Esquire: Part 6 of 6
Another popularly marketed sales strategy that doesn't have as much witchcraft or pre-existing wealth behind it seems to be "build it and they will come", which is swell to dwell on (and mostly affordable), yet falls short of getting the books onto shelves and into hands without a lot of pavement pounding, hob-knobbing, and elbow grease. Not too much pounding, knobbing, and grease though, because then you're labeled as pushy and annoying. What is too much? You'll find out when you step through the invisible laser line and the alarms go off.
I don't have any marketing wisdom or solutions. Mostly I'm whining, whinging, and doing a bit of belly-aching about having shallow pockets and a lack of lore knowledge. I'm also pointing a sheepish and slightly mocking finger at myself for not doing the pavement pounding that is my next step of "build it and they will come". I keep letting fear of hitting the laser line and setting off the strobe lights and fire sirens get the best of me. So, this is me chiding myself into getting over the fear - which is odd but often works with my anxiety. If I can make having the fear seem silly it becomes a much smaller hill rather than a mountain to get over. The tricks we play on ourselves... lol!
6. Double Dealing
A few of the second carnivore troop members were close enough to hear the lightness applied to the question, but from their smell definitely didn’t understand what weight the answer carried.
“Completely, you scum-eating bottom feeder,” Tarq was enjoying this small power of removing someone from the planet. Dorian nodded politely, a slight bow that – for his own needs – signaled that he agreed to the arrangement.
“As our business is agreed concluded, it is my obligation to inform you Ms Dutha sends her notice regarding your failures care of Esquire.”
All the color drained from reptile’s scales. The AI opened fire on the anti-ship bolters with its own, the new weapons system quickly destroying both embankments and the portable. The mercenaries scattered like rats in a fire as Dorian’s ship-mounted, close combat bolters opened up and cut them down.
Tarq slumped forward, paralyzed. Alua retracted her right hand palm spine from his arm and pried his fingers off from where he still gripped her. The last of the living mercenaries scurried over what was left of the embankments and disappeared. Dorian instructed the ship to survey for any further targets and to shoot at will. The AI responded affirmatively, adding how much it liked the upgrades.
Tarq was heavier than he’d looked. Dorian had to use his ship’s medic table to transport the unconscious reptile into his holding cell. Alua had assisted as Dorian stripped all unnecessary clothing and all weapons from Tarq, including cutting the ends of his claws to dull tips. On Dorian’s instruction the AI moved the ship into orbit and plotted out the three most efficient courses they could take to get to Ms Dutha’s system to deliver the target.
Alua was waiting in the command chamber. She didn’t speak he entered, or when he instructed the AI to follow the longest plot so that he would have more time with Alua. That done, he turned to her expectantly. In an unexpected show of absolute trust, she wrapped her left hand around his forearm.
Tarq will be angry upon waking.
She considered his reply for a moment, and then nodded to herself. It was a slight movement, but conveyed physically that she had made the necessary token warning that the reptile could be dangerous.
May I return to the holding cell that I occupied traveling here? That climate is more comfortable to me than this one.
AI, Dorian smiled, please return the ship’s internal climate to standard levels. Instantly the humidity began to climb and mist gathered along the decking, the lighting dropping to comfortable levels. He stood and held out a hand to her. She curled her fingers into his, sighing happily as she looked around.
You shall be paid ten percent of the Bounty for Tarq, as agreed, for your involvement in his capture. Now, about the payment we agreed for your transport back to your home world.
Lead on, she smiled up at him.
She followed him from the command chamber, prattling about her home planet and what kinds of beings and creatures lived there. He led her to the medical chamber and let her choose where to sit. He prepared the equipment then rested a hand on her neck; her scales were cool and smooth.
How would you like to start this? she asked.
We’ll start with the fatal poison. I believe you said that was on your left side?
Yes, that’s correct.
She relaxed into the chair and held up her left palm, extending the spine at the base. He attached one of the small tubes he usually used for himself to the tip of the spine.
This may be uncomfortable. Let me know if it becomes painful and we’ll employ a different method.
Rather than reply, she closed her eyes and relaxed. After a moment, Alua began to quietly sing about her home world in time with the pumping of the extractor.
Leave a Reply.
A weekly blog updating on Fridays with quick personal blurbs about me, as in what's going on during my life as an Author and mom, and that doles out my short stories and novellas in bite-sized parts for everyone to read for free!