This video goes into my full Christian testimony. It's much more than what's on my Bio page on this website, and I've waited a long time to tell it. But the Lord deserves to get all His praises for the miraculous works He has done in my life over the years. Please watch until the end.
This is an excerpt from my upcoming Christian steampunk novel Queen of the Skies (Book One in the Steam & Mettle Series). This scene introduces two characters, Ripley Owen Hall, a security expert at the Ersatz Corporation, and James Moore. the biological father of our main character, Merritt Baxter.
Ascending the dimly lit stairs at a measured pace to the building’s third floor, Ripley Owen Hall entered his access code to the keypad on the wall next to the secure entrance. The pad lit up and gave its annoying buzz to acknowledge acceptance of the code, then the door lock automatically clicked open.
He entered the hallway which led to the Ersatz Corporation’s Scientific Division and followed a familiar set of turns down well-traveled corridors. He walked in long steady strides, his eyes taking in all the details as he moved. The automatic lights flickered on as his movement activated their sensors in the hallways. Traversing white-tiled floors past dull gray walls and deep brown wooden doors with frosted windows, he eventually reached a door with another code reader. After entering his code once more, he waited for another shrill but mercifully brief buzzing before the indicator light shifted from red to green. Then he proceeded into the New Projects room.
On its opposite end and facing away from Ripley was James Moore, lead technology developer for the New Amsterdam City branch of Ersatz. He was sitting in front of a wooden desk tilted at an angle to allow him to sketch his designs onto traditional 18-inch by 24-inch paper. With a generous head of curly red hair, James was of average height and somewhat stocky. He was so engrossed in his drawing that he hadn’t heard the door open.
“You know, James, there are these marvelous new things called ‘computers,’” Ripley remarked with a straight face and crisp British accent. “Why, you could toil away for hours and transmit your work electronically instead of confounding some poor technician who has to scan those behemoths you draw.”
“I’ve tried that, actually,” James answered in his Lancashire accent, swiveling around in his chair towards Ripley. He flashed a genuine grin. “The tech is sound. But I don’t feel inspired the same as putting pencil to paper. I’m probably just stubborn and old-fashioned.”
“Be that as it may, it is quite an ironic stance for someone of your position.”
James stood up and stretched, resulting in some little pops from his back and limbs. Ripley stood by patiently with his hands clasped behind his back. “I don’t think I’ve left that chair since I got here at five this morning,” James realized, seeing on the digital wall clock that it was nearly 8:00 a.m. “Care for some tea? I can make some.”
Ripley held up a hand flatly. “No, thank you. I had some earlier. How is ‘it’ coming along if I may ask?”
“It’s slow work, but promising,” James replied, slowly leaning his head to one side then the other. “I stand by my estimates of one to two weeks until completion of the design.”
“Excellent. I’ll pass that along to Mr. Stockton.”
James walked over to the adjoining break room which housed two vending machines, a refrigerator, coffee maker, and three microwave ovens. Next to the sink was an electric kettle and some boxes of various teas. James poured some sink water into the kettle and flicked a switch to start the brewing. Ripley thought he seemed to be in a reasonably good mood, if a little hurried in his actions.
“Do you like soccer?” James turned around and asked.
That puzzled Ripley. He considered the question a moment. He and James had been acquaintances for a decade now, and friends for about half that time. He realized that they had never discussed this topic. And it was a reasonable question.
“I’ve been known to watch a game or two, yes,” Ripley responded.
James nodded, pleased. “My nephew is playing with the Addingtons this Saturday. Want to attend?”
“I didn’t know you had a nephew of college age?”
“My sister is a few years older than me,” James replied, stroking the hairs in his trim, red beard. “Anyway, sound good?”
“Unless something else comes up, then yes.”
James acknowledged Ripley’s words with his eyes more than his smile. The brief furrowing of his brow made his slight disappointment clear without being provocative. Then he nodded again. “Occupational hazard, I suppose,” he added.
“Yes, sir,” Ripley acknowledged.
“Call or text me if ‘something else comes up’ then,” James said as he grabbed a mug from one of the cabinets near the sink.
Ripley turned to leave the room, his task accomplished. He heard the water boiling in the kettle before it clicked, signaling it was done. Leaving the New Projects room, he went back to the stairway and down to his office on the second floor. Once he heard the door close and its lock click behind him, he sat down at his desk and grabbed the phone. It rang twice before there was an answer.
“Stockton,” a middle-aged man answered in his deep, gravelly voice.
“Moore confirmed ‘it’ will be ready in one to two weeks as estimated.”
The other man harrumphed. “Good. Keep a close eye on him and make sure he has no distractions between now and then.”
“Keep me apprised,” Stockton concluded.
Stockton hung up abruptly as he always did. Ripley returned his receiver to the phone base and looked at the paper calendar hanging on the wall to his left. He sighed. “Looks like you won’t get to attend that game either, James.”
About the author
Allen Steadham is a nondenominational Christian. Happily interracially married since 1995 and the proud father of two sons and a daughter. He and his wife have been in the same Christian band since 1997. He plays electric bass, she plays strings, they both sing. It's all good.
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