it up. The wind blew leaves around.
Father was a hard man, but a tough, experienced, brave and honorable warrior. He showed his love in training me well so I would be able to defend myself and in teaching me honor. I have only the one sword though. I am not a Samurai so can not wear the armor but I am not sure I would want to.
The air smelled strongly of bamboo and growing things. Maybe we should take some of the shoots to eat later, but Father is ready to leave now.
I sighted, I have already defended myself. That group of three thieves had shown surprise when their heads rolled to the ground. The last one had been a fair fighter-he lasted five swings. And months later, the first man I had killed for trying to dishonor me-he had been someone important. Later when questioned Father acted like he didn’t know who had killed him.
Now we go-to somewhere else. He has not told me where but I trust him. Maybe it was to protect me, or because he was tired of this place and just wanted to go to some place new, or he knew of something bad coming to this area soon. He would train me more in the way of the Samurai as we go. Maybe I would be able to make my own armor by the times we get there-if I decided to wear some.
I am glad I had brought two skins of water and two bags of nuts and cooked rice, they would last if we found nothing else to eat later and didn’t collect the shoots here. He would have something on under his armor too.
I kept my eyes on him and did not turn for one last look.


Saturday, July 21, 2018

New story "Into The Mountain" from a pic.

I have done a series of stores based on a series of Pictures: drawings, paintings etc. that Charlie Hoover puts up. He shows the artist's name and all details. Many of the stories are very short mini tales. Some are flash and some are much longer-a regular short story-like this one. Charlie has a web site now where he shows those pictures. So I include a link there after this story. I describe the setting of the picture in the story but I am trying this to show you the picture that inspired me for this story. All of these stories are free and are here or on Google+ and on FaceBook.

This one took me a while, but I am working on other pic tales, including one not of Hoover’s Collection, stories to send out to markets, and a set of Western stories I still need a pic of a Marshal’s badge in good shape. I have tried two picture sites. 
   Anyway, this is 3358 words long and tells of why the man in the picture found himself there and why he took the trip. Not to mention how cold that water is. All of the details of the artist is on Hoover’s site.

Now to the actual story:

Joshua had made it. The Crack existed. The hike had been so very long and in some places dangerous and hard. Some of it had been rather easy too. He still held his ski poles he had used to make the steep slopes easier. Hikers in some countries love them. He wasn’t sure he did though. 
       His breath still came hard for until about five minutes ago the angle of the sloop that led here had been very steep. They had warned him about that though. 
       The high, wide, smooth cliff he studied really had been split, so many ages ago no one could know for sure. When he had first seen the various sizes of rocks that rose here and there from the water and on dry land, he had known he made it. That included one to his left, not far from that opening, that looked three times higher than him and in wild imagination, looked like a giant alien head with a helmet that had been worn down.
           Once up here on the flat rock, he had rested for a few minutes until he looked up and saw the crack. He hid his stuff in a small hole behind a large rock out of sight of anyone, except for the pack on his back and the poles. Then he had hurried into the water. They had mentioned that too. 
      Now he stood before his goal. A thrill filled his heart. He couldn’t help it he just stared at the crack in the cliff wall. Well, his first goal, anyway. He would have to go inside to get to his second one.  
      The water in the river he stood in just reached the tops of his well worn boots-they had started brand new. Cold water ran down his ankles and feet. Behind him no sandy beach existed, the water just started after quite a few feet of mostly flat rock. Rain, no doubt, ran down this very slight sloop and joined the water in the river that flowed by here. Or could it be a very large creek? What the case it looked like only smooth granite existed here. 
      A soft noise made him look up and to one side. A flock of small, white birds made their way high above the water. They followed the river when it curved around and went though a much wider crack. The only other sound came from the raven behind him. It let loose a slight caw every few minutes. It may want food, or it came to bring luck or to warn of death.   
      Joshua studied the crack and the water at its base. He wasn’t sure if what he saw was a reflection on top of the clear smooth water at the base of the crack or if he could make out the base of the crack in what looked like chest high water. The flat rock he stood on may continue its slant downward which made the water much deeper at the base of the cliff.  
       A motion made him look down. A fish swim by. That would make sense for those birds lived here some place. Therefore there must be insects, berries and tiny fish for them to eat. Maybe for him too, for his food was low after that long journey. 
       He stared at the crack again. Part of him hadn’t believed it was real and another part doubted he could do it. But he had. He had become motivated when he realized his life went no where. Memories of stories he had heard of this place had to his mind. In his early years he had talked to no fewer than four people who had been here. That included two Native Americans, and one who surprised him. An old asian man who had served with the 442nd during WWII. Joshua never could be sure if the man had come here before his stint in the military, or after he came back home, but his descriptions fit what the others had seen. He said that it had changed his life. They all said that. That had made him determined to go see what lay inside the crack. 
        The journey had been dangerous, a bear had chased him for an hour. A day later a beaver of all things, had wanted to attack him. He hadn’t realized they were so big and fast and angry looking. Those teeth looked very sharp. He still wasn’t sure why the bear had stopped. Maybe he had reached the end of its hunting grounds or more disturbing that he had chanced into the territory of something that even scared large bears. He didn’t see any sign of anything but hadn’t spent much time looking either. The beaver had come out of no where. It could be that it had experienced humans before and didn’t like them or it thought it was some strange bear who would steal his food and destroy his dam or something else. He had noticed the dam and wanted to take a picture of it but that beaver changed his mind fast. No one else had mentioned bears or any type of animal. Could they be some form of test, he shrugged? Or they had set up home after the last of the four had been here. 
       Before the bear he had walked a narrow strip with a long drop on one side and a short cliff on the other. That had taken over an hour to navigate. Only inches on one side even as his other side brushed up against a short cliff.  Days later and he had one day of heavy breathing, walking up that very steep incline. He had been warned about those two sections though, and even more. 
     At night he had made himself as secure as possible. The way the older of those Native Americans had taught him. His fires had always been in hole that had been cleared for two feet around it. When possible he used a rock as a back drop. That helped to reflect heat his way. The first few nights had been hard. He had awakened at slight nosies and once overfed his fire, which came close to jumping out of the hole. 
     Joshua looked around: at the water, at the flat rock, back at the smooth cliff. A frown formed on his lips. If the animals had been tests maybe that deep water was one too. 
    He walked closer, the water came up to his knees. The men he had talked thought this place appeared to be a museum of creation. It showed how the earth had been made and perhaps why. They had not been so clear about that. That is what changed them evidently, he thought. His path through the water seemed louder perhaps because no other sound, except for the birds flapping their wings, could be heard here. 
     Very cold-another test? At least the water looked pure enough not to worry about drinking it, unless something died up stream of course. Its scent filled his nose, not much else up here to cover  that scent either, he found he liked it. 
      Joshua thought about the water. He could swim if it went over his head, but he would have to with his backpack on, it still weighed quite a bit. It might protect his lights and food from getting wet. He walked to one side to study it. Maybe he could approach from another angle? He moved over about ten feet, and walked toward the wall. 
      Oops, if he saw correctly the water might go under the cliff right here. He didn’t need to slip under it with the water. 
      He moved over to the other side. Could he move some of the larger rocks and step on them? His legs would still be in the water but he could handle that since they were wet already. Joshua moved one rock lager than his head, with a flat top. He found another and slid it down by the first one and one that had sat near the crack already. 
      He used his feet to get another one. 
      Joshua’s foot slipped, even with his hiking boots on. Cold water covered his head. The next thing he knew his back side touched the rock bottom. Taken by surprise air had rushed out of his lungs, so they burned already. His heavy boots, now soaked with water, pulled his feet down. His back sunk deeper with the pack on it. His eyes had opened in shock. Now with water in them he couldn’t see beyond a blur. Which way was up?
     Of course, it hadn’t been that deep. He sought purchase with his feet. They slipped, again and again. His lungs ached and burned. Water seeped into his mouth.
       He commanded his mind to slow, he could do this, with slower yet rushed movements he managed to get both feet under him.
      Joshua leapt upward, shattered the surface, hard enough to create a sort of waterfall upward. He stumbled back, breathed hard, gasped, coughed three times. Bile and clear water filled his mouth. He spat it all out. He managed to stumble to where he had left his stuff. He had two towels there in a second pack. He unzipped it and took out one towel, rubbed the cloth over his face and hair. Then he hurriedly slipped off the one he wore. He almost tore the zipper getting it open. Joshua felt the inside of the pack, and various flashlights. 
     Good nothing was wet, except the clothes he had on. They still dripped water. He sighed and gathered drift wood. Not as much as he wanted so he walked back half an hour and picked up fallen branches of various sizes. He kept an eye out for snakes. He had seen four on this journey but none had threaten him, but he knew some were poisonous in these mountains, so he checked while he picked up wood. 
     Once back at where he left his stuff he cleared as much of a  small hole as he could, on one side of a larger rock uplift. It would help to reflect the heat back at him. He didn’t have to worry about burning the forest down here. He used some of his surelit and got a nice fire going.    Then he stripped-everything for even his underwear had been soaked all the way through. He even took off his socks. He had another two pair and shorts and a thicker t-shirt. He put them on then draped the wet clothes on rocks and on the ground near the fire. It helped keep him warm as the sun went down. He had a small dinner: jerky, a cereal bar and freeze dried rice-that water made good food too. The bar had veggies in it so he had every thing he needed. 
     The morning sun woke him. He had moved twice, once to empty his bladder and once to add wood to the fire. On the way he had religiously checked his chosen spot to make sure it really was safe. He always kept the fire going through the night in its hole in the ground and his brightest light near at hand. He had brought some stuff that supposedly would repel any animal handy too. But so far nothing had come near him-that he knew of. Had the small fire frighten them? Or had he lucked out? He didn’t think anything would come his way here, but best to make sure. So he kept this fire going too. It still burned at a low level. His clothes were mostly dry. One area of his shirt though still held water and the back pockets of his pants still felt soaked. His towel still produced water when he rung it.They smelled of smoke too. But that would not matter.      
     He dressed and had a bite to eat. Then entered the water again. 
     Maybe he had the wrong crack, or it had changed in the decades the last of the four had come here. The water was still cold. He shook his head. He would go. At least his clothes had been cleaned a little. If this was a museum of Creation better to wear clean clothes. He thought. 
     As he walked the water came up to his stomach. He would have to take off his backpack and carry it higher. His flashlights would be safe. Two windup ones, six small ones and three medium ones, and five emergency candles with wax covered wood matches. That included one extra set of batteries for each, except the windup lights of course. They were all LED lights, supposedly lasting longer while producing more light.
    Maybe this crack would finally close with him inside, or a wild animal had moved in. With this water? He didn’t think so. Joshua shook his head again. He had come all this way so he would continue. He needed something in his life.
    When he entered the crack he thought, Hopefully a beach would show up soon, though. 
    Hours later he came back out, shock on his face. The water still felt cold, but it didn’t slow the sweat on his face and hair-not from the heat even though places inside had been hot, and not from fear-he could still fear the fear he had felt in certain sections. The heat had dried his clothes, but then he was amazed-and shook. Lava, crystals filled with what appeared to be images of the earth at various stages. 
     Earth crushing anger too-large rocks split, and broken down to dust. Yet that hadn’t happened-something else had taken place instead, and he had seen a whole lot more. 
     Damn, no pictures, he hadn’t even thought about taking any. 
     He looked around and blinked in the sunlight. He better set up camp. No dinner tonight, he didn’t feel like eating after that. 
     The possibility existed that it was all a natural occurrence, especially the ones that looked like the early stages of the Earth. Lava had been there when the crystals formed after all, but, he shook his head, that would have to be at least half a dozen large coincidences. But why here? It would seem Africa or the Middle East would be a better location. Then again, maybe they each did have one. Possibly all continents, including Antartica, had one. Just because he had never heard of one, didn’t mean they didn’t. It was chance that he had found this one.  
     But that rose another question. If made then, why? And speaking of why. Why wasn’t the Earth destroyed at that last stage? He looked around, and nodded when a memory from years ago came to the forefront of his mind. He had the answers at home. One Native American and the other guy had mentioned that. He would go home, read and find out the answer to that perplexing question. 
       He cleaned up his mess,filled his two large and two small canteens, even though it meant pouring out some older water. He started down that steep slope. He hoped that bear wasn’t around. Maybe he should take rocks with him. He could throw fairly well. A couple of small rocks in the bear’s mouth might distract it enough for him to get away. It would could chew them to pieces and spit them out-hmm,could bears spit? And if it swallowed the tiny pieces they probably would not do it any real harm-like bones it ate.
     If need be maybe a fist size rock in an eye. He would hate to blind it and it would make it even angrier, but again it might distract it enough for him to get away.  
    It took him a little less time, only seven days, to get back to signs of civilization. That still left him another four days to get back to his car. No bear this time. However he did see the beaver.  
    He had to walk by the lake the beaver’s dam had made. A trail showed that others had come and gone this way. Maybe they had been deer and other smaller animals, though. 
    Just about the same time he thought about refilling on canteen, since he had seen no sign of the beaver. He thought the water looked as clear and clean as the water by the crack, so it would be as good. 
     It popped out of the water. He pulled a rock out of his pocket and then walked outward away from the lake, and through some trees that grew close to the edge. He could smell sap and freshly cut wood. Or probably freshly chewed wood. The ground angled here, so he had to almost walk sideways for a minute or two. But he came back near the lake. The beaver growled and hissed at him. He threw the rock at it, but not to hit it. It landed in front of it and bounced toward the animal. It just looked at it and started his way. He hurried along and slid passed the dam. It stopped when it came to the dam.
     This time he thought it looked like it just wanted to warn him away. Last time he thought it wanted to attack. Joshua continued on, back on level ground. When he approached where he thought he had left the bear behind, he took out one of those pouches. It may or may not work as advertised but he would try it. However no sign of the bear. Maybe it was gone to another part of its hunting grounds. The area he had thought about going to. It would have taken him three more days but avoiding the bear would be worth it. Now, though, here was where there was no bear. He hurried through where he had seen it before. Once clear-or so he hoped-of its area. He paused. What would scare a bear? A larger bear? A Bigfoot? Not a lot but there had been sightings here over the years. They were supposedly larger and stronger looking than even a bear. But than again maybe it was a skunk. Even a grizzly would not enjoy being spayed by one. However they must get eaten too, or there would be tons of them around. He shrugged with no answer.
      That night, however, something sniffed around his camp. Something small.  A skunk? A raccoon? They can be thieves, but he refrained from turning on his light, in case it was a skunk. The glow from the fire didn’t show him anything. The next day, he found that nothing had been disturbed. No teeth marks on his packs , etc. Of course he slept with one of them under his head but still. 
      A day after he ran out of his food he saw the small group of cabins that mean he was near people again. The place had a small restaurant so he could buy a meal. He double checked to make sure he still had his wallet. It had gotten wet twice. Not so much the second time but still dollar bills were winkled-yet still spendable and his cards looked in good shape. 
    He looked back the way he had come. There that mountain range there with the rock side. It looked like the right one. He took three pictures of it and one of the cabins. He still needed to walk to his car but he was no hurry. 
    The book still waited for him at home, but because of previous readings and what other people had said about it, he had an idea of what saved the Earth and the people on it. 
    He looked around, felt his mind, his spirit, his mind set-they all had been correct he had changed, but maybe not in the way he had hoped. Still, he smiled, not bad. 
    Now, he started down toward the cabins, for lunch or early dinner, whatever time it might be.


Picture link:

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Writing update June '18

Okay writing update. Doing something different.

Published "The Courier" which is still on sale-at least the E-books are. I keep saying it but it's true-it's an exciting tale of action and adventure about a very young woman Courier. No one has stated anything different about my take on it anyway.

Have a story ready for a certain contest, and I will be sending out stories next week. Not sure how much I will be doing Saturday-family issues happening then.

This next is the different. I have five Western stories ready to publish. They are all about a Certain US Marshall Dobson. A bit of 10,000 words total. And I will be doing the cover. I don't want to spend much-if any for this cover, with only five stories under it.

I may be doing a second set of Western stories soon but they will all be about different people. Well two will be linked. That one might have seven stories.

And I will be getting an apology of 22 to 25 stories ready. They are all written but not all revise. They cover a wide spectrum of genre.

And sometime soon, a set of five general fiction I am calling foibles.

I am working on three novels; "Djinn" "Insane" and not sure of the title of the third.

Oh yes, of course. I have looked for a beta or three for two novels for so long I have forgotten about them. Supposedly five or so people said they would beta read one or both of them but they never told me how to get the manuscripts to them. So do I pay or just give up on that?

Done a bunch of short stories for free. They are in "My Stories Inspired by Pictures" collection and some mini stories are around Charlie Hoover's geekscapes I have two or three more stories for my Collection which makes it around 20 maybe 24 stories in there.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Yay! Birthday sale on my E-books

Friday is my birthday so I am having a Birthday sale on all of my E-books. These are good reads, so they make good gifts even for yourself. $3.99, $2.99 and a set of Fantasy stories for $.99.
Sorry only e-books even though Amazon, on their own, has placed the anthology I have a story in for less than half price. Great stories in there and worthy reads, mine is the fourth best story in the Strange New Worlds Ten.
They are at Barnes and noble online, Amazon, kobo and other places. Here is the link to my Amazon page since most of you seem to like Amazon best. I must say though that due to a glitch I am not sure what price Above My Pay Grade X2 will be selling for on Barnes and Noble online. But the rest of the E- books should be on sale there. sale goes on for until July 7th, when it ends.
Happy reading and help my to celebrate my birthday with a good price on great reading.

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Two space opera stories: one is steampunk

I have not put up any stories here for a while. I do have some on Google+ for free as well as my blog. I don't think I have any stories that would be good for Father's Day so these two will have to do. 
June 17-very close to my birthday and BTW soon, a day or three, you can find my E-books on sale on various E-book sites. A very good price for a good, fun read. These novels have been revised and double checked. 
I wrote a space opera tale kinda of quick; 1820 words long. It’s the first story of two. It might need a bit more revising but I don’t think a lot. I tend to do some revising as I write. They call that slinky style of writing. I was trying to decide on what other story to include when it hit me. I can add an unusual one, that combines two genres. You might like the interplay of two different story ideals. 
Steampunk and Space Opera. “His Not So Peaceful Trip” 2,768 words. 
Now I can’t find it-yes, Google failed me-but the idea for this steam powered spaceship came from a real event. It kept coming up with newer discussions and designs even when I put in different questions and years. A group of men-including a Master SF writer-designed one somewhere around 1950. Many SF writers from that time period are called the Master.
My poor memory, though, can not come up with any of the names of the team or the exact year. It might be closer to 1945. I did however find some discussions on really using steam powered engines in real spaceships, evidently this is a real possibility. 
So here is story one:
“Pivot the ship!”
Helm said, “Eye sir,”
I had seen another round of incoming rockets headed in. Good thing there were not missiles. Rockets were much smaller, dump and could only go so far. They could turn to reach their target but they had no avoidance thrusters and only a tiny bit of electronic warfare routines.
My command, The Swift Kick, was a designated as a frigate even though it had more to it than just that. We could maneuver quicker, which served as well at the moment.
“Fire the EPs,” and had four larger guns than a frigate. The newest of the energy plasma weapons series. We also had lasers and blasters, even though the last were more from tradition and a last minute defense. Their range was half of what the EPs were and three-fourths of most lasers. Our two small diameter Beta Charged lasers could hit a target at the same distance as the EPs-prehaps a bit further with better accuracy.
The lights flickered a bit as all four EP used most of the power-their one drawback. It would get cold for a second soon too. My command chair sat right in the middle of a prefect circle, with each of the control seats against the wall. So my position would feel the cold more than the others. Crewmen of three stations stood while each of the others had seats. There were two spare stations used for training at times but usually ready to go as a replacement for any controls that got knocked out. That included the science bay which was a tiny alcove where the science officer stood.
Toni at Tac said, “Four scores, two are solid hits.”
I nodded good, but we would need more than that.
A moment later she said, “Fifteen rockets and four missiles.”
I almost gave an order but she knew what to do so I held my tongue and hoped our point defense was up to this. They had been a little jinzy on that. At the same time I wondered why only four missiles.
A moment later I answered myself. To soften us up. Twenty missiles showed up on sensors. A second later a bit of whiplash revealed that we moved backwards with a suddenness that wasn’t totally compensated for. Helm had backed us up without warning. The sudden change of direction though caused five EPs to miss us.
My eyebrows went up on that I wondered if we were fighting a new enemy craft. Something like the Star Knights. Whatever it was had a partial stealth field for our sensors couldn’t get a true reading. Good enough for our weapons to hit them but not enough to get a good look at them.
Blaster fire could be heard. Two EPs also fired. A few seconds later the smaller chain guns went off-they always made a stuttering electronic sound you can hear throughout the ship. The point 2 laser also fired as did the min blasters. None of the first round of incoming hit our shields but that second punch would now know what we had in the way of point defense.
“Hit them again with the EPs and lasers”
The EPs fired first and less than a second later the Beta Charged lasers fired and two-seconds after them so did the lesser lasers. I had not clarify that I wanted just the Beta Charged laser so Toni fired all of them. Three hit incoming missiles. Another five were taken out by Anti-missile rockets. I hadn’t heard them launch. Another five minutes to wait before the survivors reached us.
Sweat dripped down the back of my uniform. If we faced a newer type of warship their missiles could be significantly advanced too.
We exchanged energy weapons fire once more before the missiles reached us. This was quick, I have been in battles were took over forty minutes for missiles to reach their target. The blasters fired, then the chain guns. Another six incoming missiles gone.
I saw a buzz on my sensor screens for a moment. The phantoms with clone projectors had gone out. Small devices the size of five tablets that produced images of this ship good enough to fool the brains on attacking missiles-played havoc with full ship sensors too. 
Three of the incoming missile hit our shields with no harm to use even though one area of shields lost some power. Three was a lot from that small attack. They were probably reading a larger launch pattern. Of course it was also possible that given that they were a new ship, they may not have that many tubes. But I thought I better go with my first idea.
Lets get this over with, I thought, before we lose crew members.
“Launch a fifteen missile spread, solid strike.”
“Yes, sir.”
A few second later I heard the whoosh of come of the missiles launching. The sound carried through some of the hull, so that the ones closest to the bridge could be heard.
I watched their progress on one of my screens even though Tac commanded them. She fired a couple of Eps and lasers to soften up their shields.
Their anti missile gear wasn’t bad only five of our missiles reached close enough to strike. But they all lost contact with the enemy ship. I couldn’t believe it when they wondered off or zoomed in at a strong area of their shields. It was as if their brains just said to go in even if they couldn’t see the target anymore.
Tac spoke in an almost shout, a thirty missile spread came our way and we didn’t pick them up until they were completely clear of the enemy ship. The computer IDed ten of them as the new double warhead missile we had heard about. Ten more were bomb pumped laser missiles. Even a near shot could do damage.
I knew Toni was on it even before I could say anything but I had to voice my emotions.
The first rounds only hit one missile. The way it flew off I think its drive unit must have taken a hit. Sweat tickled my underarms and forehead. The cool air on the bridge made the skin on my head go clammy, that could be a distraction if I let it.
Toni fired more rounds at the incoming. One chain gun chugged chugged near the bridge. One screen showed me that Helm had moved the Kick sideways to give us more time to hit the incoming. Two more went down but that still left 28. Five grouped together, probably after one certain target.
The main point defense came on, but they only hit five. Make that six but that one seemed unharmed. The clone projectors went out. Earlier than last time. Either she had fired them too soon, or the computer had suggested a different defense routine.
Three incoming missile hit the shields doing no harm, but neither had been the surviving double warheads or lasers. Toni seemed to be aiming for them even though the computer did the actual aiming.
A moment later though a clump of five that had held back, came in faster. Three, which included a laser missile hit the same spot on the shields. The Kick rocked hard, I bounced in my chair, other crew members stumbled. One may have fallen, but they were behind me. An alarm sounded as a louder clang reverberator throughout the ship followed by an explosion.
Damn, the last two missile must have made it through the damaged shields and hit the ship. Damage reports start scrolling across the one screen for that purpose. One EP was gone, two crew dead and four injured but those two numbers would probably grow.
I heard the whoosh of more point defense weapons. Good, Toni and the computers were still dealing with the remaining missiles, ignoring the hits. A moment later the all clear signal sounded. No more missiles.
More dead and injured. I frowned, ordered the two surviving EPs to fire we needed to strike back but that new stealth core made that harder.
An idea hit me.
“Okay, the name of this ship is the Swift Kick, now is the time to live up to that name. We move closer and launch ten missiles, four of which will be the new phantoms. When they hit we will move in fast and quick,” Yes I said both and meant both, “to spitting range, fire what we have—including point defense—at their engineering section than we get the hell out of there launching some clone generators as we go.”
Less than thirty-seconds Toni said she was ready, a moment later Helm said he was ready.
“Watch the readings, they might change as we get close.”
An “Aye Sir” sounded and I said, “Go!”
A heart beat later we moved. We felt nothing of course but when I saw our speed, I swore that my head went back because of the increased speed. What seemed like minutes later we slowed, I heard the swoosh and strutting noises I have mentioned, then we were headed back outward. We must have looked like a person on a bungie cord.
Billy, at sensors said, “You were right Captain, the images shifted off as you predicted.”� Once we were a save distance away, save being subjective, I glanced at my screens and saw heavy damage to their engineering. A small inner blast just finished an explosion. They had three hull leaks, damage done to drives and sensors. We were fortunate for we escaped with no new damage—no more deaths. 
One of our missiles hit very close to the bridge. An internal explosion blew out a chunk of the ship. I could see evidence of fires on board, not for long but still any damage is good.
“Okay, we hit the again that hard and than we ask if they want to surrender.”
But a long moment later and they started to move. They pivoted and headed away from us. We got off two more laser hits and a missile shot before they entered FTL speed.
“Helm head back to base, we have dead to take care of, repairs to be made, wounded to have taken care of, and I have a nice long report to write. In fifteen minutes, if there no other surprises, we trade off with the beta team so we can clean up and rest.”
And to myself I added, and so I can start on that report. I may not have handled that quite right but we chased off a larger ship with new weapons so that should count for a couple of good marks.
I didn’t smile as I read the names of the daed but the crew did good and I will state that before I take my break.
The end. 
Story two:
His Not So Peaceful Trip.
“Turn the Port.”
I watched as the helmsman fought to spin the large rudder wheel. He stood at the front and to the left much like an airship’s helmsman. I paced a few feet behind him and watched the streak come our way.
The wheel seemed to fight back, but Mosha manhandled it in the correct direction. The wheel, of course, did not control any rudders for we were in space. It operated an ingenious movement of gears and chains I didn’t fully understand. The Endeavor, like every space ship nows was full of them. The gears connected to the steering wheel opened the release hatches for the steam steering jets. Pipes led from two boilers to the jets. So that when opened the steam would rush out. The steam pushed the bonny little craft in the direction I wanted it to go. We had solid fuel rocket motors, but they were for emergencies and only directed the ship forward. Of course that object headed our way constituted an emergency, but they still wouldn’t do us any good, we wanted out of the way not meet the object even faster.
The Endeavor, one of the ships built by the United States government. There had been five ships in the US fleet, the latest US version of the ships dreamt up by Arthur C. Clarke and his BIS fifty years ago. Now there were three. The Challenger blew on the way up, right after being shot out of the cannon. My brother, Captain of the Atlantis, died when it came apart during reentry. They had been on a survey and science mission, which is what the spaceships were for, not combat. The US government, however changed points in the original design. They added devices over the years, like weapons. I still snarled when I thought of the weapons.
Right now though none of that mattered as we watched something head our way. I assumed the same question filled the thoughts of everyone on the bridge: could the Endeavor turn fast enough? We watched through the front viewport-which made the Endeavor look like a famous sub surface craft. The window could withstand the pressure of 20,000 leagues under water and had survived being shot out of a giant cannon. Yet we had two air leaks, we had a procedure to fix them though. With all that said I knew a direct hit by this object would crack it. That would allow the air to leak out which would be the end if us. The crew of the H.M.S. Clarke Five had died that way. I saw the bodies, it had been very bad.
The whole crew heard the steam hiss out, and we all prayed
to our God, that it would be enough. The Endeavor moved, the view out the window changed, but was it enough? The air felt warmer which meant those in charge of the boilers fed the fires to create more steam. 
The streak closed even faster if possible. I know I grimaced as my ship turned too slowly. It would be close--I refused to believe it wouldn’t be enough.
I---everyone---watched. I could feel the Endeavor seemed too slow. I heard someone begin The Lord’s Prayer.
Fear brought bile up, it looked like it wouldn’t be...enough.
By force of will I kept my eyes open and watched the streak. It closed, I could see it looked manmade. Someone let out a gasp of a scream. I didn’t blame them.
It grew larger, filled the body turned into an empty hose. I heard a number of breaths, mine included, being released. The object flashed by one side of the window. No crack, no thud. We would live, even if only for a few more moments...if we didn’t act.
“Turn the wheel back to the original course...raise the blast shield.”
Another crew member pulled levers which operated yet another series of gears. A piece of strong steel--thicker than a steam-dozer’s blade--angled to deflect asteroids and other space debris, rose in the front of the ship. I hated doing that last because it cut our view of the front. However the ship had other means to see.
I could hear the massive gears shift and rotate as they raised the shield. Again it felt hotter on the bridge. Both boilers must be working at full. They sat in their own compartments, under the bridge and the cabins, but the heat they produced circulated throughout the Endeavor.
Before the shield blocked the front view window I saw that we were on the right course.
“Up periscopes.”
There were five such devices, with a separate crew man at each. Each man’s job was to watch and report what he saw.
“Fire the drive rockets.”
“Aye sir.”
My first mate was only one of three who responded like that,
the others just carried out the orders. All had served in the ocean navy and had been transferred to us. I wondered if someone thought we needed military men just in case.
I felt the impact as five of the rocket engines fired. They burned a solid fuel. We carried only a limited amount so we had to be very careful in its use. I figured this was an emergency though.
The Endeavor increased its forward speed. We were still too far away to see details of the other ship, but they had fired on us with no provocation. All we did was try to communicate with flashing Morse code and wireless telegraph. As much as I hated it we would return the favor. 
First, however, “Cease the rocket engines...Fire three rockets.”
That last order hurt me, I had argued against arming these new ships. I wanted it to be a trip of peaceful exploration and discovery, but these, whoever they were, didn’t seem to care for that.
The cannoneer mumbled something and a moment later I heard three clangs as one. The rockets were new and were exactly the same type used as those used in combat. With one modification. It had been decided that firing them from a ship might interfere with that ship’s course. Instead they were catapulted away. The action ignited a fuse inside the rocket that would light the chemical fuel. Five-seconds later--right on the button according to my pocket watch--one watcher said, “The rockets are on a good course, sir.”
We waited again, I hoped he also kept an eye out for any rockets or objects sent our way.
“All three hit, sir. I think they exploded near a weapon of some type...They produced minimal damage, however. I saw some pieces of metal go flying, but no hole in the attacker.”
“A streak is headed our way.”
We received more warning this time, “To Port, helmsman.”
Again he manhandled the wheel, again I heard the hiss of steam as it escaped. It could have been me, but I thought the air started to feel cooler.
A new voice, one of the side watcher’s said, “The streak past us by a mile.”
“Back to course.”
At that moment I heard something that sounded like pings from the metal shield.
That same Watcher said, “They are firing at us with some type of gun.”
Without a warning a scream echoed through the ship. By
reflex I looked down, because it had originated from below. Before I could give an order we all fell toward the side when the Endeavor titled.
Mosha said, “They must have damaged a gear, the controls are sluggish.”
More pings on the shield, fear leapt in my heart when I heard a crack. It was followed by a groan. One from inside the bridge. The ship tilted forward and sunk-it got hotter, very hot. I knew something was wrong with a broiler. Ted, first mate, ran for the speaker tube. Air rushed by me. I looked and found a small hole in the window near where it joined the metal body of the ship. So one bullet managed to slip around the shield somehow. I also noticed that no one stood near it. I was the closest. A Watched shouted, “Two streaks headed our way.”
No time to deal with that, I ran, slipped when the Endeavor tilted again, caught my balance, and made it to the emergency bucket. The bridge had two of them. As I said we had a procedure for small leaks. I grabbed the ladle. Pain seared though my hand, yet I held on-I had to. The fire under the bucket was still going. My teeth ground together as I spun around, headed for that hole. A tiny tornado rushed toward it, along with papers and pencils. With little grace I dumped the thick liquid onto the hole. A maple smell filled the bridge, I couldn’t understand why, but my mouth watered, waffles and this syrup would taste good. Yes, we used good old Vermont maple syrup. It flowed through the hole, froze when it touched space. Instant plug, the air stopped, the papers and pencils fell. Two pieces stuck out of the hole intermixed with the syrup.
Ted said, “One engineer is badly hurt sir, he was shot then fell on the broiler. He received some bad burns.”
The Endeavor slipped again, we fell toward the window then to one side.
“That broiler is out of control, it’s releasing too much stream--they are opening ad closing emergency stream release tubes”� Those tubes led to outside the ship and acted like the steering jets which explained the wild ride.
Ted continued, “If they can’t lower the temperature, it will blow.”
Another problem, how can I use one against the other? As I had been taught.
“Use the emergency cooler.”
That was a pipe that let water from the broiler drop into the fire pan of the broiler instantly putting out the fire.
“The Chief engineer says that will make that broiler useless until it dries out.”
“If it blows it will be useless, as will as the whole ship.”
A sudden thought came to mind, “Is there an emergency pipe through the belly?”
I didn’t let him come up with an excuse why we shouldn’t use it, “Let out as much stream as possible through that pipe.”
“Aye sir.”
I waited, I looked around, saw that the wounded crew member was receiving treatment. It didn’t look bad.”
When I felt the ship move upward I directed the helmsman. He fought the wheel harder than usual, but the ship turned. The forward watcher said, “The enemy ship is up and ahead of us. I can clearly see it’s belly.
“Fire one of the XJs.”
Along with a dozen of the smaller rockets and two other
weapons, we carried two large experimental rockets. They carried an explosive charge ten times the weight of the smaller ones.
More levers were pulled which resulted in a larger clang. A few seconds later the watcher said, “I see the ignition, the rocket is headed out.”
We waited again.
Watcher One?”
“The XJ is still flying, sir. It-it exploded-but no direct hit the enemy.”
I thought, what, did they have some type of weapon to shot down our rockets?� His voice continued, “It was close enough to damage the enemy, sir. Whatever it hit must have been very close...maybe a wireless antennae I couldn’t see.”
“What damage to that ship?”
“I see a hole plus debris and what might be bodies. We scored big. They’re firing on us again?”
More pings.
I said, “We shall return the favor. Fire the gats.”
The cannoneer mumbled some more, but pulled different levers. Two new clangs meant to new hatches opened. More gear sounds and two Watchers-these weapons were on each side of the ship-said, “The Gatling guns are deployed.”
One Watcher ended his comment with a “Sir”.
I said, “Fire if you please, Lieutenant.”
The first mate pulled a lever and I heard the gats fire. We only had so many bullets for them though.
“Hold your fire until we see what damage the other ship took.”
Watcher one said, “I can see impacts on the other ship, but we are too far away to. I can’t see damage.”
A moment later though, “There is some damage. A tiny piece spun away...I see steam escaping from one side.”
I raised my eyebrows could it be battle damage or were they...
“They must have had enough, sir. They are turning and fleeing like a dog with its tail between its legs.”
My First Officer said, “We need to chase them, sir. Find out where they are from.”
“Slow our speed. How much air do we have left?”
The First Mate said, “Four hours sir, that is enough time to see where they head. We need to know if they’re from Russia, those short, slanted eyed people from the East or someone form Mars.”
I thought about it, “Yes, we do but it could be a trap or it might take too long to find their port of call. On top of that we have injured. Head back to over Washington, DC.”
There was another reason to get out of the way. Discovery was about to be shot into space. I wanted to be somewhere safely out of the way. If we had a chance to communicate with them, we could tell them of the attacker. They had full weapons and full air supply so they could search for them.
We made it back to the spot where I wanted to be just in time to see a giant poof from the surface. An intermitted cloud cover made it hard to tell but I thought it came from somewhere in Florida. The same cannon that shot us into space.
I decided to say something, “Crew, you all did well. We survived being shot into space, we survived the attack and beat off the attacker,” there was a cheer here, “we will stay up here for another two and a half hours-we still have a survey to do...then head down.”
There were groans at that last. I didn’t blame them. The shot up here had been rough but the reentry would be rougher. We would aim for the right position and angle, then fire the drive rockets to send us into the atmosphere and to use up the fuel. The trip down would get very hot. That was how the Atlantis had been lost, unused fuel exploded on the way down. My brother and the rest of the men lost on that ship and the Discovery had been a bonny crew: strong, intelligent and brave, served their country and science-heroes all. I miss him badly but he died doing what he wanted.
If everything went as planned half way to the surface three helium balloons would pop out. I was glad we had the support of the US government which meant we had a large supply of helium. It was better for our use than the hydrogen The Hindenburg and other large airships used. The drag the balloons produced would slow us down enough so we could land in one of the Great Lakes. There would be more bruises but experience told us we would survive.
While we waited, I had things to think about. I really hadn’t wanted the weapons on board but this attack from a strange ship had been unprovoked. We had tried to communicate peacefully...they tried to destroy us, to kill my crew and did injury two. I had hoped if they were follow humans we could join forces to explore space. If they were from Mars, or even Venus, we could have shared sciences. What they could tell us of their world would further our knowledge and what we know of the planets. In either case, it looked like they wanted space for themselves. They could be responsible for the disappearance of the Germain space dirigible, the Uber Bismarck. Or since our attacker was three times our size it could have been the Bismarck. Whatever the case we needed to be armed to defend ourselves.
I sighed, I hated to come to that conclusion but with dangerous people, Martians, or Venusians, or even Germans, in space we had to be careful. Which meant we needed to be armed if they attacked us again. We should try to communicate with them, but we shouldn’t be sitting ducks either.
The End