As promised the previous day, Roderick resumed work and heard the rest of the grievances throughout the entire day. He took few breaks and was happy to be at the last case of the trip and was eager to get things settled quickly so that he wouldn’t have to stay another day. As much as he enjoyed the trips down, after a while he started to miss his condo in Capital City, which was located in the middle of Earth Colony Vega. Every time they came across a planet that looked and was very similar to Earth, it would be named after their home world out of respect to where all humans originate from. It was no where near as awesome or articulate as the original, but no one was allowed to reside on Earth unless they were born there. Those born off world could only move back to the mother planet if they passed as series of vigorous tests. The process took years and over ninety-five percent of all applicants were denied. Earth was a nice place to visit, but residence there was restricted to prevent another overpopulation event.
Roderick tried not to think of his condo as he heard the final case of the day. It was a dispute over cattle, as they couldn’t tell which belonged to the other whenever they mingled amongst one another. After hearing the two cattle farmers argue for well over twenty minutes, Roderick finally stepped in. “This is enough! I’m ready to rule against both of you and order all the cattle in contention slaughtered if you guys can’t come to a consensus!” The farmers were stunned by the statement. Neither knew what to say. “I’m going to be back in a month and if this isn’t settled back then, I’m having red meat for dinner every night for a week. Understood?”
They both nodded to signify their comprehension of the order. Roderick banged his gavel and the hearings were finally over. It had take over twelve hours to hear the rest of them out but it was finally done. “Warm up the engines and prepare for departure.”
“How long do you require for packing, Commander?”
“I’m already packed and I brought my bags to the courthouse with me.” Roderick replied. “I will be walking out of town in less than ten minutes.”
Roderick handed his paperwork to the clerks, grabbed his bags and then left the courthouse. While he was walking down the street towards the part of town that lead to the path to his ship, he was joined by someone quite familiar.
“You’re not coming with me to my ship.” He immediately declared.
“I know.” Emma answered. “Just to the edge of town.”
“How is your mom doing?” Roderick asked.
“She’s doing fine.” Emma answered. “Mom found an old artifact where you said it would be. How did you know that?”
“I have my secrets.” Roderick answered. “I need to keep a lot of what I do here hush hush or it might upset the locals.”
“I figured it has something to do with technology.” Emma answered. “Aren’t you afraid the Sheriff might try to take it away?”
“He can’t.” Roderick answered as he rolled up his sleeve to reveal a small screen and touch pad that had been surgically attached to his forearm. “He’d have to remove my arm to do that.”
“Wow.” Emma said as she looked at it, unfazed by the site of it. “What else on you is teched out?”
“I’ve already shown you too much.” Roderick said as the finally approached the edge of town. “This is the end of the line. I’ll be back in a few months. We’ll talk more then.”
“Can I be an officer of the Rocket Patrol one day?” Emma asked.
Roderick wouldn’t recommend this job to just anyone but he could tell there was courage behind those eyes. “Normally I would say no, but after seeing you around those Saber wolves, I can see you have the courage to possibly be one of us.”
“You really think so?” Emma said with a wide grin.
“You have to do well in school and study hard for the entrance exams.” Roderick replied. “But if you work hard, I think you have a good chance.”
Emma walked up and gave Roderick a soft hug. “Thanks again for your help, Commander.”
“I was happy to help.” Roderick said with a smile. “Take care and try to stay away from the wild animals out there, okay?”
Emma nodded. She then stood there and watched as the Commander of the Rocket Patrol walked out of town and down the path until he was out of sight. Emma was born with a new energy. She would become a member of the patrol one day and show everyone that she was strong and capable of doing anything any man in the galaxy could. She ran home to tell her mom what Roderick had told her about becoming a part of the Patrol. Her future had never looked so bright as it did that day.
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