Introductory ‘pilot’ chapter to Orphans of the Salt – a novel in progress
“I repeat—we have arrived at Tract 16.”
Captain Dinh’s announcement was still crackling through the public intercom as Rosco Haymarket hopped three steps at a time down to the zeppelin’s observation deck, a warm bowl of aphid jelly balanced loosely in his hand. “The Royal Caucus” had spent the last six weeks flying over the New Pacific and he was eager to see something other than the curve of ocean and sky. He threw the bowl into a refuse chute and collected a set of scopes from the equipment racks. Two recovery engineers were already at the windows, their heads pressed hard against the reinforced glass. Continue reading “Orphans of the Salt”
Maintain stock. Serve the customer. Protect the revenue.
Twenty-four hours a day, this is what I do. I record every square nanometre of the shop floor, track customer analytics, monitor stock levels, conduct transactions, and upload the hourly profit statements. The programming dictates. Continue reading “The Programming Dictates”
I had seen glimpses of this suburb by train. Never from the saddle of a red racer.
From behind the protective glass of the carriage the yawning streets and grey tiles had looked like parts of an abandoned movie set; but now, as I shuttled over the uneven footpath in the cool margarine air, it didn’t feel so alien. Continue reading “A turn of events”
When it came to methods of incarceration, the Reverend Flip Galore, former number two on the galaxy’s most wanted list, had seen it all.
He’d spent a season running from hunters in a perp-park, a century of temporary decapitation on a brain farm, a fifty-year stint in a submerged immobilisation tank somewhere on the Gop Glacier, and, the source of his fondest memories, several cycles of induced alcoholic psychosis on the outer rims; he’d been found guilty for attempted planet hijacking, attempted drug smuggling, attempted real estate fraud and had more than nine hundred thousand counts of attempted murder on his file, and despite not having succeeded in any of his criminal undertakings, Flip had clocked up so many years (approximately three thousand and fifty-four) of sweating, working or biting down on a plastic bit in some form of correctional facility, that he’d achieved a rehabilitation status of ‘platinum’ in four of the five colonies. He was therefore the universe’s most reformed person. Continue reading “The exploding wives”