Robert froze, body curved around a pipe junction. He cocked his head, listening over his pounding heart and the surge of coolant through the pipes. He breathed slowly, chest expanding and contracting. The fleeting sound – a scrape? – didn’t come back. The longer he listened the more he heard, but whatever the noise had or had not been, it was gone.
He checked back the way he had come. Thrumming pipes, surging air conditioner ducts, the slosh of fluid through pumps. The utilities sub floor space. Not the best place to spend downtime.
His chrono flashed over to midnight. Exactly one week since Senator Drew’s murder, a murder he had helped in. Normally that wouldn’t have bothered Robert, except he’d been on retainer with the Senator. A minor point, perhaps, but Robert didn’t want there to be any come back on his clan if the Senator took an issue.
A hiss filled the enclosure and Robert flinched, banging his head into a flange. He cursed. Just a steam vent. He’d been imagining ghosts ever since the conversation with the stevedore at the number 3 docking terminal. ‘Vanished’ said the Stevedore, referring to Senator Drew’s ship, ‘along with his body’. Robert knew too well about Imperial cloning facilities. He could put two and two together, which meant his clan could be in danger.
The noise again. Long, drawn out, an almost painful scrape of steel, echoing in the confined space. Coming towards him. Robert glanced back. No crevasses to hide in. Smooth walls either side of him. Ahead the passage turned. If he could reach it first. . . no, he’d never make it. The noise grew louder, almost on top of him. He could smell gun oil, heavy slick. He reached back, unlatched the Colt Diplomat from his holster and worked it forward through the pipes to aim ahead. He steadied it on a pipe.
A cleaner bot rolled along a pipe, its vehicular ring rusted, a trail of oil in its wake like a mollusc. The ring rotated, a missing segment hitting the pipe, scraping past, then rotating back to the top again.
Robert sighed, sagging against the pipes. Better paranoid than dead. He returned the Diplomat to its holster and inched forward, around the corner then stopped, checked his pad and smiled.
Directly under Drew’s old quarters. He attached the eavesdropping knick knack to the underside of the floor – basically turning the floor into a loudspeaker – and waited.
There was someone inside the quarters. No, two people. They were talking, hushed, barely audible through the knick knack. “When will we be expecting the Senator back?”
Robert gritted his teeth. It was true then. Drew was not one to forgive a slight against his person, or his life. That wasn’t good news for the Clan. He kept listening.
Then he gasped.
If you’ve been to the Current Operations page lately you’ll see that I’ve started to fill in some information there. I’ll continue to add to this as we get closer to the launch of Elite:And Here The Wheel.
So where to for Robert Garry in the short piece of fiction above? Well, that’s up to you, members of the Garry Clan. Tell me what you think is going to happen next. What did Robert hear? How does he react? Does he call in his troops or try and go solo?
Sign up to the clan, get in on the action and lets carve out some story for Robert Garry.
Going strongly in the editing. I hope to have the novel wrapped up this week and back to Fantastic Books so I can have a bit of a break over Christmas. 67 pages to go. We’re almost there 🙂
Our kickstarter campaign to make Elite:And Here The Wheel into an audiobook (Along with Drew Wagars Elite:Reclamation, Allen Stroud’s Elite:Lave Revolution and the anthology ‘Tales on the Frontier’) is going very well. As of today we are at 43% of our funding with 23 days to go.
This is going to happen. Not because of what we are doing, but because of what you are doing. Thank you everyone for your support, and not just pledges, but getting in the trenches with us and helping spread the word, telling your friends, telling acquaintances and convincing them that this is something they need to get involved with.
Please keep it up your efforts. We’ve still got a long way to go but I know we can do this, together.
Christmas won’t be Christmas without a Commander’s Log podcast. There will be one more episode this year, so look out for that coming soon. Also a reminder for those that haven’t listened to the latest episode yet you can check it out below.
Podcast # 11: ‘Discourse at Veedze’