By Kenneth Shumaker
Episode 018, Irreverent Green Runt
Written on January 26, 2018.
Part one published on Virily on February 13, 2018.
We now continue with Eren’s Challenge episode 018, ‘Irreverent Green Runt,’ on …
Lezmor 24 of 78
The room is gloomy though is smells of recently roast venison with thyme and spiced pepper potatoes. I sit in my soft padded cushion-chair in the living room listening to Es talk about Ambassador Viorio’s recent activities and his schedule for the next month.
As Viorio’s assistant, Es is well aware of the ambassador’s workings … or so she had believed.
Leaning forward, placing my hand on her knee I look into her eyes. “Everyone hides something … everyone lies about their life. You think Angel is telling us the truth? You think she trusts us? You know the Ambassador knows who I am and what I do. The question might be … does he know if I know he is the Trump? Likely the answer is … yes, he does. So, this has become a game of chess. I need to understand which chess pieces we are on this board. I really want to believe you were his pawn … placed in front of me as a distraction and that you really believe you’re on my side. But the question is, are you really a white pawn, or black? If you’re white, can we Queen you?”
With a sidelong glance at the dirty dishes on the kitchen counter, a tear trickles down her cheek. “I didn’t even know I was being used … you said you inspected and scanned the house three times after we returned yesterday … but you never said wha –”
My desk com rings with the incoming call tune of the repeat cycle of the first four bars of our national anthem.
“One moment, Es.”
Turning toward the com to give a clear voice, “Answer call.”
The device picks up the call, receiving, “Hello?”
“Good-day, Eren here.”
“Good-day, are you Eren Mallet?”
Tired of interruptions, I’m abrupt and firm. “Yes, I’m Mallet.”
“Hello, Master Mallet, I’m tax administrator Fesdeak from the Regional Gov Tax office. Do you have a moment?”
Sitting up straight, blinking twice, crinkling my brow, I turn to Es while squinting. “How may I help you?”
“Good! … Mr. Mallet, we need you to come downtown to the office as soon as reasonable. There has been an issue discovered with your taxes from 77. Discovered when a routine re-assessment was conducted. How soon can we expect you?”
My finger to my lips I stare at Es. I ponder this. “I’m free on my next work free six-day which is in five days. Will that work?”
Silence on the other end for an almost uncomfortably long minute. Then. “I’ll have to confer with my manager. We’ll be in touch. Are you sure that’s the earliest you can come down to the Gov Tax offices?”
Shivering, my spine twitches slightly. Avoiding clearing my throat, I reply. “Yes, unfortunately, our research project is at a delicate point in development. I’m unable to sneak away from my team and our work.”
Another uncomfortable minute of silence there is a quick, “Okay, good-bye Mr. Mallet. My manager will be in touch.”
“End call,” I call out.
The com clicks three sharp clicks of the termination of the call signal. I turn to Es. “Shit! It starts.”
She shrugs scrunching her brows as her eyes narrow while her sight is locked on mine and she gives a single slight head shake.
Standing, I walk to my liquor stash. Eyeing the thirty odd bottles of rum and liqueurs, then shrugging, I walk into the kitchen and pour a steaming mug of dark roast coffee.
I pace while thinking. Then after a few sips of the black coffee, I turn to Es. “You were asking what I found … to finish your question earlier. The house is absolutely clean of surveillance devices of any type. Which is odd, as when we left there were at least four, maybe five concealed in rooms. Someone swept the house clean while we were being married and on our honeymoon. It sends shivers down my spine … as I wonder how they’re monitoring us now.”
Clasping her hands tightly together, Es nods. “Tol?”
She stands and also starts to pace the room as well. A room in which a team of us could pace it is so large and sparsely furnished.
Stopping her mid-way across the room, I embrace her in a firm hug. “We’re in a game of death. The aim for us … is to play to survive the other three teams. Friends, with Angels as Captain. Gosimere Finger, with Viorio as Captain … and the Gov with Hean as a partner … with who we don’t yet know as their Captain. We need to find a way off this board together as a team … you and I. We only have each other. Are you with me?”
Her answer is a passionate kiss.
After a moment we back away. “We go to our respective places of work as expected, normally.” I utter confidently, yet my guts are churning.
Lezmor 25 of 78
Jill swears again, as Archy jerks violently yet a third time.
I look at the servo-actuator on his limb, then a grin spreads across my jaw. “We stop using mechanical hinge joints. Let’s use Ula’s idea of flexible thermal-electrical pneumatic plastic laminated joints. Let’s give those a try, using her idea she presented to the University in her paper. The one with the new multi-layered multi-materials joints.
Exasperated, Jill sighs and drops onto her chair. “Really? That’ll set us back a month and a couple hundred thousand credits.”
Ula injects from her seated position next to me. “Actually, they’ll cut costs by thirty-four percent and manufacture time by twelve percent.”
Eyes widening slightly, turning to Ula, Jill asks, “You serious? How efficient?”
“As I figure, in our preliminary trials, somewhere from thirteen to twenty-seven percent more efficient – depending on size and materials.
I nod to the two. “Make it happen.”
On my drive home I watch around me diligently, in particular, I watching the black four-door rover following me, as it is keeping three vehicles behind me all the way.
Parking in my garage, I lock up, exit and spot the vehicle two houses down. The widows of the rover are tinted a dark shade. I note that the plates are covered, so I’m unable to get a license ID.
They must have noticed that I have spotted them because they pull away from the curb and slowly drive by my place.
In the house, I hang my keys on the hook. “Hello?”
No answer except the ringing tone of an incoming call on my com.
“Answer call.” I utter, then say, “Good-day.”
“Good-day, Master Mallet?”
Grunting as I note the caller, I remove my shoes then move to sit in my padded cushion-chair. Sighing I nod once, then utter. “Of course, you know it is.”
The voice chuckles. “Master Mallet. Being as you never arranged to come into our Regional Tax Office for your 77 tax re-assessment interview, we must come see your records personally for inspection.”
Shaking my head, I grunt loudly yet again as Tol enters the living room.
He shrugs and gives a silent wave.
“Master Mallet when it comes to the Gov, we strive for efficiency. I’d like to confirm your records as soon as possible … will tomorrow work?”
“In the evening after work, I’ll agree.”
“I can work with that, but we’ll need to charge you fees for after-hours call out.” Drones the voice.
“Who am I talking with?” I enquire.
This ends this Eren’s Challenge episode 018 part one, ‘Irreverent Green Runt,’ written by, Kenneth Shumaker.
May the words stay with you!