#FridayReads: It was Only on Stun!
The Deleted Scenes
So, one of the things I’ve decided to do on SubStack is post a chapter of a time of my books.
I’m starting with my novel It Was Only on Stun!
You may recall Stun! It was my first novel. I wanted to increase my profit by decreasing my overhead.
Magically, I ended up cutting out a hundred pages.
So, for the next few weeks, I’m going to post the deleted scenes of It Was Only on Stun! here.
If you’ve read Stun! this will be new for you.
If you haven’t read Stun!, you’ll have a good lead in.
Let the games begin!
It was Only on Stun!
“It was only on stun! It was only on stun!” the Klingon yelled as he ran after his poor victim, an Asian woman in her late thirties.
Her eyes were wide with terror as she ran over the rich green field, surrounded by people in alien garb and cold, angular, buildings of steel and concrete. The creature chasing after her was almost twice her size with ridges on his face and garish, sharp teeth that hadn’t been brushed for days on end, with long, unruly black hair that fell from its head in tangles. In its hand was the weapon that was claimed to be “only on stun,” a long-barreled pistol that looked more like a tube with a handle attached, much like the old-fashioned dueling pistols one would expect to see in the hands of a Captain Hook, not an alien creature.
Sean sighed, knowing full well that it was going to be one of those days. He ran to intercept the woman, heading straight for her at a forty-five degree angle, reaching for his homemade benn’dok, a collapsible fighting pike, 7-feet long fully extended. He bowed down, letting the woman run into his shoulder, and he straightened, putting her into a fireman’s hold. With a flick of his wrist, he opened his weapon and held it in front of him like a lance. The Klingon saw the weapon and slowed to a stop.
Sean tapped the pike against the linebacker’s chest. “Don’t scare the tourists, damn you. It was perfectly clear to everyone the campus is holding a tour, so back off. The next time I see you with anything even resembling a gun, I’m going to kick you so far off the campus, you’ll wake up in the Bronx! Am I understood?”
The Klingon growled, peering down at the shorter man. He looked into Sean’s electric blue eyes and took a step back. “Yes sir.”
Sean nodded. “Good boy. Run along now.”
The Klingon skulked away as Sean lowered the poor guest to the grass. With a flick of his wrist, the pike was closed once more and he nodded toward her. “My apologies, miss. Next time, though, stay with the tour group.”
She glared at him fully and said, “Tell the administrators they’re not going to have any of my children come here. In fact, I’m going to tell my husband to stop giving alumni donations to Rockycreek, and that’s a few thousand right there.”
Sean merely smiled. “Ma’am, I’m only a mercenary, so tell someone who cares.”
The 5’6” self described mercenary slipped his pike away and then walked back to the main building of the State University of New York in Rockycreek, Long Island, New York, the temporary headquarters of the annual C-Con science fiction convention, where every science genius, science fiction nut, Goth, fan, would-be writer/ actor/ singer of parodies gathered once a year to party, hawk their wares, and meet prestigious authors, writers, NASA scientists, and actors.
And, then, of course, lost in this sea of diverse and colorful strangeness, were the assassins, waiting for their next move.
Chapter 1: The Accidental Bodyguard.
The firebomb came through the window at about two a.m., when everyone in the household was wide awake, thanks to the fire alarm the Nikolic’s called a son.
Technically, no one could seriously call a Molotov cocktail a bomb, more like an incendiary device. However, despite the technical details, the Vodka bottle crashed through the sheet of paper that had replaced the windowpane broken last week.
Goran Nikolic, temporarily unemployed Serbian director, heard the crash on his way to take care of his infant son’s want of the moment and bolted to fix the problem. He didn’t need to investigate, having already guessed there would be a problem slightly more grave than the stone that shattered the window of their second floor guest room the week before.
Goran arrived while the flames were still the blue of an alcohol fire. He grabbed the guest bed and flipped it onto the blaze, following it with a body slam to press all the air out of the mattress. Considering that Goran happened to be a tall, pale individual with black hair and Pacific blue eyes, and also happened to still be heavy at 6’7” tall, air came out of the mattress like juice from an over ripened tomato dropped from the Sears Tower.
Nikolic was smart enough to roll off the bed, just in case his little maneuver didn’t work. He waited a moment, and sighed relief.
He looked back the way he came. His wife, actress Mira Gagic, stood in her robes, framed by the doorway, and looked at him with her gray-green eyes.
“I’ll call the police…again. Take care of Marko.”
The Los Angeles Police Department arson investigator crouched at the burn mark, glancing over the scorched rug with approval. “You did a nice job, Mr. Nikolic. Most people would have panicked. Were you in the army?”
Goran shook his head.
“Well,” the investigator said, “I haven’t seen a reaction that fast since my time in Kosovo.” He looked up at the giant. “Your accent, Serbian?” He thought a moment. “I noticed the bottle went through a sheet of paper, not glass. Someone broke it?”
The investigator looked around Goran, peering a little closer at the woman who lived there. “Lovely wife you have there. She seems awfully familiar.” He rose, looking Goran in the face. “She’s an actress on G5, isn’t she? Yeah, shame about that. I know it was only planned to last five years, but it could’ve gone on.” He stepped closer. “I remember stories about the cast, so I’m guessing you know who’s responsible?”
“Responsible for what, officer?” Goran asked, no inquisitiveness in his voice.
“For someone to throw a bottle like that, in the dark, through a pane broken only the week before would take advanced knowledge of where to aim. I know you two were chased out of the old country ten years ago, when the shooting started. I remember the Mad Russian hired her specifically because Serbs never wanted her to work again, he wanted to piss them off. Might it have worked? Could someone be out to finish the job?”
“Okay. Lemme know when you want a patrol car on the house. I’ll be happy to order it.”
“I’m enough of a bodyguard for her.”
Looking up at the imposing director, the investigator said, “No arguments.”
However, the next morning, there were arguments from people who were less amenable than the man from the LAPD.
Mira Gajic made mention of shopping for a new rug to actress Susan Christiani, a friend of hers from when they worked on the highly popular television program about space station G5—a show about a United Nations for the intergalactic set, but wound up studying strange new worlds that kept coming at them.
“Why would you need a new rug?” Christiani asked. Mira explained, and the reply was, “You’re kidding, right? You’ve got a cop car outside now, don’t you?”
Mira smiled. “Of course not, Susan. I’m not important enough to kill. This is just mere harassment. If they wanted me to die, then they would have done so before the third season.”
“But Mira, these people were still in power then! You don’t think some of them might be bored and find they have nothing better to do than hurt you?”
Her eyes twinkled. “Certainly not. Besides, I would not want to impose.”
However, Susan Christiani, an army brat from her days in diapers until she jumped ship at the age of 21, had no problem imposing on people. She knew Mira’s history as well as the arson investigator, if not better.
Mira Gajic was a refugee from the former Yugoslavia—currently called Serbia-Montenegro, as if the name of the moment was of particular importance. She had been chased out by the people and the government after she made an unfortunate comment on an international theater program in Belgrade the year Yugoslavia began to tear itself apart—that “art should not serve any political or nationalist ideas,” a sentiment that angered fanatics on both sides of the conflict and caused the media to go after her with pitchforks in a frenzy of bad press that could be qualified “unfair, unbalanced, and unmedicated.” She might not have had such problems if the politics had not been genocidal in content. Publicly vilified, she was accused in Croatia of treason and dubbed the “Serbian whore”— though she was a Catholic Croatian—and branded as a spy by Serbia. Strangers called and left voice mail describing in lurid detail how she was to be slaughtered, and all associates mysteriously stopped calling. She and her Serbian husband fled to New York City, and the next year she landed her first big role on American television with the stealth-hit G5.
The creator of G5, known alternately as “The Great Maker,” “The Mad Russian,” and “The Little Bird of the Galaxy,” told internet newsgroups that he had hired Ms. Gajic not only because of her exotic appearance, boundless acting talent, and lyrically accented voice, but also because “The bastards who chased her out intended for her never to work again; this’ll piss them off. If they complain, well, they can sue me.”
Susan Christiani was as certain as the LAPD that he had successfully pissed off armed killers. Unfortunately, their first decision was not to call a law firm.
Christiani made her phone call to a New Yorker, who by definition had no problem making impositions on other people. This author was David Peters, a writer from G5.
“Is she nuts?” Peters cried into the phone. “She doesn’t want to impose? Not important enough to assassinate? What a time to be modest! Why can’t she be like the rest of the world and think everyone’s out to get her?”
“David, not everyone lives in New York,” Christiani said. “We’re not all paranoid.”
“Well, you should be!” Peters briefly thought about it. “And you are! They closed down Idaho on 9-11, as if someone was going to bomb a potato field. Or even better, the Vegas strip closed down! I’m not sure if it’s paranoia or self importance!”
“David, back to the issue? Mira?”
“Oh, yeah, her Catholic modesty. At least acknowledge that you’re important enough to kill, even if you don’t flaunt it!” He let out a breath as though deflating his digressive powers. “Anyway, you’re thinking what I’m thinking?”
Claudia laughed. “Probably not, it’s dark in there.”
“If I were writing the script, this is a warning to get her affairs in order before they try to ice her in April at C-Con.”
“David, it’s January, you think they’re going to give a hint this far in advance?”
“Why not? If you’re going to give a hint, three months is as good as three days, and the terror lasts longer. I’ll call C-Con myself.”
“Creative Conventions”—C-Con for short—was run out of Long Island, based at Rockycreek University. It included NASA scientists, retailers of every conceivable Goth, fantasy, science-fiction and comic book genre, and actors and writers from fantasy, science fiction, Japanese cartoons, comic books, and the occasional movie—all of which were crammed into a single three-day weekend in April.
The last thing they needed was a problem, and his name was David Peters.
They knew about the problem rather quickly for an organization run by college students and other species of volunteers. Peters called C-Con even sooner than immediately, demanding special protection for Mira Gajic and her family. He told campus President Harrington in typical Lower East Side dialect, “You’re going to get her protection, if only so those of us caught in the crossfire can’t sue your ass for every dime you’re not worth!”
The admissions prices were bumped slightly, and Peters dumped in a donation, as did the other guests who liked Mira or simply, as Peters suggested, didn’t want to be in the crossfire —all without Mira’s knowledge.
The only question was: Who would they get to protect her?
“Don’t make me do this, Billy,” the man in the “Mouse on the Barroom floor” t-shirt instructed him.
“Billy” was an older man, late thirties, who had made a nice living on faux passports. At the moment, he was wearing a white t-shirt stretched over a plump belly. His left hand hovered over a pistol, and his right hand was a matter of dispute.
The younger man shirt had his right hand extended toward a switch next to the sink. His left hand was holding Billy’s right hand in the trash disposal unit.
“All I want are a few phone numbers, and a promise to be a good little boy and never do it again. Come on, you think you’re a bunch of big bad terrorists, but you’re really not that good. You are just support personnel. Leave while you can.”
Billy glared at him. “Fock you, Ryan.”
The man named Ryan merely looked at him with burning blue eyes that threatened to cook his soul like thin corn beef on a skillet. “In case you haven’t noticed, your hand is not in a great place, and if you try to draw down on me, I’ll have to do something I regret.”
Billy reached for the gun.
The screaming began.
Ryan took the bus home from the hospital, where they had working very hard to save Billy’s hand. He sighed and flipped open the novel he had picked up in the hospital gift shop.
Sgt. Garret held the gun on the mad woman. She held her weapon on him continuously, remembering the effect it had had on his comrades outside as they tried to storm the building. Several of them died as their fingers uncontrollably clenched around their weapons, firing into other soldiers. He was the only one left, the others trapped in the throes of uncontrollable muscle spasms.
“Be ready to join your comrades, Garret,” she cackled like Margaret Hamilton.
Yeah, sure, and my little dog too. “Problem is, lady, your gun doesn’t work on me.”
“Of course it does. It works for anyone who has hormones.”
He shook his head. “Problem is it doesn’t interact with the mind. My problem’s psychological.”
Curses! She hadn’t thought of that! Oh! Well! What the hell! She cranked the weapon up to full power. “Then let’s test your frigidity against the full might of”—she paused for dramatic affect—“the orgasmo gun!”
Sean Ryan made a face and flipped over the novel. What was an Ester Guzman? Even better, why should he care about…the book? He thought The Ultimate Weapon had been about smallpox, or something that might, possibly, have something to do with the military, not an overpowered sex toy.
Just goes to show that they’ll publish any oversexed trash.
He sat back, looking out the window of the bus, hoping to get to his client soon enough. It wasn’t even late afternoon yet, and already he had smashed an entire terrorist network with a phone call and a trash disposal unit.
Ryan laughed. Terrorist network indeed. Two Irishmen calling themselves a cell group of the IRA does not constitute a network. However, all of their support personnel do…Still, not bad for a lowly security consultant, and retired stuntman.
Let’s see, stuntman at sixteen, causing parents divorce, bodyguard at twenty-one, security firm organizer before I’m twenty-six. Not a bad run. Ha! Sixteen-year-old stuntman indeed. Needed dad’s bloody permission, and that hadn’t exactly gone over well. Mom objected and filed for divorce, he promptly counter-filed, and oy…
The bus jerked to a stop—bus drivers didn’t have the luxury of deceleration—and Ryan came out of his autobiographical reverie. Besides, if anyone wanted to read the details of his life...They must be seriously bored.
The little annoyance in the back of his head that continued a running commentary on his conscious thoughts—mostly heckling—came back with Of course, it’s not as though you don’t do anything they can’t find in a John Woo film.
Sean slinked out of the rear bus door and straightened his t-shirt before moving on to the trailers for the movie set. Dave McCullough, Irish émigré and current client, was supposed to be in his trailer, waiting for Ryan to return.
Then again, let’s hope he stayed there, unlike that Earth Liberation Front client of mine…oh well, live like an eco-terrorist, get shot like an idiot.
Sean stole onto the “circus,” maneuvering through the insane asylum of scenes behind the “movie magic,” including enough pyrotechnics to launch a small war. He stopped a hundred feet away from the trailer and reached down into his ankle holster for a small collapsible nightstick: entirely ceramic, also entirely invisible to metal detectors, and its black color made it invisible in a coat pocket by the human eye. It was thicker than the basic police tactical batons in order to extend it to the length of a kendo stick; once extended, it locked in place until the tip was deliberately twisted, letting it fall back into its easy-to-carry position. The “collapsible kendo,” as the creator called it, had saved Ryan’s life a few times.
Although given the mindset of the population around here, they’d probably think it a light saber. Sean now slid the collapsed nightstick into his hand, holding the length of it against his forearm.
Halfway to the trailer, Sean heard the sound of footsteps closing in on him. He increased his pace and stopped short of dashing for the door.
Still ten yards away, a blond form burst out from behind the trailer and leapt for the trailer steps, blocking Ryan’s way.
Sean looked behind him, noting the brown-haired figure who calmly approached. He sighed. “Right.”
The bodyguard closed his eyes and stood parallel to each of them, his figure in a dancer’s starting pose, facing directly ahead of him. He listened to the approaching steps of the brown haired man, the breathing of the blond. Fifteen seconds later, when the former was six feet away from his left shoulder, Ryan whirled, flicking the baton open and whipping it across his face. His attacker lost two teeth and his head snapped back with the force of the blow. Ryan took one step forward and tapped the butt of the baton just behind the man’s ear, knocking him unconscious.
Ryan pivoted, baton ahead of him like a fencing foil. The blond was in the process of drawing his gun, and Sean dove forward, tucked and rolled to a crouch at the foot of the step, swiping the baton against the inside of the man’s wrist, against a pressure point that made his entire right arm go numb. Sean bounced up and slapped the blond out of his way before heading into the trailer.
Ryan slammed the door behind him. “Dave, we’ve got old friends of yours who’d like you to come out and play. I knocked them down, but I need something to tie them up with.”
When no answer was forthcoming, he turned and searched the trailer for his client, only to find him in his bedroom, a needle sticking out of his arm.
Sean sighed, touched Dave McCullough’s carotid artery, feeling nothing. The man had gone cold, and his lips were blue.
“Stupid bastard,” he muttered, a light brogue seeping into his voice after weeks of Irish bars he’d been in with this corpse, before he had taken on a colder form. “I guess I didn’t get all of your stash, did I?”
The trailer door flew open, and the two men he had recently thrashed stormed the living area. Sean looked at them with cold, dead eyes. “Happy now?”
The two of them stared for a while, then backed away slowly as Sean took steps toward them, his eyes suddenly heating up like lightning fire.
“If I ever see you again, I’ll hurt both of you, understood?”
They left quick enough. I guess that’s a yes.
Sean Ryan slid into bed at eight that evening dead tired and wanting to empty a gun into his own head. Although I’d be surprised to see how you’d be able to empty the gun after the first bullet. Unless you’re a really poor marksman, you shouldn’t be able to miss after the first try. Well, I suppose you could always shoot a head shot of yourself on the wall, but then the landlady would get upset and—
The phone rang. Sean rolled over, praying that it would be Inna, calling from New York. “Sean Patrick Ryan and Associates, Sean Patrick Ryan speaking.”
“Mr. Ryan,” said a deep male voice. “Could you come to New York City?”