Free Sample – Tully
Hey everybody, it’s been a busy week. My regular 9 to 5 carried over to the after hours this week, which seriously cut into my writing time. It also slowed me down preparing Tully for the Kindle. I expect it will be available in about week. Shortly after that, I should be set up on B&N and publishing on the Nook.
In the meantime, I submit this 1,000 word sample of Tully for your enjoyment. Comments welcome.
Independent business contractor, Gordon Burke, is recruited, in the middle of the night ,to investigate and evaluate the viability of an alzheimer’s research project on the company’s moon-based facility that an anonymous party claims is performing cruel and illegal experimentation. Gordon discovers that claim only scratches the surface of what’s happening in Dr. Micheal Hawthorne’s laboratory. (full story, approx 10,000 words.)
Copyright 2011 by Jack Foehammer
The large airlocks slid closed across the monorail track at both ends of the receiving terminal. It took two minutes for the air pressure to equalize with that of the inside of the tram’s passenger car. Gordon Burke took one last look at the grainy black and white photo that had prompted the company to send him here very suddenly, slipped it back in its file folder, and put the entire folder into his bag. He looked out of the small window in the door and saw a foreman wearing a hard hat and a confused look on his face, talking to a slender brunette in a female executive’s dark, pin-striped power suit. The man was flipping pages on his clipboard, obviously explaining that he had no idea of the tram’s arrival today. The woman held up a reassuring hand and waved him off. She turned and stepped toward the door of the passenger car.
Taking a breath, Burke released the door with a push of a button. With his overnight duffel flung over his shoulder, his balance was shaky on the three steps down from the passenger car to the platform below. He’d only been to Lunar Base twice before and never had to come out to any of the outlying stations. The artificial gravity of the facility was rated at point-nine-seven of standard, but for Gordon Burke, anything away from the solid ground on Earth took getting used to.
The woman stepped forward with her hand out. “Mr. Burke, I presume.”
They shook hands, and turned toward the hatch that led to the main corridor. “Yes. You must be Elizabeth Martin.”
She smiled and said, “I’m sorry we didn’t have time to prepare for your visit. We only got the memo from corporate this morning.”
He returned her smile. “That’s alright. It’s best that I see things as they normally are.”
The two stepped into the corridor and on to the moving glide-walk. The walk would carry them into the main building. Gordon set his duffel on to the walk and rotated his arm in a wide circle to work out stiffness in his shoulder brought on by the weight of his bag.
Elizabeth crossed her arms. “I have to say, I’m not sure why you’re here. Dr. Hawthorne assures me that his work is where it needs to be. He’s made great strides in recent weeks and—”
“Concerns have been raised,” Gordon said, “about certain aspects of Dr. Hawthorne’s work that have made the investors nervous.”
Elizabeth took a breath. “When you’re dealing with this kind of research, the process is always scrutinized by those with weak stomachs. That’s why this facility was built here on the moon. Our work, which is perfectly legal, is out of the public eye so we can work without pressure from the fanatics.”
The glide-walk emerged from the corridor into a wide open atrium capped with a skylight that offered a spectacular view of the lunar sky. Gordon couldn’t help but notice the brilliant blue and white half-sphere that was The Earth. It was beautiful. He wanted to get this job done and be back on the transport home as soon as he could. This job, he could tell already, was not going to be pleasant.
The two stepped off of the walk as a dutiful attendant approached. “Can I take this to your room, sir?”
Gordon nodded, but before handing the duffel over, he reached into a side compartment and retrieved a thin file folder. He then turned back to Elizabeth, looking serious, as the two started walking toward another large corridor.
“Someone has been threatening to tell the press about what you do up here and the animal rights groups are positioned to get the right people to listen. The company is under pressure from the investors to put out any fires before they ignite public fears.”
Elizabeth stopped and put her clinched fists on her hips. “Public fears? The public should fear for what will happen if the company lets public opinion shut us down!” She was visibly riled. Her eyes seemed to almost burn with both anger at what he was suggesting, and a passion for her belief in the work of the eminent Dr. Hawthorne.
Gordon tried to calm her down. “There has always been a moral debate over brain research and the experimentation that goes with it, but it’s always been allowed to continue—”
“Sure it has, with more and more restrictions levied each time!” She said, without looking at him. The click of her heels echoed her frustration with each step down the corridor.
Gordon didn’t try to keep pace. He wasn’t one that needed to justify anything, after all. Elizabeth’s reaction wasn’t altogether unexpected, though. While she didn’t say so, Gordon Burke was pretty sure that his reputation had preceded him. He was an independent consultant hired by the company, and the company had already terminated three other high profile projects on his recommendation. The word about the company watch dog had undoubtedly spread. That was why the lab was given minimal notice to his visit. But that wasn’t too much less than the notice he received about his trip to the moon. The chairman of the board called him personally, at home, in the middle of the night not more than twenty hours earlier. He imparted to Burke the turmoil that the animal rights groups could cause for both the company and the beneficial research into brain disorders they had invested billions in. The chairman had put such high priority on this evaluation, Gordon didn’t even have the opportunity to tell anyone that he was going to the moon.
Elizabeth had already rounded the corner ahead to the right, and was out of his sight. He hoped that she wouldn’t forget about him, at least, so he wouldn’t get lost. But then again, maybe if he roamed around unescorted, he’d get a more honest representation of the work done here.
He turned the corner, and saw her speaking with an older man wearing a white lab coat. She was still obviously flustered, speaking with one hand on her hip, the other on her forehead. As he got closer, he heard her mutter something to the man that sounded a lot like, idiot bean counter.
Gordon stopped next to her, not looking amused. “Idiot, Ms. Martin, is defined as a person with an I.Q. of twenty five or less. Mine is one-fifty-two, and I assure you I haven’t counted beans since the two weeks I spent in kindergarten.”
<Continued in the full story coming soon to the Kindle>