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Continue To The Next Chapter - Chapter 2

THE SECRET OF THE MARROT V

By ... Steve Lucky

CHAPTER ONE

TIME : July 21, 2014 3:53 A.M.
PLACE : The lower levels of the Marrot V

Everything was dark and quiet as it usually was in the lower levels at that time of night. A flashlight penetrated the darkness followed by a seconds. The two flashlights belonged to a pair of security guards searching for an elderly passenger who had been missing for several days. So far, they hadn't found anything, but their luck was about to change.

"Have you found anything?" the first security guard called out to the other.

"Not yet, but I think there might be something up ahead," responded the other.

The first security guard, whose name was Trever, outranked the second, whose name was Mevlin, only because he was Security Guard #1 and the other was Security Guard #2. In all other respects they were equal in rank taking orders only from the Security Officer, the Executive Officer, or the Captain. They had received many orders lately because of the mysterious disappearance of some of the passengers.

The lower levels were filled with out of place columns supporting the entire structure and old steel drums with who knows what inside. It would be very easy for someone to hide down there and not be found for days. However, this was not the case with the elderly passenger. Mevlin found his body a short time later.

He called Trever over for a closer look. Trever checked the body for that small part in him that refused to believe the man was dead. He gave a grim nod to Mevlin to tell him that other murder had indeed occurred.

"That's the third murder this week!" cried Mevlin in disgust.

"Take is easy," ordered Trever. "There's nothing you can do about it. None of us likes what's going on."

"But there is something I can do about it," Mevlin corrected. "I can find the murderer and wring his little neck."

"Let's split up and look for clues," Trever suggested removing his gun. "Be prepared for anything."

Mevlin had been eager to find the murder, but alone and in the dark he wasn't quite as sure. He remembered finding the first victim, a woman in her late forties, and how she had looked as if she were still alive except for the deformed shape of her head, just like the other two he had found later on. An autopsy revealed that her brain had exploded. It had been placed under too much heat and pressure.

Mevlin was horrified. He had heard about the powers Rinquin and his children had, but he never expected something as gross and deadly as exploding brains. There was a very powerful enemy somewhere on board the Marrot V.

His flashlight was his only comfort as Mevlin continued his search for anything that give away the murderer's indentity. He was suddenly startled by a noise off to his right. Gathering as much courage as he could muster, Mevlin went over to investigate.

Trever was searching elsewhere when he heard a loud scream. Instinctively, he pinpointed where the scream was coming from and ran in the appropiate direction as fast as he could go. When he got there, he found Mevlin's body. Smoke was still coming out of his head.

TIME : 5:30 A.M.
PLACE : The main conference room

The captain had called all major personnel to the conference room for an emergency meeting. She had heard Trever's report and was totally displeased with the results.

Vohanna was the first female captain of the Marrot V and she had been through several emergencies before, but none of them had been like this. According to Rinquin, someone had stolen the secret of hypo-psycotic powers and was using those powers against them. However, there was no way of telling who that person was unless they actually saw him do it and anyone who did that, like Mevlin might have, would never get to tell anyone else.

All major personnel were seated on either side of a long table with Vohanna at the head of the table. The table itself was over 650 years old and had been used on the original Marrot I. Some of their crisises were far greater than the one before them. Vohanna took some comfort in remembering how successful the Marrot personnel had been in dealing with previous crisises, but she knew that this was no picnic.

The captain told Trever to update the others on what had happened on the lower levels. They were shocked and saddened to hear that Mevlin was dead. His youthful spirit had been an inspiration to all of them and his death wasn't excepted easily.

"What did the autopsy reveal?" Vohanna asked her medical officer.

Strillan, the Medical Officer, was rapidly approaching his sixties. He had been on the Marrot V since it had first been built. He remembered how the Marrot V was ruthlessly attacked on her maiden voyage, but everything worked out in the end. He hoped that this attack from the inside would wind up the same way.

"Both victims died the same way as the two before them," he reported solemnly. "Their brains were fried inside their heads and exploded. The only way it could have happened is if someone with hypo-psycotic powers deliberately attacked them."

"So you are saying that they were murdered?" the captain wondered not because she wasn't sure, but because she wanted him to confirm it.

"Yes," stated Strillan. "It was definitely a homicide."

Vohanna turned to Tanbrook, the Security Officer. He had transfered to the Marrot V only recently, but had already proven himself useful by organizing the search parties. Under his guidance, the search parties had found the bodies in record time. However, his methods were currently being questioned after the death of Mevlin.

"Is the replacement ready?" she demanded in a nonhostile tone of voice.

Tanbrook gave a sigh of relief. He thought she was going to hold him responsible for Mevlin's death.

"Yes, captain," he replied obediently.

A young woman raised her hand to let the others know she was the new Security Guard #2. Her name was Cyrenna and she was enjoying her promotion.

"Reporting the duty," she declared enthusiasticly.

"I wish you were all that eager to help," Vohanna smiled.

She liked the new security guard. She reminded her of herself when she was that age. Vohanna let herself get distracted by the new security guard only for a few seconds. She turned to Grendlin, the Engineering Officer.

"How many of your staff have gone into the lower levels this week for any reason?" Vohanna questioned her.

"Only two," Grendlin answered. "That was only to make minor repairs on the ship's engines and they stayed with each other the entire time."

"I'd like to make a suggestion," interrupted Rinquin.

The others gave Rinquin their undivided attention. Even though Ringuin had retired and was no longer an official member of the crew, he was respected as much or more than the captain.

Rinquin had been Security Guard #1 on the Marrot IV while he was still in his teens. He enventually became First Officer under the command of Dr. Marcus. Unfortunately, the two of them were the last of their race. The original Marrot ships had come from the Quadnestine, an entirely different galaxy. The two of them knew that when they died, their race would become extinct and the secret of hypo-psycotic waves would be lost forever.

However, King Yotar I, the king of Triax at the time, would not let their mission die out. He order full cooperation on the construction of the Marrot V. People from all over the galaxy came to help build the new ship. It was the fastest large ship of its day and a symbol of hope to the Milky Way. The people of Triax became the passengers and crew of the Marrot V in the hopes of continuing the Quadnestine mission of exploring all parts of the Milky Way and eventually return to the Quadnestine.

There were no less than seven major attempts to steal the secret of hypo-psycotic waves in the first ten years of the Marrot V's history, however, none of them were as tragic as the final attempt. There wasn't as much bloodshed in that one as there had been in some of the previous attempts, but Dr. Marcus was killed fighting until the end to save the others.

Rinquin became captain as the last member of his race. He married and had two children, but his wife was from Triax. He was the last full-blooded Quadnestine in the Milky Way. The last member of the original mission.

A few years later, he decided to retire and start a family. He was currently fifty years old and had no regrets about his decision. He had been writing a book on the Quadnestine race which he felt was his duty as the last surviving member.

Out of politeness, he waited for Vohanna's approval before continuing with his suggestion. Vohanna knew this and was pleased that he respected her so much.

"What is it?" she responded so Rinquin could continue.

"We should contact M.W.G.D. and let them investigate. They are outsiders and won't be as likely to play favorites," Ringuin explained.

M.W.G.D. (Milky Way Galaxy Defense) was an organization established for the purpose of finding and arresting people who were considered to be a major threat to the galaxy. The Marrot V situation was a perfect case for them, but some of the others had their doubts.

"We have handled situations like this before without anyone's help," Strillan protested.

"Yes," agreed Vohanna. "but that was when the problem was from the outside, not when the murderer could be one of our own crew members."

The others looked at her in shock! She was accusing one of them of being a murderer. They all had their suspicions that it was one of them who was responsible for the deaths, but none of them would have said it so bluntly.

"It could have just as easily been a passenger," stated Drake, the First Officer, who had been unusually quiet until then.

He too thought it was one of them, but he wanted to keep them from accusing each other hastily.

The only ones in the room who had yet to speak were Marnia, the Science Officer, and Wentar, the Navigation Officer. Neither one of them had any reason to say anything and preferred to draw as little attention to themselves as possible.

Marnia came on board the Marrot V shortly after Rinquin retired. She was fascinated by what she had learned on the Marrot V and always wanted to learn more. She kept to herself most of the time, but she worked guite well with others when she had to.

Wentar was known for doing his own thing, much to the displeasure of the captain. He occasionally refused to follow standard dress regulations and would be thrown in the brig until he complied. However, when he wasn't fighting the system he was a very nice person to be around. The extreme change between the two moods kept the others guessing if he was friend or foe.

There was a long silence in the conference room. Drake's last statement went unchallenged. No one agreed or disagreed with it. They were all looking around the room as if to appoint somebody as the murder and be done with it. At last, Drake spoke again.

"I agree with Ringuin," he said quietly. "We should contact M.W.G.D.."

Vohanna had the authority to contact M.W.G.D. on her decision alone, but she preferred to be democratic.

"All those in favor of contacting M.W.G.D. say, 'Aye!'," commanded Vohanna.

A multitude spoke up.

"All those opposed say, 'No!'."

Strillan was alone in his opposition, but he at least wanted the others to hear his disapproval.

"The ayes have it," Vohanna declared. "This meeting is adjourned."

Everyone left the room to go back to bed except for Vohanna and Drake. The two of them walked out of the conference room together each knowing the other had something to say. Vohanna looked at Drake letting him know she wanted him to speak first.

"I just want you to know that I think you made the right decision," Drake encouraged.

Vohanna smiled. Her worries were about the crew's morale, but Drake let her know that the crew was behind her.

"I think you made the right decision too," she replied.

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