Friday, July 3, 2015

[map] The Kestrel

The Kestrel is a small, one man, space craft. It carries minimal life support for long term operations but is equipped with over-sized engine (compared to the mass of the craft) which enable this small craft to out maneuver and out race all other craft. As such the Kestrel has become a favorite for couriers, transporters, and others that need to escape the grasp of the Empire. Unfortunately this has also pushed the going rate for these small craft through the roof. 

If you find one on the market, grab it quick, or it will be gone.

The blue version:

The white version:

Thursday, July 2, 2015

[map] The Acid Cavern of Flemdrogoon

Another old map reworked to today's standards. ;-) This was one of the first maps I ever posted to Patreon.

Blue version-

White version-

Monday, June 29, 2015

[writing] Episode 06: A blast from the past!

With the Spahn safe, headed to the station. I entered through a maintenance portal in the bowels of the facility. Using these back channel passages allowed me to make my way unseen to the upper levels. Within thirty minutes I had secured one of the workers. I asked him for the location of ‘Landro’s apartment suite. After some polite discussion he began to talk. 'Landro kept an apartment on the highest levels of a tower in the central part of the station. This worker was a Level Three Powerstation Engineer and maintained the Formaldehyde-Turpentine generators. These are a rare type of power generation system sometimes found on remote asteroids. Not immediately useful but it could come in handy later.

I had also selected this particular worker because of his physique. With a little more persuasion I was able to convince him that his uniform looked better on me. With the worker stowed in secured maintenance closet, I made my way to the main lift.

As I turned the corner towards the lift I stopped in my tracks. I had been spotted by a pair of guards struggling to control a prisoner in their charge. I was about to turn on my heels when a voice called to me. “Hey you! Get over here and give us a hand.” A tall but chubby guard waved me over to assist.

I hesitated, my mind racing to uncover a way out. Deciding I could delay no longer, I jogged over. I took hold of one of the arms of the prisoner and realized it was a petite female with soft, satin skin. A velvet hood with golden tassels covered her head and hide her features. The prisoner wore a navy-blue form fitting spacefarer’s suit with a utility belt. Around her shoulders she wore a jacket of the same blue that stopped just above the belt. Around her wrists were gold bands of sturdy metal.

She struggled against the three of us as we loaded her into the lift. The smaller and thinner guard drew a card from a pouch at his belt and swiped it over the red-glowing control panel near the door. The panel made a happy little beep and went from red to green in color. A moment later a white keypad appeared, floating in the green color. Then he typed “1138” into the control panel. It made another happy beep and then the door began to close. The thinner guard stepped forward, his foot blocking the door from closing. He turned at gave me a solid, good look. His eyes dropped to the nametag hanging from the left pocket on my borrowed uniform.

“Thanks for helping. Now, get out,” he said in a flat, gruff voice. “Only level five and higher guards allowed up to the suite.”

I looked from one guard to the next. My mind spinning ideas and weighing options. Could I overpower the two guards? Likely, but it could cause problems later. This prisoner for one, her escape would cause problems, and I still did not know where 'Landro was. I did not have a clear plan for extracting the information I wanted out of him.

I stepped out of the lift and turned back to look at the trio in the lift. “No problem.”

The door did not shut and the thin guard began jabbing the control panel again. “Damn thing,” he was jabbing at it with a finger. “Ah, there we go.”

The door slide closed. From behind the clear door of the elevator I could hear the chubby one speaking. “Boss’ll like this one.” The chubby one chuckled. “I hope this one last longer than the last. What a week maybe?”

“She is strong,” he smacked her hard on the rear. She yelped and he chuckled. “And firm.”

The lift lurched upward and then began to rise.

“Let’s have a look at her, shall we?” The thin one reached up and removed the hood. Radiant blonde hair bounced out of the hood and surrounded lovely blue eyes. A beautiful face of soft, satin skin looked back at me through the glass. I recognized that face!

Kyra Zelas stood before me.

Shock registered on her face as the lift floated upward. She shook free of the guards and pressed against the glass door. “Dirk!” She screamed.

I froze in place. Our eyes met for a heartbeat and then I noticed the two guards staring hard at me. I shrugged my shoulders. This seemed to please the guards and they pulled her back away from the glass. A moment later the lift disappeared from view.

With haste, I made my way to a maintenance corridor and out of view. I pulled my comm from a belt pouch and punched up the link back to the ship. “Jonsey, things just got interesting. We are going to be here a little longer.”

“Got it boss, the extra time will allow me to double check my work. What’s the hold up?”

“You’re not going to believe this,” I could hardly believe it either. “But my high school prom date is a prisoner of ‘Landro!”

Friday, June 26, 2015

[map redux] Mausoleum of the Dreaded Limvrok

I believe I drew this map about a year ago - I am terrible at taking the time to make detailed records - on a three by five card while at work one day, but one can never be sure of these sorts of things. This is one of my favorite quick maps I have drawn as it is seriously a busy map, lots of things going on here. These are the sorts of things that inspire me a GM when I look at a map.

For example- I can tell whomever made this place hated ranch style homes as there are stairs everywhere. They also favored a non-stick-to-the-grid-squares-map attitude as this place is seriously off center and crazy. Also seemed to have a statue fetish going on. There was some sort of structure there near the back but its long gone now.

Anywho, I like this one a good deal, hope you do too.

Full texture (death to printers!):

Lightly textured:

Black and white version:

Thursday, June 25, 2015

[map redux] Grimmsgate

Another in my series of looking back at the past and bringing it up to current standards, here is a map based on Grimmsgate from the Swords & Wizardry module.
And a blue version
And the black and white version:

Monday, June 22, 2015

[writing] Episode 05: The Venuvian Rock Mantix

The Venuvian Rock Mantix by Jeshields, see more at

We set down upon the landing site on the far side of the asteroid without incident. Jonsey geared up and headed out to work on the Limbux Altitudinator. The panel on the lower rear quarter panel affords the only access to this critical navigational tool for the Spahn. My thoughts reflected on Jonsey's continual discussion of the Spahn's age and inevitable impending failure. I shook off his negative thoughts. With Jonsey and I working her, I was confident the Spahn would keep flying for years. Possible outlive my Space Patrol! days.

"How's it looking?" I wanted to get an estimate on our length of stay on the asteroid prior to heading to 'Landro's station. Causing a ruckus at the station, with guards in tow and returning to find the Spahn still landlocked was not an ideal situation.

"Three hours tops and I will her running again."

"Excellent work, Jonsey." That would give me enough time to slip into the station, get the information we needed out of 'Landro and get back out. All without being seen." I heard a noise behind us and turned to study the barren rocky landscape that surrounded the ship. On all sides of the expanse of flat land we used as a landing site tall rocky crags reached for the empty black sky. The brown and red rocks reminded me of photoscans of deserts. I looked for the source of the sound.

"Jonsey, you hear something," I asked through our helmet comms.

"No boss, just me tinkering away with the Altitudinator is all." He was crouched over the access panel and halfway inside the ship, working the innards.

That's when I saw it. It rose up over one of the skyward-reaching crags. A giant slug-like thing slithered over the edge of a rocky outcropping, its maw open and searching. I admit I was startled. The thing was huge.

I struggled to speak, "Jonsey..." My hand stretched to tap him on the shoulder but missed, waving mindlessly in the air.

"Yeah boss?" He did not look up, focused as he was on the repair he had no idea. The end of the thing turned our way.

I pushed Jonsey aside as the gargantuan maw of the Venuvian Rock Mantix slammed down. "Get back into the Spahn!" Jonsey's eyes were filled with horror at the idea of ending up as the Mantix's lunch but he managed to find his feet.

As he ran I turned back to the Mantix, keeping agile on my feet while I studied the creature. It vaguely resembled a caterpillar. I noted its fifty foot long bulbous body, twelve foot wide and fang rimmed maw, eight foot long glaive-tail... Ok, maybe it did not resemble a caterpillar*, but that is what sprung to mind when first laying eyes upon it. Perhaps a carnivorous, spaceship-eating, behemoth of a caterpillar.

The Mantix reared up, the end hovering thirty feet above me. I darted behind nearby rocks and drew my lazpistol. The rock shook violently and I was tossed to the ground, though I kept my pistol in my hand. Looking back I saw the tail-blade and struck the rock from above, a massive crack extended from the point of impact and three feet down the side. The blade would slice me in half if the creature managed a strike!

I sprung to my feet and darted into a small field populated by small clustered piles of rock. These piles were half as tall as I - they would not stop the creature or protect me but they might slow it enough for me to get a better look. I sprinted another 50 meters past the rock field and turned.

The creature was crawling over and around the rock piles, the multiple prolegs moving in a smooth rhythmic pattern that made my skin crawl. I briefly contemplated shooting the prolegs and immobilizing the creature. They looked sturdy and there were simply too many, I nixed the thought and studied the creature as it moved ever closer.

Along the dorsal sides of the creature were a series of round openings ranging in size from a few inches to well over two feet in diameter. I watched these with earnest as the creature crept and crawled ever closer to my position. With a slow and predictable rhythmic pattern, these opening squeezed closed and then opened again. Breathing holes!

The creature was just ten meters away. I notched up the setting on the pistol from level three, where I normally keep the setting to six. I leaned onto a waist high rock and steadied myself, using the rock to stabilize my pistol. Taking careful aim, I pointed the pistol at one of the most forward mounted holes and squeezed off a shot. It struck perfectly. Striking well inside the hole and hopefully on softer tissue that what I suspected was tough, outer skin.

The effect was immediate and appeared to be painful. The creature reared up and emitted a loud and thunderous roar pointed directly at my position. Inside the huge maw I spotted a bulbous protrusion of flesh that hung from the roof of the maw. It appeared very fleshy and unprotected but quickly disappeared as the creature closed its mouth and charged directly for me!

I turned and ran, dodging the protrusions of rock piles. I hoped these would have the same effect of slowing the creature. I sprinted until I came to a small rise and a quick glance back confirmed my hopes. The Mantix was lumbering along, slowed by the rock piles as it crawled up the slope.

I took aim for the same small hole and fired the blaster, missing the mark this time. I took a deep breath and steadied my aim on a pile.

The second blast struck home. The creature reared up again, repeating the process, and exposing the inside of its mouth with a silent roar.

I let out a long exhale and carefully took aim at the fleshy bulbs that danged from the roof of the creature's mouth. My shot landed perfect and the creature began violently thrashing about, knocking rocks this way and that, crashing to the ground and blindly trying to destroy whatever had caused it pain. I took cover behind a large outcropping of rocks, ducking as dust and blade-like shards of rock were tossed in every direction.

When I looked up I could see the creature hastily ambling away, appearing to list to one side. I had hurt it and it wanted nothing to do with us. I turned in the opposite direction and headed back towards the Stahn.

* "Though technically not related to the Terran Lepidoptera order of insectoids it has been postulated that the Venuvian Rock Mantix is the early incarnation of the well documented Blue Spotted Tunnel Gastropoditudinal (Latin: Acochlidium Amboinense), more commonly known as the Space Slug. Intensive study of the physical traits have determined a relative proximity in the characteristics of the two species. Dr Filidor A. Huptusae has noted a commonality reference in the cylindrical body with scat head formation associated with well-developed mandibles and nine matching pairs of prolegs. Dr Huptusae has been quoted as saying "The similarities are similar enough to postulate a referential commonality of related parental DNA, nothing more. - ref. Space Patrol Field Guide FG-02-17.06, "Common Pests of Asteroidal Bodies"

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Dirk Derringer and the Hartufaan Plot cover

I love the old pulp science fiction covers. I do not really know why though. I am sure my mother, nor any of my uncles, ever exposed me to the covers during my youth. I like them so much that I want a pulp cover for my little serial (plus I needed something to create a 'recognizable brand' for it when I post episodes.

I am not sure if anyone is actually reading it or not, but I am enjoying the writing and process of creating. In the long run, I think that is all that matters.

I have also posted the episodes over on Wattpad which seems to have a good format for posting serial type stories. You can read it here: Dirk Derringer and the Hartufaan Plot!

And yes, I stole the cover. I believe the piece is in the public domain but this is just a temporary cover design, I will get a real one eventually. This piece is thought to have been painted by Allen Anderson and from the 1952 cover of the pulp scifi mag Planet Stories.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

[writing] Episode 04: In which we learn about The Spahn

The Spahn by Jeshields, see more at

Episode 04: In which we learn about The Spahn

I routed the ship through the busiest sector of the Asteroid Belt as we approached the Nhalik Cluster. The space fields were thick with tumbling stones that would mask our signature as we approached the station. I activated the comm. “Jonsey, you come up with anything?”

The comm squawked to life. “I accessed the central mainframe back at HQ and managed to dig up a code clearance. The code is for a parts and technical transport, likely a pirating shuttle.”

“And you think it will pass muster and get us in there?”

The channel was silent for a few moment before Jonsey replied. “It’s an older code but it checks out.”

“Excellent, I suspect they will clear us. I do not figure the folks ‘Landro hires to man his docking tower are going to dig deeper than you. Great job.”

“Uploading the code now, should be smooth sailing from here out.”

Without warning an alarm sounded from the console. Warning lights flash across the cockpit.

“Looks like I spoke too soon, boss.” Through the comm I detected nervousness in his voice. “Running systems routines.”

The Spahn shuddered. My coffee cup fell off the console and bounced across the floor. Luckily, coffee has a short lifespan around me and I had already emptied the cup.

“Got it. It appears the Limbux Altitudinator has failed,” Jonsey is an expert with the systems interface. When it came to the software side of our ship he is a wiz. He helps when he is able, but hardware is where I shine. “We are going to need to land to repair this.”

“Drat!” I scanned for landing spots near ‘Landro’s station. Luck was on our side, I changed course. “Not a problem at all. I found a flat and clear area on the far side of ‘Landro’s asteroid. We can put her down there.”

“Boss, one of these days,” he paused mid-sentence, I knew where he was going.

“Not now Jonsey.” I swung the Spahn around a large asteroid. I maneuvered the ship to mask our presence from the station, keeping the field of floating rocks in the space between us and them.

“She is getting on in the years, heck, she cannot even pass Space Patrol! regulations these days,” I let him ramble and stayed focused on swinging my beloved ship left, right, under and around the massive clumps of rock and ice that floated around us. My mind drifted.

I never knew my father. Commander Richard “Daring” Derringer passed away at the height of the Colonial Wars. Dad's daring and intrepid leadership led the 1/9 Cavalry, known as the “Headhunters” in the Charge of Quintarian Space. He stood on the walls, laser blasts all around him, never flinching, and waving his men forward to victory.

At his side was his childhood friend, Wilbanks 'Whiskers' Spahn. He was famous in his day for his unmatched prowess in battle. He was even more well known for his garish and fuzzy mustache. The impressive set of whiskers ran from under his nose and became large sideburns. After the war, Wilbanks became a father figure to me. He taught me all I know, and instilled in me the tools I needed to excel when I joined Space Patrol! With the guidance he provided, my quick rise through the ranks was a surprise to no one.

Following my promotion to the rank of commander, Willbanks handed me the the deed to a ship. My father's ship. It had been my father's pride and joy, the first ship he had commanded. He had named the ship Willimena after his mother, a woman I only knew from stories told to me as a child.

Wilbanks died shortly after my promotion and without hesitation I renamed the ship in his honor -The Spahn. Headquarters had The Spahn scheduled for demolition due to age. I fought this and used my own wages to update her systems. Within a year of his passing I took the ship through the Athey Gascloud, a dangerous run that most said she could not handle. She not only carried me through but broke records that remain today.

She may not be pretty. She may not be the apple of anyone’s eye. She is my connection to my past. My foundation to who I am. She is mine.

“Here we go,” I edged The Spahn into a soft glide path towards the land site. “Prepare for landing Jonsey, this could get choppy.”

“Boss, the old girl is going to fall apart on one of your landings someday,” he plopped into the co-pilot seat next to me and buckled in. “You know that right?”

“That day, Jonsey,” I gave him a smile and a wink, “Is not today.”

Thursday, June 18, 2015

[writing] Episode 03: In which we learn who tried to steal the Kinsloab

Episode 03: In which we learn who tried to steal the Kinsloab

After showing the Plutharc the Hartufaan drug Trifardoon he spilled his guts. Literally. He became so frightened that he retched everything in his gullet.

I thought his breath was foul but it paled in comparison. Once Plutharc had recovered he then spilled the information I had wanted.

Dlandro Tfad’Tkunp (the “D” is silent) was the villain that had hired him. I knew the name. He was a medium level crime boss that operated out of the Nhalik Cluster, a handful of space stations clinging to the Asteroid Belt that bordered on the edge of the trade lanes and had little contact with the agents of Star Patrol!* In other words, a dump.

I had Jonsey pull up as much data on ‘Landro he could find in the database while I prepped the ship. Travel to the Asteroid Belt will only take a few hours but I do not like to go in blind. I also called in Luap McCartan, the inhouse Space Patrol! lawyer to ensure we had all the correct forms filled, t’s crossed, and i’s dotted. Lawsuits are a bitch.

It seemed ‘Landro started as a small time crook and by the wonderful natural process crime has in reducing the criminal population he worked his way up the ranks. Eventually he murdered the head of the Tkunp family and moved right in. Since then he has expanded the family’s reach into the sex trade, major drug movements, and into the illegal packaging and transportation of radioactive Prometheus Elixirs. Space Patrol! HQ deemed the illegal transportation of the Elixirs across planetary lines worthy of placing ‘Landro on the top ten Most Wanted list.

He has narrowly escaped capture a handful of times and after the last incident - where he lost a leg - he has become much less active. Records indicate his younger brother Kemmer has assumed much of the daily operations. Kemmer is noted as being much less personable, volatile, and violent. With any luck I would be able to get in, get what I wanted, and get out before I crossed paths with Kemmer.

Ninety minutes later - after an hour of fixing misfiled legalese forms - the ship was released by Space Patrol! Headquarters and we were on our way.

“Jonesy, this is going to be dicey,” I said from the cockpit. Jonesy was somewhere in the ship, working on his latest invention.

“I hear you boss, ‘Landro sounds like a foul character,” I could hear him turning gears and the clinking of his tools. “I am working on something new for you, could come in handy.”

“Good to hear. What’s this one do?”

“Smoke pellets boss, these tiny pebbles are filled with pure concentrated Hydrochloxichorine. Toss these down and within seconds you will be hidden behind a screen of white smoke. They are small and could easily pass for a button or gem on a ring.”

“Sounds like they certainly could come in handy when I get to the Nhalik Cluster!” Jonesy’s gadgets have me out of more jams that I give him credit for. “Great job Jonesy, see if you can work a few of those into a regulation Space Patrol! belt. I will give your pellets a field test!”
* use of the ! is mandatory in published works under the provisions of Star Patrol Field Manual 135-02.3b), provision 135-02.3bb precludes the use of the ! in Field Regulation titles

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

[writing] The Hartufaans and Trifardoon, redux

I discovered this swell webpage today that allows you to better your writing. The site is a demo for software that aims to better your writing but as my piece is small I am able to drop the entire piece in and edit it. Compare this to the original <link> and let me know what you think.

Check the site out here:

I have always had a dislike of the Hartufaans. The whole mouth-in-yer-tummy thing has always given me butterflies, so unnerving and strange. When they speak, do you look at one of their three heads - or their mouth? This one jabbed the business end of the huge Snook Mark VII pistol in my face.

“Fthargg!” It demanded. I looked at the abdomen-located mouth. “Karveen tutoth!

“Back off pal,” I eased the business end of the pistol to the side and away from my head. “I cannot understand you. Poking me with your toy is not helping the matter.”

One of the Hartufaan’s three heads uttered a sound, perhaps a curse word, and then one of its three arms reached up to the Transvalator - it looked like an old model - around the central neck and turned a few knobs and switches. A horrendous screech boomed from the speaker until he turned the knobs just right. The alien cleared his throat.

“Hand over the Kinsloab 3000,” said a soft and sexy female voice, he had the wrong setting on the Transvalator. People always make that mistake on the older models. The “Sexy Vixen: voice modulator setting was right next to the “Intimidating Asshole” setting. That is not the official names but after seeing this exact thing happen too often, its what I call them. The aggravated alien rolled his twenty-four eyes.

I admit it, I chuckled. He jabbed the pistol into my forehead, guess he did not find his voice mistake as funny as I did. “Okay, okay.”

I stood and he backed up a step, still keeping the pistol leveled at my head. “The Kinsloab. And no tricks,” said the sexy voice.

My eyes dropped to the mouth again, habit I guess, your eyes go to the source of the voice.

“You looking at my kernibbles? Eyes up here buddy,” the Transvalator collar turned the anger in his voice into a sultry vixen, not the effect he was going for. I chuckled again. I could not help it. I willed my eyes to one of his head. Ugh, which one? I opted for a sort of visual dance: looking at one for a bit, then another for a few seconds, then the third. Cycle and repeat.

“Look, I don’t know what your kernibbles are and I don’t want to,” I raised my hands in the air into the being-robbed pose. “The Transvalator is in my safe there in the corner. I can get it for you, just keep that finger easy on the trigger. I find my head valuable and want to keep it.”

He waved me to the corner with a wave of the Snook. “No tricksies or you will have no head. You humans are not trustworthy. Open the safe.”

“No tricks pal. You want the Kinsloab, I want my head. We can make a trade,” I moved to the safe and began spinning the dial. I knew this moment would come. I created the Kinsloab for just these kinds of alien assholes. If we dropped the Kinsloab on this guy’s homeworld, all that would remain in a week would be a pacified population. And by pacified, I mean dead. It was a world killer. How this guy found out I had completed my work and was optioning it to the government, I had no idea. I work in total secret. There must be a mole in the government, most likely in the X-Project Division, the division I worked for. “So pal, how’d you find out about my little invention?”

“Shut it human, open the safe,” was his/her reply.

“Seriously, I am curious,” I stopped spinning the dial and turned to face the stomach-mouthed, three headed, three armed, and twenty-four eyed monster. “You are going to ice me after I give the Kinsloab to you anyway. Where’s the damage?”

“Are you sure you want to know?” Somewhere hidden under the sexy voice was a presumptuous and arrogant twerp with a gun. He straightened himself and his large stomach-mouth grew a wide grin. “You have a traitor in your organization. Now open the safe! I will not ask again. More delays and you lose a foot.” The pistol lowered to aim at my right foot.

“I bet it is Chuck Hinsely. Never liked that dirty rat,” I remembered him driving a fancy new Ford last week, now I knew how he was able to afford the automobile. I spun back around and began fumbling with the dial. “Oh drat! Forgot where I was, have to start over.”

“Enough human! Open the safe!” He jabbed the pistol in the middle of my back. He was close. Perfect.

I spun the dial and opened the safe. With a bit of daring-do swath, I stood to the side of the safe and exposed the empty innards.

The Hartufaan stepped forward to examine the dark inside of the safe and lowered himself to get a better look. That was when my fist hit head number two square in the middle of the forehead. The creature grunted, a sort of sexy gasp, and reeled back. My other left hand grabbed the Snook and kept the muzzle pointed away from anything precious. With my right I struck another head, this time number one as it was on the right side. With that the Hartufaan fell back and lost his grip on the Snook, it bounced away from the fallen alien to land at my feet.

I picked up the pistol and pointed at…oh hell, the mouth? I was not sure where this guy’s most precious spot was. By the look on the twenty-four eyes, I was on the mark. “Look here pal, you are going to stay put. No funny moves.”

I hit the small switch on my belt and turned on the Commlink. “Jonesy, you hear me?”

The young voice of Robert Jones replied. “Yeah boss, I can hear you.”

“Good. Our ruse worked. I have a none too happy Hartufaan here in the lab. You want to bring up the SecurCuffs and call Director X? Let him know Hinsely is the problem.”

“You got it boss.” The comm went dead.

Two of the three hands of the Hartufaan were rubbing the two struck heads. The look in the twenty-four eyes was not a happy one. “You fooled me once human, it will not happen again. My people will get their revenge!” That darned female voice made the threat fall flat.

“Never mess with the Earth pal. The X-Division is always one step ahead of scum like you.”

- - o - -

Hartufaans are disgusting. The whole mouth in your chest thing just creeps me out, or more gross depending on how you look at it, is their smell. Disgusting breath - rotting flesh mix with twelve tons of elephant waste with a dash of five day old cabbage. Jonsey tells me the stench is due to their diet.

The smelly three-headed alien sat in the middle of the room. Two of his hands handcuffed to each other and the other hand further cuffed to the chair.

I was sure to keep clear of his breath as I spoke. "Plutharc, I am only going to ask you one more time. Where did you get the information about the Kinsloab? And don't give me that nonsense about Chuck Hinsely, we already know he told your contact. We want to know who sent you, who did Hinsely give that information to?"

All twenty-four of his eyeballs studied me. "You will get nothing from me, human scum." I had fixed the Transvalator so he now spoke to me in an appropriate deep and menacing voice. I thought a moment about changing it to the sultry female. "Nothing you can do will make me talk."

I stood and paced in front of him, "Did you know I spent time imprisoned on your homeworld?"

His eyestalks gave a little twitch and narrowed. I had his interest.

"A great philosopher once said that the best way to understand people is to see how they treat their own. When I was in the prison on Hartufaan Prime, I saw the evil you inflict on your own people," I paused for dramatic effect and studied his faces. He was thinking, trying to guess my meaning, where I was taking him. I let the gears turn a few moments, let his mind wander. I flipped on my comm, "Jonsey, bring in the Trifardoon.”

At the mention of the dreaded Hartufaan torture device the alien became quiet. His twenty-four eyes burrowed into me, glaring in defiance. Behind his eyes I could see his mind turning thoughts over, testing what he knew, what he thought I knew, and how far I would let this go.

“Did not think I would know about that, did you?” I pulled over a small table and put it directly in front of him, but just beyond his reach. Jonsey came in, a white box  the size of a large in his hands. Without saying a word he placed the box on the table then turned and left the room.

“I am not going to lie to you Plutharc. Spending time in the prison on your homeworld was not pleasant. Had Trifardoon had effect on humans I would likely not be here today.
Scientists engineered this narcotic to link to your race’s DNA. In a Hartufaan, the drug’s cling to the chemical bonds at cellular level. The effect is an immediate, long lasting, and overpowering addiction that turns a Hartufaan into a slobbering zombie. But you know that, don’t you?”

I let this sink in. I can see him thinking, wondering if I could  have the drug, outlawed in most systems, here with us now. He looked away, eyes darting across the floor. A bead of sweat appeared on each of his three heads. I had him.
Now to nail in the coffin.

“And I know you lost a brother and sister to the drug.”

That did it. He jumped out of the chair and charged towards me. The chain connected to the cuffs stopped him and jerked him back into the chair with a hard thump. He thrashed against his bonds and infernal roar erupted from his large, stomach-mouth. His rage continued for three minutes until exhaustion took hold and he slumped back and spittle dribbled out of his mouths. In his eyes I read submission.

I removed the lid on the box and removed the syringe and small bottle filled with the yellow Trifardoon. The alien’s many eyes locked on the bottle as soon as I lifted it the box. I placed these on the table immediately in front of him. His eyes never left the bottle.

“So you see my friend, you are going to tell us who sent you.”