A sharp crack sounded followed by a thin vertical beam of light that materialized in the center of the bridge. The beam of light widened and a human figure stepped through. Sparks exploded from the thin beam in a chorus of electric crackles before it disappeared. Wisps of smoke ascended around a skinny, teenage boy in a silver jump suit. Mousy blonde hair draped over his face like an animal emerging from a pool. The boy stood there shivering for a moment, hugging at his chest for warmth and looking wide-eyed at the ship. His nervous eyes darted about and then froze on me. I drew my trusty Demolecularizing Termination Energy Ray (DEMOTER for short) and leveled it at his head.
“Don’t shoot! I mean no harm!” The young boy threw up his arms.
“Who are you?” I made sure my voice was extra gravelly. I had to make up for the pants.
“N-Nelvan Flink. I’m an apprentice time traveler.”
I lowered the DEMOTER and my shoulders slouched. I might as well have found a lost puppy.
I looked over at Blix, who seemed amused.
“Still convinced I don’t have bad luck?” I said.
“You may indeed have a point.”
“This isn’t Stonehenge. Where am I?” Involuntary twitching seemed to emanate from all areas of his thin frame. It wasn’t pleasant to watch. I hoped for his sake it was the after effects of time travel and not a normal condition.
“You’re on my ship and I ain’t happy about it,” I said.
His eyes settled on Blix and he let out a small gasp. “Whoa. Is that … A lizard-man?”
“I am a Vythian.” Blix assumed a regal stance as if offended. “Reptilian traits certainly, but far different from either lizard or human.”
Nelvan gave an uncertain nod. “Oh … Okay.”
Suddenly a loud siren filled the air, and a thin band of red light pulsated from a shallow cavity that ran along the circular walls of the bridge.
“It’s a little late, computer,” I said. “Our time traveling stowaway got here about thirty freems ago. How ’bout a little advance warning next time?”
Most of the console lights in the bridge turned red. “First off, I’m not equipped to detect space-time rift displacements. Though, I might be able to if you’d buy me some nice technology enhancements once in awhile—”
“Okay, never mind, I—”
“—I’ve been graciously flying you around with the same outdated electronics, while my contemporaries are always bragging about their flashy upgrades—”
“Computer, I got it, listen—”
“—And talking about how their captains take them to nice spaceports and—”
“Iris!” I barked. I had a good bark. It generally made people stop and listen.
The computer sniffed. “That tone is uncalled for.”
“Turn off that blasted alarm.”
“Fine, but I should inform you that the alarm is sounding for a second intruder that transported aboard the maintenance deck eight point three freems ago.”
“What? Details, now!”
Title: Space Drifters
Author: Paul Regnier
Genre: Science Fiction
Captain Starcrost is not having the carefree, adventurous life of a star pilot promised in all the space academy brochures. He’s broke, his star freighter is in dire need of repair, and there’s a bounty on his head. His desperation has led to a foolhardy quest to find a fabled treasure that brings good fortune to the wearer, the Emerald Enigma.
Every captain needs a trusty starship and a crack team of crew members by their side. Unfortunately, the bitter pill of reality has brought him Iris, a ship computer with passive aggressive resistance to his commands; Blix, a hulking, copper-scaled, lizard man with an aversion to battle; Nelvan, a time-traveling teen from the past, oblivious to this new future; and Jasette, a beautiful but deadly bounty hunter looking to take over the ship.
Enter a charismatic and clever nemesis named Hamilton Von Drone, whose dark past has already intertwined with our misfortunate captain and left a painful scar. To complicate matters, as every good nemesis must by their evil nature do, Hamilton is employing his vast wealth on the very same quest for the Emerald Enigma.
Paul Regnier is a technology junkie and web designer with a fascination for all things futuristic. He has turned his childhood love of storytelling into a professional pursuit.
Paul lives in Orange County, CA with his wife and two children.
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