Planet Janitor Custodian of the Stars

 
 


Captain Zachary Crowe and his crew deem themselves custodians of the stars. Their job: to handle environmental clean-ups and close system jumps to collect precious ores and space trash. The problem is they have yet to complete an assignment without a mishap to add to their not so stellar record. Scraping the bottom of the barrel, Orion Industries contracts Planet Janitor for a clandestine operation that no one else wants, offering them more money than they could spend in three lifetimes. The mission entails a 12 light-year trip to a newly found habitable planet in the Tau Ceti system. The crew will lose 26 years on Earth due to the cryo jump, but that is the least of their problems. What they find on Tau Ceti will rattle their wits, test their courage, and threaten their very survival.



Crew

Captain Zaz Crowe’s eight crew members aren’t exactly misfits, but they could use a new coat of paint. They’ve had bad press and bad luck.

































































































































 

About the book

Dendy Dollar

Captain Zachary Crowe

Samantha King

Galoot

Carl Stromboli

Carybell

Lyle Wagner

Paddy Jackson

The Shenandoah

Having worked for his father in the reclamation business for ten years, he felt the need to strike out on his own. He found the first love of his life, a Russian-built ore freighter he named, Shenandoah, and set out on the spiral arm to clear the solar system of unwanted space trash. That was until he found mining for minerals and retrieving wayward satellites more profitable. Now, at 40 years old, and having been in business for the past six years, he feels he's reached a milestone in his career. Which means he's got one last great haul left before he hangs up his pilot wings and retires on some moon real estate he has his heart set on. Orion industries sets a bug in his pants that's got him itching for a job that will net him more than he could spend in three lifetimes. But he has no idea how his crew will react to the assignment because all he knows is that their journey is a god-awful long ways out there.

Petite, cute and an environmentalist at heart, Dendy Dollar spent the last couple years volunteering aboard the Blue Peace Research and Expedition Ship. She loved the work, and anything that had to do with preserving the sanctity of life and the environment. What she couldn't abide was all the attention she garnered from the male crew, who thought of her, not as a competent physical science technician, but more of a physical distraction--a little floozy who had it coming--an entertainment piece for the crew--a bauble for the boys. Dendy left her Blue Peace dreams behind to join up with Zaz, where she took over duties in the hydroponics lab. She had more than a green thumb, and soon had everything blooming and sprouting. What she didn't expect to bloom were her feelings for a very special captain, who seemed so alone. She would soon make her intentions very clear to him, no matter what she had to do.

The men had always joked that Sammy's wild shrub of red hair took up a couple of zip codes. They also candidly remarked that her bosom did, too. She always thought of herself as the "dog-faced gal", but it was really an exaggeration. She had plain features, even attractive when she splashed on a little makeup. Crunching numbers appealed to Samantha, but she missed out on a NASA position by the skin of her teeth. She tried her hand at astronavigation as a private contractor, and it worked out well until she answered an ad to join Zaz aboard the Shenandoah. She adapted quickly to the relaxing atmosphere. Wherever she pointed the ship, it went there with no questions asked. She had no complaints as a crew member, except for one thorn in her side.

Carl hailed from Italy, and came from a large extended family. The old timers from his township said that a man could not throw a rock in a school yard without hitting a Stromboli child. Carl used to light a lot of fires as a child, which gave his parents untold misery. "They didn't understand me," he once said, "it wasn't pyromania; it was a career move." Carl joined the Italian Army at a young age and loved anything that ignited or exploded. He signed up for and completed courses in above ground and underwater demolition. After his discharge he earned a doctorate in pyrotechnics. He joined Zaz's crew with the express purpose of blowing structures and moving mountains. Yet things were so peaceful at times he couldn't even move his bowels. He would get his chance one day--he could feet it--the shock waves--the blistering heat--the ringing in his ears...heavenly bliss.

"He's a galoot" was the first thing the mother said upon her son's birth. The father, a large man by any standards, agreed and knew that his son would be very special some day. Galoot's first baby rattle was a piston from an old diesel engine. As the child grew, his interests in anything mechanical opened up a new world for him. After working in the space port ship yards for 20 years, Galoot earned his masters certificate in aerospace engineering and function. When he joined Zaz's crew, Galoot was single, lonely and almost eight-feet tall and 500 pounds. Shunned by those who feared him, rejected by women for his awkward mannerisms, Galoot soon found his home in the company of true friends aboard the Shenandoah. He would also find the love of his life.

No one knew where Carybell came from. She just showed up one day in the space port bar, slung over Galoot's shoulder. She didn't speak much...but she could sing like a nightingale...mostly when she was alone. Zaz figured that she'd been in more miner's bunks at Tranquility Harbor than Carter had pills, but he didn't hold it against her. Homeless, and in need of some moral guidance, the crew adopted her and gave her the title of assistant botanist. Whether she couldn't tell the difference between a weed and a magnolia, didn't seem to matter. Her life outlook changed, and a new, young woman emerged to take an active roll in a very important mission. Everyone knew about her preoccupation with Galoot, but they never suspected a skill that she'd kept hidden might one day save their lives. 

Paddy hailed originally from England from a town that had a "shire" on the end of it, and that was pretty much everything the crew knew about his roots.  Secretive, stuffy and impertinent most of the time, Paddy went about his research like one of Pavlov's dogs snapping for a hanging piece of meat. Nothing could deter him from his studies and note-taking, in spite of a background and education that most found questionable. It seemed he took a cyber course to attain a degree in zoology, although he never mentioned the so-called accredited school from which he received it. He fancied himself a cryptozoologist, a term which Zaz had to look up one day on the KED (know-everything-database), just to see what it meant.  Having never married, Paddy's social life was confined to laboratory aboard the Shenandoah--his chosen home. Zaz endured Paddy's rough exterior, since the man had surely shown his worth when protecting delicate ecosystems and wildlife during some of their most exotic expeditions. Yet he had an insufferable scalp itch that he'd had every since the crew had known him. Some said he had lice, others guessed it to be psoriasis or peidra. Samantha claimed he needed a bath.

Lyle, unlike Paddy, had come under Zaz's employment with a pocket-full of credentials. He'd served a decade with the United States Geological Survey as a Geologist, having studied and complete degrees and courses in mineralogy, palaeontology, advanced chemistry, hydro-geology, and climatology. His dedication to the sciences rivalled Paddy's, yet he carried a more docile and non-confrontational manner--a peace maker at heart. Paddy could detect precious ores and minerals merely by licking the ground. He knew sediments and strata so well, if a structure was built over a poor foundation, Lyle could predict the exact date it would crumble or fall. The crew were endeared to him, except for a damnable Optipak he insisted on wearing at all times; a contraption of filters, magnifiers and lens that made him look like a bug-eyed wasp at times. 

 

Russian-built ore freighter over 1,200 feet long with a hull cast of pure Ultrinium. Her main hydrogen engines are rated at over 150-million horsepower. With the old nuclear bang-pod drive, she'll do near light's end.

The Majestic Sun

The most recent purchase of Orion Industries--the ultimate in corporate Liner technology and comfort.

President Gable spared no expense on his flagship’s customization and opulent design.

Silver Two

One of the silver automechs, designated as a "smart" bomb, this Silver 2 has some programing glitches that endear him to some crew members, yet frustrate and confound others. One day this automech's genuine purpose will become clear, but for now, he has more bumble in his stumble than any other service robot.

Automech

Used for cleaning and fixing small system failures, the Green Automech’s are a must have on any starship.

 

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