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A Game of Secrets by Elton Gahr

 A Game of Secrets



Stillon pulled the wide leather straps around his chest tight pulling his wings as flat against his body as he could stand. He then pulled on the thick, scratchy, woolen robe over his head to hide the lumps on his back. Once that was done he turned slowly in front of the mirror to make certain that there was nothing to draw attention to him. He then unlocked his door and stepped into the hallway that led to the main room of the inn.


He could hear the sound of the bard from down the hall but he ignored it. That his hearing was better than a humans was another one of the things he hid and he had gotten good at it. He hardly thought about the things he hid anymore. Instead he focused on the smell of baking bread and cheap ale as he sat down at the counter listening to the calming sound of music from they gray haired bard.


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Negotiations by Elton Gahr 

A young man learns his family's wealth comes from trading with an advanced alien species, but as he investigates further he discovers that the alien benefactors may not be an benevolent as they first appear.

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Leaving the Cave by Elton Gahr

Emma had a brief gimps of a dimension beyond our own. To her that world now feel far more real than the one she is forced to live in so she seeks to once again escape the confines of the normal world, but she fears she is being manipulated by others for reasons she doesn't know.

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Energy Woes by Elton Gahr

A man discovers a source of power that could change the world but he can't convince anyone to take him serious even when he demonstrates it.

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Fish Story by Elton Gahr

Paul slammed the newspaper on Cedric's desk and said, "How the hell did the newspapers get this before me?"

“You’d have covered it up. Someone had to make sure the people knew."

"I would have studied it! Finding complex life isn’t something that should be taken lightly. It’s just one fish," Paul said.

"One fish found in ice from Europa. How many do you need? There's life on Europa," Cedric said.

"The President gave a speech today announcing a manned mission. A trillion dollar trip! A trillion dollars we should spent on schools, hospitals and public infrastructure!" Paul said, his eyes bulged, and the vein in her forehead throbbed.

"We’ll win the Nobel Peace Prize," Cedric said and ran his finger over the newsprint photo of the perfectly formed fish which looked more alien now than it had in the laboratory.

Paul stood up, the red disappearing from his face and he said "They’ll probably have us on every TV show in the country. We’ll be celebrities."

Cedric glanced at the black and white picture and said, "You know I don’t like being in public. I'd rather you take the credit, like the other times. I'll stay here and study the fish. Someone has to get a skin sample."

Paul looked at the picture for a few seconds then said, "If that’s what you want that's what we’ll do," the smile now breaking his face nearly in half.




The news anchor droned on about half a dozen subjects but, like everyone else on the planet, Cedric was only interested in the shuttle which circled the moon of Europa with twelve men and women ready to start one of the greatest scientific missions ever created by mankind.

The mission had already paid for itself in Cedric’s opinion. Countries were working together like never before and several scientific discoveries had improved recycling and manufacturing techniques. Much of that was about to change.

What shocked Cedric the most was that in three years no one had bothered to get a second sample of the fish's DNA. It was simply too valuable to cut up and study and he wondered for a moment if this had all went too far.

That meant that the only one who knew that there would be nothing found today was Cedric. There were no fish, in fact there had been no signs of life at all.

When that happened there would be a witch hunt. And when people began to check the DNA findings they would find see Paul’s name as the only one who took samples of the DNA thanks to his need for glory.

Cedric then glanced down at the envelope. The letter in it reminded Paul of the ideas he had stolen and pawned off as his own three years ago. Then it explained, in the most cryptic language Cedric could devise, how he had gotten even with a small rubber fish.




Author's Note

I wrote this story most of a decade ago and it is one of the few stories from that time that I still actually like. It is pretty simple and it is in part due to the frustration of the government dropping the ball on space exploration. I suspect the name has been used for a number of other stories, but I hate titles enough I didn't bother looking to find another.