Sample Chapter - "In the Name of the Sun"
Chapter 31 - Adventures in the Bar Room
This is a chapter from the middle of my novel, "In the Name of the Sun," a cross between science fiction and espionage thriller. It concerns a group of terrorists in the latter half of the 21st century bent on stopping space exploration because it offends their strange religious beliefs. Trying to stop them is Colonel Roman Castello and his friend Gunter Ziegler of the United States Space Force. I have finished the first part and am working on the second. I cannot decide whether or not to publish the first part as the beginning of a series or write the whole thing as one thing as one, complete novel. Thoughts and comments welcome!
The view of Cheyenne Lake from the hotel bar at the Broadmoor was never disappointing. Castello took in the site as Ziegler ordered their second round of drinks from the waiter. “Beautiful as usual, isn’t it?”
Ziegler thanked the waiter and smiled. “Ja, and it looks better the more you drink.”
“I wish we could say the same for this ‘plan’ we’re supposed to work on. How the hell are we going to come up with something convincing?”
“Well, Ro, I know this is not the place to discuss details, is it?”
“Hell, Gunter, this was your idea, wasn’t it? Didn’t you say . . .” He stopped as the waiter returned with the drinks.
“Seven and seven and a champagne cocktail. Will there be anything else, gentlemen?”
“No, not yet, thanks.” The waiter bowed and walked away. Castello took a sip of his 7&7. “Ahhh. That’s better.” He eyed his companion’s glass. “Champagne cocktail. Pussy drink if there ever was one.”
Ziegler chuckled. “Whatever, my friend. Anyway, how many of those ‘manly’ drinks do you need to realize this is definitely not the place to discuss this?” He held up his hand. “I know it was my idea, but I was thinking of someplace dark and quiet, sitting in the corner, not here.”
Castello gazed out over the lake. “My dear Gunter, this is the best bar in all of Colorado Springs, and . . .” His eyes opened wide as he took in the sight of a man alongside the lake aiming something at the window. “Gunter, get down, now!”
Ziegler had just enough time to react to Castello as he saw a bright flash from outside and jumped off the chair onto the floor alongside the table between them. The window exploded, sending glass throughout the bar, wounding several patrons. The prone Castello opened his eyes and sat up. He turned toward Ziegler, who was also on the floor. “Are you all right?” he shouted as several women screamed.
Ziegler examined himself. A few cuts from the broken glass were all that was apparent. “I -- I guess so. You?”
“Fine. Come on, let’s get the hell out of here.”
Castello tossed some money on the bar to cover the bill as people wandered aimlessly around the room, wondering what had happened. “Are you gentlemen all right?” asked the obviously shaken bartender.
“Yes, we’re fine.” Castello noticed a number of shattered bottles behind the bar.
“What the f**k was that?”
“Don’t know. Come on, Gunter.”
The two made their way outside. “I wanted to get out of there before the cops come and ask too many questions.”
“Yes, but that bartender is going to tell them two men left right after the explosion or whatever it was, will he not?”
“Yeah, but I’m hoping they’ll realize the shooter was outside the bar and nothing that was planted inside. That should be pretty obvious. Anyway, we don’t have time to worry about that now.”
“Yes, Gunter, shooter. I saw a man aiming something right at us just before the window blew in.”
“Don’t know. Let’s go to the lake.”
“What if he is still there?”
“Then we’ll find out who he is. Maybe.”
“Maybe. That’s the part that worries me. Mien Gott Ro, someone shooting at us!”
“Yeah, I know. Come on.”
The two left the room, making their way toward the lake. Castello peered out the doorway, carefully taking in the scene. People were milling around the walk surrounding the lake, some of whom were staring into the bar. “What in hell did that?” one man was heard to say.
“That’s a good question, Ro” Ziegler said softly.
“Did you notice the broken bottles behind the bar? They were directly behind us. A laser pistol couldn’t have done that so it probably was an electrobolt. It’s like a fist of electricity firing toward you. It smashed the window, missed us, and hit the back of the bar. Thank God it didn’t hit anyone else.” As he spoke, sirens could be heard approaching the hotel. “Gunter, whoever shot at us is likely long gone.” He pulled out his C3. “Let’s head toward the car.”
As they walked, Castello made a call. “Nick, it’s Ro. Gunter and I are at the Broadmoor. We’ve been attacked. Probably an electrobolt. No, no, we’re all right. We’re heading to the office. What? All right, we’ll meet you there. Out here.” He folded the device and returned it to his pocket.
Nearing the car, Castello noticed a dark haired man walking away from the vehicle. “Gunter, hold up.”
“You see that guy that was near the car?”
“The one walking away from us? Him?”
“Yes. Damn.” He looked around. No one was near the vehicle. “Gunter, just in case, use the remote starter and get down.” The pair crouched as Ziegler pushed the button. Up the street he could hear the engine start. “Seems okay.”
The explosion came just as the two started to stand, scattering pieces of metal and glass in all directions. What had been Gunter’s new BMW was now a burning hulk. Some people that Castello hadn’t noticed and had been across the street were on the ground, screaming.
“Gott in Himmel! Mein auto!”
“Never mind the car, are you okay?”
“Ja. Damn, twice in one night! What in the f**k is going on?”
Before Castello could respond several police officers ran toward the burning wreck. One of them shouted into his C3. “Explosion in front of Broadmoor! Civilians down. Ambulances needed. Now!”
“Excuse me.” The voice came from behind. Castello whirled, not knowing what to expect. It was a cop.
“Some witnesses said that you two were directly in front of the window when the first blast came. Was the shooter aiming at you by any chance?”
Castello grunted. “Yeah, I guess so. Not only that, that burning BMW over there is his.” He pointed to Gunter who nodded.
“Christ, you mind telling me what this is all about?”
“I’d say someone is trying to kill us, wouldn’t you?”
The cop shook his head. “You two better come with me.”
“Okay.” Castello pulled out his C3. “Nick, you better come and get us. No, not at the hotel, at the police station.”
Thee officer was getting antsy. “Hey, who’re you talking to?”
“General Leone. I’m Colonel Castello, United States Space Force. His name is Gunter Ziegler. He’s with me.”
“You still better come with me.”
“Where are we going?”
“Gold Hill command center.”
“Nick, you hear that? Yeah, you better come and get us. No, we don’t have a car. It was blown up.”
It was two hours later before they left, having explained as much as they could to the Colorado Springs boys in blue. Driving in Leone’s car, the mood was solemn.
“So-o-o-o, it looks to me like our friend Shimshaa meant it when he addressed you on that disk.”
Castello rubbed his forehead. “It would seem to be that way, Nick.”
“Yeah, and I’m out a car. A new car!”
“Hey Gunter, at least the two of you are alive. You
got some cuts from the first blast, right? How are they?”
“Nothing, I put adhesive bandages on them. I can’t do that to my car, however. Bastards. Ro, does American car insurance cover terrorist bombs?”
Castello actually smiled at that. “I never thought about it. I guess you’ll have to ask the company that.”
Leone pulled into the parking lot at the Mountain.
“What are we doing here?”
“You guys are staying here from now on, Ro. I’ll have people sent to your respective apartments. Just tell them what you guys need, where it all is, and they’ll get it.”
Castello was incredulous. “Come on, Nick, I’m not ready to go into hiding, and I don’t think Gunter is either.”
“Agreed,” added Ziegler.
Leone turned off the engine and turned to face them. “Tough. You guys are staying here. These bastards came close to killing you both within the span of a few minutes.”
“Yeah, but they missed!”
“Ro, they missed this time. Jesus, haven’t you guys even wondered how they knew you guys would even been there?”
Castello lowered his gaze. “Damn, I haven’t even had time to think about that!”
“Well, think about it guys. Who knew you were going there tonight? Did either of you tell Olivia?”
“No, I didn’t. Did you Gunter?”
“No. But We’ve got her locked up. How could she get word to anyone?”
Leone nodded. “Just the same, I still don’t trust her. In any case, that means someone followed you. And that someone could follow you again. And maybe hit you again. No, until we find out who did this and roll the bastard, or bastards, up, you’re staying indoors.”
“Agreed,” repeated Ziegler.