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.
My shuttle docked with a shudder, to the pompously named “Imperial High Cruiser Alpha One”. It would have been simpler for me, if they had let me dock in their main bay; however, I was considered bad luck.
Rotating my chair to look at my crew, I said, “Alright, this is Her Highness’ personal ship. Everyone, on your best behaviour.” As I looked around, I saw two pairs of rolling eyes. They knew that I was usually the one who didn’t behave.
“Hal, I know you’ve got a direct line to Sol and all, but shouldn’t we be trying to find the last heir of Mars?” Rose’s dark curly hair was in its usual tight bun and she was wearing her lab coat. Her normally pale white skin was red with frustration, emphasising her freckles.
She didn’t like the Venusians, even blamed them for the civil war on Mars, her home planet. She had told me that the only reason she stayed on the ship was to find the child. I could see she was expecting trouble. She only wore the lab coat when she thought one of us was going to be hurt.
“You’re right, Doc. And once I heal the Princess, I promise we’ll find the lost King,” She was worried. The infant King had been kidnapped and his whole family slaughtered.
Taking a deep breath, I left the pilot’s chair. I heard the high pitched hum of a blaster charging up. Turning to Sofia I said, “No blasters!” and before she could say anything I turned to Rose and said, “Unplug the warp generator from the navigational computer. It’ll look like we broke down. I’m expecting to have to stay around a little.”
Picking up the bag, Sofia didn’t let the subject drop, “This is the Venusian High Queen’s ship. No way in hell, am I going in there unarmed.”
I tried not to laugh. Ten years ago, when I was young and thought I was immortal, I picked a fight with her. I thought a petite cute blond bounty hunter wouldn’t be a challenge. She trounced me and didn’t spill a drop of her latte. She then decided I needed protection and said I had no common sense and pathetic combat skills.
“I don’t want to give them any chance to imprison us, dissect me, and torture you.”
Putting the blaster away with a longing look, she followed in step behind me. As I opened the airlock out of our ship I said, “Trust me, everything will be ok. This is an easy job. Get in, heal the Princess, and get out. No trouble and good pay.”
She snorted and said, “Hal, things never go to plan with you.” She looked back at Rose and tried to smile reassuringly. She was right of course. I had other plans beyond healing the Princess.
“Have faith, and it is Sun-Speaker while we’re on the ship,” I winked as I opened the airlock leading to the Venusian ship.
The ship’s décor lived up to the pomposity of its name. There were lush carpets of bright crimson, and black marbled walls with gold accents. The ship’s halls were wide enough for me to lie down, and I’m not a short man, the ceilings were easily twice my height and they had gold chandeliers. What kind of crazy designers decided to put chandeliers in a space ship? If the artificial gravity even hiccupped someone was going to hang themselves.
There was a stern-looking man waiting for us in the hall. He wore a non-descript suit that told me he was Royal Secret Security. That was a good sign. It meant the royals didn’t think we were a threat and weren’t going to make a big deal of my presence.
Most nobles went overboard when I visited, either with a full battalion of soldiers or worse reporters. I once visited Eros, and they had thrown a three day televised event in my honour. It was horrible! I’m not a fan of media attention. I was glad to see that the Venusian’s weren’t going for the same pomp.
“Speaker,” Suit said with a curt nod. I went to shake his hand and he turned around without saying anything. He then walked away down the hall. I shrugged, made a face at him, and followed. If he wasn’t going to talk, I’d just call him Suit.
The ship was one of the largest I’d ever been in. It must have been the size of a large city. After fifteen minutes of walking straight away from my shuttle, I assumed they’d docked us as far as possible from wherever we were going. I didn’t blame them. I’d park me as far as possible too, with my reputation for meddling.
“Does trouble follow the Sun-Speaker, or does the Sun-Speaker follow trouble?” was the headline a few weeks ago when I had left Pluto. Was it my fault that while I was purifying the Plutonian ocean, their stock market crashed? Of course not. Even if their water purifying industries went bankrupt. I was just doing what I was told. Sol tells me what to do and I do it. That’s what a Prophet does, that’s what this Prophet does.
Our path changed from the grand hallways to smaller hidden hallways. The servants’ corridors were still better than the main corridors on other ships I’d been on. I didn’t have to duck and there was enough room for me and Sofia to walk side by side. Eventually Suit stopped at a door.
He opened it and ushered us inside. I was expecting the throne room, or some sort of grand impressive ballroom, instead we were in a small nursery. The walls were papered with pink animals and the room was filled with baby things. It smelled of baby powder and something else. I had spent enough time with kids in the orphanage to know it was the smell of sickness.
Standing regally with her hands covered in baby poo was Gwinevere the Second, High Queen of Venus, Ruler of the inner planets and protector of Earth. In a casual dress of purple and gold, she looked just as beautiful as she had fifteen years ago. The lines on the sides of her eyes were deeper, as was the furrow of her brow. The wrinkles and lines only worked to emphasize her beauty.