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

ZNJRavenHairedRogue36Vote at the end of this episode!

Zach and Merinda searched Tezza’s room and found lots of stuffed animals; some of them had knives in them. That makes two crew members with knives hidden….

Episode 36

Showing the Garfield stuffed with a knife to Merinda I say, “You do realize this isn’t at all normal. Right? Or is this how you on Mars stuff your stuffed animals?”

Merinda shakes her head. “I told you Zach, that animal wasn’t made on Mars. Most of these weren’t. We don’t have the licensing rights. We on Mars are very strict about licensing rights. Very few of our people are lawyers. That is why we are such a happy planet…”

Sure enough, looking at a tag on the cat’s foot it clearly reads: MADE ON THE MOON. “How long have you had everybody asleep for?” I ask.

Merinda shrugs. “No idea. I have to admit this is the longest I’ve had everybody sleeping…why do you ask?”

“If we have time I figure I might as well check out Maxxx’s room.”

“You don’t need to search Tezza’s room more?” Merinda asks me.

I shake my head. “Nah, I don’t think I can find anything stranger than stuffed animals with knives in them… I figure I’ll check out Maxxx to see if he has any knives in his room. Since I’m sensing a theme here….”

Merinda walks over to a wall. “Maxxx’s room is connected to Tezza’s.” She touches the wall and a door appears.

“Isn’t that kind of odd?” I say.

Merinda shrugs, “they are technically brother and sister. So they like to be close to each other…”

Walking towards the door, I say, “Ah, aren’t you all are clones on Mars?”

Merinda places her palm on the door. It pops open. “Yes, we are clones. But there are many genetic lines. I’m from the 1616 line. They are from the 0808 line. Those of us from the same lines tend to be closer. It gives us a sense of family.”

“If you say so,” I tell her walking into the room connected to Tezza’s room.

This room is filled with weights, not today’s modern anti-grav weights but good old fashion metal weights. There are a couple of assorted punching bags and a trend mill and an old stationary bike.

“Ah, I thought this was Maxxx’s room not the gym,” I say walking towards a wall that has a row of pegs traversing it.

“This is Maxxx’s room. He likes to be in tiptop shape. He believes the old ways of training are the best.”

“Where does he sleep?” I ask, drawing closer to the wall with pegs. I figure it’s a climbing wall.

“He has a yoga mat he rolls out on the floor. Says its great for his back…”

Upon reaching the wall, a closer inspection reveals that each of the pegs is actually a knife handle imbedded into the wall.

Yep, it was now official; all of Merinda’s people have a thing for knives.

“So do you have knives in your room also?” I ask Merinda without looking at her.

I don’t get a response. Turning my attention away from the knives lining the wall I see Merinda squinting and holding her head.

“What’s wrong?” I ask her.

Merinda shakes her head, her eyes still not fully open. “I have this buzzing in my brain. I may be pushing my powers too much…”

I walk over to her and put a hand on her shoulder. “Maybe you should just wake everybody up now?”

“That won’t be necessary,” I hear the very familiar voice of Maxxx say behind me.

Turning I see Maxxx, Tezza, Alicia, Hal50 and Carol walking into the room. To complete the party, HARV appears.

“What the DOS has been going on?” HARV asks.

“Yeah, why are you in my room?” Maxxx asks.

“Why did you come from my room?” Tezza asks.

Glancing back at Merinda I think to her, “Hey, I thought everybody slept until you woke them…”

Merinda doesn’t answer me. She just leans her head forward pinching the ridge of her nose between two fingers.

Tio what are you thinking to Merinda?” Carol asks in my mind.

Maxxx, Tezza, Hal50 storm up to me while Alicia heads towards Merinda.

“Merinda are you okay?” Alicia asks.

Maxxx smashes a hand into a fist. “I repeat, what are you doing in my room?”

“Yeah and what happened to us?” Hal50 adds. Vote below on what will happen next or if reading in email click Take our Poll.

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2 responses

  1. This story exhibits poor gameplay. There doesn’t seem to be much in the way of consequences for our intrepid hero, based on the choices we make. In particular, you don’t foreshadow “this would be a bad choice” and give us some payoff for either choosing it or not choosing it.

    We’re playing an interactive story, you need to make our group choices count for something.

    It doesn’t need to be Game of Thrones style “hero will die at any turn”… but what you’re doing now feels a bit cheap. We choose, and he does, but there doesn’t really seem to be much about “you chose… poorly”. Which there should be, in a good story.

    Otherwise, enjoying the characters, and the one-dimensional interactions with the protagonist of Merinda’s crew are making me guess which one it is.

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