Yellow Dog’s Year
By Kenneth Shumaker
July 10, 2017
In Kenneth Shumaker’s Eren’s Challenge, we enter the world of the robotics research technician, a mature human male, Eren. During Eren’s 5th Galaxy Palcard sector journey, he encounters hazards with his friend, Esmelda, the mature human female who is an ambassador’s administrator. The pair struggle with adventures and dramatic developments while in the metropolitan industrial trade city of Goral, on the planet of the Krenar. Here, they fight with bureaucrats and the Hean priestly hierarchy.
Previously in Episode 002, ‘Blue Collar Monday’ on …
Lezmor 01 of RD 78
We discovered our unlikely hero as he experienced a blue Monday. As a team leader, working on research development, Eren was unsuccessful with a habitat emergency repair robot. Eren has tough choices to make, but that’s the easy part of his day.
We continue with episode 002 on …
Lezmor 01 of RD 78
Entering my bi-level 1,356 square-foot home typically isn’t an issue, but when I open the door and see two thugs aiming 9 mm charge pistols in my direction and I see Esmelda cuffed to one of my heavy office chairs, my day tanks even further than it was.
Closing the door, I know these goons: street thugs, Rifus and Tairence, two of the Black Circle’s enforcers. Two gentlemen and I use that term loosely, who you never want to have shown up in your home uninvited. I don’t recall inviting either one of them.
Esmelda has an open invitation, but she has yet to accept an invitation to stay over … sadly.
Coughing lightly, I peer intently at their ring leader and spout in a voice so cold my refrigerator might seem tropical. “Rifus, what the Gor are you two doing in my abode?”
Clearing his throat harshly, Rifus stands tall uttering, “Angel wants your help again. The missus was here when we arrived. She says she’s just visiting. What you want us ta do with her?”
Winking at Rifus, I say, “Cuff her to my bed.”
As Rifus begins to uncuff Esmelda from the chair, Rifus says, “Okay Eren.”
I laugh as Esmelda sputters and resists. She says,” Hey, you can’t!”
I say to the goons, “You idiots, let her go. She’s a friend with keys. She can go … Esmelda won’t tell anyone about your visit, and you didn’t say your names, right?”
Tairence, the ever-bright spot of the two, interrupts, “But you did Eren.”
I wink. “Only Tairence … oops sorry boys …” laughing again, I spout, “She’s good. Let her free. I vouch for her.”
Esmelda, standing stiffly asks, “What does it cost for my freedom boys?”
I don’t laugh as Es mentions the key to her safety.
Leaning forward, Tairence says, “If you transfer fifty each, then we’ll vouch for you, too.”
Quickly, Es pulls free from Rifus’ grip and moves over to my illicit POS terminal and motions to Rifus. “You’re first, big boy. I’ll make it sixty, just to show you that I’m serious.”
I taught Es how to make transfers on my POS last year, and since then we’ve made several transactions underneath the recorded radar.
Turning to me, both men raise their eyebrows in question. I simply nod and motion to Es.
Almost running, they march over, and Es transfers credits onto their ID card. The transactions are untraceable.
As they’re busy, I say, “I’m going upstairs to change into work gear. Be right back, folks.”
It takes me all of ten minutes to suit up for my illicit side work. If I ever got caught by the Govwatch, I’d never see the light side of the Goals again.
Back downstairs with the other three, I find them making light banter about hated politics. I resist laughing as Es is Earl Ferent’s ambassador’s assistant, yet here she is cursing up a storm along with the two goons.
Such an endearing diplomatic ambassador my sweetheart is. Now if I could get her to stop playing me and get serious.
Stepping loudly into the room with my soft-soled rubber skinned shoes, I cough grumpily, saying, “Enough bad-mouthing Earl Ferent you three, I believe I’ve been called to the Angel? Es you can find your way?”
All three stand and Es asks, “You three mind if I tag along?”
Turning a shade of red darker than an over ripe nectarine, I sputter as I answer, “I mind. It’s not a polite or safe company to be in.”
Sharp as a knife, Rifus waves me off, asking Es. “You been in the underworld, Es?”
Smirking childishly, Es answers him. “My world can be as dark or darker than any underworld you inhabit Rif. Let’s go if you’ll accept me?”
I was outvoted, three to one, as we climb into Rifus’ black OUTie four door fuel guzzling beast. The nice thing is, it’s old school and doesn’t have the Gov tracer plants in it. So, we’re free to go undetected where we want – almost. There’s still the cameras everywhere. But Rifus steals fresh license plates and changes them out twice a week.
Driving like a decent regular citizen, so as not to draw undue attention, Rifus takes us to the Black Circle’s business tower in midtown centre, among the forty or so other business high-rise towers that stand fifty or more floors tall.
Drightom Tower rises above all others and is the most noteworthy of them all, standing two-hundred stories tall with vid display screens on the mid one-hundred floors, they’re playing recordings twenty-hours of every day.
I once asked Angel why Black Circle brazenly occupies House Tower. She answered that it’s obvious: stand next to the brightest flashiest boy in town, and no one even notices you.
I couldn’t argue.
We take the lift to the penthouse on the fifty-third floor which leads to Angel’s suite where the security suddenly intensifies with full body scanners in multi-spectrum, even gas and electronic scans.
But wearing my syth-suit which blocks all that, there are some frustrated security techs. I casually hand over my 11-mm Yendor Charge pistol and Dower hunting knife to Lieutenant Unhrah and thank her yet again, and then I wink and smile. She does an old-fashioned frisk but doesn’t discover any more hazards.
After they scan and approve Es, the four of us walk into the enormous glass office – a massive thirty-foot cube of Iridium glass.
I’m not sure how they made it or why, or who paid for it, but here it is – three layers, each two-inches thick. Damn, most earls can’t afford one wall of this mess, never mind six. The beastie is impenetrable.
Then there is Angel, the damn alien, the Yellow Dog hound, a gnoll of the Gornel tribe from out there beyond our system.
Peace, my friend, and may the bogeyman not see you!
By, Kenneth Shumaker
To be continued in the next episode 003, ‘Golden Company Hour’ …
Encountering Angel takes away from company time, eating up the work hours needed to prepare my presentation for our revised research.
I sure hope Jill’s on top of it.
Angel’s plans are golden for both of us: politically, economically, and socially.
© 2017 by Kenneth Shumaker with Inevitable Unicorn Press
We would like to acknowledge the following for their contributions:
Our author is Kenneth Shumaker.
Our graphics are by Kenneth Shumaker.
Editing is by Donna Shumaker.
The distribution, marketing, production, promotions, and publishing are by Inevitable Unicorn Press, also known as InUPress.