Just sharing a snippet from Opi Battles the Space Pirates. The book is only available on Amazon and Amazon Unlimited for the moment.
Ms Opeia Gayens, head of AllEarth Corp, has a problem—her company is rotten with Space Pirates. She wants to get rid of them once and for all. An unexpected invitation to dinner challenges her plans to be the bait that will draw the nasty pirates out. It’s been forever since she’s been on a date—just been Opi. Somehow, Owain McDevitt, mild-mannered, potato farmer from the planet Islay 2 is drawn into the intrigue. Yet, no one is who they seem, least of all Owain McDevitt.
Opeia Gayens was having a bad day. She was tired, oh so tired, and a wee bit cranky. Running AllEarth Corp had its highs and its lows. So far today had been one of the lows. And it wasn’t getting any better. Not only had her daughter, Rae, just told her that she didn’t want to join the company or want her inheritance, this executive interview with Jors Finksy had taken a bad turn.
Finksy held out a hot pink, round object about the size of a tennis ball that looked suspiciously like a plastic explosive. ‘This is a bomb,’ he declared, waving at her. ‘I’m going to take you with me.’
Opeia let out a sigh, moved her knee to key her distress alarm. ‘That,’ she said, ‘is rather counter-productive.’
It had been a run-of-the-mill ethics appraisal. Obviously, the testing regime designed to filter out space pirates, or those likely to be suborned by space pirates, was more stressful than she anticipated for her employee to take such drastic measures.
Jors had standing-on-end, spikey, white hair and his red, sweating face sported puffy cheeks and very pale eyes. His burnished-silver body suit hugged his plump frame in a less than complimentary manner. Not the sort to bring a bomb to a meeting.
Her security chief, Mueller, was going to get an earful for his team letting this incendiary device through the screening procedures. It signalled a lapse that wasn’t acceptable. She eyed the bomb. It had no discernible controls or wires or lights. It looked like a lurid, ball of soft, mouldable plastic that a child might play with.
Finksy stood up suddenly, waving the ball around. Instinctively, Opeia leant back. Where was her security team anyhow?
‘You were going to dismiss me from my job. It’s all I have…’
Opeia blinked. She hadn’t been about to sack the poor fellow, but that outcome seemed inevitable now.
Distracted by security taking their time, Opeia was taken by surprise when Finksy thrust the bomb into her face. Instinctively, she slapped his hand and the bomb flew up. She leapt for it in case it would explode on impact. She caught it with one hand and with the other, punched her terrorist under the chin. The man wasn’t expecting it and went down.
Letting out a breath, she had one second of relaxation and then she noticed the bomb started to sweat in her hand and was slightly warm. Leaning down, she said into her intercom, ‘Polly where the hell is security!’
‘Oh? We thought you’d triggered it by accident.’
‘I have a bomb in my hand and an unconscious executive who will come around very soon. Get the team in here now.’
Polly didn’t answer but in about thirty seconds her door slid open. ‘Don’t move,’ the lead security guy said. ‘Smithy, get up here with the analyser.’
Opeia swallowed and looked slowly down at her hand. ‘Geez.’ Bubbles appeared on surface of the ball. There was a chemical reaction going on. The hot pink bomb was definitely giving off heat. Why had she tackled for the bomb anyhow? Was she insane?
Smithy, face covered in a shock proof shield, aimed the pointy end of the analyser at her. ‘Plastic explosive. DNA key.’
‘Can’t you get a bin or something. I don’t want it going off in my hand.’
Smithy backed up, head titled on the side. ‘Containment possible,’ he spoke into the mic.
A rumble from the back of the door and a trolley came in, bearing a two metre by two metre metal box.
Smithy keyed a small panel. ‘Now, mam, a drawer will slide out. Quickly place the device onto it and back away. It will shut rapidly and should contain the blast.’
Opeia looked up. ‘Should? Great.’
From the bottom end of the metal box, a square door opened up. It could hold a basket ball-sized object. With lips compressed, Opeia bent her knees, bringing the bomb closer. The bubbles on the surface of the bomb resembled boils now. The heat it gave off was starting to burn her palm. Carefully, she placed her hand near the bottom of the box and started tilting her hand to allow the ball to slide off.
Finksy sat up suddenly and shook his head. ‘Stop!’ he said. Opeia jerked her hand with surprise. The bomb dropped. She snatched her hand back. A security guard charged forward tackling her to the ground to shelter her with his body. The drawer shut with a snap. The containment box jumped and a loud boom sounded from inside. From where the little drawer had retracted, the metal had melted and fumes were rising.
The guard levered himself off her. ‘Pardon me, mam.’ The label on his hazard gear gave his name as Muri. He offered his hand and assisted her to stand.
‘Thank you, Mr Muri.’
Another security man came up and sprayed her hands. The burning stopped as the spray cooled her skin.
Two burly ones grabbed Finksy. They brought him in front of her.
Her hands were red and the skin had started to peel. Compared to what could have happened. No hands. Or no body. She had come off lightly. ‘Mr Finksy. I am sorry to have to tell you but you’re fired…and under arrest.’
The containment box was wheeled out. The security team followed, along with Finksy who was quite verbal in his resentment. When they left, Polly buzzed. ‘Chief Mueller for you.’
‘Send him in.’
‘He’s not actually here, sorry. On comms.’
Too chicken to face her. Damn the man. Walking to her desk, she keyed her comms. ‘Mueller what the actual?’ she yelled at him. He opened his mouth and kept it open. ‘Nobody responded to my distress alarm and how did that goddam bomb get through screening?’
‘Don’t try to sweet talk me.’ Mueller’s bull dog face loomed on the viewscreen.
‘I won’t. The bomb was a new type of material,’ he rushed on before she could interrupt again. ‘We had rumours of it being in production but our screening wasn’t calibrated. It is now.’ He let out a breath. ‘The non-response is a bit more difficult to explain.’ He ran his fingers through his short cropped hair. ‘It had been reported to me that you accidentally set off your distress alarm seven times in the last month. My men advise that you were pretty pissy at them for the repeated interruptions when they responded as per procedure.’
Opeia nodded, recollecting the mayhem. The distress switch had been relocated to under the desk so she could call for help without anyone knowing, unfortunately she kept bumping it. Her annoyance at having important and confidential meetings and video conferences interrupted had been quite strong and verbal. May have involved threats too. She chewed the inside of her cheek. ‘Put the location of my distress alarm back on our regular agenda. I don’t want to be left vulnerable like that again.’
‘I’ll tighten security measures.’
‘No! Goddam it Mueller! They are so tight already.’ As it was she hardly saw normal people. Her children were exempt from the security procedures but not anyone else. At times it was a tad embarrassing. I hope the cavity search wasn’t too uncomfortable, Mr…
‘But not tight enough. Today is a good example.’
‘You’ve explained today. It won’t happen again.’ He opened his mouth to protest but she raised her hand. ‘Your hand to hand training came in useful.’ She thought this would divert him.
He growled. ‘Ms Gayens you aren’t meant to tackle people with bombs or grab the devices yourself. May I remind you that you could have died if it had been another type of bomb?’
‘I know. I’m sorry. I just reacted when he thrust the bomb in my face and no one had come to help.”
He let out a sigh and rubbed his hand through his hair. ‘I see.’
Opeia thought she could wrap this up with another diversion. ‘Say, can you send me an update on that bomb material. DNA triggered you say? Let me get across that.’
‘Very well. Done and agreed. The information will be sent to you by the end of the day. My advice is that you should not have ill effects from holding the bomb except for some superficial burns.’
She held up her hands. ‘I got that part.’
‘Although I wish you hadn’t tackled the man and taken it.
‘I know. I don’t know what came over me. Spur of the moment—panic. It was entirely stupid. It won’t happen again.’
Mueller grunted and she keyed off. Turning to her handheld, she entered in the information about Finksy’s dismissal and sent a memo to her personnel manager to start new recruitment activity. Then she slumped across her desk. She was sick to the bone of this. Over it. That’s why Rae’s message had gutted her. If she wasn’t doing this for her daughter why was she doing it? Essa, her other daughter, had already bailed a year ago.
Sometime later her office door chimed. ‘May I come in?’ Polly, her personal assistant, asked as she poked her head through the gap in the sliding door. Polly was a few years younger than Opeia and had such an easy going personality that Opeia thought of her as a friend. About five foot five, trim with a pixie-like face, she was a trendy dresser and was forever ribbing Opeia about her penchant for pantsuits for business or shapeless coveralls when travelling on space cruisers. Polly argued they marred her beauty, where Opeia thought they hid a multitude of sins, like a peach shaped butt, well-rounded belly, largish breasts and generous thighs.
‘Sure, Pol. What is it?’ Opeia sat up and self-consciously tugged at the tunic top of her pale lemon, pantsuit. The material was self-cleaning and wrinkle proof. What could be easier?
Polly raised her eyebrows and pursed her lips, then let out a sigh before continuing. ‘I have a priority-keyed message for you from someone called,’ she looked down at her handheld. ‘Owain McDevitt.’
Polly sighed. ‘Owain McDevitt.’ She scrolled through the page on her handheld. ‘McDevitt Enterprises. You completed the takeover of his transport companies last year. All the official paperwork is completed.’
‘Refresh my memory. What did I do to him, actually?’
Intrigued? You can buy or download Opi Battles the Space Pirates here.
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