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Domination of the SPOOKS – Chapter 7

I'm launching my first fiction series this month with the SPOOK & GOON Space Adventures. I'm writing the fourth book right now and the first three will be released over the next few months.

While I'm waiting for the official edits, I'm uploading the short-story prequel, Domination of the SPOOKS, chapter by chapter over the next two weeks. This is the unedited version so please forgive any errant wording.

If you'd like to receive advance notice of special one-day-only fan pricing of 99 cents, join my Sci-Fi Reader's Group.

Chapter 7

Commander Weisman sat at his desk with a mug of coffee, reading the morning reports. He expected to have a busy day and arrived early at 0630 to get a jump on things. By 0800 he was on his third mug of coffee and raring to go.

He’d finished putting together the files the stranger wanted on Dom shortly after he got in. It was the least he could do considering the man knew quite a bit more about him than anyone in any agencies he’d met before. He’d hoped to keep those secrets classified, lest anyone find out and challenge his current authority. It wasn’t like he was trading secrets with the Russians in days gone by. Besides, those guys were playing nice now, and things were looking up.

A new guy was in the White House who promised to get rid of all the corruption and dirty deals. It was wishful thinking, and a lot of people had given up hope by then. But they bought his schtick hook, line, and sinker.

Weisman saw Dom flirting with his admin in the outer office, right on schedule. He put the papers away in a file and closed it in the drawer behind him. I better get out there before she takes him too seriously, he thought. You’d think she’d recognize this pattern and get smart about it, but that wasn’t going to be the case, not today at least.

He opened the door to his office and poked his head out. “Dom, good to see you’re on time, as usual,” Weisman said. “Leave Darcy alone and get your butt in here. Darcy, hold my calls for the next hour. I’m not expecting any visitors until after lunch.”

He held the door open the rest of the way and motioned for Dom to take a seat. Dom promptly sat down in the Commander’s chair, taking in the view from that side of the desk. Weisman stood there and stared, not saying a word. Dom liked to play this game, and Weisman humored him for a moment.

“You didn’t say which seat,” Dom said. He knew that it would get a rise out of Weisman. If he were just any cadet, he’d have shown him the door ages ago. But Dom held a unique charm, a reality distortion field that led people to let him get away with things they probably shouldn’t.

As Dom got comfy, he glanced over the desk making mental notes of the files he saw. He processed information pretty quickly and could see that most of what Weisman worked on that morning was routine paperwork. He caught a glimpse of one file with his name on it, though, but didn’t stop his gaze on it.

He continued to scan the rest of the papers but took a side view from the corner of his eye on the one file. It looked like much of the others on the desk, save for the small checkmark next to his name. He wondered what it could be. He leaned back in the chair and propped his shiny black boots on the corner of the desk like he owned the place.

Weisman didn’t notice. What he did see was one file he’d forgotten to add to the papers he put away. “OK, Dom, time’s up,” Weisman said. “Out of my chair. Go. Yours is the one on the other side of the desk.”

Dom took his feet off the desk pushing the chair back to stand up. He smiled at Weisman and moved around to the other side, stealing another quick glance at the file. He wondered if maybe it had something to do with the strange man in black that people had mentioned seeing around the academy yesterday

There were whispers that he was from some black ops group, but that was more likely from the fact that he was wearing black. Some people took clothing way too seriously. But with the fact that there was a particular file on Weisman’s desk with his name on it, and that he could tell Weisman was on his third mug of coffee from the shape of the rings on his desktop, something important was happening.

“So what are we working on this morning?” Dom asked. “Darcy said you were already here when she came in at 0700. Pretty early to get to work for just routine paperwork.”

“I’ve been having trouble sleeping lately,” Weisman said. It was a lie, and he hoped that it wouldn’t cause him insomnia later. The powers of suggestion worked in strange ways. “Rather than stare at the black ceiling and count backward, I got up and took a shower. I was ready to go and came in early to get a jump on things.”go and came in early to get a jump on things.”

“Well then, anything I can help with?” Dom asked.

Weisman leaned back in his chair, debating on whether to bring Dom up to speed on the strange man in black. He liked Dom, felt he was one of the brightest people he’d met in a long time. He trusted that he could keep a secret and not go blabbing to everyone.

“Dom, how much do you know about the ISS?” Weisman asked.

“You mean the space station? Not much, just that we’ve had trouble getting supplies to it lately with the shuttle program falling by the wayside. Things look promising with SpaceX and the Falcon Heavy, but so far there’s just been a Tesla floating around out there cranking Bowie tunes.”

“Yeah, that was a cute little stunt he pulled,” Weisman said. “That was pretty much what I expected. We haven’t had much news from there lately. Most of what’s been happening has been provided by the Russians and the Chinese. We’re lagging behind due to those asinine budget cuts. We’re wasting so much time and money on Earth that we’ve forgotten the original missions to explore the rest the galaxy.”

Dom was confused. Did Weisman really wake up early and come into his office to discuss space stations? Is that what was keeping him up at night?

It all seemed like an odd choice for that. Dom looked down at the file again and then back up to Weisman. A sudden commotion in the parking lot snagged their attention and turned to look at the side window. Weisman stood up from the desk and walked over to raise the blinds.

The man in black was chatting with a cadet and waving his arms like a bird. Maybe someone else also had too much coffee this morning, he thought.

From the forthcoming short story, Domination of the SPOOKS: A Man Meets His Mission.

Copyright © 2018 Chad V. Holtkamp.

All rights reserved.

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