Prosperous: Chutes & Ladders

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Chapter 18

TRU AND ZALET ENTERED A ROOM WHICH HAD A TABLE BOLTED TO THE FLOOR and four chairs. The two sat together on one side of the table. The room had been a storage room once, but Merchant Raitor regulations required every ship to have a monitored interrogation room, so it had been renovated to accomadate. Tru loathed the room becuase it represented one of his duties that he wished he didn’t have: judge and jury for every prisoner he took on his ship. He didn’t feel a Merchant Raitor captain had the experience necessary be a just judge or jury.

“Zalet?” Tru said, looking at him.

“Yes?”

“Let me interogate him.”

Zalet looked at Tru. “Are you hoping your pyschic abilities will help find his wife?”

“Yes.”

Zalet looked at the table. He nodded slowly. “Very well, Captain.”

The two looked up when the door opened. This room was not equipped with a vanish-door because the door was required to have a manual lock override. Two guards came in with Anderson and sat him down across from the two. They stepped back, standing on either side of the former ambasador.

Tru leaned on the table, holding Anderson’s hard gaze.

“Yesterday morning you were prepared to kill a man, Anderson. This upsets me.”

He smirked. “You don’t have proof I was going to kill him. I was only caught with an unregistered weapon. Besides, I have immunity.”

“You knew that if you were caught that you wouldn’t have immunity on my ship. Cyne even pointed that out as you two plotted Tobbin’s murder at the 16th Hole Bar and Grill in Detroit.”

Anderson looked away as his jaw set.

“What I don’t understand is why you would risk your career to kill Tobbin. So he slept with your wife. My husband cheated on me, but I didn’t try to kill him or his lover over it.”

Out of the corner of his eyes, Tru saw Zalet glance at him.

Tru added, “Was that really a good reason to destroy your career?”

“She’s my wife!”

“Who you smacked around and shot in the leg.”

Anderson didn’t hide his surprise.

“Where did you take after you shot her, Anderson?” Tru asked. “Who was driving the car you had waiting for her?”

“How do… You’re bluffing. That’s not at all what happened.”

“But it is. Tell me where you took your wife”

Anderson looked away.

“You told Cyne you didn’t kill her, so where is she?”

He smiled at a memory. “She’s not dead. Yet.”

“Tell me what happened after you left the house.”

He smiled at Tru. “Do you really want to know?”

“Yes?”

“Come closer. I’ll tell you.”

“I can hear from here. Tell me where Melanie is.”

Again Anderson was shocked by Tru’s words. “How do you know her name? Did you fuck her too?”

“No.”

Anderson laughed. “Then how do you know her name, Captain Barnet?”

“Where is Melanie?”

“She was screaming like a lunatic. I know they’ll keep her there for a long time.”

Tru nodded, looking down. “Which psychiatric ward?”

Anderson leaned in, touching the table. Tru started, looking down at his hands. His eyes darted back and forth for a couple minutes and then he looked up at Anderson.

“Why did you order the doctors at Tokyo Mental Health to put her on such potent drugs, Anderson?”

“So you’re psychic and gay?” Anderson spat.

“Are you hoping the drugs will kill her?”

“I’m hoping she never comes out of that place sane! She deserves to be there!”

“In Tokyo Mental Health?”

“YES!” Anderson sat back, realizing what he’d just done. “I mean no. No. She’s not there.”

Tru looked down. “Guards, take him back to his cell.”

The guards led Anderson out of the room.

“You had a premonition when he touched the table, didn’t you?” Zalet asked Tru.

“Yes. For once I got one when I needed it. Excuse me, Zalet. I need to contact Admiral Larson.” Tru stood.

“Doctor Laresth asked me to speak to you.”

Tru stopped and looked back at him. He walked over to the keypad on the wall and turned off the recording.

“I suppose every Avinion aboard this ship knows about the readings I gave her?” Tru bitterly asked.

“No, Captain. The other Avinion aboard this ship are not trained in areas which would assist you. However, Doctor Lareshth and I contacted the Hashuk priesthood. It is believed that you receive formal training is imparitive.”

Tru stared at him. Hashuk priests and preistesses were known to have psychics abilities that exceeded anything most species possessed. An Avinion became a priest if they were chosen by the priesthood at birth, and very few were selected. But Tru had never heard of the priesthood selecting another species to train – in fact, he’d heard wars had begun because they refused to train this royalty or that dignetary. He also considered how most Avinion weren’t fond of Sileriums.

“Why are you offering to train me?”

“That is a good question, Captain Barnet.” Zalet stood and walked up to him.

Truman looked up into his purple eyes, suddenly feeling like a child.

“And a child is what you are, Truman,” Zalet quietly told him. “We have seen you using your abilities to help people, something we have never seen a Silerium do before. More importantly, if you do not learn to control these abilities, they will be the death of you and countless others.”

“What others? How?”

“Those are questions which you can answer yourself, once you understand how to use your gifts.”

“How can premonitions be so dangerous?”

“You are unable to read them properly, let alone retain them so you can see them coming later, and doing this will lead you in directions you should not go. That, with this ship that obeys only you, and the danger increases to a hundered fold.”

Tru slowly collected his thoughts. He chose his next words carefully. “This ship is a cargo and science vessel. How could it—”

“Captain, it would please me if you did not insult my gifts. Myself and the other Avinions are fully aware of the secret you have kept from the rest of the crew. We do not disagree with your decision to wait, and we will honor that choice.”

Tru stopped talking. There were certain secrets about his ship he didn’t want to bring into this discussion.

“What events would I, or this ship, be involved in?”

Zalet didn’t answer. And Tru knew asking again wouldn’t work. Avinion gave the same answer as many times as you asked the same question.

“And if I’m trained… This threat goes away?”

“This threat will never go away but with training, you will know what to expect, and make decisions based on the possible outcomes you’ve foreseen.”

Tru considered his options. He considered what he had been told. He nodded once. “When do we begin?”

“Tomorrow. Come to my quarters every other night at twenty-two hundred. Eat light. Rest as much as you can before coming.”

“Okay.”

Zalet left the room. Tru stood where he was, staring at the wall, unsure about what had just happened.

Captain, do you need anything? Gracie asked.

“No. I…” Tru turned to the door. “I’m good. Thanks for asking.” He walked out, heading for the Catacombs to clear his mind.


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