Tuesday, December 9, 2008

A Sneak Peek

Here's a scene--possibly the opening scene--for Episode 6 of Thieves' Honor. This episode won't see the light of day for a few months, around February or March, but it never hurts to issue a trailer. Hey, they do it at the movies!

“Looks official to me.” Zoltana rubbed her thumb over the harbormaster’s seal in the lower corner of the shipping manifest. “The seal’s authentic. The Martina Vega put in at Gildertown about a month ago. I don’t see anything wrong here, Commander Wilkes.”

“There isn’t.” Wilkes folded his hands on the gleaming black basalt table in the center of the round, arch-ceilinged court chamber in the heart of the admiralty. Surrounded by the soft, indirect light from the high windows, he and Zoltana were alone at the table, their security details standing guard at the entrances. “The ink, the paper, the signature—all authentic, as far as we can tell. However, is not one of the crew an accused embezzler and a skilled forger?”

“Virgil Harbinger Wyatt.”

“And have you not boarded and searched the freighter Martina Vega on several occasions?”

“Eight.”

“Eight. More than enough to find incriminating evidence of theft, smuggling, or illegal salvage.” Commander Wilkes slid a small screen across the table. “And yet none of your personal or ship logs contain such evidence.”

Zoltana glanced at the device but didn’t pick it up. The Orpheus log files—labeled by ship’s date, and cross-referenced by planetary name and date or by astral coordinates—marched in neat columns down the screen. “You will have noted my suspicions, which are well documented, as well as the Vega crew’s behavior and my recent attempt to gain information first-hand.”

Wilkes’ smile was tight, humorless. “A spy aboard a pirate ship. The operation was a failure.”

A clumsy and abysmal failure. Zoltana leaned back in her chair and opened her hands in a relaxed gesture. “Didn’t an old Earth scientist once say that all his failures simply taught him how not to do something?”

“Edison. But there is also the matter of an hour’s gap in your ship’s record, and the unauthorized access to classified frequencies.”

“Maintenance explains the gap, and the frequencies—” Zoltana shrugged, just enough to disturb the fabric of her uniform. “We encounter an unidentified disruption whenever we are near the Martina Vega, but we do know it isn’t coming from their analog radios. Perhaps, among his other alleged crimes, Captain Kristoff has acquired blackmarket government technology.”

Commander Wilkes tapped thick, scarred fingers on the glossy tabletop. “Crimes that you neither confirm nor condemn.”

“Where is your evidence, commander?” Zoltana touched the cargo manifest. “All you have is all I have: suspicion and circumstances.”

Wilkes’ smile broadened into genuine amusement. “And an eyewitness.”

c. 2008, Keanan Brand

3 comments:

The Texican said...

The return of the Martina Vega. The old pirate vessel is maintaining, but for how long? Did ya'll change the spelling of Sneak up in Arkansas and fail to alert those of us in Texas? Have a great weak. Pappy

KEANAN BRAND said...

Ah, c'mon now! Don't you know that "sneek" is to "sneak" what "oogly" is to "ugly", or what "nekkid" is to "naked"?

Actually, I messed up. I shall change the spelling immediately. Thanks for catching that.

As for the Martina Vega, she's gonna be grounded for a bit, but she'll rally. She always does.

The Texican said...

You failed to mention my spelling of the word "weak" in the last sentence. That was my big "tada" too. I just didn't have much to do this morning. Have a great "week". Pappy