The Athena Lee Chronicles

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Time for a Snippet! 06

My eyes widened at that. “You fought Demons?”

“Not like you did. There was a British music group that accidentally raised a demon during one of their concerts. It gave each of the performers a certain glamor to sway minds.”

“How did you figure out it was demons?” I was running music groups through my head.

“They had a strange following that didn’t make a lot of sense. Each singer had a goofy name. We tracked the Demon to one of the roadies. He was actually working at each concert sucking up energy to raise more. At least that is what the expert I had with me said. After the Demon was slain the band wasn’t the same. They broke up and stopped performing. I think they all got married or something.”

“Were the musicians harmed?”

“No. As far as we could tell the Demon just gave them popularity without his power anything they tried to sing wasn’t quite right after that. The Brits were a bit unhappy with me after that. They had been tracking it too and wanted in on the kill.”

“How did you kill it without Magick?”

“It was in a human form. We trapped it in a magical circle and shot it. The Kabbalist I was working with retired after that. He was a rare breed that one.”

“If he was a mundane practitioner he was. It takes years to ‘get it right’ using ceremonial Magick. That is not something anyone should dabble in at all.”

They both gave me funny looks. “My Grandmother is the head of our clan and coven. I was fully trained by her before coming here. My magical difficulties put me on the outs by my family but I was trained in all aspects of Magick. Magick can be very dangerous in the wrong hands.”

Agent Dalton looked at the Director. “I’ll take her. I will teach her what I know and maybe she can help me on the job.”

“I should hope so Jack.” She looked at me. “Agatha, Jack and I were like you and Chuck. We were in the same classes together before we went off on our own assignments. He can teach you about investigations and you can help him with the Magick. The FBI is changing and for us to change with it we need to make more use of the assets we have. I expect great things from you Agatha. Make us all proud of you.”

“Jack, take care of her and don’t let Fergus make you too crazy.” She stood up and gave me a big hug which surprised me. “Agatha you have my number. Call if you need something. Technically I have to evaluate you quarterly so don’t be a stranger.”

Director Mills held the door open for us and we headed back to the RV. I had to smile when Jack looked at me and asked. “Who’s Fergus?”

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Thursday, October 27, 2016

Time for a Snippet. Heres a short one 05

“Where is our contact supposed to meet us?”

I looked out the front window of the RV. “See the guy dressed like a tree throwing pine cones at the press?”

Outside the RV and behind the caution tape were over a hundred news cameras and photographers. You would almost think they were shooting a political ad as much commotion this Chef’s death was causing. Along with the newsies were several hundred tourists and rubberneckers. Working the crowd were Bogies dressed as modern day troubadours complete with musical instruments and painted faces. A taller man was dressed as a tree representing the Jack-in-the-green. He was picking cones off his body and dancing as he threw them at unsuspecting news reporters.

The other Agents all looked. “It’s that guy. I was told to look for the Jack-in-the-green and he’s the only one that fits.”

“Why him?”

“Because the Fae have a sense of humor? A twisted one.” As we watched the tree man was confronted by several of the local police officers who were trying to get him to stop.

“Do you mind if I try and rescue him?”

“Go try.”

I stepped out of the RV and ran over to the Richmond police officers.

“I don’t understand. Why do I have to leave? I already have leaves! See?” The tree man did a little dance that involved swinging his branches. The Bogies all clustered around played their music to accompany him. I felt a touch of Magick in the air. Before my eyes the air shimmered and rippled. The music was magic.

“Excuse me?” I tapped one of the officers on the arm. They were trying to encircle the painted men and were yelling at them to stop playing.

“Excuse me?” I tapped the man again. This time he looked in my direction and told me to back off.

I concentrated my will this time. Glaring at the officer who ignored me I snapped my fingers and said a word of power for them to stop. For a second time seemed to stop in front of the restaurant. All of the officers and Bogies froze for just a moment.

“Oops, I used too much.” I reached through the boys and blue and grabbed the tree man.

“Hey let go of me.” The Jack-in-the-Green looked in my direction. “Ah, the Witch. Took you long enough.”

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Wanna see the New Cover for Magical Probi?

Check it out!    
http://www.bookcoverartistry.com/

Status: I'm 11,600 words into the new book with 4 chapters done. I'm back on track now that the sickness is just about gone. I'm hustling to get back on track so expect more snippets soon!

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Snippet number 04 from Book 2 of the Federal Witch!

I had just a minute alone with Grandmother. “How is the family? Camilla still causing trouble?”

“At the moment, no. Her brood on the other hand have always been trouble. Winter and Autumn have been caught tourist tipping a few times. Poor Cappy is at his wit’s end over those two.”

I smirked. Winter was my age and should know better. Autumn was the youngest of the two. Whatever possessed my aunt to name them after seasons is the real question. “Was anyone hurt?”

“Not yet, fortunately. Those two have done more harm than you ever did. The squirrels hate them by-the-way. I have seen them go out of their way to drop nuts and excrement on them.” She peered at me closely. “You don’t have anything to do with that do you?”

I really couldn’t hide very much from her. “I sort of asked them to chase Camilla when I was nine. She said something nasty to me and I was upset. It was the only time they have ever listened to me, I swear. If they are chasing the girls it is all on them!”

Grandmother began to laugh. “You. You are the reason they flock to her yard and throw nuts at her. Dear I wish you had told me that years ago! We brought in animal experts to try and get them to stop.” She chuckled some more and shook her head. “Your aunt has been saying you set them on her for years and no one believed her. Do not tell anyone else this. We shall keep this our secret. Understood?”

I nodded to her. The line began to advance. Director Mills stood at the front of the line welcoming each guest in personally. “Hello again, Agatha. Is this your Grandmother?”

“Yes, Ma’am. This is my grandmother Marcella Blackmoore.”

The Director took my grandmother’s hand. “Your granddaughter has become a valuable asset to us here at the Bureau. Thank you for bring her to us.”

“Thank you for getting rid of your predecessor. But you’re welcome. So far you have done a good job with her she still respects her elders and is polite. Between you and me I kicked the Council in their posterior and made them send competent instructors for her.”

“Um, Grams?” I’m guessing she didn’t know about the instructors.

Grandmother held her hand up to me to silence me. Knowing her like I did I shut my mouth.

“I’m sorry you went to that trouble Mrs Blackmore. The Council decided to not send anymore instructors for Agatha this year. She was forced to learn on her own the spells that were needed. They sent written instruction along with spell books.”

Grandmother turned toward me in shock. “What? Child, you should have contacted me!”

“Grandmother, I thought you knew. The instructions were fairly easy to do. I think I have a handle on it now.”

She shook her head. “Those idiots! You will have to show me the instructions at your lab. I will be speaking to them about their idea of instruction, very soon. Maybe they will survive it.”

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Conjuring Quantico is still a #1 Book!

video
After nearly blowing up the school, an untended mid-air incident involving the FBI Director, and declaring war with the US Marines, Agatha Blackmore wonders if she will even see graduation. But when she is pulled in to investigation involving magical disappearances, Agatha must unravel the mysteries before time runs out. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01M1A6C8K

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Snippet number 03 from The Fed Witch book 2 Magical Probi

I could hear the crowd as we approached. We were supposed to gather at the home team side of the field. Flimsy caps and gowns were provided. Many of the other students said it was like High School. Never having been to one of those I had no idea. Cat and I slipped the plastic gowns on over our clothes and grabbed a hat. It was kind of hooky to do this but I could see the benefit. We would be moving on to our own specialties and would have little time to come back here to have one of these. Better to have it now. I peered at the crowd in the stands. I had not seen Grams in three years. I could use a friendly face.

The Director’s assistants the B’s seemed to be in charge out here. They managed to get the lot of us lined up into order. No names would be called. We either graduated or we didn’t. We would march out give and bow and be presented. A few speeches and we could break and find our families. Or at least that was what we were told. Hopefully the speeches wouldn’t be long.

The crowd quieted as the Director stepped up to the podium. She had a nice speaking voice as she began to talk of the code of justice and what graduation meant for all of us. At a prearranged signal we marched out onto the field and stood in back of the director as she wrapped up her speech. To this day I can’t be sure what triggered it. It may have been a rogue Were hunt or Mother Nature giving us the finger but it was a disaster.

There we stood all in a line about to be award our diplomas when a herd or flock of Jackalopes entered the picture. Over fifty of the little buggers came lopping through the ceremony. They got confused by all the people and scattered into the crowd and everything. Caps and gowns went flying as we tried to get away from the little horned devils. All I could do was stand there with my hands over my face. Cat who stood beside me began to laugh so hard she fell to the ground. Director Mills stared at the running animals and shrieking family members. She slowly turned and stared at me. I smiled and gave her a little wave. I was in big trouble.







Monday, October 17, 2016

Snippet #2 from Book 2 of the Federal Witch. Magical Probi

“Agatha I have a bone to pick with you.” The look on the directors face was not a good one. I tried to think about anything I may have done recently.

“Ma’am if this is about the landscaping on the East lawn I promise I will pay for it.” The look she gave me froze me in place.

“No, this is about something else, but we will be discussing the East lawn. That explains the crying grounds keeper I had in here this morning. This is about these.” She held up a picture.

It was all I could do but wince. The picture showed what looked like the Marine barracks parade ground. It was covered in Jackalopes. The little critters had eaten all of the grass.

“Oh, those. If you remember last year before you sent me after that Demon I mentioned those things. They were a tiny accident.”

The director cocked her head to one side as if thinking. “I sort of remember that conversation. Help me to remember please?”

“I told you about the spell that went wrong during the last practice with the council’s teacher, Montgomery something or other was his name. I made one of those but later saw a couple more. I did tell you about them.”

“Nope doesn’t ring-a-bell. These things…”

“Jackalopes.” I smiled at her.

She frowned at me. “As I said, these… Jackalopes have infested the entire forest and the Marine base. I just had the General on the phone screaming at me about them. He just knew it was you. His magical corporate goons told him you were the one that did it. He also said it was illegal and against the Council’s magical laws?”

“Tampering with animals or people on purpose is against the rules. Accidents however are not. Especially if you can prove it was an accident. The Council is aware of the Jacks. Both I and my grandmother informed them. I am sorry I didn’t follow up after the demon thing. To be truthful I forgot about them.”

“This is a big deal Agatha! The Marines are really pissed.”

I squeezed my eyes shut and said a prayer to the goddess for strength. “I can try to zap them but every time I have changed an animal I made it magic proof. The squirrels and Fergus are proof of that. Do you want me to try?”

“Lord no. You might make them giants or something. I suppose we can call in hunters or exterminators.”

That gave me a idea. “Ma’am what if we allow the Were’s on campus to have a hunt? We can call it the annual Jackalope hunt or something.”

Director Mills just gave me that look that made me think of kindergarten children. “I better not find out this was a gimmick to let your pack go hunting here. I will look into it.”

Thus the semi-annual Jackalope hunt was born. The Were’s loved it. Rabbits that fight back? They were in.

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On a personal note. I'm almost over the bought of Pneumonia that I caught. Thank the Gods for good medications. Back on track and trying to catch up on my writing. On a better note I will be co-writing a new series with Author Michael Anderle set in his Kutherian Gambit series. Look for book one of that one some time after the new year

Saturday, October 15, 2016

First New Snippet from The Federal Witch Book - Magical Probi

“Cat have you seen my dress shoes?”

“Cat?” I pulled my head out from under the bed to see my diminutive roommate sound asleep at her desk. I stood up from beside the bed and crossed the room. Her head was down on one of her textbooks, drool pooling on the page. Smiling I grabbed my cell phone from my pocket and took a candid shot. It was too good not too! Today was a very big day and if I didn’t get to take a nap neither did she.

I gave her a shake and spoke into her ear. “Hey, get your ass up! Don’t you want to graduate?”

She stirred a little and I could hear a muffled voice. “Go away. I’m taking a power nap here.”

“You can rest all you like when the ceremony is over. Now, get up.”

“Don’t wanna!”

“Don’t make me call Chuck. He can get you up.”

“Not if I order him not too.”

“You won’t do that. You like Chuck too much to mess with him like that.” It was true. Chuck was part of our little gang here on campus. He was way too nice to screw with.

“Fine. Whatever.” She raised her head off the desk and rubbed her face. “Eeeww nasty!” She wiped the drool off onto a towel by the desk.

I just laughed at her. I would save that picture for blackmail material. You never know when something like that can come in handy. Today was an important day, it was graduation day. The end of the third year was momentous for us wanna-be agents. For non-field agents this was it. The end of their Law enforcement training. Specialized training would now start. They would go on to become the power behind the muscle that makes up the Bureau; office staff, trainers, and lab technicians. The rest of us would be partnered with actual field agents and our last year was on-the-job-training intensified! Cat was scheduled to intern with the behavior analysis unit for her fourth year. The last time I spoke with Chuck he was going to the field forensic unit. He was very excited. As yet no one had given me my assignment.  With any luck Director Mills will do that after the ceremony.

Checking the clock I told Cat she had thirty minutes to get ready. Living with the WereCat Alpha I learned that she was perpetually late so I always gave her short time limits. “Have you seen my shoes?”

“Look over by Fergus’s barn. I saw him sleeping in one of them the other day.”

“What? If that little maniac ruined my shoes, it’ll be back to the shoe box for him!” I stepped over the the small table we had set up near the window. His red barn was in the middle of the table and sure enough there were my shoes! Sitting neatly together my shoes were lined up perfectly so they could not be seen behind the barn.

“Fergus!” I opened the barn door to the sound of mooo from the noisemaker on the door. Peering inside there was no sign of him. I reached for one of my shoes and I could see hay down in the bottom of it. Turning it upside down I gave it a shake. Bits of hay and a startled Unicorn hit the top of my desk.

“I was sleeping!” He looked rattled but nothing was broken. It takes a lot to break a Unicorn. Just ask Grams cat Zeus. He bounces Fergus around like a toy ball.

“Fergus, why are you in my shoe?”

“I was camping.”

“In my shoe?”

“It’s my summer home.”

“What? How did you even get them up here?”

“I jumped.”

“Really? You jumped carrying my shoes? I’ll bet you got Chuck to put these up here for you.”

Fergus just stared at me.
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On a side note. My writing has slowed this week just a little bit. I was diagnosed with Pneumonia and have been drugged up and resting. Writing has been a bit slow because of it.

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Last Snippet from Book 10 - War to the Knife

 “Number two, station 425 alpha is under attack!”

“Do we know by who, Number four?” Number two was the Gen-Mod in charge of crop and food production for both the planet and the expeditionary force.

“Sensors only say they are being repeatedly attacked.” Number two cocked his head in consideration.

“Contact number one. That station is in sector twenty-five. Could this be a probing attack to test our defenses?”

 “I’m not the strategist that he is but it could be. Shall I alert the Alphas?”

“Wait for number one.” Number two bowed his head. The shield around Earth was his responsibility. The lost of even one of the stations was a serious blow. Only laser platforms were available to fill the gap. Inventory had very few of them left according to records.

All the lights in the room began to flash. “The Program calls.” Number two and four made their way to the throne room. Number one, three, five, and six were all ready there.

“Number four what is the status of the forts in sector twenty-five?”

“Sensors show that the main fort has been attacked and it is off-line. The laser platforms are continuing to attack and are reporting they destroyed over twenty individual craft. But the attacks are still ongoing.”

“Do we know what fleet it is?”

“No. Here let me show you.” He touched a few buttons and the large vid screen lit up. The stations could be seen as well as the platforms. The attacking ships only showed as white blobs of color.

“Why does it look like that?”

“It’s some sort of virus. The Gammas are working on it but it has infected the entire system. Normally in a case such as this one solution is to isolate the system and then purge the information to burn it out. We can’t do that here. No parts exist for those stations. The last spare parts were used fifty-standard years ago.”

“Where did the virus come from?”

“It attacked our systems shortly after the first ships returned from Imperial space. We believe that it was infecting the ship…” The rooms lights began to blink. Lines of computer code and a strange language began to run across the screens. All six ‘prophets’ bowed their heads and pulled up the communication screens. They all stared at the screen for a moment.

“Forget about he virus. The Program has spoken. Keep one squadron here to protect the planet, active all defenses, send what reinforcements we have to plug the breach, and lock the base down. No matter what this is, The Program must survive it.”

“Understood Number one.”

Friday, October 7, 2016

How about another Snippet?

Amalie sat back in her chair, her eyes wide. “Is he sure about the information?”

“He’s pretty sure. If they suspected he was there they would have purged the system looking for him by now. He is reading their mail.”

“Why were you hesitant to inform me of this?”

I cringed. “To act on on this we have to keep it secret from the governments involved. Except for Mars of course. There are still Cabal sympathizers out there. They will refuse to believe that Earth would be party to genocide. Carrying out this attack will be a political nightmare. What happens if we time it wrong and their fleet returns early? One more thing. Earth itself. We don’t know where anything is or what targets to hit. We won’t have all that much time to search, either.”

Amalie’s face was grim. “I see what you mean. We will have to be very careful. I suppose I can authorize scouting parties to penetrate the barrier. But I see what you mean. My own and most likely Sam’s memories of Earth are useless. They would have moved the facilities or the landmarks have all changed.”

“Capitol is supplied from Earth so all we have to do is interrupt the supply chain and they will have to slow down their advance and preparations. Wilson says they have yet to start any food production on the planet.”

Amalie shook her head. “Child you continue to drop these bombs on me. I will have to think about this. Can you have your Wilson send me the information he has collected? I will need to study it.”

I looked at Bellona. As a member of Wilson’s board I should be able to order the CATT to help. “Bellona will you give grandmother the information?”

The  CATT looked at me and nodded. “Primus the files are being transferred to your console.” Bellona’s voice was of sultry and sexy sounding.

“How?… Athena! How did you get her to do what you said?”

“Wilson made me a member of their ruling council. They will take some orders from me, unless he or one of the others countermands it.”

Bellona nodded and then spoke. “The progenitor and our King have decreed that she may give us instruction. On some things only.”

Amalie looked over at her bodyguard and assistant. “What things?”

The CATT laid down and pretended to sleep. CATTs!

Get Ready! I'm almost done.


Thursday, October 6, 2016

Time for a Snippet! Here's one from the upcoming War to the Knife - Athena Lee 10!

The screeching alarm woke up the command watch on duty in the control room. Last night the poker game was longer than expected, and adding in dancing girls to the mix made it run even longer. Commander Jordan squinted at the readouts on his console. Damn that Michaleen Flynn. That whiskey he sloshes about is the God’s worst. That was all the commander could think about. Making and drinking various forms of Irish Whiskey was a national sport on Celtica. He squinted at the console again. That cannot be right he thought to himself.

Thump! He whacked the console with his fist and regretted every moment of it. His head was killing him! No more whiskey late at night! He knew he was lying to himself as soon as he thought it. He shook his head to clear it, there was no way those readouts were right. He punched a button and the information transferred to the main screen. According to sensors, a large fleet of unknown ships just jumped into the system. Squinting at the readouts a second time he cursed. Not a lie and not anything they had in the area, unless Siobhan was back from patrol early. That wasn’t likely. For the moment the ships were just sitting on the edge of Celtica space. He stretched his arms out in another attempt to wake up. Feck! The Taoiseach was going to freak! Reluctantly he hit the emergency button on the top of his station.

Loud alarms began to sound. Very loud alarms. His ears ringing, Commander Jordan immediately regretted hitting the button. He looked down as a voice from the floor began to yell and winced.

“What the fecking hell! Eddie turn it off! For gods sake and the state of my poor brain please turn it off!” Lieutenant Forbes was under his desk moaning in pain. He watched the man clutch his head and pass back out. Wimp!

A small older man staggered into the room and fell against his desk. “Is this your punishment for the whiskey? Just shoot me now then because my fecking head is about to explode!” Michaleen Flynn was only a Lieutenant at the moment. He had achieved the rank of Captain twice only to be demoted back to lieutenant after being caught drinking the rotgut he makes and sells on duty. Like now.

“Michaleen, get on your console! A large fleet just jumped into the system and it’s not one of ours!”

“The Hell you say! Don’t they know this is Monday?” The little man rubbed his head and moaned. His headache had returned and he felt like he was going to be sick. “Oh, Feck! Have you told herself yet?”

The Commander looked over at his crewman. “I was just about to send the message. I thought maybe the alarm might have told her already.”

Michaleen shook his head. “No, she disconnected that button over there. It only sounds in here. She wanted a live person to tell her news, not a machine. She has trust issues.”

“None of us are alive in here.” He looked around the room. The rest of his unit were still all passed out on the floor or on desks. “They are too hung over for that! OK, I’ll contact her. Maybe she won’t shoot me.” He hit a sequence of buttons on his console and waited for a moment.

A screaming woman’s voice came over the comm causing those in the command center to clutch their heads in pain, again. “What the Fecking Hell made you call me at this Fecking hour? Did you not realize what Fecking hour this is? I was up half the night celebrating the wedding of my daughter! So what is so fecking important you lazy bastards!”

“Kate! A huge fleet just popped up in sector eight!” The officer prayed she wouldn’t shoot him.

“What! You better not be lying to me! Whose ships are they? Sent the alert signal, wake those lazy bastards up and get them in air! Tell them to stick to the planet until we figure what we are dealing with here.”

The commander kicked the lieutenant hard in his gut. “Get you lazy drunk ass Up! We have work to do!” He stepped over the the drunkards station and punched in an override code. Sirens began echoing across every settlement on the planet.

~~~~

Celtica was one of the last planets settled during the United Nations forced settlement phase. Entire neighborhoods were swept up in raid and packed on board ships and sent to space. When it was Ireland’s time they took from both the North and the South regardless of religion or creed. It may have been on purpose. Like many of the other colony ships in this period the ship was incredibly overbooked. Ten thousand were expected to die after the first jump regardless. Space travel was for the young, at least in those early days.

That estimate was very low for those unlucky colonists on the UN ship Boyne. More than fifteen thousand died during and after the first jump. Many of the suburbs and high population areas that were pillaged for colonists were retirement communities. After the mass funeral and body disposal began the war for who is right and who is wrong. North vs South, the Irish made war upon each other inside the shell of the colony ship. The Gen-Mod pilots and crew could only watch in horror as the potential colonists made war upon each other. It wasn’t just religious or politics that fed the violence. Battles were fought over control of food, better cabins, and access to the crew. Fighting Irish was not just a term of endearment. Of the forty thousand settlers that left Earth only twenty thousand or so survived the trip mostly young adults and children. The ships crew off-loaded them as quickly as possible. The heartbreaking decision that many ships colonists had to deal with was taken out of their hands. The Boyne’s Captain and crew didn’t tell the colonists that the elderly wouldn’t survive the trip down and sent them anyway. To the colonists this became one more way that the UN and British were conquering them. At least to them they saw it that way.

As soon as they were offloaded the pilots sent the ship into a death spiral aimed at the sun and left in a small scout ship. Leaving ship technology in the hands of warlike colonists was forbidden. For almost forty years they were completely forgotten about by the galaxy at large. Until one day a small freighter detected the colony and came down for visit.

Monday, October 3, 2016

Time for a Snippet! Here is one from the Upcoming Athena Lee Book - War to the Knife!

Yes. I am back at work on Athena Lee book 10! I have 11 chapters in the hands of the Editors. That is 28,000 words. Right at about half the book is complete. I will roll on this and then jump back to The next Witch book. Enjoy!
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The Martian Fourth Fleet was new. It was not part of the reserve fleet. They were the newest of the new in Martian shipbuilding technology. The Engineer in me could not help but rub my hands in anticipation. Each fleet in the Martian Navy took the names of one of the countries of Old Earth that settled it. It was in order of settlement. In order it was the United States, Great Britain, Italy, Australia, and finally Norway. Each successive wave of settlers brought their culture and beliefs with them. Mars was a very interesting place because of it. Fifth Fleet was still under construction but would have names based in Norse or Old Norse history or Mythology. The same could be said for the other four fleets. I had Wilson fill me in on Australia and some of its history. I wanted to respect the fleet not disregard it.

My security team almost didn’t fit inside the shuttle. I laughed as the officers and crew that were departing stared at the circus that was my entourage. To me it sounded like a the plot of a vid show or something. How to squeeze into a shuttle. Fortunately, we departed without incident.

“Do you know where we are going Athena?” Dar was looking out the one view port in the bulkhead.

“Grandmother said that Fourth Fleet had two Carriers. The Melbourne and the Sydney. Wilson told me they were named after cities in Australia. They are both ironically Colossus class. They participated in the fight against the Earth ship of the same name.They are credited with destroying the majority of the stray fighters in that conflict. We are going to the Sydney. It will be operating as the flagship of our little adventure. We have an escort of two heavy cruisers, a battleship, ten destroyers, and four squadrons of the new Martian advanced space fighter the Space Fury.”

“Who came up with that name? It sounds like it’s from a comic book.”

“Believe it or not school children. There was a contest. Wilson said it came from a historical record of one of the students. His great-great-great-great grandfather flew Sea Furies in a war against someone called the Reds.”

“Reds? Who or what are Reds? Aliens?” I started laughing at the look on Sergeant Carter’s face. I pointed at him.

“Do you believe in aliens Sergeant?” He looked down at the deck and murmured something too low to hear.

“What was that Carter?” Dar looked expectantly at him.

“Sorry, Ma’am. What I said was aliens don’t exist.”

I arched an eyebrow at the red-faced man. “Of course they don’t Sergeant. I believe you are an expert are you not?”

His head jerked up in surprise. His eyes grew wide at my smile. “I like to know who is guarding me Vince. It’s not in your records but I know about the little club you run.”

“Ma’am, I don’t know what you think…”

“Forget I mentioned it.”

I smiled and nudged Dar. She and I had been very surprised when Wilson’s minions dug up the information that the Sergeant was the leader and chief officer of Aliens Now, a website devoted to finding and communicating with little green men. Several of the other guards had surprises in their backgrounds too but Vince’s was the most otherworldly. I had looked at some of his evidence and a few things had some merit but none of the actual science checked out.

The fleet was parked in Phobos orbit near the fleet refueling depot. Our shuttle obtained clearance and approached the large carrier. As I watched two Martian Space fighters pealed off and returned to Mars. We had an escort and I didn’t even notice.

One of the pilots stuck his head inside the cargo area. “Ambassador Lee? The Captain want me to pass along the word that you will be piped over the side on the Sydney.”

I groaned. “Thank you Lieutenant…?”

“Malcomes, Ma’am.”

“Thank you for the heads up Lieutenant Malcomes. Inform the Captain that I will be ready.”

Turning toward my entourage I shook my head. “My headache just became yours. We have until we dock to get shipshape to be piped aboard. Everyone get cleaned up and prepared. I would suggest instead of blues you go full-on combat prep. Lets give them a show shall we?”

Dar chuckled as she, like her troops, began digging into her travel cases and equipment bags. Being crammed like we were in a parts case we all managed to change without knocking each other out. Close quarters indeed.

I felt the slight bump as we exchanged weightlessness for gravity. I knew without looking that the shuttle had entered the hanger bay on the carrier. Mars had force shield technology on all their modern capital ships. I chanced a quick glance out the port and saw navy personnel in ships whites with the distinctive Martian red strip down the left side of the uniform.

Normal procedure was for a visiting Admiral to exit first followed by each rank of officer. I was not an Admiral nor was I technically Martian. I still represented Hong Kong. We would do this my way.

Dar was actually the first one piped aboard. The surprise on the Admiral and other officer’s faces was priceless. Old Navy men and women like it when tradition is followed. Too bad. Half my team debarked along with the CATTs before I stepped off to the sound of pipes. The were actual pipes, unlike the recording that the Old Imperial fleet used. The rest of my team brought up the rear.

As I stepped forward I could see some of the Admiral’s aides tense up. My protection team did look rather menacing. Dar and her six troops were dressed in their new Martian Special forces Shadow armor. They could hide almost anywhere in those outfits. Our planet didn’t have the tech yet but it was a gift. Each Marine was equipped with the latest Manderle assault rifle and carried their individual personal weapons. I was wearing one of the gowns grandmother had bought me last Noodlemass.

“Ambassador Lee, I’m Admiral Kanak. Welcome to the Sydney.”

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Update! They are all Gone! Congrat's to the Winners!



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