I’ve been busy representing the Mystery Writers of America at the Pacific Northwest Writers Association conference here in Seattle this week, so I’ll have to be brief today. Here’s another excerpt from the upcoming “Dinosaur Wars: Blood On The Moon.” It’s the start of Chapter Two. Just in case last week’s look at Chapter One didn’t convince you there’s plenty of adventure in this story, this is a look at the beginning of Kit and Chase’s call to action, the event that kicks off their heroic journey to the moon.
Ah, the moon. What a great place for young lovers to visit. No wait. Young warriors?
Scene 2.1 Boarding the Questa
Two days later, Kit and Chase stood on the plains in front of Arran Kra, whose towers, pavilions and colonnades were gradually emerging from their encasement of sandstone under the ministrations of dozens of Kra excavation workers who piloted quahkas rigged with drilling and stonecutting attachments on their weapon arms. The two young adventurers were wearing form-fitting white flight suits with white gloves and boots. These suits had been hurriedly but accurately assembled for them by fabrication workers in Arran Kra, laboring in shops newly excavated from their sandstone entombment but already linked into the city’s growing power grid and supplied with materials such as vacuum-resistant fabrics, latex pressure membranes and synthetic leathers suited to the purpose of spacesuit manufacture, among other uses.
In anticipation of their coming space flight, the pair were saying goodbye to Will Daniels and Zippy, who’d come along in Will’s Jeep to see them off. The dog looked concerned, sniffing at the unfamiliar white spacesuits and eyeing the spaceship, Questa, with some doubt.
The Questa, a Kra orbital transfer shuttle of glinting silver metal, stood on the plain with its many-angled form starkly lit and shadowed by the late morning sun. Four wide wing vanes projected from the back, delta-shaped for hyperspeed entry into earth’s atmosphere, while the blunt nose at the front gave the craft an overall appearance somewhere between a giant metallic badminton shuttlecock and a dart. On the upper portion of the blunt front end of the spacecraft were two slit-like pilot windows. Seated at one of these windows, Chase could see Haneek, Gar’s second in command among the Kra. Haneek waved a hello with a three-clawed hand and Chase returned the gesture.
Gar and Dr. Ogilvey were on hand and preparing to board the spaceship as well. Ogilvey looked comical in his white spacesuit, which fit a bit too snugly around his plump midsection. It would have been preferable if the Kra fabricators had left a skosh more waistline and hadn’t fit his thin legs so tightly, nor his bony knees. His scruffy gray beard seemed incongruous as well, overhanging the suit’s smooth white collar. Nevertheless he wore a jovial grin on his slightly buck-toothed mouth, and a smiling squint in his spectacle-magnified eyes. He’d been babbling animatedly with Gar in a mixture of Kranaga and English, and now he turned with enthusiasm to Kit and Chase.
“Saurgon has offered to receive us in a full, formal state visit.”
“I’m still not sure why we’re going at all,” replied Kit.
“Because we are Gar’s friends and allies among humans. Saurgon has invited us as an honor, but don’t let that go to your head. He also invited the President of the United States and a whole host of other human world leaders, as well as his old adversaries General Davis and the newly-promoted General Suarez, not to mention those two scientists from JPL—all of whom have declined his offer. So we’re the best guests of honor he could get.”
“Why take any humans at all?”
“You see, my dear,” Ogilvey explained to her, “in Kra society, victors of great battles are honored and always included in peace negotiations. You two tipped the balance of the war when you exploded the arms depot under Sandstone Mountain. Chase helped Gar shoot down the nuclear bomber jet when humans tried to destroy Arran Kra. There are plenty of Kra on both sides of the peace or war issue who see the two of you as humankind’s greatest warriors.”
“Warriors,” Kit repeated sarcastically. “Just what I always wanted to be.”