Trapped – A Bad Beginning By: Patrick O’Connor This is a story about another disaster in the life of Michael Mulroney. It picks up back in Detroit in 1960. After a year and a half at the University of Idaho, where the main story line was the affair with Geraldine, he is home again. He and Geraldine had carried on a torrid sexual affair all during the spring of ’59 and had continued it when he had gone back to school in the fall. But, when she tried to clamp down on his life, he felt he had to run. He gave up his scholarship with the Navy and dropped out of school. He was now working for Bob Fox at the Fox Insurance Agency successfully selling life insurance.
It was true that the people looked very much like those back home on Grunryk, but they were like a completely different species. Their observation of the various forms of electronic transmissions had taught them a great deal about life on this strange new world. One thing that really stood out was that these people were extremely violent. War and genocide was a regular thing in many parts of the planet and violent crimes and murder was a daily occurrence. For both Nim and Rep, this was incredible. Nothing like this was even conceivable on Grunryk. At first it had been difficult for them to differentiate between what was real and what was fiction, but after a while they thought that they had figured it out. But it was even more appalling to them when they discovered that even the fictional broadcasts were filled with murder and mayhem. The people were obsessed with death and disease. Everyone was aggressive and mistrustful. At every turn there was confrontation.
If you want to know where to find the best deal on virtually anything, if you need a coupon for the biggest discount, or you’re looking for a sale on prime rib you just have to call Nancy. You’ve heard the expression “She’s so tight she squeaks when she walks!” Well that would be Nancy, but only when it refes to her interactions with any brand of tradesman. With her friends she has always been generous to a fault. She never shows up without bringing some contribution to the party. And you can always count on her help in any way possible.
The ringing telephone wakened Charles from another dream about another bad beat poker hand. It was 6:45AM and the call would surely be from Uschi getting him up to feed the horses. Even though she was over in Germany, she would still call each morning when she was gone to wake him up and remind him about the daily chores. He jumped out of bed to get the phone before the third ring, when the answering machine would kick in! “Good Morning sweetheart,” he said when he picked up the phone.
The sound of the alarm from the navigation console brought both Rep and Nim running to the main deck. The alarm indicated that they were approaching the final orbit around what they were now certain was Blausten. From this close, the planet was breathtakingly beautiful. It wasn’t all blue as it appeared from farther out, but contained large masses of land and ice. It still had that brilliant shine that was evident from a distance, but it was interrupted with the variety of landmasses. The billowing white clouds whirling around gave the whole sphere a romantic gossamer appearance. Their excitement about their find was becoming more and more intense and they both were looking forward to their first opportunity to land on the surface. The fantastic promises that had been made by those ancient travelers seemed about to be confirmed.
In 1958 Catholic Central High School was located on the west side of Detroit on Outer Drive, just east of Greenfield Road. Most of the students at this all boys, Catholic preparatory school, run by the Basilian priest and brothers, lived a relatively long way from the school. Those that were from the wealthier families had their own cars, some rode the bus, and others would hitchhike home after school. I was one of those that would hitchhike most days.
Being an American ex-patriot with a relatively exotic business in the pop fashion scene in Frankfurt, I was acquainted with a variety of interesting people on the shady edge of the social fabric. One of these acquaintances was a Nigerian named Alex who I would often see with his tall, blond, beautiful German girl-friend in the local bistros and clubs. When I would see him on the street, he was impossible to miss because he was invariably driving some outrageously extravagant car. One day you would see him in a Rolls-Royce, and the next time it would be a Lamborghini, always accompanied by the foxy blond.
Nim could hardly believe his eyes when the data from the Evaluator began to come back. Blausten appeared to be the richest Erz source ever discovered. This planet would be able to provide Grunryk with Erz for years to come. The entire surface of the planet seemed to contain greater or lesser concentrations of source. On top of that the surface atmosphere was even more positive than Grunryk itself. It would be a great place to work. On the down side, based on information from the Evaluator and the Electronic Data Interpreter, the planet was literally crawling with life forms that could interfere with the mining process.
The ME 116 began to approach Q-J.18.Y. They were not close enough to receive any more than a cursory visual scan showing the sun and its revolving planets, but they were amazed and anxious when they began to intercept a substantial amount of electronic activity.
I've traveled the world, seen the elephant and heard the hoot-owl. I'd like to share these experiences with you.