A free look at Star Dancer from author Dell Sweet

STAR DANCER

Copyright 2017 Dell Sweet all rights reserved.

Cover Art © Copyright 2017 Dell Sweet

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This is a work of fiction. Any names, characters, places or incidents depicted are products of the author’s imagination. Any resemblance to actual living person’s places, situations or events is purely coincidental.

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Star Dancer

Bridge Bubble

Michael Watson

The alarm warning had come on taking him completely by surprise. The low oxygen alarm had not gone off at any time in the past that he could recall. He stared, his thoughts spinning freely, he had already begun to feel the effects of oxygen deprivation before he got the emergency mask on and snugged it down. A rush of oxygen awakened his thoughts that had begun stumbling over one another. A quick check of the alarm interface showed the amount of CO2 in the air and before the alarm came in from three decks down he had the fresh air systems on, purging the carbon monoxide from the system. A few seconds of searching found the highest concentration and he closed and sealed the bulkhead adjoining that space to cut off the flow. Baylor was barking at him over the intercom, he reached forward; plugged into the com system routing it to his mask and answered.

“All good… At least with me: Petra is in quarters and may have been affected. What is the situation?”

“Uh, the situation seems to be a half baked escape attempt. There is going to be an inquiry about this one I think. A Fed crew member diverted the carbon monoxide from the auxiliary lighting generator test mechanism. He then freed an inmate thinking we were all out; never got the inmate anywhere out of containment… Two of my guys nabbed them both… The bad guy tried a shootout with some of my guys… Had an old style taser pistol. He’s done up. Inmate is being locked down in solitary. Going to have some sickness all around; I’m missing six crew members… Let me know about your navigator, Mike. Make sure you get her on oxygen, purge that CO2 as fast as possible.”

Mike took a deep breath, turned from the console, grabbed another mask and stood slowly. He pulled a radio unit from a clip on the console: Another thing he had never done in all his years on Star Dancer. The radio put the bridge and all conversations on a private channel: Funneled away from the main communications trunk; strictly meant for emergency situations. He keyed the side button. “Baylor… On the move, secure com,” he headed for Petra’s quarters.

The door was unlocked and so there was no need for an override. Petra had obviously tried to fight it when she realized what was happening. She was collapsed on the floor near her rack. Mike bent and checked her pulse: Strong and steady. He gathered her into his arms, settled her onto the rack and fitted the mask over her face. He switched on the oxygen, tightened the straps on the mask and then smoothed Petra’s hair away from her forehead.

“Hey,” he tapped her cheeks lightly with an open palm. “Come on, Pet come on.” Her took one hand between the two of his and rubbed it briskly. He felt her hand close loosely on one of his fingers and then go limp once more.

“Come on, Petra come on.” He patted her face again. “Wake up, Pet come on.”

She mumbled and her eyes crept open slowly. They were unfocused for a second, seeming to search around the room: They slowly settled on his face. “Pet?” She asked.

“What?” Mike asked.

“You called me Pet… Pet, you said Pet.” Petra said. She struggled to her elbows and immediately grabbed her head. “Oh my God that hurts.”

Mike grinned. “You’re back.”

“I’m back… What the hell was that? What happened?”

“I don’t know. Some crew member on the Fed side tried to break a guy out of the cellblock on three. Shot some carbon monoxide into our fresh air.” He rose; walked to a wall cabinet with a red cross stenciled on it and opened it. He withdrew a small bottle, picked up a disposable cup and filled it at her sink and then returned. “Take this, it will help.”

Petra eyed the bottle and then twisted off the cap. She shook out two tablets, added two more, pushed the mask aside and downed them with the water. The water itself seemed to knock the headache back instantly to where it was much easier to handle.

“Hundreds of years and we still rely on aspirin,” Mike said. His voice was muffled slightly by the mask. He jabbed one finger at his wrist implant. “Oxygen levels coming up… A few more minutes and it will be safe to breath.”

Petra tried a slight smile on her face and then stretched her mouth and rubbed the muscles in her face. “Feels frozen. How can something like that happen?”

“It isn’t supposed to be able to happen,” Mike said. “I’m thinking that every intra cruiser is going to be refitted after this. It seems like all that this guy had to do was dump carbon monoxide into the air system and it poisoned the air ship wide. That makes sense in a way, it is all connected, but damn that is so stupid. I can’t believe I never thought of it myself.”

“How did you manage to not get caught by it: You and Baylor too, right?”

“Bridge alarm,” Mike laughed aloud. “Ironic that it can tell you there is a leak or a contaminant in the air yet it can’t do anything about it.” He shook his head. “That is how. I was already feeling it by the time the alarm sounded and I realized it was a real thing. Almost didn’t make it.” He realized suddenly that he was sitting on her rack, her legs were pressed against one side of one of his own legs and his upper body was still leaned forward over her. He moved away, realized there was nowhere to move too and started to rise. Her hand came up; closed around his forearm.

“Don’t,” Petra said. He settled back down, feeling the warmth of her legs as they came to rest against the length of his thigh once more. Her eyes stayed on his own as he settled his weight back onto the bed.

“Okay,” Mike agreed.

“I’m just a little afraid… Sick too…”

“I can get something for the sickness,” Mike said. He made to stand once more and Petra increased the pressure on his forearm. Her grip was firm, heavy, compelling, he settled down more fully onto the bed.

“You called me Pet…” Her voice was low, husky. She smiled.

“I…” He nodded, considered his words, started to speak and the radio he had clipped to his belt interrupted him.

“Michael, I’m on my way up to you in the el… Levels look good down here. No serious complications with my crew…” Static spit and crackled. “How’s your navigator, Stanovich?”
Mike smiled at Petra and pulled the radio from his belt.

“Good… She’s a little sick, I think she’ll be okay… How’s a thing like this happen, Baylor?”

“On my way to you on the el… I have the answers with me. The incident is over, the ship is secure. The inmate is locked down in solitary.” The radio spit static and then cleared to a low hum.

“I think the headache is lifting.” Petra said. She shifted and one breast pushed firmly against the inside of his forearm.

”Good,” Mike agreed. He had sat back quickly, not wanting Petra to get the wrong idea. His face reddened and he turned away as he stood. Petra stared at him from the rack, her eyes wide as he turned back to her.

“Help me?” She asked.

He looked at her stupidly for a moment until she waggled the fingers of one hand. He thrust his own hand forward and helped her to her feet.

“Sorry, I can be an idiot sometimes,” Mike told her. Her body came up against his own as she made her feet, making him aware that he was in her sleeping quarters and that the space was very small.

She smiled. “I should go with you.”

“You should? … Of course you should… Yes… Baylor will be up,” Mike said as he turned and walked out into the narrow hallway. He caught Petra’s eyes once more as he turned and saw confusion there. Great, he thought. Great.



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Turkeys trying to eat my Fred cat

Posted by Dell 08-05-17 3:21 A.M.

Turkeys trying to eat my Fred cat.

I know it sounds funny but it isn’t. As you probably didn’t know we’re out here in the boondocks, well, the lesser boondocks, okay, the suburbs of the boondocks. There are some woods here, okay? The turkeys live in the woods, and that’s fine. That’s fine because Fred lives in the house. No problem, except Fred was converted from a do whatever she wanted to cat to a live in the house cat and that means that sometimes Fred gets the urge to go out into the wilds of the back yard and look around. That brings Fred into conflict with the turkeys.

When Fred and I were just getting to know each other she decided to impress me. So, every day for about three weeks Fred would bring me a semi dead something. Bird, Squirrel, mouse, you get the idea. Then Fred decided to teach me to hunt, at least I think that was the intention. Fred probably thought I was a soft cat. Hanging out in the house all day, never hunting in the backyard, and I suppose Fred figured that if she had to be seen with me that she should make me a little more presentable. So, she went from dead and semi dead to live gifts. In other words down the Chimney Fred would come with a live bird, squirrel, mouse, bring it right to my desk, look at me, probably thinking. … “Okay, Stupid. I’m gonna let this go and you’re going to catch it. I can’t keep feeding you. You have to learn to hunt” … or something like that. And then, Surprise! Fred let the bird, squirrel, mouse go.

Oh what fun, what joy, tearing around the house trying to catch the bird, squirrel, mouse. I’m not making this up, so I found it amusing when Fred began her turkey troubles. Seemed like pay back to me, like the little birds had called up their bigger cousins.

The turkeys believe the back yard and the woods are theirs. These are not little Turkeys these are huge full grown turkeys. Big, and not like the turkeys at the A&P. These suckers still got heads, beady eyes, wings that can fly, feathers, the whole nine yards.

Have you ever seen twenty five or thirty pounds of bird fly? The whirring of their wings sounds unreal. Heavy. Like a chopper is about to land. The first time I heard it I thought it was a helicopter far away. Nope, four huge turkeys dropping out of the sky to land next to the window and eat the bread Mom put out. I jumped about three feet straight up in the air when I saw them.

So, I’m not really sure what started it with Fred and the turkeys. One day they just decided they were going to eat Fred. He probably looked a lot better than the bread, so Mom opens the door, Fred walks out leisurely, like he owns the yard, like he has all day, and then WHIRRRRRR, thirty pound birds dropping from the sky and Fred ran for the Shed.

Mom had shut the door but she yanked it open and sprang into action. Funny? Mom is… Let’s say older and leave it at that… but she is no slouch, and no one eats her cats without her permission. Broom in hand Mom went after the turkeys who pretty much had Fred cornered at the edge of the house, he couldn’t get to the shed and couldn’t get back to the house.

Mom is about this high. (I was holding my hand up, sorry you couldn’t see it, but I am no fool). Do not tell a woman’s true age, and don’t make remarks about her height or lack thereof. Let me just say this; If the turkeys had thought to stand on one another shoulders they may have been able to hold her off, snatch up Fred, and make their getaway. But they didn’t and they could not stand against the broom wielding woman who is my Mom.

I guess the turkeys just looked at it like shopping…

“Heeeey, Billllly, is that a cat down there?” whirrrrrrrrrrr

“Yup. Looks like it Brian.” whirrrrrrrrrr

“I was just going for eggs and cheese, but cat would go good too…” whiiiiiirrrrrr

That was round one. I slept through it. The next day Mom put the bread out again. I said, “But, Mom. The turkeys tried to eat Fred!”

“Honey that was just because I didn’t put enough bread out there for them. We have this half loaf of wheat bread that’s gone bad.”

“We just got that two days ago!”

“Goes bad fast.”

You can’t argue with Mom. I looked at it like a turkey payoff. But she put the bread out and the turkeys didn’t show up. We both wondered about it for awhile but eventually the day went on and we forgot.

Fred get’s in and out on her own most of the time, right into the utility room, up the old chimney and under the roof eves and she’s out. But now that Fred is pregnant she prefers the door. Probably smart since she is about as wide as she is long now. So I let her out about an hour later. The door wasn’t even closed before I heard the whirring and the biggest damn birds I’ve ever seen that close up dropped from the sky. I was no help, I froze like a deer caught in the headlights. The only thing that helped was that I froze and left the door slightly open and Fred darted back in. The turkeys saw me, glared at Fred and then took off. I could have sworn the one turkey called Fred a bitch as he flew away. Gangsta turkeys these were.

I learned a few things though. First, turkeys do make Gobbling sounds. They sound like some fat guy sitting in the brush with a shotgun doing a bad turkey call. Exactly like that. In fact I’m pretty sure the fat guy did a better job than the Turkey did. Second, these turkeys are not kidding. The last two days in a row I’ve gone out and they’ve been camped out in the pines, thirty feet up, waiting for my Fred cat. Where’s the fat guy with the shotgun when you need him? He could probably call those turkeys right to him and BLAM!

Okay, so we have to be careful. We have no fat guy with a shotgun and the turkeys know it. I feel like I’m living in Australia surrounded by dingos and Olivia Newton John. And Fred is so pregnant she can’t run fast, so I have been resorting to turkey raids. I fling open the door run out and rush at the trees with the kitchen broom, but I nearly gave the old lady next door a heart attack and I just couldn’t stand to listen to the turkeys up there in the pines gobbling at me. It sounded like laughter… Anybody know a fat guy with a shotgun I could hire??? There’s a free turkey dinner in it! … Gobble, gobble, gobble….


Check out Star Dancer a new book from Dell Sweet…

Star Dancer #SciFi #iTunes Michael Watson is the captain of an inner galaxy cruiser who longs for deep space…

Star Dancer 

Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 61,250. Language: English. Published: June 6, 2017 by independAntwriters Publishing. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Space opera, Fiction » Science fiction » Utopias & dystopias
Star Dancer is an inner galaxy cruiser, transporting inmates and materials between the penal colonies on the Moon and Mars, as well as supplies and people to the bases scattered throughout the Solar System. Her captain, Michael Watson purchased Star Dancer right out of school, but the last few trips have left him longing for more adventure out in the wider expanses of space…

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/star-dancer/id1245409334?mt=11

Paperback: https://www.createspace.com/7235891