Updated: Oct 23, 2022
Tommy Sampson grew up in an endless war fought by a corrupt government that stretched across the galaxy against a group of intergalactic cannibal terrorists that could strike at any moment. Some days it was hard to tell which group was worse. Some days they were the same group. When the Belron War veterans came home, the war came with them. Tommy wasn't so sure he could survive another round.
Credits and Copyright
Third Edition. Copyright©2022 Divided By Zero Books
Second edition. Copyright©2017 Divided By Zero
First Edition Published as
Omnibus: Distant Travels: The Complete Saga
Copyright©2016 Divided By Zero
All Rights Reserved.
Written by Derwin Gerald Lester II
Edited by Cassie Poormokhtar and Travis Weik
Cover art by Kristen Vandermolen
All characters appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental
Book IV: Life on Third Berlin
Bruce Campbell got his face blown off during the Belron war. The doctors grew it back, of course. But no one really gave him much of any thought after. Bruce was one of those guys who played a supporting role in his own life. He was the friend of the hero, the husband of the important Senator. The bit player that never had much of a part. Till one day he shot his wife in the face, for betraying mankind and getting earth destroyed. Years later, he moved to the outer colonies, and was lost. Life became a day to day monotony, a grey series of bit parts in a story with no main characters. But then, like all great stories, he met a girl. A girl that was so different, and electric, and alive. She forced him from the bit part he had played his whole life and onto the main stage. There was a damage to her, but like all foolish men he thought he could fix her, if only he loved her enough...
Encyclopedia of Humanity
Third Berlin was established as the first major human colony outside the Earth System after The Great Reawakening of 2234. First begun as a colony for religious freedom, Third Berlin grew to a major port of call for travelers, merchants and people of all races looking for a fresh start. Built originally on the only farmable land on the planet, Third Berlin grew into a super structure, with five levels of city reaching into the sky, each stacked on top of the other with a ten mile gap in between and only the city force field keeping everything safe...
She was beautiful. That much was obvious. The light in the art gallery was dim, setting the relaxed mood for the First Friday Festival. I was dressed in a suit and feeling confident about wearing something besides my work uniform for the first time in two years. She was dressed in a pair of yellow tights with loose fitting black shorts over them that ended mid-thigh and a gray sweater that hung tight against her skinny build. Her skin had the light green tint that spoke of her half human, half something else heritage. It contrasted with the fire red hair she wore in a bun. I never was too good with placing the outer colony races. A small white Maltese dog sat at her feet, licking its paw. The girl looked up at me and smiled.
“Can I say hi?” I asked the girl. She looked at me funny, a quizzical expression on her face.
“To your dog,” I said clarifying.
She laughed and said, “Oh, sure.”
I bent down and patted the dog on the head, saying, “Well hi there, little guy. How're you?”
The dog surprised me by looking back up and saying, “Look man, it's great to meet you and everything, but I'm kinda busy at the moment.”
Then he got back to the business of cleaning his left paw.
“Oh, my bad,” I said, standing back up.
“Gen-engineered?” I asked the girl, whose name I still didn't know.
“Yeah,” she said. “They're expensive, but I feel he's worth it. His name is Pip.”
“Nice. I have one too. He's a Maltese, too. Rocky,” I told her. She lit up with a smile. There was kindness in that smile, and a happy energy that I had lost somewhere. Probably after I shot my wife. Yep, that was what did it.
“That's so great! We should take them on a play date!” she suggested.
I shrugged and said, “Well, my place is only a few blocks from here. Why don't we go grab him? Then we can walk the dogs together.”
Her face lit up. “I'd love to.”
We left the art gallery and started our way down Munich Street. I stood to her right on the outside of the walkway so she wouldn't have to be near the cars that flew by. I looked over the edge of the walkway and saw the long drop to the Third Level. I couldn't make out the people since it was ten miles below Forth Level, but the large towers and factories were visible.
“Hey, I gotta poop,” Pip said. The girl to my left wiggled her eyes at me and I smirked. She was odd. I liked that.
We waited in the grass in front of a paint store as Pip looked around for a place to poop. I turned to the girl and said, “Hey, what's your name? I just realized I never asked that.”
“Clara,” she said.
“That's a human name,” I told her, surprised.
“My dad was human, my mom was from Transvor,” she said as we started back down the street.
“I didn't think they married outside their own race?” I asked her.
She shrugged. “Most don't. Dad was part of a relief effort from the Earth Space Force when an asteroid hit Transvor, and he saved her life. They've been together ever since.”
“That's really romantic. I like that,” I said as we crossed the street.
The streets were made of hardlight at the crossways, nearly invisible save for the green lights that lined both sides and a gentle blue force field that prevented people from falling off the side and down to the Third Level.
We got to the other side of the street and made a left. It was two more blocks to my apartment.
“So where do you work?” I asked.
Pip laughed at that, causing Clara to say, “Hush. I work at a non-profit relief agency that assists homeless people on the First Level.”
“Is it as bad as they say down there?” I asked.
“Yeah, it’s not great. Most of the major prisons for the human allied worlds are down there, and everyone on the outside of the prison either works at the prison or tends to be unemployed. Lots of violence and crime. We go down there and help run food banks or give college classes. My program just started giving out grants for small business start-ups.”
“Wow, that's amazing. You're kind of a big deal, huh?” I said as we came up to my apartment.
It was a small three story building, almost a hovel compared to the one-thousand-story buildings that were closer downtown. I lived in a neighborhood called Old Northside. The Town Elders for Forth Level liked to preserve this little corner of Third Berlin just the way it was when Forth Level was founded six hundred years ago. Either way, the rent was cheap.
I put the key into the lock and opened the door, the waif of marijuana smoke hitting both of us as we walked up the stairs.
“Yeah, that would be from my neighbors. I haven't smoked that stuff in years,” I said, opening the door and letting her go in first in a gentlemanly manner. It had been a while since I'd met a woman that I wanted to treat that way.
My dog Rocky ran up to greet me, yelling, “Holy crap, you're here! I missed you so much!”
I reached down and petted him, saying, “Hey man, good to see you too. Gotta poop?”
“Oh man, yeah!” Rocky told me. There was a small closet next to the human bathroom. I pushed a button and the door slid to the side, revealing a large open field of grass inside. It was a hardlight doggy bathroom. He could go in there and run for two miles, and the hologram would just move around him. When he was done pooping and I turned off the hologram, it would recycle the dog poop and convert it into energy to run the hologram.
“My dad has one of those at his house, we used to play in it when we were kids," Clara told me as Rocky came back into the hallway.
“Wow, that was great. Thanks Bruce!” Rocky said to me as he ran up to Pip. “Hey, can I sniff your butt?” he asked.
“Um...well, we just met, can we take this slow?” Pip asked.
“Let's be best friends!” Rocky said, peeing a little on the floor from excitement.
“Great,” Pip said, walking into the living room.
“Wait, what does your poop smell like?” Rocky asked, following him.
“At least the kids are getting along,” Clara said, smiling at me. I winked as we followed the dogs into the living room. I was a little nervous, mostly because this was the first date I'd had in two years.
We sat down in the chairs in front of the DISPLAY. Rocky chased Pip around the living room, their paws clicking on the hardwood floor. Rocky got lonely when I was gone, so I was glad to have another dog for him to play with.
“You're just great, man! I love this!” Rocky said.
“Dude, can we take this slow?” Pip asked, sliding on the hardwood floor and running into the wall.
Rocky barked, then jumped onto Pip, yelling “Attack hug!”
Both dogs then commenced to bark and bite at each other, the fight sprawling back into the hallway and into the kitchen.
“Those two'll be great friends,” Clara said. “Pip wouldn't admit this, but he loves this sort of thing. He just likes to be Mr. Cool.”
I smiled and said, “Don't we all. Can I get you a drink?”
“Sure. I'll take a pomegranate juice,” she said. I got up and walked into the kitchen, Clara following me. Our shoes clicked against the hardwood floor and I felt her behind me, walking close.
Rocky and Pip ran past our feet, and I turned my head to watch them run into my spare bedroom. I looked up at her, a nervous smile on her face. She walked past me and I saw her tail wag just a little.
I opened the refrigerator and grabbed the orange juice, pouring it into two clean glasses from the drain rack. She saw the wooded spoons I had hanging on the wall and smiled, grabbing one and smacking me in the butt with it.
“You like to be spanked?” she asked me.
I shook my head and told her, “I usually do the spanking.”
She handed me the wooden spoon and said, “Show me.”
Clara bent over, leaning on the counter top by my stove. I appreciated her firm ass for a moment, then gave it two hard smacks with the spoon.
“You should use your hand,” she told me, smiling.
As a gentleman, I had no choice but to comply. I tensed my right hand and spanked her twice, causing her to grip the counter top as she moaned.
“Thank you, sir,” she said, her eyes locked in mine, begging to have me conquer her. I pulled her by the tail to my spare bedroom, wrapping my arms around her as we went to the ground.
“You're welcome,” I said, not understanding how the night ended this way. But I wasn't going to ask questions. I was in bed with a green-skinned goddess, a beautiful woman who looked down on mere mortals like me with distain. Her body was mine. The night was mine. All mine.