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.”

Read Last Part

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, 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

I’m sick but COFFEE!

Hello My Imaginary Friends,

I hope everyone enjoyed The Assassin. If you did, feel free to go read the first story in the series, Hal the Sun Speaker. I will write more in this universe.

Sick

Saturday I helped move a wonderful lady that gave me more Starbucks coffee than I can handle, which is great. Unfortunately my immune system finally gave up fighting against the bug that the Weditor had two weeks ago. So I’m sitting wrapped in a blanket in our basement library with the little electric fireplace going and a cup of amaretto Starbucks coffee. Oh the hardship! I’d be in complete bliss if the room would stop spinning and I didn’t want to rip out my hateful throat.

Everdome

I’ve been writing at a regular pace, other than this week, and I’m about to crack the 5 digits in word count. That might not seem like a lot to most of you but it’s the point where I decide if I’m going to keep writing or if I scrap a story.

So far I have 2 POV characters written and I’m enjoying the story. It feels a little slow but that’s just my enthusiasm to get to more action. The next planned POV character is a smartass thief and con artist. She should be fun to write. The last character is going to annoy me and I might drop him completely. He’s planned to be a computer jock with no outdoors skills and a huge ego. Maybe he won’t be that bad. I always feel guilty writing a jerk as a POV character.

Coffee

I’ve decided against buying a BBQ drum roaster. I’m worried the BBQ itself will affect the taste. I really like the smooth taste that the hot air machines give. I’m going to try and hack the machines to give a larger yield.

For those interested here are the flavours that I will have available at the next event, which looks like the 21st of March.

Previous Flavours

  • Cinnamon Dark Roast (Raktajino)
  • Chocolate Hazelnut Medium Roast (Davroast)
  • Butter Rum Light Roast (Spiked Coffee)

Altered Flavours

  • Banana Cream Light Roast (Minion Coffee previously Captain Jack Harkness)

New Flavours

  • Peanut Butter Medium Roast (Jabba the Peanut)
  • Mystery Flavour (Announced after some experimenting)

Bye

Ok. I need to lay back and read some comics. Hopefully I’ll feel ok tomorrow.

 

Stay healthy friends.

Éric

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