Galaxy spies, p.1
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           Philip R Benge
Galaxy Spies
Galaxy Spies

  A Story By

  Philip R Benge

  ***************

  Published by

  Galaxy Spies

  Copyright Philip R Benge 2012

  Cover Art Copyright Philip R Benge 2012

  Thank you for downloading this eBook. You are welcome to share it with your friends. This book may be reproduced, copied and distributed for non-commercial purposes, provided the book remains in its complete original form, with the exception of quotes used in reviews.

  Your support and respect for the property of this author is appreciated.

  This book is a work of fiction and any resemblance to persons, living or dead, or places, events or locales is purely coincidental. The characters are productions of the author’s imagination and used fictitiously.

  Galaxy Spies

  Chapter One

  New Terra

  The Interstellar travel office was much plusher than the offices of their cheaper rivals that Jean Summers had visited throughout the morning in an effort to find one that would take her to New Terra. As she walked through their large glass doors and entered into the spacious reception area, a young man of around twenty-five years of age looked up at her. He stood behind the expensive looking mahogany style desk that was set along the rear wall of the office, he looked pleasant enough. Jean hoped that they also had a budget price list, but whatever the cost Jean had now run out of options.

  “Can I be of assistance Ms?” He enquired, his brown eyes smiling as he took in Jeans slim figure, and youthful good looks.

  “I hope so, for no other travel agency seems to want to be of help to me.” Jean said with just enough tiredness in her voice to indicate that she had been doing the rounds of the various travel and transport firms since ten that morning, and it was now one in the afternoon and she had only allowed herself a short break for a coffee earlier on.

  “I need to get to the planet New Terra in the Hercules star system, what can you offer in the way of transport?”

  “Nothing at all I am sorry to say, unfortunately that planet`s political set up ensures that no firm of repute will go anywhere near the place, only a few disreputable freighters call there, no honest firm will go near the planet.”

  “I need to get there to find my brother, he is missing, he has been for five days at least, don`t you know of anyone who could help me get to the planet?” Jean said, now pleading for his help.

  “No, I am sorry, you see the only sort of firm that does go there is the sort that I wouldn`t recommend to anyone.” It was a tired and dejected Jean Summers that turned to leave the office when the assistant suddenly called her back.

  “Hold on a minute Ms, I have just thought of someone who may be able to help you, a Mr Ray Connors is the captain of a small freighter, he normally doesn`t handle passengers, but if you were to flutter your eyes a little, he just may agree to help you.”

  “Flutter my eyes a little!” Jean stormed getting back just a little of her diminishing energy.

  “Oh don`t get me wrong, I wasn`t trying to be rude, it`s just that Ray Connors has never agreed to take any passengers before, you might need to go that little bit further to get him to agree to help you.”

  “I am sorry that I raised my voice, if you could just tell me how to contact Mr Connors, I would be very grateful.” Jean Summers said apologetically. Just a little ray of hope began to grow inside of her tired mind, maybe now she would succeed in finding someone to take her to New Terra so that she could begin to search for her brother.

  The assistant soon wrote down the details of where she would be able to find the freighter captain. The address read; Bay 27, at the Universal Space Port. The assistant just hoped he was really helping the young woman, for New Terra was hardly the place for such a young woman to visit all on her own.

  Jean thanked the assistant for his help and walked out of the travel office and into an adventure that was to last for the rest of her life. Jean soon found a taxi and asked the driver to take her to the spaceport, and after just twenty minutes, she was standing in front of the large colonial spaceport of the planet New Caledonia. The doors of the building that housed the offices of the spaceport were straight ahead, so she walked through them and once inside the building she looked around for some sign to direct her to Bay 27.

  “Can you help me; I need to get to bay 27.” Jean said to the woman at the reception desk in the main foyer of the spaceport.

  “I am afraid that members of the public are not allowed to wander around unaccompanied for safety reasons, I will ring and see if they can send someone down to meet you Ms…?”

  “Summers, Jean Summers, and thank you, if you would call them I would be ever so grateful.”

  “Reception here, I have a Ms Jean Summers here, she would like to speak to Mr Connors, can you get someone to come down here to meet her?”

  “They want to know what you want Ms Summers.” The woman said kindly to Jean, a smile coming to her face.

  “Please tell them that I have something that has to go to New Terra urgently, I will pay up front if they can do it.” Jean sounded so very desperate that the receptionist was beginning to feel sorry for her, even though she had only just met Jean and knew nothing at all about her, or her problems.

  The woman conveyed this information to the person to whom she was speaking to, and after a moment she put down the phone. “They are sending someone down now Ms Summers, seems that the words pay up front did the trick.” The woman smiled at Jean and then feeling that she should explain a little more continued speaking to her.

  “That was Ray on the phone just then, he is a nice guy but he runs a small time but honest operation and you cannot get rich that way, but you will be able to trust him.”

  “I hope so; you see my brother has gone missing on New Terra and no one on the planet seems to care, I have to go there and find him, he is the only living relative that I have and for some reason no one on New Caledonia will travel to that planet.” Jean was almost in tears now.

  “Well if anyone will help you find him, Ray will.” The receptionist said looking sympathetically at Jean but just then another customer took the receptionist`s attention away for a moment, and so Jean waited on a bench nearby until someone came for her.

  Ray Connors was almost thirty years of age, he had a rugged face that could not be called handsome, and his slim build was hardly muscular. He was almost six foot tall with grey eyes and dark brown hair, and at the moment, he stood at the reception desk talking to the receptionist.

  “Where is my customer Rita, her money will hopefully pay for the new parts that I have just installed into the Jeanette?”

  The Jeanette was his freighter, named by his father after his mother, unfortunately they were both dead now from an epidemic on New Caledonia some ten years before.

  “That is her over there Ray, the young teenage girl sitting on the bench next to the sign telling new arrivals about the wonders to be found on our planet.” Rita said tongue in cheek.

  Ray looked across at Jean, who on seeing him look her way enquiringly, stood up. Ray immediately liked what he saw, although she was obviously very young still, Ray guessed maybe sixteen years of age, if she was older then she would have been Ray`s perfect woman. She had auburn coloured hair, hazel eyes and a slim figure, she stood five feet five inches tall in her bare feet Ray guessed.

  “Mr Connors I need something taking to New Terra urgently, can you do it?” Jean Summers said almost pleadingly.

  “Of course how much do you have to transport there, Ms Summers?”

  “All I have to transport is my luggage and myself, I am your cargo Mr Connors.” Jean looked up into Ray`s rugged face and knew that he was about to refuse to help her, she almost burst into tears but managed to ju
st hold them back. She remembered the advice that the travel agent had given, but she thought that fluttering her eyes lashes at the freighter captain would make her look cheap or very young, or both so she discarded this piece of advice.

  “I am desperate to get there so that I can find my brother, he has disappeared and no one anywhere seems to care.” She said in a rush. “Please you must help me.” Jean pleaded with Ray Connors.

  “Look Ms Summers I don`t carry passengers, my starship is not a passenger ship, it is an old tramp freighter out of Mars and she hasn`t got the comforts that a young woman like you needs.”

  “I am not after comfort Mr Connors, I am only after help in getting to New Terra so that I can find my brother, now tell me when we can leave and how much is the fare.” Jean demanded loudly through the tears that were now slipping down her face. Jean tried to get a hold of her emotions, put a determined look on her face that would tell the starship captain, and anyone else who might be looking at her, that she was not going to take no for an answer, in reality, she just looked really desperate.

  “Ray you know that in the end you will give in, so why don`t you put the young lady out of her misery now?” The woman at reception said to Ray Connors.

  “You know what my ship is like, it is all greasy and dusty, and things like that Rita.” Ray Connors protested.

  “So a little dirt is not going to worry her none, she is worried about her brother, are you going to take her or leave her to end up trying someone like Chin`s freighter service as a matter of last resort?”

  Ray Connors would certainly not leave this young woman to the mercies of Chin`s freighter service, he would not wish that on any woman no matter what their age was, or how good they were to look at.

  “Alright Rita I will take her, but if anything happens to her on New Terra don`t you go and blame me.”

  “Don`t worry Mr Connors, I can take care of myself, I will be fine as soon as I get to New Terra.” Jean assured him while wiping away her tears and hoping that the small amount of makeup that she used wasn`t too badly smudged.

  Jean Summers was nineteen years old but looked at least two maybe even three years younger. She had never been away from home in her life, but following the death of her parents in a diving accident, her only surviving relative was her older brother, he worked for the government. She didn`t know what he did, only that when someone named Tom Parkinson called it meant that he had to leave home and go off to some distant planet for a while.

  She had tried to locate Mr Tom Parkinson, but no one in the government offices she had contacted knew who he was, and after two days, she had given up. Tom Parkinson was the head of the newly created Interstellar Investigations Bureau, and very few people had ever heard of him, or of it. At the moment his time was taken up with the preparations for the coming war against the Lyre Federation, and the attempt by Lyre to locate and mine the new fuel of the twenty fifth century, Dylithium Crystals. The name had been given to the crystals by the scientist who discovered them, she liked old sci-fi stories and in one story it was the miracle fuel of choice. They needed the crystals to fuel their starships in their bid to build an empire, something that Earth was dead set against, because so far Lyre`s idea of empire meant enslaving local star systems. His agent, Peter Summers on New Terra, had sent him a message stating that he was following up a lead, but so far he hadn`t come back to him. He had heard that Peter Summers` sister was becoming worried about his supposed disappearance, but Parkinson didn`t want to cause any ripples on New Terra in case it compromised his agent there.

  “How old are you Ms Summers?” Ray Connors asked, still unsure as to whether he should abide by the wishes of the two women.

  Jean wanted to tell him to mind his own business, but she knew that she looked younger than she really was for it had caused her problems before, so she answered Ray`s question.

  “I am nineteen years old; look here is my Identity Card.” Jean said taking her card out and showing Ray her card. “I am certainly old enough to travel by myself, when I want to and to wherever I want to go” Jean stormed in protest at his question.

  Ray Connors looked into Jean`s eyes and could see the desperation in them, and he could also see the latent fear that lay hidden deep within them. What he saw made him almost refuse to take her, but fate had already ordained both of their futures and they were interlinked for more than just the few minutes that they had been together in the spaceport. Ray Connors was just about to say sorry, but I cannot take you, but something about Jean made his words come out a little different.

  “Alright, as I said I will take you, I just hope we don`t live to regret this decision Ms Summers, we leave in two and a half hours, come back here with your luggage before then and get someone to call me on the internal system.” Maybe she was nineteen, maybe she wasn`t but Chin wouldn`t give a damn about it Ray Connors thought, which is maybe why in the end he decided to take her to New Terra.

  Jean was delighted, and her face lit up to prove it was so, but deep down inside of her even she had discovered her hidden fears about this decision to go and find her brother on a strange planet, and with no one to aid her in her quest and not much money to fall back on. Instead, she smiled across to Rita.

  “Thank you I really do appreciate your helping me.”

  Rita smiled back at Jean. “I hope that you find your missing brother, honey.”

  Jean then turned to Ray Connors. “I will return in one hour with my luggage Mr Connors, I will see you then.” With that, she hurried off back to her cosy home in the suburbs of the capital city of New Caledonia to pack a small bag, for she intended to travel light in case she had to move about some in her search for her brother.

  It was ninety minutes later when Jean returned to the spaceport and asked a different receptionist to call Ray Connors; Rita was on her coffee break. “Will you please tell him that Ms Summers is here in reception?”

  Minutes later and Jean Summers was getting into Ray`s vehicle that resembled an old fashioned pickup van but much newer, for it was a hovercraft, like many of his things it had seen better days, and then they were driving to bay 27 and the Jeanette. The freighter to Jeans eyes seemed huge when in fact it was quite small, it had been old when his father had purchased it and now was only kept flying due to Ray`s engineering prowess and that of his engineer and friend Harry Proctor. Harry was an ancient space faring man who had taught Ray all he knew about operating and repairing an old space tramp like the Jeanette.

  “We didn`t speak about how much your fare to New Terra is going to cost you. You are lucky because we already have one cargo for the planet and were due to take off for her anyway; your fare will increase the profitability of the flight and pay for the replacement parts that I have just installed in the ship.” From behind them, Jean heard someone call out in protest at Ray’s words.

  “You installed! Why it seems like most of the work was done by me as usual, while you go swanning off to talk to pretty young women. Hello Ms how are you?” Harry only caught the latter part of Rays conversation with Jean, so he didn`t yet know that they had a passenger on this trip.

  “Good afternoon.” Jean replied to Harry.

  “Ms Summers here is coming on this trip as a passenger Harry; she is in a hurry to get to New Terra and we are taking her.” Ray said, expecting and getting an outburst from Harry.

  “You can`t take a young lady like Ms Summers to New Terra, Ray, are you mad, didn`t your parents and me teach you nothing at all?” Harry protested loudly.

  “Ms Summers is going to New Terra to look for her brother who is missing and she insists on going to the planet whether we like it or not. She either travelled with us or Chin, so what could I do Harry?” Ray replied, his attitude saying that the discussion was over.

  Harry agreed, for to let a young woman travel with Chin was definitely not an option, Harry had been in space for most of his sixty-eight years and he had learnt who to trust and who to avoid, and Chin was of the latter variety. Harry had once b
een young but not for a while now, for he now looked as old as some of the cratered moons that they occasionally visited. His hair, or what was left of it was white, his eyes were blue and his skin so pale that occasionally he had a session under a health lamp to get a bit of colour. He was only five feet eight inches tall, and as his body was a little bent, it made him appear to be a little shorter than he actually was. His clothes sense was absolute zero, not that it mattered as he spent much of his time tinkering with the hyperspace engine.

  “How much is the fare, Mr Connors?” Jean asked.

  “As you are cargo and not a passenger Ms Summers we will charge you the going rate of thirty Earth credits, can you afford that?”

  “Thirty Earth credits, yes that will be fine thank you.” It was more than fine and Jean was sure that a starship passenger liner would have charged here a great deal more. Ray wasn`t going to be able to pay for his spares parts now, but he felt sorry for the young woman and for some reason even responsible for her, at least for the time that she was on his ship.

  “Right then let`s get aboard shall we and be on our way.” The starship`s door closed up behind them, but it was at least twenty minutes before her engines began to fire and two more before she was lifting off from New Caledonia and moving upwards towards the skies above the planet and finally into space.

  “We are calling at Ares first, and then this system`s asteroid belt to drop off some mail and parcels for the colonists and miners at each of the two places, only then will we enter hyperspace to travel onto New Terra. I will call you when we approach the two drop off points as they can be quite a view if we are lucky enough to catch them just right.”

  “Thank you Mr Connors, I will look forward to that.” Jean said smiling at the freighter captain.

  “Call me Ray, I feel old enough already, what with having to work with Harry, without you adding even more years to me.” Ray replied.

  “Ok Ray and you must call me Jean in return, as Ms Summers makes me sound old as well, a bit like an aging school mistress.” Jean said shyly.

  “And you can call me Harry, Jean which is a lot more polite than some of the names that I am called round here.” Harry threw a scowl Ray`s way before continuing. “Here let me take you to your cabin, it is a bit crowded as we also store some of our things in it, but after our two mail drops it will be almost empty. You will be able to stretch then, and when you feel rested why don`t you come down to engineering and I will show you where all the work is done?” Harry offered smiling. Jean thought that he reminded her of her old granddad, but he too was dead, which was why her brother was so important to her.

  “Thanks Harry I might just do that.”

  The Jeanette was soon done with the New Caledonian system, but as Ray had said, Jean had enjoyed seeing the planet Ares and even more so the asteroid belt. She had seen pictures of them, but to actually view them both from up close and to actually walk on the planet`s surface was thrilling. She couldn`t walk on any of the asteroids as that would have meant that she would have had to get dressed up in one of the space suits and that would have taken too long, and any way they smelt of stale bodies and they would certainly have messed her clothes up.

  They entered hyperspace for the two-day journey to New Terra; she was excited but also a little scared, once there she would be able to make a start on her search for her missing brother. During the two days Jean had been spoilt by the two space men, Ray giving her lessons flying the ship and Harry showing how to work down in the engineering section, she felt at one time that she hadn`t a care in the world, that is until New Terra finally came into sight.

 
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