Out of left field comes a glimpse, a sneak peak, of the next Pipe and Book Industries book! I can’t go into details, but know this, it’s a road trip! I wanted to show this world a bit more and also show off Rocinante a bit more than just being parked in a parking lot.

Not too exciting, that.

The first book is still in the running for the Nerdist Collection on Inkshares! Go here to cast your vote with a pre-order!

So, without further ado, here is Chapter 1 of the next book! No title yet, that usually forms toward the end of the process, so be ready to read that reveal here on this site!

Prologue

“Pipe and Book Industries, you got Trenton Rennick… Yeah, we do that. When?.. Tonight?” Trenton looked out of the porthole of Rocinante 2 at the early evening sky. “Where am I going for pick-up?… I can be there in an hour. What is it? How much does it weigh?… Huh, okay… It’ll cost you around 3k. You okay with that?” He waited for the customer to haggle him down or reel back in shock over the price tag of moving a desk. It didn’t come.

“Okay, that is acceptable. Please, do be careful with it.”

A curious smile crossed his stubble covered jaw. “Alright, where is this thing heading?

“San Francisco, specifically Tower 5.”

The mover let out a low sigh, “Better make that 6k.”

Ch. 1

A crisp wind tickled the back of Trenton’s neck as his leather work boot stepped onto the warped Seal Beach dock and carried him away from the pitted tan hull of his tug boat Rocinante 2. The job was last minute, the distance far, and his mood lousy; hence the jump in price that was agreed upon before he hung up the phone.

It was then his phone rang from his inside pocket.

He saw who was calling, shook his head, and greeted Clark with a tone reserved for solicitors, “Clark, do you have the ability to know exactly when I step off my boat?”

“Yes, I do, I stalk you.”

“I’d consider that to be a real threat if I didn’t know you and know that you wouldn’t expend the energy it would take for you to actually sit in a car.”

“True, but I also have your phone set to alert me when you leave your Boatress of Solitude.”

It was a comment that made Trenton stop in his tracks. “You, you can actually do that?”

An audible sigh escaped through the high-definition speaker. “My God man, you live in the future! Of course that is possible. Now, what has you in a foul mood?”

“What’s got my goat is that I got a job to drive up to San Francisco this evening that is paying me six thousand bucks.”

“Aren’t you your own boss? You could have said no.”

“Yeah, I could have, but I was looking forward to being forced to sea over my unpaid slip fees. So, I decided to be a jerk to myself and take the job.”

“I see, that is a predicament I haven’t found myself in for a long while.”

Trenton pinched the bridge of his nose. “Why did you call me, Clark?” He began walking up the ramp toward shore.

“I need you to do a favor for me and since finding out you are already heading north, I figure that this is serendipitous in nature.”

“Can you push past your dictionary and just tell me what you want?”

“I have a record that needs to be delivered and I need you to drive it up to my client in San Francisco. Specifically, an original pressing of Iron Maiden’s first album.”

The mover gripped the door handle of Rocinante, his green Dodge truck with matching camper shell, and hopped behind the wheel. “Why don’t you just drone it?” He put the X5 glass in its resting spot on the dash, pressed speaker, and hundreds of tiny blue holographic balls appeared and formed the round but concerned face of Clark. “I mean, didn’t you buy one for this specific purpose?”

“And have Jacques be shot down by a hick with a grudge against technology? I think not! Local deliveries only with him.”

A small smile crept on Trenton’s face as he pulled up the sleeves on his long-sleeved gray henley. “No. You bought that piece of tech to do your dirty work. Use it. If it breaks then I may consider giving you a discount.”

The tiny head’s mouth sat agape. “After everything I have done for you!”

“Excuse me, I have given you more than your fair share of free work. So, either you trust your piloting skills and hope that the good people of the valley don’t shoot down that four blade whirlybird or you pay your way.”

Trenton laid his face lazily on to the open palm of his hand as the small blue hologram did tiny math equations in its head. Clark’s face solidified from confused to annoyed as he let out a deep sigh and muttered, “What’s the price?”

“For a friend, and it being a rush delivery, I’ll do it for 100.”

“Jacques could do it for 10.”

“Yes, but Jacques doesn’t have what I have.”

“And that is, what? A chip on a shoulder?”

“A gun, to keep bad guys away.”

Written by Maz

Nick enjoys making things and drinking coffee, specifically the latter, for without it the former wouldn’t get done. He also wrote a book titled "Where Monsters Lie & Other Tales"