Series: Cat Ship #1
Published by: Meankitty Publishing
Release Date: August 2019
Buy the Book: Books2Read; Amazon; Kobo; Apple; Barnes & Noble; Scribd Audio; Audible; Paperback at Amazon
Genre: Adventure, Romance, Science Fiction, Space Opera
ABOUT THE BOOK
Dance teacher Wil Tango, adopted by a cat who needs to make use of his opposable thumbs, knows all too well the primary rule of their arrangement: never reveal the cat is a genius. Their clever scheme to win all the jackpots on Gizem Station works until a bigwig gets suspicious, and he finds himself stuffed in a stasis box and shipped to Garbage Planet. At least he’s got the cat for company.
Sulari Abfall, scrapyard picker extraordinaire, thinks she’s scored when she earns access to the latest offload from Gizem Station. Their trash is her treasure, and the profits from her recycling program should provide more than enough to upgrade her clunky garbage scow into a clunky tow ship, a huge step up in trash hierarchy. When she’s drawn to a hazardous waste container, she finds more than she ever bargained for. A naked man. And a sentient cat.
But unsealing the stasis pod sends an interspace signal back to Gizem Station—and the vengeful VIP who thought Wil was dead. It will take all the wits of a lovely garbage scow captain, a down on his luck dance instructor, and a brave orange feline to defeat a gang intent on mayhem, murder, and a galactic catnapping that could change the course of the future for the entire Obsidian Rim.
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What readers are saying...
Rann: When I first saw this book, I knew I had to read it. A cat. Scifi. Romance. Jody Wallace. One click.
CW: Five paws up.
NSUM: Great characters, a suspenseful story and intriguing and creative world building.
Bea: "Catalyst" was fast, fun, and engaging. Once I got into it, I whipped through it, reading right till the end. I've already started bugging Ms. Wallace about book two. 😀
Lola: This review wouldn't be complete with more mention of Pumpkin. He was such a typical cat and at the same time so much more with his enhanced intelligence and special skills. I liked that mix of how smart and capable he was, but then reverted to typical cat behavior as well.
Karen F: What a fun read! Pumpkin was beyond words. His attitude mixed with his catitudes left me chuckling. The world building was first class. The ending was a shocker leaving me wanting more. Highly enjoyable book!
Also in this series:
Try a little taste of CATALYST!
The low, flat mech-dolly let out a suspicious clank as it followed Sulari Abfall up the ramp that led into the unplumbed depths of the waste management stellarship from Gizem Station. The stench of oils, metals, and organic rubbish bloomed out of the cavernous bay doors. With great restraint, Su did not break into an excited jig at being first to enter, with the fifteen minute head start she’d won at last night’s pikka game.
Such behavior would be in poor taste. Even for a garbage picker.
The cold, ever-present wind in this district of Trash Planet whipped several strands of her hair free of the band of the protective goggles. As she shoved up her hood, she caught the glares of the other pickers, arms crossed, carts, dollies and assorted equipment idling behind them.
Fifteen minutes. Fifteen minutes to bag and tag the best loot with no interference, no wheeling and dealing, and no fistfights. You had to go in alone—but it was always, always worth it.
“Halt for inspection.” The Pish Incorporated goons flanking the cargo bay waved her to a stop. She directed the dolly to idle while they sent drones underneath, tiny beeping robotics that looked like they may have been the work of a refurber here on Trash Planet themselves.
Hells, that probably meant they worked better than new.
“Arms,” directed the larger of the two goons. Su raised her hands out to her sides while he wanded up and down her body in search of weapons. He had the kind of scanner that penetrated the protective fabric of her coveralls. The drone exited the undercarriage of the dolly and shot up to scan the flattened crunch crates lashed to the top.
Guns weren’t allowed in waste ships or scrap piles after that explosion at Hazard Port. The pickers of Trash Planet didn’t agree on much, but none of them wanted to die in a chem fire that blazed for eighteen days and nights, untouched by the storms. Hadn’t been a Pish ship, but inspections on the way in and out were now routine with all the big companies.
“You’re not a very big one,” the goon commented. “How you gonna pick up any scrap?”
Su lifted her goggles to her forehead and enjoyed his flinch the moment he noticed her scar. “Stronger than I look,” she said. Which was true. Her job included heavy lifting. “Meaner, too. Tell him, Bart.”
“She’s plenty mean,” said the other guy, a Pish guard she’d gotten to know over the years. The big goon’s wand beeped at her knee, and he frowned, adjusting the knob.
“It’s metal,” she said. “You don’t wanna see those scars, too, do you?”
“Musta hurt,” he grunted, starting up her other leg. The rest of her was all flesh and bone and a damn bunch of hair, and he wouldn’t find anything illegal.
At least not that he would recognize as illegal.
“Any other implants I should know about?” The wand reached her head, and again his gaze fixated on the scar bisecting her cheek. “You mighta needed more mending after that, and I don’t want to false positive you.”
The second drone whizzed out from under her dolly, green lights flashing.
“I’m clean. So’s my dolly. And you’re wasting my fifteen,” she complained, though her head start hadn’t officially begun yet. “I got dumpsters to dive.”
“She’s safe,” Bart encouraged. “It’s a big deal, when they get to go first. Sorry, Abfall, he’s new here.”
Come find treasure, whispered a voice in her head, the embodiment of her own excitement, no doubt.
The new goon shrugged. “I’m done. Good hunting.”
Yeah, he’d better wish her good hunting. If the trash wasn’t quality, their union, Bristler, wouldn’t contract with Pish, and he’d be out of a job. Not all garbage ended up on Trash Planet. They had their standards.
She thumbed her chin in a rather insolent thanks and turned her attention to the other pickers. Hundreds of them, slavering for junk, and all watching her. Garza, the union president, lifted his wrist and tapped his chrono, his giant beard bristling with annoyance.
She could take a hint. She gave them the traditional one finger salute, and the countdown clock started.
“Goat, increase speed by three.” The mech-dolly responded to her voice with another ominous clank and zoomed up the ramp, into the loading bay. She hopped on the top of her crate stack, grabbed a corner pole, and abstained from spinning around it like a dancer hoping for big bills.
No jigs, no spins, no rubbing it in. She was all about being classy in her victory.
Because today’s treasure trove should bring her mega money. First shot always did. She’d likely earn all the credits she needed to upgrade the Moll, her small intraplanetery scow, into a stellarship capable of towing. Then she could scavenge trash on other planets and space stations on her own and not have to share.
The waste management company for today’s delivery, Pish Incorporated, along with others, contracted with various picker unions on Trash Planet to deliver the waste and scraps from other parts of the Obsidian Rim here. Not just as a dump site. The hardy entrepreneurial spirit that had enabled humanity’s survival during the deadly Oblivion War up until present day, over 1600 years later, also enabled them to create treasure from trash. Recycling, converting, refabricating, scraphacking, rewiring, composting, you name it, someone on Trash Planet did it, with what the rest of the galaxy considered garbage.
In the end, everyone profited. Recycling required specialized machinery, time, and training, and for some it was cheaper to send it off. According to the contracts the waste management companies signed, they had to allow pickers to comb their ships before they added their mess to one of the massive scrap heaps in less habitable areas of the planet. The sorta-livable equatorial band was divided in districts, and everything outside that was a frigid wasteland.
Now that Su was inside the ship, she really picked up the pace. Fourteen minutes left. Ish. She and her employees had a rep for snagging super gloss items, bartering for what she wanted from other pickers for a minimum of digital intergalactic credits, and nobody had been happy that she’d won first look.
Since Pish employed guards, they’d probably give her the full fifteen. Today she’d focus on rarer barterables because they were easier to snatch. She’d scoop up her specialty items during the later phases when she could bring helps. Some of the things she refurbished were pretty big.
Su hung tight to the corner pole as the mech-dolly sped along the immense cargo bay to the lifts in the midsection. Ship rats ran squeaking out of her path. Since they were alive, they’d either broken in during the night or life support had been maintained in the bays during the trip to Trash Planet.
Interesting. Since when did rubbish need life support?
Overhead lights cast enough of a glow that she didn’t need her lamp. Su activated her goggles to detect any radiation and hazardous waste. She wasn’t equipped for hazmat, though sometimes she refurbished the containers. Those had significant resale value to Hazer Union and other places.
She also resisted the lure of the huge plastene bins stacked along the bottom bay walls. Someone else could hit those. Probably organics, from the smell of it. Hence the rats, which could have been loaded along with the organics back on Gizem.
Nope, what Su wanted was the high-end shit. The household waste. Yeah. Pish didn’t collect peon litter. They ran jobs for royals and high rollers and all of those jazz hands. People who threw out perfectly good stuff.
Finally she reached the elevators. “Goat. Slow.”
Pish cargo ships were long and bulky and rarely had side corridors. But they did have multiple floors.
And Su went straight for the next to top floor. Always the best. Always. Most said top, but too many other pickers would go for the top, and she’d have to fight or, worse, pay her way out.
And she had a feeling about today. A feeling that she was about to hit the legendary Gizem Station jackpot.