Mel Gilden herds gorths for a living. In his spare time, he writes imaginary stories about his life as a hyperspace captain. His books are available at libraries and bookstores.


My name is Buck Durston. These days, I travel all over the galaxy because I am a hypership captain. But when I was just a sprout, I lived in a town called Tuberville on an agricultural world called Just Dirt. Just Dirt was a nice place, actually. The part where my family lived was warm and fertile and very Earth-like.

The most intelligent natives on Just Dirt were called gorths, and they were about as smart as dogs. Each gorth was the size of a big bear, except it looked more like an elephant with two trunks.

My job was to herd the gorths. I'd sit on the back of the lead gorth with a trunk in each hand. If I pulled its right trunk, it would go left. And if I pulled its left trunk, it would go right. Generally, the gorths were pretty quiet, but if something frightened them, watch out! They could tear a cabin apart without even trying.

I was bored with my life in Tuberville. I was pretty sure that being a farmer was not for me. Even back then I wanted to be a hypership captain. I had holoposters all over my walls, biographies of famous hypership captains through history and models of their ships. My parents thought I was just going through a phase. Little did they know.

One day, I was watching my favorite show, "Space and Time," on the caster when a commercial I'd never seen before came on. It was so wonderful I could hardly believe it. Excitedly, I ran into the kitchen where my parents were entering accounts into the computer. "Mom! Dad!" I cried. "A hyperstormer named Capt. Speed is coming to Tuberville! Can I go up with him?"

Mom and Dad looked at each other as if I'd suggested we burn the crops and paint ourselves blue.

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