“Goldie? You still have the helm?”
“Sure, Captain. I’m flying blind, though. Want me to pull over to the curb? I can get my bearings from the starscape.”
Before Harry could answer, the power came back on. Harry hit the COMM panel and called Macbeth in the engine room.
“Mac? What the hell was that?”
“Wasn’t me, Cap. Look to your prodigal son who dwells in his post-pubescent man cave. I keep saying you should throw him back.”
“Mac, fish are thrown back, not a 17-year-old. Aldo has more than earned his keep on this ship.”
Before Mac could bring up the goldfish scandal–the weirdest thing the teen had ever been involved in–Harry terminated the conversation and headed for Aldo’s quarters. He read the sign on Aldo’s door: Knights of the Square Table and chuckled at the kid’s capacity for nonconformity. Thirty minutes later, Scoop and Mac were searching the ship for him. He wasn’t in his quarters and he failed to answer the COMM. Scoop finally found the kid gagged and tied in alien Ellen’s quarters and no sign of Ellen, who Scoop had locked up in a maintenance locker.Aldo admitted that he had been in Ellen’s quarters looking for any evidence that she could be alien, when Ellen suddenly appeared and overpowered him.
“How is it possible that little woman overpowered you, kid?”
“She was fast, Harry, and really strong. I haven’t got my man body yet so I couldn’t take her. I mean, I’m not an adult yet. I know I look like I’m maturing but I’m prematurely mature. Besides, she’s an alien….”
“Whoa, kid. According to Pina, Ellen’s human.”
“Yeah, Scoop? She’s an alien. I’m sure of it. Now she’s gone–probably to her friends’ ship. I put a chink in their ship’s systems but it was only a delay. I bet it’s been on our tail and teleported her and the crates. What I don’t get is how Enola’s systems didn’t detect that and no one on board noticed.”
“‘Cause it didn’t happen, Einstein. Ellen’s on this ship somewhere and I’m gonna’ find her….”
“Scoop, where do you think she hid all those crates…in a secret compartment? If you can find her then more power to you, Mr. Wizard.”
“You need to be taught to respect your elders, little man.”
“Okay, enough you two. Scoop, go ahead and search the ship again. Aldo, you check Enola’s systems for any leads….”
“Harry! Shuttle 2 is fired up and preparing to take off. I can’t shut it down, Harry. ”
“We’re on our way, Goldie. Aldo, stop that shuttle.”
Aldo pulled his handheld from his pocket and began tapping the screen. By the time Harry and Scoop reached the shuttle Aldo had locked the shuttle’s docking clamps. Ellen wasn’t going anywhere. Except, it wasn’t Ellen in the shuttle.
“Who the hell are you?” Harry and Scoop found a young man in the shuttle’s pilot’s seat. He didn’t look much older than Aldo. Without any opposition, the man allowed Scoop to handcuff him.
“This is crazy, Cap, how did he get on-board? You think the kid was right about teleporting?”
“Nope. He’s a stowaway, Scoop. He got on at Brimstone where we took on Ellen as a passenger. Now he’s trying to leave with the crates and Ellen. There’s one extra crate there. Check to see which one she’s in. Be careful. One other thing. You didn’t search this shuttle.”
I thought Macbeth did, Captain.”
“Okay. I guess there’s no harm done, this time.”
Ellen was found in one of the crates. The Enola Ranger landed on Vesta, a small moon dominated by women, orbiting a planet with an Hegemony outpost. The town of Wannaman was controlled by the Oppenheimerstein twins–an attractive pair always trying to get Harry to father their children. The twins had a couple of jobs for the Enola Ranger and her crew, which turned out to be quite profitable, and for Harry, quite pleasant.
Inspiration Monday: Goldfish Scandal
Prompts used: Starscape, Goldfish scandal, Knights of the square table,
Word Count: 657
Top photo from Resident Evil, but could be the Oppenheimerstein twins
Merci beaucoup to Stephanie Orges at Be Kind Rewrite for hosting Inspiration Monday. You’ll always be my Monday and my favorite Bounty Hunter and sometimes backup singer for Diana Ross.