Follow the characters Gyro and Skoots as they set out on their adventure across the galaxy. What could possibly go wrong when they sign up to be miners on a far away planet?
“Inkling” is the science fiction story of a man named Gyro, a down-on-his-luck veteran of Planetary Defense, who also happens to be an amateur computer programmer. Desperate for a job, he signs a five-year contract when the Virtue Mining Corporation offers him a career on Joules, a far-distant mining planet. He goes through basic training with Skoots, a former high school sports star who has a major obsession with women. Despite their differing personalities and outlooks on life, the two men become fast friends. During transport to the mining planet, a distorted hyperspace jump throws their spacecraft into an uncharted sector of the galaxy, thus placing the welfare of the crew and passengers in jeopardy. Hopelessly lost in space, Gyro has an idea, an inkling about how to use his programming experience to rescue the ship, but a mutiny erupts on board, making survival a race against time as their food supply runs out.
Read this book to: Learn why Gyro would want to sign up for an off-planet mining job. See how he develops ideas for programming his computer. Find out how to properly prepare for a hyperspace jump. Travel across the galaxy with a tough crowd of miners. Marvel at Skoots' obsession with women. Learn a little about mining silver. And more .
Gyro was not the type of man who would normally participate in a riot. He had recently completed his hitch with Planetary Defense, where he had served honorably during the Bobbs Rebellion on the planet Artoban. But now he had returned Zeno, his home planet, where he had been unable to find work. He was also not the sort to pay attention to the news, so he was not aware of the growing number of discontented people living in his city. All he really wanted was to find a job. He had already filled out the forms to apply at the Virtue Mining Company, which was holding a job fair downtown. Several of the listed opportunities included transportation to off-planet facilities.
He left his apartment early in the morning to catch the first bus into the city. As he walked the four blocks to the bus stop, he worried about being harassed by homeless people, but the street around him was empty. Nevertheless, he clutched his envelope of paperwork tightly under his arm.
When the city bus wheezed to a stop and the door opened, he stepped aboard and scanned his welfare card over the fare box. The bus driver gave him a contemptuous glance, no doubt because the driver disapproved of unemployed people on the dole. Gyro ignored the dirty look, thinking the attitude was the driver's problem, not his own.
Only four other passengers were already on the bus, so Gyro selected a seat halfway back, and sat next to the window. He placed his envelope flat on his lap. Though nervous about his interview, he wanted to relax during the half-hour bus ride.
As the bus moved south into the city, traffic picked up and more passengers boarded at every stop. Gyro was glad nobody sat next to him until the bus was nearly full. He noted how the passengers were keeping to themselves and avoiding eye contact. The only conversation was between a group of high school students boasting loudly about their stickerball game.
At the next stop a young man got on board and made his way down the aisle. He was tall, lanky, and dressed in ill-fitting clothes that had worn-out knees and threadbare edges. But the newcomer stood straight and walked with an air of athletic confidence. He slid into the seat next to Gyro.
“Are you going to the demonstration?” he asked Gyro as if they were old friends.
“Who wants to know?” Gyro replied with a mildly irritated voice, since he didn't have the slightest idea who this stranger was.
“Oh, I see. You are going, but don't want anybody to know. That's OK. Don't worry, I can keep a secret.”
Gyro was momentarily taken aback. “Now wait a minute. I don't know anything about a demonstration. And I don't know you either, so how can you decide I'm going somewhere I don't know anything about?”
“Oh, sorry. I'm always doing that. My mom gets irritated with me for talking up folks I don't know. I just saw that stuff on your lap and thought it was a protest sign.
Gyro placed both hands on top of his paperwork.
“My name's Skoots,” he said, sticking out his hand.
Gyro reflexively shook hands with him, returning the youngster's powerful grip. “Gyro,” he said, “So what's the deal about a demonstration?”
“The news says a bunch of demonstrators are going to picket the mining company that's having a job fair downtown. I thought maybe you were going to it.”
“Damn!” Gyro said through clenched teeth.
It was Skoots' turn to be taken aback. “What's the matter?”
“I'm going to the job fair,” Gyro said, “and I don't need a bunch of idiots marching around and getting in the way.”
“Well, ain't it a small world.” Gyro wrinkled his brow and looked Skoots in the face.
“I'm looking for a mining job, too. And I just happened to sit next to you on this bus,” Skoots said, giving his new friend a nudge with his elbow. “Plus, I was thinking maybe it would be a good place to meet chicks.”
“I don't think many women are going to be looking for mining jobs.”
“No, no, man. I mean the demonstration. Lots of girls who like to go picketing can be easy picking, if you know what I mean.”
“Well, good luck, but I think it's more likely the picketers will make it harder for us to get in for our interviews.”
“Nah, don't worry about it. The place is going to be crawling with cops, and they'll keep the mob in line.”
“I hope you're right, Skoots. I really need a job, and I don't want a bunch of community agitators getting in the way.”
“Hey, I got your back, buddy.”
When the bus pulled to a stop a block away from the recruitment center, Gyro and Skoots disembarked into a large group of people who were milling around without seeming to want to go anywhere in particular. When the bus tried to move on it had to push its way slowly through the crowd, as the people moved reluctantly out of the way.
About the Author
John D. Waterman survived a thirty-year career as an electrical engineer in the aerospace industry, working on a wide variety of projects including Space Shuttle star trackers, electronic guidance for heavy-lift launch vehicles, and failure analysis of electronic components. As a lifelong fan of Science Fiction, he felt compelled to try his hand at a story of his own. “Inkling” is his first published novel-length effort.
$5 Amazon Gift Card