It’s gray out today. I’m hoping we get some rain and that it knocks down the Saharan dust that’s been hazing the sky and irritating my lungs. The fun game of 2020 is: allergies, Saharan dust, or Rona? So far, it’s always been one of the first two. Fingers crossed it stays that way.
I’m busy writing both New Shiny (pitched as Hunted, but that title may change) and The Queen’s Triumph. I also had an opening scene idea for another Consortium story, which I have less than zero time to write, so it’s not coming anytime soon (like, at all!), but I did share the first line on Twitter, so for those of you who don’t follow me, here it is:
Ferdinand von Hasenberg looked like he had aged five years in five weeks.
I’m not quite sure whose book it is, and the opening is a bit dark, but it was cathartic to write a short little scene.
This week, I’m mostly working on New Shiny. The book isn’t coming for a thousand years (okay, more like 18 months), but here’s a tiny little snippet. Don’t tell anyone, okay? 😉
Rough draft, subject to change, etc, etc.
The restaurant Torran had chosen was one of the nicest in the area. It was the kind of place two CEOs would meet to discuss mergers and acquisitions. The few patrons I saw from the entrance were well heeled and well dressed.
The maitre d’ flicked a glance from my head to my feet—including my visible weapons—and then did the same to Eli, who sported even more weapons. Her gaze stopped on his face and she just stared for a second before she remembered to smooth her expression. “May I help you?”
I suppressed my smile, well aware of how Eli affected some people. “I’m meeting someone in the private dining room.”
She made a subtle gesture and a young man in a black and white uniform appeared beside her. “Please follow him.”
I inclined my head in thanks. Eli and I followed the young server deeper into the restaurant. We skirted around the main dining room which was broken into small, intimate spaces with nooks and alcoves, the best of which had a view of the floor-to-ceiling window.
The velvety dark of space was dotted with distant stars and a faint nebula smudged color across the wide expanse. I knew the window was at least as strong as the metal and composite of the rest of the station, but it looked delicate and fragile. And standing next to it, staring out into the black, one was reminded just how precarious our place in space truly was.
The server led us down a short, secluded hallway. He swung open a wood-paneled door and gestured us inside. Torran sat on the far side of a long table. Behind him, the floor-to-ceiling window offered the same breathtaking view as in the main dining room.
An advanced antireflective coating meant I could still see outside even though the room was far brighter than the view beyond the window. It also meant that I couldn’t use the window as a mirror to see anyone who snuck up behind me. If I sat across from Torran my back would be to the door.
A glance around the room revealed that Torran’s group had lost a member. The two remaining Valoffs stood behind Torran and remained hidden behind their armored helmets, so I didn’t know if these were the same two who had accompanied him in the landing bay or not.
Torran took in my weapons with a sweep of his gaze. His expression shifted but before I could identify the emotion driving the change, he smoothed it away. “Thank you for joining me, Lieutenant Zarola,” he said stiffly. “Please have a seat.” He gestured at the chair in front of me, the one directly across from him.
“It’s Captain Zarola now,” I corrected. “I’m no longer part of the FHP military.” And instead of sitting in the indicated chair, I moved left and sat at the head of the table with a wall at my back. Eli stood a step behind me on my right. We both had an unobstructed view of the door and the rest of the room.
“I’ve got eyes on you,” Kee said through our group comm. “I’ll let you know if any surprises show up.”
The server who had led us to the room hovered by the door and Torran begrudgingly turned to me. “Would you care for something to eat or drink?”
The air I was breathing was the only thing I could afford in this restaurant, and that was only because they hadn’t figured out how to charge for it yet. “No, thank you.”
Torran waved the young man away, and the server bowed and withdrew. He closed the door behind him, leaving me trapped in a room full of enemies, so I decided to go on the offensive. “Have you reconsidered your objections to my standard boilerplate?”Copyright Jessie Mihalik. All rights reserved. Coming early 2022 from Harper Voyager.