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In the Name of the Sun

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The first chapters of a work in progress, a mixture of science fiction and "spy" thriller.  Comments welcome!

PART I - SUNRISE

1 – Having A Blast in Orbit

    The commander of the huge space station studied the displays in front of him, broadcast from external cameras that covered every bit of his current home, circling the earth.  “Everything seems to be copasetic, Jim,” Fred Shapiro said into the mike, “I would say the security is . . . holy shit!”  A blinding flash on one screen interrupted his pronouncement.  In an instant, he realized what had happened. “Looks like Module Five!  Gotta seal that sunovabitch now!”  He hollered to his partner, “Jim get those people into Module Four!”  He paused. “If anyone’s left after decompression.”  He spoke more to himself than to anyone else.
    Jim Sullivan grabbed a suit and headed down the passageway.  “I’ll stay on the Com. See if you can hold off ‘till you hear from me.”
    “Go for it.”  Shapiro’s hands hovered over the buttons that would seal off sections of the station.  Two minutes later he heard Sullivan’s voice on the Com.
    “Fred?”
    “Yeah.  What’s happenin’?”
    “I’m in Three.  We sealed it from here.”  He sounded subdued.
    “But what about - - aw, hell.”  Shapiro understood. There was nothing left of Modules Four and Five.  Or the people in them.  He sighed.  “How many?”
    “Um, I’d say fifty or sixty, at least.  Obviously we haven’t taken a head count yet.”
    Shapiro closed his eyes.  Fifty or sixty people, perhaps more.  Gone.  Just like that.  He knew who was responsible, he just knew.  Bastards!  Then he remembered.  Modules Four and Five belonged to the Chinese who had recently come on board.
    Shapiro sighed. “Jim?”
    “Yes?”
    “Is the Emergency Team there?”
    “Natch.”
    “Come on back, let them handle it.  We got other problems.  Big problems.”
    “I know.  On my way.”
    A few moments Sullivan was back in the Command Module of Terra Station One or “TS-1,” the successor to the International Space Station that had been destroyed a few years before.  He studied the craggy, worn face of his colleague.  “It was them, wasn’t it?”
    Shapiro grunted.  “Of course it’s them.”
    “You think it was Megalor?” He referred to a descendant of C-4, the much-heralded (and much feared) “plastic explosive” of the past. Easily handled in the vacuum of space, placed against the outer wall of a space vehicle, it was quite effective.  It didn’t take much for a sudden release of air.  Just like a balloon. Pop!  End of story.  And of lives.  It was what everyone assumed was used against TS-1’s predecessor a couple of decades back.
    A shrug. “Probably.”
    Sullivan lowered his gaze.  In a soft voice he said “Damned Solarites.”
    “All good things come from the sun, don’t you know that?”
    Sullivan sat in the seat next to his boss.  The view from the great curved window in front was fantastic.  They were over the Pacific and had just cleared the coast of China.  He gazed out for a minute and gulped. “Man, Beijing’s gonna be pissed.”
    His boss stared at him.  “You thinking what I’m thinking?”   
    “Gotta be.  Those were their modules.  Might have been some others in there, of course, but the majority of the casualties must have been our latest ‘guests.’”
    “Damn. I was afraid of that.  The president busted his ass convincing them it was safe up here.”
    “I know.  I guess we’ll be expecting a visit from Castello.”
    Shapiro nodded. He’s the best.  He’s nabbed, what, a dozen

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