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TURNING THE SCREW
Aboard the Jo’l Cash, Sten looked over at Doc, who had been timing the speech, jotting notes on a knee pad.
A raised eyebrow asked: How’re we doing?
Doc waggled a furry paw. So, so.
Sten grimaced. Wringing an opinion from Doc was next to impossible. He waited while Doc did some kind of internal count.
Finally, he signaled: Go!
Sten drew in a breath to steady himself. Time to seal the deal with the mutineers. Or, fall flat on his face.
He keyed the mike and said: “Well, mates, that’s why we’re here. The Eternal Emperor himself heard about your trouble and sent us to sort things out.
“You are probably thinking he’s just another Big Boss who doesn’t give a drakh about poor swabbies like us.
“Well, that’s not the truth, mates. Not the truth at all.
“The Emp personally got on the horn to me and said, ‘Captain Sten, I hear some of my sailors on the Flame have got themselves in a spot of bother.
“‘I’ve seen their records and they look like a pretty good bunch who just got led astray…
ABOARD THE FLAME
Shaklin was amazed at the impact Sten’s words were having on the crew. Even his own congregants were hanging on every syllable.
He doubted that the Eternal Emperor actually spoke personally to this man. But part of him wanted to believe. Ached to believe.
And Sten said: “The Emp told me – ‘Here, Captain, I want you to take this ship and get yourself to Possnet Sector.
‘Speak to my people in person. Find out what is truly in their hearts. And tell them, by God, I’ll do everything in my power to set things right’”
There was another long, suspense-building pause, and then Sten said: “And so I’m here to do just that.
“In exactly one E-hour I’m going to come on board and talk to you in person. Also, we have mail for you – from your families. And if you have mail to send out, we’ll be happy to take care of that for you.”
Suddenly Zheng’s emotional dam burst. He grabbed a mike and shouted into it: “Stop! Lies you are telling! Imperial lies!
“You are not welcome here. I swear, you move one meter, even, and we will jump!”
ABOARD THE JO’L CASH
Sten glanced over at Doc, who nodded. “It’s Zheng,” he said. “The ringleader.”
Sten nodded. Keyed the mike. “I hear you, Zheng. No need to get your jock in a twist.”
Zheng shouted back: “Respect, I insist on! If speak, you must, speak with respect.”
Sten chuckled. “Sure, sure, Zheng. I respectfully hear you. And I’m respectfully asking you not to get your jock in a twist.
“The Jo’l Cash will stay at distance, so there’s no need to be nervous. We’ll use the ship’s lighter. It’s not even armed, so there’s no danger to you in that.”
Zheng was so distraught he practically screamed: “Come alone, you must! Alone!”
Sten said, “Sure, I’ll come alone. Alone plus my ace boon coon, Alex Kilgour.”
“Not acceptable,” Zheng insisted. “One only. Only one must come.”
“Not happening,” Sten said. “Either both of us come, or I’ll turn around and go back to the Emperor and tell him a scrote named Zheng put a kibosh on the whole thing.
“Meanwhile, you can explain to your mates how come they’re all be facing the firing squad because you insisted on playing the ‘my way or the slideway game.’”
ABOARD THE FLAME
Shaklin watched Zheng visibly crumble. At first he was flush with angry self importance, but when he looked around and saw the other crew members glaring at him and muttering to each other, he melted under their disapproval.
His sloped shoulders sagged even more, his chest seemed to collapse, and his bow legs became even more pronounced.
Just then a red pin light began flashing on the com board. Shaklin went to answer, but then saw the call was coming in on the freq that Zheng had declared was for his own private use.
Rual spotted it and nudged her boss. Whispered in his ear. Zheng’s eyes widened, then keyed into the line.
He turned away so no one could see or hear what he was saying. A minute later he cut the connection and turned back, a huge smile on his toadish face.
He keyed the mike. “Very well, Captain Sten,” He said. “You come. Friend come also. Talk you. Listen we.”
“Very well,” Sten replied. “We’ll be with you in exactly one E-hour.”
Zheng cut the connection. A look of supreme confidence on his face.
Shaklin didn’t have to ask who had called.
It could only have been Queen Venatora.
As Sten guided the lighter toward the Flame he had Ida yammering in one ear and Doc in the other.
Ida was saying, “Remember, I’ve got a Paku Defender stashed in the slop chute. If they fire on you just hit “eject” and they’ll get the surprise of their lives.”
And Doc was saying, “Shaklin’s at his most vulnerable right about now. He sees betrayal everywhere. Play the Pegatha card and he’ll be yours.”
“Wait, wait,” Sten shouted. “Ida, shut the clot up. Doc, who in hell is Pegatha?”
He heard Doc give a weary, you-stupid-human sigh, then he said. “Pegatha’s his lover. The dead one.”
“Gotcha,” Sten said. The Flame was looming large in his monitor. “Okay, we’re on approach. Everybody stand by.”
Next to him, Alex was pinning gold lieutenant bars on the tunic of his dress uniform.
“Me, Alex Kilgour - an’ ossifer! Don’t tell me mither. She’ll disown me.”
“What wrong with being a officer?” Sten said. “I’m an officer, aren’t I?”
Kilgour snorted. “Ah rest mah case,” he said.
Now they were coming up on the loading bay and the doors yawned open and Sten maneuvered the lighter inside.
“Here goes naethin’, me braw mucker,” Kilgour said.
NEXT: BOARDING THE FLAME
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.
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.