A man’s voice squawked over the communication system, “That’s a Roger.”
By this time, Andre had slipped his headpiece over his ear and spoke into the tiny a microphone, “What’s up Smitty?”
Smitty snickered, “We are… I hope.”
Andre smiled at the joke. “It’s just a figment of your imagination. You’re really still in the simulator at flight school dreaming that you have become some big shot.”
Smitty asked, “Why aren’t you flying one of these ships, Andre?”
Andre laughed sarcastically, “Don’t you know, I’m afraid of heights?”
Smitty answered, “Right. So you take a job aboard an orbiting weather station? That makes perfect sense.”
Andre said, “If I don’t look out the windows, I can pretend I’m still on Earth.”
Another man’s voice squawked through Andre’s earpiece, “How’s the computer holding up, Andre?”
Andre gave a pat snide remark, “After I pasted her together this morning, she’s holding her own, Hunter.”
Hunter bantered back, “What would we do without your cutting wit, Andre… Let me speak to Rahil.”
Andre sat back and watched Rahil from the corner of his eye, his arms crossed against his chest as she spoke into her mouthpiece, “Yes, Dr. Hunter?”
Hunter said, “So what is it like to be this close to the stars you love?”
Rahil got a dreamy look in her eyes. “It’s…”
Hunter answered, “Heaven?”
Rahil smiled. “Yes, that is exactly the word.”
Hunter changed the subject. “Dr. Taylor can hardly wait to be up there with the crew.”
Andre thought, Rahil looked good in control. He wanted to kiss the dimple that formed near her mouth when she answered, “I can imagine. The telescope he built at O.R.I.O.N. Station keeps calling my name. Soon as we’re done here, I’m going stargazing, right up close and personal.” She unkeyed the microphone and gave Andre a nervous smile.
Andre winked at her while running his finger across her shoulders, he whispered in her ear, “I need to check on the mother lode.”
He turned and walked toward the exit, but he heard her call from behind him. “I still think that’s a strange name to call the microprocessor.”
Andre stopped at the door. Feeling very sure of himself, he gave Rahil another wink. “She loves it… and me.”
He turned to leave, but stopped to peak over his shoulder to see Rahil smile secretly to herself. She’s forgotten all about that blip, he smiled and rounded the corner, as if the leave. He stopped when Dr. Carmella Beaumont, an imposing woman in her early forties, walked by.
She gave him a crisp nod accompanied with a terse, “‘Morning, Tourve.” Her gaze then pivoted around the room and seemed to take in everything, resting on Rahil.
“How’s it going Mikush?”
Again, Rahil sat as if completely absorbed with the blip on the scope. “Good morning, Carmella. Everything is on schedule.”
Carmella gave Rahil a crisp nod of authority as the controller queried a read out that scrolled on a nearby monitor.
Copyright Ledia Runnels 2012
During a time of civil war, Karasu Hinata is born the son of a powerful warlord. When he is still a child, his family castle is taken by a rival clan. His father and mother are murdered right before his eyes.
Barely escaping with his life, he is spirited away by the king of the tengu. The shape-shifting raven leads him to the hidden mountain retreat of a sect of mystic warriors. Mountain priests who practice the magic of Shugendo.
Ten years have passed. The time has come for Karasu to leave the mystic’s protective lair and face his demons in the world beyond. But the fiend that haunts his nightmares is also the one that shattered his life. More than a bad dream, it wants him dead.
In Legend of the Tengu Prince, nothing is as it seems. Shape-shifting creatures, both good and evil, populate the magical world of feudal Japan. And a young man will pay the ultimate price for a deadly rival spawned in the mists time. This riveting first volume of a epic fantasy adventure will leave you stunned and begging for more.
- O.R.I.O.N.’S QUEST: Chapter One “Part One” (creativemusingsoflediar.com)