Big Pete and the Swede. Two miners, made rich by their excavation of the asteroid belt. Maggie, Dolores and Aramintha. Three women, making a living in the Viridian System any way they can, and mostly with miners. It’s a long way from anywhere, and especially from the domineering Imperium and their foes, the Federation.
Our miners have secret destinies, secret from each other, and even themselves. So who’s leaving the strange messages that lead the five of them to a planet with an oracle?
Kidnap, archaeology, imperial politics, and a chase from the centre of the galaxy to its very extremes… and five pieces of a legendary weapon scattered around the galaxy.
Targeted Age Group:: 16+, although it is aimed at adults, not YA
Heat/Violence Level: Heat Level 4 – R Rated
What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
Fascination with a subject does not always lead to wanting to write about it. I can't remember why these two characters and the Viridian System came to me, but I know they grew out of a series of flash fiction pieces. As always with me, the characters drive the story, and these five just wouldn't lie down (well… not on paper, and what they do in private is their own business – mostly).
How Did You Come up With Your Characters?
My original idea for the men came from some guys I knew at college. They are not much like them in personality, but they do have some physical characteristics in common. Someone once asked me if I thought they'd mind being the basis for these characters. I replied I thought they'd be flattered!
My ideas for the women came completely from themselves.
“Duel! Duel!” The chant was taken up by enthusiastic miners who knew all about Pete’s speciality.
Pete reluctantly got to his feet. “I choose arm-wrestling.”
The Grappler roared with laughter, rolled up his sleeves, flexing his biceps in Pete’s face, which involved stooping, since he was a good twenty cents taller than Pete. Then he pushed a guy off his chair at a centre table and yelled at Pete to sit.
Pete stopped for another sip of his beer, wiped his moustache, and took his seat opposite.
“Best of three?”
“Nah—is for sissies! One out, all out!” roared the Grappler.
Pete shrugged and put his elbow on the table. The Grappler raised both arms, stretched, roared a war cry akin to a strangled ox, spat on his hands, rubbed them together, and spat on the floor for good measure. Lars passed Pete a handcloth.
“Wha?” The Grappler looked confused.
“More hygienic,” Pete explained.
“Bah!” He grabbed Pete’s hand, accepting the cloth, dropped his elbow to the surface and squeezed.
Pete squeezed back, arm rigid and ready.
The Grappler strained to push his arm over.
Pete pulled some faces for show, but although his shoulder muscles swelled with the additional work, his demeanour remained relaxed.
A circulatory vessel in the approximate location of the Grappler’s temple started to throb. Beads of sweat exuded from his nose pores. He grabbed the edge of the table with his other hand. The onlookers roared their disapproval and he took it away again. He started to move Pete’s hand across, and smiled. “Hah! Not so easy now, eh?”
Pete watched his hand as it moved into the losing sector. Steadily, slowly, it sank to thirty degrees from the table. Bets were being laid and taken against him. Lars put his head down to Pete’s. “Make sure you win, partner, I’ve got money on you.”
“How long do you need to take some more?”
Lars shrugged. Pete’s hand sank lower. The Grappler’s eyes were bulging. Pete wondered if he had red blood or some other colour.
The barman called over: “Hey, guys, hurry up will you, it’s nearly midnight.”
“Oh right,” said Pete, calmly, his hand less than three inches above the tabletop. He snapped the Grappler’s arm across to his own winning side, with an audible slap on the table, and stood up. “I win, I think.”
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