Sunday, March 10, 2013

The Rebels Chapter 6!!

Thank you for stopping by and joining us for our stop on the Read-A-Long portion of The Rebels by Elizabeth Lang virtual tour. I am excited to post this segment of the story and  hope you enjoy it too!

The Rebels - Chapter 6

The Sleepy Goat.

Bryce closed one eye, angling his head, trying to make sense of the sign with the dopey grin. The thing looked more like the Insane Goat than some drowsy creature ready for a nap. He shrugged and pushed the slatted double doors aside, shrinking back when a wall of heat hit him like a steam bath. For a moment he stood there, basking in the glow, remembering what it felt like to be warm, truly warm from the top of his head to the tips of his toes. There was a cough behind him from a pocked-marked man with a limp and grinning black teeth.

“S’cuse me son. You coming, going, or haven’t made up your mind?”

“I’m looking for a good beer,” said Bryce, stepping aside.

The man shuffled in, pulling a shabby woolen cap from his head. “Then whatcha doing here?”
Bryce grinned, following the man to the counter. “Same thing you are I imagine.”

The place reeked of malt ale and wild pig turning on a spit in the corner. It smelled real, not the synthameat crap, which meant they were really rich or really poor.

The inn was half-empty, with a few afternoon patrons at the tables. There was a woman sitting at the far end of the bar, her ruby red lips moist, almost shiny, and some farmer and miner types—he could smell the earthy odors from here—and a smartly-dressed salesman with his display case open, talking to two men in grimy coveralls. Shiny new laser cutters lay on the table in front of them like a peace offering.

In a shadowy corner, a large man in a tough-looking leather jacket with a flexible plas-steel arm guard meshed into the sleeve, was hunched over a bowl of steamy stew. Bryce swallowed nervously. Being a low-leveler, he lived in the slums and haunts of the undesirables. He’d seen all kinds of things and this man oozed danger. He didn’t look like Security, but he looked serious.

He just hoped the stranger wasn’t some kind of cutthroat or ruffian who liked to beat up perfectly innocent strangers trying to make an honest, or fairly honest, living.

The barkeep took in Bryce’s faded duster and picked up a glass, polishing with practiced motions. His generous middle hung over the counter and he wore an open-necked white shirt that was crumpled on the left side and starchy stiff on the other, as if he only had time to press half of it. Or it could have been a new fashion. “Are you trying to badmouth my place again, Fizzy?”

“Only telling the truth is all. Now give me some of the good slop and be quick about it.”

The barkeep held the polished glass up to the hanging light square just above him. “I’ll think about it.” He turned to Bryce. “Now, stranger.

What’ll you have?”

Bryce unzipped his coat and slid onto the stool next to Fizzy.

“I’m new here.”

The man had a smile that hadn’t decided whether Bryce was a serious customer or a freeloader. “Could tell that from your face. You gonna order anything?”

“Not ‘til I can sell something.”

The barkeep’s nose twitched as if smelling trouble. “No credit here.”

“I wouldn’t think of it, but I’m a little down on my luck and could use a little help.”

“I’m not hiring.”

“I’m not looking for a job.” Bryce pulled the databands from his pocket and laid them on the bar top. Some romantic graffiti artist had scratched a heart into the shiny surface. “You know anyone interested in some fine, slightly worn databands? This…” He turned the fine silver mesh
one of Kali’s over, letting it twinkle in the light. “…is the latest fashion from Earth.” He didn’t know if it was, but he doubted if this back-worlder would know the difference. “Would be a nice present for the special lady in your life.”

There was a brief flash of interest, quickly suppressed. “Why would I be interested in something used?”

The businessman paused and glanced over at the unfolding transaction. He smiled slightly and turned back to his customers.

“A new one would cost four hundred easy.” Bryce slid it across the bar. “I’m only asking a third for this one.”

“I’ll give ya twenty-five.”

“You’ve got to be kidding.” He sounded affronted, which he was.

“How do I know it isn’t stolen?”

Bryce touched his chest and said with a strong touch of indignation, “I’m no thief.”

“Well, I don’t know that, do I?”

“Aw, give the kid a break,” said Fizzy. “He don’t look like a thief any more ‘en I do.”

“Then I definitely don’t trust him.”

Scooping up the bands, Bryce said, “Fine. I’ll take it somewhere else.”

“I’ll give ya fifty.”

That was said a little too quickly.


“Seven five.”

Bryce leaned closer. “One twenty-five and I’ll throw in the other one.” He placed them side-by-side on the table. “That’s two for the price of one.” People always like to think they’re getting more than they’re entitled to.

The woman with wine red lips, silver-bleached hair and a knowing, ex-stripper smile, leaned on the corner of the bar. She held a glass with pale green ale that matched her eyes. “You could always buy it for me, love.”

“Stay out of this, Teala.” A frown of irritation marred the barkeep’s face.

“I’ll take it if Gabin won’t. He’s tighter than…” She grinned, her eyes twinkling with unrepentant mischief. There was clearly something between them that the barkeep was reluctant to acknowledge.

Gabin snatched up the wrist bands, hugging them to his chest. “One twenty-five.”

“Done,” said Bryce.

The barkeep hesitated, his frown deepening and held out a pudgy hand. “Credit marker.”
Bryce dug into his pockets, keeping his head down. This was a problem. Like the Lieutenant said, they couldn’t use their own personal credit markers. “Damn. Must have left it in my other trousers.”

Gabin’s eyes narrowed but he rummaged behind the bar, pulling out a rectangular quick marker. “Charging you twenty for the marker.” He slotted the gray wafer into the credit register and punched in the numbers.

“But,” he said reluctantly, as any honest person would who had truly left his marker in his other pants.

“Take it or leave it. I don’t have all day.”

Bryce sighed. “Fine. I guess it’ll teach me not to be careless. Charge it up.”

The register plinked as it imprinted the amount on the wafer and Gabin slapped it into Bryce’s waiting hand.

“You’re a funny looking fellow,” said Teala, her eyes full of light mischief. “Military from the looks of you.”

Bryce swallowed a gulp. “I’m no soldier.”

“Your boots say differently.”

Damn. “I bought them off someone. Second-hand.”

She chuckled, a throaty sound that didn’t seem unfriendly, and restless fingers twirled the stem of the glass. “Trying to look tough with your fancy boots.”

“They’re good boots and it’s cold out there.”

“You must be new to these parts and down on your luck by the looks of you.”

Tugging on a toffee-dyed scarf stained yellow around the edges, he had a mournful, puppy-dog look, but not too much of one; just enough to be endearing. “I don’t usually look like this.”

She flashed him a friendly, pearly smile. “I’m sure you don’t. Your band might be the latest fashion from Earth but your clothes could use an update, by about a century.”

He twirled a loose strand hanging from the scarf. “We’ve had a few bad years. Lost everything in the war with the Andromedans. We were hoping to start over here.”

“We?” Her eyebrows lifted slightly.

Gabin the barkeep bent his head closer, listening intently as he dried another glass.

“My friends and I. We heard Orasis might be a good place to start over.”

“That someone was lying to you,” said Gabin. “You should get your money back.”

He gave them a wry smile. “I wish I could.” Worry drew deep gouges on his forehead, making him look far older than he was. “But one of my friends isn’t doing too good. He has to rest for a bit.”

“Sorry to hear that,” said Gabin, his voice warming.

“Yeah, we have the worst luck.”

“You should see Doc Faver if your friend needs help,” said the businessman behind them, packing away his wares.

“Thanks. What I really need is a tool kit. Our heater needs fixing.” He fingered the quick marker. “I have money now, if you know a place that’s cheap.

“We’ve got to help him,” said Teala. “Before The Cold sets in.”

The Cold. Bryce shivered just hearing it.

Gabin picked up another glass, this time glaring at it before wiping a smudge on the lip. “You should go and see Harvey. He’s our fixer-upper around here. He should have something for you.”

“Thanks.” It was turning out better than Bryce expected. The locals were decent folks after all.

“The name’s Bryce by the way. Now how about a beer and maybe some of that tasty roast?”


The shop was an antique dealer’s delight. Equipment in various stages of disassembly dotted the room like a deranged metal zoo. A halfdozen upright shelves sagged under the weight of tools and parts Bryce couldn’t identify.

“You an Earther?” asked Harvey the fixer-upper, his scarred lip curling in a misshapen frown. His hair cascaded down past his neck and there was a perpetual stoop to his shoulders.

Bryce said cautiously, “I was born on Earth but raised in the Colonies.”

“I was an Earther too. Born and bred.” He shrugged, chasing away the memories. “A long time ago.” He twirled a wrench between his fingers.

“What can I do for you?”

“Gabin of The Sleeping Goat said you might have a welder I could borrow.”

“He said that, did he? You must have made an impression.”

“Not really.”

Harvey turned and opened a container, pulling out a long, square-handled welder and slotted a power cell into the end.

“Hey, Harve!” A thick-necked man with a day’s growth of beard crashed into the room, knocking over one of the dismantled engines sitting on a stand. “Sorry.” He barely stopped it from toppling over. “Did ya get my compressor fixed?”

“Watch where you’re going, you oaf!” Harvey rushed over, examining a scratch he didn’t seem to think was there before.

“I said I was sorry.”

“Yeah, that’s what you always say, Tem.” He rubbed the scratch vigorously with the end of a cloth that had seen better days as a bath robe.

“Unfortunately, the compressor is toast. One of the control wafers is shot. You’ll have to get a new one.”

“But…” Tem looked as if someone had shot his pet dog. “I can’t afford a new one and I can’t keep the hot house running without it. The crops’ll die.” In a flash, the pain turned to anger. “You promised you could fix anything!”

“That thing’s beyond fixing. You might as well junk it.”

“What am I going to do?” Tem plopped down on a crate and the thing made pained cracking noises. “I’ll lose the farm.”

Fix anything. The words echoed like a bell inside Bryce’s head. “I know someone who’s a whiz at fixing things.”

“No one can fix it,” said Harvey. “Not unless you’re a genius and a miracle worker all rolled into one.”

Bryce came over. “What if he can? What would it be worth to you?”

“Who is this miracle worker?” asked Tem, tucking his thumbs into his jacket pockets.

“He says he’s a friend of Gabin’s.”

Bryce wasn’t about to correct him. “Well?”

“Was gonna give Harve a hundred for fixing it. It’s all I can afford.”

“I could always use a hundred. How about it? If my friend can fix it, you give me the hundred.”

“I don’t know…”

“What do you have to lose?” asked Harvey. “The thing’s for the trash anyway.”

“My friend won’t come here. I’ll have to bring it to him.”

“Shy is he?”

“Something like that. And he’s not feeling too well.”

Tem sighed and got up from the crate. “Alright. Give it to ‘em.”

“I also need to borrow a tool kit,” said Bryce. There was never any harm in asking. He might get lucky.

There was a snort from Harvey. “What kind of fixer doesn’t have a tool kit?”

“We lost everything in the war. Had to sell everything.”

Harvey shook his head. “Damned aliens. I mean, we might be on the Outer Rim but we’ve heard the stories. Not that I like the Empire, but at least they’re not trying to kill us all.”

“Just rob us blind,” Tem grumbled under his breath.

Harvey slapped a heavy leather pouch on the counter. “Your friend can have that if he can fix the compressor, which I doubt.” The thing was tattered, the strap securing it nearly worn through.


“What’s your name by the way?” asked Tem.


Bryce set out with a cheerful whistle on his lips. He carried a box packed to bursting with food, the tool kit, and the fist-sized compressor unit.

Visions of a repair service, with himself managing it brought a smile to his lips. Adrian and Bryce Repair Service. Bryce’s Fix-It Shop. The Happy Fixer. He smirked, unable to imagine the Lieutenant being happy about anything.

A shadow parted from the wall and followed at a distance.

Also Elizabeth Lang has shared with us an exclusive picture from The Empire Series

To read more of the Read-A-Long please follow the tour schedule…

02/03/2013 - The Edible Bookshelf - - Chapter 1

03/03/2013 - Vixie's Stories - - Chapter 2

04/03/2013 - Decadent Decisions - - Chapter 3

05/03/2013 - Independent Writers Association - - Chapter 4

06/03/2013 - Self Publish or Die - - Chapter 5

10/03/2013 - Reviews From Beyond the Book - - Chapter 6

11/03/2013 - Great Alpha Speaks - - Chapter 7

12/03/2013 - The Kat Daughtry - - Chapter 8

13/03/2013 - Sheenah Freitas - - Chapter 9

14/03/2013 - Natasha Larry Books - - Chapter 10

27/03/2013 - Castle Macabre - - Chapter 11

28/03/2013 - My World - - Chapter 12

29/03/2013 - The Cro's Nest - - Chapter 13

30/03/2013 - Tink's Place - - Chapter 14

31/03/2013 - Reading, Writing And More - - Chapter 15

Page Turner Book Tours and Elizabeth Lang have teamed together to set up an amazing contest, be sure to enter today for your chance to win a Nook!!

Thank you for joining us and Page Turner Book Tours and Elizabeth Lang today on our stop.

About Elizabeth Lang:

I'm a science fiction writer who started off life as a computer programmer with a love for reading, especially science fiction, fantasy and mystery.

Being in computers, I found my writing skills deteriorating so I decided to take up writing. It became a joy to create characters, stories and worlds and writing soon became a passion I couldn't put down. As a writer, I like to explore, not only the complexity of characters but the human condition from differing points of view. That is at the heart of the Empire series, of which 'The Empire' and 'The Rebels' are the first two of a four books series.

You can connect with Elizabeth Lang at the following places:

About Page Turner Book Tours:

Page Turner Book Tours is fronted by the face behind Read2Review Kate. Page Turner Book Tours has been put together to help promote authors and give something back to the writing world. Kate has put together a team of incredibly talented people to help with the project by incorporating their individual skills into making new, fresh and exciting promotional plans that we hope you agree are amazing. If you would like to book a tour with Page Turner Book Tours please check out their tour packages. If you would like to become a tour host with Page Turner Book Tours please check out their Tour Host page. You wont be disappointed!

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