The trial of tompa lee, p.1
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       The Trial of Tompa Lee, p.1

           Edward Hoornaert
The Trial of Tompa Lee

  Praise for The Trial of Tompa Lee

  Ed Hoornaert is a marvelous writer: a terrific, engrossing storyteller and a consummate stylist. - Robert J. Sawyer, Hugo-Award winning author

  Reminiscent of the best of classic Star Trek. -

  Hold a tissue ready, as Mr. Hoornaert knows how to squeeze the heart of the reader. - Love Romances

  Tompa Lee is an attractive, ambitious vagabond. - Arizona Daily Star

  The Trial Of Tompa Lee is a terrific twenty-second century legal thriller. Harriet Klausner

  Classic science fiction, but with enough character development to interest non-science fiction readers. - Romance Reviews Today

  The Trial of Tompa Lee


  Edward Hoornaert

  © 2005, 2012 by Edward Hoornaert

  A slightly different version of this book was published in hardcover by Five Star Speculative Fiction, October, 2005

  All rights reserved

  This novel is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are either the product of the author's imagination, or, if real, used fictitiously.


  “Decrepit stranger of ancient years! Halt immediately!”

  The old one did as he was ordered, despite his hunger and the tantalizing smell of food from the back door of the pub. He trembled with the knowledge that he was newly arrived in this city, that he didn’t belong, that he was adrift in a herd of Others.

  “Turn headly,” the voice commanded.

  Obedience to the host herd was demanded not only by common courtesy, but by his very genes. And so, keeping his body still, he turned his head one-hundred-eighty degrees. His darting eyes glimpsed only the shadowed alley, a pile of moldering garbage, and the stained grey ashlars of buildings whose style predated the turmoil of the space aliens’ arrival. He saw no one.

  Then a local, a Shon-Tuke-Zee, emerged into a shaft of dust and sunlight that speared through the heart of the alley via a break in the old, ill-maintained sun roof. The Tuke stopped in the dazzling spotlight, her face an unreadable mask of glare and darkness. Five others joined her, each wearing a vest that shimmered with yellow and orange flames against a black background.

  The female Tuke stepped forward. She was young, with wide eyes and a spectacular pear-shaped figure. Slowly, she circled the old one. He swivelled his head to follow her progress, which was either an invitation to camaraderie or a dire threat. The ground shook as a bus clattered by on the elevated roadway over the nearby main street.

  Suddenly the female leaned her slender hip against his wide one. An invitation, then. “Do those ones from your homeland love meekly aliens from the stars?” she asked.

  Her accent was so thick he needed a moment to decipher it. “Reply negatively,” he whispered. Encouraged that her hip remained against his, he spoke louder. “This one feels that aliens from the stars form the source of all evil.”

  “Aaaar,” she purred. It was the most comforting sound he’d heard in days.

  “This one’s name is Awmit,” he said.

  “Dine with these ones, Awmit, before carrying defiantly a placard of hatred against aliens.”

  He’d have done almost anything not to dine alone again; carrying the three-sided electric sign that a male handed him was a tiny price to pay. “With the joy of loneliness abated,” Awmit said formally.

  The sign was similar to the parasols common in this sun-broiled region, except that it was open on top. When he touched buttons on the handle, letters glowed on the faces of the sign. Strange, he thought, using alien gadgets to proclaim herd-solidarity against aliens. “What, exactly, do these ones”—he pointed all six fingers of one hand at the Tukes and, lastly, at himself—“bond together against?”

  The pretty female’s mouth puckered in a curve of hatred. In perfect unison, the Tukes cried out, “Humans arrive unwelcomely! Humans arrive unwelcomely!”

  Glorying in the emotional surge of group purpose, Awmit joined the chant, which went on and on. It would be impolite and unwise, he decided, to ask what a human was.

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