Wednesday, April 17, 2013

O is for Ostrich Herding

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 accent.
     “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 day”.
     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.”


  1. Very enjoyable. Everything I've read of yours has such a rich sense of back story. Simply Sarah

    1. Thanks. I try to stick to the old writer's rule-of-thumb: only 10% of the story your readers see, but the other 90% needs to be just out of their view. Most writers show it as an iceburg with all the backstory below the water, yet still there. With this particular piece, I keep adding back story as I go. Since it's space opera, I can do pretty much whatever I want.

    2. I don't think I spend enough time fleshing out my back story,especially when it comes to the setting and histories. I know so much about my characters but I feel like a visitor in my own settings... something more to work on I suppose.

  2. I agree well done on back story!
    I need to work on that aspect :D

    1. Thank you. It's a character-driven market right now, but I still like to world-build. Epic Fantasy is my preferred genre, so I'm used to it.