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Volume 1, Issue 3, September 30, 2006
Carom Shot pix
                                               © Cile Bailey
Carom Shot
by Ray E. Main

        "So what's the crisis?" Duram Karr sighed as he slid into a lounge chair in the VIP Room of the Commander's Club. Across the table sat The Honorable Everal Blum, Representative Third Class to the Galactic Council. "I'm not even due back to work until tomorrow. Couldn't this have waited?"
        Duram had shuttled down to Terra City, Earth's major center of galactic politics, not more than thirty minutes ago. He had not been happy to find the priority message from his boss waiting for him.
        The round little man smirked at his aide, looking as pleased as if he had just inherited a pleasure satellite. "Have a drink," he said with a careless wave of his hand. "How was the ice boating?" Blum held a quark slush in his hand. From the redness of Blum's face and the slight slurring of his words, Duram decided his boss was already several drinks up on him.
        "The ice-boating was great if you like temperatures that never get above minus thirty Celsius. But I assume you didn't call me here to talk about the wonders of Jarl as a vacation planet. Your message said it was urgent that I meet with you tonight. What gives?"
        Blum leaned forward. "I just had to tell you the good news. I've pulled off a real coup."
        Duram held back on his what-have-you-gone-and-done-now look. His boss was no more incompetent than the usual sub-representative to the High Council. Most such officials relied on their aides to keep them out of trouble. Duram was Blum's top advisor precisely because of his effectiveness at doing that. Duram didn't mind the work. He rather liked the little man, na├»vely optimistic as Blum was, but every now and then, the sub-representative couldn't resist dipping his finger into the pot. Then, there was usually hell to pay until Duram could straighten things out.
        "Suppose you tell me what this is all about," Duram said, making an effort to control his impatience.
        "I'm to address this year's High Council of Primes!"

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