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

ZNJRavenHairedRogue39-2Vote at the end of this episode!

Previously, Zach now is pretty sure Merinda’s ship SRIP is the member of her crew that threatened her…

Episode 39

Merinda kept her focus on me. “Zach, are you ready to head to Mars?” she repeats.

No way I was as eager to be blasted into space by an intelligent ship that I suspected wanted Merinda dead. Of course I didn’t want to tip my hand.

HARV, is everybody awake now?”

Yes, Zach, everybody is awake. They have been for a while.”

Carol, I need you to mentally reach out to ground control and have them ground this flight.”

“Madam Merinda!” SRIP says. “I would suggest we take off while the conditions are so perfect.”

“Well, Zach?” Merinda asks me.

“Ah, well,” I say as slowly as I can.A

“Well put,” Tezza says.

“Man, I hope we’re not paying this guy a lot,” Hal50 groans.

“I like Zach!” Maxxx adds.

Give me a nano,” Carol thinks back to me. She stands steady, in deep concentration. A wry smile creeps across her lips. “Done!”

Before I can say anything. SRIP informs us all, “This is most unfortunate. According to Earth ground control all flights are suspended until further notice. Apparently there is excess sunspot activity that could hamper some electronics.”

“Looks like we are Earthbound for a bit,” I say.

“Actually, our technology is far ahead of Earth’s when it comes to space travel,” SRIP says confidently. “I am sure I can blast off and navigate without any problems.”

“That’s true,” Tezza agrees. “We on Mars use space travel more than Earth so we are quite advanced.”

I shake my head. “No, I don’t think that’s such a good idea to blast off when Earth ground control says no. We certainly don’t want to start an interplanetary incident.”

Alicia takes a step forward. “Oh, I see what’s going on here.” She thrusts a finger at Carol. “He used the mind bending witch here to force ground control to keep us here.”

I shrug. “True,” I admit. “I am not overly anxious to be blasted into space, trapped in an enclosed area with a possible killer.”

“Figures he’d use the mind witch,” Tezza barks. “Psi’s and Martians just don’t get along.”

“Hence our trouble with the moon,” Maxxx notes.

I take note of that note.

“Mars and Moon relationships have nothing to do with this,” I say in my calmest voice.”Carol is a tool in my arsenal that I used…”

“What?” Carol says glaring at me, leaning towards me, her face turning red. “I’m just a tool!”

I hold up a hand to her. “Poor choice of words,” I acknowledge with a nod.

Carol relaxes her stance. Her face returns to its normal light golden brown color. Saturn jumps into her arms and gives her a reassuring lick. Yeah, I like that dog.

“So, you admit to manipulating the situation!” Hal50 says.

The good news is, I can be pretty certain SRIP doesn’t suspect that I suspect him. The bad news was I had just pretty much managed to get all of Merinda’s staff and crew angry with me.

HARV, any luck finding anything about SRIP’s programming?” I think.

Sorry, Zach. So far I have less than zilch….I can’t get any read on this computerI find it very upsetting.”

Just then it hit me. Maybe I had been going about this wrong? Maybe it was time to drop the façade and poke the e-tiger? Vote below on what will happen next or if reading in email click Take our Poll.

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One response

  1. Being called a mind witch and a tool in the same conversation; Carol must be wearing one of those “Kick Me” signs on her back today. I admire her restraint in not lashing out at anyone.

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