Bad Luck Charlie
(The Dragon Mage #1)
By Scott Baron
Publication Date: March 15th 2019
Genres: Adult, Fantasy, Science Fiction
Charlie Gault had all the luck. Unfortunately, it wasn’t the good kind.
It was looking like Lady Luck had quite a grudge against him. In fact, at this point merely crashing the multi-billion-dollar ship he had helped design would have felt like winning the lottery compared to his current dilemma. If only he were so lucky.
Things had started off all right––that is, until a freak wormhole unexpectedly swallowed his ship, leaving him stranded on an unknown planet far, far from home. With the crew’s lives at stake, Charlie had no choice but to stop his whining, put on his big boy pants, and step up to save them all, and much to his surprise, it actually looked like he might succeed. Of course, that was when things really went sideways in ways that made merely crashing on an uncharted planet seem like a walk in the park.
Suddenly faced with alien space pirates, talking dragons, and something that seemed very much like magic, Charlie found himself adrift, feeling like a space age Robinson Crusoe––only his man Friday was a blue-skinned alien, and this wasn’t just a desert island. It was a whole new galaxy.
Two days of their deep space voyage through the blackness between solar systems had passed. Charlie couldn’t even guess the rate of travel at which they were moving, but to pass from solar system to solar system so swiftly, he knew full well it was far beyond anything humanity could have dreamed of.
Tuktuk apparently had one thing right; Captain Tür had spared no expense on procuring enough Drooks to get his ship moving at ridiculous speed. Whatever the tech was they used to achieve that end, Charlie had to admit they certainly did their job well.
Apparently, there was an even faster way to travel. A warp, or jump, or something of that sort, but it was prohibitively expensive to use with any regularity, and the captain seemed to be all about saving his coin.
Charlie woke on the third day to a faint blue glow coming in through the window. At first he thought it was some sort of work light or display reflecting through the opening, but he didn’t have the opportunity to look before the Tslavar toughs came and dragged him and Tuktuk out of their cell and brought them to the ship’s store rooms.
It was only after the work boss had directed them to pick up the large containers fitted with shoulder straps and marched them out of the ship did Charlie realize the astonishing reality. They had landed.
“Holy shit,” he gasped. “This is another world.”
“You saying this as if never happen,” Tuktuk said, craning his eye stalks to get a better look at the bustling marketplace they and the other slaves were being herded toward.
“It doesn’t ever happen, Tuktuk. At least not on my world.”
“You people not have strong magic, do they, Charlee?”
“Enough with the magic talk, already. Let’s just say we have different tech and leave it at that, okay?”
“Fine. Your tech-magic is no very good strong.”
“Seriously?” Charlie grumbled.
The blue giant illuminating the sky was a marvel to behold. The intensely burning ball of helium within a hydrogen plasma envelope had once been a red dwarf before entering the blue giant phase of its dwindling life.
The sun’s rays felt strange on Charlie’s skin. Not as though it was burning, exactly, but the spectrum was simply so different from what he was accustomed, his body didn’t know how to react.
Tuktuk, however, being a blue-skinned being, seemed to revel in the warm glow, his load almost seemed to lighten on his shoulders.
“You okay, man?” he asked his happy blue friend.
“Very okay. Feels good to have sun on my skin.”
“I’ve never seen a blue sun before. I mean, not like this. They’re incredibly rare, you know.”
“Is weaker than my home, but feel good. And blue not rare, though power people from blue sun worlds are much rarer than others. Almost everyone just normal person, like Tuktuk. Just want to live our lives.”
As if he heard their conversation, the Tslavar leading their procession shouted for them to keep up, then muttered a few words that Charlie couldn’t quite hear. The resulting shock from his collar, however, he didn’t miss.
“Keep moving. If you fall behind again you will receive a much less gentle reminder.”
“He calls that gentle?”
“For Tslavar, yes. We lucky he no make us shock until we no move. But of course they need us for to carrying supplies, and no moving make us bad for that job.”
“Great, so the one thing that’s our saving grace is we can carry stuff for them. Lovely.”
Charlie made a point to stick with the other collar-wearing slaves as they moved through the marketplace. Despite his circumstances, he couldn’t help but marvel at all that was going on around him.
This is incredible. Actual aliens. A shit-ton of them, too. Charlie only wished he were on this world as a tourist and not a beast of burden. There was so much to see, so many different species of aliens to discover, and Tuktuk was happy to be his guide.
A native Californian, Scott Baron was born in Hollywood, which he claims may be the reason for his off-kilter sense of humor. Before taking up residence in Venice Beach, he spent a few years studying abroad before settling into the film and television industry, where he has worked off and on for some time. Scott not only writes, but is also involved in indie film and theater both in the U.S. and abroad.
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