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

ZNJRavenHairedRogue28Vote at the end of this episode!

In the previous episode, Zach is ready to go to Mars but will question Maxxx, Tezza and HAL50 on the way to get closer to the truth.

Episode 28

“So how long will the trip to Mars take?” I ask.

“Three days,” Merinda tells me.

“Yes, thanks to Mars’ advancement with the new ultra fusion propulsion systems we can make the trip far faster than Earthlings ever dreamed,” Tezza says beaming.

HARV appears between Tezza and me. I can tell from the look on HARV’s face he’s about to go into what I can only describe as “annoying professor mode”. Normally I am not a fan of being lectured to by HARV but I figured this would be interesting since I knew he was also going to lecture Tezza.

“The engines are actually not much larger than the engines that power hovers and land based vehicles yet they are much more powerful. For the first half of the trip we will accelerate to speeds that were only a sci fi writer’s pipe dream as little as forty years ago. Once we reach the halfway point the ship will slowly decelerate on its approach to Mars. Despite generating this massive amount of energy the engines are shielded by force fields preventing them from killing their passengers. I could give more details but I know those would be lost on most of you. I’m sure Zach is already confused,” HARV said in a dry monotone voice.

“True,” I say with a nod. “While I do enjoy driving my car I don’t have much of an idea on how it works. I just push the on button and go.”

“Yes,” HARV sighs. “In that respect Zach is a typical human. He is so reliant on science but doesn’t really understand it all that well.” HARV paused for a moment. “Zach is actually fairly knowledgeable in biology because he knows where to hit people to do the most damage, but biology is a softer science.”

“I’m also pretty good at psychology,” I note.

HARV snickers. “Please, that barely classifies as a science.”

Tezza steps forward to go face to face with HARV. “Yes that’s why we on Mars are different. We are beings that have been touched by science after all we all have bionics but we are also in tune with our natural artistic sides. Hence the reason we create such lovely goods and such amazing pieces of technology like our ship.”

“I’ll give you credit for the esoteric crafts,” HARV says. “With those types of goods, beauty and use is in the eye of the beholder. As for your ship, if it wasn’t for the Gladians you and the people of Earth would be much more restricted in your space travel. It’s really more of an accomplishment for interplanetary cooperation than Mars or Earth technology,” HARV says.

Tezza crosses her arms in defiance. “While the Gladians may have shared their engine designs with us the SRIP interface is all ours…”

HARV pauses for a moment. I know he is formulating his reply. “While a computer interface is of course needed I’ve been talking with the SRIP interface it doesn’t seem all that special to me. In fact, I think it is a bit slow and one dimensional. It really isn’t much different than the standard interface most Earthlings, as you call them, use to update their calendars and perform other trivial feats.”

Merinda, being the leader she is, sees where this was heading and steps forward. “While this debate is both educational and spirited I have called for the hotel’s hover to take us to the new Frisco spaceport. It will pick us up on the roof. I suggest we start to head there now.”

I know we have to get moving but it’s still no reason why HARV can’t poke Tezza a bit while we are moving. It could help expose any weaknesses. Of course it could also irk her off and cause her to clam up. Vote below on what will happen next or if reading in email click Take our Poll.

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One response

  1. I have a feeling something may yet happen that will result in Zach not going to Mars, although I certainly wouldn’t mind if he made the trip. I’d also like to learn more about humankind’s interactions with the Gladians, but that may be fodder for another story.

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