Sign of Iron--A HK Devonshire Novel [A Short Story from the Shards Universe]
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by Peter W. Prellwitz
Category: Science Fiction/Fantasy
Description: The Shards Universe, like all universes, is an expanding collection of literary works that center around a group of characters and historical events. Or as the authors states: These short stories are a part of a vast universe that covers literally thousands of years and light-years... Double Dragon Publishing will be releasing on a regular basis (every two weeks) a new installment to The Shards Universe. Instead of serial numbers or book numbers we will be using dates to convey a sense of sequential order. Like pieces in a puzzle, each short story will contain information about The Shards Universe and the people that live within it. In addition, you will see that all of the author's works take place within this universe, and that it's all connected. Happy Exploring--Publisher. In the wild days of the Martian Iron Rush, the Martian Territorial Rangers were all that stood between the guilty and the innocent. And the best, truest, fastest on the draw Iron Marshal was Roids Cavanaugh. Now Martian author HK Devonshire brings his stories to Earth readers, regaling you with accounts of this rarest breed of lawman. Read the same stories the Shards Universe characters love and celebrate. Sign of Iron is the story of loyalty to the code. Caught in a Martian dust storm, on a damaged, dying hov bike, Roids is crossing the massive Hellas Impact Basin, traveling to the city of Vermilion, carrying a grim cargo that must be delivered at all costs.
eBook Publisher: Double Dragon Publishing/Double Dragon eBooks, 2006 DDP
eBookwise Release Date: February 2006
5 Reader Ratings:
Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [25 KB]
Reading time: 13-18 min.
ABOUT HK DEVONSHIRE
H.K. Devonshire was born in the city of New Los Angeles on Mars' Tharsis Bulge on Tudec 21, 05 MD (December 26, 2059, Terran Date), and grew up during the famed Martian Iron Rush boom period of 6--31 MD (2060--2106 TD). And while Mr. Devonshire will be the first to admit his stories are sensationalistic, he firmly maintains the essence of the period is captured in his tales:
"It's important to bear in mind that what made the Martian Iron Rush so vital to humankind is not the material bonanza. Certainly, the vast amounts of iron, titanium and aligned titanium that were taken from or processed on Mars made ship building extremely cheap. And because of that--and the recent upgrades in fusion engines--we've been able to quickly explore and populate the solar system and even begin looking to the stars.
"The most important thing about the Martian Iron Rush is the moral victory it gave humankind. We were establishing small, scientific colonies on a dead planet when all of a sudden, bang! the Rush hits and overnight Mars turns into a vibrant, populated planet. Our response to that unimagined boom was extraordinary. Everyone from the ranchers to the miners, shipbuilders, city workers and even the military, had their character stripped bare and exposed to all. Admittedly, there were many ugly aspects to the Rush, and I touch on them in my stories. But overall it was a grand achievement for our souls. And that firm resolve to maintain right is best exemplified by the Martian Territorial Rangers who policed the planet as the lone, final authority until [2156 TD]."
Undisputedly Mars' most popular and prolific author, Mr. Devonshire has two dozen full length novels and over sixty short stories published on Mars. He is only now becoming known on Earth, but his following is growing steadily. He has also applied his fertile imagination to the holotheaters, writing the screen play for the first live action Roids Cavanaugh adventure, The Bombala Mines Fast Draw, based on the character's first novel of the same title. (Enla Publishing House, New Los Angeles, Mars.) * * * *
In the wild days of the Martian Iron Rush, fortunes arose and vanished as quickly the planet's red dust storms. It was a time when a man could strike it rich in the titanium mines; in the wide open frontier towns that provided supplies and diversions; on the vast underground beef ranches that fed the hungry miners; or in a dark, airless canyon, picking clean a murdered victim's possessions. Riches were available to all, as was death. Laws were decreed by the wealthy, enforced by the strong, and sentences were meted out swiftly and without mercy by the ruthless, according to those who held sway. Many innocent people died.
Into this chaos rode the Martian Territorial Rangers. Known with fear and respect throughout the frontier as the Red Marshals, these hardened loners brought the one thing lacking, the one thing cried for by the ghostly wails of the dead on the wind and the pleading eyes of the living: Justice.
And of all the many deeds performed by these brave men and women who carried the red iron badge, one man most exemplified their thankless service. He was a man whose swift gun and unerring judgment inscribed him forever into the tomes of Martian lore. He was a man few knew, a man few loved, and a man who's name the guilty most feared. He was a man who helped decide the future of all Mars.
He was a man named Roids Cavanaugh. * * * *