By Kenneth Shumaker
Episode 024 Part one, Rose Press Commute
Written on March 16, 2018
Part one published on Virily on April 24, 2018.
We now continue with Eren’s Challenge episode 024, ‘Rose Press Commute,’ on …
Trondel 4 of 78
Damnit! My shirt is scorched!
I look at the iron which was supplied by the ship and at the white cloth covered ironing board protruding from the brilliant white cabin wall. I’ve been doing my own laundry for near thirty years, and I’ve never before seen or used such inept appliances. The damn heat of the iron won’t adjust. It’s like the controls aren’t connected.
Thinking back, I met the three goons on the shuffleboard deck last night.
Calling them goons is a light term for the three men I met. All the men were over 195 centimetres tall, none were lighter than a hundred-twenty-kilos, and they must have had a combined IQ and EQ both of 200 between the three of them.
They were definitely not a threat, nor were they the ones who actually could slip a note into my dinner jacket. So, they were obviously messengers for someone else.
Talking with the three I dug for who their ringleader is and found in a round-about way that they lead back to Angel’s Lieutenant Unhrah. She’s checking up on us and supplying some protection services to us. For a price of course, of a thousand credits a day.
I calculated how quick I could defeat the three if I took them on together. Going through four different scenarios, the longest I would take is just under three minutes without any help. Unless any of them has hidden talents or equipment?
I left the three with giving them orders to keep thirty feet away unless we’re under threat.
Now looking at the iron much more carefully, I notice that the factory manufacturing seams no longer match perfectly.
Setting the iron in the sink filled with water, I carefully unplug it.
Shaking my head, I try to get the incessant ringing in my ears out as I lay on the cabin’s floor.
I look up with blurred reddened vision through the swirling clouds of grey-black smoke at the charred, blackened walls around the sink and the shrapnel that ripped into the surroundings and embedded in the walls and ceiling. Then I gaze at the shattered vanity mirror.
Noticing motion, I turn my head painfully, I see Es run into the room but can’t hear her footsteps or even her talking to me.
Trying to reach up to her, to get up off the floor I note the fresh, bright red blood flowing from my hand with metal and plastic embedded into the flesh.
I let my hand fall back to the floor as I lose conscience again.
Waking for the fourth time in the near darkness I try talking again to call out. “… ‘ello …”
The light flicks on which nearly blinds me, I blinked multiple times.
“Whew … you made it! I thought for sure you were a goner, Master Eren.” A disembodied voice talks to me through the glaring light.
I croak, “water!”
“Of course! … yes! Here!”
A hand offers me a plasticup with a bent straw protruding from the top.
I sip the tepid refreshing liquid, but it burns in my throat as I swallow nearly causing me to retch.
Retracting the cup, the disembodied voice soothes me saying, “hold on … take it easy Eren. You were in a bomb explosion. Your throat, face and right hand are a mess. You’ll have difficulty with eating, drinking, swallowing and talking, unless we get you to a medical facility quickly.”
A door creaks open, and I recognize the gnoll voice. “We have facilities booked in the city for Master Eren. The Heli-car will arrive in three hours to take him and Ambassador Esmelda away.”
The first voice replies, “yes, of course, Master Tol. As you say.”
Trondel 9 of 78
‘Damn it! Not again! The friggin’ Reconscience!’ Coming to the full awareness from total nothingness!
I shiver and shake violently, no less than I did the first time. Feeling every pain and ache and the full conscious awareness as it happens suddenly as the techs reconscience me from the hibernative state of the full unconscious of their healing bioscience system.
Es wraps her arms around me as I try to sit up weakly.
Shivering I accept her embrace enjoying her warmth and her comfort as she offers soothing cooing to me as well as her occasional comforting words.
One of the three techs hands me a mug of warm milky bluish liquid. Hesitating with my weakly shaking hands, I reach out taking the mug and quaffing the entire milkshake’s contents. Almost instantly my nerves start to settle out.
The same tech then takes the empty mug, and the three medtechs leave the room to Es, Angel, Tol, Jut and me.
Leaning forward toward me, Angel blurts out, “bad luck of the draw! You had a bullseye on you, Amino! They hit dead centre. The media reports say you died from the blast. Jill has replaced you as manager at Trontal, I sent a representative to talk with her. As to your lease on your house, it was under a corporate entity, you still have use of your house.”
Looking the gnollfem directly in the eyes I say, “don’t give me your bullshit report! … the damn bomb was work of your three goons … you tried to off me yourself. You set it up to look like Unhrah’s work … in case the goons failed. But you warned me first, you duplicitous gnoll bitch. You wanted me to know what was going on so it would fail … but know it would happen. So, I could be claimed as dead! You were hoping I might survive … you may have been wondering if I was smart enough to catch on. That’s why Tol rescued me after the blast, and the Heli-car was already on its way before the bomb blew. Unhrah doesn’t give a whiffle’s shit if I survive a cruise. She wouldn’t send goons to swoon over me that are that obvious … or that stupid. You friggin know my new title, and you’re digging me out from it … but you failed my friend … she’ll know I survived.”
She grins, which sends me into belly shaking laughter, Angel watches me. Then lowering her lips, she asks, “you done ranting and pouting now?”
Huffing twice after the laughter settles down, I look her in the eyes again. Locked eye to eye, we’re dead serious as I utter, “for now, dog!”
She starts to grin then stops but still holding my eyes she utters, “I eat humans for less insults!”
I nod keeping eye lock, uttering, “I know! … why not me?”
She does grin again! Damn it, and my peripheral vision catches it. Bursting out in horrendous belly laughter. I can’t resist but to break eye contact.
She hands me a bouquet of yellow roses she had been keeping behind her back. “Because you’re smart and willing to learn and make sacrifices to accomplish goals. You meet deadlines. You have a weird sense of strong honour even leading you to accept being my honoured rival, as the Trump … I like you Amino. You’ve had a long commute through the rose press, but you’re no longer on the Amber Calendar, you’ve completed your end of the contracts assigned you. Es confirmed that Havar is backing off from Friend corporation now. There will be no more tax investigations. The Trump has been dealt with; though weirdly. You did what I asked you to do. But now you need help with this Omega! I owe you! So, I’m offering you our services!”
This ends this Eren’s Challenge episode 024 Part one …
May the words stay with you!