In this novel, The Wall of Time, I explore more of my sci-fi universe, introduced in my Lone Wolf series. Valkyrie is living under the name Dora Mortmain because she’s hiding from some very nasty men who wanted her to kill her lover, Wil VanLipsig. She takes the job, not so she can kill him, but so she can protect him. Unfortunately, they come looking for her too. Two bounty hunters show up on Saltulle, a remote and dangerous planet in the middle of absolute nowhere. She spots them and is doing her best to get away from them.
Valkyrie made her way back to the Dulac home by a very convoluted route. She might not be overly familiar with Saltulle’s Mining Base Alpha, but she had a keen sense of direction. She was banking on the fact that her pursuers probably knew as little as she about the town surrounding the mining facility.
Slipping inside the main complex, she knew she could lose them. She had seen maps in Tri-D pop ups when she was preparing for her job interview. Wil had been very thorough. Having her new credentials with her, she was able to get inside the building without difficulty. Anyone following her would not have the same ease and risked calling undue attention to themselves. She was in and out of the main building, working her way along the loading dock before she sensed pursuit. It wasn’t anything discernible, more a sense of unease and whispered queries.
“Who’re they?” A miner near her asked as she passed.
“No idea,” was her terse reply.
“I don’t like the look of them,” he said in a matter-of-fact tone, his fingers brushing his comlink. “Mining Foreman Pickford to security.”
“Go ahead, Murdock. What’s up?”
“I’ve got two unauthorized in docking bay seven.”
Murdock turned to face the men, touched his badge again and clicked a photo that uploaded to security.
“Responding immediately. Hold tight, do not engage. They red flagged.”
“Step in the office, Miss,” Murdock said quietly to Val. His hazel eyes held concern.
“I’m okay,” she said just as quietly. “I can take care of myself.”
“That’s an order not an invitation, Log Runner Mortmain.”
“Yes, sir. Sorry, sir.” She ducked into the nearby office.
Murdock pulled the door shut behind her, leaning casually on it as he watched the men circle toward him, looking all around. Security approached cautiously. Their alert told them these two were trouble. However, a couple bounty hunters weren’t really all that strange. More than one person who joined the Mining Guild had a criminal record. Saltulle was a good place to lose yourself. It wasn’t uncommon for a few to descend, take in whoever they found and collect handsomely.
These guys didn’t look like they were out for a random search. They were very single minded and determined. When security confronted them, they went quietly. Murdock was very suspicious. Their behavior set off all kinds of buzzers and bells in his mind. Opening the door to the office, he slid inside quickly as soon as the men had gone.
“They’re out of here. For the moment, anyway.”
“For the moment? What do you mean?”
“If they present a good case to the boss, he may let them look around.”
Valkyrie’s face paled. “Really? He does that?”
“I’m fine. I’m not used to the heat. I just got here.”
“Where are you staying? I didn’t expect anyone new.”
“I don’t have quarters yet. I’m staying with Ed and Mary Dulac. I came in earlier today.”
“I’ll take you home, Miss Mortmain. Come with me.”
He led her out a back door and to a red floater cycle. This was no Guild issued machine. It radiated power and masculinity, much like its owner. Murdock kicked it into gear, giving her a hand as she climbed on behind him.
“Hang on tight, Miss Mortmain. I’ll have you home soon. We’re taking the scenic route.”
“I’m ready.” She had hardly finished speaking when he took off, scattering gravel and sand in all directions.