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

RHR10Vote at the end of this episode!

In the previous episode, Zach found Saturn the dog from Mars and is returning him to Merinda, the diplomat also from Mars. Before he does that, Zach’s mother in-law, a high-ranking Earth diplomat wants to talk to him and readers suggested he agree and pay her a visit.

 

Episode 10

I weigh Helena’s words. I need to get Saturn back to Merinda but I also figure it is in my best interest to at least hear Helena out.

“I’ll be there ASAP,” I tell Helena.

“Very well,” she says with a smile. “My drones will bring you here.” Before I have a chance to reply she pushes a button and her holographic image disappears.

The drones levitate over to me. “Are you ready, Mr. Johnson,” they ask.

Holding up a finger I tell them, “one minute, please.” I turn to Carol and hand her Saturn.

“Here, take Saturn to Merinda and stay by her side. Tell her not to call back any of her people yet. I don’t want them alone with her until I get back there.”

“Got it,” Carol says, taking Saturn into her arms.

I thank you for this,” Saturn thinks to me.

I pet him on the head. “Don’t thank me until I figure out who’s behind all this.” Looking up at the drones I say, “Okay, drones. I’m ready to roll.”

The drones just hover there.

“That means he’s ready to go,” HARV tells them.

The middle drone flies directly over me. “This won’t hurt a bit,” it reassures me. A net shoots out of the drone’s bottom part. The net engulfs me.

“Sweet, a nano net,” HARV says as the drone lifts me up into the air.

“Well this is kind of undignified,” I groan.

“Yeah but still not the worst way you’ve ever traveled,” HARV tells me.

Trying to get my mind off being dragged through the air in a drone’s net, I turn my attention back to the case.

“HARV I need you to coax the intelligent ship SRIP a bit more. See if we can get any clues.”

“I tried that once before and she was less than responsive.”

“Then be charming, HARV. Surely you can be charming.”

“Zach, I am not a human, therefore I have no ego for you to stroke, but I will try.”

We float through the air for a few more minutes. The shiny ivory tower that is the World Council building comes into view.

“Any luck, HARV?”

“Zach I am a highly sophisticated cognitive processor. I do not need luck.”

“Any progress?”

Silence.

“SRIP insists she is doing lots of really important work preparing for her flight back to Mars. She has the lives of her passengers to take into account first.”

So, no,” I think back.

Wipe that smug smile off your face Zach. I will get through to her.”

We are now over the roof of the World Council building and the drones have started their descent. At least the two drones beside us have. The one carrying me actually starts rising.

“Uh, what gives drone?” I ask.

“I am going to a greater height,” the drone tells me.

“Yeah, I see that, but why?”

“I want to reach a greater altitude to assure your death when I crash myself to the ground.”

Okay, kind of sorry I asked that.

“See, this is why you’re the last freelance PI on Earth,” HARV tells me. Vote below on what will happen next or if reading in email click Take our Poll.

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