The author, Paul Melhuish, is busy finishing off a collection of tales featuring the character Terminus, but also some other views of the universe in which the novel is set. The novels and short stories are collectively the Skyfire Chronicles, Skyfire being the name of Terminus’s adopted planet, for reasons that will become clear if you read the book. We’d better get crackling (as the Big Friendly Giant might say) because we’re launching this book at the FantasyCon 2012 convention, along with a new novel, Badger’s Waddle by Nigel Edwards.
Here’s today helping of Terminus…
The bar curved across the interior of the club like a half-moon. Terminus headed straight for it, passing through the invisible sound field that dulled the music around the bar area. Above, shifting images patterned the domed ceiling and holo-images sprang from the walls. He perched himself on a stool, ordered a large glass of syntol and began the long slide into alcoholic oblivion. Before him, the teleport delivered the drink with a pay advice hologram. He laughed to himself. If you didn’t pay, the phys-tech locators would put a trace on you and you’d be followed home by two large clones. Terminus had no phys-tech; he could drink this place dry if he wanted and not pay a thing. Not that he was ever going to get home. He’d be picked up and dispatched long before the night was out.
As he drank he felt a presence slide into the seat next to him. He didn’t look directly at her (that could get you a shunt in the mouth in this place) but looked out from the corner of his visual field.
‘Of course, back in England we had dance halls. Now they’re gone forever.’
His brain unscrambled the language. Was she talking to him? He was sure that it was old Earther. Instinctively, he turned to face her.
‘This reminds me of an old Northern Hemisphere city. Quaint, really. Ignorant cattle classes drinking away their sorrows, subconsciously steeling themselves for the final apocalypse. Same behavior patterns here, exactly like Earth.’
He identified her and exclaimed: ‘Oh, digest!’
‘Indeed, Mister Terminus. I’ve come for you.’
Her hair had been cropped short in the Skyfirean fashion which accentuated her cheek bones and her red lips. She wore a catsuit, bright scarlet of course, but also very Skyfirean. The suit’s latex effect creaked as she moved like some feline predator. He could run but what would be the point? She’d catch him.