I've been away for a week on holiday in Devon (expect some blog posts about our holiday soon!). But for now I'm posting the first part of the third Anton deGama story, Blue Ice. I can also gleefully add a cover illustration, painted by Janet when I first wrote this story, many moons ago.
If you haven't read the earlier stories, don't worry - you don't need to know Anton's previous adventures.
Initially, the opening simply sets the scene...
The ring fragment spun in the thin light from the distant sun, occasional fractals of colour sparkling from the ragged surface. The Sapphire Rose pirouetted in harmony with the slowly rotating honeycomb of ice, the umbilical cable from the ship undulating gently. Anton shivered inside the excursion suit: even with the heaters at maximum, the chill of the ice struck through the heavy boots. He carefully stepped between the flowers. One touch from a steel toe would shatter the delicate yellow petals. The hard-edged shadows made judgment of position tricky. He glanced up at the Rose; through the umbilical he could hear her singing (off-key as usual). It was just as well that Anton was not particularly musical: Kellerman had refused to board the Rose after hearing her photonsong. Anton was untroubled by the Rose's tones. Her voice told him his new ship was in direct sunlight and was in good shape, and that was all he cared about.
He leaned down and placed the las-drill against the icy surface. A few seconds of power gave a suitable hole, and he holstered the tool. He glanced up at the stars, judging the ring's rotation; this sector of the ring would be staying in sunlight for at least another half-hour. He gingerly opened the padded case by his side, and slowly, gently took out another flower.
As always, comments appreciated!