An excerpt from my unpublished novel.
It was a beautiful night out, you could almost see the sun from here, although it was just a small speck in the sky of Europa. Taking a deep breath of air, I decided to go inside my room since the cold was starting to get to me. As I walked back in from the balcony, I noticed the door to my hotel room had been left slightly ajar, as I walked over to close it, a woman pressed her body up against me, placing a blaster to my head as she did so. "Close the door and close your mouth," she whispered in my ear, almost forming a glove around my body as she continued to press as close against me as she could. Doing as she demanded, I slowly closed the door, my breaths coming in slow and even, as if I weren't alarmed by this intruder. "I don't know what you want," I spoke out silently, my voice breaking the silence that had engulfed them, "but you'll never get away with this." my voice didn't betray any nervousness, although almost every hair on my body stood on end. "Oh but I have," she whispered in my ear, her voice soft and soothing. She didn't say any thing else, there was no need. "You see Mr. Sharpe," a smile crept across her lips as I nearly jumped out o my skin while she spoke into my mind, "I'm here to try and save your life and the life of one of your dear friends." That admission in no way alleviated the sudden fear he felt. My pulse racing, I slowly turned around, moving my hands off to my sides so she wouldn't shoot me. "You have a funny way of showing that," I whispered to her, not bothering to point out the fact she was a psychic. Seeing her uniform did nothing to alleviate my concern. She wore the standard field operations outfit for the Office of Psychic and Telepathic Affairs. On it's most basic level, it was the governments way of controlling the evolving psychic abilities of the human race. On it's most complex level, it was an interstellar spy organization with dubious goals. It was several moments before I noticed she was waiting patiently for me to calm down. So far the only known one hundred percent effective block to someone tapping into your head was fear and panic and I currently had both in spades. When I finally did manage to calm myself down, she delivered the message in full. Soon after she bolted out the door and quickly disappeared into the depths of the hotel. I didn't bother to give chase or alert security. They wouldn't find anything they would be able to use.
By early next morning, 0500 Europa Standard Time, I had all but forgotten about my lovely but deadly intruder from the night before and the information she had imparted on me. I was more worried about my journey to the home world and what I had to do when I finally got there. Although I enjoy my current occupation, sometimes I just longed for the days when being the pilot of a small thrust ship was more profitable then it is now, when delivering important messages and cargo across the galaxy required a skilled crew and a reliable navigator to make the computations for jumping through hyperspace or to open up a wormhole without damaging either the ship or endangering a planet. Those days were long gone and I missed them sorely. Even though there were aspects of my chosen career that still were able to allow me to turn a small profit, the larger inter-planetary conglomerates still had an edge with larger, more efficient ships with larger cargo holds. There were other occupations that I was more then qualified for that were more lucrative, but I had never been one who enjoyed change too much, not that to say I don't enjoy this job as I do. Being born on a freighter near Alpha Centauri, I also don't have any special connection that my parents seemed to have had in regards to Terra. As far as I was concerned, I could never set foot on Terra again and die a happy man. There were only two things I truly cared about. My family, whom I saw infrequently due to my wife leaving me and taking the kids, and space. No, I liked my life just the way it was. Although I didn't know it at the time, destiny was conspiring against me to change all that.
Deciding that it would be safer to be in my ship than in the hotel, I promptly checked out, paid the surprisingly small bill and left the hotel behind, hopefully along with the events of the night before. With a spring in his step that belied my 50 years of age, I walked the ½ mile to the space port and entered my ship. First checking to see if any new messages had arrived since I touched down, seeing as how I rarely tell anyone when I leave the ship. Surprisingly, there was only one and it originated from Terra. I was intrigued to see the message contents but after last nights events, I felt it safer to make sure no one was listening either in person or via listening devices. Satisfied that I was alone and that there weren't any listening devices, I took one more precaution. Opening a channel to the Port Authority, I got clearance to take off and leave orbit. Lifting off 30 minutes after paying the docking fee, I finally felt I had the privacy I desired to listen to the message. Turning on his receiver, I proceeded to listen to the message. What I heard changed all I thought I had believed in. "According to our sources from the Terran government, a new space drive is being developed that can traverse the solar system in less then 7 hours at sub-light speeds. How they achieve this is unknown at this time but we will keep you updated as we learn more." This alone wasn't very surprising to me, although I wondered who sent the message, soon I realized that this wasn't the important part of the message as the voice continued.
The last part of the message shocked him the most. It was the mysterious woman from his room. "Mr. Sharpe, if you are watching this it is because we have already met. After this message is over, it will self-delete." Her voice was just as he remembered it, soft, yet it had a hard edge. I needed you to continue on your journey, as your help is needed by the Alliance. My name is Karen Wilde and I'm an operative, as you probably know by now, for the Office of Psychic and Telepathic Affairs. Believe it or not, we do indeed need your help." That shocked Daniel more then any new piece of gadgetry that the scientists can cook up. "We need your help in locating one John Vega, along with the T.S.S. O.S. Card. Their last reported position was along the galactic rim at the following co-ordinates," soon a piece of flimsy was spat out of the computer, denoting the location of the O.S. Card. Taking it in my h and, I continued to listen to the woman from last night. "You are the only one who knows John Vega well enough to find out what exactly it is he is doing or planning to do. That new drive you heard about is installed on the O.S. Card. At sub-light speeds it can traverse the Sol System in 6 and ½ hours. At FTL speeds, it's capable of crossing the galaxy in a matter of tens of years, possibly even quicker then that." I paused the message, finding that this was all too much to take in at once. For the most part, I couldn't understand why the OPTA wanted him instead of doing the job themselves. They were immensely more qualified with better access to financial resources then he could even begin to imagine. Just as perplexing, and probably more important, was what is it that John is up to. He's got to have a good reason. "The only reason we aren't taking care of this ourselves," replied Ms. Wilde, "is because we don't want the public to know that we are attempting to gain access to the half of the Milky Way that the Ancient One's have claimed as their private domain." My jaw hit the floor. We had barely lived through the last war we had with the Ancient Ones, back when the Inter-Planetary Alliance had first been formed. "All we ask of you, Mr. Sharpe, is that you stop Captain Vanguard and Mr. Vega. They do not know what they are dealing with," came her ominous warning. With that the message ended. When I went to retrieve it, I discovered it had deleted itself. The only evidence of the message was the flimsy I was now holding in my hand. At this moment, the only thing that I knew for sure at the moment was that I was going to complete my present job, delivering medication to Terra from Ganymede, and getting paid for the job.
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