Serial Saturday #2.22: Six Months Later

The gentle beep of her alarm woke Sarah up. She rolled over and stared up at her ceiling, trying to gather her thoughts. Coffee. I need coffee. It was going to be one hell of a day. With an audible groan, she sat up and then swung her legs over the edge of the bed, taking a deep breath. “Get. Up. It’s time… to… get...up.”

With another groan that turned into a yawn, she forced herself upright and padded across the plush carpeted floor to the bathroom. She shucked off her clothes and turned on the shower- this one had the option for water, but not wanting to be wasteful, she opted for a sonic shower. 


It had been six months and Sarah didn’t want to admit it to herself, but finally, she had given up the struggle inside her own head: she was the Director of the Malagasy Venusian Authority and she had the best job in the solar system.


A few minutes later, she emerged from her new apartment building and started heading up the avenue toward Antananarivo Tower, past the baobab trees, sipping her coffee and taking a quick bite of mofo gasy, mentally trying to think about what was on the agenda for the day ahead. As if it had heard her thoughts, her commpiece chirped in her ear. With an audible sigh, Sarah reached up and touched her ear.


“Sarah?”


“Andry, what’s up?”


“How close are you to work?” Andry asked.


“I’m walking up the avenue now,” Sarah took a sip of her coffee. “Why? Is there a crisis afoot? Don’t tell me there are problems already.”


“Maintenance-wise, all we’ve got is some dome repairs.”


“Tsaratanana?”


“Actually, no,” Andry admitted. “We seem to have that one under control. It’s Ankaratra this time.”


Sarah chuckled. “Get ahold of Inspector Rakoto, will you? I want to talk to her today whenever she’s got time.” Apparently, the smugglers have found another hatch… “How’s our shipping this morning?”


“That’s actually why I called,” Andry replied. “Apart from the usual shipping, some friends of yours docked early this morning.”


“The Enugu?”


“The very same,” Andry replied. “Captain Harcourt is waiting in your office with some friends.”


Sarah quickened her pace. “I’ll be there in five minutes.”


~~

Harcourt, Ema, a young woman, and a man she didn’t recognize were all waiting when she got to her office. With a smile, Ema stepped forward to embrace her in greeting. Harcourt shook her hand and contented himself with a taciturn, “You’re looking well.” Sarah made her way around the desk. “Sit, sit,” she gestured at the chairs in front of her desk. “If we don’t have enough chairs, I can get more.”


Ema laughed. “We’re fine, we’re fine.”


“You sure?”


“Very sure,” Harcourt reassured her.


Sarah set down her coffee and mofo gasy and settled herself at her desk before glancing up at the four of them expectantly. 


Ema stepped forward. “We wanted to come to you first because we figured you’d be pretty interested in what these two have to say.” She slipped an arm on the young woman’s shoulder. “This young woman’s name is Ruth and she’s got quite a story to tell you, but-” she nodded to the man and he stepped forward.


“I think my name is Steven Coney…” the man said, hesitantly. “Or at least it used to be.” He pulled a datapad out of his pocket and tapped on it. Then he handed it to Sarah, who stared down at the image. It was a speeder accident from the looks of it, on Mars. The wreckage was still billowing black smoke into the sky and the headline blared: “Speeder Crash Leaves Two Dead.” There was a picture of the victim. Sarah touched the picture to enlarge it and then glanced up.. The man grimaced at her reaction.


“I’m pretty sure I’m a dead man.”

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