Short snippet of Family Law #3 – rough unedited

The piece of junk was dark. Ming Lee’s radar showed it about fifty meters away and it was clearly rotating. Every time he saw it rotate on radar he saw a glint of starlight off it too. The star wasn’t that bright. Maybe about like the sun from a bit out past Mars. He wasn’t about to grab onto the junk by hand and get yanked all over. It looked ragged so it might have sharp edges or other hazards.
The line he trailed went in the back of a simple tube mechanism. It was meant to recover dead or disabled people in suits, but it worked fine for junk too. A fine net was folded into wad at the bottom of a slight cone, on top of a double spring. It had a counter weight and friction brake enclosed in the rear of the tube. The cords on the edge of the round net were covered with barbed fabric and after an uncoated band the rear of the net had loops.
When Ming Lee was about ten meters away he didn’t think he could miss, and pulled the trigger. The tube barely moved in his hands, the counterbalancing system almost canceling the reaction out. The fine net didn’t weigh much more than a hundred grams anyway. It spread very cleanly into a disk and then the center pulled ahead slightly and it looked very much like a jellyfish pumping water.
The center touched the junk like the top of a bell and snagged on it. If it hadn’t been rotating it would wrapped smoothly around the target and enclosed it like a sack. It still enclose it but lop-sided with most of the net bunched up on one side. When it was rolled up in a ball it started winding the line around itself until it took up what little slack it had. By then Ming had let go of the launcher tube and the ball of netting climbed up the line like a yo-yo returning up a string. When it hit the tube it threw it off enough it stopped winding line around itself, but it had momentum toward the shuttle.
Allen from engineering was waiting at the open shuttle hold with a net on a pole and a hooked gaff. He chose the gaff and hooked the net with some delicacy. He let the rotation pull him but not enough to lose the firm footing he had on the deck of the hold. But he avoided ripping the net so they could save it and repack it.
“Wow, this is pretty much in one piece,” Allen said. “It’s smacked out of round but I think it started as a sphere, maybe a pressure vessel for maneuvering thrusters or something. It has a flange and stuff still attached trailing wires.”
By then Ming had returned close enough to get another net-gun. Allen tossed it to him with the effortless grace of someone used to no gravity. It sailed across with no rotation at all and just cancelled some of Ming Lee’s motion toward the shuttle.
‘There’s another decent piece I saw beyond this one. Mr. Wong can you nudge the shuttle along behind me, please?” Ming asked on com. “I’m afraid I may run out of line on that one. It was receding a little still when I grabbed this one.”
“Sure right behind you. Lead off,” Wong invited.
“Ming Lee turned around and oriented himself to the star. He gave a little nudge on the thrusters. He had to get about a hundred meters out before he saw it on his suit radar, off center from where he was aimed but he corrected and changed the angle closing on it. He didn’t bother to look back for the shuttle. Wong was a slick pilot. If he’d asked Wong could scoop a piece up by sliding the shuttle over it so it went in the hatch. They hadn’t found anything big enough to require that, but the man was that good.
This was the same piece he’d seen. Long and skinny. It was barely turning by some random miracle. It was bent in the middle and tapered. If it wasn’t massive he could catch it by hand and save the net packing.

7 Responses to Short snippet of Family Law #3 – rough unedited

  1. Jim Ruff May 8, 2015 at 11:57 am #

    Hi Mackey,

    Thought on release date for Falily Law #3?


  2. Jim Ruff May 8, 2015 at 11:58 am #

    Sorry…..FAMILY…fingers don’t work as fast as brain


    • aze May 9, 2015 at 7:10 pm #


      Is there a rough timeframe for Family Law #3 or maybe April #7? Will we get at least one of those before Christmas?


      • Mac May 10, 2015 at 10:25 am #

        I’m hoping July, but when it’s done it is done. When I’m happy with it. I have that freedom because I don’t have any deadlines imposed on me. April 7 is lagging because I just haven’t had the muse poking me on that one. I have a free standing book that is bugging me too. It is 90% done and I’m not happy with the ending.

        • j May 14, 2015 at 5:21 am #

          Any info or description about the free standing book?

          • Mac May 14, 2015 at 1:07 pm #

            It’s 110 pages at 73.5K words. It will probably grow a bit with a new or added ending. It’s about a college professor who invents a device he wishes to keep to himself and away from government control. When one of his close friends and a workmate is arrested for playing mind games with government snoops he gets rather directly involved. He’s a classic boy-scout / hall monitor / do-gooder who is shaken by things he uncovers. The change is hard for him. It gets pretty violent. Not a YA by any means.

  3. Melvyn May 10, 2015 at 6:02 am #

    This looks interesting.

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