Serealities® Interactive Serial Fiction

The Raven Haired Rogue by John Zakour, Illustrated by John Dallaire

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In the previous episode, Zach had to decide how he wanted to try to contact Saturn, the lost dog from Mars.

27

Episode 6

“Okay,” I tell HARV and Carol. “Let’s not leave this to chance. We’ll draw Saturn to us…”

“That would be an excellent idea,” HARV says. “As long as you mean the dog not the planet.” He has a wry smile on his face.

“Yes, of course I mean the dog.”

HARV shakes his head. “I can never be sure with you. You have taken many blows to the cranium.”

Behind HARV I see Carol snickering. Yep, my team loves me.

“Here’s the plan,” I say pointing to HARV. “Broadcast in a frequency only dogs can hear, that today right outside the museum in the park, is an exhibit of the world’s biggest fire hydrant.”

I point to Carol. “You broadcast psionically the same message. Maybe toss in that vendors will be giving away dog treats.”

As we head towards the museum HARV says. “Do you really think this will work?”

I shrug. “It can’t hurt.”

“Unless Saturn gets angry that there is no giant fire hydrant and no dog treats and bites you in the butt,” HARV snickers.

“Yeah, I’ll have you project a holographic giant fire hydrant. That should make him happy enough to get a couple of tail wags.” I look at Carol. “Plus, change the dog treats to belly rubs.”

We walk for a few more minutes, all the while keeping our eyes or simulated eyes peeled, looking for Saturn. We don’t spot him, but the park’s museum soon comes into view. I know the museum here is well over a hundred years old but they renovate it every few decades. It’s a three level copper building that is meant to be modern and yet ordinary, like it just sprung up naturally amongst all the trees in the park. An observation tower shaped like an upside down pyramid accents the building. The tower was meant to look all new wavy when it was first added on to the building and thanks to today’s eclectic tastes in design it still looks fairly futuristic.

The quad leading to the museum has many sculptures dotting its landscape; we can take advantage of this.

“Okay HARV,” I say pointing to an open spot between sculptures of a giant apple and a rainbow. “That looks like a good place to project our world’s biggest fire hydrant.”

HARV nods in agreement.

A second later a man-sized orange and red fire hydrant appears in what was the open space. I know it’s only the image of a fire hydrant but it looks perfectly solid.

HARV smiles and puffs out his chest. “The quality is so fine due to my new patented solid light technology.”

“Good for you,” I say, patting him on the shoulder. I turn to Carol. “Are you broadcasting a come here message?”

“Yes,” Carol answers.

“If this doesn’t draw him out, he’s not in this park,” I say.

“It’s going to work,” Carol tells me, putting her hand to her forehead. “I can sense an intelligence that’s not human coming towards us.” Carol points towards some bushes that outline the quad area.

Sure enough, a long furry nose pops out from the bushes. A golden brown collie sticks his entire head out and sniffs around. The dog darts out from the protection of the bushes and scampers towards us. Saturn bounds across the field with the unbridled joy that only a dog can muster.

I smile. It’s nice when a case works out.

Suddenly, maybe 20 meters from us, Saturn drops to the ground, stopped dead in his tracks. My keen PI eye spots a tranq needle jutting out of his neck.

A bot hovers above him. “Unlicensed canine spotted and stopped.” A net pops out from the bot and telescopes towards the now out cold Saturn. “Offending animal to be detained.”

“You smiled too soon,” HARV tells me. “You managed to get Saturn captured by a DCB: a dog-catcher bot.”

“Yeah, he’s not captured yet,” I growl. Vote below on what will happen next or if reading in email click Take our Poll.

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