Ciamon of Chymar – Part 4

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3

When night fell, people returned to their huts for sleep. Ciamon found a place on the hill behind the fairgrounds where he could watch the humans. He learned nothing other than one of them must be a mage. In their tents they had light that didn’t flicker like fire but was constant. Only a mage could create that sort of light.

Wandering over the countryside his eyes fell on the ruins, as they always did. He blinked and could have sworn he saw light coming from it but when he tried to focus he couldn’t see it.

Sitting on the hill in the dark he must have fallen asleep. When he opened his eyes the tents were gone, as were the wagons, and the people. A quick look told him that the guards were gone too. Turning around to wake the guards and the village he came face to face with Aleenia. “They’ve taken the ancestors and they’re going to come back with the great serpent. We have to run.” She kissed him then for the first and last time before collapsing.

Carrying her back to her hut gave him time to think. The only way the guards would leave their post was if they were dead or dying. Since he hadn’t heard any alarms going off that meant four of the best guards in the village were dead. Worse, the humans had desecrated their dead and stolen their ancestors.

“Shaman, wake up. We need to evacuate the town.” He yelled entering the hut.

“What? Why is she out of her bed?” Being woken in the middle of the night made the shaman look older and she was.

“She came to me as I was sleeping. The Humans are gone, they’ve killed the guards, and taken the ancestors.”

“We must hunt them down.” She replied indignantly. It was the same emotion he had felt until Aleenia had told him that there were more coming.

“I agree they must pay but she said there were more of them and they were coming for the village. We must escape. I’ll take two hunters and try to reclaim the ancestors. You must get the village to safety.”

“I’ll take them…” He cut her off before she could tell him.

“No,” he said panicked, “It’s better if I don’t know. If I’m captured…” He trailed off.

For an instant it looked like she was going to argue with him. When she didn’t, he kissed Aleenia on the forehead and whispered, “I’ll find you.”

Choosing two hunters for what he had assumed was a suicide mission turned out to be more difficult than he had thought. He finally settled on two older men with no families. When he spoke to them, he could tell that they knew the reason they were chosen.

Once they were dressed in reinforced leathers and equipped with weapons, they headed out. The caravan of traders should have been easily tracked. They weren’t, and both of his companions asked Ciamon several times if he was sure of where he was going.

If it hadn’t been for his gift, Ciamon would have given up, but he could feel a pull towards the old ruins. They didn’t take the slower route that would lead them up a slow slope. Instead he took them straight up the small mountain that lead to the ruins. He hoped by taking a direct route they could catch up to the caravan.

Once they had reached the plateau of the mountain, Caimon looked back and could see the long train of people leaving the village. Before he could start wondering where they were going he turned his eyes back to the ruins.

Excitement rose inside him, he’d waited a long time to go to those ruins. As the excitement grew, so did the guilt. He wasn’t here to explore, he was going into a forbidden place to save his ancestors and his pack.

When they finally had the caravan in their sights, Ciamon bent over and whispered to one of the hunters, “I can feel the ancestors in that wagon. I’ll distract them and you sneak up and steal the wagon. Get back to the village and follow the others if you can. If not, go to the neighbouring village.”

“What about me?” asked the other hunter.

“You have the most important job…” With a sly smile, Ciamon paused before saying, “You get to save me when I get captured.” The two hunters laughed uncomfortably. It was well known that Ciamon wasn’t great at getting out of traps. He could easily find them and avoid them, but couldn’t seem to get out of them when he tried. Finding a way out was just a figure of speech unfortunately.

Motioning the hunter that would steal the carriage, Ciamon ran out with his spear in hand. He had a knife and a sword sheathed at this belt but he thought he’d make a bigger impression yelling and throwing a spear at one of those large barrels on one of the wagons.

Running out he let out a death howl that would have made the thunder lizards his father occasionally hunted, run in fear. The caravan stopped and several of the men pulled out small curved metal clubs. Ciamon threw the spear as hard as he could at one of the wagons that carried the goods. There was only one driver and no-one else he could accidently hit if he missed his target.

The spear flew straighter and harder than he’d expected. He watched with pride as it hit the barrel making a satisfying clink as it penetrated the metal. He didn’t have much time to celebrate before he heard a rumbling and the wagon was engulfed in flames. Ciamon was thrown backwards and landed on his back. As he stood up he could see a large chunk of metal sticking out of the ground next to him.

The wagon was on fire and the caravan was moving with a calm efficiency to put it out. They didn’t notice as the hunter knocked out the driver and stole the wagon containing the ancestors. To make sure they didn’t see, Ciamon stood up, and howled, almost falling from dizziness.

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Ciamon of Chymar – Part 3

Part 1 | Part 2

On the third day as he left her hut, Aleenia said, “Don’t trust him.”

It was the first odd thing she had said since she had made him memorise the words. He didn’t know who she meant but it didn’t take long for him to guess. Mid way in his training the village lookout let out a howl meaning that strangers were approaching.

As was the custom, he and three warriors walked out to greet the strangers. There seemed to be five of them, all human but of fairer skin than Ciamon had ever seen. Two people approached his group, one man with greasy hair and an older woman whose skin was almost as white as Aleenia’s.

“Hail Panos, we are travellers from a far off land with wares to trade.”

“Hail Human,” Ciamon replied putting a little too much emphasis on ‘human’. It was considered an insult to great someone by their race instead of their title or name. “What sort of wares could you have for a humble village, such as ourselves?”

“A little of everything.” The strange man replied with a crooked grin. There was something strange about his accent and something even stranger about his scent. He smelled of metal and oil. Ciamon saw that all five of them wore multiple pieces of stone as jewelry, something that the Panos considered gaudy and arrogant.

“You may display your wares here in the merchants square. I will inform the pack that you are here.”

“Thank you, but the sun is bright in this area and we don’t want our silks to fade. Could we set up next to the forest and the fields?” The field were on the other side of the town, surrounded by stone markers, indicating the final resting place of the tribe’s honoured dead. Their crystalized bodies gave off positive magics that helped grow food. To help the pack, even after death, was the greatest honour.

“You can set up here or move on.” Ciamon was being impatient and rude, but there was something not quite right with these Pale Humans.

As was his responsibility, Ciamon placed several guards at the fairground and then went from hut to hut telling his people that there were traders. He kept Aleenia’s hut for last. When he came in he saw the sadness in her mother’s eyes.

“There are traders in the fairgrounds,” He told her.

“I know. Aleenia has been prophesising in her sleep. They’re trouble…” the Shaman was interrupted by Aleenia’s yelling.

“They are buzzards feeding off a dead beast that doesn’t know it’s dead. They are only the first.” Aleenia stopped yelling and fell back into her deep sleep.

Both Ciamon and the Shaman shrugged, not understanding what Aleenia was trying to say. The Shaman had told him once that Seers didn’t go mad from their visions, but from trying to understand them. Aleenia had laughed at her mother then, but hadn’t laughed once her visions became more intense.

“I’ll double the guard on the humans,” he said as he stroked Aleenia’s fur.

The fairgrounds were filled with people when he returned. The humans had set up a dozen booths with everything from exotic food to weapons. He glanced at the weapons and weighed one of the swords. They had intricate metalwork but it wasn’t balanced properly having its centre of gravity near the end of the blade. His father had a blade crafted by a master Tamoran blacksmith. Every part of the blade flowed with attention to craft. This one was created to be pretty and felt cold and unloved.

The big draw for the village was exotic fried dough that strangers called a doughnut, and the clothing. Every stitch of the clothing was perfect and in a perfect line. An Elder pack woman said she’d never seen stiches so perfect and she had studied under a stitch-witch.

Having been with his father and mother at each fair, he knew there was something strange with these humans. Their wares were perfect, yet they cost half as much as other traders would charge. They also didn’t drink and moved with almost military precision. Ciamon was especially confused by the strange metal barrels that were attached to the side of the carts. They smelled strange but he couldn’t recognize the smell.

“How do you get your corn so large?” asked the leader of the pale humans. “Ours never grow more than half the size.”

Thankfully he hadn’t asked Ciamon and hadn’t been looking at him. The man’s voice made Ciamon’s hair puff like a jumpy pup.

The head farmer answered him in the traditional way, “Our crops grow due to the love of our ancestors.” Something inside Ciamon told him that this story shouldn’t be told to the pale man but it was a tradition that all the races knew about. What harm could come of it. “We bury the crystalized bodies of our dead around our gardens. Their souls nourish the earth and keep pests away.”

“Surely you must be kidding the markers are too close together. They can’t mark graves.”

“You must come from very far away mister,” said the farmer. “Don’t your people crystalize and shrink to the size of a large watermelon when they die? Or do you die like animals and let your corpses rot?”

“No no, we crystalize. We just don’t get as small.” The man was lying. It unsettled Ciamon, but if he were going to force them to go away he needed a better reason than being unsettled or a trader lying. Traders lied all the time.

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Ciamon of Chymar – Part 2

Part 1

Outside the Shaman’s tent Ciamon had been pacing since the moon was high in the sky. Now the sun was coming over the horizon and his father, leaving the tent, found him having worn a gash into the grass.

“She’s going to live, son,” his father told him. Ciamon held back tears of joy. He didn’t like crying in front of his father. He only nodded, not trusting his voice. Despite the good news, his father still looked sad. With a heavy sigh he said, “She needs medicine. The Shaman says there’s bleeding inside her head. I’m taking the hunting pack to get the medicine from Tamoran.” The trip between the village and the great city of the Tamoran Empire was dangerous and took a week each way. The city was outside the wall that encircled Chymar.

Putting his large paw on Ciamon’s shoulder, his father said, “I will make sure that she doesn’t become crystal.” Ciamon shuddered at the thought of seeing her turn to crystal, a process that happened to all six of the great races of Seidrheim. “You’re sixteen years old now and I expect that you’ll take care of our people.”

Never before had his father left him in charge. It was only ceremonial, as the Shaman would see to any important duties, but it was a show of respect and that his father saw him as a man. “I will do my best to honour you and our pack.”

“Enough of this, go see the girl. She asks for you.”

Walking quickly into the hut, Ciamon was worried that Aleenia would have changed. He had heard of seers going mad or forgetting things. “You found me.”

“Just like you knew I would,” he said stroking her arm. Her mother smiled at him and walked to another room in the hut. Neither of them wanted to talk about her illness and they spent hours speaking of everything else.

“Stop looking so worried,” she scolded him. “I have seen my death. It’s not in a bed and it’s certainly not so young. I have things to do.”

“You never remember that much detail. And sometimes you only see a metaphor not reality. You can’t truly know when you’re going to die. But thank you for trying to reassure me.”

Smiling she replied, “I know more than you think. I need you to remember something. Do you know the words to activate the tower?” The tower was a large pillar half way between the village and the ruins. Wizards from Tamoran had placed it there saying it could contact them if something came out of the ruins. Nothing ever had, but each shaman was told how to activate it.

“No, why?”

“I don’t know why, but you need to know. The words are, Haski Fra Utan.” She made him repeat them until he mastered the words. They were in a language he didn’t understand. She was very insistent that he not forget them.

Ciamon stayed with her until his father came to say goodbye. The two hugged and his father promised to be swift. He returned to her side as quickly as he could.

“Hello again,” she said looking at him. Her white eyes didn’t disconcert him the way they did others.

“Haski Fra Utan,” he replied, showing her he hadn’t forgotten.

“What does that mean?” She asked with a confused smile.

“You only ever told me the words, not what they mean…” he drifted off not sure what else to say.

“Oh, of course, yes. Just testing you.” She laughed awkwardly and changed the subject.

The following days he fell into a routine of waking up, dealing with village business as fast as he could, and then spending time with her before he had to teach the youngest pups how to hunt. The town business was normally small disputes or confusions.

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Ciamon of Chymar – Part 1

Hello my Imaginary Friends,

I’m neck deep in Editing, Formatting, and other deadlines, so you’re getting a story instead of my usual posts.

I wrote this story several years ago. It’s part of the same universe as The Little Dagger, and The Ruby Child.

Enjoy!

Read moreCiamon of Chymar – Part 1

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to my Funeral – Part 6 (Final)

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5

The transporter was set to drop me into the middle of the funerary celebrations. I had planned to land on the stage next to the priest giving my eulogy. I missed, even being a prophet isn’t fool-proof and I’m certainly more of a fool than I like to admit.

Instead of the stage, I materialized front and centre on the casket. Standing and looking over the crowds I said, “Closed casket was a good idea.”

The priest on the stage blanched, kneeled, and said, “But you’re supposed to be dead.”

“The reports of my death were exaggerated.” As I spoke, I looked around. We were in the anti-grav stadium, the only structure on Venus large enough to hold several million viewers. It was home to the Venusian Vultures, the greatest anti-grav team in the solar system. I’d snuck into more games here as a child than I could remember. I hadn’t seen the playing field this close since I’d first become Sun-Speaker. There were large thrones set up around the stage and casket for each Solar-Monarch. The Venusian Empire had two delegates, their king and queen. I nodded to their queen and my ex-best friends. The Martian thrones were empty and I shook my head. The independent Republic of the Asteroid belt had their president and her wife. The Jupiter Protectorate had their monarchs, and the Uranus Confederate had their current warlord. I did a double take when I saw that the Trans-Neptunian Parliament had sent two of its representatives. The androgynous TNP members nodded at me and were cheeky enough to wink at me.

The crowd had started to applaud quietly when I appeared. Unsure if they should be celebrating or booing. “Friends, Venusians, Countrymen,” some openings for speeches were classic for a reason, “I am alive and I have come here for an explanation. Why have I been declared dead when blood still rushes through my veins?” I paused, turning away from the crowd I spoke to the centre chairs holding the Venusians, “Why?” a few seconds and I repeated, “Why?” The crowd got the idea and soon I had near two million voices chanting with me. It was pretty amazing.

Rising from her chair, Gwindolyn, whom I’d always known as Gwin, the high Queen of Venus and protector of the inner planets lifted her hands silencing the crowd.

“Sun-Speaker, this is not a funeral, this is a trial. We knew your ego would force you to come and face us.” The casket sprouted arms and clasped itself to each of my limbs and my neck. You shouldn’t have come. You knew it was a trap. Gwin spoke to me in my mind, her limited telepathic powers and more than a decade with me allowed her that.

“What are the charges?” I demanded.

Sighing she said, “You are charged with impersonating a Sun-Speaker and abusing the holy rights of that office.”

Dramatically I threw my head back and laughed. “Did you need proof of my office?” I started collecting heat around me slowly preparing for a blast of pure energy.

All the delegates are shielded from heat based attacks.

I know Gwin but it’ll startle the smug little jerks.

“We all know you are powerful. That is not in question. The church of Sol has repealed your status and it is the opinion of this council that you are a fraud.”

“The only frauds I see on sitting on thrones,” I spat out the words with contempt. The crowd cheered, unfortunately they didn’t decide my fate.

“Your contempt for authority of all kinds is well documented.” The Venusian King laughed, sitting as if he were at a show and not a trial.

“Hal, formerly known as the Sun-Speaker, on the charge of impersonating a Sun-Speaker, how do you plead?”

“Not guilty, but you’ve already made up your minds.”

“Had you pleaded guilty we could have shown mercy. Since you deny the obvious, your sentence is immediate death.” I’m sorry Hal. I tried to stop them.

I know Gwin, I smiled up at her. Turning to the crowd I said, “I have acted as the Sun-Speaker for twenty-three glorious years. I regret only that I couldn’t do more.” I took off my official garb and revealed a simple Venusian’s peasants outfit. “Let me die as I was born, one of the nameless, faceless mass, of glorious Venusian people.” I paused. “You are the empire; you are its lifeblood, its strength, and its beauty. Long live the Venusian People. May they someday taste freedom.”

I heard the plasma gun a moment before the searing pain passed through my back and exposed my chest. In my last few moments of life I heard two-million voices rising up in anger chanting, “Freedom.”

***

When my eyes opened again I saw grey ceiling tiles and smelled antiseptic. “If this is the afterlife it needs more interior decorators.” My chest hurt, but when I looked down, the hole I’d seen was gone.

Standing around my bed, Janet, Suzie, Travis, Adric, and Caro smiled down at me. Even dead, they didn’t laugh at my jokes.

“You’re not dead Hal. I used my blood to synthesize more of my serum. You’ll live.” Janet, with the prophetic powers of Caro, had worked up a serum that could heal me.

“I was supposed to die. The revolution…”

“Is twice as strong with a martyr that rose from the grave in front of them,” Caro’s voice echoed in my head.

“What about Sol? Do I…” Sol interrupted me with a huge dump of information, but it only hurt a little. Nothing like it had before.

“Hal, your body reacted oddly to the serum, instead of making you younger it has boosted your natural healing ability to amazing levels.” Janet’s mouth was open.

Sitting up and feeling a phantom ache in my chest I said, “Since I’m not dead, we might as well do some good. Who’s up for saving the Venusian Royal family from an angry mob?”

 

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to my Funeral – Part 5

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4

I’m not a great man. I’m a glorified do-gooder with a soft spot for underdogs. I’ve made small changes and big changes. All of these have been at the orders of my God and Master Sol but they’ve all been for humanity.

When I die, a small group will mourn and a much larger group will celebrate. Ten years later I’ll be remembered fondly by some and forgotten by most. I’m ok with that. My closest friends will always remember me. They are a loyal, no I mean ridiculously loyal, group.

That’s why I needed to get them away from my funeral and death. If I gave them any chance to save me, they’d all die with me. I couldn’t stomach that idea.

“Where to next, boss?” asked Adric. He’d been on the ship for less than a day and he’d already made it twenty times more efficient and got rid of that annoying rattle in the life support.

“We need one last member of the crew to survive this.” I paused for dramatic effect and the coms bleeped. I pressed the button and a person with shoulder length purple hair appeared on the vid screens.

“Everyone,” I said. “This is Caro. They are the systems strongest telepath and precog.” They all looked from the androgynous figure on the screen and me. “Yes, they are stronger than I am. With the two of us, how could we possibly lose?”

Smiling, the ethereally attractive figure said, “Hal. You’ll have to pick me up on Eris.”

I don’t like this old friend. They spoke to me in my mind from over eighty astronomical units away.

You’ve seen what will happen if you save me. They’ll need your guidance. You’ve always been more careful and wise than me. I was buttering them up and they knew it.

Fine. I’ll do this because I know we will make a better solar system, but I don’t like it.

I know. Neither do I. Goodbye my friend. See you on the other side.

As we’d been speaking they had introduced themselves to the crew and given me coordinates to pick them up.

I must have looked as bad as I felt, for I felt Janet’s hand on my shoulder. I patted the hand and said, “I’m feeling tired. Been a long couple of days. I’ll take a nap. Travis, do you mind?”

“You must be feeling bad if you’re letting me take over.” Travis knew I was a little bit of a control freak.

Standing shakily, I headed to my room. When I’d turned the corner, Suzie walked up behind me and took my arm. “How bad is it?” she asked.

“Bad. One more episode will probably kill me.” I lied. I could have survived at least three more. I leaned on her for support.

“Why haven’t you told Janet?”

“She’ll want to use inhibiters to prevent my contact with Sol. It would save my life but I’d be utterly useless to everyone.”

“Do you really think you’d be useless?” she asked.

“I’m nothing without Sol,” I said, thinking of the boy I was before I became the Sun-Speaker, an orphaned street kid with more brains than sense. Compared to the crew I’d assembled, I was an intellectual dwarf, they didn’t need me.

We reached my room and Suzie let me down on my bunk a little harder than she should have. “You’re an idiot Hal. None of us give a damn about Sol or the messages he gives you. It’s you that we respect and…” she hesitated, trying to decide if she should say what she wanted to.

Reaching out a hand and caressing her cheek, I said what she was too proud to say, “I love you too.”

“Get some rest. We’re going to your funeral but I’d like you to stick around for a while.” She stood up and left.

Waiting until I was sure no one was going to interrupt me I changed into the official draperies of my office as Sun-Speaker and snuck down to the cargo hold. Once inside I went straight for the matter transporter and programmed my coordinates. The mathematical formulae needed to dissolve my form and reassemble it were extra tricky but I had Sol to help.

As I pressed the button, I whispered, “Goodbye, my friends.”

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A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to my Funeral – Part 4

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3

The forests of Mercury, through a twist of optics and evolution, were a bright pink colour. Unlike the green of Earth or the dark brown of Mars, you end up feeling pretty silly being terrified by bright pink trees. I knew nothing as going to kill us in the New-Black Forest, stupid name, but I was a city and spaceship kind of person. Walking the wilds of Mercury looking for a small town that shouldn’t exist wasn’t my idea of fun.

“Would you stop jumping at every twig and shadow?” Suzie was the only crew member to come with me. Janet didn’t want to be recognized and Adric said he needed to work on the ship. I knew what they really wanted to do, but I also knew it wasn’t going to happen for a few more years. They would take my death very hard.

“There are things everywhere on this planet that want to kill me.”

“We’re not on Earth. The biggest wildlife they have here are cats.”

“Did you know that cats will eat their owners if the owner dies? That means they want to kill me.”

“I’ve seen you stare down some of the most dangerous people in the system and you’re afraid of a cat?” Suzie rolled her eyes as we approached Green Lake. I really need to have a terse word with the person who named these things.

Green Lake was neither a lake nor green. In fact it was a small jungle town with a river running through it. The ground was brown and the trees were still pink. The native people, having absorbed millennia of radiation, were nearly completely black.

This semi-tropical area was considered ideal, especially by people who didn’t want to be found. We checked the bar first. Some things never change. The man I was looking for was an old friend and that’s why when I found him, his fist found my face.

“Nice to see you too, Travis.” I mumbled through a few napkins quickly filling with blood. His pale grey eyes almost glowed in their dark sockets. Suzie had her sword out and it sang with power.

“What do you want, Hal?”

“I need a pilot and I want the best.”

“Do you have any idea what they did to me in that Pirate Ship?” he looked at me with anger and I returned his look with my own. I knew every pain and every injustice that the Pirates had inflicted on him. I had experienced each second with him. I knew his pain as if it was my own.

“Yes. I know, and trust me, worse would have happened to you if I’d taken you with me.”

“How much does this job pay?” I could see his anger soften as he started to understand how intimately I understood his pain.

“It pays room, board, and a small salary. It also lets you pilot the greatest ship in the solar system.” Both he and Suzie laughed at that. When he laughed I could see through the pain that made him look much older than his forty years. “I’m not joking. I’m assembling the best crew and ship possible to go back to Venus.”

“What’s on Venus?” he asked.

“We’re going to my funeral.”

Another hearty chuckle and he replied, “I’m in!”

On the uncomfortable trek back to the ship, I hate nature, Suzie walked ahead and Travis walked next to me. He asked the question I didn’t want to answer, “You’re dying aren’t you?”

“Yep, but these visions aren’t going to kill me yet.”

“What will?” He looked at me and added, “You’re preparing a ship of people to continue your work. Aren’t you?”

“How did you know?” I said, sighing in fatigue. I always felt weak now.

“I was your captain for two years, I know you.”

“Sol let me know that I would die at my funeral, feels almost ironic.”

“Can we stop it?” he asked and it sent a shiver up my spine. My premonition told me that if anyone tried to stop my death, it would lead to terrible things. Empires falling terrible.

“No, and I don’t want you to try.”

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A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to my Funeral – Part 3

Part 1 | Part 2

“‘Hey Sunny’, please stand down and prepare for boarding,” an authoritative voice ordered and I snickered. It was the main reason I’d called my ship, “Hey Sunny.”

“You’re a dork,” Suzie laughed.

I made a gesture for them to be quiet and opened the communication channel, “Hey Gramps. This is Hal of the ‘Hey Sunny’ requesting permission to land on Callisto.”

“You’re dead?” asked the person on the other side. Looks like new of my death had spread quickly.

“Not last time I checked,” I replied, trying not to sound like I was laughing at him, and failing.

“Prepare for boarding. Lower your weapons.”

“Nope, not going to happen. I have complete diplomatic immunity.” It was one of the few perks of being the Sun-Speaker. Like all the other perks, it only worked occasionally.

“All immunities have been revoked due to your death.” I could hear the man on the other side chuckling.

I set the coms to receive only and Janet asked, “What now?”

“Short jump into a field on the planet.”

“No one has ever been stupid enough to attempt a jump onto a planet. If you’re off by a billionth of a calculation we’re embedded into the bedrock of the planet. Can’t we just use your teleporter?” Suzie sounded panicked.

“Sorry Suzie, using the teleporter would be messy this time.” Matter teleportation was highly experimental and teleporting living matter only worked once in a million times. Being a prophet meant I could make the odds a little better.

“Trust me,” I said reaching out and gently massaging her shoulder. “Everything will be fine, we’re too pretty to die.” I winked and activated the Alcubierre Drive, better known as the Jump Drive.

“Where’d they go?” The voice from one of the battleships asked and I cut the coms. We’d made perfect jump, more or less. We’d landed in a tall field of grass about a little closer to the city than I would have liked, but they didn’t really need that overpass did they?

“Hal? Is that your ship parked next to my house?” The coms picked up short range radio frequencies, and this one was coming from the building next to the ship.

“Hey Adric. How’s life?”

“You’d damn well know if you ever sent an email!” Adric didn’t sound amused.

“I’m a prophet. I know either way. I was just being polite. Are you coming or not?” The only answer I got was the hatch door opening and closing.

“We have several police and two fighters on their way to us, I hope you have a plan,” Suzie sounded like she wanted to throttle me. I think it’s the way she says she cares.

The controls told me that the engines needed a half hour to recover from the last jump and that Adric had closed the hatch door.

I turned my chair around and when Adric walked in, I stood up shakily. I gave the boy a big hug and said, “Welcome to the crew.” I let him go, the hug had given me the chance to check his health with my telepathic abilities and make sure he didn’t have any weapons.

“Adric, this is Suzie, security expert, and that’s Janet, medical prodigy. Ladies, this is Adric, mechanical and computer genius.” I introduced everyone and Suzie just scowled. Adric’s mouth gaped when he saw Janet and she had the nerve to blush. I hadn’t seen this coming.

“Adric, the engines need twenty five minutes before we can jump again, could you check and see if you can shave some time off that?”

“Sure boss!” he said semi sarcastically and winked at Janet.

When he’d left, Janet said, “He’s pretty.”

“Doc, he’s a fourth your age,” I warned.

“Only if you’re into the tall skinny pale underwear model type,” laughed Suzie ignoring me.

“I am I really am.” Janet also ignored me. I swear, I get no respect on this ship.

“Five minutes before the fighter’s on top of us.” Suzie said, getting back to business.

From the engine room, Adric said, “Nice stuff down here Hal. I can give you jump drive in ten minutes.”

“Do better. I’ll try to outrun them.”

“Same old Hal.” Adric laughed. I didn’t offer him a job, and he didn’t tell me what had happened to him. We both knew the other one knew.

I lifted the ship off the ground. “Don’t shoot down the fighters.”

“What? But they’re coming in hot!” Suzie didn’t sound happy.

“Trust me, you want these two to live,” The fighter pilots were going to be the great-great-great grandparents of the first human to make contact with an alien civilization which would change the way we see the universe and ourselves.

We took several hits on our way out but I eventually got us out of there. Our jump took us to Mercury.

“I thought the funeral was on Venus?” asked Janet.

“It is, but we need some repairs and I need to pay off an old debt.” It wasn’t a complete lie. The ship had a doctor, a weapons expert, and engineer, now it only needed a pilot.

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A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to my Funeral – Part 2

Part 1

“I’m sure they’ve forgotten all about that by now.” The two women gave me identical looks. I don’t think I’d ever told them what happened, but they apparently knew me well enough to know it was dramatic. I like dramatic; it’s fun.

Looking that the two women and giving my best dramatic sigh, I told them the story, “When I first discovered I was slowly dying, I didn’t take it well and decided to take a vacation. What better place than Callisto. It had soft sand, endless beaches and the grandest casinos in the system.

“While I was winning at the poker tables which had some of the best poker chips I’d ever seen, I swear I wasn’t using any telepathic or prophetic powers, I started chatting with the other players and discovered that the casinos were run by a syndicate of the organized crime variety. That got me exploring the less touristy areas and discovering that while the syndicate was making lot of money with the casinos and resorts, that money wasn’t coming anywhere near the locals.”

We walked towards the bridge and they both smiled knowing me enough to know I’d meddle. What can I say? I’m a meddler.

“Before I had much of a chance to snoop, they found me, stripped me and dumped me in less than mint condition on top of a landfill. As I lay naked on some really uncomfortable garbage, Sol decided to give me some extra information. I couldn’t do anything to incite a revolution and I couldn’t do anything to attack the syndicate directly. Doing that would end with them being stronger, or one of the empires claiming the planet.

“Obviously, I couldn’t leave things the way they were. Sol works in mysterious ways and that’s when I met Adric.

“Besides helping me out of the garbage pile and helping me find some decent quality if not smelly, clothing, he built me a mini computer to contact my ship. I was travelling alone at the time. I took the brilliant eight year old onto my ship, fed him and had a brilliant idea. What if the casinos and resorts belonged to the people of Callisto and not the Syndicate?

“From there, it was just a matter of hacking the Syndicate, the banks, the Inter-Solar monetary fund, and the Jupiter Alliance Protectorate.”

We all sat down at our designated posts. Me in the pilot chair, Janet on sensors, and Suzie on weapons.

“In one brilliant coup, Adric managed to make the syndicate broke and the people of Callisto rich. I made sure they were protected with heavy bribes to the Jupiter Protectorate and the Solar-Monetary fund.

“The next day’s stock market showed a marked increase in business to Callisto and they’ve been living happily, and profitably, ever since. The planet was filled with the well off and every tourist they encouraged to visit made them more money.

“After a long talk, Adric decided he’d rather stay on the planet and attend school. I may have helped him along by paying for a private education,” I finished.

“So why is there a warrant for your arrest on the planet then?” asked Suzie.

“People are afraid of power, and I had just rearranged a planets financial and political landscape in one brilliant move…” I drifted off knowing the women would figure it out.

“They were afraid that you’d do it again.” Janet shook her head.

“And they didn’t trust my benevolence. Isn’t this face trustworthy?”

“I’ve learned one thing in my long life, it’s that men as handsome as you are never trustworthy.” Janet said it with a gravitas that only fools and those who’ve lived long enough to gather true wisdom could pull off. It made me almost giggle. Bartenders on most worlds wouldn’t serve her anything with alcohol in it.

“Don’t tell him he’s handsome,” Suzie said, misinterpreting my smirk. “How he’ll be insufferable for days.”

As I had told them my story I had also calculated the jump that would put us in close orbit with Callisto. Sol had shown me that Adric needed help and I needed a mechanic, there was only so much I could do to keep this boat flying.

The ship’s panels started making panicked noises. “What did you do?” asked both women at the same time. Suzie sat down.

“It’s just three Jupiter Protectorate battleships. I’ll deal with it.”

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A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to my Funeral – Part 1

Hello,

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.

If you’d like you can read Hal the Sun Speaker, or The Assassin. If not continue after the cut.

Thank you for reading!

Read moreA Funny Thing Happened on the Way to my Funeral – Part 1