If we don’t stop destroying the planet and making wars, we have no future.
Read my latest treatise on war, December Radio, when it is published by A-Argus in January 2015:
Based on real events.
February 1945: despite the Allies turning the tide of war, the Nazi’s are almost ready to test their ultimate weapon off the coast of America. A weapon which could win them the War.
Two Dutch brothers are thrown into a chaotic world of spies, traitors and scientists when Arnaud is incarcerated in a concentration camp as a dissident and forced to work on the secret weapon project. Their mother begs his older brother, Carl, to find him and bring him home.
A fascist who loves only smart clothes, jazz and women, Carl disowns his brother. But after witnessing a murder, he is forced to hold a mirror up to himself.
Arnaud is desperate to stop the project. But he is dying, hanging on, hoping his brother will come…
The third book in the Ordo Lupus series, The Synchronicity Code, is out on 5 November. To celebrate this the Halloween classic, Ordo Lupus and the Temple Gate – Second Edition (the on with the original Secret Codes), will be only 99 cents on 30 October.
And don’t forget that with the release of The Synchronicity Code, you will have all the clues you need to win the $500 Prize offered with the free book Vampire -Find my Grave
We reached the street above the Street of the Salt Sellers and turned into it. Some way along it, Guillaume pointed to a small outcrop of rocks to the left.
“That courtyard. The entrance should be in there.”
Two Roman guards stood guard outside a heavy iron grill in a courtyard.
“Now what?” Hugo asked.
“I can deal with this easily,” I whispered. “Give me a few moments.”
Directly above the iron grill was a rock-face, perhaps thirty feet high but slightly to the nearside was a ledge only ten feet above the two guards. What was more, I could see an easy way to reach the ledge. Within minutes, I was in place and then leaped down on the nearest guard in dog form. I tore his throat out before he could react. The other guard had a one hand full of figs and the other raised to his mouth, He was too shocked to do anything but drop the figs and reach for his sword. I was upon him well before it left its sheath.
“No! No! No!” was his eloquent protest when my canines penetrated his neck. I transformed back to my usual self, my fangs still immersed in his warm blood. I tasted a sample before dropping him to the ground.
“Later!” I whispered. “It’s been a long time since I tasted the blood of Rome.”
I waved to the others and John’s keen eyes saw that the way was clear. Unfortunately, the guards kept no keys but a big heave with the hilt of a sword hilt broke the chain around the grill.
Every second man drew a torch, made from oil-soaked cloth wrapped around a short staff. They lit them to light our way. From a pouch, Guillaume drew out a tattered piece of parchment and checked his bearings in the flickering torchlight. Ahead of us the tunnel opened up. You could see where large, rectangular blocks of white limestone had been hewn from the cave’s walls, ceiling and floor, leaving an uneven surface like an old pavement.
“This way!” he announced, afterwards muttering, “If nothing has changed!”
He led us south, into a vast chamber perhaps 350 feet wide, and on into a series of low tunnels.
“What are we looking for,” John asked Guillaume. “Can I see the diagram?”
We huddled round as the knight held up the parchment.
I saw three diagrams and some text. From left to right, I saw: a snake wrapped around a staff underneath what looked like a twelve-pointed star around an eye; a crude depiction of six soldiers carrying a body wrapped in a sheet, with a crucifixion cross as background and a diagram showing a tunnel complex. Centrally placed, underneath the three diagrams was the single Hebrew word, ‘ישוע.’
So what do you think? Answers on a postcard please.
This week’s post will be brief. I have only just completed a big promo for Ordo Lupus and the Temple Gate. Sales were satisfying but now I need time to write. Whisper it: I have just started work on Ordo Lupus III. So:
DO NOT DISTURB!
The Devil’s Own Dice: FREE in Exchange for Review
Today is the last day you can download occult thriller The Devil’s Own Dice for free on (Link no longer available) in exchange for a review. Here is what some people are saying about it: “Amazing tale” “Richly satisfying” “Highly recommended” Make sure you make the most of this unique opportunity and grab a copy NOW!
Just a Brief Rant
A movie of Pudsey? Will they stop at nothing? I sometimes wonder if the puerile at the top of the BBC that oversaw Jimmy Saville’s reign aren’t now in charge of the UK movie industry!
It can’t be long before we get an adult semi-porno version of Captain Pugwash and then, who know, maybe even Andy Pandy, the Movie!
Meanwhile, they will ignore gems like The Aeronauts, UFO, Catweazle, The Crusader, The Flashing Blade and Robinson Crusoe. They will even manage to ignore my personal favourite, Captain Scarlet.
What’s your opinion?
The Jesus Monster entered into competition
I have entered an updated version of The Jesus Monster (one of a collection of short stories in Vampire: Beneficence into the Writers of the Future quarterly competition. Thanks to all who helped me prepare the manuscript and please keep your fingers crossed for me!
Two weeks left for this unique chance to get a free copy in exchange for a review of epic occult thriller Фѓↁо Lцрцѕ ІІ: ГЂэ ↁэvіl’ѕ Фши ↁісэ. Just go here, sign up and review: (link no longer available) Offer ends 9 July. Grab yours now.
“An Amazing Tale”
“The description of knights preparing and then engaging in a battle is the most realistic I have ever come across.”
Here is a unique chance to get a copy of Ordo Lupus II: The Devil’s Own Dice for FREE! All you have to do is click on the link below, click on the book, sign up for a free account and download the book. When you finish, writer a review. That’s all there is to it! This offer expires on 9 July.
There is a permanent page for Memories of the 1960s here.
This week: Books Available on Wattpad, Free Giveaway Honorary Cliff Robertson Documentary and Memories of the 1960s: Issue II
Books Available on Wattpad
Wattpad is fast becoming the book writers’ and readers’ social network. The website at www.wattpad.com has a nice, neat interface and in fact the whole approach is heavy on ‘simple.’ This allows you to start scribbling a story or building up a library of free reading material in seconds.
The simplicity does make it a bit difficult to figure out some features but I quickly got the hang of it. I have about eight of my books there, mostly short stories, but also the first chapters of Ordo Lupus and the Temple Gate and Too Bright the Sun.
If you are just starting out as a writer or want to read lots of free stories, take a look.
From Saturday 14th June until Monday 16th June, erotic odyssey The Ice Boat Volume I will be FREE on Amazon. If you like adult fiction, and be aware, this contains vivid scenes of a sexual nature, then make sure you grab a copy.
Honorary Cliff Robertson Documentary
Just a quick mention that the project has had roughly 50 followers in the last week! Thanks to all those who have liked the page. If you are interested in getting your name up in lights (for as little as $5) on a Hollywood produced documentary on the Academy Award winning actor, please like the project page here: https://www.facebook.com/cliffrobertsonhonorarydocumentary
Memories of the 1960s: Issue II
I had several nice comments about Issue I so here is another:
Most people will remember the most two most prominent aspects of television in the 1960s; no colour and the dreaded test cards!
Colour television didn’t arrive in the UK until 1967 (BBC2) and late 1969 (BBC1 and ITV). There were some early test programmes on BBC2 and I think I remember one featuring a carnival. My father designed television cameras for a living so we were the first family I knew to have a TV set that could receive and display colour. I remember the riot of ultra-vivid colour blasting out of the screen. It seemed to completely transform the world. There were of course hiccups. Many people turned the colour button up to full, which made greens and red so bright that you would quickly get a headache. Paul McCartney had been assured that the Magical Mystery Tour would be broadcast in colour on Boxing Day 1967. But BBC1 still had not made the transition to colour so he was to be disappointed.
Test cards were what you saw when there were no programmes being transmitted. This was usually between about 1 am and 5 am, 10 am and midday and between 2.30 pm and 4 pm (5 pm on BBC2, which was the ‘educational’ channel). During these times, all you would see was a strange grid pattern with the picture of a young girl holding a piece of chalk against a blackboard and a baloon behind her, in the centre of the grid. Classical or, if my memory serves me correctly, easing listening music would accompany the picture. It would suddenly disappear when transmissions started but this was haphazard as schedules would vary by up to ten minutes.
A curiosity was the National Anthem, played right at the end of transmissions, at about 1 am. This would be followed by a continual tone. Many times neighbours would fall asleep, drunk or otherwise intoxicated, leaving the loud tone to drone on all through the night.
It wasn’t unusual for transmissions to be interrupted by atmospheric condition or even other local phenomenons. There were rumours of ‘ghost’ transmissions from crazy amateurs or TV-guerrillas!
I met one of these later in life. A physics graduate, this guy, along with some mates, figured out how to fire their own transmission at the BBC transmitter aerial somewhere in London. if they got the modulation just right and cancelled out the original signal, they could broadcast their own anarchist message. They were not completely successful the first time because some of the original transmission did reach receivers within a very small radius of the transmitter.
Undeterred, the pirates came up with an ingenious solution. They surrounded the tower at the right moment, and let rise a circle of helium-filled balloons. From these, a reflective tube of thin material was raised to form a ‘curtain’ around the tower. When this rose, they were able to block all transmission from the BBC and broadcast their own to the home counties. My friend never did tell me what message they transmitted.
And what of TV programmes themselves? The first, I remember clearly, there was Muffin the Mule, followed by the Woodentops and Andy Pandy. These were closely followed by Bill and Ben, Play School, Trumpton and Camberwick Green, Pogles Wood and of course the ubiquitous Blue Peter.
As I grew and (some would deny) matured, I progressed to a list of classics which hardly anybody will remember but I can’t resist listing: Barrier Reef, Skippy, Flipper, The Singing Ringing Tree, Jackanory, Belle and Sebastien, The White Horses, early Japanese anime Marine Boy, Origami, Yoga with Richard Hittleman, Painting with Nancy Kominski, The Magic Roundabout, Hector’s House, White Horses (so romantic that girls loved it) and of course Doctor Who.
The 1970s were ushered in with some of my all-time favourites: The Aeronauts, The Crusader (sometimes called Tibor: The crusader) and The Flashing Blade. I suppose if one thing marks out these programmes, it’s the high level of action and the driving R&B soundtracks. In those days, The Beeb (as we called the BBC) was not above hiring small R&B bands to play their them tunes and in fact Pink Floyd actually sat and played along to the 1969 moon landing, live! Unfortunately, the recordings, if there ever were any, have been lost. These, slightly kitsch, programmes may have been the progenitor of my love for driving rhythm and blues and rock.
In my childhood, we weren’t encouraged to watch ITV. This was the ‘cowboy’ channel. Mind you, some parents forbade their kids to watch it. I was lucky. I could watch it and I did. I quickly discovered programmes like Catweazle and Magpie, ITV’s answer to Blue Peter.
ITV had a much more laissez-faire attitude to broadcasting. Where else could you get a gorgeous blonde, two middle-aged guys and an Old Father Time pretending to be American Indians while showing you how things worked (How). The gorgeous blonde was Jenny Hanley, daughter of the comedian Tommy Hanley, and I immediately fell for her. I was love struck and I think I may have even written and sent a letter to her. She never replied! The Old Father Time was Jack Hargreaves, one time director of ITV, who wrote How and went on to do another of my favourites, Out of Town. I only recently found out that he made and appeared in Gone Fishing, which I referred to in Memories of the 1960s Issue I. I do remember him saying that chubb tasted like ‘cotton wool filled with pins and needles!’
Who can forget The Banana Splits or the immortal phrase “Uh-oh! Chongo!” The Banana Splits were a wacky team of men in animal suits – a dog, a bear, chimpanzee and an elephant (which never made a sound!) who delivered a crazy menu of jokes, one-liners and zany music, interspersed with comedy or adventure mini-serials like Microcar, Danger Island (Uh-oh! Chongo!) and The Arabian Knights. Their theme tune has been immortalised by punk band The Dickies and anybody who watched it as a kid will never forget the assault on their senses by the colour and sound of the Banana Splits.
I must also make a quick mention of H.R Pufnstuf, which was almost as psychedelic as The Banana Splits and more surreal – I have to believe both serials were invented by guys taking too much acid. In it Jack Wild, the talented youngster from the hit musical Oliver! strutted his stuff while battling through puberty himself. I never understood what the hell was going on, but then I guess that was the beauty of it!
Some more of my all-time favourites were the Gerry Anderson serials; Thunderbirds, Captain Scarlet and UFO. I am too young to remember Fireball XL5, Supercar and Battery Boy etc, but I loved Thunderbirds.
The first episode, Trapped in the Sky, I watched, as I watched many, with my father. We would have been out, possibly fishing or to Church and come home to chicken pie or roast chicken at Sunday lunchtime. I would beg my mother to let me eat it in the lounge, with my knees stuffed under and ancient, miniature titling stool like a piano stool and, if I succeeded in persuading her, my dad would watch too. The amount of testosterone pumping through my system after watching these superhero brothers dicing with death in futuristic, jet or diesel powered behemoths probably gave me indigestion!
Then there was Captain Scarlet. This was one man against the evil Mysterons. And he was reincarnated! In fact, he died in every episode and his steady stare above a square jaw, only slightly more mobile than Mount Rushmore, gave no emotional hint of his suffering! I was hooked! Unfortunately it was rarely shown. A rumour would go around that there was one on TV (God knows where kids heard about it) or I would see it in the listings and then tune in, goggle-eyed! I would later learn that not only was the theme of death and reincarnation, Captain Scarlet representing a modern ‘Jesus’, considered too scary for kids but apparently Anderson had had his funding cut and all the character represented his revenge’portrayal of senior ITV management personnel. Captain White was Lew Grade, for instance. Soon the programme was moved to a late night slot. It was followed by UFO, which I also loved, but again, it seemed to be rarely shown on TV, unless I was out playing at the time. I did’t get to see the full series until about 2010.
Then there was Star Trek! By 1970, I was allowed to stay up until about 8.30 pm, twice per week, with my father chaperoning me. He loved Star Trek so I was able to drink in the colourful American vision of the future. The other evening programme, which I watched a lot, was The Virginian. This may seem vastly different from Star Trek, and it was, but it featured many stars of the future; Angie Dickinson, Doug McClure, Lee Majors and many others. And how can I ever forget the dry wit and calming influence of Medicine Bow’s sherrif, played by Clu Gulager?
In 1970, my father brought home the first portable television I had ever seen. None of my friends had one, or had even seen one. For me, it wasn’t that surprising – I regularly found bits of TV cameras strewn across my father’s study – but it was a mouth-watering opportunity. With two televisions, and one being portable, I could finally see a way to get access to the mythical ‘European movies’ that my friends whispered about reverently at school.
The portable TV was only black and white and only had a ten inch screen (I think, possibly twelve) but I quickly made excuses to watch it:
“Oh, star Trek is on at the same time as that film, you and mum want to watch. Can I take the portable upstairs?”
My parents, trusting me as they did, let me take it to my room on condition that I would turn it off after Star Trek. Of course, I did. But then, a careful perusal of the Radio Times’ late night schedule would reveal some dubious ‘European’ movie, usually with no, or very little, description and no (in those days) cast list. I would put the TV in my bed, so that the sound and light were muffled. Then, until the early hours of the morning I would watch Sylvia Kristel (only guessing here, I don’t remember who these people were) undressing and committing carnal acts on wiry, shady men, who always wore socks, and usually their underpants, I seem to remember. Thankfully, they usually left their umbrellas and bowler hats at the door. I guess I nearly came unstuck when I saw Get Carter (1971, I know, but indulge me!). The violence in the film didn’t bother me too much but when he murders the prostitute by injecting her with heroine, I was shocked. I think this may have left a lasting mark on me but I do think the late-night films widened my horizons considerably.
The daytime and evening film fare was usually a Western but the first daytime film I (vaguely) remember being impressed withe was The Wages Of Fear. I had to see it again recently to remind myself of the nitro-glycerine, nerve shattering tension in the film. If you haven’t seen it it yet, make sure you do.
Finally, I have to mention other activities resulting from watching TV (apart from romantic, that is). I probably first felt the inspiration to try fishing while watching Out of Town. During the massive interest in the Gerry Anderson programmes, there was the TV21 annual. 21 stood for ‘Twenty-first Century,’ and the annual, much more exciting than the Blue Peter annual, had plans for all sorts of crazy things you could build.
My two favourites were a version of a tree-house, which you actually suspended from the eaves of a house using pulleys, rope and packing crates or bits of destroyed go-carts, and an SPV simulator. The SPV was Captain Scarlet’s vehicle and SPV stood for ‘Spectrum Pursuit Vehicle.’ Of course, nearly every boy I knew had a toy SPV. But to actually drive one? That would be something. The detailed drawing showed you how to make scenery, which would then run endlessly on a conveyor-belt within a cardboard box, cut to look like a TV monitor. In the full-sized SPV (nobody ever built one, but indulge me again here), the driver faced backwards, to save his body from damage during high-G braking, so he could only see the road through a monitor. The conveyor belt was powered by pedals which in turn were powered by the ‘driver’s’ feet. It was all hilariously good fun. I didn’t, but if anybody did build any of these things, please let me know!
Well, I think that’s about it. Please let me know your memories by posting a comment below.
Egypt or any part of Africa through Kobobooks.com, I am told. I need somebody in Egypt to test this. http://store.kobobooks.com/en-gb/Search?Query=lazlo+ferran nb: you will have to convert the book to .mobi using a free software programme called Calibra if you want to read them using a Kindle device.
If you have problems let me know by commenting or emailing me so that I can send you a workaround.
You can always find details of availability and updates on the Catalogue page of this website.
If you live in Egypt please can you test the Kobobooks source and get back to me?
This week: Grammar and Onomatopoeia and – Ordo Lupus (The Order of the Wolf): who do you think they are?
Grammar and Onomatopoeia
I am just doing a light re-edit of the second book in the Ordo Lupus series: The Devil’s Own Dice. I have been pleasantly surprised how good it is! I occasionally go back to old books to just bring the grammar up to date. This is because, not only do my grammar skills improve as I publish more work but also there are fashions in grammar and these gradually change! Yes, it’s true!
Of course everybody knows that the meaning of a word can change over time. This field of study is called semantics. The obvious example is ‘gay’. When I was young this simply meant ‘happy’ or ‘bright and cheerful’. Now it most usually denotes someone physically attracted to the same sex.
Another word which changes meaning with time is ‘insidious’. The meaning of this word seems to actually fluctuate during cycles of about ten years. It can sometimes mean ‘subtle’ and sometimes mean ‘subtly bad’.
In two of my books, written in the mid-noughties, the phrase ‘in-control’ comes up quite a lot. People actually used said that a lot during the 80s and 90s. Now, nobody seems to use it so I take it out wherever I see it.
While I edit, I also look at ways to subtly improve the text. Occasionally, particularly when the action gets going and where most writers tend to use less commas, I find too many of the blighters. This sentence had two but by removing them, I created a much simpler sentence with a more flowing ‘feel’. Actually, I am quite pleased with this sentence; its quite difficult to create one this long which has no commas and yet is grammatically correct (correct me if it’s wrong somebody):
I did my best to stand up straight and look dignified in the doorway at the top of the stairs while the water dripped from my cloth hat onto my nose and then to the dry stone floor.
Finally, I had the rare chance to improve on my use of onomatopoeia when I came upon this sentence:
At the sound of eight tolls of the nearby Abbey bell, I made my way back to Herleva’s room.
I instantly saw that this sentence had some onomatopoeic potential. I wanted this sentence to communicate a gloomy mood. What if eight syllables reminded me of the sound of a bell being tolled? What I ended up with is this:
At the sound of eight bells, tolled from the nearby Abbey bell, I made my way back to Herleva’s room.
Here we have the eight syllables: eight (1) bells (2), tolled (3) near- (4) by(5) Abb- (6) ey (7) bell (8).
Of course, strictly speaking this is not onomatopoeia. Nevertheless, the sounds of the words reflect the feel I want to get across so I think it’s very effective.
One wag quipped that in this case it may even simply be euphony (any agreeable (pleasing and harmonious) sound) because the sound of a bell ringing is pleasant but I would argue that I am not trying to create a pleasant sound, but a gloomy one.
See if you can find a sentence in one of your books where you can try this sort of trick. Writing can often be about mood-setting and this trick can work well.
Ordo Lupus (The Order of the Wolf): who do you think they are?
I have often been asked where my idea for the Ordo Lupus occult thriller series; Ordo Lupus and the Temple Gate and The Devil’s Own Dice, came from. Well, to be honest, the idea didn’t come completely out of the blue.
I had been interested in werewolves and vampires for a while. I was also intensely interested in cults and secret societies. Long before Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code, I was interested in the Knights Templar and through this came to books by Henry Lincoln like Key To The Sacred Pattern: The Untold Story Of Rennes-le-Chateau (sadly out of print but still available on Amazon as a hardback). These books led me to an interest in the lost treasure of Rennes-le-Château and from there to an interest in the Cathars.
All this interest may well be because my family’s roots are in that region of France. In fact, one of my ancestors may well have been a Cathar!
So the seeds were there for a book about mysterious treasure and secret societies were planted in my mind. Then I stumbled upon this video on youtube while googling wolf cults: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DpJwzIC4G_4
I typed the address into my browser and came upon the most bizarre website I have ever encountered! The appearance is nothing special, forbidding crossed swords on a plain, black background and with nothing in the way of information about the cult apart from the enigmatic phrase ‘Don’t forget who you are’. Perhaps the introverted aspect of the website tempted me to enter my details in the hope that I would gain membership, if only for journalistic reasons.
I was to be sadly disappointed. Not only did they not respond to my submission, but when I messaged them on youtube, they didn’t respond there either. Frustrated, I copied their video, colour-corrected it and posted on my own youtube channel (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QFYgIWQXS4Y). I was sure this provocative act would get them talking to me but no! They have never once contacted me. In fact, apart from a brief mention in a UK national newspaper (I can’t remember which one) and two mentions in Le Monde (29 September 2009), I have been able to find no other references to the cult.
And yet the website is still there!
Incidentally, from the Le Monde article I was able to find the park in Lyon where the beast was filmed and even the balcony from which it was most likely filmed. The trees are Plane Trees and from their size, I would estimate the beast was one of three things: a large alsatian/newfoundland cross, a smallish newfoundland, a wolf (they are not uncommon in Southern France although they are not known to enter the cities) or something else…
The website never changes. Clearly, my submission for membership did not arouse their interest, nor did I fit the credentials they are looking for. They ask the nascent member to say a bit about themselves and check that you are an adult but nothing I have tried, arouses their interest. Perhaps I need to be a werewolf? Ha! Ha!
In any case, I decided to write about Ordo Lupus. I made most of the detail up but speculation about this most secret, and exclusive of cult societies in inevitable.
So, tell me what you think. who do you think they are?
This week: Secret Codes; should I use them? FREE eBook and a Sneak Preview.
It’s been a very busy week. My first newsletter went out on Sunday so today’s blog will be quite a short one.
===== FREE NOW!!! ==========
Share: Occult thriller- Ordo Lupus and the Temple Gate is still free until tomorrow at 8am BST. http://bit.ly/15R1xOL “Wild ride” “Exciting read” “Rich, complex” “Well plotted”
“Am I? Beautiful?” She turned her face towards me and I longed to kiss it but I couldn’t.
Secret Codes; should I use them?
My occult thriller Ordo Lupus and the Temple Gate was first published with Secret Codes at the beginning of each chapter. This was a whim of mine but I quickly discovered that the codes helped me to market the book. I noticed that the Jokes and Riddles category on Amazon.com only had 200 books in it. Therefore, as long as I sold a few copies I would be guaranteed to be in the top 100 for that category. Figuring that it was better, at that stage of my career, to be a big fish in a small pond, I directed a lot of effort to reaching the top of this category. I achieved it several times and managed to shift up to 3 books per day. But that was the ceiling. I could sell no faster.
I had to take the step to be a small fish in one of the bigger ponds. Also, several author friends told me that the codes seemed impossible to decipher and were too jokey anyway.
“Adults won’t take your books seriously.”
I want to be taken seriously, so the third edition was published after a complete re-edit, and with the codes removed. I didn’t sell a copy for over a month! I was was worried. I unpublished this edition and republished the second edition (with Codes) and I still didn’t sell a single copy in two weeks.
Then I had the kindle free promotion, it’s still going in fact (get your copy here: http://bit.ly/15R1xOL Download the free Kindle apps here: http://www.amzn.to/13aluuF). Download figures have been very disappointing. Unlike many writers, I am not going to hide the truth; so far only about 200 copies have been dowloaded. This compares with 2500 last September!
Now this may be simply that the market is slow at the moment or because people are just bored with my book. Or it could just be that actually people miss my codes. I just don’t know.
If you have any opinion at all, please comment below. I would love to hear your views.
This week, it is from the forthcoming release of the final part of the Iron science fictions series; Worlds like Dust. I am on my second full edit and there have been some significant changes. This part described the escape of some grunts from a damaged MCS (if you don’t know what that is, read Iron I: Too Bright the Sun).
Lieutenant Hani Deitner thanks his God, Mech, that he hadn’t been in the two PODs on the outer side of the MCS. Having needed to negotiate their way around the MCS, they were caught in the explosion. He could see no sign of them through his tiny portion of the viewing port.
“How far to go?” he asked the pilot, trying to sound calm. He felt his teeth start to chatter.
“One hundred and twenty yards … sir!”
‘We’ll never make it!’ Deitner thought.
“Good,” he said. “Is the other POD still with us?”
“Err. Yes, but drifting, Sir, I can see something flashing in one of the Station’s ports!”
“Let me look. Move soldier!” Deitner pushed two grunts aside to get to the main port, what you might call a windscreen. He stared at the bright white light.
“Flashing irregularly,” he said, thinking out loud. “Code mebbe … Anybody know any standard codes? Lieutenant Pfenigshaven, can you take a look?”
Bodies jostled and rearranged themselves while Pfeninghaven struggled to the port.
“Oh yeah! It’s Morse code. Learned it once. Shit! Never thought I might use it. This is real old school … Wait. It says, ‘Go to Rear Dock … five,’ I think. ‘Do not acknowledge. Ischians on board,’”
“You think …?”
“Yeah. Dock 5. That’s over there!” She pointed to the rear of the slowly spinning S.4.
“Let’s go there!” said Deitner, almost shouting. He was gripping the base of the pilot’s stool as if it were his own life, ebbing away. “Why the hell aren’t they shooting at us?”
“Sir! The power must have gone out on the cruiser. Look!”
“Okay. We may only have this one chance. How much more juice?”
“None! We’re coasting! Shall I detach the tether?”
“What? Er. Wait …” Deitner looked out of a rear port, to where he could see the other POD. Pfenigshaven’s face joined his and they both nodded. “No.” Three hundred meters of tether trailed behind the POD. The tail-end has been torn off in the explosion, sending the POD off course, but the pilot had been able to correct. The other POD hadn’t been so lucky. Already out of fuel, they were now drifting away from Dock 5 on an oblique course. “They might just have a chance … Get me the other POD.” He spoke into the transmitter microphone. “POD 4 to POD 3. EVA now! All of you. In about thirty seconds the end of our tether will reach you. After that, it will be too late! If one of you can grab it …”
“But sir! It’s …”
“I know! I know! It’s a risk we have to take!”