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Brand Spanking New Excerpt:

...Excitement built as Eunice reported to deck twelve, barrel two to meet her pilot. First impression-his gray skin exactly matched the color of his unruly hair. He's ancient for a lieutenant.

Remembering her basic training, she snapped to attention. "Private Eunice Daniels, reporting for--"

"Relax, Private. I don't do the whole salute and shout routine. Name's Leo." He eyed her. "Where's your stuff?"

She patted her pockets. "It's only an overnight trip."

"Ah a woman who knows how to pack." He thumped his chest. "Love at first sight."

She stared at him. Was this guy for real?

"Hop into the bullet, I'm just finishing pre-flight." He returned to the collective's screen built into the side wall.

Eunice scanned the area. A long thin tunnel disappeared to the left and a round black metal container rested on the tunnel's track. One end was cone shaped, while the other looked like it had been chopped off. Probably a probe. "Uh...Leo, where's the bullet?"

He spun, mouth agape. "You're the courier, right?"


"You've never flown in a bullet?" The question was more a groan.

"I've never couriered before. I'm just out of training."

"Holy sh** with a crown and scepter. You're a spanking newbie!" He gestured at her fatigues. "I should have noticed your shiny newness and fresh from the factory smell. Sh**." Leo tromped over to the probe, muttering under his breath.

The top of it just reached his shoulder. "This is the bullet. Fastest conveyance known to man." He smacked the side. It clanked. Then he opened the hatch and swept his hand out, pointing. "Navigational and life support equipment in the nose, pilot's seat, passenger's seat, cargo area, and the Kasner-Phillips engine behind that panel."

"Oh." A feather of fear twirled in her chest. Eunice had learned about the KP engine in basic training. But they were mostly used for emergencies because of the dangers. Her sergeant had said this was a routine delivery.

"What do you think?" Leo asked.


He laughed, flashing big yellow teeth. "That it is. No frills for sure. But it'll get us to Venus Five in no time."

So that was where they were going. Eunice hoped she'd have some time to look around before they returned. All she had to do was show up, let them remove the DSU and head back to Mercury Three for her next assignment. Routine. Right??


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