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

RHR08Vote at the end of this episode!

In the previous episode, Saturn, the dog from Mars that Zach and the team have tracked down, tells Zach that somebody tried to kill his “owner” Merinda.

Episode 8

The good news is, HARV, Carol and I have found Saturn and are now walking him back to Merinda: his “owner” or “boss” or “buddy” or whatever. The bad, or at least interesting news, is that it appears Saturn’s running away was a ploy to get us alone with him.

Did I hear you correctly?” I think to Saturn.

If you heard that somebody wants to kill my friend Merinda? Then yes,” Saturn thinks to me.

This is different,” Carol thinks to both of us.

What? What? What?” HARV complains in my brain. “I can’t hear anything from Saturn only you two…”

“Sorry HARV we’ll fill you in when we get more info,” I say. I turn my attention back to Saturn. “So, what makes you think somebody wants to kill Merinda?”

Saturn looks up at me from Carol’s arms. “On our trip here, as we were arriving I picked up a thought, a very angry thought, I AM GOING TO KILL MERINDA…”

“Are you sure?” I ask. “That’s a pretty serious allegation.”

Of course I’m sure!” Saturn thinks and whimpers. “I’m very attuned to people’s thoughts.”

“Then how come you can’t identify the thinker?” I prompt.

Saturn shakes his head and pants a little. I assume that’s his sign of frustration. It appears I have a knack for frustrating all sorts of mammals… “Mr. Johnson, as I am sure you have noticed, I am a dog. While I am a very advanced dog, one who hardly ever sniffs a butt, I still have trouble identifying or pinpointing stray thoughts from other species…”

“It is hard,” Carol chimes in in defense of Saturn. She pets him. Saturn starts wagging his tail.

Why would anybody want to harm Merinda?” I ask.

Humans can be quite petty and mean,” Saturn thinks to me.

While I still can’t pick up Saturn’s thoughts, I can read yours clearly,” HARV says. “It is my understanding that many on Mars do not want to improve their relationship with Earth.”

HARV, I’m relaying your thoughts to Saturn,” Carol thinks to all of us.

The electronic being is right. Many on Mars want things to stay exactly the way they are. They look at Earth as petty and corrupt and would do anything to stop us from having anything to do with you…” Saturn thinks.

I assume Carol relays those thoughts to HARV while I process the information. I can certainly believe that some Martians would not want to increase their ties to Earth. Mars Colony is officially only 23 years old yet they pride themselves on their independence. Of course, even though they are officially only 23 years old, I know the colony has been around longer as the Gladians have been keeping human clones on Mars for well over 50 years. The official Gladian line is they were helping Earth by keeping backup humans around just in case. So, you can’t blame Martians for being a little leery.

“How many others were on the flight here with you besides Merinda and Alicia?” I ask.

“There were three others, Maxxx who is Merinda’s bodyguard, Tezza her PR person and HAL50 her consultant…” HARV says.

“No pilot on the ship?” I ask.

“No pilot needed,” HARV says. “The ship is piloted by the SRIP: Smart Robot Intelligent Pilot system.”

“Okay, are the others still looking for you?” I ask Saturn.

Yes…” Vote below on what will happen next or if reading in email click Take our Poll.

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3 responses

  1. I’ve once again voted in the minority, but I have a sneaking suspicion you will get where you intend to go regardless of the outcome. And I think that is a good thing.

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