THE SCARLET XYPACA
The super-charged blood sport atmosphere nearly bowled Sten over when he and Alex entered the tent. The air reeked of anger and fear and adrenaline, with that underlying musk of sexual excitement.
In the center of the tent a boisterous crowd was gathered around a regulation Xypaca cage, shouting and cheering as the two occupants went at it fang and claw.
From helping his dad back on Vulcan, Sten knew the exact measurements of the cage: 8.6 meters long, 6.4 meters wide and 3.2 meters height. For a creature only twenty centimeters high, this had seemed excessive to Sten.
His father explained: “Little bustards not only move like lightning, but they can side jump ten meters, no sweat. As far as how high - well I’ve seen them hop four meters easy as pork fat through a gray Anser.”
“Gray Anser?” Sten had asked, puzzled.
“A goose boy, a goose.”
He hadn’t bothered asking what pork fat was. Sounded disgusting.
His father had gone on to explain that the wire cage was made of super-hardened plas. “Anything else,” his father had said, “and they’ll bite right through the cage and maybe take some poor scrote’s face off.”
Sten could almost hear his mother protest: “Amos! Language!”
His father had laughed and given her a kiss. “The boy’s heard worse,” he’d said. “Plus he’s got a pair himself.”
Sten smiled wistfully at the memory of the parental dispute. His mother, father, brother and sister, long dead now, victims of Baron Thoresen’s conspiracy.
The crowd’s roar brought him back. In the cage, the two Xypacas were locked together, teeth razoring, claws ripping. Blood spatter everywhere. Drawing the crowd closer, despite the shower of blood.
Then came the final moment when one Xypaca saw its chance and in a barely perceptible flash strike, tore out its enemy’s throat.
Alex was clearly not a newly won over fan of the Xypaca game. He tugged at Sten’s sleeve, saying, “Let’s get the clot out a here, laddie. This is nae mah idea ay entertainment. Let’s find a couple ay bonny lassies, me mucker. Make love, nae war, that’s the Kilgour family motto.”
Sten shook his head. “In a minute,” he said, his mouth going suddenly dry. He’d spotted his quarry: The fabulously beautiful woman and her Zabanya guards were in a corner near the Xypaca cages.
Then the ugly little man he’d noticed earlier joined them - carrying a covered cage. A discussion ensued. The woman listened, then waved an imperious hand – her lips forming the words “Show me.”
The little man whipped off the cover. And out of the cage came a shriek so blood-curdling that it silenced the crowd. Everyone turned to see a ball of scarlet fury ripping at the cage with a primeval ferocity that made the woman’s burly guards instinctively step back.
But the woman seemed fascinated, rather than frightened, leaning in to get a closer look.
It was significantly larger than the other Xypacas and red instead of green. Obviously, the little man was a Xypaca breeder and Sten was witnessing a sale. Confirmed when he saw the woman motion for one of her guards to pay the man. It must have been a handsome sum, because he practically skipped away.
Then she caught the attention of one of the green vested officials, who hurried over to confer. It was the Oddsmaster. A fight was being arranged.
Sten spotted the probable contender in a nearby cage. It was nearly as big as the scarlet beast raging in its cage. By now it had been infected by the scent of the red newcomer and was tearing at the bars, trying to get at it.
In a moment, the owner hurried over, followed by the Fightmaster – a meter-and-a-half high Brachy, complete with claws and multiple eyestalks - who quietly conferred with her colleague, the Oddsmaster, then turned back to the woman and the owner of the green Xypaca.
The haggling commenced, accompanied by much arm and claw waving. The woman clearly wanted a feature match, with no limit stakes. The owner was wary – sure his Xypaca was good. On most days, the best. But that red Xypaca clearly had him worried.
Finally, odds were settled. Credits banked. The fight scheduled for the feature slot.
Satisfied, the woman turned to watch the death match in progress and was immediately caught up in the action. Sten thought she evinced the signs of what his dad called a Xypaca junky. He smiled to himself. But in her case, it was in the nicest sense of the word.
A germ of an idea surfaced: how he could meet the woman and get a little intelligence for Mahoney.
“Alex,” he said, “what we need now is a nice juicy soy steak. Thin sliced.”
“What’re you up to, laddie?” Alex asked.
“I’m going to do my damndest,” Sten said, “to fix a fight.”
NEXT: THE PIRATE QUEEN
HERE IS WHERE YOU CAN BUY STEN IN ALL ITS VERSIONS: PAPERBACKS, OMNIBUS EDITIONS,
E-BOOKS, AND AUDIOBOOKS. ALSO, SAMPLE CHAPTERS AND A RUNDOWN
E-BOOKS, AND AUDIOBOOKS. ALSO, SAMPLE CHAPTERS AND A RUNDOWN
THE TIMURA TRILOGY: When The Gods Slept, Wolves Of The Gods and The Gods Awaken. This best selling fantasy series now available as trade paperbacks, e-books (in all varieties) and as audiobooks. Visit The Timura Trilogy page for links to all the editions.
NEWLY REVISED KINDLE EDITIONS OF THE TIMURA TRILOGY NOW AVAILABLE. (1) When The Gods Slept;(2) Wolves Of The Gods; (3) The Gods Awaken.
MY HOLLYWOOD MISADVENTURES
Tales Sometimes Tall, but always true, of Allan Cole's years in Hollywood with his late partner, Chris Bunch. How a naked lady almost became our first agent. How we survived La-La Land with only the loss of half our brain cells. How Bunch & Cole became the ultimate Fix-It Boys. How an alleged Mafia Don was very, very good to us. The guy who cornered the market on movie rocks. Andy Warhol's Fire Extinguisher. The Real Stars Of Hollywood. Why they don't make million dollar movies. See The Seven Pi$$ing Dwarfs. Learn: how to kill a "difficult" actor… And much, much more.
Here's where you can buy it worldwide in both paperback and Kindle editions:
A NATION AT WAR WITH ITSELF: In Book Three Of The Shannon Trilogy, young Patrick Shannon is the heir-apparent to the Shannon fortune, but murder and betrayal at a family gathering send him fleeing into the American frontier, with only the last words of a wise old woman to arm him against what would come. And when the outbreak of the Civil War comes he finds himself fighting on the opposite side of those he loves the most. In The Wars Of The Shannons we see the conflict, both on the battlefield and the homefront, through the eyes of Patrick and the members of his extended Irish-American family as they struggle to survive the conflict that ripped the new nation apart, and yet, offered a dim beacon of hope.
LUCKY IN CYPRUS:
A True Story About A Boy,
A Teacher, And Earthquake,
Some Terrorists And The CIA
LUCKY IN CYPRUS is a coming-of-age story set in the Middle East during the height of the Cold War. An American teenager – son of a CIA operative – is inspired by grand events and a Greek Cypriot teacher.
He witnesses earthquakes and riots and terrorist attacks, but in the end it is his teacher’s gentle lessons that keep him whole.
Here's where to get the paperback & Kindle editions worldwide:
Here's what readers say about Lucky In Cyprus:
- "Bravo, Allan! When I finished Lucky In Cyprus I wept." - Julie Mitchell, Hot Springs, Texas
- "Lucky In Cyprus brought back many memories... A wonderful book. So many shadows blown away!" - Freddy & Maureen Smart, Episkopi,Cyprus.
- "... (Reading) Lucky In Cyprus has been a humbling, haunting, sobering and enlightening experience..." - J.A. Locke, Bookloons.com
NEW: THE AUDIOBOOK VERSION OF
THE HATE PARALLAX
THE HATE PARALLAX: What if the Cold War never ended -- but continued for a thousand years? Best-selling authors Allan Cole (an American) and Nick Perumov (a Russian) spin a mesmerizing "what if?" tale set a thousand years in the future, as an American and a Russian super-soldier -- together with a beautiful American detective working for the United Worlds Police -- must combine forces to defeat a secret cabal ... and prevent a galactic disaster! This is the first - and only - collaboration between American and Russian novelists. Narrated by John Hough. Click the title links below for the trade paperback and kindle editions. (Also available at iTunes.)
THE SPYMASTER'S DAUGHTER:
A novel by Allan and his daughter, Susan
After laboring as a Doctors Without Borders physician in the teaming refugee camps and minefields of South Asia, Dr. Ann Donovan thought she'd seen Hell as close up as you can get. And as a fifth generation CIA brat, she thought she knew all there was to know about corruption and betrayal. But then her father - a legendary spymaster - shows up, with a ten-year-old boy in tow. A brother she never knew existed. Then in a few violent hours, her whole world is shattered, her father killed and she and her kid brother are one the run with hell hounds on their heels. They finally corner her in a clinic in Hawaii and then all the lies and treachery are revealed on one terrible, bloody storm ravaged night.
BASED ON THE CLASSIC STEN SERIES by Allan Cole & Chris Bunch: Fresh from their mission to pacify the Wolf Worlds, Sten and his Mantis Team encounter a mysterious ship that has been lost among the stars for thousands of years. At first, everyone aboard appears to be long dead. Then a strange Being beckons, pleading for help. More disturbing: the presence of AM2, a strategically vital fuel tightly controlled by their boss - The Eternal Emperor. They are ordered to retrieve the remaining AM2 "at all costs." But once Sten and his heavy worlder sidekick, Alex Kilgour, board the ship they must dare an out of control defense system that attacks without warning as they move through dark warrens filled with unimaginable horrors. When they reach their goal they find that in the midst of all that death are the "seeds" of a lost civilization.
TALES OF THE BLUE MEANIE
NOW AN AUDIOBOOK!
Venice Boardwalk Circa 1969
In the depths of the Sixties and The Days Of Rage, a young newsman, accompanied by his pregnant wife and orphaned teenage brother, creates a Paradise of sorts in a sprawling Venice Beach community of apartments, populated by students, artists, budding scientists and engineers lifeguards, poets, bikers with a few junkies thrown in for good measure. The inhabitants come to call the place “Pepperland,” after the Beatles movie, “Yellow Submarine.” Threatening this paradise is "The Blue Meanie," a crazy giant of a man so frightening that he eventually even scares himself.