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by Danielle L. Parker

part 2 of 11

The world Thimble hung like a wrinkled green ball in Pig’s Eye’s view-port. The crowns of the great mountains wrapping its equatorial belt glittered with pure white snow.

But Blunt spared the breathtaking vista below no more than a glance. He had a more immediate concern. There was a lot of traffic in orbit, and none of it was under the control of a spaceport.

Most of the visitors seemed no more than freighters and traders. But two of the swarming orbiters drew Blunt’s attention. The first was a small exploratory or scientific vessel that coded for Earthly origin on his boards.

The second, a sleek shark lying in the concealing shadow of Thimble’s small moon, returned far less information to Pig’s Eye’s electronic queries. Blunt did not need to see the emblem on the bow, though. Whatever Thimble was, it was important enough that a rarely seen frigate of Earth’s Stellar Fleet had been assigned permanent guard duty.

Blunt shook his head. He might successfully run, if it came to that, but he sure as hell wasn’t fighting his way out of here. Come to think of it, running wasn’t a good idea, either. Earth’s arm was more than long and strong enough to reach him wherever Pig’s Eye might take him.

Lucrative or not, this job stank. What was the rotting meat odor that had teased his nostrils in that innocuous boardroom: the whiff of genocide? Was that what one called the knowing extermination of an entire species?

Blunt waited, tapping his fingers on the arm of his captain’s chair. But the frigate on the dark side of the moon remained quiescent and silent. Blunt breathed a sigh of relief. The electronic camouflage recently installed on Pig’s Eye had passed its first serious test. Underneath its innocuous sheepskin, his ship now had more in common with a pirate jackship than a trader’s bumbling freighter. But he had not been challenged. That was good. Even a wolf preferred not to be noticed by the bear.

Blunt unstrapped and felt his way below to his shuttle. Time for a visit to that green orb spinning beneath his feet. He had a child-napping crab-monster to check out — and just maybe a large sum of money to collect.

Proceed to part 3...

Copyright © 2010 by Danielle L. Parker

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