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“All immunities have been revoked due to your death.”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

The Assassin Part 5

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4

A sword pressed against her throat, “I’d like to say that I wouldn’t enjoy this but I’ve been looking forward to killing you.” Samantha, the woman who had trained and raised her, had a twisted smile on her face and Helena, no, Suzie, believed she’d enjoy it. “You know what your problem was? You were always too concerned with honour and what was right. That’s why we had to make sure you believed you were only killing evil. You never would have understood the cause.”

Suzie didn’t need to fight back tears; the heat of her anger evaporated them. “Do you know what your problem has always been?” She asked Samantha. “You’re slow.” In a practised single motion, she pulled her sword out of its scabbard and swung it against the other woman’s blade, pushing it away.

“I trained you. I know every move you have; do you really think you can beat me?” Samantha screeched.

Taking her sword into a right handed grip, Suzie lunged and bashed at the other woman’s sword. The wild tactic had the right effect; it panicked her teacher into attacking.

As the older woman attacked they locked swords and Samantha pushed down on her blade the two blades moving closer to Suzie’s face. With only her right hand on the grip of her blade she didn’t stand a chance and the blades would get close enough for Samantha to slide her blade across and cut her head off like a giant pair of scissors.

It didn’t come to that. Suzie knew she couldn’t best the other woman with sword skills alone. Her left hand shot out to the other woman’s chest. The energy she channeled out of the suit was enough to stop the other woman’s heart.

There was a smell of ozone and burnt skin as she stood over her mentor and made sure of the kill, just as she’d been trained. Her suit shut down. She’d used up all the suit’s power.

Movement caught her eye from one of the computer terminals. Hal was sitting there with a copying drive.

“What are you doing here?” she said confused.

“Have you ever had a key and couldn’t find the door it belonged to?”

For the second time that day she felt used, “You knew everything didn’t you?”

Lifting a hand and pointing at himself he said, “Prophet with psychic abilities. Of course I knew. Nice trick with the AI and navigation computer. Good thing I don’t need them. Oh and thanks for not killing me.”

“I haven’t made up my mind on that yet,” she snarled.

The sound of several people running towards the vault caught her attention.

“We’ll I’ve got all the information I need,” he shook the small drive, “Are you going to kill me or come with me?”

“What does it matter? We’re going to have to fight our way out of here one way or another.”

“I have another way out. Make your choice.”

She dropped her sword, the symbol of the Maidens and all their lies and walked over to him. He reached behind him and pulled out a sword. Its hilt had ornate depictions of a sun, and despite being the size of a longsword it was lighter than even her old blade. He handed it to her and she said, “What’s this?”

“A present. I’m more a talking or blaster kind of person so I don’t need it. It’s mine. I’m just re-appropriating it.” That’s when she recognized it as one of the many relics she’d passed on the way in. “Now take my hand, this is going to hurt.”

She took his hand as the guards rushed in. The next instant she felt like someone was slicing her insides to pieces and then blending them. Her vision blurred and suddenly she was on his ship.

Her body convulsed and she threw up everything that was still in her stomach and then some extra. Somehow he’d managed to put a bucket under her before she started.

“A matter transporter. Are you insane?”

“I know, they’re dangerous and illegal. I only use them when I know they’ll work. One of the perks of being a prophet.”

He was quiet then as he expertly manoeuvred the ship. Once they had jumped a few times she remembered the tracker, “You have a tracker on you.”

“Yeah I figured. I did a full body scan when I woke up. It’s on a ship that’s going to explore the outer regions of system.”

“Good,” was the only thing she could think of saying.

“We’re in orbit around The Adonis. I can dock and drop you off. If that’s what you want?” The silence that followed his statement was heavy with emotion.

Everything she thought she knew was wrong and she needed to think things through. Going to her apartment on the ship would be stupid. The Maidens were certainly going to hunt her down. She still wasn’t sure she could fully trust him.

“Is the job offer still on the table?” she asked.

He gave her that smile and a small part of her twinged in pleasure. Internally she cursed her body, this wasn’t the time. “Of course it is!”

“My only condition is that you never lie to me and I get full access to what you recovered from the archives.”

His brow furrowed, “I won’t lie but I will withhold some information if I think it’s important for a mission or your survival. And absolutely full access to it and my personal database.” She nodded and he seemed pleased. “Welcome aboard Suzie. Now there’s a woman that’s just developed a cure for old age. The Maidens have already sent two assassins to kill her. What do you say we go save her life?”

His enthusiasm brought a smile to her face. Strapping her new sword to her belt, she nodded and sat down in the co-pilot seat.

The Assassin Part 4

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3

“Are you offering me a job?”

“I’d like to think of it as an adventure and a family and I have a few vacancies.”

“How can I trust you?”

“Oh you absolutely shouldn’t. Trust yourself. See that key on the desk,” he pointed at an antique looking key. The heads up display on her suit said it held an electronic signature.

“That’s a key to the Maiden’s vault. Rumoured to have the solar system’s greatest treasures and enough information to take down governments. It also has the only known supplies of Antichthon metal.”

“How did you? Never mind. You want us to break into the Maiden’s vault?”

“Give me a few minutes to freshen up and we’ll head out,” he started to push himself up. He was trying to act tough but she could see that he was weak, maybe even sick.

Sheathing her sword, she moved towards him and offered him her gloved hand. When he grasped it, she let enough electricity flow from her hand to shock him into unconsciousness.

“You’re cute but I need to do this on my own,” she said to his unconscious form.

Taking the key, she went to the bridge. The ship wasn’t large but had enough space for three to six people to live comfortably. At the bridge she disabled the AI and took out the ship’s auto navigating computer. He wouldn’t be able to move safely anywhere but the closest planet.  She hoped that by the time he woke up, she’d be done at the vault and back to kill him.

Heading back to her ship, she knew what she was doing was treason to the Maidens and if they found out they’d try to kill her. She smiled a toothy smile, they would try. This could be the challenge she’d been looking forward to.

It was traditional for her to return the ship to one of the satellite cover branches and be debriefed by the manager there. She wanted into that vault and knew the only way to do it was to visit the Antichthon base. The home of the Maidens.

The base was situated in the same orbit as Earth but it was always on the other side of the sun. This was the same location as the mythical planet Antichthon which gave its name to the Maidens and the special metal they used.

The base was shielded with the same technology that was in her suit and in her ship. It was nearly impossible to find unless you knew the secret sub-quantum frequency to contact the base with.

As she exited the ship, one of the heads of the Maidens was waiting for her, “You’re breaking protocol. You’d better have a good reason.”

“Hello to you too, and yes. The target had information that I thought would be important.”

“What kind of information?”

“Information that I will give in my official debriefing that isn’t in a public airlock,” Helena growled.

The woman blanched and said, “Of course. Come with me.”

As they got deeper into the compound she knew she’d only have one chance and grabbed her escort in a headlock. It took four seconds for the woman to fall unconscious onto the ground. By the time her body hit the carpeted hallway floor Helena had her helmet on and gone into stealth mode.

There were five separate locked doors before she reached the vaults. The key opened each one for her until she stood in a room that looked like a cavern. The walls looked like rough-hewn stone. Her suit told her it wasn’t, but that it was Antichthon. “It’s real,” she thought. This must have been the last remnants of the planet. It wasn’t a myth as everyone had told her.

Inside the stone in the center of the room was an impressive door. Her suit read out the security on the door and it blocked her view. She dismissed the information and put the key in the hole. She turned the key and the door opened.

She was not prepared for what was inside. It was less like an archive and more like a museum. Weapons and artifacts from history and some that had fallen out of history. What she was most interested was the non-networked computer terminal. She needed the key again to activate it, but once she was inside she had full access.

The first thing she looked into was her current job. It had the same file she’d received and a secondary one that had more information. The Sun Speaker had healed two children on the Venusian ship and the explosion hadn’t killed anyone, only wounded another.

The file clearly stated that he then took the Martian heir from the Venusians, just as he’d said. She looked into his file and he’d been categorised as a dangerous element. “Uncontrollable and obsessed with doing the right thing” Those didn’t sound like dangerous qualities to her.

From the moment she read the original mission, she’d assumed the Venusians were the clients. Looking now it said the client was the Church of Sol. The next thing she read made her gasp and she could have sworn she heard her world view shatter.

The file on the Church of Sol stated that the Maidens were the assassination arm of the church. She wasn’t raised and working for a group of assassins that killed for the greater good. She worked as part of a shadow group run by the church.

She heard footsteps and knew she’d been discovered, but she couldn’t stop looking at the files. She looked at her own file. The first part read, “Parents killed during operation Clean Slate.” The operation had meant to clear the Martian parliament of supporters to the crown. Her parents were collateral damage.

“I wish you wouldn’t have done this,” sighed Samantha next to her.

The last thing she read on the screen before turning to her mentor was, “Agent’s skills are dulled by compassion and honour. Not recommended for essential operations.”

Read Conclusion

The Assassin Part 2

Part 1

The mission was a simple find and illuminate. The subject was a psychic who had taken the mantel of Sun Speaker. It was the head position of the Church of Sol, one of the largest religions in the Galaxy. Normally the Sun Speaker would stay on Venus in the grand temple but this one was a rebel who thought he knew better than a few thousand years of tradition.

According to the briefing, he’d recently managed to blow up a part of the Venusian royal family’s mother ship, and was suspected of kidnapping the Martian infant king. There had been civil war for the past year that the infant was missing. Mars, her home planet, was in shambles. The target had just recently separated from two of his ruffian bodyguards and their intel said that he’d be alone hiding.

While on the Venusian Mother Ship, he’d been tagged with a tracer and her ship was programmed to follow. For the millionth time she thanked the creators of the automatic piloting systems. The calculations for jumping inside the solar system were so complicated only a few geniuses and the Psionic Clans could pilot them properly over long distances. If and when she needed to disable a ship she’d pull out the AI and the piloting systems.

It was odd that the information didn’t include a picture. She had no idea what he looked like, but he had to be the only one on the ship. Her instruments told her he was hiding in orbit of Ceres. It would take a little under a half hour for her to get there. Plenty of time for a power nap.

With the guidance computer taking care of the flying she lay back in the only pilot seat and dozed off.

She wasn’t sleeping long when the ship said, “You have arrived at your destination.” The ship’s voice was male with a deep rich tone and a Mercurian accent. She usually preferred a female voice in her ship; it felt more natural, but this was a nice way to wake up.

The ship hadn’t woken her up early enough and was just above the target’s ship. The Sun Speaker’s ship was an interesting mix of old and new parts. It had obviously seen more action than it had been designed for. Her sensors said that it was running cold, which meant all systems were off except life support. If she hadn’t had the exact coordinates she’d never have found it.

She snorted as she saw the name of the ship painted in bright yellow along the hull. It looked like it had been painted by a child.

She landed her ship on a nearby asteroid and attached her helmet. Another great feature of the suit was its ability to double as a space suit.

Once she left the ship she couldn’t see it anymore on the asteroid its stealth mode was impressive. She used the small navigational thrusters on her suit and made her way to his ship. She landed gently onto the airlock and took a small device and placed it on the airlock. The device hacked his ship and made it turn off all alarms and open the first airlock door.

Once inside she left her helmet next to the porthole and stealthily moved towards the crew cabins. There was only one heat signature on the ship and it had to be the Sun-Speaker.

His quarters were open and she moved towards him. He was lying shirtless on the bed with his back facing the door. He was surprisingly well toned for a clergyman. If he wasn’t asleep and had been armed he might have offered a challenge, as it was he’d be dead quickly.

As she entered the room he spoke, “Hello Helena, or  can I call you Suzie?” His voice sounded tired. She’d been in enough hospitals to recognize the sound of someone who was weak and sick.

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Hal the Sun Speaker – Part 5

Hello Imaginary Friends,

My wife and I have bought a house and are in the middle of moving and setting things up.

Since I don’t want to neglect you any more than I have, I’ll be posting a multi-part story. It was recently rejected by an anthology but I plan on resubmitting it.

I really like this story. Let me know what you think.

Enjoy!

Start Reading at Part 1

free-wonderful-space-sun-wallpaper_1920x1200_84536

 

Read moreHal the Sun Speaker – Part 5

Hal the Sun Speaker – Part 4

Hello Imaginary Friends,

My wife and I have bought a house and are in the middle of moving and setting things up.

Since I don’t want to neglect you any more than I have, I’ll be posting a multi-part story. It was recently rejected by an anthology but I plan on resubmitting it.

I really like this story. Let me know what you think.

Enjoy!

Start Reading at Part 1
sun-07

 

Read moreHal the Sun Speaker – Part 4