I just wrote the last chapter, so the next job is editing. I will maybe wait a little, at least a few days, before I start going through the whole story again. Fresh eyes and all that. It might be best if I waited several weeks, but I really want to publish this now, not wait until spring, and it is getting dark here now, I don’t know how much longer I can concentrate well enough to be able to do this (SAD, bad version, for those of you who may be new here).
Now I don’t know how smart this is, it would perhaps be better to strive for the best possible product. On the other hand one of my problems is perfectionism, if I start thinking in terms of ‘perfect’, or even ‘best possible’, it might take me years to get even a single novel out. And volume matters in self publishing. It’s hard enough as it is to get any visibility in the crowded marketplace, whether that is just Amazon, or all the possible ones, and since I have nothing else but my stories – no noticeable blog following, no noticeable presence online anywhere else, no twitter account, no facebook one either (yet, but I’m planning to go there), and no damn money to pay for advertising – well, maybe it really would be smart just to try and get as many novels as possible out as fast as possible. Some will be better, some worse, but I think even uneven but voluminous output with some good novels in it, and some slightly less good, and maybe a few bad ones (so lets hope the percentages really will be those, more good than bad in them) might be better than few maybe slightly better ones coming out now and then, with very long quiet spells between them. Lets say I’m aiming towards becoming one of the go to names for people who want the book equivalent of something like McDonalds meals – no great culinary experiences, maybe, but cheap, fairly reliable and easy to find fare with which they pretty much know what they are getting. Well, not that I except to become anything as successful as that brand…
And if I want to get there, I guess becoming somebody who publishes new stuff in a fairly reliable schedule might be a rather big selling point. And volume. Having lots of novels for the buyer to choose from, and then, if they liked their first purchase they will be able to pick several others before they start to run out of things to read.
They had ran for a while, then slowed down to a walk.
The streets were becoming quiet now. The sun had set, and streetlights were completely missing on several of the side streets, and sparsely spaced on the main thoroughfares which maybe explained part of the lack of people, nobody likes to stumble around in the dark, but Rahan suspected some of it was the area itself – he had thought the route to the restaurant had looked disreputable, but this was far worse.
Lida seemed to know where she was going. They had dodged into side alleys a couple of times when they had seen more official looking vehicles in the distance, and once hid in a small thicket of young trees growing on an abandoned lot, wrapped into each other and simulating the movements of an sexual act while a flyer had, for a few moments, lingered in the vicinity, but either it had not been looking for them or their playacting had convinced whoever had been manning the heat viewer that they were not the refugees but just some random couple overcome by their need for some instant nookie in the warm evening.
If he had not been so nervous it would have been quite pleasant. Even as it had been Rahan had needed to use some mind control methods he had been taught in order not to embarrass himself, or his partner.
He was fairly sure nothing like that was going to happen for real, not now. Which was a pity. But now one of his main concerns was getting out of this mess without totally compromising his chances of graduating.
Staying alive, unhurt and free, and making sure Lida did as well, were even higher on his list.
“We are close,” Lida said.
“The safe house you mentioned?”
“I’m not going to ask anything until we are safely hidden. But I think I deserve some explanations after that.”
She gave him a sideways glance but didn’t answer anything.
What the hell had he gotten involved in? Lida was not just some innocent aspiring student looking for offworld information, she was involved in something shady right here on this planet.
Which of course might explain her need to get off it.
A ping from the AI told Ryn that the search was finished.
“What have you found?”
“Ytjar net. An alert for reinforcements near a restaurant called ‘The White Room’. The description of the male perp matches cadet Rahan Kendal.”
“A female suspect was seen leaving the restaurant through a back door. Three agents went to talk to her – this seems to be some sort of euphemism, possibly meaning arrest, or at least roughing up – and she tried to flee. There was a fight, and the male suspect exited the restaurant, also through the back door, and attacked the agents.”
“And the Ytjar lost the fight?”
“Yes. The suspects are still on the loose.”
“Well well well… glad he has learned at least something.”
The AI didn’t comment.
“I’m going to play this by the book. Hide a message in the next bundle being send out through the main Startalk station. Both to the clan contacts and my immediate supervisor in the Corps.”
“Done. They will go out five days from now.”
Ryn growled. A lot could happen in five days. And nobody would get here until several days after that, if that. Depended on where the closest ships able to respond were right now, and how close they were to well funded Startalk stations. Ones which could afford to make contact often.
Not likely there would be any ships large enough to have their own station anywhere close. Startalk took nearly as much power as a ship jump. Mostly it made more sense to use ships because then you could transfer more than just information at the same time. Only the largest warships and most exclusive large transports had stations onboard.
And when it came to what he could do here, himself, Ryn knew he would not be able to do much outside the ship, at least not well. He stood out too much, looked like a Shemasharra too much, and the locals were, according to the data, actively hostile towards suspected non-humans. Or artificial humans, which seemed to be the preferred term on this planet.
“There is something else you need to know. I am not the only one infiltrating the Ytjar net. There are six or seven spies I am able to see in it. Also in the regular police net. Do you want me to trace them?”
“Figures. Separate sources or connected?”
“Some of the programs display similarities. Possibly three or four sources, but at least two of them are connected, either by having purchased the programs from the same source, or, if independently developed…”
“I get it. Trace them. Try not to let them notice you.”
The house didn’t seem like something anybody would be living in. More like a warehouse with some office space.
“That door,” Lida said and pointed to one at the end of a short staircase leading down from the street level.
“We go in, but you will need to wait at the top of the stairs, right next to that door, until I have talked to the people down there.”
“Not now. I will explain what I can later. But we don’t have the time now.”
Rahan sighed and nodded.
The wait was long. How long in real time he wasn’t quite sure since the only watch he used had been in the com, but way too long for his state of mind. But finally he heard her calling and started to descend.
The stairs were long and badly lighted. The lighting was even worse once he reached the low ceilinged room at the end of them. One filled to capacity with all kind of crates, some on the floor, some on shelving which turned the place into a maze.
Rahan walked a little past several wooden crates piled on top of one another. There didn’t seem to be anybody here.
A sound from his left. He turned to look, only to be greeted by the sound and smell of some aerosol being sprayed on his face.
His last thought before he hit the floor was that Ryn was going to kill him for falling for such an easy trick.