Book Highlight: Expert Assistance

To get out of debt, spacer Jake Bonner takes on two odd jobs. The first, chauffeur pop star Evvie Martini on her tour; the second, helping Daniel and Clarissa Rosen overthrow their planet’s tyrannical ruler. Unfortunately for Jake, Evvie finds out about his second assignment and, hoping to advance her career, invites herself to the revolution.
The next day Evvie returned to the ship to start her new career as a revolutionary. Before taking them to Antioch Two, Jake had her sit down next to him on the couch. “I think you need to know why this revolution is important to those people,” he told her.
“Well, isn’t that obvious? They need to be free?”
“Yes, well, that’s true. There are more solid reasons for doing this. The situation is a little more complicated that just an evil ruler oppressing his people.”
Jake raised a hand. “I’ll explain it to you in terms you can understand, okay?”
“Great. Now, first of all, the planet is Maxis’ personal property.”
“Is that legal? I thought you couldn’t buy planets. I mean, I tried, once, but...”
Jake cleared his throat. “May I continue?”
“Oh, sorry.”
“Thank you. In point of fact, no, you can’t buy planets. At least not planets that have potential, like Antioch Two and its mineral wealth. You see, Evvie, Maxis’ grandfather lied to his employers about the value of the planet’s potential, and he proceeded to buy it at auction. Instead of owning some worthless rock, he bought one of the richest worlds in human space for almost nothing.”
“Sounds bad.”
“It was beyond bad. It was illegal. Now the world and its wealth belongs to one person, Sordius Maxis. What’s more, Maxis is paying bribes all over the galaxy to hide this fact, to hide how badly he treats the people working for him, and to hide some of his other schemes to fatten his bank accounts. On top of all that, the way he operates his planet isn’t as good as it should be.”
“Isn’t that obvious? He’s a dictator.”
“No, not in the way you’re thinking. His equipment is old, his refinery isn’t turning out as much as it should or could, and the way he keeps everyone in line is limiting how much everyone could be making from such a mineral-rich planet.”
“Oh. Still sounds like a bad man to me.”
“He is, Evvie. The point is he’s bad in more than just the usual ways.”
“Okay, well, that’s fine. What are we going to do about it?”
“We’re going to oust him from power.”
“How? I mean, are we gonna just blast him from space?”
“For one thing, we couldn’t pick him off like that. Not while he’s in the dome. Either we’d hurt people we don’t want to, or we’d miss and alert him that we were there. Besides, this isn’t about getting one man. There’s a system that we have to get rid of. That’s why this is a ‘revolution’ and not a ‘coup.’”
“So what do we do?”
“Well, we get the people to want Maxis out. We undermine his leadership, and tell the people under him what’s really going on.”
“Great. Just so long as it doesn’t involve boring stuff.”
Jake sighed. What have I gotten myself into, he wondered.
Purchase Expert Assistance at:
About the Author:
I've had three SF novels published: "Monitor," "Lisa's Way," and "Expert Assistance." I've also had a coming of age novel published called "True Friends." I've had stories and articles appear in periodicals such as Marion Zimmer Bradley's Fantasy Magazine; Tales of the Talisman; Space Westerns; Sorcerous Signals; Wild West; and Model Railroader.