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

ZNJRavenHairedRogue29Vote at the end of this episode!

In the previous episode, Zach is planning on letting HARV grill Tezza a bit as they move to the roof to head to Mars.

Episode 29

Okay, I’m enjoying HARV’s mental grilling of Tezza, after all it was giving me insight into how Tezza thought . Insight as to if she might be capable of hurting Merinda. But I also knew it was time to start heading to Mars. When the suspects were in their more familiar environment I had a better chance of having them slip up.

“Merinda is right,” I say. “Let’s get to the roof. I’m anxious to see this space ship of yours. HARV please go into observation mode until further notice.”

HARV glares at me his forehead furrows to show his disdain. “As you wish,” he says as he disappears.

“Zach, you still want me to continue poking Tezza to see what I might stir up?” HARV asks.

“Sure, let’s just move and poke…” I think back. “Let’s wait until we get on the elevator until you go at her again.”

Turning to Carol I think to her. “Sorry you didn’t get a chance to go home and pack, chica…

I will be fine, tio,” she thinks back. “I am good at making due…”

That is true, for somebody who is so good looking, Carol was quite low maintenance. Yeah you wanted to stay on her good side so she wouldn’t wilt you with a glare but for the most part Carol was one of the steadier parts of my otherwise chaotic life.

Don’t worry Carol,” Saturn thinks to both of us. “Our ship has everything you will need.”

Merinda and her team are very organized it is not long until we are on the elevator heading up to the roof. Looking over Merinda and her crew I had to admit they all looked relaxed and seemed generally happy about heading back to Mars. Of course I wasn’t going to let that happiness last, at least not for Tezza, at least not right now.

Okay HARV, you can start your mental softening up of Tezza,” I think to him as we start gliding upwards.

No answer.

Zach, to HARV… Come on HARV this is what you do best, drive humans and near humans crazy…”

Still no answer, which was unusual to say the least. HARV almost always answers, even the times I don’t want him to answer.


Merinda must have noticed a look of concern on my face. She hands Saturn to Alicia and walks over to me.

“Zach, are you okay?” She asks touching me gently on the shoulder.

I hesitate for a nano then say, “I kind of expect HARV to be back.”

Tezza rolls her eyes. “I am so glad that annoying simulated human isn’t here. I don’t know how any of you can deal with him.”

“He is an acquired taste,” I say slowly, inching my head.

“I find him entertaining,” Maxxx says.

“I’m with Tezza I don’t like him,” HAL50 chimes in. “He gives machines a bad name.”

HARV where are you?” I think.

Tio, I can’t sense him either,” Carol thinks.

The numbers 000000000000000000000 flash across my eyes. The numbers change to 0101010101. Then they become 11111111111111111.

Then I see the message scroll across my eyes: Z A C H I A M U N D E R S O M E S O R T O F D E N I A L O F S E R V I C E A T T A C K.

This is something that doesn’t happen very often. It takes a pretty sophisticated attack to slow HARV down a fraction of a nano second. Though I like to think I can solve most crimes without HARV, I have to admit he is handy to have. The question is now, what’s the best way for me to get him back? Vote below on what will happen next or if reading in email click Take our Poll.

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