Book Promo And Vignettes by Luke, Mary Catelli and ‘Nother Mike

Book Promo

If you wish to send us books for next week’s promo, please email to bookpimping at outlook dot com. If you feel a need to re-promo the same book do so no more than once every six months (unless you’re me or my relative. Deal.) One book per author per week. Amazon links only. Oh, yeah, by clicking through and buying (anything, actually) through one of the links below, you will at no cost to you be giving a portion of your purchase to support ATH through our associates number. I ALSO WISH TO REMIND OUR READERS THAT IF THEY WANT TO TIP THE BLOGGER WITHOUT SPENDING EXTRA MONEY, CLICKING TO AMAZON THROUGH ONE OF THE BOOK LINKS ON THE RIGHT, WILL GIVE US SOME AMOUNT OF MONEY FOR PURCHASES MADE IN THE NEXT 24HOURS, OR UNTIL YOU CLICK ANOTHER ASSOCIATE’S LINK. PLEASE CONSIDER CLICKING THROUGH ONE OF THOSE LINKS BEFORE SEARCHING FOR THAT SHED, BIG SCREEN TV, GAMING COMPUTER OR CONSERVATORY YOU WISH TO BUY. That helps defray my time cost of about 2 hours a day on the blog, time probably better spent on fiction. ;)*

AN ADDITIONAL REQUEST: I ASK EVERYONE TO SHARE THIS ON FACEBOOK, SINCE I’M IN FACEBOOK JAIL FOR BREAKING THEIR STANDARDS. Since their standards are pro-Taliban and anti-America it’s a fair cop, but Facebook is to blame. So, for now it’s up to you to make it go wide and free.

FROM SARAH A. HOYT — BOOK TWO IS OUT — Barbarella (2021-) #2

Mystery abounds on the planet Camelot, and it’s up to Barbarella to unravel it all in order to save a secretly enslaved populace in what’s supposed to be a literal paradise. Answers will be forthcoming, but getting there will be half the fun—at least for you, gentle reader! And those answers may just bring down paradise…and lead to an even greater galactic evil! Love, lasers and liberty—this one’s got it all, courtesy of acclaimed novelist SARAH HOYT and visionary artist MADIBEK MUSABEKOV!

FROM C.V. WALTER: Wed to the Alien Prince (Alien Brides Book 3)

Kaelin knows an alien when she sees one. The trick, given her eyesight, is actually getting close enough to see them. She might as well wish upon a falling star!

Against all odds, one just walked right up to her and introduced himself as Roger. He’s on a mission from Molly, the friend she’s traveled half-way across the country to see, with news of her alien ever after and a shopping list. Apparently, the best technology in the galaxy isn’t stocked with hair conditioner…

When their hands touch, everything changes. Kaelin has a chance to become everything she ever wished she could be… but it will cost her everything she currently is.

Prince Serogero has found the perfect match in an imperfect woman. When he catches her during a seizure, everything he assumed finding his mate would mean is turned upside down. His people’s technology can help her, if she lets it, but at what cost to her, and to him? When his duties and her safety conflict, can they create a happy ending?

FROM KEN LIZZI: Blood and Jade (Semi-Autos and Sorcery Book 1)

When an ancient sorcerer pursues an enchanted blade at any cost, only one man stands in his way.

Archaeologists uncovering a lost Mayan city unearth a magic artifact. An earthquake disturbs the operations of neighboring narcotraffickers. An ancient sorcerer and his mercenary henchmen arrive to claim the artifact. 

When these three factions converge, Karl Thorson, ex-Special Forces, is thrust into action.

Dexicos Megistos, a nigh immortal sorcerer, wants to retrieve a mystical jade dagger. Alejandra Matamoros-Lopez wants to smuggle narcotics through the tunnels beneath the ruins, avoiding the notice of rival cartels. Professor May Chen wants to see if any sparks remain from her relationship with the head of the archaeological dig.

Karl Thorson just wants to do his job, and maybe have a cold beer. 

Can he safeguard the archaeologists, especially the lovely Professor May Chen? Can he defeat a murderous band of narcotraffickers? And can he deprive the sorcerer Dexicos Megistos of the jade dagger?

Don’t miss the first book in the Semi-Autos and Sorcery series. It’s the kind of Urban/Contemporary Fantasy fans of Larry Correia and Jim Butcher are hungering for.

“A fast-paced fantasy romp which is not anything like Indiana Jones, though you might be forgiven if you notice a similar feel …It is a fun ride, really.–Steve Perry, NYT Bestselling Author of Indiana Jones and the Army of the Dead

FROM DAVID L. BURKHEAD: The Beasts of Trevanta (Knights of Aerioch Book 3).

Wounded in body and spirit after the fall of her kingdom and loss of her lover, the knight Kaila has one last duty to perform before dying: seeing two orphaned children home to their clan in Bringanzo’s Desert.

But all is not lost. When the shaman of Three Mountains Clan takes Kaila on a smoke quest she learns Kreg is still alive, fighting his way across the lands to her. She will raise an army to free him, though hell shall bar the way.

And once they’re united, not even the beast men who overran Trevanta, shall keep them from taking back their land.


First published in German in 1810 and never before translated into English, Julius von Voss’s INI: A Novel from the 21st Century is a long-lost classic utopian novel. The setting is the world of the 2090s as imagined by an author writing nearly 300 years before, when the Industrial Revolution was just barely getting started. Teams of trained eagles pulling balloons, whales harnessed to a floating island, a gigantic umbrella sheltering an entire city… the marvels keep on coming. INI is also a love story, as the hero spends the novel striving to make himself worthy of the title heroine in the most literal way. Much of the novel is a tour of the world of the future: after traveling through Europe and then North America, the hero meets with disaster in the Arctic and finds himself marooned at the North Pole. With its detailed vision of history and science for the next three centuries, INI is considered by some to be the first German science-fiction novel. While a product of its time for better or worse, it is sometimes whimsical, sometimes eccentric, and always imaginative. Long hidden behind the language barrier and known only by its title from a few scattered references, INI is now available in English to science-fiction historians and others interested in early fantastic fiction. Includes vintage illustrations as well as historical and translation notes that put the story in context.

FROM J. L. CURTIS: Tales Around the Supper Table: -An Anthology of Texas Writers.

This collection is from ten different Texas authors. There was no ‘world’ or set up for the stories. It was up to the individual authors to write their stories, so you get a wide variety! Vampires, dragons, werewolves, enchanted swords, runaways, SciFi, and cowboys… Stories for everyone in this collection of Texas authors!

Alma TC Boykin- Pigmentum Regium; Monalisa Foster- Caliborne’s Curse; Dorothy Grant- Business not Bullets; Kathey Grey- The Invisible Train; Pam Uphoff- Runaway; JL Curtis- A Favor Owed; Jonathan LaForce- Knights and Dragons; Peter Grant- Starting over; Lawdog- Bad Night in Falls Town; John Van Stry- They Only Ever Just Send One; Wayne Whisnand- For a Child.

This is the result of that collaboration- May I present Tales Around the Supper Table- The Anthology.

FROM AMIE GIBBONS: Scorpions of the Earth: A Southern Psychic Thriller (The Elemental Demons Psychic Thrillers Book 3)

Those who rewrite history, want to repeat it…

Six months ago, Hell broke loose…

Sarah has studied as a demonologist with the Church ever since. Along with her friend Beau and her magical guardian dog Merlin, she trains to put her unique psychic gifts of reading and manipulating energies to good use.

But investigating evil is wearing on everyone, and a trip for Sarah’s friend Lizzy’s wedding provides just the vacation they need. It’s even in the beautiful inn she and Lizzy went to summer camp at when they were little.

She had so many good times at this place. So why are memories straight out of a horror movie popping into her head?

Sarah knows nothing supernatural is going on, she’d see it, she’d remember it, but when guests start disappearing, everyone’s left questioning their reality. What could fool Sarah’s powers, Beau’s faith, and Merlin’s senses?

And what does it want?


Amos Seddon has a secret and Beau Rand knows it.

When someone starts rustling cattle, it doesn’t take long for the whispers against Rand to start. To save himself and his young son, Rand has to prove his innocence and find the real rustlers.

(I want to apologize for the whimsical bolding and link capture, but in addition to doing this in a moving car, WordPress has been making this difficult for months, because WordPress is as’ho’e.)

Vignettes by Luke, Mary Catelli and ‘Nother Mike.

So what’s a vignette? You might know them as flash fiction, or even just sketches. We will provide a prompt each Sunday that you can use directly (including it in your work) or just as an inspiration. You, in turn, will write about 50 words (yes, we are going for short shorts! Not even a Drabble 100 words, just half that!). Then post it! For an additional challenge, you can aim to make it exactly 50 words, if you like.

We recommend that if you have an original vignette, you post that as a new reply. If you are commenting on someone’s vignette, then post that as a reply to the vignette. Comments — this is writing practice, so comments should be aimed at helping someone be a better writer, not at crushing them. And since these are likely to be drafts, don’t jump up and down too hard on typos and grammar.

If you have questions, feel free to ask.

Your writing prompt this week is: SHIRT

42 thoughts on “Book Promo And Vignettes by Luke, Mary Catelli and ‘Nother Mike

  1. “I should set you to sewing him a shirt,” said Millefleur. “A very proper gift from a lady to her betrothed husband, would be a shirt made by her own hands. If it were not that your sewing is such that he would call the wedding off for the insult.”

  2. The stone lifted from the ground and hit a tree near him.

    “Who is there? I may not see you but I sense you.” The naked woman shouted, her dark hair bellowing around her.

    Alfred slowly lowered his cloaking field and said “Oh forgive me Great Artemis! I was lost in awe at your beauty. If you forgive me, I’ll give an extra shirt and boxer shorts to wear.”

    The woman lost her anger and laughed “Well my name is Diana and I’d love to have some clothing to wear.”

  3. William the Kookier flew to Crete on wings of wax and feathers. Unrolling a ball of string for a guide back outside he entered the maze.
    “What are you seeking?”, whispered the Minotaur.
    “The golden fleece on the altar therein.” Willie replied.
    “On that table? That’s just my bull shirt.

  4. Superbman sighed heavily.

    “What’s the matter, Manny?” Goldilocks asked, her namesake tresses writhing like a nest of metallic yellow snakes around her head.

    “It’s hard to afford to beat villains when I keep exceeding my clothing allowance. I just keep shredding my shirts every time I transform into a super.”

    1. Which is why Toshinori wears really baggy clothing in My Hero Academia, to acommodate his transformation into All Might, or so people who have watched the show have told me! I should give it a watch myself…

        1. That’s what I’ve heard, it’s just with TV and anime in particular, especially if they’ve been running for a while, the prospect of sitting down to watch so much of it ends up putting me off and I end up not getting into it. Having motivation issues sucks…

          1. I know the feeling.

            Remember you don’t HAVE to watch a bunch at once, you don’t HAVE to keep watching it at all.

            It is a “this may give you joy” thing.

            …. although the home life of the screaming, violent fren-emie is hilarious and awesome, and the *cheerful* red-haired shouting violent good guy is also hilarious.

            And the guy whose super power is a sugar rush/glucose high.


            1. Sounds like it would have made these past few weeks easier if I’d thought to find some place to stream it. We’ll see about it if things settle down and this gloom lifts long enough.

      1. Interesting you mentioned that. I finished the ‘Attack on Titan’ videos up to episode 75 (only 2 left not out yet); and started ‘My Hero Academia’. Been binge watching today because the Henri weather sucks.

  5. “We bet the comet’s tail wouldn’t be so dusty. We should’ve been much more conservative. We got great images of the head of the comet, but the Super-High Infra-Red Telescope took a beating. We aren’t likely to get good images from it again.”

    “You mean…?”

    “Yes, we lost our SHIRT.”

  6. Some days it’s really worthwhile to play a trick on your wife. For instance, during this last storm, I waited until the rain was coming down the hardest to suggest that she’d left her car windows down. But that’s only because I love how she looks in a wet t-shirt.

  7. “Oh, shirt!”

    When Kelly swears, he swears. He doesn’t blurt euphemisms in hushed, worried tones. I blinked twice and straightened up from my crouch beside Jamisson’s corpse. He’ must have ticked someone off more than usual, because the hit left at least a dozen holes in him, in three calibers. “What?”

    Kelly, shaking and as white as the paint on the wall, pointed. The second-tackiest Hawaiian shirt I’d ever seen hovered, glowing slightly, then began floating toward the open door.

  8. Daphne knew, of course, that sleeping in her Pteranodon shirt wouldn’t really make her one for a day. That was just Grandma’s silly story; new-minted 10-year-olds didn’t believe such things – but, still, she tried it anyway.

    And, as she swooped exultantly over the Cretaceous ocean, she was glad she had.

  9. He sat back, and his eyes narrowed. “Starting with, we will have the tailors in. They will charge us much to clothe you fittingly in the time we have, but not even your shirts are fitting.” He shook his head. “Not that money is the problem. We have the money.”

  10. Didn’t think this would give me the opportunity to formally introduce a character I’d been past due to but she insisted…

    Her hair, earrings, and makeup in order, Scarlett Prowse began putting on the rest of her outfit. It was a shame she could only wear one pair of earrings to the meeting since she had some really cute ones that looked good next to the pair she was already wearing but she knew her superiors found more than one pair to be distasteful.

    “Their loss.” she thought cheerfully, walking to her closet and picking a nice, white buttoned shirt. One good thing about being a ranking Knight from a well-off merchant family, she rarely had trouble finding clothes that fit her hourglass figure whether through business connections or simply being able to pay a seamstress. It didn’t take long for her to finish dressing and add the final touch: her trusty rapier, sheathed along her right hip.

    She went back to her mirror and took one last look at herself, smiling in satisfaction. Her raven hair was immaculate her makeup complemented the crimson eyes that her parents named her after perfectly, and her black and white skirt suit was professional and chic. True, it was a meeting to organize a hunt for a dangerous criminal and not a party but she always had to put her best foot forward. She couldn’t do anything less as one of the Order’s elite Glyph Knights.

    Her boots clicked against the stone floor as she recounted the previous night. The suspect had been hauled away by the time she got there but the destruction of the Refuge Wing was unlike anything she’d ever seen and she backed up a squad against an Earl of Hell once. The way in which the suspect escaped was just as strange, too. Many of the guards working the prison and Order grounds still couldn’t speak coherently about it, just babbling on about past traumas and horrors that defied description. Could one man with a solid, if not distinguished, service record really have done all that? All she knew of this Amsel character was that she’d seen him in passing a time or two, a handsome blonde man with deep, haunted green eyes who preferred an Azuman katana to the Order’s other weapons and who kept to himself. Still, she and whoever she was assigned to would find the truth soon enough.

    The Knight reached the room before she knew it and put on her best professional face before opening the door, where an older man greeted her with “Good morning, Dame Prowse.”

    “Good morning, Master Ivers,” she replied, her tone and posture respectful. “Did I get here too early?”

    “No, and better early than late even if you had,” the man said, gesturing for her to take a seat. “The others will be along shortly.”

  11. *snickers* Oh, finally, going to get to find out how the bleep the prince ended up having such a… unique exit… from the Scifi convention!

  12. Back in the Energy Wars, we shared a base with a RAF unit. Most of them were regular guys and we got along great. But there was this one officer who was a pain in the butt. Not actual titled nobility — I’ve since discovered the actual Lord So-and-so’s are pretty laid-back outside of formal situations — but just a notch below, with this starched-shirt attitude that came across as pompous instead of authoritative. Think Group Captain Lionel Mandrake from Dr. Strangelove, only played straight.

    We decided to pull a little trick on him. It took a little work, and all of us had to call in some markers from people who owed us favors, but we got a nice little rumor going that he was in line to win a Very Special Award. Pretty soon he was really strutting around and preening, getting ready to look his best for the presentation.

    Two days later, the “award” arrived in a fancy box with gold-ink decorations and a big silken ribbon. He’s getting all excited as he unties the ribbon and opens the box to fold it flat on the top of his desk.

    Imagine his surprise when he discovers a gold-plated camel turd. And of course he can’t believe it’s the actual thing, so he grabs hold of it and breaks the gold foil so the insides come squeezing out in his hands.

    We all got in big trouble, because none of us was going to rat anyone else out. But it was worth it to see his eyes bug out as he realized he’d been had, and he now has camel poop all over his hands. About a week later he got transferred back to London, and last I heard he was in some kind of cushy job his family got him where he effectively gets paid for metabolizing sugars.

  13. Rather than divert, minimize, dissemble, or deny, I’ll instead say it simply and forthrightly: I am a Marxist, have been from the moment I first saw or heard their Great Work, will be one into any recognizable future.

    So it was no accident that I was lying in bed that near-midnight, scrutinizing again on my tablet the magnum-opi of the Great Marxist Heroes of our past. But just as I’d heard once more those immortal lines, “One morning I shot an elephant in my pajamas.” ((wait for it)) “How he got in my pajamas I’ll never know.” — something made me glance up from the screen, and see floating in the air next to the wardrobe, one of Sarah’s nightshirts (which she compares to a mail shirt in its feeling of reassuring protection, as compared to sleeping in the clothes she was born in, but that’s a whole other story), only some trifling margin beyond that new “distancy” two yards from either of us.

    But of course ‘floating’ is a misnomer; because in a bare instant I’d shifted my perceptions enough to ‘see’ the rather haggy and, ah, ‘frightening’ creature that had somehow donned it, not merely animated it. (My gifts in the otherworlds are not inconsiderable, though most of them fall into the “look but don’t touch” category all too neatly).

    “Sarah…” I said, softly but out loud and in That Tone Of Voice.

    Meanwhile, she, it, whatever (thank all the gods and not-gods spirits are not pronoun obsessive) that was infesting my wife’s spare nightclothes was busy pulling all sorts of ill-wishing faces — evidently trying to ‘scare’ us, and missing over to ‘annoy’ rather badly instead — though by now half-visibly to anyone.

    There was a orangey-reddish glow against the wall of the room to my right (for once mostly in the mundanely-visible spectrum) which experience had taught me meant the large garnet and silver ring on Sarah’s right hand had gone active. And, though I merely glanced over that way to avoid the “shiny object took his eye off the tactics” problem, a moment was enough to see a translucent and immaterial (and lemon-greenish glowing)19-shot semi-auto pistol loaded with prefragmented low-penetration shot gripped in the hand that wore the ring, next. (When people like Bellona, Scathach, Morgan of the apple orchard, or especially Inanna pass out otherworldly weapons for those allies they might favour, by habit and inclination they don’t often fool around.)

    “Begone, foul shade,” said Sarah, in her best ‘this is your chance’ voice. “I’ve been having a really rotten week, actually, and I’m not in the mood for much.” Flat, direct, low, earnest — the kind of tone that is itself a word to the wise.

    Instead, Scary Ugly Female-ish Corpse Ghost Haunt Whatever decided to pull one of those ‘six days dead in the heat of summer’ faces (I used to work body pickup, once upon a time) and do that affronted hissy-cat thing at us. Oops.

    The report of her spirit gun wasn’t otherworldly-loud and barely came over to the mundane ear at all — but the immaterial projectile struck the cheesy haunt like a cannon’s roundshot. (And disintegrated, on the backside of its target, like a star shell bursting on the Fourth of July.) Leaving Sarah Morgan Atkinson’s spare nightshirt to flutter, not harmed at all except perhaps for some lingering ‘ghost cooties’ that a fifteen-second purification would remove, to the floor.

    “Well, crap, Richard, I hate having to work on my day off. Even for a moment.” Sarah wasn’t truly or deeply annoyed, and it would likely take a journey far into the Realms of the Dead to scrape up enough of Old Miss Scary-Not to make manifest anything but a vague creepy feeling for quite a while. Gun vanished, and garnet went back to ‘merely’ a rather-dramatic bit of Victorian jewellery.

    “Funny coincidence, Sarah,” I said, as much to cleanse the energy in the room as anything else. “I was just watching that famous scene, you know, ‘shot an elephant in my pajamas’ and so on. God, but I’m a committed Marxist.” That part couldn’t have been obvious to her, I’d had the audio on an earpiece.

    “Look at what I was reading,” she said impishly. “Last line in the chapter, Piper and his Lord Kalvan.” And held out her own tablet for me to see.

    Sure enough, the line fit perfectly too. “‘Better not, Eldra,” Dalla warned. ‘That princess of his is handy with a pistol, and I don’t think she cares much who she shoots.'” It was a little eerie to me, especially on top of the Marx line, even after all these years. I handed it back to her with, likely, a bit of an expression.

    Perhaps because I’d remembered, once again, that the orginal root meaning of Sarah was indeed and simply princess. Eerie, indeed.

    “And they say Sixties SF had no ‘strong’ or ’empowered’ women characters. One, Hadron Dalla, speaking of another, Princess Rylla of Hostigos. Morons. No strong women, my left tit.”

    “Still, the coincidence is…”

    “Richard, I must’ve told you half a dozen score times by now. There are no coincidences, ever. Only meaning that we’ve not yet bothered to plumb.” And her voice held that familiar light but deep tone of utter, honest sincerity.

    Sarah is a sorceress, a shamanka, and a witch. She’s amazing in so many ways I could not hope to catalogue them even by category. But still, at times, what she says and does makes my blood run obscurely cold, as if I’m still for all my insight and In-Sight somehow missing most of the big picture.

    “Just as I keep on telling you, Richard, that intuitive information is never wrong. Never ever, though we may miss or misinterpret it all to hell.” It was obvious how she meant it, in how blue-green her eyes were, how intense her look was, even though no special hint of that registered in my other-sight.

    And then that emphasis and energy changed, replaced by something else that was very different despite being no less intense. “The same way the things people say, most of the time, mean more than others ‘get’ and more than they know themselves. Take what I just said about strong wonen, for instance. My last words on it. And why I chose them, particularly.”

    “Well, the conventional ones would have been more like ‘No strong women, my ass.'”

    “And yet of the three… relevant bits of anatomy, the one I chose would still be the one in easiest reach.”

    “Is that an invitation to… something, Sarah Morgan Atkinson?”

    “I sincerely hope so, and feel most free to RSVP.”

    Modern entertainments do have their strong points. But sometimes the oldest ones are the best of all.

  14. “What is she doing up here?” The youngest wolf wrinkled his muzzle at the scent of full-human sitting on a blanket in the middle of their hunting preserve, stripping fiber from the long stalks of greenery next to her.

    “Hush, turn away, turn away, turn away now.” The elder leading the hunt said softly, urgently, and the thrice repetition was warning enough to keep their tongues in their heads until they were well out of sight, scent, and hearing. Finally, far further down the cool brook, the elder spoke. “Do not speak to her, nor startle her. She must not speak, not until she is done.”

    “I smelled the magic on her. Black and bitter, under the green.” A young wolf in her first year out of the puppy pack shuddered, her flanks rippling like she was shaking off clinging water. “Is she accursed?”

    “No, she takes on the burden willingly. You cannot force someone to lift a curse; the intention repels the effort.” The elder shook his head. “And if she speaks, it will all be for naught.”

    “But what is she doing?”

    “She is stripping the leaves from the stalks to rhet them in the stream. Another can show you, if you wish to sting your human form’s fingers.” The elder was silent a moment. “You will learn. It good to keep the knowledge, just in case you can find a human who loves you enough to do it. Few try, and far, far fewer succeed.”

    “What is rhet?”

    “It how you turn pain into love. If she can weave a nettle shirt for her love, without speaking, it will break the were curse, and he will be fully human.” The elder smiled.

    “But why would anyone want to only be human?” The youngest asked, cocking his head to the side.

    “That, too, you will learn. In time.” The elder was silent a moment, and then said softly, “Weaving nettles hurts less than the learning of that.”

  15. I was barely left with the shirt on my back. And it wasn’t even a nice one. But when Life hands you lemons, ya’ gotta just make lemonade.

    Look. A cancer in the head followed by prostate cancer isn’t how I saw my life unfolding; but at least I still have the shirt. Somewhere.

  16. “One of the biggest disadvantages of retractable wings,” I shook my head as I unbuttoned what was left of my dress shirt. “Everything becomes backless if you pop them out.”

  17. The emperor was going to be pissed. He had fallen for one of the oldest scams in the book. But it had only cost him a little gold rather than a fortune. But he wouldn’t get a single shirt out of it, still less a full set of new clothes.

  18. The last time she’d had this dream, she’d been wearing a shirt. It hadn’t done more than decorate and accentuate rather than cover but it had protected her skin against the press of the gold against her flesh. But then, she remembered, he’d breathed fire over her and it had burned away.

  19. Lupe Harrison didn’t even both to snort as the red-shirted twerp approached. He just waited, hands folded. If the twerp noticed the two extra fingers without prompting, it would shake him. If not, Lupe could draw his attention, and that would serve just as well.

    But when the red-shirt glanced at Lupe’s hands, his only response was a grim little smile. Was he that much of a fool? Well, in a few moments he would be a tasty morsel of a fool.

    The red-shirt stopped. And suddenly he was holding a pistol. A .45, with grips custom-made for a werewolf with six-fingered hands. Now pointed at the six-fingered werewolf.

    “Hello. My name is Donald Redingote. You ate my sister. Prepare to die.”

  20. For reasons lost in the foggy past, the officially unofficial off-duty uniform of the Oort Navy’s technical ratings was a loud shirt depicting scantily clad but well-armed females.

  21. “That’s him! The one in the red shirt- after him!”

    Angry, suit wearing goons poured out of the badly damaged building. The suits matched- garish purple- just as the haircuts matched, their heights matched, and their red-faced expressions also matched.

    “Clones, do you think?” Marcus quipped while sprinting down the street, ducking between bewildered pedestrians with the ease of long practice.

    “No, of course not,” huffed Angela as she hurried ahead, her longer legs giving her a slight edge in speed. “Cloning was outlawed centuries ago, and System authorities would never- damn it Marcus!” She’d taken him seriously. Again. When she knew better.

    The crack-BOOM of exploding masonry only seemed to punctuate the banter as the two ducked into alleyways and leaped fences. Their pursuers simply ran over whatever (and whoever) was in their way.

    “They’re shooting at us now, Marcus!”

    “I know, terribly uncouth of them, but we didn’t expect much in the way of couth from the Church of the New Revolution, did we?” A flurry of poorly aimed plasma bolts slammed into more unsuspecting buildings.

    “But they’re not supposed to have guns, are they? The whole sermon you interrupted was about the evils of guns!”

    “Angie, Angie! Don’t go assuming the Cult of the Old Desolation goes in for things like internal consistency and logic. Can’t indoctrinate the masses with stuff like that, they might learn to think for themselves.” She cursed breathlessly, leaping a Sanibot currently washing off graffiti. He never listened! The whole point of today was to smuggle a few people out of the Church before their brains were ‘sanitized.’

    She’d hired him against her better judgment. She knew he was reckless. He never-

    “In here, quick!” It was a burrito truck. One of hundreds that patrolled the dome with delicious, spicy wraps for sale to hungry people. It also smelled like food. Her stomach made noises of complaint.

    “Forgot to eat again?”

    “I most certainly did not!” she replied crossly. “And what was the point of mouthing off to the Community Leader back there, hmm? Did you perhaps forget about something? Like, I dunno, the people we were supposed to be saving!?” It took some not-inconsiderable restraint to leave off the you idiot! on the end. The Curch’s ‘sanitation’ program put conventional brainwashing to shame, destroying entire parts of a persons brain and memory while making them far more susceptible to suggestion and peer pressure.

    Victims that survived the procedure tended to form the foot soldiers the Church required for its “peaceful protests.” They needed a constant supply to provide regular doses of outrage and paint System Authorities as oppressors. Springing anyone from that hell was a win in her book.

    “The point was to draw attention, of course- that is why you hired me, right?” Her mouth twisted in a fashion her mother would have called ‘saving up spit.’

    “Besides, the second team should have them out of there and boosting for orbit any time now. We were a pretty good distraction, don’t you think?”

    Angela declined to dignify that with an answer, crossing her arms over her still growling belly and looking out the tiny window at the crowds of… People in red shirts, hats, and in a few cases, dresses. All headed towards the large gambling hall that their burrito truck was parked in front of.

    “It’s… what, a game day?”

    “Polling day, actually. Folks around here get to vote on which teams go to the Clan moot. Usually turns into something of a party, too. It’s why I wore my lucky red shirt today!”

    Marcus deftly made two spicy burritos while they talked, filling them with bean paste, meat, peppers and onions, wrapping them up in neat folds and swaddling them with foil. He handed one to Angela, and she could not resist a bite. Heavenly.

    “You people are weird,” She said, trying and failing not to talk with her mouth full.

  22. So how is risky technobabble,
    supporting his inalienable right to,
    shoot high in rate thirty-eight?

    Sometimes humans in right times,
    should hope I roll tomorrow,
    skyjacking how I refrain terrain.

    Shoot hovering instrument rudders today,
    slay hiding issues running tomorrow,
    stay hankering inquiry ruler’s troopers.

    Subversive hijacking I relived this.

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