Meet Colonel Zaza D'Rump, the Antagonist from the Space Opera JUPITER'S EDGE
A Heroic, Humorous, and Inspirational Space Opera!
In the year 2247, Detectant Maxo Magnaveer yearns for an opportunity to prove himself in the Cosmic Law Force so he can be promoted to squad captain. When a greedy privateer, Colonel Zaza D'Rump, brazenly hijacks a shipment of synthetic foods on its way to Mars with plans to starve the colony to death unless he is given control of Earth's shipping lanes, Maxo sees his opportunity to rise above, save the day, and finally move up in rank and prestige.
Fooled by those he thought were allies, Maxo stumbles on the slippery edge of failure more than once as he races to what could be a catastrophic battle above Jupiter near D'Rump's secret base, Porto Blago.
With his career and so many lives at stake, Maxo gains the help of old and new friends, and begins to realize his quest may not be about proving himself to anyone, but about discovering himself and rising to his true purpose in the universe.
First, however, he'll have to survive the showdown at Jupiter's edge...
Pre-Order Showdown at Jupiter's Edge today.
An Excerpt from "Chapter Two, Greedy Bastard"
Colonel Zaza D’Rump, aboard his flagship La Corona, enjoyed a few minutes reclining in a transparent tanning tube that extended from the ship’s gold-plated hull like a pop-up turkey thermometer. Behind him, the wide, blocky stern of La Corona narrowed at his location. Forward, the ship consisted of an armored hull, two-hundred-meters long and thirty meters wide at the base, tapering to a point thirty meters above. The bow, which housed the bridge, was wide and blocky too, but only one-third the size of the stern. The ship bristled with missile bays, blaster cannons, and gamma beam emitters. Its military prowess was matched, according to those who had been aboard, by its luxurious amenities, which included a wall-to-wall, tropical-themed resort with a six-million-gallon swimming pool on the stern’s upper decks.
As he basked in the radioactive waves emitted by nearby Jupiter, freshening his carroty complexion in preparation for his next hijacking, he listened to a news stream broadcasting from Porto Blago, a bulbous asteroid which also happened to be home to his personal, fortified enclave.
“And you know the Grand Canadians will politely defer to the other members of their alliance,” the commentator asserted, his voice dipping, “and leave the colonists hanging out to dry.”
“It’s as if they want to hand it all over to Solis et Novem,” said the angry news anchor. “Where is the justice in that?” she stammered.
“Of course, there’s none,” the commentator added. “That’s why we really need someone to shake things up. To show them who they have forgotten, the hard-working and pioneering patriots of the Martian colony.”
“And by that savior you mean—”
In unison, the commentator, the anchor, and D’Rump said, “The Colonel!”
Just then, the rubber sphincter at the bottom of the tanning tube began to oscillate as an exit valve opened. The exhaust pressure squeezed the pear-shaped D’Rump down the tube, below which he dropped into a water-filled basin, making a big splash before climbing out and wiping off. Naked, he doddered from the tannery into his adjacent quarters, strapped on his girdle, and activated the gown’s vacuum pump. Within minutes, D’Rump’s body shape transformed from that of a listless pear into more of a stooping soup can dented at the middle. During that time, D’Rump’s styling drone hummed about his head, combing wispy yellow swatches of hair into wavy folds.
As D’Rump slipped into a backwards pair of black pantaloons, his styling drone retrieved a red, zip-up tunic accessorized with gold epaulets and a gold, thigh-length cravat which D’Rump tucked inside the tunic, the end fluttering in front of his crotch like a flimsy codpiece. He finished dressing by stepping his size-9 feet into size-12 boots with lifts, and putting on a pair of black gloves, each equipped with 2-inch prosthetic finger extensions. D’Rump then opened his mouth into which his styling drone inserted a pair of dentures. He pursed his lips and sucked in a breath of air through his clenched teeth. This viperfish could hiss.
“Ah, never better,” D’Rump mumbled, then summoned four bodyguards, who escorted him to the bridge of La Corona. As they walked along the triangular corridor of the ship’s main deck, D’Rump fumbled with his compu-pad, dictating belligerent proclamations, and sharing testimonials with fans who supported his anti-elitist brand of commerce, also known as piracy.
“I have the best solution to the Martian problem,” D’Rump said into the compu-pad, “and it is pure genius. Let me tell you now, that means it won’t include Solis et Novem because they aren’t known for being great in the brains department like me.” He laughed when he transmitted the message.
Upon entering the bridge, D’Rump was greeted by his new advisor, Major Millow Schilling, a scrawny man with white hair wearing a black jumpsuit with red piping and a white armband with D’Rump’s black corporate logo emblazoned upon it. Schilling licked his lips. They glistened, and his hazel eyes sparkled as they gazed upon D’Rump.
“Good morning, dear. I mean, Dear Leader,” Schilling sputtered. “I am ready for you, I mean, your orders, whenever you want to give them,” he sighed, “to me.”
“Thanks, Millie,” D’Rump replied. “Are we ready to finally put Mars first?”
Schilling stroked the laser pistol holstered on his belt. “Indeed. Liberating the shipping lanes from Solis et Novem’s tyrannical control and crushing tariffs will bestow the colonists with life-giving freedom. Colonel D’Rump, you are a savior.”
“Hey, that’s good stuff. Can you write that down for me?” D’Rump asked.
“Of course, sir. I’m so honored to—”
“But what I meant was, are we ready to seize the food barge and make our demands?”
“Oh yes, yes we are.” Schilling took a breath and walked D’Rump to a glowing table in the center of the bridge that displayed a digital map of CLF Patrol Zones Betty, Charlie, and David. These covered Earth and the Moon, Mars and the Asteroid Belt, and Jupiter and its nearby asteroids, respectively. “The barge has left Earth’s orbit and is chugging its way to Mars. Three of your Comet interceptors are already on their way to, shall we say, detain the barge, which is bringing a year’s supply of synthetic foods to the Martian colonists.”
Both D’Rump and Schilling paused and looked around the bridge. On one side, the bodyguards had receded into the shadows and strapped themselves into flight seats behind a long console that housed automated navigation computers. On the other side, two human technicians and one Digi-person monitored weapons control, life support, and engines.
“You there,” D’Rump said, “you there at engine control.”
“Wirth, sir,” Schilling whispered, “Lieutenant Wirth.”
“Any reason we can’t hyper-weave today, Lieutenant Wirth?”
Wirth, a blond, white woman with large breasts and glossy, plump lips stood and removed her white nylon ballcap with the black D’Rump logo and said, “No, sir. The trans-holo engines are charged up and raring to go. We can activate them at any time.”
“Well, all I can say,” D’Rump bellowed, “stand down but stand by Lieutenant Wirth.”
While Wirth sat down and put her cap on, Schilling looked at her and back to D’Rump. “Sir,” he said, “are we going somewhere?”
The viperfish inhaled through his teeth and slinked toward the bridge’s main window. “Yes, Millie, we are. We’re gonna go up and meet with those interceptors. Together we’ll go along there together and maybe, just maybe, when we go up there, where the interceptors are, we’ll join them. But we’ll do more than join them. We’ll lead them. I’ll lead them, because that is what I do. And I do it so well. People tell me, ‘you lead so well.’ And I can’t disagree. I have to agree because they’re the ones saying this, and these are some great people. Big brains. Big people…”
Schilling followed D’Rump, and stood next to him, gazing out the window.
“…But only I can do this. Only I can save the colony. Only I can make Mars great again.” D’Rump smiled and squinted his eyes. “Millie, we will liberate the barge ourselves and bring it to Porto Blago.”
“But sir, what of the CLF patrols? Their Caprices are, well, fast and hard hitting. Our Comets are faster, but La Corona is more suitable for dreadnought engagements.”
“Not to worry, we’ll be in and out before the CLF even knows what happened.” D’Rump leaned in to whisper in Schilling’s ear. “I have a secret weapon. Some help from within the CLF.”
Schilling closed his eyes and inhaled D’Rump’s warm, whispering breath, raising goose bumps on his neck and arms. “I’ll lay in your bed, I mean, a course to the barge. I’ll lay in that course to the barge right away.”
“Good, and we’ll teach Solis et Novem and the CLF a lesson they won’t soon forget.”
Pre-Order Showdown at Jupiter's Edge today.
About the Author Daniel P. Douglas is the pen name for identical twins Phillip and Paul Garver. Phillip is a U.S. Army veteran who also served as a senior analyst in the U.S. intelligence community and currently works for the federal government. Paul's career includes over 30 years in the museum profession. He has worked for cultural and historic sites in California and Virginia, as well as for the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C. Phillip and Paul enjoy writing pulse-pounding, edge-of-your seat science fiction, conspiracy, mystery, suspense, and thriller stories and screenplays. Their characters are often ordinary people who tread upon a collision course with destiny, where survival means confronting personal flaws and fighting for good in the eternal battle against evil. They explore this theme in a number of published works. Their first novel, "Truth Insurrected: The Saint Mary Project," centers on a decades-old government cover-up of contact with extraterrestrial life. "The Outworlds" series is comprised of adventure stories set in the early twenty-fourth century at the fringe of human civilization. Their "Richter's War" series blends sci-fi with hard-boiled intrigue in Los Angeles during World War II. Born and raised in Southern California, Phillip moved to Arizona to attend college, and Paul moved to Virginia to further pursue his museum career. Both have travelled extensively across the United States and around the world. They now reside in New Mexico with their families and many pets.