HARVEST ON HOLIDAY

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HARVEST ON HOLIDAY

Post by Welsh Halfwit »

And here's Harvest Mouse P.I Harvest Moon. For those who don't know, he's a wannabe 'noir' type who I write in 1st person, present tense. It's a different format from the other stories as it's often his train of thought with added dialogue.

1. SALARA

Welcome to Darena Core, the holiday destination of the new colonies. A place where the drinks are always cold, the guests are always warm, the tunes are always melodic and the ruins are probably fake. That’s what the flyers might say in about ten years when it’s fully established. It’s not the first planet called Darena Core of course, but you need to know recent history to know that and there’s not much money in studying that recently.


The first Darena core was an agricultural world in the core systems. Lots of green fields and hills and scenic scenery as far as the eye could see. Placid beaches and waterfalls sprinkled the landscape. And then the Council fell to internecine warfare over points of law about twenty years back. You know how it goes. Apparently our spacial neighbours have started doing it to according to Galnet reports. Anyhow, one of the major ground battles was on poor old Darena Core and they’re still removing the planted weapons from a planet no-one dares live on any more. Well, OK, I exaggerate. There’s about three hundred thousand on the planet. There used to be twenty million. But I digress. I usually do.


This world was bought by entrepreneurs looking to turn a long term credit in the leisure business and they called it Darena Core because one of the group happened to have lived there and thought he saw a resemblance between the hills of Murran and the slopes to the north of this world. He’d apparently wanted to call it ‘New Darena Core’ but no-one liked that. It shortened to ‘New core’ one way which, given some people’s pronunciation, sounded rather like a rather large explosion. And the other way shortened to ‘New Darina’ which also sounded a bit rude, especially when shortened to the four letters, as would happen.


So they’d built on a small colonial world. It had a regional space port, flowing rivers, artificially controlled weather systems, easy locals and interesting hints as to the previous residents occupations and fates and how they’d lived. It had brought academics from Pandera and Calderon to carry out gentle excavations that only told them about things that had died centuries before. Legends stated there was something else there but, frankly, what was the purpose of legends if not to sell tickets? We’re not here for any of that.


We’d been pursuing a contract come case on Tivulon, a Celican colony world where one of the local businessfoxes had been a little… free with his employees pensions and I’d been hired on a contract that I’d handed on to the Celican authorities after dragging up enough evidence that even his own brother-in-law wouldn’t have been able to ignore. As usual, it was the indiscretion which did it. Fancy cheating on the Chief of Police’s sister. And being snapped snogging a youthful tod who was only beginning to forgive me after a week on a potential paradise world where I was leaving him free to pick up the Vixens, Does and whatever elses he preferred. I sleep with headphones on now. On the way back to the spaceport, with an account full of ten percent of the actual theft – my fee, I’m not a charity – I get a message telling me I have an eighty percent discount on a holiday at the Pafrey resort here. It’s winter back on Calderon and I had a sullen Celican who wasn’t going to talk to me so I clicked ‘yes’ or, as I preferred to think of it,’why not’?


Eight days in and I’m waiting for the other shoe to drop. It’s not that… I pause as a rather attractive Canid female settles into the sun lounger next to me and looks over. “You look lost in thought,” she tells me.

Once more I’m glad this isn’t a nudist beach. It’s not that I don’t appreciate the female form. In many ways it’s perfect – especially this one – but, if you can appreciate theirs, they can appreciate yours. My father used to say that there was a reason we HarvestMicans had prehensile tails. It was so we had something to impress the other races with. But she’s either being friendly or she’s one of the people paid to be here so what’s the harm in chat? “I have a myriad,” I tell her, “it’s easy to get lost in the maze.”

She settles back and puts her drink next to mine on the table. “Didn’t you bring a ball of wool?”

I chuckle. It’s not a bad line. “My mental Ovines refused to sell me any,” I say, propping myself up on an elbow to look at her Afgar goodness. It’s twenty-five C in the shade here. She must be hot. I’m quite warm myself. Dakrin, of course, is acting cool down by the sea with his arm around a Lappinean. What is it with Celicans and Lappineans? If they’re not bumping and grinding, they’re predator and prey. I was always told not to play with my food. Then again, he’d probably refer to it as a different method of catching the prey. Certainly a nicer way. Oops, back to the Afgar. “I think my mind hates me.”

“Why’s that?”

“It never lets me appreciate what’s here,” I tell her honestly. “Whenever something wonderful lies just across from me, it doesn’t think ‘wow’, it thinks ‘why’?”

“Tell it some of us appreciate the smaller packages,” she lies sweetly. Yup. Definitely glad it’s not a nudist beach. She reaches over and offers a hand. “I’m Salara, by the way,” she tells me.

My mind thinks it would be a good idea to ask if ‘by the way’ was a good surname. My mouth, fortunately, shows it’s where my brains are and turns down the chance as I take the hand and shake it before drawing it closer to kiss the back of her hand. “Enchanted. I’m Harvest.”

She smiles at the kiss and henhouse an eyeridge at the name. “A HarvestMican called Harvest,” she asks. “Your parents wanted the definitive article?”

More like they couldn’t be bothered with any inventiveness, I don’t tell her. “Something like that,” I do as she almost pulls me off my lounger to kiss the back of my hand.

“Gallantry has its place,” she tells me, “but I prefer gentle equality. What brings you to a place like this?”

“A massive discount on the price and a need to cheer up my ward.” I nod towards Dakrin.

She looks over at him and I can sense that eye-ridge cocking again. “The Celican? How does a fieldmican end up with a Celican ward?”

“Caldera didn’t have any Celicans willing to take him on,” I say, keeping to the edge of truth. “It was me or prison and I figured I could turn him around. It’s worked so far. What brings you here?”

She sips her drink, clearly not caring that I’d just changed the subject. “Oh, I’m here for work,” she confesses after releasing the metal straw from her delicate teeth. “I’m an attendee at the security conference here in a few days.”

I perk up my ears. Was that a shoe I just heard in the distance?
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Re: HARVEST ON HOLIDAY

Post by Amazee Dayzee »

Good job on starting this story and how it came out! Looking forward for more!
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Re: HARVEST ON HOLIDAY

Post by Harry Johnathan »

I love how dramatic Harvests' narration is, but the actual events that occur is him getting on public transport and talking to the person next to him.
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Re: HARVEST ON HOLIDAY

Post by Welsh Halfwit »

Harry Johnathan wrote: Thu Jul 14, 2022 5:45 am I love how dramatic Harvests' narration is, but the actual events that occur is him getting on public transport and talking to the person next to him.
Yup. As Harvest's stuff is all him I often have his train of thought wander to keep it interesting.

2 BEACH TALK

I could listen to her talk for hours. According to Dakrin’s face as he sees her, I might have to to keep her safe from his advances. Salara tells me gently about the conference and its aims and purposes. It’s not a conference. It’s several companies selling their wares. I’d ask why she’s telling a complete stranger all about a conference designed to increase sales and unite colonies against those who’d fleece them and do them harm but I have the feeling that the sentence would actually be complete without the word ‘complete’ in it. The first ‘complete’, that is. Not the second or third ones. Then the line wouldn’t make sense. She tells me of how her company is thinking of joining the patch wide information network where crimes on one colony were automatically updated on the systems of all the other Police systems in the patch as well as on the IOC servers. It’s in response to the varying things that had happened recently, primarily the Calavix threat – even though that had receded and these people shouldn’t know of it anyway – and the fact that there was a civil war going on not far outside the system and someone had, apparently, fired a ball bearing of mass destruction and atomised a planetoid by firing a computer at it. I might be paraphrasing that last bit but the take out is:- there’s a lot going on. They had much to discuss, including whose computing systems to use and where to base the main servers. She, it seems, is here to represent her colonial company – bet THAT doesn’t surprise, huh? Ayston’s close to Metaxa III. Where’s Metaxa III? It’s close to Galaya. And that’s all I’ll say on it. She’s travelled a distance. I smile gently as she pauses to take a drink. “You knew who I was before you lay down, didn’t you,” I ask.


To her credit, she doesn’t lie. Well, not with her mouth anyway. She’s totally lying down and barely wearing… stop it! I mentally slap myself.
“Well,” she tells me, “that hat’s pretty well known.” She indicates a straw coloured hat with a large brim that’s lying on the floor next to me. Why do I keep wearing this thing? I had a kidnapping case that garnered rather a lot of publicity a year or so back. People trafficking in the patch. Micans, Humans, Canines… a whole load. I’d assisted in clearing it up and a papparaitchian had snapped a photo of me in the hat that had been on Galnet for a few hours before an organisation I’m part of – a bounty hunting one – charged me 500 credits to get rid of it. Some people, though, had printed it out. It had bit me in the foot a couple of times. “Your unorthodox styling hides a lot of intelligence, I think?”

“Well,” I tell her, “I only wear it to keep my brains warm. So this is all business?”

She shrugs and, to keep her cover intact, gives me the sort of kiss that could stun an Equinna. She pulls back. “Your associate still looking at us,” she asks.

“Uh, no,” I say, trying to get my tongue working on its own once again as it processes the wrestling match it just lost. She managed to make a CELICAN feel self-conscious? I have to give her points. “Although he probably will be in a few seconds.”

“Good,” she tells me. “I could do with help during this conference. People who are good at reading others and looking into them. I’m told you’re quite good at that?”

I take a breath. I need to get the question out of the way. “Who told you that,” I ask. “My landlady?”

Salara looks confused, cocking her head slightly in a way that looks so cute and makes me forget her mouth tasted of Jelly Babies and Pork loin mixed up in a blender with a Spartan Sunset Cocktail. “I don’t know your landlady,” she confesses. “But I did use to have a nanny called Patricia Lorin? She’s the one told me about the hat.”

Mrs Lorin. Mid 90’s Human who lives on the next floor down of my apartment block. Human with a history of work that seems to stretch all the way out here from Earth. Scottish, crusty and good with children. And another rung between Harriet Thurso and the truth. My landlady could never walk in a straight line if there was a corkscrew in a blender way to go. I could imagine it. A cup of tea in Lorin’s rooms. A statement of surprise when she read out the names of peoples attending the conference and Mrs Lorin says she knows that name. ‘Do you know,’ I imagine Harriet saying, ‘Harvest’s on holiday there? Perhaps they should meet?’ Or am I just paranoid? Nah. Sane people aren’t paranoid. Then again, only sane people think they’re not paranoid. And we can be wrong with authority. “I’ll have to thank her,” I tell Salara. No reason she needs to hear about my non-Paranoia, is there?

“So, are you up for a job on holiday,” she asks, letting her fingers walk across my chest in a way that makes saying ‘no’ the absolute last thing on my mind. Just as she intended.

“How aren’t you too hot in that fur,” I ask, my mind wandering.

“I spent two weeks in a volcano before coming,” she lies. I don’t care. Her hand’s on my shoulder now and my cares are light years away. I want to pull at my shirt collar but I’m not actually wearing one. I’m being seduced into work and what the heck, does it matter? Dakrin’s just been nailed by a beach ball thrown by a teenage Raitchian girl he ignored. Serves him right.

“My rates of pay are… are…” She’s tickling my ear now. “I’ll think of those later,” I reply, mind totally on work.

“I’ll pay expenses,” she tells me, leaning in for a much shorter kiss than last time. I think she wants a discount. She won’t get one. I can’t remember what my rates ARE so how can I discount them?

“OK,” I say. My eyes flick to where Dakrin is glaring at the Raitchian female and, from what my sluggish brain is reading on his lips, asking her how old she is. Her face is away from me but she’s obviously ‘of age’ so fourteen at least. I can tell that, even in my brain swirl, as he takes her in a passionate embrace for several seconds before releasing her back to her parents and running back to his Doe as the girl is held by her mother and waves after him. “Uh, wh...where shall we meet,” I ask her.

“Aren’t we meeting now,” the Afgar asks playfully. I tell her that I need to bring Dakrin up to speed on the situation and that’d take a little while. To catch him for one thing. She sighs and lies back, still holding my hand. “Perhaps my place in a few hours,” she tells me. “I want you to look at the others when you’re there, anyhow. As for now, Mr Moon?” She closed her eyes. “The sun’s on my face. Pass the hat, would you?” I have to let go to grab the hat off the floor.


A bullet thwacks into the sand between us, right where our hands might have been.


Don’t you just hate it when people try to kill you on holiday?
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Re: HARVEST ON HOLIDAY

Post by Amazee Dayzee »

Great work once again! It does suck when that happens though. LOL
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Re: HARVEST ON HOLIDAY

Post by Welsh Halfwit »

3 BEACH RUNNER

I have to say we react quite fast. It makes me suspect that Salara’s been shot at before and, frankly, I KNOW I have. She pushes herself off the bed to the far side as I do similar, rolling to my feet. The sand’s barely stopped shifting as the pair of us sprint for the cover of the nearest cliff. It’s the 30ft thing behind us and, from the angle of the shot, that’s where the assailant is. But he’s at the top and we’re at the bottom and there’s a small overhang. She’s in the lead but small feet are fleet feet and I’m barely a step behind. “You run well,” I tell her. Look, I’m not going to admit to either of us gasping, panting or swallowing after exertion so don’t expect to see any ‘gasps’ or ‘gulps’ or dashline (-) pauses in the dialogue, yeah? Just imagine it if you want.

“Practice,” she admits heavily. “A bullet?”

“Easier to sneak through customs,” I tell her. Stupidly, it’s true. They bring the gun in in parts and security – even in a temporarily low ranking place like this – knows the ways power cores and circuits are brought in. They’re looking for them. Solid state weaponry can, largely, be made in situ, with only certain parts that seem innocuous being brought in from elsewhere. It’s also harder to track the energy signature of a bullet as it lacks one. I look up at the overhang. “It was also silenced,” I tell my companion. “Well, muted somewhat at least.” I point to where the Raitchian family is still on the beach. “They didn’t run.”

“They…” OK, I know I said no gasps or gulps but she really does pause here and I never said no ellipsis, did I? “They did notice us running, though?”

I shrug. “Yeah, probably.” I say, “but this is Darena Core, you’re a beautiful female…”

“And you’re a handsome guy,” she replies, about a half second after my brain said it for her.

“… We just met,” I continue, “and we were running together for a sheltered location. They probably figure it was make out time.”

“Ruddy place,” she almost says, glancing around. “Are we safe here?”

“Like the Hobbit’s hiding from the Dark Riders,” I say.

“”What?”

“Never mind. It seems we’re OK if we don’t try to leave.” I look to either side. It’s a fairly straight cliff, left to right. Or north to south. Either way. There’s steps up some distance from us on either side. The overhang keeps a roof over our heads for most of the way in either direction. “Gimme a moment,” I say, pulling a comm out of my shorts to call Dakrin. “Dakrin,” I say, before pausing. “No, I wouldn’t say that, Dak. You have a dirty mind, yes. I’d CERTAINLY say that. Listen… No, not with someone shooting at us. I hoped that’d get your attention. No, I don’t think you can do anything. We’re going to get to the steps. Yes. Wait a few minutes, then get my hat.” I hang up. She’s staring at me. “What,” I ask. “OH! The Police?” I call them and let them in on the problem.


It takes five minutes of cliff hugging to get to the steps but I’m not really worried. The shooter had plenty of time to take a second shot at us on the mad scramble to the cliff and hadn’t bothered. It indicated to me that this was a warning for one of us. Well, that and the fact they’d shot at a very survivable limb. It just left several questions. Unfortunately they were Who, what, why, when and where? OK. Scratch ‘when’ because the answer is five minutes ago. Where is a bit more ambiguous and, hopefully, might get an answer at the top of the cliff. Who, however, was more expansive than just ‘who shot at us’. It also covered ‘who were they shooting at’? Only by answering if it was me – with people who’d like to kill me ranging from one want to be galactic Overlord I’d caught six years back on an interplanetary fraud charge to the Milk delivery agent who’d skipped out on Child Support payments for half his round and swore to me he had a cousin in the weapons business – or her, a slinky agent for an unknown corporation or government that was here to screw the best deal it could out of a situation that every other company or government wanted to screw a better deal from. Only by answering which was the target can I get a clear grip on ‘What the warning was about’ and ‘Why miss’. Because they did. I really have to think in shorter sentences.


Right. We’re at the steps. We’ve to break cover now. The worst moment. I spare Dakrin a glance. He’s looking over at the other steps deliberately, calling out something that I can’t make out from here, let alone from there. But it looks good, like he’s cupping his hands and yelling. Well, let’s see if anyone’s bought it…


Up the steps, as fast as we can. Keeping our heads down and trying not to go flying at the same time. I hate steps. They’re always bigger than a FieldMican is comfortable with, especially at speed. As I reach the top first… I’m sure I started second. Did she let me overtake her? She’s only three quarters of the way up… I dive forward as though expecting a bullet. Nothing. No automatic gunfire to stitch perforations into me. No smiling assassin to goad me into a dance of death on the cliff top. Mind you, I AM five minutes from where the shot came from. Plenty of time for someone to kill me. Or Salara. I indicate that she should stay here and she totally ignores me as I knew she would. She races past me, then stops to grab me. Oh, this is humiliating.


I arrive at the suspected site on her back, holding on like a child. I’m just glad I was able to jump off before the Core Police arrive, driving a green and hover vehicle that sets down close to the signs of a motorcycle and I’m thankful the Equinnan Officers – yup, it’s one of their worlds. A place revelling in near nudity and glorious weather and you doubted it? I know a consortium bought it but it officially got assigned to one of the species and they put up a bit more of the cash than everyone else. Anyhow, I’m thankful they didn’t step on the tracks. They demand answers. I reply that I’m the one who called them and someone shot at us several minutes ago. They scoff and ask what we were doing. I point down to the loungers where Dakrin is choosing NOW to get my hat. I then spend thirty seconds convincing them that he has nothing to do with it. I announce my occupation and they ask for papers that I don’t have. “I’m wearing beach shorts,” I tell them. “I don’t keep identification in there. Pouch isn’t big enough.”

“You keep a comm in there,” Salara offers from where she’s crouched.

“Well, it’s waterproof.”

“And this,” she says, “is some sort of proof.”

One of the officers moves her aside and, donning blue gloves, picks up a bullet casing to put in his bag. She stands, turns and steps up to the Officer who’s not believing me. “I’m Salara Kole,” she says, showing him a badge that I can’t quite see from here. “I met Mr Moon a half hour back. Six minutes ago, I hired him and his associate as security assistance for the conference…”

Whilst she talks, I take digital pictures of the tread of the motorcycle. I have a friend who may be able to tell me about it.

“...and he’ll be staying at the Hotel Coronado when you want to talk with us, Officer. You’ll find the other half of the bullet down there.” She pointed down. They head for the steps and I comm ahead to warn Dakrin they’re coming and he’s not to panic. He doesn’t get on well with the cops.


Now, how to tell my two star hotel that we’re leaving for the most expensive place on the planet?
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Re: HARVEST ON HOLIDAY

Post by Welsh Halfwit »

FIVE STAR

We step in on somewhere I could afford if I had enough credits to batter an Equinna to death with when folded into physical notes. It’s the kind of marbled palace that stretches out as far as the eye can see even though it really doesn’t. It just seems like it does. The floor is grey marble with a colossal decal of the hotel company on it, pointing towards a bar and restaurant that only employs top class chefs and servers who glide from transparent metal tables (glass is too smashable and cheap for these people) and serve people who hire people to hire people like me. There may be more money in the bar area than exists on the entirety of Caldera. And we’re wearing bathing trunks and flip flops. Oh, and a hat.

“I think I’m underdressed,” Dakrin says, uttering words I never thought I’d hear a Celican say. He’s checking out the ladies so I sidle over to him and remind him that they probably all have bodyguards and assassins in their ‘qwik-call’ settings. It cools his ardour somewhat as a suited Lappinean hustles over to snoot at us and I wonder where Salara suddenly got a shirt from. She hadn’t been wearing one when we’d… ah, the doorman’s scuttling away. She probably had one reserved for situations like this and, if you don’t believe it, neither do I really. I just can’t figure that bit out.

“I...I am sorry, Miss Penwick,” he flusters, “but our guests do expect a certain… standard from our guests visitors and…”

“He’s not my visitor,” Salara explains, “he’s a new guest at the hotel. On my account. Twin beds as close to my room as possible. He has just been of inestimable use to myself and I need to keep them close for the while.” She gestures for him to come in closer and I barely hear her tell him that I’m a Private Investigator she met earlier and someone had taken a shot at her. His eyes widen appreciatively. Well, I appreciated it anyhow. He insists that we should be properly attired, though.

“Well, for the moment,” Salara says, “perhaps you could send up a few spares?” She indicates her new shirt. “And arrange for their belongings to be picked up from their other hotel? I intend to keep them close by. Have the clothes brought to my room. It’s where you’ll find them.”

Who IS this lady? She has money and power and the knowledge of how to use it. This Lappinean doesn’t just respect her but FEARS her. Why should..? I glance down at the floor and two and two come together. Penwick hotels. That’s what the floor says. Right. Well, she’s not the owner, I’ve seen his picture and heard his interviews and… is he a puppet? Nah. I tell the manager where we were based as we’re escorted to the elevators – they don’t call them ‘lifts’ in places like this – and the elevator officer – these people don’t even press their own buttons – presses for the top floor.

“He’s my uncle,” Salara says, knowing the elevator officer ‘can’t’ hear her. “One of the backers of this world. I don’t often play on the relationship…” Did that Elevator guy just stifle a laugh? “...but, when I do, I do. Kole’s the name I usually use. The company sent me here so I took the initiative. Now,” she added as we stepped out onto the… oh, gods, it’s the penthouse level… anyway, we step out and head towards the door. I run a check over the door and, for once, Dakrin doesn’t mind me being on his shoulders to check the top of the door. I think he’s showing off his muscles for the super-rich. Anyhow, from what I can smell and see, there’s nothing attached to the door. With the others standing back – halfway along the corridor, in fact – I gently open the door and don’t receive an explosion in the face. So we go into a place that puts my home to shame. Blue velvet carpet that’s been cleaned more than once this month, a white leather SIX piece suite around a table that makes those downstairs look cheap. There’s a vidscreen the size on my home wall against the far wall and windows that go from transparent to opaque at the touch of a button. She’s got a replication machine and a holographic generator with the chef program installed in the kitchen area. “No drooling,” she tells us, stepping into the main bedroom. “Your room will be much the same. Take a seat.”


I’m wearing shorts, my fur’s full of sand and I’m sitting on a colossally expensive piece of furniture. Dak’s looking nervous. “What’s up,” I ask him.

“Isn’t it possible this person was trying to kill you, not her,” he queries.

“Yup,” I agree, “but I’d rather think not. It was a warning shot, Dakrin. A message. The message could have been for either of us but it’s probably about this conference.”

“I agree with you on that,” Solara says, returning to the room in generous, flowing, robes that somehow made her stand out even more. She sat down on the opposite side of me to Dakrin and strokes my cheek gently in a way that makes me want to shudder and gibber. “Nanny Pat really got you right, didn’t she? Said never to underestimate your intelligence. No matter how much you try to hide it.”

“Thanks. Except for that last bit, that was quite a compliment.”

“And you,” she says, looking at Dakrin, “are not allowed any guests in the room. The walls aren’t that soundproof.”

Dakrin puts on an angelic face. But I know him. If he had a halo, it’d be burning.

“So,” she says, looking back to me and shifting on the sofa – which is so expensive it doesn’t make a noise – “did you cast your eye over any of the people in the bar? They’re some of the competition. My Uncle’s using the conference as a ‘test event’ so they’re all staying here.”


I run my minds eye back over the people in the bar. A gaggle of species and genders that had shown a mixture of reactions. The felines had reacted with desire for me – not in the good way, judging by how one had licked his lips – and scorn for Dakrin – that he’d not noticed. The Mican had seemed derisive. The Lappinean… “The Lappinean was more relieved than surprised, shocked or horrified,” I say. “Almost like he expected it. A lopear Cubanan type,” I describe. “Light grey suit.”

“Maltar,” she agrees as the door opens and two maids come in. They gently order Dakrin and I to stand and take our measurements. The Lappinean takes a little time getting properly close as she checks my chest and… did she just hug me whilst measuring around my back. The eyes the Feline’s giving Dakrin makes me think he’ll be visiting her room later. He’s always on the hunt. When they’ve got our measure… she just winked at me… they leave and she continues. “With the expansion of the Lappinean colonies in the patch,” she tells me, “they’re looking to produce more and supply more. As it is, supply is higher than demand for the security systems they make. That and Canis Defence Tech, Raicarra, Monta and a few others are also in the game. Push comes to shove and everyone’s looking to knock competitors off a cliff, Harvest.”


“So I guess,” I tell her as the door is knocked again. We switch on the vid. It’s a concierge with two suits draped across his arm in bags. She heads across to open the door but I catch her and shake my head. “They took our measurements two minutes ago,” I warn her. “And they didn’t knock.”

She clues in on what I’m talking about and uses the comm. “Can you leave them out there,” she asks. “We’re a bit...ahem… busy at the moment?”

<”Apologies, Ma’am,”> he replies as I quickly scan the kitchen for a bladed item. The cutlery’s holographic. Great. You can’t even leave the kitchen area with… Is that a real corkscrew? Who has corks any more? Hmm, apparently someone who left it here. It’s not holographic. Meh, it’ll do. As Dakrin gets his dream job and takes Salara into her bedroom, I go to the door and, standing to one side, activate the holochef before opening the door...
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Re: HARVEST ON HOLIDAY

Post by Amazee Dayzee »

Just read through these chapters since I got the chance and I really like where exactly this story is going here! Keep it up!
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Re: HARVEST ON HOLIDAY

Post by Welsh Halfwit »

5 SQUABBLE


There are several disadvantages to being me in a fight. First off, I’m considerably shorter than most people. Dakrin has a clear ten inches on me and he’s a lot younger than me. He’s also got about thirty pounds on me and, frankly, he’s underweight and I’m not. I give passing thought, as the door opens and I prepare my pointy little stab dagger, that he should be the one out here. But this guy could be armed with anything and I really don’t want my assistant come mechanic come seduction asset to come to harm. Of course, this guy could just be a concierge with a suit and a remarkable way of sizing people up without measuring. Suppose we need to find out.

The advantages of being me in a fight is people often don’t adapt quickly to fighting someone so small. They’re not used to it. Their shots come in a little high. I’m also quite intelligent and that’s why I put the holochef program on. He reacts quite instinctively, this Canine, and puts a neat hole through the suits he’s carrying with the small blaster he’d hidden under them. And the chef had only asked what he was supposed to be cooking too!


I step into the danger zone of the Canine and put the corkscrew to work in his upper left leg. It’s not exactly a mortal wound but it makes him call out as I hear Salara making a call down to the reception desk. He makes to try and club me with the gun but it’s still underneath the clothes bags so he only manages to ‘whomp’ me with a jacket that would have cost more than my car before he shot a hole in it. But I’ve only got a few seconds before he realises he can just pull the trigger again so I twist further into his grip as I hope it’s what he’s not expecting. The shot scorches my trailing arm and reminds me of pain. Which is quite logical as it IS pain. He’s trying to grip me with his free arm now so I stab away at it with sod all effectiveness due to the angle. But my other arm’s found his. I can’t actually see properly through the thread but, if my arm’s found his gun arm my teeth can. Another advantage of being me in a fight. Sharp teeth. Ever growing sharp teeth. And I’ve not gnawed anything for a few hours. So I bite the arm. He yells out and shakes me free so he can club me on the back of the head. It doesn’t quite knock me out but it doesn’t make me feel any better. That clunk I hear is either my ears reverberating or the gun hitting the floor. The chef’s complaining about someone shooing him in the head, I think. My ears may be full of blood and wool but Dakrin doesn’t swear like that. Someone attaches a foot to my backside and propels me into the room, I still can’t see anything as I’ve taken the clothes with me like an ugly hat and I hit something that would have hurt except for the coverings. Who am I kidding? It still hurts.


When I come around it’s a few minutes later and there are more people in the room than there had been before. There’s a first aider dealing with my arm after reasoning there was nothing wrong with my head beyond a bruise the size of a rock. “Mrr,” I ask.

“He ran off,” Dakrin says. “He saw me coming out of the bedroom to help and figured he wasn’t going to succeed so he turned and ran. I chased him to the fire escape but, when I got out there, I couldn’t see him.”

Even half stunned, with a feline treating my wounds, my first thought is pride in Dakrin. He’d been smart enough to wait until the killer had dropped his weapon before he came to help. He’d shown more brains than me, that’s for sure. There’s a thickset Wolven with a scar on his face asking questions of Salara – there were two of him until I blinked – and I get the feeling he’s the hotel detective or some equivalent rank. To prove it, he comes over. “What can you tell me about the assailant,” he asks as my eyes try to keep focus on him.

I’m not sure I can form words. It’s like there’s something thick in my mouth. I spit it out and the lump of tan furred flesh out onto the floor with a few fragments of my teeth. “Pretty sure you can check his DNA,” I offer, wiping my mouth. My teeth hurt. Swallowing’s kinda nasty too. Micans might be omnivores but blood has a taste that’s unpleasant to us. “Labran type Canine,” I offer. “About five ten in height, one ten in weight. Where’d…” Either my words are swirly or the world is. “Where’d he get the clothes from?”

“Laundry,” the Wolven replies.

Did he introduce himself? He might have done when I was in and out of the room at the same time. He’s got muscles on top of muscles that I can actually see through the cream jacket they’re making him wear. “Didn’t catch your name,” I tell him. “I’m Harvest Moon.”

“Detective and all round pest,” he replies. “Checked into you before you even got out of the lift…” he ignores someone who tells him to call it an elevator and my respect for him grows a tad as, seemingly, does the back of my head. “Sheriff Javert sends her disgust.”

“Javin,” I correct, rubbing my head before recalling how Wolves don’t like to be corrected. “So she does… ow, think of me.”

“She said she’d send a ‘Wish you a long holiday’ E-Card.” With a forensics glove and bag, he picked up the piece of assailant. “Smacked you on the head when you were biting him?”

“Yup. Ow.”

“Stop touching it.” He steps back as the first aider finishes dealing with my arm. “Tell me about earlier.”

I relay the events of the beach and the sudden increase in attempts on my life this week His eyes flick when I mention how the shot earlier was obviously a warning to someone and I take that to mean he agrees with me. It’s a bit gratifying, even if it’s also pretty clear he thinks I should have free climbed the cliff and flipped the gunner off the cliff. Or that could just be me projecting as the steri-strip medication works its way into the burn on the arm and turns things painless for a moment. After the sheer, teeth grinding, initial pain of antiseptic, of course.

“You gonna be smart and let the professionals deal with it from here on in,” he asks.

“Which professionals,” I ask, pulling myself up to my feet. I appreciate many things about Wolven. He doesn’t immediately try to help me stand. In fact, it’s almost the opposite.

He sniffs. “Judging by the way you’re stupid enough to try standing, the answer is no.” He puts his datapadd away and a smile cracks the visage, making him even uglier. “Good,” he says and I figure I’ve just gone up in HIS estimation. “I’ll be back,” he forewarns.

“Who’ll be back,” I ask.

He looks confused. “I will.”

“And you are,” I ask, wondering how simple I need to put it.

“Detective Drummond,” he replied simply, leaving the room with the evidence.

“By any chance,” I ask Salara when the others have gone, “has anyone been trying to kill your uncle?”
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Re: HARVEST ON HOLIDAY

Post by Amazee Dayzee »

This was a really great addition to the story! Looking forward from more from you!
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Re: HARVEST ON HOLIDAY

Post by Harry Johnathan »

I like how you used rodent teeth constantly growing in a fight scene lol
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Re: HARVEST ON HOLIDAY

Post by Welsh Halfwit »

Biology does sometimes come in useful.

6. VIDCALL.

I figure it’s an avenue worth considering; the possible ‘hostile takeover’ of a big business by those who believe lead should come in front of silver on the negotiation table. It usually involves people involved in the company who aren’t going to ascend to the top without others tripping and falling off the fire escape on the fifteenth floor when no-one’s looking due to a fire alarm going off a few floors down when the hopeful ascender is taking roll call at the fire assembly point. Unless the target lands on them, they ascend in the organisation. Having Salara shot whilst attending a security conference that’s going to be cut-throat anyway… But it’s not to be.

Apparently her Uncle’s quite safe and well, according to the call she just made. A direct link from a Briar Patch Colonial world to Cana. It probably costs more than my weekly rent for three minutes. Well, OK, it does as my landlady only charges a peppercorn rent for various reasons including constantly having me owe her favours but you get the drift. This lady has cash. I’m standing in front of a billionaire in a pair of beach shorts. He’s not entirely impressed and tries to convince Salara to abandon her plans of attending this conference. She’s not having it and argues back that, if she backed down every time someone took a shot at her, she’d never get any work done. I start and look at her. She meets my gaze. “What,” she asks.

“How many times have people shot at you,” I ask plaintively.

She shrugs those longfurred shoulders. I can imagine them moving under the robes and… stop it, Harvest! No screwing around when you’re on the job..! Did I really just put TWO double entendres in one thought? I mentally slap myself. “Five or six times,” she admits. “I do work for a security company.”

<”But you’re not supposed to be on the front line,”> the billionaire says on the hyperspeed relay from Cana. Dang, but I want their money…

“Sometimes even the back line gets shelled,” she replies. “There’s no way to always be completely safe and Mr Moon here should be able to figure out who’s out to get me and remove them from the negotiations.” I have to baulk at that but I try to hold it in. I’m no assassination agent…

Wait a minute, I’m affiliated with an official Bounty Hunter section known for using poisoned blades, am I that sure I’m not an assassin? I mean, I probably wouldn’t if there was a larger bounty for bringing someone in dead rather than alive but… I shake my head to clear the cobwebs. Oops. Bad move. They’re wondering what I’m saying ‘no’ to. And I’m wondering what they were saying. “Sorry,” I say, “just clearing my head. “I will do all I can, Mr Penwick,” I assure him, “to keep your niece safe and find out who’s targetting her.”

<”I know you will, Mr Moon.>” he replies. <”If I ask you to or not. It’s your job.”> How, I wonder, does he make that sound like a threat? <”But I’ll be sending a consultant anyhow. Despite the fact you’re about to tell me it’s not needed.”>

I shrug. “Heck, no! I was going to tell you it’d be a good idea and a better idea to use your budget than ours!”

He breaks into a tight lipped smile. There’s no humour behind it. <”An honest Mican,”> he tells me, <”I approve.>”


Whilst we talk, two maids enter with a pair of outfits for myself and Dakrin. He’s in the bedroom trying to pretend he doesn’t exist on this call. He has a fear of facing rich and powerful people face to face. Behind their backs he’ll steal all he can from them but he doesn’t like them actually seeing them. I suppose it’s understandable, considering how ‘well’ he gets on with Harriet. The Feline one walks into the room and, within a minute, we’re hearing giggles from the room. Loud ones. The Mican maid discretely closes the door behind her as the billionaire looks around for the cause of the noise. I grimace and point towards the door. “I… have a Celican associate,” I admit, deciding there was no point in lying as he was obviously going to research me as soon as the call was over. “We’re, uh, both here in our beachwear and the hotel’s just sent up two maids with clothes for us…”

<”I’ll tell them to send big males from now on,”> he promises with a gravelly tone that has more stone in it than most pavements. I figure that’ll stop Dakrin. Unless he’s being paid. I had to give him triple rate the last time.


Twenty minutes pass after the call and I stand in front of Salara in a light brown suit with a white shirt and tie and hat. She tells me off. “You shouldn’t wear a hat indoors,” she tells me. “It’s just not done.”

“It is when it’s me,” I tell her casually. “It hides unkempt headfur.”

“If you insist,” she allows, before looking at the bedroom door. “I will need those sheets replaced, I suppose.”

“Amount of sand he’s getting on them,” I concur, “I would.”


We wait ten minutes before the maid manages to leave the room and Dakrin steps out looking like a suave secret agent who’s been dragged through a hedge. Salara makes him sit down and then hands me the comb to get his headfur under control. So passes another five minutes as I make a masterpiece out of a molehill. He could fit in with the art prints around the room. The Sorgin, the Rydran, the… Those ARE prints, aren’t they? Nope. Eesh. If a shot had gone through one of them… I wonder if the holochef’s gotten over being shot in the head yet?


We step out, looking like something from a classy bad movie and head for the lobby via the stairs. This might well be annoying but it’s next to the fire escape and I need to check the escape. “he was gone by the time you got here,” I ask Dakrin as we turn the last corner to the inside of the building.

“Yup,” he replies, pulling at his collar until Salara slaps his hand. “I come around the corner and he’s gone.

I step out onto the metal and start the alarms going again. A certain Detective’s going to hate me. I look down as the din rings. Nine floors. Bit unlikely. I look up. Two floors. Dak’s likely to look up as soon as he sees nothing down so he’d need to be a PanOlympic athlete to get up there before Dakrin found him. Not to mention there’s no blood going to the ladder up. Nor towards the down one. Gives me an idea of what happened.


“What the **** are you doing,” Drummond snarls from behind us. I turn.

“Did the alarms go off when he fled earlier,” I ask.

“Of course they did,” he snaps. “what of it?” I beckon him over. “What?”

“You’re being chased,” I say. “You’ve got seconds, you’re bleeding and you’re heading for this exit. You’ve got seconds. No blood trail going left or right. How do you get off?”

“I’ll figure it out,” Drummond grumbles.

“I’ll tell you,” I reply. “Something I used to do every now and again. You flip over the rail, grab it and land on the next floor down. These doors,” I tell him simply, “were always going to be opened. They’re the escape route. There’s someone on security helping this guy.”

He gives me a gaze that could freeze electricity. “I will check the CCTV from that floor,” he says tightly. “And you will not say that again. Clear?”

“As cheap glass,” I tell him.
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Re: HARVEST ON HOLIDAY

Post by Amazee Dayzee »

Nice job on this next part! It is just so good!
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Re: HARVEST ON HOLIDAY

Post by Welsh Halfwit »

7 RESTAURANT


By the time we’re sat in the restaurant, looking over overpriced Ravioli that could be bought from the supermarket down the road for the tiniest fraction of the price, I imagine Drummond, who I’m thinking of calling ‘Bulldog’ (and if you’re wondering why, you’re not a Sapper fan, you’re more of a sap as he might put it) has probably stalked off with the member of his own security who was assisting the shooter. It’s interesting how fast they adapt, I think. I mean the clothes idea was a good one and that probably means they were advised by someone who heard our little contretemps in the lobby earlier and made an immediate call. I’ll have to look into that later. I have a little thingammyjig that lets me into the local servers to identify what comm number sent what comm from where at when. Well, almost. It doesn’t actually tell me what was said. It just tells me who.

The fact it was a Canine tells me nothing about who hired him. The world’s got all the races on it somewhere. Even Osirans in the desert area designed for them. And anyone can hire anyone. Equality in its truest form. And I also have to consider another obvious fact. The person who paid for someone to fire a warning shot this afternoon may not be the same as the person who hired a would be killer this early evening. Radically different modus operandi for one thing. A sniper who’s careful not to be seen and a hitman… hitdog who couldn’t care less if the world and his wife clapped eyes on him.

“We could fill up the Brickmobile twice over for the price of a starter here,” Dakrin ‘whispers’ to me in a tone loud enough that half the room could hear it. He’s not at home in opulence and financial success. To be honest, neither am I but I’m pretty sure I can wing it. I know when to use a salad fork. I might borrow one of these later – just until I get the local sheriff to issue me a short term weapons licence under my H/K registration. It’s sharp and pointy and has a better cutting ability than a corkscrew. If I’d hit the Canid with THIS, he’d never had been able to vault that railing and escape.

“Remember that the next time you complain about the fuel costs,” I mutter back. I couldn’t even afford water in a place like this. “The Laga grain Wellington, I think,” I say, raising my voice to match Dak’s. “”Human fusion food. Should be interesting. Wonder if it comes with Tomato Ketchup?


Of course, what I’m mainly doing, as we wait for food, is judging the reactions of the other guests. It’s interesting to see their faces as they’re forced to share a room with those who aren’t anywhere near their economic class and their reactions, even the micro ones, give away their disdain. If I had my contact lens camera, I’d be taking pictures to examine later on my computer but, as I have neither on me at the moment, I just have to go on what I can read.

For the Felines, the black furred mouth on muscles is the obvious lead but the race prefers cunning over muscle as they don’t tend to be physically more capable than the others. Well, they have it in agility but agility means little when backed into a corner by a hulking Equinna. They often prefer not being in a corner. Which is why I’m glancing, rather than looking, at the small tabby next to him. She’s keeping quiet, giving people the ‘I’m just a nice old Cat’ look that I’ve seen so often from some of the wisest and most dangerous. He may have the power behind the claw but she’s telling him where to stick it, I’m sure of that.

The Equinna involved are just sorting out their feed in the second dining room so I can’t see that much of them. It’s not unusual for their lot to do that as their food tends to come in handy, portable, containers that few others like looking at. The ‘hands free’ approach means they don’t need to stop working with their hands, of course. It also means you can’t read their lips if you happen to know Equinnine. Which I do. A bit. Long story.

Maltar, the Lappinean I’d seen earlier, is the one who really takes my eye, though. He stands out in subtle ways. His suit is in direct contrast to his fur colour and he’s wearing it for that exact reason. He wants to stand out. He wants you to notice him and concentrate on him. But that’s not what’s standing out for me. He’s alone. Everyone else here has co-workers or employees or security but this guy’s alone. Or is he? His left ear has just twitched twice in the last minute. It could easily be a nervous reaction but his face shows he has an allergic reaction to nerves. It’s showing nothing. And… his eye flicked upwards toward that ear as it twitched again, did it? Can’t quite… stop staring, Harvest. “Yeah,” I mutter under my breath as I glance for the waiter, “you’re not as alone as you claim to be, are you?”

“Hmm,” Dak grunts as he checks out the main courses. He doesn’t look around. He’s not as subtle at it as I am. He often pokes his tongue out at the ladies.

“Just looking around, Dak,” I assure him. “I see the Raicarrans over there are keeping themselves to themselves.” I’m not surprised about that. The Federal Investigation branch is keeping a close eye on them at the moment. I doubt they’re the type to want to try anything whilst under scrutiny. Not a lot of people know about the investigation, of course, but yours truly was tangentially involved in it so there. I say ‘hello’ to them and silently congratulate their lip-reader until she turns away in embarrassment. “Where’s Fawren,” I ask Salara.

She gracefully puts the menu down and sighs lightly. “They’re co-operating with Monta on this one,” she advised. ‘They’re part funding Monta’s group here. They’ve got one on the team and they’ll be bidding with Monta on anything that results.”

I make my order. So does she. Dakrin takes his time and then orders the same thing he does every time. The third cheapest meat product on the menu. He doesn’t like eating cheap and never sees the point of ordering the most expensive thing.


Things arrive as I catch a glimpse of our suitcases being brought in by staff who look like they want to disinfect themselves after touching our previous hotel. “So,” I ask simply, “what’s the conference about? Uh, for Dak’s benefit?”

“Oh, “ she says pleasantly, “for Dak’s benefit?” She smiles and I get the feeling she thinks I wasn’t listening properly earlier. I was! Honest! “Well,” she tells Dakrin, “you know of our neighbouring group, the, Star Council?”

Dak points a piece of meat on a fork at her. A drip of sauce lands on her nose. She licks it off. “The ones who invaded the patch about fifteen years back,” he asks.

She nods. “Causing the last major upgrade of defence systems, yes. Well, it seems there’s trouble there again. A few weeks back, a U.S.C. ship, the Roddy’s Mount…”

“Rodomont,” I corrected, wondering what Postain would think of the name change.

“...That… was sent out to discover if the Star lot were a threat to the colonies after something destroyed a planetoid on the edge of our Council territory. The ship made trade deals with a world called Karin, one of their outer colonies that had been cut off from their other colonies by…” She pauses for dramatic effect. It irritates me as much as it does on vidgameshows where the host says ‘and the answer is… coming up after the break’ and I fake looking excited. After all, I’ve heard this before. This afternoon. I was paying attention. Promise. “...civil war,” she finished. “They’re not a direct threat so the Council is hedging its bets but a lot of people are nervous about being the first colonies that might get hit if the warring sides expand the battlefield.” She stabs a potato with a fork and looks dismayed as it simply slides off again. Wait? When did our food get here? “It’s not just colonies in the patch who are at threat but most of them have had upgrades in the last few years. My company makes replication facilities that enable defence platforms to create several dozen torpedoes at a time in a space barely big enough for three. Beats Raicarra’s energy projectors into a cocked hat.” I grimace. She asks why. I tell her what a Celican told a Wolf who told me. It makes her pause. “Energy weapons that can fire without dropping shields is a changer,” she admits. “Something to consider. Maybe a five percent reduction in price.”


After dinner, we drop in on ol’ Bulldog and remember to call him Drummond. “He paid one of the cleaning staff,” he grumps “To open the door as soon as the alarm went off. He doesn’t know who paid. Got blood though. It’s being analysed. Results soon. Go away.”


So we go to our room.
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Re: HARVEST ON HOLIDAY

Post by Amazee Dayzee »

Hope that they can get something with the blood. It would help a lot!
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Re: HARVEST ON HOLIDAY

Post by Welsh Halfwit »

8 POLICE

Well, our room’s not as opulent as Salaras - as in it doesn’t have a holochef and the paintings aren’t of the same value. I could probably afford one of these. If I sold the Brickmobile and won the Calderon Lottery in the same week. It also has two proper bedrooms and I allocate one of those to Salara. She’s not entirely thrilled by the idea. “I’d rather stay in my place,” she demands. I swing my suitcase onto the bed and marvel at how well they packed this stuff for the journey. I didn’t know that shirt had creases. Did they fold my underwear? They polished my shoes? They’re brown? They’ve not been brown for years.

“Well, it’s either that,” I tell her as I check the size of a pair of underwear before tossing it over to Dakrin as it was in the wrong case, “or one of us stays in your place…”

“I volunteer,” Dakrin cuts in quickly, eliciting a smile of sorts from our client.

“...and protects you from potential killers,” I finish. “Which is why it’d be me after talking with the Sheriff.”

“Why,” Salara asks. I put down the trousers and pull the battered little laptop free for setting up.

“Well,” I explain whilst the thing boots up, “my PI licence doesn’t authorise me to use firearms across the sector but the Bounty Hunter one does. That’s a reason to keep up the payments. That and the toys,” I add, putting in the camera lenses I told you about earlier. What, you thought I was fibbing? Shame on you! “But, for a purchase of fire arms, it’s two factor authentication.”

“Pardon?”

“ID’s can be faked,” I explain, “so the way to do it is to tell the local Sheriff what’s going on and then they’ll either sign something that you can take with you to the armourer or local firearm merchant so the purchase can be made without 3 days.” I pick up a credit chit. “Or they’ll issue a PD firearm. I’ll need this.” A smirk. “Sometimes the Sheriff needs ‘two factor authentication’ too…” I turn to my associate. “Dak,” I ask, taking my cheap looking comm off my wrist, “run scans on the people in his, would you? Find out what information the H/K crew can get on them.”

He claps his hands around the comm and gets ready to plug it in as I offer Salara my arm. “Shall we, m’lady?”

“Where to,” she asks.

I pretend to think about it. “The lobby,” I say in an affected, ‘superposh’, accent. “Then to the sheriffs to report that dreadful incident at the beach this afternoon. It’s quite scandalous that such a thing could happen here and we’ll have to tell the press…”

“Why are you talking like that,” she asks.

“Just doing the lines I think you should lead with,” I tell her in my normal tones. “Then the Sheriff might well bend over backwards to help us.” I wave my free hand dismissively. “Sheriffs are experts in colony politics,” I advise. “Something like this could damage the colony and, therefore…”

“Their own, elected, position,” she agrees as the elevator arrives.


I’ll have to show Javey photos of this place, I decide as I definitely don’t take a snap on my eye camera. It involves me pressing a small stud on a ring I’m wearing and it vibrates slightly. It’s kind of disconcerting, having your eyeball shake like that. But it’s something I put up with. Had to have it removed from under my eyelid once. Hard to get out, yeah, but it provided some interesting pictures of my skull. I think the Doctor’s still got one of them up on her surgery wall.

This place, for what it’s worth, shows the application of cash even here. It probably makes the Officers feel at home amongst the billionaires. The Coffee served here is actually the good stuff; the sort that I could afford once a month if I didn’t want coffee for the next three weeks. The uniforms are as shiny as their badges and it doesn’t inspire much confidence. Plastic Police is, I think, the phrase. The chief steps in and the room gets smaller. A stallion Equinna whose face floats on my memory. No wonder the door’s eight foot high. He still has to dip his head to get under it and the re-enforced handle looks like it won’t last a month of use.

“His muscles are the same size as your legs,” Salara goads quietly whilst his back is turned. He shuts the door with a surprising amount of gentleness and I wonder how many doors he’s broken.

“So long as his brains are the equal,” I whisper back.

“Will this take long,” she says with a hint of imperialism. “I have an interview booked in for later today where I shall have to…”

He pulls up a chair noisily and sits himself down. “...Where you’ll have to have a go at how unsafe the colony is and how you wouldn’t advise anyone to come here and then I’d be so desperate to assuage the people who pay my salary that I’d happily give in to whatever he wants?” he points a bone tipped finger at me and my brain puts two and two together and I remember this guy from years back. He was half the width then. A young hunter I’d worked with under my old mentor. It had almost gone to plan, that mission. Right up to the firefight in the frozen goods warehouse. “What is it you want, Harvest,” he demands.

I reach my hand out. It doesn’t get anywhere near the middle of the table but it’s far enough as his arm makes up the other seven eights of the distance and he offers me the same gentility he did the door by not ripping my arm from my shoulder. “Not so much, Derek,” I tell him, his name flashing into my head. “Just the ‘two factor’ thing. I’d not been planning to have work here but, following two attempts on our lives today, getting a couple of weapons seems a good idea.”

He frowns and lets my hand go. It throbs, even though he’d been being gentle. “Two,” he asks. “We only have a report of the one on the beach.”

I fill him in on the hotel attack and he rolls his eyes and moves away to comm someone to keep him informed on things Bulldog learns. “He a friend of yours then,” Salara asks casually.

“That’s to be seen,” I reply carefully. “He might be holding a grudge…”

“What Mr Moon isn’t alluding to is getting me shot on Farna,” Derek tells her as he comes back to the table.

I shrug. “I thought you had sufficient cover,” I protest.

“So you kept saying.” He gestured to himself. “What about ‘Equinna in a Mican storage area’ was lost on you?” He grunted. “I’ve long gotten over wanting to smash you into a pulp, Harvest. I bulked up and got into the other side of law enforcement. And now, years down the line, you’re here, looking for favours.” He snorts and, if there had been papers in front of him, I imagine they’d have blown to the winds. “You want me to make it easy for you to get a gun and use it on MY streets?” He glares. “You know what I say to that?” The glare dissipates. “Let’s get a licenced weapon from stores.”
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Re: HARVEST ON HOLIDAY

Post by Amazee Dayzee »

I would think that most people would try to get a licensed weapon first before going crazy. Guess in this case they aren't most people. :mrgreen:
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Re: HARVEST ON HOLIDAY

Post by Welsh Halfwit »

So, when you have two hours spare, what ya gonna do..?

9 TOURISTS

If you ever get a book written by an active bounty hunter that’s all about the action and the dedication to high adventure, know this about them. They’re lying. Setting out the store is something that always starts with the paperwork and that includes the firearm stuff. I appreciate the fact it’s hard for people to get weaponry without regulations not because I think access to them should be restricted but because I think access to them should be restricted to those who take them seriously. The trained and the sane in preference to the ones who buy for fun and insist on showing them to people. Javey checks on mine every month and checks I’ve not let Dak use it at any point. I’m trained and attend refresher courses every month. Most of which are to do with weapons smaller than the Darena Core PD use. They’re mostly Equinna so their sidearms are the size of my arms and I can barely lift them without doing myself a mischief and I could only fire them if I want to launch myself backwards ten foot with every shot. Hmm. Might be useful as a thruster. It takes the armourer ten minutes before he finds something that I can use quite easily. One of the guns they keep for the Celicans on the force. It’s still moderately heavy but nothing I can’t work with.


Salara, on the other hand, took one look at it and decided it was time to put a new jacket on her. Mostly because my ‘concealed carry’ permit was being stretched to it’s legal limit by how little of what was concealed was, actually, concealed. It’s like I have a wheel of cheese under my arm. I point to a chain store I know that offers decent suits but she’s insistent that she’d never allow me to be seen dead in one of those shops unless she was buying things for a nephew she doesn’t like and hustles me past and towards a tailor she’s seen via a shopfront when she was being driven from the spaceport to the hotel. I ask her why she hadn’t brought any security with her for this trip and she replies that, as the Lappinean envoy hadn’t brought any, her company hadn’t seen the need. I suppose that makes some sort of sense.

“Don’t you need to work on the preparations for the conference,” I ask as she pushes me into ‘A. Rayvin; Master tailor’.

“All done in readiness,” she tells me as the Osiran shop owner makes his way through the shirts and light jackets. I glance around at all the light clothing and I can’t work out what’s not quite right about this place. It’s not the quality of the stuff, I realise as I finger the fabric of a shirt that’s pretty much top notch. It’s the fact that this is last years fashions. “My bodyguard needs a better fitting jacket,” she says, relegating me to the rank of sidekick.

“Ssomething off the rack or ssomething prepared,” he assks… I mean asks.

“You don’t need to do the lisp if you don’t want to,” I tell him.

“Thanks,” he replies. “Tourists seem to expect it. Not like translators haven’t eliminated it for decades.

“Off the rack,” I say.

“Tailored,” she says.

“We need it today,” I remind her. “Tailored would take…”

“Two hours,” the Tailor says. “I have something that might do it,” he adds, measuring me up. “It needs a little alteration. Is cream good for you?”

“Cream will be fine,” Salara says, her imperious gaze daring me to challenge. She looks so sweet this way that I can’t possibly. Besides, I do look good in cream.

There’s someone in the mirror. A Lappinean outside who seems to be watching us. It might be because the image is inverted but I don’t think I can identify her properly. I ask if we can be taken into the back room for fitting and the tailor doesn’t mind. From his glance towards the window he may have made her out as well. We head back so I can see that jacket and his surveillance cameras.


The back room smells of leather and warmth and sawdust. The tools of a tailors trade are set out back here. Lathes and sewing machines and knitting contraptions… I don’t know what any of them look like or do so I’ve probably named at least one of the three incorrectly. But there’s battered padded chairs and jackets hung on and over rails everywhere. It’s a bit musty. Fifteen times mustier than the room at the front. The screens on the tabletop flicker in oversaturated colour and I can see the broken reflection of the Lappinean in the glass as she peers in.

“Reckon she’s going to come in,” Salara says conspiratorially.

“I’ll have to serve her,” our host confides as though it’s something that hadn’t occurred to the pair of us. “Not that you needed to be told, as she’s the reason you ducked in here,” he assumes.

Salara seeks to put him right but he bustles back to the main room and we listen at the door as the two speak. She’s got a Panderan accent. Southern continent, I think. It’s where a lot of businesstypes are from and she may well be part of the team backing Maltar – and he does have a team, I’m sure of it. She’s not asking about us and she’s being rather obvious about it too. Her questions are general and easily answered and she says she may come back later. The tailor returns with exaggerated calm after she leaves.


“She wasn’t here to buy a suit,” he tells us. “She kept her left ear on the backroom door.”

I nodded, pretending I’d noticed on the cameras. “Listening for us, probably.”

“Cccertainly,” he said, slipping back into the stereotype. “What’s it about?”

I smile. “If either of us ever finds out,” I assure him, “we’ll tell you.” I look at the jacket he’s holding out in front of me. “Two hours, you say?”


With two hours to spare I manage to irritate Salara by taking her to a coffee shop. She wants a high powered restaurant but I win this one as she can’t argue that decent coffee isn’t wasted on me, someone who actually recommends coffee shops. Plus I can sit on the same side of the table as her, with our backs to the wall in the far corner of the room to watch the window and who ‘wanders by’ outside. Salara chuckles slightly at the leaf motif in the froth on her cup of Salatan Spice brew and spins a spoon in it to dissipate it with a half spoon of brown sugar. “Decent shops always tart it up with a decal,” she confides as two pieces of cake arrive at our table. “You’re buying,” she advises me. “Figure you can afford it, hmm?” A wry grin.

“Besides,” I reply, “you bought lunch.” Hang on, I ask myself, is this a date? We sip fairly decent coffee as the Lappinean face appears at the window. From where she is, she can’t see Salara properly but she can see me. I’m able to see her, of course, although I pretend I haven’t. If she’s working for anyone she’s inexperienced. Making mistakes. Getting too close. And, of course, coming in. My hand goes close to the gun in case it’s needed.

“Can I talk to you,” she asks.
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Re: HARVEST ON HOLIDAY

Post by Amazee Dayzee »

Usually I just screw around on my phone. But Harvest can't do that here. Impeccable work!
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Re: HARVEST ON HOLIDAY

Post by Welsh Halfwit »

10 JESSICA


“Shall we start with the obvious question,” I ask as our guest looks like a Rabbit in the headlights. Well, the first part is true, of course. She’s fidgeting, her hands going ten to the dozen as she ‘rests’ her elbows on the table.

“What’s the obvious question,” Salara asks me carefully, in an aside that everyone looking can clearly see. Good job there’s only the Rabbit looking.

“Tea,” I smile at our guest. “Cake?”

“Um… Thank… Thank you,”she stammers. “Tea would… would be good.” Those shakes, I think, have gotten worse since she got here. There’s an amount of it that’s been put on. I let Salara out so she can make the order. “You’re either putting it on a bit or the most frightened Lappinean I’ve ever met,” I say quietly. “Tone it down a bit if we don’t want to still be here next week, eh?” A slight smile.

“I don’t know what… you mean,” she replied, still shaking somewhat. Her voice has stabilized a little.

I see Salara looking at the Carrot cake slices. Stereotypical but it might work. As long as she stays away from the Orange and Carvinseed. Lappineans love it but Carvinseed always tends to give them bad gas. It’s really quite toxic at times. Might just be to my nose though. I’ve never seen them come with a free gas mask. Oh, good. Carrot cake. Salara makes the cheapest purchase I think she’s ever made and crosses back to the table. “Did you learn anything interesting,” she asks as she puts the goods down in front of our ‘guest’.

“It’s been thirty seconds,” I remark, shifting back as the Lappinean thanks her for her largesse and Salara pushes past me, back to her seat. Her tail swats me in the face and I’m sure it’s deliberate. She does it again and I know it is. I fish some strands of her fur out of my mouth and try not to think how good she tastes. My hat is crooked. I can feel it. Largely because it means my ears are crooked too.

The Rabbit stifles a laugh at the scenario as I twist things back into place. “So, I ask, “who are you?” I sip my coffee.

“Jessica Robera,” she announces, “I’m, um, a private agent.” She glances about. “for Talvin, Yelper and Corch.” She announces that like I’m supposed to know who they are and be shocked or scared of them.

“The main legal team for Lascarra tech,” Salara says, almost bored as she takes a bite out of her own slice of cake with a fork. She glances at me. “I know my competitors.”

“Good,” I reply. “So, you’re a lawyers private agent,” I repeat. “What are you doing here?”

“Well, I…” She half smiles. “I plan to be anyhow. I’m just… an intern right now. Here to assist Mr Maltar in the, uh, talks?”

“So he does have someone in his ear,” I muse.

“Uh, y...yes,” she lies. She’s too nervous and inexperienced. No way it’s her that’s the voice in his ear. Oh, wait. She’s not exactly lying. I shrug mentally but maintain my stone shape physically. Probably. “Um, it’s just that… I’m not sure if my people can be trusted? I mean, Mr Maltar, um, doesn’t tell me everything?” She grimaces hopefully. Her left ear twists down. It’s a sign of Lappinean worry. A textbook sign. My mentor always had the same thing to say about physical signs when regarding the truth. Watch the signs but never put your belief in them. If you’re in total charge, in an interrogation room, you can attach veracity to them but, if you’re in the open, treat everyone as a trained liar. So is she lying or not? Who cares? She’s telling a tale. She sips the tea. “I mean, you w...wouldn’t expect him to, would you? But… but he’s got a door in the apartment that’s locked? No-one… I… I’m not allowed in there? I’m not even allowed to be looking in that direction when… when he goes into the bedroom?”

“Why are you telling us,” Salara asks. Jessica points a shaky hand at my hat. “Oh,” Salara says with resignation. “I’m just here and you’re telling him?”

Jessica nods uncertainly. “But… but it’s important to you too, Miss. I… I, er, think whatever’s in… in there might have something to, um, do with the shot at you today?”

Salara stiffens beside me. By reflex, I put my hand down atop hers on the seat.

“You heard about that, then,” I ask.

“Yep,” she nods. Whilst she was bringing a piece of cake up to her mouth. She has frosting on her nose. Using the hand that’s not holding Salara’s, I pass over a napkin. She looks at it like it’s a hand grenade until I motion to the situation. “Oh, thank you. Mr Maltar said the message had been sent as he went into the room earlier. I put two and two together and made…” twenty-two, I wonder. “...the association with all the Police earlier. And, with Mr Moon here…” I REALLY have to stop wearing this hat! “...I thought I should tell you. I mean…” She looks around and leans closer. “I don’t want to be a party to anything like murder.”

Anything LIKE murder? What does that mean? There’s nothing like murder except unintentional murder. Does this mean she’s planning to work for a legal team who’ll put up with moderate assault, larceny and breaking and entering? This one’s so young and inexperienced in her attitude and stop it, Harvest. That could be an act. You know it.

“So,” she asks nervously, “what do you think we should do?”

I glance at Salara before answering. She seems to believe this young buttercupbrain. “First thing we need to do,” I insist, “is get a look into that room. Is there… anywhere that looks into the room where you might be able to place the smallest of cameras?” Salara’s gripping my hand. I let her. She’s sending me a message. I’ll ‘pick up’ later.

“How small,” Jessica asks, her face creasing up slightly with interest. I make an ‘ooh’ sound and indicate something about three centimetres in width and two high. “That small,” she says.

“Yep. Anywhere you can hide that?”

She nods shakily. “There’s a…”

“I hardly need to know,” I assure her. “I can give it you later. I have a Celican associate called Dakrin? If you meet him in the hotel bar later, he can ‘pick you up’ and get you to our room in secret.”

“How.. How will I identify him?”

“He’ll tell you his name is Dakrin. Or Dak.” I smile. “Now, you’d better nip off. You’re on lunch break, I assume and we have things to do.”


She slips off, looking a bit happier than when she arrived. Salara looks sharply at me in the seconds before I drop my fork and duck under the table to retrieve it. “You can’t put her in danger like that,” she hisses.

“Oh, she won’t get in trouble,” I reply, returning upright. “You didn’t believe her there, did you?” I don’t smirk. Salara’s paying the bills. NEVER laugh at your bank manager.


“A big firm’s not going to send someone that new.” I tell her after we return to the tailors. “No way. ESPECIALLY not if they’re being nefarious. She knew about the attempt on the beach when no-one else at the hotel does because the Police didn’t know the connection so we can assume that part’s true. But the rest of it? Fiction,” I insist as I try the jacket on.

“So why are we..?” She pauses. “Either way we need to run with it. It might be something important or a trap.”

“Is it a trap if you know you’re walking into it?”

“YES,” Salara and the tailor shout together. They’re not wrong.
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Re: HARVEST ON HOLIDAY

Post by Amazee Dayzee »

A trap is a trap regardless if you know about it. But at least you can plan better. :lol:
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Re: HARVEST ON HOLIDAY

Post by Welsh Halfwit »

11 STAFF

I don’t often learn much when I’m out shopping and, frankly, that’s been no different today. Well, tonight. It’s late evening, local time, as we head back to the palace… I mean hotel that we’re staying at. Salara’s bought a few knick-knacks to try and show she was just after souvenirs, even though I tell her there’s no real point whilst I’m at the credit point, getting some physical notes for later.. She’s here for a security sales conference and probably everyone knows it. I have a feeling she didn’t buy the doll wearing the colony flag for any niece. But who am I to complain if she’s got a secret room full of action figures? I’ve got a fully articulated Mican Marauder Mo figure in its box… somewhere safe.

Anyhow, the porter takes the boxes from the taxi we hired for the trip and the doorman sniffs at the transport as I pay the driver. “We could have arranged a car to pick you up, Ma’am,” he states.

“A car is a car is a car,” she replies as it heads off in a snit, obviously having heard the doorman. “When you’re only in it for five minutes, the class doesn’t much matter.”


“Of course, ma’am,” he says obsequiously. He knows which side his bread is buttered, that’s for sure. And the butter contains edible gold leaf.

He opens the door to allow her entry and motions to me to take off my sunglasses. I do so and note the price tag (thirty credits) is still hanging off one arm. “Is there a receptacle for a price tag,” I ask, removing the item and the bit of string.

“There’s one can take the whole set of glasses if you wish, sir?”

I chuckle. “You know I only bought them to see your reaction, yes?”

He doesn’t look at me and gives nothing away. “I am gratified that you appreciate my opinion, sir.”

“Tell me something,” I ask. “I know the senior staff like you know everything that goes on in their hotel. If there was someone who could be bought to let someone in ‘off the books’, who might that be?”

“I have no clue, sir. If I did, I’d have told the house detective.”

I shake my head. “I’m not sure you would,” I confide. I continue quickly. “You are loyal to the place and the people. I don’t think you’d officially report suspicions without proof. If you want to put an anonymous note under a door...”

“If I had any suspicions,” he says, “I would act on them.” He still doesn’t look at me. This guy’s good.

“Thanks for that,” I reply as I head inside.


Salara’s waiting for me by the elevators and presses the button. “Anything,” she asks.

“Didn’t expect anything,” I tell her. “How’s Bulldog doing,” I ask the elevator operator as we step in.

“Bulldog,” the boy questions.

I slap myself mentally. “Sorry, I mean Drummond.”

“I’m not sure I’d know,” he replies, gesturing subtly with a hand. I sigh and slip a credit note to him. I think it’s a ten. Those who talk of a paperless society don’t have to pay bribes. “He’s escorted two of the security office to the door,” the operator offers. “Seems they weren’t doing their jobs correctly.” How the..? His hand hasn’t moved from by his side and the note’s vanished.

“That’s not much,” I jibe.

“What did you want for a ten,” he replies. There’s a hint of a smile there. I suppose I can’t blame him.


“I’m not doing it,” Dakrin states as soon as I say the words ‘I want you…’ after I enter our room.

I look around at him. He’s been pulling up details on the others involved in this case and I have to admit, he seems to have done well. “I haven’t told you what it is, yet!”

“I hardly care. I’ve been typing away and glued to a computer all evening and I want a drink!”

“What I want you to do is…”

“La, la, la, laaa….”

“...go down to the bar, buy a couple of drinks and invite a rather pretty young Lappinean Doe back up to the room for coffee or something.”

“La, la, la…” His head appears back around the frame of the door he’s just gone through. “Doe,” he asks, eyes sparkling and tongue lolling. I nod and upload the picture of the lady in question so he can see who he’s aiming at. “She seems nice.”

“She’ll know you by name, Dak. So there’s no need to bring ‘Kitta’ into play…”

“Yeah, let’s not go there, boss.” He points. “She on our side or not?”

“To be decided,” I admit, picking our miniature surveillance camera out from the lining of the suitcase. “Well,” I demand. “You going?”

He stands still, his arms crossed. “You paying?” I hand over the credit chit with the lower amount on it. It should buy a couple of drinks. Dak’s linked us in to the security cameras – despite my not having asked him to – so I can see the approaches to Salara’s rooms just as easily as I can see what’s outside my own. No-one’s been in the room, according to the high speed replay I run. Well, no-one but Bulldog. I find him like most Wolves. Unpleasant but trustworthy.


Dakrin makes contact and brings Jessica back to the room within half an hour. She’s still looking a bit nervous, like she’s never done this before. Who knows? Perhaps she hasn’t? Some Lappineans haven’t at her age. He puts his arm on the lower part of her back as he opens the door and invites her in. She’s changed into a blue dress that speaks of someone without money trying to look like she belongs in a place like this. She reminds me of myself, albeit much better looking and more fragrant on the nose. Lavikkaflower, I think. She laughs politely at some witticism he made just before the door opens and she steps in.

I turn the screen to a normal display before she gets here. “Jessica,” I greet as the door finishes closing. I take a look like I haven’t just seen the dress before, on the screen. “A beautiful dress. How does it stay up?”

“Mr Moon,” she replies with exaggerated joviality. “Thank you. I, er, thought it helped sell the idea.” She turned around and pulled up some of the fur on the back of her neck so I could see the thin cord that whipped around the back to hold up the dress at the front. She’s smiling as she turns around again. “So, what now?”

The answer to that is she stays for half an hour before leaving with her dress slightly twisted to create the impression of a tryst with a certain orange lothario. She actually spent the half hour on the settee with the pair of us, watching a sitcom.


It was awful. Heh. Worse for Dakrin, I think...
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Re: HARVEST ON HOLIDAY

Post by Amazee Dayzee »

You got me really hooked on this story! Can't wait for more!
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Re: HARVEST ON HOLIDAY

Post by Welsh Halfwit »

And a dangerous player enters the game...

12 NIGHTWATCH

The clock ticks noisily in my mind despite the room not having any sort of clock in it. It’s 0230 and I’m up and watching things on the laptop. The world doesn’t stop moving simply because the sun’s gone to bed. In some cases, more happens at night than during the day. This is not one of those cases. The guard assigned by Drummond hasn’t faltered in his dedication to standing upright outside Salara’s door. Benefits of being a Brockian, I suppose. Stout, bloody minded and nocturnal. He’s been going nowhere ever since Dakrin woke me up with a ‘Hey, slughead, it’s your watch!’ at oh two hundred hours. Dakrin knows respect. He ignores it but he knows it. He’s currently flat out, face down, on his bed. There’s gonna be drool on that in the morning.


I switch things to one of the micro cameras I have hidden. Nah, not the one Jessica planted. I’ll be looking in on that later. I’m checking out Salara. Yeah, I’m a git. I hid a camera in the room of my own client. But there’s a reason for that. People have been known to hire Private Investigators to look into situations they’ve created themselves. It’s often because they know they’re under threat before they can actually prove it but it can also be because they’re up to something nefarious themselves and ‘why would I hire a private investigator if I were behind it’ comes into play. If you can’t get plausible deniability, implausible deniability is an option.


I sip my hotel room coffee and poke my tongue out at the taste of the whitener as Salara works on the details with her main office. Yeah, it’s business hours on Ayston and the CEO’s looking for updates. She responds that someone’s out to alter the competition by means of killing conference speakers and the CEO moots that he could send security. I wish he would. She tells him it’s just a strategy and I wonder what hers actually is. OK, they’re looking to sort out deals with Canis Defence tech and Monta to cover as many colonies as they can, not fighting over the same colonies. She says she’s going to commence talks with their representatives later. This is a fun thought. They’re leaving out Raicarra, Fowler Weaponstations from Earth, the Lappinians… It’s interesting. Sometimes, when you can’t know what the enemy’s out to do, it can help to know what your ally is doing that might peeve others. This counts. Being left out of a coalition often makes people want to pre-empt the destruction of said coalition by destroying it. And, sometimes, the other partners like to change the balance of power but that’s less likely. It’s probably one of the one’s left out. Like Lascarra.


I switch the feed to the new camera and curse quietly for the third time. Jessica’s managed to get the camera up, yeah, but it’s in a location that only really covers the sealed room. The microphone’s doing its’ best but the small size works against us. Its peripheral pickup is lousy. It’s only picking up bare snippets and most of that is snoring as it’s half past two in the morning. No-one’s doing much moving around, except in bed. The clock in my brain tells me its about eight AM on Caldera so I have a call to make. I call her up on the computer. I have headphones in so I’m not telling you what she says. Neer. “Hello, Pat,” I say. “Yeah, it’s me. Oh, I’m having a fair time, yeah. Yeah. We finished that up last week so we took a holiday. On Darena Core. Yeah, it’s great here. Well, it’s turned a bit more hostile these last few hours… No, it’s not outraged parents after Dakrin’s tail! No, that’s more the girls themselves, yes. But I think you might have known we were coming here? No? Well, I suppose you could claim that. But it only started getting interesting after I met an Afgar female called Salara? Here representing Ayston Tech at a sales Conference? Uncle is hyper rich?” I’m goading a little here, now. There’s a wry grin on my face she can see from half a space sector away as she eats her imported wheat biscuits with cow juice for breakfast. Man, I love those things. Just my sort of breakfast. She sips her tea. “Yes, I’ve met her. Yes, she’s lovely… No, I’ve not been to bed wi… what do you mean ‘why not’? She’s a client!” I practically splutter out my coffee and laugh. “Well, yeah, we’ve kissed but… Any ideas who might want her out of the way or dead? There’s been one ‘warning’ shot and an attempted attack since we got involved eighteen hours ago.”

She looks a bit alarmed now and she sounds a little alarmed in my ears. I assure her Salara’s quite safe – and so are Dakrin and I, of course, thank you very much but I would like to know who her enemies are and ‘nanny’ might know. She starts thinking and I go back to the other image for a moment. Someone’s moving in there. The light’s flash on as Jessica yawns past, her ears about her shoulders in a negligee that’d have Dakrin… OK, it isn’t would have because he IS panting on me. Must have woken him protesting that I wasn’t sleeping with Salara. I swat his nose gently as Mrs Lorin says hello. As he’s up, I turn the speakers on. “Hi, Miss Lorin,” he says. “Hows things?”

“<Oh, going fine,”> she replies. <”It’s a lot quieter these last few weeks...>”

“Well, the boss does squeak in his sleep,” Dak claims.

“I’m also paying for this call!” I turn back to Pat. “So, any thoughts?”

<”None as of yet,”> she confides. <”Ah’ll haveta get back to you, hen. I’ll call back later t’day. When it costs less.”> She grins at me and cuts the line.


Dakrin declines the chance to stay up with me and flops back onto the bed after downloading the five seconds of Jessica to his padd. He hits ‘replay’ several times that I can see whilst she’s doing her ablutions in the bathroom. Sex mad this boy is. Can’t say I blame him in this place. Everyone looks like a model. And I don’t mean the ‘multiple points of articulation’ toy type. And only a few might count as plastic. Salara seems to be total style, though, even as she finishes a drink that looks oddly like a Pina Colada made with Raitchian fruits. She smiles gently and pushes a Kilma that almost went up her nose out of the way. I’ll have to try one at some point. Or get her one. Jessica’s left the light on in the hallway after finishing in the bathroom. She’s wearing fluffy bunny slippers. I like it. It’s a bright spot in a night of tedium. Nice painting on the wall. It’s a Kevanna print, I think. Not anything like the originals in Salara’s pad but nice enough.


Salara’s yawning and stretching now. I think the day’s been long enough for her. She clears up after switching off the vidcall and steps over towards her bedroom. She throws one of her robes back across the room and almost covers the camera that she obviously knew I’d put on her little bookcase. Well, it’s not my fault! There’s only so many places you can put these things!


The other camera’s still in place, though. It’s still recording and… more movement. The door is opening. The locked door. The one that’s causing concern for our Rabbitty companion. A thin arm leads the rest of the figure out and I can tell he’s cross, even over the link. I can tell he’s cross as he moves to the light switch and flicks it off. I can tell he’s cross because he’s looking straight at the device. He crosses to the ‘hiding place’, picks up the bug and takes it into his room. You can’t see the entryway outside the room from here. It’s theatrics again. He speaks. Slowly and deliberately. <”Only Jessica has been out,”> he says in something just above a whisper. Dak’s back at my shoulder. He heard that. <”So I know who to deal with if you’re not here at eight o’clock sharp, Mister Moon. And, believe me, what I can do to her is bad enough that YOU will regret it.”> The bug snaps off.

“We gonna rescue her,” Dakrin asks.

“We’re going to be there at eight o’clock,” I tell Dakrin. “We can’t play games with this Lappinean.”

“Why not,” Dak fumes. “He’s just an old…”

“His name,” I interrupt, “is Balbury. And he’s probably the most dangerous Rabbit in the galaxy.”
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Re: HARVEST ON HOLIDAY

Post by Amazee Dayzee »

Hope that he will be able to handle Balbury! Can't wait to see the inevitable showdown!
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Re: HARVEST ON HOLIDAY

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13 Early morning

Morning comes with a kind of inevitability, poking its nose in just after I’ve gone to sleep. Dak had taken over for me from four in the morning until seven so I’d managed to get in a few hours silent fretting with my eyes closed. It wasn’t every day – or night – that the likes of Balbury invited you to call rather than sending out for you. I had to wonder what he wanted. I had to wonder what he was doing here. I had to wonder how many knew he was here and how many would notice if a FieldMican and a Celican suddenly vanished after knocking on an eighth floor door. Drummond might notice. Beyond it being his job I’m not sure he’d care.

Sleep wasn’t easy to come by. I’m told it never is when you know the firing squad’s doing a pre-dawn warm up shooting. But I manage to keep my eyes closed and my hat over them so Dak can’t see if I’m panicking or not. I might be. I can’t tell, my eyes are closed. I might have drifted off at some point. I remember some Earth animated film Miss Lorin once showed me. It adds a new question. I just wish I knew what that question was.

“Time to wake up, boss,” my room mate says, gently pushing my shoulder.

I open my eyes to an unpleasant sight. Dakrin’s a proud Celican and I’m at groin level. “Dak,” I urge sleepily, “always put underwear on before you do that…”

He grins. I know he’s grinning. “Where’s the fun in that, boss?”

I groan and sit up as soon as the route is clear. “We may be about to die,” I moan humorously, “there are some things I don’t want to see just before, Dak…”

He shrugs. “Wanna be first in the bathroom?”

“Better had,” I reply, zipping in and locking the door with my tail, “you take ages!”


I, on the other hand, take about ten minutes for the shower and blower, eeping only when the unexpected upward one came into play and gave me a bit of a lift. I step back out and Salara’s there, giving me an appreciative look over – I THINK it’s appreciative – until I grab my hat and put it over certain extremities. I sidle sideways to the bed and clothes. “There’s very little need to be modest around me, Harvest,” she breezes. “Especially with your little camera.” She sits on the couch, looking the other way. “Checking up on me, perchance?”

“It, er, seemed wise,” I reply, falling over whilst trying to keep the hat in front of assets and pull a sock on at the same time. Dakrin can’t help, he’s in the bathroom now. I pick myself back up, playfully toss the hat onto her head and use both hands to enact my goal. Underwear next as she laughs at my hat silliness. “I like you,” I state clearly, “but that was rather an obvious ‘not-a-threat’ that came just after we met. I needed to make sure you weren't behind it. Do you normally get by on five hours sleep?”

“Only when I have to deal with the head office on their time. And I suppose I understand the theory. Did Jessica set up the camera?” She can change a subject as easily as I can, it seems.

I pause with my trousers half on. She seems to notice that as she stands up and steps over to me. I let the trousers fall back to the floor. “She did,” I admit. “We got some decent pictures.”

“Is she a spy?”

I shrug my too thin shoulders. “Hard to say still,” I admit. “The subject we were looking for spotted the camera immediately and invited us to an eight O’clock meeting. That Dakrin and I am attending. You’re not.”

She stands still. “I think you’ll find I am, Harvest.”

“No.” I’m adamant and wondering how authoritarian I can be when I’m only wearing underwear and socks. “I have to be clear on this, Salara. This character’s dangerous. Very dangerous. The only reason I think it’s safe to visit him is because, if it wasn’t, someone would have already visited us. And he’s promised – not threatened, promised – that Jessica will be made to suffer if we don’t go.”

“Who is it?”

“I can’t tell you that, Salara. It wouldn’t be safe for you to know. Not yet. I’ll need you to stay safe in your room until the meet’s done, Salara.”

She smiles demurely and – hopefully – figures she’s not getting her way. “OK,” she admits. “But here’s encouragement to come by later.” She darts in and takes my head in both hands so I can’t move as she presses her mouth to mine and empties my brain of all thought as her tongue wrestles mine. Canine tongue vs Fieldmican? No contest. It’s pinned to the mat in no time and enjoying itself too much to tap out. After a moment, she pulls back and my tongue waves a white flag of surrender. “Can’t do that again if you die, can I?” She leaves before my brain resets.

I’m still standing there when Dakrin comes back out of the bathroom. “She kissed you, didn’t she?”

That… somehow seems an inadequate word for it. “Power slam,” I manage to say before pulling my trousers up and clipping the tail hole shut.


Seven fifty. We’re ready and hanging about close to the Lappinean suite. We’re the opposite way from the elevators and stairs so Jessica doesn’t spot us as she heads down to breakfast with Maltar. She’s tapping things into a padd as he talks. I put a hand out to stop Dakrin. He looks at it. “You think I’d be that stupid,” he whispers.

“How many Lappineans have you bedded since we’ve been here,” I whisper back with a tight grin.

I can hear him counting on his fingers. “Three,” he admits.

I chuckle slightly. “You have a type.”

He whines slightly. “Don’t tell the vixens?”

“Like I would.” I gesture and lead him to the door to press the bell. No answer. I check my timekeeper. One minute to eight. I press again as it hits eight and the door opens with no-one inside. I peek into the half lit interior. It doesn’t look like anything’s about to laser my nose off – or the rest on me, leaving just my nose. It seems safe to enter so I do. The door stays open and I gesture for Dakrin to come in. He stays outside. I gesture with slightly more anger and he reluctantly comes in, standing next to the cabinet Jessica hid the drone in. No wonder he saw it. The door shuts silently behind Dak, almost catching his tail as it goes. He steps forward on impulse, straight into me and pushing me forward.

The door to the black hole opens up and a voice speaks confidently. “In here, please, gentlemen.”


We step forward into what looks to be a bedroom but has far more technology in it than the local space centre. An old Lappinean with his hand on a cane, looks at us from the other side of the room. His old eyes haven’t lost any sharpness. Dak tenses as I know he does when he’s about to threaten. I put a hand to stop him. “Cane gun,” I warn. I look to Balbury. “You don’t need the cane. I saw that last night.”

“You’re smart to stop him, Mr Moon.” A terse look at Dakrin. “I do not appreciate threats, young man.” He puts on a smile that could freeze mercury. “Especially when our interests coincide.”

I’m not going to like this, am I?
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Re: HARVEST ON HOLIDAY

Post by Amazee Dayzee »

Of course you aren't going to like it. Though everybody else is gonna just love it. Can't wait! :mrgreen:
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Re: HARVEST ON HOLIDAY

Post by Welsh Halfwit »

Sometimes danger is a calm, collected, voice.

14 BALBURY


He circles us, a Piranha with floppy ears. His cane, used for effect, clats on the floor impossibly, making the sort of sound it should make on tile, not carpet. He’s had something installed to do that to add the creepy effect. It’s almost working. He returns to stop in front of us and examines the effect he’s had. Dakrin’s getting nervy. I’m not so much. I came in terrified. FieldMicans are pretty good at living our lives in a constant set of nerves so when the danger actually presents itself, we’re prepared. “I was thinking we could pool our thoughts,” he coos. He’s playing nice. He has ways he could get the information. “What are your initial impressions of this conference, Mister Moon?”

I sigh and sit up. Someone who could ask questions in ways far nastier than just asking them in a hotel room is best to answer in a hotel room. “Conferences like this usually take months to set up,” I tell him. “This one has been set up in a matter of weeks following the ship returning from the Star Council. To me that indicates that the general idea of this meeting were already set in stone, Mr Balbury…”

“Please,” he says in a tone that brooks no dispute, “call me ‘Jimmy’.”

“’Jimmy,’” I repeat.

“It’s not a real name but it attracts less attention to and from me if you say ‘Jimmy’ in public,” he says quietly. “Go on.”

“”The companies needed a reason,” I finish. “Also I think they’re worried.”

He twists his hands on the cane. “Worried,” he intones. “About what?”

“The primary business of any weapons manufacturer is, of course, weapons.”

“Of course.”

“Right now the Calavix situation is calming down to a more or less cold war. Piracy has dropped fifteen percent over the last year – at least attacks near weapons platforms as Pirates like not having their ships blatted from the stars. The Unified Security Council has begun moving towards exploring the next regions of space to us and that’s moved the entire aspect of things away from defence. I was, recently, on a Celican world and I understand Monta have done a deal with that one planet to supply them with defence platforms already?”

Balbury twists a smile that speaks to a twisted sense of humour. “Yes, they had a ‘hands up’ there. One that we’re allowing to pass due to them being outside Council control…”

‘We’, I think. I wonder who he means by that? The Lappineans? The entire Council? Just himself?

“...but the rest is being decided under U.S.C. rules here. And quickly. I think it will be noted within months that the Jestavanians are not a concern. That means we need contracts sorted quickly. Governors and Defence secretaries from all over will be coming in on their shuttles and ships to attend this conference and hear everything that’s on offer. So the fact that someone is attempting to sabotage the meeting may not be welcome.”

“You mean it’s not you,” Dakrin grumbles. Oh, good. He’s been keeping track.

“No, boy, if it were myself, no-one would see the moves. I have an interest in these deals. Our weapons technology company is making its products here, in the patch. That’s part of our sales pitch. Local products for local problems. And it keeps costs down, which can be passed on to the buyer. Problems we don’t need include the likes of the gentleman you wounded yesterday. A direct assault on the people involved. It has people worried. They had confidence in hotel security but that’s shaken now there was a killer on the loose. None of them want to be the first to call in protection…”

“Was,” I muse.

“Pardon?” Another cracked grin. “Ah, yes. He tried to set up a small device to take Maltar out of the running." A pause. To consider words or just to pretend he was considering them? "I fear my discouragement was more than he could take.”

“Right. Any information on him?”

“None,” Balbury says in a tone that doesn’t tell if he’s lying or not. “Although a retinal scan on the bounty hunter database might reveal something.”

“Then I’ll need to take a picture of… the… eye…” I stop, getting halfway through the line before he presents an eye in a small plastic bag. It still has some of the optic nerve attached. Dakrin looks slightly shocked.

“I thought you might say that,” Balbury says. “So I kept it for you. Where there’s one killer there’s usually another…”

“Hmm,” I agree, “just his luck that he found the other.”

He looked skyward and raises his hands for a second. “Karma, Mr Moon. Karma. Did you know Monta tried to stop Raicarra from attending? Stated that anyone with such a bad image as them shouldn’t be allowed to attend.”

I nod tightly. “Pots and Kettles,” I suggest. “There’s enough to suggest that Monta had more than a little to do with Calavix, although that’s unproven,” I assure Dak. It’s his dream to own a piece of Monta technology. Specifically the Monta XR-14A light armoured, self defence vehicle. I’m not sure what he’s wanting to do with it – in fact I fear it a bit – but it’s his dream. Everyone’s allowed dreams.

“Stop that mental digression,” Balbury orders, snapping me back to attention. I wonder if he could hear that. “No,” he states, “I’m not a telepath. I’ve read your file.”

Well, I think, that’s interesting. I haven’t read my file. It’s actually restricted above my level. I wonder what else it says about me?


The audience is over. It’s taken twenty minutes and we just miss the Lappineans coming back up. As Balbury probably planned. He’s put the bug back up so Jessica doesn’t know she’s been found out. Good cover for if she IS one of his.


Drummond’s there when we get back to Salara’s room. Apparently they still can’t find the assailant. I say I’ll keep an eye out and Drummond asks if Dakrin has a stomach ache, judging by the groan. Dakrin demurrs and Drummond goes on to tell us how he’s VERY unhappy about how I got the Police Chief involved in all of this. I keep my own counsel. Whatever’s going on between them isn’t anything to… Ah. Well, if Drummond didn’t want the Chief involved, he’s going to be quite annoyed now.


The room just shook. The windows shuddered. A car just exploded at the entrance. The Chief’s going to notice...
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Re: HARVEST ON HOLIDAY

Post by Amazee Dayzee »

I think a lot of people would notice if a car blew up near them. Can't wait to see where you take this next!
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Re: HARVEST ON HOLIDAY

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15 CAR BOMB

I have to hand it to Dakrin. The boy knows how I work and, even before I make my request, he’s volunteering to stay behind and protect Salara whilst I ignore Bulldog’s order to stay right here and race towards where a bomb has just exploded. Trouble is we’re on the top floor and, to aid with safe evacuation procedures, the elevators have shut down automatically. Only the operators on board can override the shutdown and that only takes them to the next floor. I suppose no-one wants to be stuck in one in an emergency but this is a lot of stairs and everyone’s using them so I go for the other route.


Strangely there’s no-one using the officially designated fire escape, it must be for assassins only. It’s certainly cold and sterile enough as it’s in the shade at this hour. I only nearly slip through the unsure footbars once. OK, twice and I have to stop myself bounding down in a stupid manner to save time. It almost works as I jump from the final ladder… and Bulldog catches me from behind. “Told you to stay where you were,” he threatened. Wolves don’t talk. They glower, threaten, promise and spit but don’t just talk. “I knew you wouldn’t.” He’s just run down more stairs than I have and he’s not even breathing heavily. It’s unfair.


The scene he – humiliatingly – carries me to is down by the front entrance, where a doorman’s lying in the entrance. All over the entrance, in fact. There’s sirens all around. Not police but every single vehicle has an alarm that’s gone off to form a deafening wave of noise that has my Wolven sidekick – I’m the lead, even if I let him pretend he is – grimacing and wishing everyone dead. But the scene is clear enough. A Kilda Spatrova drove up to the drop off point and, doing his duty, the Celican doorman had come down to open the door and paid for his attentiveness with his life. There wasn’t much left of the car. Pretty much nothing. So, how do I know it’s a Kilda Spatrova? Well, the Spatrova is their top of the line luxury car, a breakout from their usual, workman-like things that wouldn’t fit in here. And that’s the Kilda badge embedded in the wall to my left. Attendants are doing their best to prove the local Fire department unnecessary by turning the garden hose on the fire and obliterating half the forensics in the name of looking professional. It’s not like there’s going to be a secondary explosion, is there? Well, it’s unlikely anyhow.

“Keep those people inside,” Drummond roars over the sounding alarms. He’s got the kind of voice that could make several lower ranking Gods obey and have a few more considering doing what he says as a back up plan. “You lot with the hose,” he continues, “just stop that from getting worse! Let the Fire brigade sort out the rest! KEEP THOSE PEOPLE BACK!” Are my ears bleeding?


Ten minutes pass and I’ve noticed all the people attending the conference being held back by security. It seems they’re all looking alarmed. All except… “

“What do you think,” Drummond demands of me, interrupting my train of thought.

“I think you need to check the interior of the hotel,” I ask as the Police Chief’s heavy duty vehicle lands. It’s not armoured, it’s just big enough for four Equinna. Lorries are smaller. “Don’t allow the guests to go to any back up hotel.”

“Agreed,” he said, as though he’d thought of it first. “They couldn’t penetrate our defences here so they hit as close as they could. But I meant who do you think?”

“Possibilities are endless but you can narrow things down a bit. If they were very rich, they blew up their own Kilda but I doubt it. Likely it was stolen or hired. Either way gives a trace… for, ah, a good detective to follow up on,” I finish as a certain ‘good’ detective steps over.

“You show up and my day’s full of gunfights and explosions, Moon,” Derek says, his voice booming. “I hope assassination’s not on the horizon?”

“Not if I have anything to say about it, Chief Marrick,” Drummond snaps, irritated by his presence.

“Knowing Harvest,” he replies, “you won’t.”

Wonderful. One’s giving me all the blame for what hasn’t happened yet and the other’s going to be aggrieved enough to make my life heck…

“Why shouldn’t the conference members be moved,” Derek asks.

“Because they didn’t hit inside,” I say before Drummond can shout over everyone. “I know there’s a back up hotel but we don’t know enough to rule out that as being compromised in some way. Plus Drummond here’s quite good,” I add, earning a scowl that I can feel even through my skull without turning around. “Now he knows they’ve got problems he can deal with them as well as anyone I’ve met.”

“Is this supposed to be complimenting me,” Drummond asks.

“No,” I tell him honestly, “you’d hate that.” I step closer to the burning mass of fragmented metal. “Charge was somewhere in the centre of the car,” I estimate, “probably underneath the rear seat. Where the victim was sitting.”

“Victim,” Drummond questions. “This was a suicide strike, surely? Driver pulls up, draws the Doorman down and detonates.”

“Hmm,” I say, indicating a small portion of debris that’s still smoking. “Nah. That’s the handle of a suitcase. At least it’s part of one. It’s been partially protected by being in the boot.” I point. “There’s bits of fabric over there. Some are still burning. Not what I’d think a suicide bomber would bring to work.” I stand up. It doesn’t alter my height much. “I wonder if there was a second person in there?”

“We’ll soon know.”


Driverless taxis are a growing thing around here. Top end people don’t always like talking with the local ‘knowledge’ behind the wheel. They just get in, give the directions and sit back. Positioning systems work out the best routes to the destination and engage auto drive. You pay by credit chit and it’s a lot harder to rob a taxi than it is a taxi driver. Especially as they engage the door locks until you’ve paid. If this is a Taxi, there’s only a certain few places it wouldn’t stand out when picking someone up.


I had a strange feeling the identity of this victim would tell us things beyond who they were. If I were to guess, this thing was set to blow when the GPS matched a preset location.

This wasn’t random sabotage, I muse as the fire investigation officer shoves me aside. Someone’s really trying to stop this meeting.
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Re: HARVEST ON HOLIDAY

Post by Amazee Dayzee »

You figured out that someone was trying to stop the meeting from a car bomb? Wow you really ARE a great private eye Harvest. :lol: :P
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Re: HARVEST ON HOLIDAY

Post by Welsh Halfwit »

I wonder if people can guess what one of my favourite TV shows is from the character in this chapter?

16 HENRIETTA

Drummond and Derek are waiting for the Forensics lot to clear them for the car so I slip off whilst they’re not looking and start my own little investigation whilst people are running around in a flap. They are, I’m not. And neither is someone else in one of the bar cubicles, working on a laptop. I slip in behind the Feline and take a seat. She turns to me without much interest. “I don’t think I gave you permission to sit there, Mouse,” she purrs, her voice crackling with age and manners.

I half grin. “I don’t think Raicarra gave you permission to access their systems,” I reply. “Not that I mind,” I add, “I’m not working for them. Or their representative.”

She turns the machine off, ending my chances to read the script on the screen. She shifts around to observe me fully, in that ‘are you sure I have a spine’ way so favoured by Felines. She puts her chin on her hand. “I wonder if I should have Durnot have a word with you,” she threatens with a smile. “Just to set your mind at rest?”

“And set my body in a cast,” I reply with exaggerated meekness.

She snorts a laugh. “Potentially. What is it you want, Mister Moon?”

I have to get rid of this hat. But not now. “Well, I was wondering why you don’t seem to be wondering about a bomb going off just outside?”

The rest of her joins her top in turning towards me as others come back in. She’s clearly amused. “Perhaps you think I knew about it beforehand, hmm? I…” The fingers of her free hand do a little walking along the tabletop. “...arranged it, perhaps?”

“The thought had crossed my mind,” I agree.

“Well, if I had wanted a distraction, I think I could have arranged one that was less… extreme, don’t you think? Industrial espionage is not worth detonating someone’s dreams – or, indeed, someone – over. Besides, I believe there’s a Human expression when it comes to my people and curiosity? I, Mister Moon, am too experienced to die due to a cliché. That is why I sent Durnot to take a look.” She sighed. “I imagine it was the representative from Farna tech. I had heard they were sending someone.”

I frown. I hate when I’m the last to know something and beyond the Raicarra rep, who retrieves his computer from where he’d left it when he rushed out to see the explosion and get interviewed, I’m the last to know about this one. “Farna Tech?”

“A new Mican start up with Human and Raitchian elements. Suspected of having Council links. They’re already getting orders for several colonial defence forces far too quickly,” she tells me. “If you get my meaning,” she adds in a tone that suggests anyone who doesn’t get her meaning is an imbecile. She’s talking about Council backhanders. Gotta imagine they happen. “It’s no trouble,” she tells the darkness that’s suddenly blotting out the light behind me. “I’m just enjoying a conversation with Mister Moon, Durnot. He was intimating that I may have orchestrated the explosion outside but I believe I have managed to assuage that belief with a minor revelation as to what I was doing. To persuade you to look elsewhere, might I suggest you look into the delegation from Monta? After all, the subdelegate does work for their military. In demolitions.”

I make a note to tell Drummond. “Of course, you’d have reason to set me against the others if you were behind it.”

She taps my eye camera with a claw. “Get that to tell you,” she tells me and I wonder at her speed. I don’t even blink until the keratin blade’s retreating from my cornea. Lucky I’m wearing it, really.


Of course, she’s right and I stop in on our room on the way back up to Salara to take a look at the pictures Dakrin looked up last night. I can’t believe I’d forgott… Rabbit porn. Great. I don’t want to think of the adverts THAT’S going to bring up. He must have been watching it before I woke up. I put it all through the trash – except for number 14 – and pull up the photographic biographies. I’ll start with the Feline. Henrietta Langan. From Calla. She’s listed as being mid sixties with degrees in psychology and Business studies. Worked for the Feline defence services for thirty years. Suspected of several ‘removals’. Nothing proven.

For the Celicans… or, rather, Monta as Fawren are backing them… we have Pas Yinkalla, a fifty something Tod with qualifications in chemistry and diplomacy. He’s backed up by Yastin Kohlan, the aforementioned Tod with a record that spoke of violence in defences name. He’s served in the military before moving to the private sector. He’s got awards for hunting – but there are few Celicans who don’t have at least one of those – hostage negotiation and, in a way typical to the Celican military, regimental pin-up of the year. It’s probably a cherished post. It indicates you’ve served your planet and kept your looks. I haven’t seen Pas’s other advisor yet. He has to have one. Fawren might be backing Monta up but, despite earlier thoughts, I doubt they’re willing to totally trust Monta here. Do I still have a drone? I wonder if I can get it to work to get into their rooms?


Come to that…


Back down to the lobby I go, wishing I were elsewhere. I need a look into the logbook and I have to think of a way to get in there. I sigh. On Caldera, I could get into a disguise and bluff my way past the reception. I’ve dressed up as superheroes, tap dancers, Cowmicans and, in one case, an exotic lady of the night. But I can’t do any of that here. They’ve seen me around the place. So I do the only thing I suppose I can do. I tell Drummond I need to see the logs.


His room brings ‘stink chic’ to a new level and my respect for him goes up. Someone who lives in a place with a 500 credit a head restaurant and sneaks in pizzas from the nearby parlour deserves some sort of respect. As does the fact that he obviously terrifies the cleaners. They’ve never been in here. “What are you looking for,” he asks as I flick back to when the Monta group arrived. Three days ago. If I’m right, Drummond’s going to be furious. The pictures scroll back in colour and, eventually, after scrolling back and fore, past maids and porters, I pull up the two Celicans heading in. They’re alone. Great, I think, it’s come to nothing. There’s no-one with… hang on…


I scroll back again, to about twenty minutes before they arrive on the room. A Female Mican, keeping her head down and wearing a maids outfit, goes in to finish the clean up for them. And doesn’t come out again. I point it out to Drummond and old sausage scent leans over to change the cameras. Unfortunately he’s a blood and sawdust sausage and I think I don’t want lunch now. He scrolls back the path she took to get there and she comes out of a blind spot. She keeps her head down all the way but does glance around at one point, her attention taken by something or other. She reaches out and puts her hand on a wall to steady herself. Drummond and I run to the location. He wins because he cheated, thrusting me down into the chair to give himself a head start. Cheat. He’s scanning the wall with a DNA sampler. I let him. Because I don’t have one of those.


Well, the results are… interesting. She’s listed with a Celican name. She’s married to one. And he? He ran away from home a year or so ago. And is suspected of founding Calavix.
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Re: HARVEST ON HOLIDAY

Post by Harry Johnathan »

I like how natural your world-building is. The unique terminology, spiecies traits, character roles, and technological advances are easy to understand.
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Re: HARVEST ON HOLIDAY

Post by Welsh Halfwit »

Harry Johnathan wrote: Mon Aug 01, 2022 8:42 am I like how natural your world-building is. The unique terminology, spiecies traits, character roles, and technological advances are easy to understand.
I always like to have it that Wolves are generally surly but still have a bit of a sense of humour to go with honour. They respect their better enemies.
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Re: HARVEST ON HOLIDAY

Post by Amazee Dayzee »

I really do like what you are doing here also! Keep up the good work!
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Re: HARVEST ON HOLIDAY

Post by Welsh Halfwit »

If you'd not guessed from that last part, I'm a fan of NCIS:- Los Angeles.
Commander Hawle. U.S.C. Loper. By the talented DDeer.
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Re: HARVEST ON HOLIDAY

Post by Amazee Dayzee »

My grandparents used to like the original series and would watch it on weeknights. Those were actually some really good times.
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Re: HARVEST ON HOLIDAY

Post by Welsh Halfwit »

17 CALAVIX.

As we head back to his office, I think on how I can’t tell him. I can’t tell Drummond about Calavix in case he doesn’t already know. The organisation is kind of an open closed secret around the patch. They came up a couple of years ago, a criminal organisation that threatened to destabilize the new colonies. Lots of faces were there in the initial attempt, drawing criminals from everywhere under one vast umbrella. I know about them simply because I got involved. I also got hunted, chased, shot at and numerous other things until the trouble receded. I’ve kept an ear out. The threat’s withdrawn simply because they have so few people left. The word’s out on the underworld. Criminals don’t want to join an organisation that’s imploding faster than a star undergoing an inversion. I have to think on what she’s doing here. It was always rumoured that Calavix was funded by Monta but nothing was proven. Then Raicarra was found to be involved in slipping credits to nefarious peoples in the patch and people’s attention was distracted…

Sonia Cala was merely listed as the wife of a missing scientist on the padd, listed officially because she may or may not have committed some crime at a point in her past that enables the officials to put her name on such databases. The surveillance culture, heh? “Well,” I say as I look at the name and decide I probably have to inform Sector Command Postlethwaite about this. If he’ll accept my call. Normally it’s him calling me. “Well, that’s interesting,” I continue, “I wonder if she’s here looking for him.” It’s a bad lie. An obvious lie. He doesn’t believe it for a second but he grunts. He’s not letting it go. He plans to search their rooms. He won’t find anything. She must have left. The hotel doesn’t do room service and, if they did, the Celican’s haven’t brought any grained dishes to their room. She wouldn’t have eaten in three days and, trust me, Micans don’t do that foolishness easily. She probably left a few hours later. “Now what,” I ask, as though I’m interested in his thoughts.

“We need to investigate that room,” Drummond replies. “Under the auspices of checking for devices perhaps?”

I shrug in my expensive jacket. Did I just knock credits off by wrinkling it? “Sounds smart, sir. But that’s your duties, not mine.” He reaches over and changes the camera to an outside view and scrolls it back to the same date. He runs it. Three hours after she went in, the Mican’s leaving, coming out of a camera blind spot so we can’t quite tell how she got there, although I have ideas, as does Drummond.

“Probably got out via the ledge and fire escape,” he tells me. I have to agree. “Sixth floor. Not a bad head for heights for a Mican…” He’s grinning. I’m pretty sure I don’t like it.


Yup, I tell myself as I stand close to a window on the seventh floor and he closes it behind me. It’s cold out here and I’m only tied to a bed by a rope. The rope has to be long enough that I can get to the fire escape but that very fact means that it’s long enough to swing me like a pendulum if I should happen to fall and it’ll probably kill me by saving me. Best thing to do is not fall. Actually, best thing to do would be to stop getting into these situations in the first place but I’m here and I’m planning on being there and… oh, I made it. It only took me a couple of minutes. Drummond’s already here and helping me over the edge. “Guess that proves it,” he sighs. “I gotta do a complete overhaul on these doors.” He deigns to let me untie myself and I manage to disengage the knot to get the rope off. “How was the view?”

My reply’s unprintable.


Drummond lets me head back to the room Salara’s stuck in and she’s full of questions about who, what, where and why the heck was going on. She asks if they should consider postponing or cancelling the conference – why they’re calling it a conference when it’s more of a sale is beyond me. I tell her that’s up to smarter people than me but it smacks of letting the people win. She asks who. I tell her we’re getting close to working that out. It’s quite possible we have and Dakrin can see that in my eye. He tenses up as he senses the mental signals I’m sending him. The ones that say he’s going to like this even less than having him seduce a businesstod.

“Closer than you’re telling us,” Salara comments with tense humour. Drat. Seems she’s worked it out too.

I take a breath. “Monta had someone else in their room the day they arrived,” I admit. “I’d thought it was the liaison from Fawren sneaking in but it wasn’t. It was a Mican female, certainly. A year or so back, her husband, a lead Monta scientist, vanished from Celica when he was on his way to the patch. His name was – or is – Harkavan Cala.”

Now Dakrin’s positively clawing the sofa. He had it worse than me when we ran into them. Being a bit of an… entrepreneur in his wilder days, Dakrin went into Calavix’s training base so we could locate it. Remember I said they chased us? Well, they chased Dak first. Naked. Through a forest at midnight with eating him raw on their mind. He doesn’t mention it much but there are small clues that it still plays on his memory. Like the times he’s ruined a couch with his claws.

“Cala,” Salara mused. “As in Calavix?” She’s not playing this time; there’s no humour in her tone. “You think Calavix are trying to gain control over colonial defences for their own reasons.”

Do I think that? No, I don’t think so. Calavix is spent – or, rather, overspent. They have no ships and I tell Salara that. I don’t tell her that Monta could be using someone like her to gain their own advantage. Or she could be looking to make money for them.. Or they could… Stop it, Harvest. Focus on one thing at a time.

“My uncle’s not going to like this,” Salara says.

“At least they’re not trying to kill you,” Dakrin says consolingly. Well, he’s just had a shock.

Where did she go after? I doubt she’s moved far away. She’s still in the area. I’m going to have to check out the conference room. Derek can help with that, I’m sure. First, though, I need to put a call in so I decide to call from Salara’s room so it’s on her expenses. Cross sector calls don’t come cheap. An adjutant takes the call after I make sure the line’s secured at this end. <”The Sector Controller is busy,”> the Lappinean says haughtily as I flash my teeth in a smile for facial recognition. <”Call again later.”>

“Is your end of this communication secure,” I ask.

<”I don’t see the need...”>

“I do.” I wait until he reaches forward to secure the line. “I don’t think he’ll want to call back later,” I state calmly. “Tell him Harvest Moon is calling him before I notify the H/K guild that two of the biggest bounties currently active are connected to the events currently happening on Darena Core. And there may be more to come.”
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Re: HARVEST ON HOLIDAY

Post by Harry Johnathan »

"My reply is unprintable" is such a simple line but extremely effective, I love it lol.
Pray for those who have fallen away, to be brought back to God. To their loss they are crucifying the Son all over again and mocking him.
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Re: HARVEST ON HOLIDAY

Post by Amazee Dayzee »

I love the fact that Harvest has now actually acknowledged himself as a potty mouth! That is a very nice touch! Awesome work!
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