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When Culp arrives on the Hobson’s Planet, he steps into a whirlwind of controversy and political upheaval. Against his will, Culp finds himself the designated savior to another planet. Having failed on Earth, he wants no part of another such quest. Now he must decide where his duty and his heart lie.
But McGarrity’s voice cut in.
“What’s that, Sean?”
“This planet cannot be left in the hands of Maxwell Andrews. There is no alternative to him other than you.”
“Sean, I gave that all up when I came here. I’ve told you about Lydia and how she thought, what she said to me. You and I have other responsibilities.”
“Dammit, Culp. Those responsibilities amount to nothing now. We can’t go home. Not until all of this is settled one way or another. Soldiers could show up any time. Our farms are just sitting there. Our girls can’t leave these rooms. We can’t leave these rooms. Gurkha will eventually find out about the soldier Lenny shot or about Andrews’ attack. Even aside from Gurkha taking revenge for either of those, that Andrews is going to start an out-and-out war on the planet, if he hasn’t started it already.”
Culp had no answer. He did not want to take the burden of a second planet onto his shoulders. Just the grandiosity of that thought brought Lyddie back to him. He felt again her scorn at his fantastic dream of righting the wrongs of Earth.
“I don’t think you understand--” Culp began.
McGarrity rose to his feet. “I’ve not known you long, Senator, but, by God, I feel I know you well.”
Culp detected McGarrity’s right hand trembling as he held it at his side.
“I cannot believe that you, in your heart, don’t want to defend us. All of us. Those of us you know and all the inhabitants of this planet you don’t know. You’ve stood up to Andrews. You’ve stood up to this Bahador Gurkha. The people of Hobson’s know you. If you force them to depend on Andrews, this planet will go up in a horrible blaze of fire. Everything we have, gone. Everything we’ve dreamed about, impossible to get.”
“Sean, I--” Culp was becoming alarmed at McGarrity’s passion. But McGarrity would not allow an interruption.
“You must do it to save Annie. To save Cindy. To save all of us. It has to be you.”
“Do, do, do what? What is this magic power you think I have. What can I do?”
“You can lead. People will listen to you. It cannot be Andrews. It must be you. I cannot... I cannot respect you if you do not do this.” McGarrity looked right at him, and his words struck Culp like a rator shot.
“Daddy.” Annie called from the doorway. “Come say goodnight.”
McGarrity seemed shocked to hear another voice. He looked at the floor in seeming embarrassment, then around the room. He turned and walked to his daughter. They disappeared into the bedroom together.
A moment later Cindy, in Daria’s over-sized pajamas, walked through the doorway holding up her pants with both hands and came to Culp. He took her into his lap.
“Daddy, how long do we have to stay here?”
“I don’t know, sweetheart. Things are... all fouled up.”
“Can we go home?”
“I’m afraid the soldiers might be waiting for us.”
“When will they go away?”
“I don’t know.”
“What was Mr. McGarrity yelling at you for?”
“You heard him?”
“He wants you do to something. What does he want you to do?”
“He wants me to do something about the Catonians that are causing us so much trouble.”
“So do I.” Cindy yawned.
“Where are you sleeping?”
John Paulits’s suspense, horror and science fiction stories have appeared in various magazines (The Mendocino Review, Crossroads, Labyrinth and others) over the past twenty-five years. His children’s novels, Philip Gets Even and Philip and the Case of Mistaken Identity have been published by Wingsepress. An additional Philip novel was published by Mayhaven Publishing. The first two volumes of his mystery series The Shakespeare Murders are available from Chippewa Publishing. Mr. Paulits lives in New York City and at the Jersey shore. His wife is a banker and his daughter, a social worker.
Book Publisher: Wings e Press
No. of Pages: 418
Paper Weight (lb): 17.3