ISB: In a sentence - it's all about Love and One Man's Determination. Though I thought it was a good story, I was thoroughly surprised by the reception my novel Three Moon Station has received. I've even gotten fan letters about it! So, in view of that, I've decided to ask Sarkin Trant, hero of Three Moon Station, if he'd like to speak to my readers. Sar? It's all yours!
Mornin' to ya, Ladies! (Sar is a very tall, very handsome man who apparently doesn't realize it. He's dressed in what looks like 19th-century Western wear--denim trousers, boots and lizard-hide gaiters, a buckskin duster, and wide-brimmed hat. His long, copper-colored hair is in a braid down his back, contrasting with the two turquoise stones in his left ear. And there's a Petronel X-P strapped to his hip.) Come in an' sit--there's room on th' sofa for several o' ye wee lassies. (gestures at the sofa) Ya like it? M'pa made it himsel'--all th' furniture in th' house as a matter o' fact. Just move that book out o' th' chair, Mistress Icy--'twas one I'd been readin' but I'm almost finished now. Aye, 'tis the poems o' Yeats, one o' m'maither's favorite Terran authors. Since m'wife's out feedin' th' chiksas at th' moment, I thought it a fine time t' speak t' those people who might read th' story o' me an' m'Katy, t' explain a little o' why I did the things I did.I'm hopin' you'll excuse m'dusty clothes. I've been out workin' with m'elos and it's dirty work. (places his hand on the Petronel) Don't mind th' gun--I need that in case a rath shows up and tries to eat either me or my horse!
By way o' introducin' m'self--name's Sarkin Trant. I'm a station owner on Tritomas-2. M'maither was Maire Deoridh MacGregor, from New Edinburgh in th' Alba Highland Colony o' Mars. M'pa--him I already mentioned--was Andrus Trant, an Arcanian who had a temper he let run him 'stead o' th' other way around, an' got himsel' exiled for his troubles. He met m'ma when she was a schoolma'am, teaching th' settlers' bairns. Now that m'antededents are established, I asked yon scribe Icy Snow Blackstone--an' isna that a mouthful of a name for such a li'l thing?--to allow me t' tell you why I've risked so much for one little lass. 'Tis embarrassing for me t' talk about it, but I ask m'sel' why should a man be ashamed t' say why he loves his woman? (he shakes his headand a startling blush creep over his handsome face) So...
Let me say I dinna go into Zero--that's the name o' our little town--that day to get m'self a wife. Last thing I had on m'mind was t' find m'self wedded to anyone--much less some stranger off a prison ship--an' anybody knowin' me an' how I'm practic'ly a hermit, would say th' same. I went with th' sole idea o' helpin' Abel Parker. Lord knows th' lad needed it, what wi' losin' every year t' some farmer or station owner who outbid him. I decided the boy needed either a wife or a maither--and finding a wife would be cheaper! (laughs quickly, then expression darkens) When I saw yon Alwin Marsten, that dark-souled ba-- Pardon m'foul tongue...le's just say Marsten's nae one o' m'favorite people.
Well, I may be considered primitive by Terran standards--what wi' m'animal leather clothes an' Petronel X-P ridin' low on m'hip, but do know the proper way to treat a female and couldna let Marsten take that dear little lass, Priscilla, away from th' boy, so I kept m'promise an' gave Abel th' extra money an' he outbid Marsten fair an' square. T' m'mind, 'twas all I came t' do, an' I'd done it, so I was on m'way t' leavin' when I saw her--sitting there with that hair o' hers all wild about her head like th' rays o' th' sun was all tangled in it, flaming and gold at th' same time--an' th' sight fair took th' breath out o' me... (takes a deep breath and looks slightly embarrassed at displaying such emotion)
Marsten saw m'interest, an' decided t' bid. No way was I going t' let him have that bit o' sunshine. I knew he'd extinguish it fast. An' 'tis a good thing for me I'd won that bag o' angelica gamblin' at Larkin's, else we both would've been in bad luck. So I got m'Katy an' more o' Marsten's hate--an' did I care a fig for that? Hell, no! Again, I apologize for m'raw tongue. (places a hand on his heart) I swear on Ma's Bible I dinna have any idea th' lass thought I was hirin' her for m'housekeeper. Thinkin' back on that makes me red-faced for stripping m'self afore her in th' wagon when I got soakin' wet durin' that rainstorm.
Still, she didn't tell me different, an' wrapped me in blankets to save me from a chill--now I'm wonderin' if those blankets were simply t' hide the sight o' m'bare body from her innocent eyes!
So we got t' m'station an' I learned th' truth--Katy had no idea th' paper she signed was a Marriage Agreement. Seems she was in th' sanitary room while ever'thin' was bein' explained-- Lucky for me, I suppose. She tol' me why she came t' Tritomas, 'bout her employer bein' killed an' those black-hearted devils chasin' her-- Makes m'blood boil just t' think on it! In turn, I laid m' soul pretty bare--how I hadna been married but sired a son anyway and I loved th' lad an' had tried t' raise 'em proper. They canna say I hid anythin' from her.
She says she's going back when the time's up on our probationary marriage, t' make sure justice is done, but y'know what? She's nae goin' back to that Earth! Not if I can help it! I can protect Katy better than any member o' th' Peace Force because they don't love her--and I do! Look, she's says she likes th' station an' she's accepted m'son an' even some o' m'odd ways, so all I have t' do is ge' her t' admit she loves me. Easy, huh?
I've got one year t' convince m'Sunshine that her place is here wi' me--her husband--an' I'll do it...come Hell, high water, or laser-totin' hitmen! (nods and sweeps off his hat and bows) I thank ya, Mistress Icy, for allowin' me to speak my piece.
ICY: And thank you, Sar, and good luck!
HL: Thank you both - Icy, I'll tell you in confidence, now he can't hear us, I could really fall for that Sar - if he wasn't already taken, of course!
Excerpt from Three Moon Station:
Katy was sleeping so soundly she didn't hear Sarkin Trant come back to the house. She didn't hear the bedroom door open, his footsteps as he tiptoed in, or the quiet movements as he undressed.Only when his weight touched the bed, causing her to roll toward him, did she rouse slightly but it wasn't until he put his arms around her that she came suddenly and violently awake.Sitting up with a cry of alarm, she struck outward, touching warm, solid flesh.
The lamp flashed brightness, as Trant reached for the pistol lying beside it, looking around quickly. "What is it?"
Staring at his bare back and shoulders, half-hidden by the unbound hair, Katy uttered a shriek, ear-splitting in its terror, and scrambled backward, dragging the sheet with her. Her back struck the headboard and she climbed it, huddling against the wall, clutching the sheet to her breast.
He looked up at her, the gun swinging around, aimed directly at her. "What's the matter?"
"Oh, please! Don't shoot me!" Was he going to kill her? Without any reason? Are all these colonists latent murderers?
"I'm na going to shoot you!" His voice held surprise and something close to disgust. "What's the matter wi' you?"
He activated the safety and dropped the gun onto the table.
"W-what are you doing in here?" She held the sheet closer, pressing it against her chest, toes curling downward to wrap around the iron rosettes decorating the headboard.
"Where else would I be? This is my bed, y'know!" His tone implied she'd been stricken with sudden amnesia.
" ...and since 'tis now night, where else would I be sleeping but in m'own bed?"
" ...your bed...."
"Is there an echo in here? Yes, Sunshine--my bed! Now, d'we have its ownership established?"
"But--you put my bag in here...."
In a rush, she understood. He had bid for her, not merely to get a housekeeper but for something more--it was more convenient to have a woman handy if he needed one, especially when the only other available females were two days' ride into Zero!
"You mean," she began, hoping he was going to deny it, "that you want me to-- Oh no. No."
"Aye." He was nodding, saying with a mixture of exasperation, anger, and concern, "Hell, Sunshine! 'Tis sort of expected , y'know?"His voice was surprisingly sarcastic.
She didn't answer, just shook her head and wrapped the sheet closer around her.
"Oh, do na act so silly!" He was trying to be patient, she could see that, but still confused. "I admit I expected a little shyness but-- E'en though we did spend last night together in the wagon, we're still almost strangers...." He stopped, looked away, studying the far wall. "I mean...."
The sheet, stretched against him, was covering part of one thigh and his stomach. He put his hand on it, pressing it onto the bed. Katy could see the curve of his hip and the paler mark of a tan line on the golden skin. She swallowed loudly.
He looked back, shaking his head. "You're overreacting! Maybe you na expected to do this so soon but-- Damn, quit staring at me!" He looked uncomfortable. "You've already seen me naked--and probably others, too!!"
"Of course, I have!" Katy replied sharply. All Uncle Cyril's's groundsmen--the caretaker, the gardeners, the pool-boy--went without their shirts while they worked. She'd seen them all that way--and it was practically the same thing, wasn't it? Wasn't it? "But not in my bed!"
That caused a widening of the aqua eyes. For a full minute, he didn't speak, just stared at her.