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An Accidental War

An Accidental War

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An Accidental War

82 pages
1 heure
Feb 2, 2019


When Zack Marlin discovers a spacecraft in trouble, one that will fall into Earth’s atmosphere if he doesn’t render aid, he snags the craft and tows it to the transfer station he calls home—an act of mercy that will change his life, and the future of humanity. How could he know that a simple rescue would have such far-reaching effects, that he'd be drawn into a life changing adventure with an alien beauty, become the aid to an interstellar diplomat, participate in a war that should never have happened, and, meet Santa Clause?

Feb 2, 2019

À propos de l'auteur

I’m a storyteller. My skills at writing are subject to opinion, my punctuation has been called interesting, at best—but I am a storyteller.I am, of course, many other things. In seven decades of living, there are great numbers of things that have attracted my attention. I am, for example, an electrician. I can also design, build, and install a range of things from stairs and railings to flooring, and tile backsplashes. I can even giftwrap a box from the inside, so to speak, by wallpapering the house.I’m an engineer, one who has designed computers and computer systems; one of which—during the bad old days of the cold war—flew in the plane designated as the American President’s Airborne Command Post: The Doomsday Jet.I’ve spent seven years as the chief-engineer of a company that built bar-code readers.I spent thirteen of the most enjoyable years of my life as a scoutmaster, and three, nearly as good, as a cubmaster.I joined the Air Force to learn jet engine mechanics, but ended up working in broadcast and closed circuit television, serving in such unlikely locations as the War Room of the Strategic Air Command, and a television station on the island of Okinawa.I have been involved in sports car racing, scuba diving, sailing, and anything else that sounded like fun. I can fix most things that break, sew a fairly neat seam, and have raised three pretty nice kids, all of who are smarter and prettier than I am—more talented, too, thanks to the genes my wife kindly provided.Once, while camping with a group of cubs and their families, one of the dads announced, “You guys better make up crosses to keep the Purple Bishop away.” When I asked for more information, the man shrugged and said, “I don’t really know much about the story. It’s some kind of a local thing that was mentioned on my last camping trip.” Intrigued, I wondered if I could come up with something to go with his comment about the crosses; something to provide a gentle terror-of-the-night to entertain the boys. The result was a virtual forest of crosses outside the boys’ tents. That was the event that switched on something within me that, now, more than twenty-five years later, I can’t seem to switch off.Stories came and came... so easily it was sometimes frightening. Stories so frightening that one boy swore he watched my eyes begin to glow with a dim red light as I told them (it was the campfire reflecting from my glasses, but I didn’t tell him that).Then, someone asked for a copy of one of my campfire stories, which brought me to the word processor. When that was finished, I wondered: could I write something other than technical articles and campfire stories? Something with dialog?“Something with dialog,” when completed, led to: Can I write in the first person? Do an adventure? A romance?That led to, twenty-eight novels and seven short stories in publication, with more on the way.

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An Accidental War - Jay Greenstein

Jay Greenstein

All rights reserved

Copyright 2018 Jay Greenstein

Published by Continuation Services at SmashWords

Other Novels by Jay Greenstein

Science Fiction

As Falls an Angel

Samantha and the Bear


Foreign Embassy

To Sing The Calu


Monkey Feet

Sisterhood of the Ring – Six linked novels:

Water Dance

Jennie’s Song

A Change Of Heart

A Surfeit Of Dreams


Abode Of The Gods

Living Vampire

An Abiding Evil

Ties of Blood

Blood Lust

Modern Western


Romantic Suspense

A Chance Encounter




This ebook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. It may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each recipient. If you’re reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, please visit your favorite bookseller and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.

This is a work of fiction. All characters and events in this book are fictitious and created by the author for entertainment purposes. Any similarities between living and non-living persons are purely coincidental.

° ° ° °

Table of Contents

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Author’s Note

° ° ° °

Chapter 1 – Rescue

Zack Marlin woke to the proximity alert’s warble, muttering curses. The tone pattern said an unexpected craft had been detected, close to the transfer station’s near-Earth orbit.

Releasing the sleepnet’s latches, he pushed off for the control station. What’s going on, Zelda? Do we have an ID?

Negative, Zack, the computer’s voice called. There’s what appears to be a disabled craft about 100 kilometers in-planet from us, both closing the gap and losing speed. It’s tumbling slowly, and will pass in forty-six minutes, outbound. Traffic control says they have nothing scheduled.

Pictures? he asked as he settled into the control station.

None useable yet. The craft is backlit by solar reflection from the sea, and the side facing us is in shadow, making it hard to define. It’s not visible to radar, and the mass detectors show only a general outline.

Frustrated, he chewed on his knuckles before saying, Trajectory…origin? Give me some data, baby. Is it a threat to the station?

No threat. If nothing changes it misses collision by half a kilometer. The craft originated on Earth, exiting atmosphere somewhere over Europe, destination unknown. It changed course in small bursts over the past hour, slowing and redirecting to intersect our path. At the moment it’s inactive. The numbers say if it remains so, without escape velocity, it reenters atmosphere in forty-six hours.

He chewed on that for a time. Apparently one of Earth’s smaller countries was experimenting with spaceflight and screwed up. Which country might become apparent when video was available. No way to speed that up, though, so he checked the time. The alarm came only ten minutes before scheduled wakeup. An inbound ship from the Asteroid Belt was due to drop off passengers for Earth transfer in a few hours, so, with company coming from two directions it made sense to take care of breakfast and a fast cleanup in the spray-chamber.

I have visual, Zack, the computer said, as he was drying off.

So whose ship is it?

The computer’s voice held an odd hesitancy. Unknown. In fact, I’m not certain it’s a craft built for vacuum. It appears to be designed for travel on the planetary surface. It’s also no longer inactive. The craft has changed velocity via a few bursts of power, and is now close to being stable in relation to us.

What? Slipping into his coverall he headed for the control station to settle in and gape at the screen, trying to make sense of the image.

The craft was open to space. The pilot wore a red EVA suit, trimmed in white and topped with an odd-design bubble helmet—though it was nearly opaque at the moment to protect against the sun’s glare. The ship appeared to be linked to a group of large, antlered animals, at odd angles to each other, tangled in the straps connecting them to the craft. Definitely, not a space vehicle.

The animals wore no environmental protection against the vacuum of space, yet were struggling to free themselves, which identified them as animatronic constructs.

What do your instruments tell you about the craft, Zelda. Anything useful?"

Perhaps. A scan shows heat and mass signatures compatible with Brownell batteries in use in the animal replicas attached to the craft. The pilot appears to be a living being.

Uh-huh. The term living being, instead of human, seemed an odd choice. Then, before he could request clarification, the shape of the beard he could just make out through the darkened helmet, coupled with the animatronic creatures and the suit abruptly made sense. His jaw dropped. He couldn’t help it.

Santa? Good Lord…Santa Claus…in space?"

What in the hell was going on? What possible reason was there for a Christmas parade Santa in space? The presence of the ultra-powerful Brownell batteries in the phony reindeer said they probably powered whatever lifted the sled clear of atmosphere, but connecting them to the sled with strapping seemed a chancy idea, and the tangled mass of animals attested to that.

Protocol said to keep traffic control in the loop, but he held off, and

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