Free Download of : Out Of The Cradle – Patricia A Jackson
The speeder bike bucked in protest, churning up mounds of black sand against the dune.
“Thanks for the company, kid!” the rider yelled over the shrieking engines. Drake Paulsen stepped away from the stranger, shaking black soot from his clothing and hair. Gritty, sand-encrusted fingers wiped at his flight goggles, erasing stubborn soot from the lens.
“Thanks for the ride!” Drake shouted back, scurrying up the face of the dune. He pulled the sand-saturated rag from his face, refreshed by the cool air blowing gently against his skin. Glancing over his shoulder, he listened, then hollered. “They’ll be here any minute.”
The nomad revved the supercharged engine, spinning the steering bar as he gunned the throttle. The bike swerved uncontrollably, kicking up sand and debris as the vehicle accelerated over the parched flatland. Drake scampered up the dune, his lithe frame accustomed to the loose earth shifting between his fingers. Near the summit, breathless, he threw himself into the sand bed, turning to catch a glimpse of the nomad’s shadow before it vanished between the desert swells.
The word socorro was Old Corellian for scorched earth. Drake could think of no name better suited to described his birthworld. From pole to pole, the blackened crests of hardened volcanic ash covered the planet. In the distance, the Rym mountain range stood in silent
testament of the long dead volcanoes that laid the ash.
Sighing, Drake leaned into the dune, resting his head against the sand. He heard the distinct whine of the approaching hunters, mounted on greatly overpriced, grossly undermodified desert bikes. Confident, the young Socorran waved at them, smiling when they paused indecisively, their figures wavering unsteadily in the thermal fumes rising from the desert floor. For a moment, Drake worried that they might come after him and, unconsciously, he thumbed the restraint from his sporting blaster, feeling the familiar heel against his palm. There was no price on his head and there was little to be gained from a 15-year-old boy who unwittingly managed to catch a ride with a known galactic felon. Drake heard himself sigh when the bounty hunters finally moved on, heading back into the Doaba Badlands after more profitable game……….
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