I am currently on blog vacation either at Disney or Editing my books. Here’s a fun little story following Hal the Sun Speaker. It’s the third in a series but completely stand alone.
Thank you for reading!
“Janet, I have bad news,” I said, suppressing a smile.
The woman, who looked perpetually eighteen, game me a puzzled look and said, “My instruments say differently. Did you piss off Suzie again?” She flicked back her long, straight black hair and narrowed her eyes at me.
“Nope. I was informed the old fashioned way, by watching the news vids.” I walked over to her and gave her the tablet I’d been watching. As I walked into the infirmary I took a good look around. Over the past few weeks she’d transformed it from a storage room for bandages and burn cream to a fully functioning lab and clinic.
“Not from…” she gestured at my head.
“Nope, Sol hasn’t told me about this one,” I replied. She meant my visions. I’m called the Sun-Speaker, prophet of Sol, and pain-in-the-ass by everyone who’s met me. The great entity that lives in our sun gives me glimpses of the future and certain powers, to make the system a better place.
“Ok,” she said, massaging one hand with the other absentmindedly. She did it out of habit; her arthritis was completely gone. I had to continuously remind myself that she was a septuagenarian. She may look half my age, but she was most certainly not. “Who’s saying you’re dead and is that a good thing?”
The only thing that gave away Suzie’s entrance was her laughter. She was the only person I’d ever met that could sneak up on me. “Hal being dead is good for the Church, the Venusian Empire, the Maidens of the Antichthon, and that’s just off the top of my head.”
Starring wide eyed at me, the Doctor said, “You sure know how to make enemies.” Her golden skin turned partially ashen.
“Having second thoughts, Doc?” Suzie asked smiling. We had saved Janet form assassination less than a month ago. The assassination arm of the Church of Sol, nasty jerks, has sent people to make sure that she shared her magic youth serum with only those that the Church deemed worthy. She then refused, destroyed her research, and took the last of the serum.
“No, not at all. I just…”
“Can’t understand why so many people want me dead? Me neither.” I tried to lighten the mood.
Picking up on what I was trying to do, Suzie said, “Must be your sparkling personality and nosiness. So you’re dead. Won’t that make things easier?”
“Maybe. Did you know they’re doing a large funeral on Venus?”
“No Hal, No!” Suzie could have been mistaken for speaking to a bad puppy.
“What? I need to find out who’d try to fake my death.”
“It’s a trap,” Suzie deadpanned.
“Yup. Isn’t it exciting?” Both women rolled their eyes. “I have the system’s best doctor and its deadliest assassin with me. What could possibly go wrong?” Suzie had chosen to leave the Maidens of the Antichthon when she discovered they’d killed her parents. They’d considered her compassion and honour as weaknesses, which worked out great for me.
“What’s the plan,” they asked in unison.
“That’s creepy,” I said, and Sol in his endless sense of irony decided to hit me with a vision. I woke up from the mental data-dump with sensors on my head laying on one of the infirmary beds.
“The human brain isn’t made for that type of interface. It’s killing him.” Janet sounded worried. The truth was she was right. I’d known for a decade or so that I was living on borrowed time. I’d outlived previous Sun-Speakers by at least five years. Most burned out or died by age thirty. I was quickly approaching forty and every time Sol gave me a new vision it hurt more and I forgot things. I wasn’t about to tell them, but my funeral would be the death of me.
“Fitting that we’re going to my funeral than?” I said my throat feeling dry.
“What did you see?” Suzie asked me.
“Sorry kids, I can’t tell you that.”
“We’re both older than you Hal, stop calling us kids.” Suzie didn’t like me holding back information, but she knew why I did it. The less they knew, the more I could control a situation, which meant we were more like to live through this.
“All I can say is that we need a mechanic on Callisto before we swing around to my funeral.”
“Wait, aren’t you wanted on Callisto?”