Ruthless scourge of outer space,
curse of the universe
Space Vulture valued grace, beauty, and perfection above all else, in everything from his flawlessly executed strategies to his own appearance.
His noble height and supple strength combined to give him a faultlessly proportioned figure. There was eloquent grace in his posture and in the casual way he cradled his ceremonial beheading sword.
He had used the illegal technique of facial sculpting to mold his features into the classic ideal of form; an aquiline nose; soft, sensitive mouth; strong, angular jaw; and high cheeks. He chose not to correct his only remaining flaw, his slightly bulbous forehead for fear of constricting however slightly the housing of his immense intelligence. His hair was fine and black, descending in a sharp V-shape nearly to his arched eyebrows.
He wore a silky, high collared robe, purple, the traditional color of potentates, with a stylized swooping vulture, his emblem, emblazoned on his chest.
In bright sunlight his almond shaped green eyes looked black. They were slanted, hooded, unreadable beneath his silky lashes. They hinted at the soul of a demon in their sinister depths. It was his eyes, always his eyes, that his many victims saw in their nightmares.
There was only one man in the galaxy more renowned than Space Vulture. That man, Marshal Victor Corsaire, was currently imprisoned on Space Vulture's ship the Talon. Space Vulture was taking Corsaire on a one-way voyage, a trip that would end with Corsaire's horrid and grisly death.
With Corsaire out of the way, Space Vulture would stand alone, the most famous, the most feared man in all of space.
Galactic Marshal Captain Victor Corsaire
The bravest, most fearless lawman
in outer space
Corsaire wore a custom-made, highly-polished, form-fitting silver jumpsuit. It’s wasn’t vanity. The light weight, atomically-altered silver fabric repelled low-energy ray gun blasts. Given his silver suit, his above average height, muscular build, and steel rod posture, news reporters claimed that Corsaire resembled a living sword of justice.
Corsaire was not conventionally good looking. His hair was too long and unruly, his skin too leathery and sun darkened, his eyes too hooded, his face too battle scarred. The sum of his flaws produced a look which women found brutally handsome and men saw as dangerous. Both were right.
Now Corsaire was facing the most difficult and dangerous challenge of his long and illustrious career. He was going up against Space Vulture, the one man in the galaxy who might be stronger, smarter, and quicker with a ray-gun.
Space Vulture had sworn to kill Corsaire. Corsaire routinely overcame the worst the galaxy could throw at him. The problem was that he had never met anyone as ruthless, intelligent, and powerful as Space Vulture. Had Corsaire finally met his match? Could he triumph over Space Vulture the way he had bested a legion of lesser evil-doers?
Corsaire was captured, helpless, a prisoner of his nemesis. It looked like both Corsaire's perfect record of success over evil, and his life, might be coming to swift ends.
Shady hustler, gambler, con man
Awhile ago, Gil Terry unwisely placed a large sports bet. The game’s final score brought new meaning to the term loser. When Gil couldn’t cover his wager, his hardnosed, cold-hearted bookie surgically removed Gil’s right arm and one of Gil’s eyes. It was collateral, said the bookie. He promised to cryo-store Gil’s parts for three years. If Gil paid off, with interest, he could have them back. If not, grafted-on human parts had become a status symbol for hard-shelled aliens. Even aging, flabby, alcohol-sodden parts like Gil’s sold easily on the flesh market.
The bookie outfitted Gil with low-end substitutes, nothing fancy, nothing even species specific. The bookie replaced Gil’s arm with a Saurian cricket leg. Gil’s telescoping eye came from a Venusian dung beetle.
A few weeks from now, Gil’s bookie would close out the debt. Gil’s parts would be lost to him forever.
Gil had a plan, and a slickly good one, to raise the last bit of money he needed to reunite himself with his missing body parts. He was well on his way to success when he enountered two huge obstacles, Space Vulture and Galactic Marshal Captain Victor Corsaire.
Corsaire wanted to bring Gil to justice. Space Vulture wanted him dead.
Kind, compassionate, beautiful, and
a deadly shot with a ray-gun
The outworld planet of Verlinap’s chief administrator, Cali Russell had a Master of Outworld Migration degree. It had been a popular major over the past several decades. Every new outer space colony was required to have at least one person with formal outward migration training. Colonization was booming. MOM majors had no problem finding a job.
Through a combination of her training and real-life experience, Cali knew everything about running an outworld colony from resource management to crop engineering to conflict resolution to robot repair. She also had another skill colonists often needed. Put a ray gun in her hand, and Cali would hit what she aimed at nine times out of ten.
Cali and her husband Bob had met in college. They were each other’s first and only loves. They went from their graduation straight to the college chapel, where they were married, still in their caps and gowns.
They came to the distant world of Verlinap with the colony’s first settlers.
Bob was killed a year ago in a hovercraft accident. He had been Cali’s soul mate, and she missed him terribly.
Bob’s death left Cali with sole responsibility for their two boys, eleven year old Eliot and seven year old Regin.
Some women would have packed up their kids and retreated to a more civilized, less rustic planet. Not Cali. Verlinap had become her home. She would stay on Verlinap and tough it out, no matter what.
Cali was listed on the colony’s official roster as an Outpost Colonization Specialist. In earlier times, Cali would have been labeled simply a rugged pioneer.
Cali's life was hard but predictable. Until Space Vulture landed on Verlinap and took Cali and all of her fellow colonists prisoner.
Now she was on her way to a slave market where Space Vulture intended to sell her friends into slavery. Space Vulture had other plans for Cali. He wanted her to become his willing and compliant handmaiden. If she refused, he would turn her into one of his flock, the mindless zombies who did his bidding unconditionally.
Cali's only slim hope was that Marshal Victor Corsaire could come to her rescue before Space Vulture defiled her body or her mind.