Wednesday, June 29, 2016

CHAPTER EIGHT - EPISODE 29



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*****

      GREGOR'S DILEMMA

Gregor braced himself when he heard the footsteps approach the cabin door. The mutineers had kept him deaf and blind in his little room. But his guards had been so keyed up the past few hours he knew that something was about to break.

When the door whooshed open he was half expecting to see whoever the Emperor had sent to negotiate with his captors and he had all his best lies at the ready.

He saw Shaklin first, which was a surprise. He’d expected Zheng or Rual. And then he saw a squat tubby man with a round bearded face. He wore lieutenant bars on the shoulders of his Imperial Navy uniform.

A lieutenant? He couldn’t imagine that the Emperor had sent a mere lieutenant to negotiate the release of such a valuable cargo.

Then he saw the third man. He was a little taller than the lieutenant, but not by much. He was built like gymnast and he was dark, with sharp features and fiery eyes. It was a familiar face, but it wasn’t until he saw the sardonic half-grin and heard the voice that full recognition dawned.

“Hello, Gregor,” the man said.

“You!” he said. “Sten!”

“In the flesh,” Sten said.

Gregor stabbed finger at the captain’s bars on Sten’s shoulders.

“How… How...” he gobbled. Then envy overtook him. This was so unfair.

“But, you…you… you… were a nobody,” he said.

“And you thought you were a somebody,” Sten said. “And look where it got you.”

Shaklin was puzzled. “You know each other?” he asked.

“We were in basic training together,” Sten said. “He was always bragging about what an important person his father was.”

“Ah ken the bugger washed out,” Alex said.

“You heard right,” Sten said.

Shaklin looked at Sten, sudden doubt in his eyes. “He said you were a nobody. Surely, the Emperor didn’t send someone of low importance to negotiate with us.”

“He didn’t,” Sten said. “If you look at my credentials again you’ll see that my uncle is Admiral Mik Ledoh. Until recently I was his flag lieutenant.”

Gregor snorted derision. “Liar!” he said. “You acted like you were just one of the guys. And here you were lying to us the whole time and had a clotting admiral to back your act. Why, you were a made man the minute you joined up. No wonder Lanzotta was always singing your praises.”

Sten turned to Shaklin. “You don’t want to hear any of this garbage,” he said. “Besides, for the purposes of this court martial report we have to interview the suspect in private.”

“Court martial?” Gregor cried. “Suspect?”

Kilgour reached over and swatted the back of his head. It appeared to be just a light tap, but Gregor nearly fell off his bunk.

“Shut it,” Kilgour explained.

Gregor shut it. Shaklin couldn’t help the huge grin that spread across his face.

“Call me when you’re ready,” he said.

And he exited, confident that he was leaving Gregor in hostile hands. Within minutes every being aboard the ship had a good chuckle when they heard about the slap.

When he was gone, Gregor said, “They’re not really going to court martial me are then?” Rubbing the back of his head, he added, “I mean, I’m the victim here.”

“First off,” Sten said, “you still have a big clotting mouth and if you want to get out this in one piece you’ll start shutting it.”

Gregor nodded. “Okay,” he said. “Sorry.”

“Second,” Sten said, “You ought to know that any captain who loses his ship for any reason must face a court martial.”

Gregor started to protest. “But-” Alex raised a meaty hand and the protest died a quick death.

“Naturally, with your old man being such a hot shot,” Sten said, “you’ll not only get off, but you’ll probably end up with a medal.”

Gregor nodded vigorously. “Gotcha,” he said. “It’s all an act.”

“We have express orders to bring you home alive and well,” Sten said. “So get that worry out of your head and start cooperating.”

“Done and done,” Gregor said.

Sten fished a small box out of his pocket. He opened it, revealing a small black box.

“This is a special com unit,” Sten said, “courtesy of your old man. It’s a direct link to him. And he wants to talk to you privately – and I stress privately – when you have the chance.”

Gregor took it.

“An don’t be rattlin’ oan to yer Da’loch a lass pratlin’ to ‘er mates,” Alex warned. “Or yoo’ll tip yer hand to Mr. Toad Face and his boyos.”

“Okay, I got all that,” Gregor said. “But what’s your plan for getting me the clot out of here?

His confidence was returning now that he knew that his influential father was close. He tilted his head and Sten recognized that look of arrogance that used to drive him and the rest of the barracks mad.

Although Kilgour hadn’t been around then, he must have caught it too, because his hand shot out and – whap! – he swatted the back of his head.

This time Gregor fell to the floor. “Hey!” he said. “What was that for?”

“Ye hae the look ay th’ son of a huir abit ye, laddie,” Kilgour said. “That’s what’s for.”

Gregor started to protest, then thought better of it.

“Sorry,” he said, not meaning a syllable of it, and climbed back onto his bunk.

“Now that we have that settled,” Sten said, “here’s what is going to happen. When we leave here we’ll signal your father and he’ll get in touch with you. I understand he has specific instructions.”

“Uh, can I ask-” he stopped, glancing at Kilgour to see if he’d broken some rule. Alex nodded, GA, and so he continued. “Quick question. Will you be able to listen in when I speak to my father.”

“Of course, not,” Sten lied. “Your father requested complete privacy and our techs made sure that you have it.”

Out of the corner of his eye he saw Alex plant a couple more bugs just to make sure that nothing Gregor said or did would be missed.

“Now, when we get back to our ship we’ll get further instructions from the brass,” Sten said. “Then we’ll continue our negotiations. If they agree, we have ships standing by to take control of the space train and you’ll soon be in a nice comfortable cabin and on your way home.”

“And if they don’t agree?” Gregor sounded worried, but not for reasons Sten would have guessed. He still had his hopes for a glorious profit.

Sten shrugged. “It’ll take a little longer to get the upper hand, is all,” he said. “In the end it will work out the same.”

“Okay, then,” Gregor said. “I’ll be waiting to hear from my father. And then from you.”

“That’s the spirit,” Sten said and he turned to rap on the door.

“Wait a minute,” Gregor said.

Sten paused, giving him a quizzical look. “Yes?”

“Did you guys, uh, bring me anything to eat?”

Kilgour muttered a curse and almost hit him again, but Gregor jumped back out of range.

“They’ve been feeding me nothing but drakh,” he said. “I’m clotting dying in here from food poisoning.”

“I’ll speak to them,” Sten lied and then he rapped on the door.

NEXT: THE NEGOTIATIONS

*****
NOTE FROM ALLAN: My multi-talented brother, Drew Cole, has just released a marvelous new album of original songs – “Let Me Off The Hook.” Some of the songs will make you cry, some will tickle your irony bone, and all of them will take you back to moments in your life, both painful or joyful, that will never be forgotten. Click on this link and hear for yourself. 

*****

Ever since my British publisher put all eight novels in the Sten series in three omnibus editions, American readers have been clamoring for equal treatment. 

Well, my American publisher – Wildside Books – was listening and beginning today Volume One in the three volume omnibus series is available all over America. The omnibus includes, Sten #1, Sten #2 – The Wolf Worlds, and Sten #3 – The Court Of A Thousand Suns. Isn’t this a wonderful country? And isn’t Wildside a wonderful publisher? Stay tuned for when the others will be available. Kathryn and I will start reading proof on Sten Omnibus #2 by week’s end.

*****


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.

*****


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:

U.S. .............................................France
United Kingdom ...........................Spain
Canada ........................................ Italy
Germany ..................................... Japan
Brazil .......................................... India

*****






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.


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