Title: The 97th Step
Author: Steve Perry
Publish Date: 1989
Publisher: Ace Books
Sub-Genre: Alternate Societies, Romance, Religion, Advanced, Medical, Advanced Technology, Advanced Weapons, Rebellion, Crime, Spaceships, Space Travel, Sexuality, Extra Sensory Perception, Galactic Empires, Armed Conflict
Mwili Kalamu was born into a poor, religious life on Cibule, a moon orbiting Kalk. At 16 years old, his daily beatings from his father were too much to take anymore, forcing him to run away and into the arms of the first officer of a freighter outbound to a different world.
He learned fast how to use what he had to obtain what he needed and learn how to make a living as a thief. He learned quickly and with his self-given alias of “Ferret”, he rapidly rose to be known as trustworthy and knowledgeable.
For ten years, he ran with Stoll, as partners at first, then as friends. Together they made themselves a reputation of being able to get their contracts done, without fail. And now they have a job that will set them both well enough off to retire. But Ferret’s girlfriend has a bad feeling about this and wants them to call off the job.
Everything was set and it was going like clockwork. Stoll and Ferrett were in the final room of their target when Ferrett got his bad feelings. He told Stoll and they both felt something was wrong. They opened up the door to leave, only to discover that their feelings might have been right after all…
Sarli Vu Ndamase is extremely beautiful, skin tawny, blue eyes, jet black hair, arms, legs and backside clean and perfect. She can have any man she wants, and they all want her. But the one she does desire is Ferret – a runaway from a backwater moon and thief – and she loves him.
Ferret left his home fifteen years ago and has been with his partner and friend Stoll for the last ten of those years. They were good at what they did, and had the underground connections to help them with background and mark details. A bribe here, missing documents there, they had it good.
Now, Stoll comes to Ferrett with a huge score. A simple jewelry heist, with even the cops bought off to gain time to escape the scene. This will set them for life and Ferret can be with Shar for the rest of their lives. But Shar has a bad feeling about the caper, pleading with Ferret to walk away. A kiss… and he leaves with Stoll.
As the heist progresses, it goes smoothly. Everything falling into place until Ferret gets his own queasy stomach. He feels something isn’t right. He and Stoll talk briefly and decide they’ve got enough and they head for the door. Moments later, Stoll is on the floor in front of him with blood pooling, and the door is being shattered by bullets. Something is wrong.
As Ferret leaps from the balcony, a voice from his past calls out to him, threatening revenge. He’d been found! And now, he had been set up, and Stoll is dead. But, if the past has caught up to him here, what about Shar?
Yes, what about Shar…?