Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Ghosts of Avalon: Prologue

Here is a preview of the prologue for my first novel Ghosts of Avalon.  This is a draft, so I can see a few changes happening, but this should set the tone for the rest of the story. 

Marick ran his thumb over the embossed label. 

“Make yourself a drink.”  Sarronsen offered, peering out from behind his wire-framed glasses.  His charcoal-gray suit stood out against the cherry paneled interior of the office.  A large wood desk sat in the middle of the room, its top almost empty except for the  antique lamp and inkwell that sat upon it. 

Marick read the label again.  Seventy year, naturally aged whiskey.

“You can have the bottle if it will make you feel better about opening it,” Sarronsen offered, a slight smirk on his face.  He watched as Marick broke the wax seal, pouring a small amount of the golden liquid into both of the glasses on the stand before him.  “Now Admiral Marick, where were we?”

“It’s just Captain now,”  Marick snorted, “But you know that I left the fleet.  We didn’t come to discuss my past, nor yours,” he said, noting the framed Purple Heart hanging on the wall.  He took a sip, closing his eyes, savoring the aged whiskey.

“Very well then.”  Sarronsen reached into a drawer in his desk and pulled out a small display, pressing a few buttons on the screen.  “Your reputation proceeds you and I find myself in need of a man with your talents.”

“And which talents might those be.”  He hated the pretense, the corporate double speak.  He was a thief, plain and simple, a damned good one, but a thief nonetheless.  “You need me to steal something?”

“Somethings.  Yes.  Right now, Seed Ships are scattered throughout space, carrying people and supplies to colonize the four corners of the galaxy.  They arrive and set up…”

“Spare me the lesson, what is the target?”  He finished off his drink, resisting the urge to get a second glass.  The entire bottle would have cost him more than he had made on his last run.

Sarronsen laughed, “Okay Admir…  Captain.  Each of the ships carries with them four items to help transition the planet into a more palatable place for mankind.  I want you to acquire these items.”  He handed the tablet to Marick who looked it over.

“How am I supposed to get these off of the ships?”

“I will leave the details to you.”

“This sounds risky, I can’t hit a ship while it is still in the docks, there’d be too many soldiers around, same goes for when it’s left, there’s still too large of a Naval presence floating around up here.”

“I thought you’d say that.  This is a long term plan, I can give you two years to deliver the goods.  That should give you plenty of time to put a plan together and execute it.”

“Two years?”  Marick sounded skeptical.  “What’s the payout?”

“Let me put it this way, even at the rate you drink, you could keep yourself in Seventy-year for the rest of your life, and still have plenty left over.  Press the button at the bottom of the display.”

Marick did so and tried to hide his expression as he counted the zeroes on the number that had appeared on the tablet.  He cut his eyes at Sarronsen, “That’s a lot of money, why can’t you just buy this stuff?”

“The government has said no to every offer I have made.  They’ve left me with no other choice.”

“What do you need it for anyways?”

Sarronsen pulled at the collar of his suit.  “Do you ask so many questions of all your clients?”
It took all of his will power to leave it behind, but Marick set the bottle of whiskey down and turned, heading for the office’s door.

“Fine.  I have begun purchasing a number of planets recently.  I intend to develop them into interstellar resorts.  And these tools will speed up that process considerably.”

It was Marick’s turn to smirk.  “Was that so hard?”  He picked up the bottle and headed for the door again.  Stopping with his hand on the doorknob.  “I'll see you in two years.”

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