“Hey, Captain, you gotta see this.”
Harry joined Scoop in the cargo hold and peered into one of the open crates–one of ten crates alien Ellen brought on board with her.
“Huh. What is it?”
“Hell if I know, Cap. Come over here.” Harry put Scoop in charge of security while Chen was away. ”
“See, Cap. All these other crates have these canisters. They’re marked with the letter “S” on ’em. Everyone of ’em. You know what I think, Cap? I think these canisters contain explosives and that thing in the first crate is the detonator.”
“Awful big detonator, Scoop. Did you try scanning the canisters?”
“Scanner can’t get through the canister…keeps comin’ up with an error.”
Harry walked over to the COMM panel and called Macbeth, ship’s engineer, to come to the cargo hold. Within minutes, Macbeth arrived, strolling towards them, as was his style. Harry asked him to take a look at the contents of the crates. He moved from the first crate to the last, scratching his unshaven chin.
“Looks like this thing in the first crate has something written on the side, Harry. There are small letters, “Sea Burn” and under that it says it’s manufactured in Radio Waves City on Vesalius. The “S” on the canisters could stand for sulfur. It’s my guess that this here is a device to extract and maybe even process sulfur.”
“In what form?” Harry’s knowledge of chemistry was pretty good and he could have kicked himself for not recognizing the symbol for sulfur.
“I think maybe, gas? It could be sulfuric acid. I don’t think there are rocks in the canisters, ’cause look at the recessed valve on the top of each one.”
“Makes sense, considering alien Ellen was on Geyser, where sulfur gas emissions and sulfuric acid pools are planet-wide. We certainly aren’t opening them up in the ship to find out.”
“Mac, you and Scoop go question Ellen. I need to find out where our indomitable pilot is taking us. Where did you put our passenger, Scoop?”
“I put her in maintenance locker-3. It’s empty. Nothin’ she can do there, Captain.”
On his way to the bridge Harry stopped at the kitchen for coffee. He found Pina busy slicing vegetables for dinner.
“Hi, Harry. No rest for the blessed. We’re having stew for dinner, with dumplings.” Harry was a big fan of Pina’s exceptional dumplings. Pina had been an Hegemony biologist and was now Enola Ranger’s medic.
“Well, Pina, is Ellen an alien, or does she have a screw loose?”
“She’s no alien. She does have a screw rattling around in her brain, I’m afraid. I did run blood tests on her and the genetic marker for Aristalkracy menses is active, as well as a few other anomalous DNA substitutions that could be the cause for declaring herself alien.”
“Or, this whole thing could be a scam to pirate my ship and what the hell is something menses?”
“Has to do with social class and female hormones, Harry. It’s….”
“Don’t wanna know. Thanks Pina. So, she is definitely human….”
“I didn’t say that, Harry. I said she’s not an alien.”
“Pina, what else is there? Is she a member of our species?”
“Well, yes, but individuals with mutations like hers feel like outsiders. Society often fails to acknowledge that viable mutations which help humans to be more successful is the stuff of evolution. Humans with unique survival skills threaten the status quo.”
“Like what, Pina? What kind of skills are we talking here?”
“Increased strength, agility and some other stuff associated with reproductive success.”
Back on the bridge, Harry found Goldie trying new nail colors while the ship was on auto pilot.
“Where are you taking my ship, Goldie?”
“Oh, no. Not there, Goldie….”
“Harry, the Oppenheimerstein twins always have a job for us. And, it’s a good place to drop off our passenger. It’s on a minor moon, orbiting a planet that has a Hege outpost. Her friends won’t want to go near the place.”
“Point taken. What did Aldo say about how long that ship’s systems would be disabled?”
“In the Cave. He’s working on an algorithm that will work like a charm when we’re being pursued. It will make Enola invisible to enemy scans.”
“Well, everything seems to be going smoothly.”
“Don’t say that, Harry. You’ll bring us bad luck.”
Suddenly, everything went black….
Inspiration Monday at Be Kind Rewrite starring Stephanie Orges
Prompts: Sea Burn, no rest for the blessed, The Fandom Menace, radio waves, Aristalkracy
Word Count : 700+
Thank you Stephanie Orges at Be Kind Rewrite for your tireless devotion to an inspirational challenge every Monday