This is my fourth space opera featuring the mercenary Zento. The first two were linked to on the third. You can find it here.
Zento cut the engine to his
hoverbike. He waved a hand at a figure
sitting on the porch of a strange house.
The dwelling was a huge cylinder, seemingly fashioned from some type of
dark wood, almost black, and shingled with pale stone. A narrow chimney jutted out of the roof. The smoke that drifted through it looked
closer to white than grey. “High-tech filtration
for a farmer,” Zento said, smiling.
The figure revealed itself,
stepping into the light to meet its visitor. “Our Viceroy has great love for Goran 5. He wants the air as clear as Goran 3’s before
the decade is out. I joy in playing a
part.” The words came from a
green-skinned humanoid, his voice seeming to quiver with a thick Goranean
“I never stay on one planet long enough to
worry about the ecology. It’s nice to
know that there are people who do, however.
Untriouf,” said Zento, his final word a botched attempt at Goranean “good
The Goranean crinkled his
thick brow, then nodded. “Good day to
you too. What brings you to the
agricultural side of my humble home-world, man-of-Earth?”
“Verion, actually,” Zento
began. “My grandparents emigrated from
Earth. I came because I heard of some ‘ostrich
herding’ for pay.” He made little quote
marks with his fingers at the slang.
“You speak the truth. I offer four hundred in Goran currency for
moving my ostrich to their winter staying.”
Zento’s mouth twisted a
little. He blinked. “You mean literal ostrich herding?”
The Goranean frowned. “What did you think I meant?”
“Never mind. For four hundred I’d herd ice salamanders.”