Mist on the Mountains

That’s a slight stretch. All we have around here in Corning are big hills, but the mist is there and it’s beautiful. I’m sitting in my office, drinking my morning coffee and watching as the rosy-fingered dawn seeps through that mist.

Maybe spring is finally here. I can hear some birds singing their morning song. The tree outside my window is starting to sprout leaves.

Morning is so quiet, so peaceful. I like it when the world is asleep.

Sorry for my wandering mind. Here is another excerpt from A&G 2. I’m almost done with the first draft. In my writing the crew is currently stuck on a planet, desperately trying to find information on the treasure. They are locked down on a planet with a civil war raging around them. In this scene they are about to make contact with a potential client.

*     *     *

As they stepped out onto the landing above the hold, Atom paused and looked down on his little crew. He marveled at the change from when they had first stepped foot aboard the ship.

Atom swore Byron had grown a few inches in the months aboard.

As a whole they seemed more a family than any crew he had flown with before. Shi stood in her customary heavy weave poncho, her hands hidden beneath as she shared a quiet laugh with Hither. The ex-courtesan wore a simple dress that flattered her figure and complimented the spritely red curls framing her face.

Cocking an eyebrow at Hither’s choice in footwear, Atom descended the stairs. “I hope we don’t run into any trouble,” he gestured at her heels.

“Why, Atom,” she dropped a demure head bob to hide a shy smile. “You should know by now that I hide behind improbability. Nobody expects more than a pretty face when I wear shoes like this.”

She held her foot out for inspection and then executed a perfect pirouette on the tip of her other shoe.

“Plus,” she leaned in with a stage whisper. “I can always kick them off.”

She mimed a shocked look. “For some reason, that always surprises people.”

“Don’t forget you can also use the heel as a lock pick, ice pick, and maybe even a tooth pick,” Atom laughed as he set Margo down in the pram.

“Only if she wants ‘em to lose a tooth,” Shi guffawed.

“Or an eye,” said Hither in response.

“Where’s By,” Atom looked back to the closed doors of the workshop. “He knows we are all heading out, right?”

As if on cue, Byron trotted from the side hatch and joined the others.

“I miss somefing?” the mech asked.

“Not a thing,” Daisy grabbed the sprouting boy in a headlock and roughed him up. “Just Hither flashing some leg. Ain’t nothing you haven’t seen before or will probably see again.”

“Ah, why do I always miss the good stuff,” Byron lamented as Hither slapped Daisy in the arm with a playful laugh.

“People,” Atom powered up the pram and hovered it close to the docking hatch. “We need to focus up. This might be the first client meet I’ve had where I can honestly say I have no idea what lies ahead.

“We stay tight and we stay focused,” he locked eyes with each member of the crew. “Until we understand who we are looking to take a job from, I want each of you to watch each other. I don’t imagine we are walking into danger, but knowing what we know I can’t guarantee anything.

“Stay sharp and stay alive. If things go null-g head for the Ticket. If you can’t make it there, head for the black and have Koze blast a pulse.”

A round of affirmatives met his glare.

Atom turned back to the hatch, rolled his shoulders, and prepared for the final docking lock. The rest of the crew settled in behind him as the familiar thump of a settling ship met their ears as they assumed a neutral stance.

A surprising hiss startled Atom, causing his head to snap sideways as the main cargo ramp broke seal and whirred to life.

“Koze?” Atom turned to the ramp, his hand drifted to his pistol.

“I’m sorry, Atom,” Kozue sounded perplexed. “I turned over nav-control of the ship for the docking procedure. I am trying to ascertain how they are controlling anything beyond that.”

“Seems a touch hostile,” Shi grinned and flipped her poncho back as she stepped up beside Atom.

“Simmer,” said Atom

The others turned their attention to the ramp as it fully cracked the seal and began to drop. From around the edge a pale blue light began to seep. Atom led the group to the main ramp and waited.

The hangar, for they actually sat in a hangar and not just attached to a docking strut, had room for a dozen more ships of relative size to the One Way Ticket, but from Atom’s viewpoint the ship sat alone. As the ramp continued to descend, Atom observed more of their surroundings. Dulled metal walls framed out the hangar, and while some ambient ship pops and hisses met his ears, the hangar hung in eerie quiet.

“Seems like we should have a little mist to set the mood,” said Hither from Atom’s left.

Shi snickered.

Daisy joined in. “Maybe they could pump in some gloomy music,” the pilot laughed and although Atom frowned, the jovial nature of the group pleased him as they stepped off into the unknown.

Even Byron joined in, mimicking haunting reed flutes he must have heard as the soundtrack to some third rate hack job.

“Easy, kin,” Atom hissed as he fired up the suspensors on the pram and hovered Margo towards the ramp. “Let’s keep our guns loose and eyes sharp. Just don’t forget, we don’t want to lose a paying gig.”

The ramp dropped low enough to reveal a solitary figure.

“Atom Ulvan of the Meriwether han,” the figure called out as the ramp thumped to the deck.

“That’s me,” Atom replied as he recognized the player from the tavern on Osvetiti. “I never did get your name.”

The man shook his head in disappointment. “I suppose that means you didn’t pay too much attention to our play then. While I wasn’t the headlining player, I did have a rather important role as the village chief.

“Bronte, Alderon Bronte,” the man said with a flourishing bow. He swept his long grey hair back as he rose to stand before the crew.

*     *     *

I’ll keep plugging away at this story. I’ll keep sending out emails for reviews. I’ll keep on pressing forward.

I should have a cover reveal for you guys later today. Final cover is an exciting thing.

In the meantime, keep calm and Bergeron, keep on reading, and keep on flying the Black.

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