Well I told you anything can happen. Straker comes back to consciousness and finally meets Sophia in the “flesh”. She’s not at all what he expected, but she is his friend and together they start to find a way for Straker to make his way back to the Allgood. Straker also gets some disturbing information about his father that changes his life.
Straker gets chased deep into the center of the asteroid by a killer drone as he’s rapidly running out of oxygen. Then he encounters a hideous monster that somehow manages to live in the airless cave and desires to eat Straker. Things just get worse and worse until–and this is a little embarrassing–Straker dies. Yea, he dies. Oops. I still have several chapters to go but this definitely cuts the story short, so what should I do with the rest of the chapters: Recipes? A pictorial survey of types and causes of skin rashes? Oh well, I’ll think of something. After all, as I’ve said before, it’s a novel so anything can happen.
Turns out the crew of the other ship is not interested in mining. The men and women of the Allgood are attacked and Straker runs for his life, not knowing what else to do. But he’s on borrowed time: he only has a little oxygen. Plus he’s being hunted by a flying robot. Things are looking grim. Before he suffocates or is killed by the drone, Straker has to come up with a plan to get back to his ship, ambush the bad guys, and take control of the situation.
I’ve got the complete book out there now as an Amazon Kindle book, check it out if you get a chance…it’s only 3 bucks! Here’s the URL to the book: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B01IQLYMR6. What I found with Kindle publishing is that once you’re done with your book, you’re not done. Formating the text to work in the Kindle hardware entails (in my case) writing directly in HTML, which I’ve done before but it’s been a long time.
In Chapter 15, Sophia has become a regular magpie, talking to Straker constantly now, but things get hairy on the asteroid. The crew has been working around the clock while the big machines dig up the ore. They’re getting close to the end of their time window on Hrothgar and their cargo holds are almost full, when wouldn’t you know it, another ship shows up. And it doesn’t look like it was built for mining.
The Kindle book is almost ready, and we have the cover art created by my son Joe. I’ve re-arranged the menus on the website to better accommodate all the chapters–the single menu was getting too long to manage. In Chapter 14, Straker and the crew land on the asteroid Hrothgar, and by ‘land’ I mean ‘blast harpoons into the rock to hold them the heck down.’ Asteroids don’t have much gravity, so the idea is to borrow techniques from fields such as mountain climbing and construction to make mining possible. After they land, the crew sets up the mining apparatus and begins working around the clock to get as much material off of the asteroid as possible before their window closes. Louis, having been shot down in his romantic advances towards Katya, is acting stranger than ever, and Straker is worried that he may be dangerous. The mysterious female hacker, now calling herself Sophia, gives Straker a stern warning about the dangers of Hrothgar. Sophia seems to know a lot about the asteroid and has been accurate up to now.
The reconnaissance drone has finally arrived at Hrothgar and the Allgood is not far behind. The telemetry coming back from the drone shows some curious features on the asteroid, but the captain moves ahead with plans to exploit Hrothgar’s incredible resources. Louis makes his big try for Katya’s affections and gets shot down, and Straker learns that Shacktown is in serious financial trouble. He also gets up close and personal with the Allgood’s water reclamation system, which is the nastiest job he’s had so far.
Don’t have any art to share this time; been busy preparing the Kindle book, and we’re working hard on the cover art. I’m changing the title to “Love and Other Metals”, since there are multiple books with the title “Dust” already for sale on Amazon.
In Chapter 12, the Allgood is closing in on the asteroid Hrothgar. They launch their reconnaissance drone to send back close-up pictures and take samples. Straker undergoes training as the tension between Louis and Katya thickens. Straker gives Louis some advice on how to get Katya’s attention–advice that is way out of Louis’s comfort zone. The conversations with the mysterious hacker get a lot more personal, and Straker finally learns her name.
The graphic for this post is the symbol engraved on Straker’s bracelet, originally presented to his father in celebration of his role in the first successful asteroid mining mission.
In Chapter 11, Straker learns more about the private heartache of the Doctors Kapoor and their dying daughter, Alia. He also finds out much more about the mysterious entity that’s been communicating with the Allgood and hacking the servers back in Shacktown. Although he still doesn’t know what or who it is, things take a surprising turn down an even stranger path. Straker also learns a little more about Louis and just how deep his jock ways go.
Hope you’re all enjoying the chapters! I’m having fun posting them.
I’ve been a little under the weather this week, so I neglected to post on Thursday. I’m making up for it by posting two chapters this time, while working on the complete book for Kindle.
On the way to asteroid Hrothgar, the Allgood experiences a micro-meteoroid storm, which does some serious damage to the spacecraft. This could be the end for Straker and the rest of the crew! Straker does what he can to help with repairs with mixed results.
That strange voice
In Chapter 8, Straker is hailed by a strange voice. Could be trouble! Straker also has to send updated information to ProvGov people and in the process puts himself in a sticky situation.