Hunters In The Sky

Book Two of The Rational Future Series!  More incredible action, adventure, and fascinating developments as Tika and her crew gain power and go to space. The amazing answers to the mystery of the genetics conspiracy lead to astounding events! Enemies declare themselves and act to destroy Tika and everything she's built!  Buy it now on the 'eBooks For Sale or Free' !

A Excerpt from Hunters In The Sky

Nov. 3, 2155
Davdan Space Station, Low Earth Orbit:

“Say, my man, you are still Grande Champion!” Naz remarked.  “How long can you go without defending your title?”

“I must fight four times per year, minimum, but I fought twice on my first day as champion.  So as long as I defend the title twice more in the next nine months, I will not risk having it stripped.  Mind you, everyone had three months to challenge me before I went on vacation, and none did, so if I have inconvenienced anyone by not being available, that is just too bad for them!”

“What if no one challenges you?” Almona asked.  “How will you get four fights a year if no one wants to fight you?”

“I would just have to pick someone to fight, and issue my own challenge.  It is expected that if that is the case, I will challenge the top contender, or at least someone from the top five.”

“What if I challenged you for your title, right here and now?” Jena asked mischievously.

“Then I would most likely beat you silly and cut you up a bit!” Menak laughed.

“Seriously!” Jena protested.  “If I beat you out here, in a space station with zero gravity, I still win the title, right?  I still become Grande Champion?”

“We are not on Tiger People land.” Menak told her.  “In order for us to fight here, we must follow the same conditions as a tournament held on tech land.  We need a Fighting Judge to referee the bout, we need two trauma med teams standing by, we must have an arena that is segregated from any non-combatants or property that could be damaged, and the match must be sanctioned by the regional Federation of Sport.”

“Well, I will tell you what, Menak.  I challenge you with honor, for status and rank, at seventeen thirty in the social center.  The challenge being conditional on me being able to satisfy all the legal requirements by then.

“You had hours to play in zero gee last night while I was training for the mission, so you should be ahead of me on the learning curve, but that is okay.  I will prepare for you today and skip my mission training, and I invite you to do the same.  I will prepare by myself with no trainer or coach, though I will do some research, and I challenge you to do the same.  ”

“You are serious?!” Menak exclaimed.

“Completely.  I hope you brought a knife.” Jena grinned.  “If I beat you, I will be the second youngest Grande Champion ever, after Tika.”

“Now hold on!” Almona exclaimed.  “You guys are really gonna have a knife fight in a space station?!”

“That is yet to be decided.” Jena stated, still grinning.  “He has not accepted the challenge, and I do not know yet if I can meet the conditions.  But if he does and I do, yes.  I would bet it will set new records for viewings of a fight.  The first fight in space, and for the Grande Championship, no less!”

Menak scowled.  “Even if you somehow beat me here, you must realize that you have no chance against me on the ground!  The minute we are on Tiger land, I would take the title back!”

“Probably!” Jena laughed.  “I have only beaten you five times in the thirty-six practice fights we have had, three training fights and twice for points.  But I will still have been Grande Champion!  And I will still be Grande Champion of space fighters!  Besides, win or lose, I think it will be great fun, and a great fight!

“Think of it Menak, it will assure our place in fighting history!  The very first fight in space, ever, will not be a drunken fistfight between two off-duty space workers, it will be true blade fighting between the Grande Champion of all fighters and a Magnificent prodigy who has shared the Grande Master Championship of hunting!  It will be a great event!!”

Menak considered her, and smiled.  “It really chokes you that Tika has won the Grande Championship, and you have not, hah?”

“Why yes, yes it does, a bit.” Jena laughed.  “But what does that have to do with it?  Are you going to accept my challenge, or will I have to goad you into it with insulting witticisms?”

“I will accept your challenge.” Menak told her with a steady smile.  “I hope you can get the legal requirements in place.”


Later, Tika and Menak followed Raz to the prototyping shop, a geodesic sphere nestled among blocks of huge storage containers.

“So, what will you need fabricated today?” Raz pleasantly asked as he pulled himself inside and to the side of the hatch.

“Weapons.” Menak stated.  “I want the combination you and Tika invented, and had approved by the Elders; five quarter inch claws on my left hand to wear on the inside of my fingertips, and a four inch knife.  I want the claws for grasping, so they should be sharp on the tips only.  I do not want them cutting her, or she will tear free of my grip.

“Ooh, Menak, you are a nasty man!” Tika laughed.

“Thank you.  This is a new situation, and I have to be innovative.  I will not take Jena lightly, and I will not give up my title easily.  As far as I can see, of the common forms of combat, the closest analogue to fights in zero gee are ice hockey fights.”

“Ice hockey fights are the stupidest form of combat there is!” Tika interrupted with another good laugh.  “They sometimes take off their helmets and gloves and challenge each other, sacrificing their utility as armor, and sometimes they only take off their gloves, and end up punching each other in the helmet, which is self-destructive and futile!  And it is hard to stand on skates and fight, and as soon as one falls down the officials end it!”

“That is true.” Menak nodded.  “But the point is, that there is little friction to stand on, so it is necessary to grasp one’s opponent in order to have the stability and leverage to deliver a good blow.  That is why they tend to hold each other’s clothes with their left hands, and punch each other in the face with their rights.  I figure, if I cannot get a good grip on her, Jena and I will spend most of the fight bouncing around the inside of the arena, trying to make ballistic attacks, which is uncertain at best.

“Worse yet, we could end up just floating there out of each other’s reach, stranded in the air until one of us drifted close enough to the side to gain some momentum and make another attack.  Many of our attacks could be ineffective.  As far as I am concerned, the worst thing that could happen is if we both end up looking like stupid buffoons.

“So, I will go with the ‘grab and stab’ technique.”

“Wow.  It is hard to be objective about this.” Raz stated as he started working his screen.  “After all, it is the love of my life that you are talking about grabbing and stabbing, which gives me a disturbing mental image.  I do not really want my girlfriend stabbing my father either.  But, she did issue the challenge and not you, so I will do the honorable thing here.

“I still have the programs and files from when we made Tika’s weapons.  We will take a good scan of your hands, and get the machining started.  This is our 3D scanner over here.”


At 15:14, as they were floating outside the station in their spacesuits, Tika reached over and spoke with Pina directly by putting their helmets in contact.  “I am curious.  How is Jena training?”

“She spent a lot of time learning how to use gymnastic movements to control her spin and orientation, and to cancel or initiate rotation.” Pina revealed.  “She has asked some men with similar builds to Menak’s to be her practice dummies, and she is also learning how various moves affect both fighters’ spin and angle.  She also recognizes that in zero gee, you have four hands, if you train to use them that way, since you do not have to stand on your feet.  She was last practicing how to launch from a surface and strike her opponent with moves that leave her with a more advantageous spin and trajectory than her opponent’s, by adding to or absorbing her opponent’s motion.

“How is Menak training?”

Tika told her about Menak’s ‘grab and stab’ strategy, and his weapons.  “His training is quite focused.  He practices controlling his orientation as Jena does, but only so he can keep his arms toward her no matter what she does.  He had Raz make him a real practice dummy with Jena’s size and weight, and he has an off duty worker he met last night throw it at him, so he can practice getting the right rotation to grab and stab it before it gets to him.  I got to watch for a while when I was practicing using my new air thrusters.”

“Ah.  Well I sure hope neither will be badly hurt.”

“I expect multiple class three injuries.” Tika guessed.  “Neither will sluff at all, and they will not submit unless they are beaten.  But I doubt they will inflict anything permanent.”


At 07:00 they gathered in the social center again.

“The Meds should be here at any moment.” Raz announced.

“And, as you can see, Raz has provided a suitable arena.” Tika added.  “And the fight is sanctioned by the Federation of Sport.”

A huge cube of clear plastic thirty-two feet on each side was now secured in the center of the social center by eight cables that ran from the corners of the cube to handgrips on the inner surface of the room.  A closer inspection revealed that the cube had been fabricated by joining sheets of clear plastic, each four by eight feet, with clear adhesives.  Two of the sheets at opposite corners were not bonded, but were instead equipped with hinges, latches, and a handle, to provide doors to the arena.

“I thought a lot about the design of the arena.” Raz stated.  “If it was too small, you would have no room to maneuver, and if it was too big, the pace of the fight might be slow.  And after some thought, I included twenty handgrips inside, one inside each corner, and one in the center of each edge.  I thought, we are not really simulating a fight out in open space, we are simulating a fight in a space station, and in a space station there are always handgrips around.  They will give you many more maneuvering possibilities, and the ability to hold your position if you choose.”

“Good job, my boy, as always.” Menak nodded.  “I am glad you built a cube.  It allows many more movement possibilities than a smooth or geodesic sphere, I think.”

“Which region’s Federation of Sport is sanctioning the fight?” Jena asked.

“The Earth’s.” Tika giggled.  “The global overseeing body has decided they will take jurisdiction over sporting events in space directly, to avoid jurisdictional complications.  Their fighting judges will be watching on screen closely, in case I wish their opinion.”

“You mean you intimidated them into doing what you wanted, by sheer force of personality!” Pina laughed.

“Well yes, that is one way to look at it, I suppose!” Tika agreed, and they giggled together, one of the rare times when they seemed as young as they were.

“The BBC finally beat Warner in the auction for live coverage of the fight.” Tira revealed.  “They would not be denied, and it is certain that they will lose money on this fight, they bid so much.  But I suppose that if it improves their image enough, it will still be worth it to them over the long run.”

“As I expected.” Raz nodded.

“They will have to rely on us for camera and audio feeds, and our best equipment and most skilled cam operators will be used.  We will provide them with thirty-two feeds, the placement of which they decided themselves, after learning the layout of the arena and the room.

By this time the room was as full as it had been when they arrived the day before.

“I wish to speak to the crowd.” Menak stated.

Raz used his screen to patch Menak’s earphone/microphone into the room’s sound system, turned on a spotlight, and focused it on Menak before giving him a nod.

“Good day.” Menak said, and waited until he had everyone’s attention.

“Welcome to Fight Night at Davdan Station!  We have a joke among The Tiger People;  Two people are watching a fight, and one of them is a tech.  How do you tell which one?  He is the one that is throwing up.”

He paused to allow a laugh to go around the huge room.

“Seriously, I have seen it happen several times in the last year alone.  And I imagine that projectile vomiting in zero gee would be more than usually messy.  I urge you in all seriousness; if you have never seen live blade fighting and you are not absolutely sure you can handle it, please do not watch, or at least make sure you have a barf bag at the ready!  It is likely to be bloody and gory!

“Enjoy the fight!”

He gave Raz a nod, Raz ended his microphone feed.

When Raz and Tika entered the cube from opposite corners, Menak and Jena followed them in.  They both hooked a foot through the corner handgrip, and waited while Raz and Tika drifted to the center, where Tika braked them to a halt with her thrusters, one hand holding Raz’s.  They both waved their arms and legs a bit to cancel their residual spin, and paused while Raz watched the clock.

Jena watched Menak testing the fit and adhesives of his new claw rings, and testing the grip on his new four-inch bladed knife, and called to him with a laugh.

“Ooh, Menak, you are a nasty man!” she said as she set her gleaming fighting knife to spinning in the air in front of her with a flick of her wrist, then casually caught the handle again, though it had been spinning so fast it was almost a blur.

“Funny, Tika said the same thing today.” he chuckled evilly in return, flexing his muscles a bit.

A few seconds later, Raz took a deep breath, and began his announcement.

“Lllllladies and gentlemen, from throughout human society, we are coming to you live on the BBC, from The Social Center of The Davdan Enterprises Manufacturing and Logistics Space Station in sunny Earth orbit, with a spectacularly unique and ground-breaking sporting event!  I am your host; Raz, of The Green Band, the proprietors of this wonderful facility, and I am proud to present the first blade combat event ever held in micro-gravity conditions, for The Grande Championship of All Fighters!

“First, in this corner, I present the challenger!  Armed with a razor sharp fighting knife with eight inches of blade, she is the thirteen year old hunting prodigy without equal!  A former co-holder of The Grande Master Championship of All Hunters, she is currently ranked fifth!  As a fighter, she holds the status of Magnificent, and she is presently ranked at one hundred nineteenth among Tiger Women, three hundred and seventh among all Tiger People, and seven hundred sixty-fourth among all the fighters of the world!  She is a proud member of The Green Band, and of The Tiger People, and of The People of The White Elves!  Standing five feet, one and three-quarters inches tall, and weighing in at one hundred and fourteen incredibly fit pounds, I give you JENA!!!  Jeeeeennnaaaaaa!!!”

Jena waved her fist and her knife and grinned, as the crowd gave her a big cheer.

“And in this corner, I present the Grande Champion of All Fighters!  Armed with five quarter-inch claws on his left hand, and a fighting knife with four inches of razor sharp blade, he uses a weapons combination that has never been used in combat before, but which has been approved for use under the Bans of the hunting peoples by respected Elder Fighting Judge Gutchki of The Polar Bear People.  He has a fighting record of one hundred seventeen wins and eleven losses!  He holds the status of Magnificent as a fighter!  He is a proud member of The Green Band, and of The Tiger People, and of The People of The White Elves!  Standing six feet, four inches tall, and weighing in at two hundred and forty one massively powerful pounds, I give you your Grande Champion of All Fighters; MENAK!!!  Meeeennnaaaaaaaak!!!”

Menak grinned and made a bow, then raised his knife in his fist and shook it.

“Your referee for this fight will be a former Grande Champion, now retired from competitive blade fighting, Tika, of The White Elves, of The Green Band, and of The Tiger People!”

“Enjoy this great event!”

The crowd of spacers gave Raz a cheer as he took a bow, then Tika gave him a careful push toward the door.  She compensated with a quick blast from her air thrusters, and kept her eye on the clock for the next six seconds.

Jena pushed over to the handgrip in the center of an adjacent edge and hooked her foot in it, then gathered herself, her eyes on Menak.

Menak ever-so-gently pushed out of the corner, and started slowly drifting toward the center of the cube.  He waved his arms a bit to orient toward Jena.

“Begin!” Tika called.

Jena pushed away from the edge with careful control, moving toward Menak a bit faster than a brisk walking speed, and with a bit of rotation in the backflip direction to present her feet toward him.

He waited, his arms wide and a bit flexed.

Just before she reached him she pulled her arms and legs in tight to her body and curled into a little ball, which increased her spin rate drastically.  She did a quick complete backwards summersault, then her right leg lashed out to full extension between his arms and kicked him in the face.

He had time to turn his face to the side a bit and clench his eyes tight shut, which prevented her from breaking his nose or disabling one eye.  He struck at her leg with both hands as she withdrew it, but the backspin he gained from the impact of the kick and reaction from his own motions made him partly miss.  He only gave her two shallow cuts with his pinky and ring finger claws on her shin, and he gave her a deep cut on the arch of her foot with his knife.

They flew away from each other at a ninety degree angle, Menak in a fast backflip, half stunned from the kick and the spin, and completely disoriented.  He had the clarity of thought to go completely limp, so that his body would absorb as much of his spin as possible when he collided with the inside of the cube.  His left shoulder struck just before his head and arms, then his knees and the tops of his feet.  He had cancelled most of his backspin, but was left with a bit of sidespin from the angle at which he’d hit the plastic.  He struggled to clear his head and his vision, gain orientation, and control his spin.  Then he struck another surface with his left side, and detected Jena’s approach out of the corner of his vision on his right.

Meanwhile Jena’s spin after her kick and his slash to her foot were slower, and she managed to control enough of it to make a controlled impact with the cube on her right forearm and the outside of her right shin.  She directed herself to the adjacent surface, then redirected her motion from that contact to grab the handgrip at the center of the closest edge.  She hooked her foot in it and looked to judge Menak’s motion.  He had made his first bounce, and was approaching one of the surfaces she was against.  She launched herself toward him, and was three feet away from that surface when she reached him, just after his second bounce.

He made a backhanded slash at her with his knife, and cut the inside of her left knee a bit, but she immediately seized his wrist with her left hand and stabbed his knife hand, the tip of her blade cutting between his ring and middle fingers, skidding off his knife handle, and lodging in his palm.  She swung herself around his mass a bit and impacted the cube surface with her feet as she forced his knife out of his hand with her knife, cutting him some more in the process, then heaved him away from the surface by his wrist with as much spin as she could give him while ensuring she stayed close to the surface.

She took just enough time to judge his motion and spin, then jumped after him.  She held both arms and legs at the ready as she flew, then grabbed at him from behind with all her limbs, upside-down in relation to him.  Her right leg went around his neck from behind and she locked the inside of her left knee around her right shin, and at the same time she grabbed his left arm with both of hers by hooking her blade around the front of his wrist and holding the back of his arm to her chest with it, both her hands tight around her knife handle.

Her blade cut the front of his left wrist to the bone, and lacerated it some more when he struggled, and she poured on the pressure of her triangle leg-lock around his neck.  He punched her twice in her right thigh with his right fist, despite the pain of its wounds, then grabbed her right foot and drove his thumb into the wound there.

She screamed a bit and lacerated his wrist as he began to tear at her wound with his thumb, trying to force her to break her leg-lock, and they spun slowly across the arena together, thrashing and panting and grunting.  Blobs of blood floated around them, and they were largely covered in it.

He desperately gouged at her foot while trying to force her legs apart, but her leg-lock around his neck was locked in too tightly, she knew she was hurting his wrist more than he was hurting her foot, and she endured.  He tapped out with loud slaps against her leg as his vision began to black out.

“Victory Jena!” Tika quickly barked, and Jena released him.