Slab City Blues: The Ballad of Bad Jack

By Anthony Ryan

Copyright 2013 Anthony Ryan

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The Ballad of Bad Jack is a novella forming fourth story in the Slab City Blues series, beginning two months after the events described in A Hymn to Gods Long Dead. Each story can be read in isolation. The first two stories in the series, Slab City Blues and A Song for Madame Choi, are available for free on

Chapter 1

He was good, I could tell. Fast, clean burns between way-points, easy on the juice, making full use of momentum, maintaining a slow tumble to maximise visual scanning. A reluctance to rely solely on tech signified an old-time hard-vac veteran, even though his suit was state of the art: a Mark VI Lockheed Pendragon, packing a dizzying array of defensive hardware. He kept it passive as he moved, no lidar or tight-beam scans, staying stealthy. There was a plasma flare ten klicks away as the ship that had dropped him commenced its homeward burn, leaving him all alone in the gently drifting ocean of rock.

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