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A Lone Star-Chapter 1

A Lone Star

A Short Story by Lacey Schmidt



Bad ass. That was the first thought that came to Venn Jules’ mind as she looked over the Lone Starport’s new sheriff, Arnika Verne. The Sheriff stood on the deck of the hovercraft, eyeing the vast sea below with one hand on her trim neoskene-armor-clad hip and the other wrapped around a laser-arc spear. She looked like she knew exactly how to use that spear in a hurry, too. Which was very comforting, given that Venn herself was too stymied by the Great Orange Kraken’s tentacles to keep it from chewing on either her or the Starport’s tidal stream generator.


Operating the Lone Star State’s new near-equatorial launch facility was a health hazard given the pugnacious wildlife and militant super storms. Some said it was a suicide mission. The wild shores of Austin came with more risks to manage than the Governor and his cronies cared to admit; but at least that ass-hat and his merry troupe of brown-nosers had seen fit to let her build the Starport out of galaxy-grade titanium. They were also kind enough to grant Venn’s appeal to hire some protective muscle. Sexy muscle too.


“Looks like you’re an ass-crack away from becoming Kraken snack,” the Sheriff said with a sultry grin. Her accent dripped of Nor-easterner, someone used to the cold horror of the Arclantic Ocean, and thus she probably knew fuck-diddle about the warm terrors of Venn’s Gulf of Mexico operations. Venn’s hopes of salvation diminished.  “No shit. Now shoot the bastard in his damn plate-sized eye.”


Black hair whipping in the wind, the Sheriff sent an off-hand laser bolt into the Kraken’s beak. The bolt struck just a foot shy of Venn’s head and then, in such quick succession that Venn never saw the sheriff move, she fired two more bolts into the Kraken’s eyes. Venn dropped from the Kraken’s failing grasp into the ocean like a stone.


Luckily, she hit the muddy red waves feet first, but the velocity of her fall still sunk her a dozen meters. She knew her immediate-personnel-locator-tags likely tripped two seconds after being submerged, but they wouldn’t do the Sheriff any good toward dragging her out of the water if she didn’t break surface in a hurry—before any of the Kraken’s sisters sensed her presence and dragged her to the blackest deep.  And it would be the Kraken’s sisters, Venn knew, because their males were mostly lame, much like the men of today’s United States of Oceania.


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