The only man who can stop him is Sam McCade. Betrayed by his friends, stalked by his enemies, McCade is the only one standing between a terrifying alien threat - and the unimaginable devastation of the Terran Empire. When Princess Claudia seizes the throne in her brother's absence and brings the empire to the brink of war, bounty hunter McCade must find the missing Prince Alexander before the Imperial Fleet stops him.
For years, only the thinnest barrier kept the II Ronnian Empire from attacking mankind. Then, space pirates stole the Vial of Tears - a holy Ronnian relic with cosmic religious powers. Only one man can hunt down the sacred relic and avert interstellar war - bounty hunter supreme Sam McCade. From acclaimed author William C. Dietz, a novel of Sam McCade, interstellar bounty hunter. This time it's personal - pirate Mustapha Pong has kidnapped McCade's daughter. In answer to your question, you're the guest of the Imperial Navy, recovering from wounds suffered while ridding the empire of a dangerous criminal.
Or so it says in this morning's news. By the way, the Emperor sends his thanks. McCade grimaced. I don't want your hospitality. I just want out. Swanson-Pierce frowned in mock concern. Telling the Emperor to shove it. Why some would call that treason. Fortunately I know you jest.
McCade sighed. Swanson-Pierce clearly enjoyed toying with him, and for the moment there wasn't much he could do about it. It reminded him of junior officer's mess when they'd both been aboard the Imperial. As the most senior lieutenant—his commission had predated McCade's by a week—Swanson-Pierce had always enjoyed playing games with those junior to him.
Not so much with McCade, who refused to be intimidated, but especially sub-lieutenants and midshipmen. McCade forced a smile and said, "I'll tell you what, Walt, you let me out of here, I'll toddle off, collect the reward for killing that dangerous criminal you mentioned, and then I'll check into a nice hotel. Swanson-Pierce watched to see if McCade would take the bait—just as he had taken it so long ago. For a moment the two men stared at each other. Swanson-Pierce with barely disguised glee, and McCade with disgust verging on hatred. Now he remembered why they'd never been friends.
Straining for control, McCade asked, "How long will it take for my claim to be approved? A wave of dizziness and nausea swept over him. Swanson-Pierce summoned up a look of fatherly concern. You're obviously not up to snuff.
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It seems you're under arrest. Something about discharging firearms within the city limits. McCade allowed himself to fall back against the pillow. Obviously Swanson-Pierce still wanted something, and he'd have to provide it before he could go. Now cut the bull. Exactly what do you want? The other man smiled as he rose from his chair. Walking toward the door he shook his head in pretended amazement.
We'll talk again soon. He'd tracked Cadien halfway across the empire, damn near got his ass blown off, and earned a million Imperials in the process.
Right now he should have been getting drunk, getting laid, and getting ready to pick out his ship. Roughly in that order. Instead, a naval officer with a sadistic sense of humor had gone to a great deal of trouble to lock him up. Nothing came. One by one he ordered his muscles to relax. Gradually they obeyed and finally he sank into the oblivion of sleep.
He awoke with the sun in his eyes. The wall in front of him had become transparent. Outside, the huge naval base sprawled to the horizon. In a way, it symbolized the entire planet. As the center of a vast empire, Terra was almost entirely dedicated to the various branches of government, the military, scientific research, and of course the pleasures of those so engaged.
He sat up and swung his feet over the side of the bed. He felt better. His arm was still a little stiff, but the pain had almost disappeared. There were clothes draped over the chair. Moving gingerly he stood and shuffled over to them. His worn leathers had disappeared and been replaced by a new set in navy black, without insignia of course. Everything fit perfectly. Except the memories. Those belonged to someone else, someone younger. Someone who'd believed what they taught him.
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The door slid open. McCade accepted its unspoken invitation and stepped outside. Two Imperial marines stood waiting in the corridor. Both snapped to attention. McCade smiled.
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The hand of steel within the velvet glove. Just Walt's way of letting him know where he stood. The larger of the two marines wore the chevrons of a section leader and the confidence of a professional. Bright brown eyes looked straight ahead from under bushy brows.
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When he spoke, his lips barely moved. McCade almost laughed. As if he had a choice. He nodded, and together they moved off. One marine fell in ahead and the other behind. Down corridors, through halls, along autowalks and, on one occasion, two hundred feet straight up a vertical shaft using some kind of new anti-grav field.
He was impressed. He hadn't been to Terra for years and had forgotten what it was like. Everywhere, he saw purposeful activity and new technology—little things, many of them, but still new. In spite of the empire's vast size, Terra was still the principal source of new technology.
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That fact had helped her remain at the center of human endeavor instead of being relegated to its past. In 3, years of recorded history, man had inhabited hundreds of worlds. Many had never seen Terra and never would. Contentious material about living persons that is unsourced or poorly sourced must be removed immediately , especially if potentially libelous or harmful. Please help to improve this article by introducing more precise citations. December Learn how and when to remove this template message. Categories : births 20th-century American novelists 20th-century American short story writers 20th-century American male writers 21st-century American novelists 21st-century American short story writers 21st-century American male writers American male novelists American male short story writers American science fiction writers Living people.
Imperial Bounty: Sam McCade, Book 2 (Unabridged)