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

RHR12Vote at the end of this episode!

In the previous episode, Zach went to World Council headquarters to talk with his future mother in-law, Helena, about who may want to have Merinda killed. Helena is none too pleased that Zach destroyed one of her drones along the way. (Of course the drone did try to kill Zach.) Readers voted that he respond to her questions with a snarky tone.

Episode 14

“I repeat Zachary, why did you destroy and reprogram World Council property?” my future mother in-law Helena demands as I dangle above her.

“Remember, don’t be snarky,” HARV says in my head. “Helena is a powerful woman and Electra’s mom…”

“I was bored. So for kicks I decided to destroy one of your drones and then free fall from it so your other two drones could catch me. I figure, bring some excitement to their boring drone existence,” I tell her.

Helena points to the top of the nets keeping me suspended in midair. “Cut him down,” she orders her guard bots.

One of the bots extends a claw like arm towards the net. The bot clips the net. I fall to the ground face first.

“Thanks,” I groan. “Of course, I would prefer you not have your drones try to kill me in the first place.”

Helena offers me her hand to help me back to my feet. “Please Zach, senior world council members only get so many sanctioned kills, I wouldn’t waste one of mine on you.”

Getting to my feet I look her in the eyes. “That being said, somebody wants me dead.”

“Zach, lots of people want you dead, but this isn’t about you,” Helena tells me.

“She has a very valid point,” HARV chimes in.

“I mean, somebody NEW wants me dead now that I am on the Merinda case.”

Helena points to the door that leads off the roof. “Now enough of this tomfoolery with drones. Let’s go to my office where we can talk in private…”

Helena leads me through the ornate halls of the World Council‘s headquarters. Looking down at the marble floors I say, “You certainly didn’t skimp when it came to this building.”

“We on the Council make important life and world-changing decisions all the time. It is important that we are comfortable. Studies show that comfortable people make better decisions,” Helena says.

“She’s right,” HARV agrees.

I glare at him.

I decide to walk the rest of the way in silence. After a few minutes Helena opens the door to her office. The office is more spacious than my house. The wooden desk that dominates the middle of the room is larger than a city hover bus and seems to have been carved out of a redwood tree.

“Nice place,” I say.

“Zach, I am the most popular politician in decades. My approval rating is well over 25.25 percent,” Helena says far more proudly than she should. “I deserve this office.”

Helena sits behind her desk and motions for me to sit across from her. I do. She runs her hand over a sensor on the desk. A dome lowers from the cathedral ceiling.

“So we can truly talk in private,” Helena says as the dome covers us.

Helena sits there with her back arched until the dome locks in place. Then, “Zach, I consider this meeting with Merinda very important. Building a relationship between Mars and Earth would be beneficial to both our worlds. But Zach, I am much more open-minded and free-thinking than my colleagues, hence my mass popularity and why…”

“Get to the point, please, Helena…”

Helena locks eyes with me. “If there was an attempt on Merinda’s life, it might have been sponsored by somebody here. I know a few council members who want to keep things status quo between Earth and Mars.”

“Can you tell me which of your cronies you suspect?” I ask. Vote below on what will happen next or if reading in email click Take our Poll.

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