Serial Saturday #2.10: What Sarah Doesn't Know
As it turned out, Sarah had been hungry after all, so they had posted up in the galley and in between bites of Injinia's yam soup, her story had started to emerge little by little. Harcourt didn't quite know what to make of it. She was the Assistant Director of The Malagasy Venusian Authority. maybe you could consider her an upper-level bureaucrat, but she didn't seem like she was important enough to want dead.
"And that's when you picked us up," Sarah lifted the bowl to her lips and drained the last of the soup. "That was really good soup."
"Thank you," Injinia said from the corner of the galley. Little by little, the whole crew had migrated to the galley to hear Sarah tell her story. They were off the main trade routes, so only Kamara was on the bridge at the moment, manning the scopes and watching for any contacts in their flight path.
"That's one hell of a story," one the Canadians, Scottie, Harcourt thought- put in.
"It'd make a good song, don't you think?" Alan grinned.
"Please, no more guitars," Aboah groaned. The Canadians all chuckled at that.
"So, it seems like someone is trying to kill you, and then your Uncle whom you thought was dead just magically shows up and gives you a medallion?" Ema looked dubious.
"I told you," Sarah leaned back in her chair. "I didn't know what the medallion even was. We were in a hurry, he just sort of shoved it at me and I ran for the berth."
"You've never seen one of them before?" Harcourt interjected.
"No, never," Sarah said.
"That's not entirely out of the realm of possibilities," Aboah propped an elbow on the table and began to massage his temple. "My family has been here for generations and those medallions have just been stories to us."
The old grizzled man from the lifeboat, who had been leaning in the far corner of the galley, seemingly asleep suddenly began to laugh. He opened his eyes as they all turned to him. "She's an Earther. too fresh. Too new. She doesn't know."
"I've been here for nearly a year!" Sarah protested.
The old man laughed harder. "You know one city, Earther. Venus is a big place. Many rules. Many codes. You don't know what you don't know."
Then, all eyes turned to Harcourt.
"You're the Captain," Ema pointed out. "You should tell her."
Harcourt sighed. "Fine," he began. "I'm not that good at story-telling, but I'll do my best." He scratched his head for a moment. "Before Abeona, there wasn't much here. Just a bunch of research stations floating around in the sky. Abeona Station was the biggest settlement they had ever tried but when their balloons failed, it almost pulled the plug on all future settlements."
"Abernathy was one of Terra's richest men. Big fan of the first generation of space billionaires like Musk, Bezos, and Takahashi and he'd been waiting for a chance to make his mark and after Abeona failed, it was looking like Terra was about to pull out and leave it to the megacorporations to strip-mine." He caught Sarah's expression. "You know the basics, I see?" Sarah nodded.
"Well, what he did was cut a deal with the Jovian League, the Americans, and the Russians which lead to the-"
"The Treaty of..." Sarah hesitated.
"Ganymede," Harcourt finished. "Basically, the political and economic arrangements we have all stem from that Treaty a century ago. The Jovian League and the outer planets ship our ice and water. They get preferred trading status for atmospheric mining and we kept the limits of what they can take out to use. We shut out the mega-corps, Mars, Luna, and Abernathy put his anti-gravity technology out there for everyone to use and that made Venus what it is today."
Sarah looked amused. "None of what you just said is new. I could find it on any History Net."
"I told you I'm not good at story-telling, damn it," Harcourt shook his head. "All of that brings us to what Abernathhy did afterward. And that is new information."
Ema rolled her eyes. "Look, the guy's name is H.N. Abernathy, because the H.N. stands for Horatio Nelson. The man is obsessed with Nelson. The words on the medallion? Nelson's family motto. The code that we all talk about? That's his code. He wanted-" and here, her voice became mocking and grandiose. "To make sure the sailors of Venus would hold faith with each other before any foreign power."
Harcourt threw up his hands. "You told me to tell the story!"
"Then hurry up!"
"Okay, fine... basically, about ninety years ago, Abernathy vanished. Some say he took all his art and books and finest possessions and locked them up on an asteroid that he called the Hesperus Archive. No one has seen him sense, but there's a secret society here on Venus that supposedly does his bidding."
"And my Uncle in one of them?"
"So, who is trying to kill me?"
That, alas," Harcourt said. "We don't know."