Fiction, Fiction (Excerpts)

[Excerpt] The Space Job

So… it’s not a full story, and there’s no guarantee that this is the start I’ll be sticking with, but enjoy the first couple paragraphs of a new Tanner and Miranda story!


“Tanner,” I said, “you’re not nervous, are you?” The corner of my mouth twisted up in what could best be described as a wicked grin.

“I’ll be fine.” My brother cast a look in my general direction that was probably meant to chasten me. It didn’t work. “How long until orbit?”

“Orbit? Just a couple minutes. But it’ll be an hour or so before we rendezvous with the ship.”

He just grunted in response.

The ship in question was a derelict that had shown up above Verdant a couple days before. At least, everyone assumed it was a derelict, given that the scans we’d managed had shown minimal power and no one had responded to any of the messages sent on all the common frequencies. It was the sort of thing that would probably end up being a non-event, but was still just strange enough that it merited a closer look. And seeing as Tarj and all the other Rangers had their hands as full as always with things on the surface, that left it up to a couple of freelancers like us.

Which was how my brother and I ended up sitting across from each other in the passenger compartment of a skylark-class shuttle, strapped in and buckled up while a woman named Amanda Vasquez flew us up to orbit. Our gear was all secured as well, though in a smaller pile than usual. You packed different for a quick trip into vacuum than you did for a week in the Badlands.

I, for one, was looking forward to the change of pace. Tanner was somewhat less enthusiastic, as evidenced by the greenish hue his whole face took on every time we hit a little bit of turbulence.

“It’ll be better once we break out of atmo,” I said, trying to look and sound as sympathetic as I felt. “I promise.”

He spared a glance at me and forced his grip to loosen enough on his safety restraint that his knuckles went from corpse-white to panic-pale. “I know. I’m okay. I’d just forgotten how much I hated ever leaving dirt.”