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Epoch of The Far Dawn
Chapter 1 By Richard Barrett
© 2021 James LaFond
The dark pitch of night surrounded the Saloon d’Imperium, the last little bit of civilization before the passing of the stars into the vast black unknown of space.
Here and there, shooting billiards at the tables or playing cards in the lounge, were Imperial Union correspondents in dark formal suits, star-pilots and legion officers in their trim blue uniforms, and like-attired civil servants.
A chandelier of crystal cast a low luminescent glow over the posh surroundings carpeted in the rich oranges, reds, and gold inlays with cream walls with dark toffee colored wood. The Big Band’s tunes swung softly.
There in the corner sat Lawson Fuller. Fair-browed, eagle-eyed, hard-jawed, with a mass of black hair, and sinews of steel encased with the dark-colored suit. His gaze hypnotically raked across the room from his corner perch in the back of the bar.
A .45 M1911 hung from a hidden shoulder holster.
He had come here, where the exotic juices of tart yellow fruits from the distant moon of Xonsha flowed into slender glasses, out of the distant darkness of space, hiding in plain sight…laconically awaiting the arrival of the Longzhu Pirates who sought his head.
A suited orderly, slender, haggard, and trembling, approached him. He was sweating bullets, a cream-colored call card in hand.
“Telephone for you, Mr. Fuller,” he with the desperate drone of man wishing to perform his duty and be done with it—and fast. “You can take it in the call room.”
Lawson’s gaze narrowed knowingly as he got up and moved like a panther across the carpet to the call room.
There, the assistant directed him to Booth #5 etched in red letters where a shining black rotary phone sat. Lawson picked it up.
“This is Lawson Fuller speaking.”
“Hello Mr. Fuller,” came an impassioned voice. “Your presence is requested at Government House, #1 Row—”
Suddenly, the line went dead...
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