Jonathan Bartell Space Agent Omnibus ebook

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Jonathan Bartell Space Agent Omnibus is the complete collection in the Jonathan Bartell Space Agent series by Patty Jansen

About Jonathan Bartell Space Agent Omnibus

When Jonathan Bartell first goes into space, he counts himself lucky. A few years prior, scientists discovered bacterial life on Europa and the universities are teeming with exo-biologists most of whom end up flipping burgers because there is no work for them.

So a job at the Quarantine Authority at the Orbital Launch Station seems a good deal.

Except the job comes with a huge responsibility for keeping Earth safe from microbial alien diseases, and the station is full of gung-ho characters, entitled captains and military brass who think they can roughshod it over the Quarantine pen-pushers.

That only works until something goes wrong. A space settlement is a fragile environment. Sabotage, neglect and a lack of cooperation can all become dangerous very quickly.

A collection of six parts:

Contamination

Observation

Extermination

Permutation

Elevation

Reparation.

Here is a sample:

BY THE TIME Vijay closed the door on the truck’s cargo compartment, his air supply was getting low, and he had to decide whether to stop and find some ice and make some air or barrel on to the main base.

Because the regolith in this part of the crater was very loose, he didn’t want to risk falling into it, so he didn’t like the idea of digging for ice.
Also, there was a fair bit of activity on the radio, indicating that there were other vehicles in the area.

Since he had bypassed the warning sign, the purpose of which he had not yet discovered, he did not want to be discovered or questioned about what he was doing here.
So he chose to return to the base as quickly as possible.


He gunned the truck’s engine and climbed out of the crater with wheels spinning in the dust.

At the crest of the surrounding rim, he could see the glittering domes of the base. From here, the road was flat, and safe.

The truck leapt over the plain with satisfying speed.
While he was driving, he tried to contact Akshay, but no one answered. And then he tried a few times more, but that did not give him a different result.


Well, that was a problem.

Akshay was supposed to have met him inside the dome to take care of the quarantine forms. What was he going to do now? How could he bullshit his way through quarantine?


He had only enough air left for about half an hour, not long at all, considering he needed to wait until the airlock opened. He couldn’t go back to the bunker where he got the truck, because the AI Selena told him that Chuck was still there.


The drivers of the vehicles whom he had heard talking on the radio were base maintenance people taking down the art displays of the annual Lunar Visions exhibition.


Johnson base usually got a good number of visitors at the time that Lunar Visions was on. The base authorities hired passenger vehicles for the tourists to admire the artwork, which was displayed on the airless surface of the Moon. The exhibition was finished and the strange works of art were being dismantled and taken back to the base.

Lacking a response from Akshay, Vijay saw no other option than to join these trucks, lining up into the airlock.

He would just have to figure out what to do once he got into the hall and people asked questions.


The big door started to move aside, spilling a strip of blue light through the ever-increasing opening.


Sweat ran down Vijay’s back. Nervous. Here in the shade of the dome it wasn’t even hot.


The airlock held six vehicles at a time, and once they were in, the door closed.

The thick metal plate was very heavy and took a long time to rumble shut. By the time the lights stopped flashing and air hissed into the chamber, Vijay had only ten minutes of air left.


Not much later, he entered the massive hall on the other side of the airlock, which held numerous trucks, cranes, ore crushers, tunnelling and digging machines, the largest ones of which needed to go into the airlock by themselves.


Base personnel in bright orange suits were directing the vehicles to their allocated charging stations.


Vijay had to open the window, letting in the icy air while he followed his instructions.

He asked to borrow an electric trolley.
The floor staff wanted to know what for.


“Artwork,” he said, hoping he sounded confident. “I need to deliver a piece to a private buyer.”


They still opened the hold of his truck, and goggled at the dirt-encrusted metal shape inside. The heat produced when the capsule crashed into the crater had melted clumps of dirt onto the surface, making the ensemble look like a barnacle-encrusted rock.


“You call that art?” one of the workers scoffed.


Vijay grew bold. “It’s by an artist called Giuseppe Pellegrini, who is part of the modern reductionist movement.”


The workers snorted a bit more, but when they scanned the surface, they found no evidence of organics, so he was let through, and the field of the quarantine form on the truck’s control panel that had been empty now displayed “item of household furniture”.


They even lent him a crane to manoeuvre the capsule into the transport trolley.

The trolley was heavy, but it came with an electric engine.
Vijay steered the cart through the corridors of the base.

He went into the cargo section of the train, together with couriers and maintenance staff.


It was strange how the people around him went about their normal business. They were off to work or returning from shifts.

He pulled the hood further over his head when he entered the corridor in his building. If anyone came the other way, they would recognise him.

But nobody did because it was mid-shift, and he managed to take his container inside while pretending to be a deliveryman.
Once inside, he put the trolley in the middle of the living room.

He had better open the capsule, take it apart and hide the pieces in case Chuck or Roman turned up before Akshay did.


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