Find more from this author on:
What inspired you to write your book?
I got hooked on reading early in life, reading nearly everything I could get my hands on including the Encyclopedia Britannica. As well as being an avid reader I enjoyed bicycling, skateboarding, fishing, and building models and puzzles. As far back as I can remember, I loved anything to do with aircraft. I joined the USAF as an aircraft mechanic working on the F-4, T-38, F-117. and the F-16. A knee injury stopped me from working on aircraft. My knee couldn't support me on the odd angles and slick surfaces. While in the USAF I attended college. My second love was tormenting my English teacher. I found out she had a fear of death, then she was at my mercy. Anything she said not to do I did just to show her I could. Every essay or theme I wrote dealt with the topic of death, from the first-person perspective of a person undergoing an autopsy, being buried alive, and rising from the grave. She was glad when I graduated. Some authors who inspired me are Robert Heinlein, Harry Harrison, Alan Dean Foster, Piers Anthony, and much more.
Here is a short sample from the book:
"Sorry, we are new to the gathering. This is our first time here."
"Be sure not to waste your credits the on the first day. The second day is when they have the best merchandise. That is when it is best to buy."
"Thank you, for your advice."
We left heading to our hotel suite. Halfway back Persephone stopped and sat on the floor. She refused to walk any further. There was no public transportation in this sector. I picked her up and carried her piggyback the rest of the way back to the hotel. I had to endure the stares we got until we were safely inside of the hotel.
Once in our room, Persephone laid on the bed. She assured me that no one could eavesdrop on us. I ranted about how much I hated slaver traders while massaging her feet. Imprisoning and selling a person into slavery to pay for a crime he was guilty of, I could understand. I had done it myself and would do so again. To imprison and sell an innocent person was intolerable. Any society that allowed innocent people to become slaves needed to be punished or destroyed. I only had three days to figure out a way to do it.
I joined Persephone in bed. I felt better after my rant. Being together with her would make me feel even better. I held her to me and kissed her.
"Egad Demeter is right. The two of you are worse than sheep. Don't the two of you have any decency?" Helios asked.
"It is you who are in need of better manners. It is considered polite to knock before entering ones bed chambers."
"What and miss what comes next?"
"I am absolutely certain that you have had your share of mortal women, like the other gods."
"Not in recent times. It has been thousands of years since I have last had the pleasure."
"Why have you picked this time to disturb us?"
"I have come bearing a message for you and Nathaniel."
"Why not Hermes? He is the messenger."
"Even the son of Zeus cannot be trusted with what I know. Hephaestus, Athena, and Perses are working together to assemble what is needed. It will be ready in two days."
"What is this thing?"
"I cannot say. It is forbidden. Zeus has granted his permission for its use, this one time only. Both of you will know what it is and how it must be used when the time is right." Helios vanished leaving the two of us alone.
"Mother must stop her gossiping about us!"
"So saith the goddess of gossip herself!" Helios's voice thundered.
"You do gossip a lot."
Persephone turned away from me. It was going to be a lonely night. One of these days I would learn to keep my mouth shut.
The promenade was crowded. Every seat was filled, including our reserved seats, several people were left standing. "Excuse me, The two of you are in our seats." They didn't just ignore me, they laughed. Their laughter didn't last long. Their heads fell into their laps while I was fastening my energy sword back onto my belt.
"How disgusting," Persephone waved her hands and the bodies, and the blood vanished. Our seats were now vacated as well as several of the adjoining chairs. We took our seats and waited for the show to begin.
The first slaves auctioned were a mix of human, humanoid, reptilian, arachnid, insectoid, and other exotic species. They were a mix of males, females, and other sexes. Some were willing and danced to music to entice the buyers. Others were less willing, brought out in chains and control collars. They were all naked. Their purpose easy to guess. They would either be used as beading stock or as sex slaves. It was even more humiliating for the males than the females. Assistants handled their genitals to insure they were properly shown.
It made me sick. I could afford to buy the whole lot but what would I do with them. I could only bring a few with me aboard my ship. The rest would be captured only to be sold again, making their sellers even richer. All of the people in the audience wouldn't be happy with me. They spent good money to have a chance of buying prime merchandise to resell or keep for themselves. I would be wasting their time and credits.
Near evening most of the slaves were young men. They were still a mix of human, humanoid, reptilian, arachnid, and insectoid species but with fewer exotic aliens. These slaves were dressed in loincloths or their equivalent garment. All wore chains, leg irons, and control collars. These slaves were clearly to be used for labor. They were young, vigorous, and would grow in strength with hard work.
I was about ready to leave when the four people we saw captured last night were led onto the stage. Their clothes were stripped away from their bodies revealing fresh bruises and burns. The auction began. I retook my seat and placed a bid, "400 credits for the lot." It was a low bid, probably half of what they were worth as untrained slaves.
500 credits were bid against me. Then 600, 700, 800, then 1000 credits. The crowd let out an aah! The price bid was well over their value, and the people were still bidding. Fewer people bid, as the price went up, but they weren't ready to stop. I bid 1500 credits. Silence filled the audience. I was countered with 1600, then 1700. I made a final bid of 2000 credits to end the bidding. There were no other offers.
I paid the auctioneer and was handed the controller for the slaves. Persephone and I left the auction with our slaves in tow. They followed us obediently, not wanting to receive another beating or feel the shock from their collars, at the hands of their new masters.
"What are we going to do with them? We can't just let them go free."
I didn't know. I hadn't thought that far ahead. I just couldn't stand by and let another person mistreat these people. They had been through enough. Buying them was my way of balancing the books a little for some of the things I had done in my past.
"For now, they need a decent meal, clothing, and a place to rest and heal."
"We can't bring them back to the hotel with us."
Persephone was right, but there was a place we could bring them where they couldn't cause any trouble, our ship. It was larger on the inside, than the outside. It had a replicator for food, a shower, toilet, and bunks.
"We will take them to our ship. They can stay in there for now."
We brought them to our Medusa fighter. I gave each of the people an injection of nanites to help speed their recovery. Persephone prepared a banquet of pancakes for all of us. They didn't mind. They were hungry, and it was probably the first meal they had in days. After everyone had their fill, I removed their chains and collars putting them in the ships recycler. I gave them each a set of coveralls that I found in the ships lockers. I had them use the shower before Persephone, and I left, locking them in the ship.
My pocket was full of credits again, and we happily made our way back to the hotel room. Persephone was in a good mood, and I was going to take advantage of it.
I turned to look over my shoulder. It wasn't Demeter this time. It was a goddess that I had never seen before. Our bedroom was turning into a gathering place for all of the gods and goddesses. It was becoming difficult to spend any quality time alone with Persephone.
"Aunt Hestia, what brings you here to our chambers?"
"Demeter is right, the two of you are worse than goats. Even the satyrs do not fornicate so often. Have the two of you been cursed by Eros?"
"He has not granted us his favor. It is becoming rare that Nathaniel and I have a chance to lay with each other. It would seem that we are cursed to be visited every time we try."
"Forgive my intrusion. I did not mean to disturb your coupling together. I came to give thanks for helping those people today. It was a noble act deserving reward."
"Thank you, aunt Hestia."
"You are welcome, child." She vanished. We were alone again, but the mood was ruined. We were cursed! I covered us with our blanket and slept.
The two of us got a late start the next morning. We both had a restless night and were slow to rise. It was a good thing that the auction didn't start until noon. Today was the day we would find out what it was that we were to do to the people gathered here to buy and sell slaves. We made it to our seats minutes before the auction was scheduled to resume. Our seats were vacant today.
The auctioneer started with sex slaves and breeding stock. The advise we got about waiting for today was good. The slaves were even more beautiful and exotic than yesterdays. The audience went wild bidding for this batch of slaves. I was tempted to purchase some for my own pleasure.
Ares approached us. He couldn't be seen by any of the people at the gathering except us. The auction had hardly started, and it was already time to leave. He gave us a nod and sat in our vacant seats to watch the show.
Persephone and I hurried to our ship. Hanging from the centerline weapons station was a missile nearly as long as the ship. It was silver, polished to a mirror gloss. I had never seen the weapon before, but I recognized it immediately.
"Oh my god!"
Persephone recognized the weapon too and knew what its intended use was. It was a Nova Missile. It got its name for what it did. The missile would cause a chain reaction in the sun that would cause it to explode, extinguishing all life in the solar system. Its explosion would be visible for hundreds of light years. The Nova Missile would wipe out billions of lives. I wasn't sure I could do it.
We boarded the ship and were given clearance to launch. The shuttle bay depressurized and its door opened for us. Our passengers sat in the rear of the shuttle unaware of what was going to happen. The Medusa's engines started, and we launched, heading towards the sun.
We had to fly 120,000,000 miles to come within range of the missile. That left me with just 20 minutes to make a decision. After we launched the missile, we would have just two hours before the sun would go nova. We would have to fly fast. The fleet was three hours away, even longer when we approached the sun. It was a suicide mission, immortal or not we would not survive.
"It isn't," Perses said from behind me. "Your time will be close, but you can make it. Zeus would not willingly endanger his daughter."
"Yes he would," Persephone argued. "I have returned from the dead and will most likely do so again. Nathaniel only has one life. It is nearly as long as ours, but I am not sure he could be returned from the dead. Even if he can be returned, Hades would not willingly let him go."
"You need not worry. We have faith in the two of you. If you need help in deciding what to do, talk to your passengers."
I did just that. It took a little persuading, in the end, they admitted that they were runaway slaves. That didn't bother me. What did was how they became slaves. They were innocent of any crimes. They were captured and enslaved because they were too weak to defend themselves. The women told me of the horrors of having to submit to their masters pleasure, having sex with them and their friends. The men had even worse tales to tell of the horrors they experienced in the mines. They begged for death on several occasions, and were denied. The two men were lucky to escape by faking their own death.
We were in range. I had to make a decision now. Every minute I delayed made it less likely we would be able to make it back. I armed the missile. Persephone entered her consent to fire code. "Lord of Creation forgive me." I fired the missile and turned to the fleet. Persephone contacted Red, "Set course for Iota Horologii. The fleet must enter hyperspace in 84 minutes whether we make it there or not. The sun is about to go Nova."
"What did you and Nathaniel do this time?"
Persephone didn't answer. She shut off our comms. We were going to have to fly faster than I thought was possible, even for gods and these ships. I concentrated on the ship needing to reach the fleet in time. I didn't even think of teleporting, to do so we would have to leave the people aboard the ship to die. I urged the ship to pour every bit of power into the engines.
The AI wouldn't let the ship do it. It held back enough power for life support, artificial gravity, shields, and the inertia dampers. Still, the ship accelerated up to .8c. We were near light speed. We were traveling at 148,000 miles per second. At this speed collision with even the smallest particle would destroy the ship. If I slowed down, even for a minute, the supernova would kill us.
We were closing the gap between us and the fleet. I wasn't sure they could track our ship at this speed. "Persephone, if there is a god that the gods pray to, now would be a good time."
"There is but one. You have invoked him twice. He is simply known as the Father of Creation. It is he that created the titans before us. He has never answered our prayers."
I looked at the ship's Sensor Display Unit (SDU). The sun had already gone nova. The expanding energy wave was catching up to us, moving as fast or faster than the speed of light. We were slightly closer than halfway to the fleet. I urged the ship to go faster. It was at its limit. We were moving twice as fast as our ships could. It wasn't fast enough. We weren't going to make it.
I watched on our SDU as ship after ship from our fleet vanished, entering hyperspace. If we were just a little bit faster, we might have a chance. I was about to slow down and give up when I noticed that one ship didn't enter hyperspace. It changed course and was heading towards us at maximum speed."
"You're going to have to thank Nugget when we get back. He is giving us the extra time that we need."
"Like hell I am. Somehow this is all his fault. It is his way of getting back at me for lying about him having herpes. He is just saving us so he can get back at us."
I slowed down to land in the ships shuttle bay. We just passed through the forcefield when the Persephone entered hyperspace. That was cutting it close, we hadn't even landed yet.
Doc and Lauren met us at the ship. They had four new passengers to examine, treat, and find living quarters for. Persephone and I had something to celebrate. We were still alive. I teleported us to our quarters and called Jewel and Amber. Persephone invoked her mother. I hoped that Demeter didn't mind babysitting on such short notice.
The gods had best not disturb the four of us tonight, or they would find out how much we actually do resemble a herd of goats.