Sample of the Golden Mean
As part of the release this week of my new ebook short story, The Golden Mean, below is a short sample from that story. I hope you all enjoy it!
|Cover Art by Michael Lam 2013|
From the Golden Mean by Michael Formichelli:
The lift struck the floor hard enough to send a jolt through Merte's body. The sound made her jump inside, though it was worse in the old days when there were nothing but tunnels and mining equipment on this level. They were gone now, along with long hours in the dark and the stink of sweaty miners and ozone from the machines. Merte's revolution banished such things to the realm of stories a long time ago.
The construction on this level was all new. The gray halls were well lit and the apartments all had modern, iris style doors. It was all thanks to a deal Ram worked out with a Confederate trader ten years ago that included, along with modern doors and lights, getting proper radiation shielding for the colony. Merte didn't need to know the details of how he pulled that off with their limited funds. She knew that not asking questions of Ram or most of their visitors was the path to happiness.
New Bimini was on the edge of the Confederation. The system was located along the shared border with the Orgnan Empire and the only thing scarier than their interstellar slave economy—the Revok Domain. Far from of the center of Confederate life on Kosfanter, most of their visitors were Orgnan, Revok, or Confederate citizens looking to do things out of the Confederate Space Authority's sight.
The population of New Bimini was a mixed group, mostly human since the ETMC was a Terran corporate barony, but there were also high numbers of Galaeneans, and Volgoth thanks to the illegal slave trading the ETMC conducted in the old days. Members of all groups waved cheerfully to her as Merte headed for Oroth's, the restaurant that old timers like herself favored.
"What's this all about, Merte?" Das'Voq stood in front of a pair of glass doors interrupting the regularity of the corridor—the entrance to Oroth's.
He masticated a length of blasting cable in the fleshy beak of his mouth. It was a habit of his from the old days before the revolution, and for a moment the excitement of that time rushed through her like a rogue wave. She couldn't help a smile from creeping onto her face.
His mottled brown-and-blue skin matched the loose tunic and pants he wore on his well-muscled frame. Das'Voq was a surly Galaenean with hot, purple eyes above a modest, single cheekbone that stretched from one side of his face to the other. Although Galaeneans were gender-shifters similar to amphibious creatures on Earth, Das'Voq had spent decades in his male form due to their shared condition, and Merte often attributed his ornery disposition to it even though she knew she shouldn't. He was willful even when she first met him all those years ago in his female mode.
"You'll find out on the inside, Das, like everyone else."
"Even I have to wait?" He spat the cable out with a sound that was something between a pop and a bark. "So being your mate gets me nothing, huh?"
Merte shook her head, bent down, and picked up the ten centimeter length of cable.
"It gets you out of consequences for this." Merte held up the cable. "If you were anyone else I'd fine you for littering."
"Me? It is a cold female that fines her life-mate, Merte." His mouth dropped open and his tongue lolled to the side, but she knew his ire was faked. His mottled skin would dull if Das'Voq was really upset.
"Watch it or I'll have you locked up as well," she said.
"That has possibilities."
"Shut up and get in the restaurant." Merte rolled her eyes.