A Tuesday Snippet

My muse called today. She said I hadn’t done a story in the “Green Knight Terraforming Company” for a long time. I really did my best to remind her that I had three projects that I have been procrastinating with and I didn’t need a fourth.

In a calm voice with precise inflection, I was made aware that if I didn’t write on the GKTC story that I would be in that nomad’s land of no writing for quite awhile. Dammit. I hate it when I am blackmailed like that.

And just to get me into the proper mood of writing in this world, here is a snippet from the first story that started my space traveling terraforming human tech as a troubleshooter from hell.

The Green Knight Terraforming Company

The super-white flying van with the green logo, The Green Knight Terraforming Company, zipped over the tree and landed on pavement in front of a large warehouse. I stepped out of the van, wearing my company clothes—khaki trousers, white polo shirt with a green knight logo on the pocket.

A short, dwarfish wrinkled humanoid waited for me to reach the warehouse. As soon as I reached smelling distance, a strong cheese-like smell, wafted from the humanoid. I pressed a button to turn off my smeller. At the same time the brie taste disappeared from my mouth. I coughed and little and strode toward the humanoid.

“Zrkaffv, thsst prrrtt,” the humanoid started speaking. I assumed it was male although it was fully clothed because of the low voice. Once again I adjusted a knob next to my ear so that my translator worm would work. At the end of the knob, a small hammer knocked the worm into the right dialect.

The humanoid began speaking again and I almost wished I couldn’t understand it. “You’re terraforming didn’t work,” he whined.

“What do you mean it didn’t work?” I looked around at the trees around the parking lot and warehouse. The trees were earth-like. Roses twined around trellises attached to the building, and birds were chirping in the distance. Our motto “You travel the stars; we make you feel at home” seemed to be working in this case. I checked a line on my checklist.

Just to make sure that I was right and the customer, in this case a brie-smelly humanoid was wrong, I glanced at the grass, the flowers, the trees, and the rest of the terraformed area. It looked right, it sounded right, and when my nose was on, it even smelled right so what was the problem?

“Touch the grass,” said the humanoid.

From his expression of dissatisfaction, I assumed the worst. Even so I reached down to touch the blue-green grass. Two grasses grew long, grabbed my wrist and pulled me to the ground. I tried to break away, but the grasses began to grow around my legs, my chest, and my arms. It felt like steel bands holding me there.

“That’s what’s wrong.” I wished I could shut down the humanoid’s voice. He continued, “I lost a lot of workers to that cannibal grass when they tried to trim it.” I could almost hear him smirk.

You can find the rest of this story here: The Green Knight Terraforming Company (GKTC tales)

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Happy Release Day – Late Payment

GKTC2015ebookcover1So today is the day, that my two short stories: Late Payment and If You Should Chose This Mission are live on Amazon. These are new stories with Joe and Donald, two intrepid representatives who fix technical, physical, and customer problems, when terraforming goes awry.

Just because I am such a nice person (this is the same as saying trust me), I have the first story The Green Knight Terraforming Company free for the next two days.

We first meet Joe when he is being attacked by several blades of grass.

If you want to go paperback, the three stories are bundled in Green Knight Terraforming Company. I didn’t manage to get the paperback online at the same time as the release date. I will have to do better timing next time.

So please enjoy these stories. Thank you in advance for leaving a review.

Another couple of tales from Joe at the GKTC

Friends, readers, gentle alien beings–

I finally finished two stories in the GKTC (Green Knight Terraforming Company) world with Joe and Donald with a new friend, Ms. Frigg, that has Joe off-balance.

I dedicate these two stories to my late hubby, Otto Tune, who would have done many of the same things Joe does, but in the end always fixes the problem.

On the business side I am playing with preorder with Amazon. If you liked Joe before in the first story, then you’ll enjoy him again.

GKTC2015ebookcover1

Release Date: September 15, 2015

Late Payment and If You Should Choose This Mission

“Most customers are extremely satisfied with the job The Green Knight Terraforming Company does to refurbish their planets. However, when there is a problem and a customer complains, then the human Joe called Tiny by his team is the person who is sent to solve the customer’s problems. Joe’s backup muscle, Donald, is there for those tiny problems like when Joe touches before he looks.

Joe, Donald, the lab animals, and pilot drones are a rollicking bunch of troubleshooters. One hundred percent guaranteed to fix any customer problem or if that doesn’t work– fix the customer.

Here are two new short stories in the Green Knight Terraforming Company universe.”

 

If you should choose this mission VII – Friday excerpt

Just a reminder that this is Memorial Weekend. Remember the ones who died fighting in our wars. I will remember my grandfather who fought in WWII and was lucky to survive to know his grandchildren.

Back to our story:

Previous installment

Kaboom. The gate disintegrated. Klaxons screamed. Ermie was screaming with them. I pulled him out and put him into his capsule. It would take him some time to calm down from the noise. It looked like Ermie was down for the moment. Still I had Donald. What! Donald was grinning.

Yes, I was grinning back. We hadn’t had this much fun since we were out in the field. In fact we had so much fun with guns and explosions that Ms. Frigg had pulled us to work for tech support call center. That wiped the grin off my face.

I would give my left nut to stay out in the field and off those phones.

I peeked above the barricades to see if our explosion had been noticed. It was eerily quiet. If there had been a guard on that gate of any species, we would have heard some swearing and shots at my exposed head.

“Donald,” I said. “Check with net control.”

Since Donald was slightly telepathic. Humans were the only species in the cosmo that was head-blind, which sometimes put us in a disadvantaged position against other species. But, our abilities to adapt to most situations and flexible mental structures made us very dangerous. Well, we were a quarantined world.

Though I wondered if we were actually rats in a laboratory experiment.

I adjusted my telescopic vision. This was a biological implant that worked with my eyes to see better and farther than normal vision. Unlike Ermie, it wasn’t sentient. I saw a long black line against one of the square ugly buildings. While I watched it moved so slowly that I wasn’t sure what it was.

I bumped Donald so he would take a look. He began swearing up a blue smoke.

“Damn,” he finished. “That is one helluva big roach.”

I wasn’t seeing it until he pointed up. I was seeing the legs. The body of the roach blocked out the sun and was over the roof of the ugly squat building.

“What the hell.” I spit out.

“I’ve never seen on that big.” He urgently hit all the telepathic buttons to the lab animals. If Ermie was still in my ear he would be screaming and fainting, and fainting and screaming. I felt like doing it myself.

We backed away slowly. Maybe the roach wouldn’t see us. It was so big and we were so little. Long thin extensions around the mouth reached for us.

Donald yelled, “Down.” We were flat and the things passed over our heads. “Stay away from the maxillae.” Donald yelled.

I had no idea what the maxillae were, but if they were the things trying to grab us, he didn’t have to tell me twice. I scrambled on my hands and knees. The rocks bit into my hands. If I jumped into one of the sticker bushes, maybe it would discourage the roach.

I wasn’t quick enough. The roach reached down and picked me up by the bug spray strapped to my back. I think I screamed when I saw the mandibles crunching. I patted pulled my big knife from my belt and held it in front of me. If it got me anywhere near its mouth, it would hurt before I became roach food.

continued next Friday

If you should choose this mission VI – late excerpt

Well two weeks have gone by and I still haven’t done my duty– worked on this story. So here is the next installation and I will… I promise… I double dutch promise that you’ll have another installation on Friday. What? I don’t have my fingers crossed behind my back. Why. sputter–

 

Last installation

I put him in my ear. Ermie was an ear worm with a talent for languages. He hadn’t met a language he couldn’t chew and swallow. In the process he translated the digested form to me.

“You will be at the gate and act like apes” was the Ermie’s translation.

“I got this,” I said. Unfortunately, I was really good at looking like an ape.

Donald, Ermie, and I were standing at the front gate of Area 51. I had given Ermie the option to stay in the mostly safe lab tech area, but he was insistent that I would need to have his services. I am not the kind of man to deny someone a little fun.

I was itchy. The bug spray had seeped into all my crevices that weren’t protected by my clothing. It was so itchy that Donald gave me the “this is serious look.” I had been doing a sort of ants in my pants dance.

Oddly the gate was closed, but there wasn’t any guards on it. If I remember from my Army days, okay I didn’t have any Army days, but I had watched all those old movies, there should be someone at the gate so that someone like me couldn’t just walk in. So there was probably some other way to keep people like me out. I pulled off my leather belt and tapped the buckle on the gate.

Zzzzzzzttttt. The gate was electric. I now knew why no one was worried about my abilities to pass the gate. Donald tapped on the watch the tech’s had given him so that we could be precisely on time with our diversion. I suspected that they wanted to pipe the bug killer into the compound and kill all the bugs. It seemed like a simple enough plan.

I was at a loss. At the side of the gate was an intercom. I had heard about the things and seen them in the old classic movies, but I was unsure what button to push to talk to someone. I squinted, did a quick prayer because the buttons could electrocute me, and started punching buttons next to the speaker.

“What?” the sound was between a crackle and a hiss. An old camera turned towards us. Boy, these roaches used technology that wasn’t just old, but was ancient. I had an inappropriate moment. Yes, I started to laugh.

While I was trying to talk to the person or roach, Donald was wiring up the gate. The techs had been better prepared than me because Donald used some gloving. It’s a type of invisible armor for dangerous situations that if I had seen before my troubleshooting days with The Green Knights, I would have considered it magic.

Donald backed up. I let the button go that was giving me audio and backed up with him. When Donald backs up, it would behoove lesser creatures to do the same.

We crouched around the barricades leading up to the gate.

Kaboom. The gate disintegrated. Klaxons screamed. Ermie was screaming with them. I pulled him out and put him into his capsule. It would take him some time to calm down from the noise. It looked like Ermie was down for the moment. Still I had Donald. What! Donald was grinning.

continued this Friday

If you should choose this mission IV – Friday excerpt

Last week’s excerpt.

“Well,” it said impatiently “Are you coming inside? Or are you planning to have heat stroke.”

I won’t mention crawling on my hands and knees or even how I kept bumping my forehead into the top of the tunnel. I bet that rabbit tech was snickering when I finally reached the main room and was able to stand on two legs instead of crawling.

I had bits of rock in my hands, and indentations in my knees. There was a small scratch on my forehead where I kept banging my head. Donald looked calm as a cucumber. Not a speck of dirt on him. I was covered in the stuff.

“Force field,” he said deadpan. I must have looked exasperated because there was a twinkle in his eye, but not a twitch of the lip.

The rabbits had to have been here for ages, I mean since the Mesozoic Era, because it was a lab module from a space ship, dug deep into the earth. With the new technology, the humans should have been able to find the ship. Look now I am calling them humans, and I am one– I sighed. My people should have found this big of a metal object so close to Area 51. I recognized a lab when I saw it.

The tables, the microscopes, the holograms, the computers. Any scientist would be comfortable in this lab. Of course there were subatomic microscopes. I do remember how I felt the first time some particle of dirt gave me the finger. Wow didn’t cover it.

The lab tech who let us into the tunnel had already set up the images of the roaches. I could feel fresh air circulating around the room and the slight hiss of air being scrubbed. I guess the lab tech, with quivering rabbit ears, considered himself a professor because he was pointing things out on the roach with a long stick that reminded me of school teachers and others of that profession.

Donald bumped me. He knew when my mind was wandering. Of course I bit my tongue and the metallic taste spread through my mouth. Donald bumped me again.

“What,” I said and glare at him.

“The lab rat is telling us the chinks in the roaches armor.”

“Where are the roaches? And why are you outside a human government secret facility?”

Donald gave me a disappointed look. Maybe I should have already known. Maybe I hadn’t read the briefing material? Maybe I wasn’t listening?

They waited for me to figure out why I was being stupid. “Oh,” I could feel a flash go off in my head. “They are in Area 51.”

continued next Friday

If you should choose this mission III – Friday excerpt

The story starts here and here.

“I accept,” I said quickly as if I had a choice.

I really hated it when Ms. Frigg smiled like that. It meant that I hadn’t gotten the whole story… again.

I should have known better than to match wits with Ms. Frigg. She was smarter and had that cunning going for her. I was the troubleshooter and sometimes a repairman. Of course she could talk circles around me. Plus I was probably drunk.

So when Donald and I walked out of our white flying van without the normal “The Green Knight Terraforming Company” stickers on it, I expected the outburst.

“Is your whole planet like this?”

We were in an area not to far from Area 51, the US government’s research and experimental facility in the desert. It was mid-summer so we were past the spring greens and tender plants. The sage brush, cactus, and sticker bushes were brown and settled near the ground. The hills looked spotted from a distance. The bare dirt and rock could be seen through the browning bushes.

“No,” I trotted up the dirt road and as the oppressive heat hit my chest I slowed down to a walk and then a slow slow walk. Donald kept up with me. “I never asked,” I could hear Donald’s heavy breathing from behind me. “Do you have sweat glands?”

After searching in the underbrush and batting a few creosote bushes, I finally found a small camera. I put my face in front of the camera and said my identification number. Ms. Frigg had lined up some help for us since this mission was not under “official Green Knight business.”

Before the burrow opened, I heard Donald say, “no.”

Now if I had ever thought that the rabbits on my tech team were from my own home world, I would have shit my pants. They were smarter and more educated than the juveniles from my own species. Well, what the heck. A rabbit on its hind legs in a white lab coat was holding a door open. It was just big enough for Donald and I to crawl through.

“Well,” it said impatiently “Are you coming inside? Or are you planning to have heat stroke.”

Continued next Friday.