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In Which Catrina Gets Into Trouble

by on February 18, 2013

Last time in the Catrina Chronicles, our heroine Catrina and Thrud, the daughter of Thor, had been abruptly teleported from Earth onto the spaceship of Kilkenny Speed. Trapped as wafting consciousnesses in the spaceship’s memory banks, Catrina and Thrud have no idea that they’re warping rapidly towards a most unpleasant fate…

Kilkenny Speed took a moment to make sure his appearance was entirely proper. He adjusted his coat lapels, gave a final quick polish to his boots, and sent a cleaner-bot around the bridge one more time. It wouldn’t do to appear before the representatives of the Zarminna Community with an untidy bridge. Not that Kilkenny Speed wouldn’t want to appear before anyone with an untidy bridge, but the Community tended to be more obsessive then most about tidiness.

His computer chirped in warning, and a second later Kilkenny’s viewscreen filled with a lurching blue shape. He recognized the Beetlecruiser at once, but he didn’t falter. With utmost calm he hailed the imposing vessel. “This is Kilo-Sierra 2363, captain Kilkenny Speed, at your service. I have credentials granted me by President Mooverian II, and I am willing to transmit them-”

“Kzzzzkajrrrkzzkazzrraka!”

Kilkenny didn’t speak Zarminnan, and the aliens evidently didn’t speak English; fortunately, his computer came with a built-in translator. The letters raced in rapid subtitle across the screen. Kilkenny noted that the Zarminnans weren’t transmitting visually; that was a slight breach of etiquette, but he certainly wasn’t going to tell them that.

It seemed that Mooverian II had fallen victim to political turmoil and had been impeached. The new leader was Annizizinna the Third, a mutant ladybug with cybernetic enhancements. Fortunately, Annizizinna was willing to renew his contract. He was requested to transport Thrud to the Beetlecruiser without delay, whereupon he would receive his payment. Kilkenny coughed. “Erm, I am of course willing to do this. I did want to mention, however, that in the process of retrieving Thrud I also teleported an Earthling with her. I could handle her disposition myself; only I thought perhaps that since she seemed to be in some communication with Thrud, she might be of use to you.”

“Kzzzzzirrrzzzirk?”

“No, I haven’t interrogated her as of yet, so I don’t have an identification, but my computers did retrieve some biological data. I can transmit a picture if you’d like.”

“Kzz.”

Kilkenny typed in a few commands on the main command panel, and within seconds Catrina’s picture went winging across the communications channel. The captain expected that they would take no interest in her; he’d only asked because if he hadn’t, and she did turn out to be useful, the Zarminnans would be very upset that he hadn’t mentioned her. He prepared to transmit Thrud’s pattern from his computer to their ship when suddenly the channel exploded in a furious torment of Zarminnan.

“KZZZRAKKIRZAKKKAZIRK! J’clekc kzzirna Catrina zirrk! Rizkirrakkazir! Kzz!”

“Of course. As you say,” Kilkenny said. It didn’t take an empath to tell that the Earthling must have offended the Zarminnans very, very deeply. Not only did they want her transported to their ship immediately, but they wanted her secured, either knocked unconscious or tied up. This meant Kilkenny would have to materialize her, secure her, and then dematerialize her again for transport, which was a great deal of trouble for one Earthling who wasn’t supposed to be there anyway. But at least he was getting paid for it.

Catrina, meanwhile, had been doing some thinking while she was wafting about in the ship’s computer memory as a disembodied consciousness. She was beginning to wonder if she had been too hasty with Thrud. She seemed to get into fights with people all the time: Thrud, the bar patrons, the sheep army of Emtala, the citizens of New York City, zombie penguins, Susan…true, some of that was excusable, but still. If she hadn’t been fighting with Thrud, maybe they might not be in the predicament they were in now. Maybe she should try to find a better way. If she ever got materialized again, she would try to work with Thrud, not fight her, and together they would seek out Mlrning and rescue her love interest, in heroic unity and-oh, here she was, materializing. Excellent.

Kilkenny’s transporters weren’t quite top-of-the-line, and occasionally glitched, which explained why, when she fully materialized, she found herself carrying a hacksaw, a small basket of baby tomatoes, and a copy of the most issue of Reader’s Digest. Catrina didn’t know how she would use these things in her quest, but she swore she would: this was her day of redemption, after all, the day when she would make up to Thrud and resolve their differences, and together they would teach the world to sing in perfect-

*zi-plortch*

Baby tomatoes splattered across her shirt. Catrina gasped. She knew that sound. The last time she’d heard it, Susan was shooting her love interest (he got better). She whirled, to see Kilkenny Speed casually aiming his laser rifle at her. “Next time I shall not aim for the baby tomatoes,” he said, as matter-of-fact as if he were discussing the scores of the World Series. “Now then, please put down the hacksaw, the magazine, and your Sporksaber. I’m going to have to tranquilize you, you see, and I’d rather not have you trying to slice my arm off. I do apologize for the inconvenience.”

“I’m sorry, I never surrender to people who haven’t introduced themselves yet,” Catrina said. “Also people who teleport me without warning, because that’s just rude.”

Kilkenny shrugged. “It was regrettable. But you shouldn’t have been in Thrud’s transport radius. Also I might have transported you back where you were, but it seems the Zarminna Community would like to have a word with you. Apparently you assassinated one of their gods.”

“I beg your pardon?” Catrina said. “I think I would remember if I had ever killed a deity. It would’ve made a bit of an impression.”

“I did a bit of scanning while you were rematerializing,” Kilkenny said. “It seems last year you visited a planet called Citrisica Prime. Specifically, a bar on that planet known as the Q’rno Fl’arg’sporky. While there, you had a, shall we say, unpleasant encounter with some of the bar patrons. This seems to be a pattern with you.”

“Yes, well, I’ve decided to reform,” Catrina said. “No more bar fights. But I don’t see what these Zarminna people have to do with that; I didn’t even do anything. It was my first novel adventure, for heaven’s sake. I only blew up one alien: this Jell-O blob thing, and it was about to shoot me with a phaser, and…” Catrina turned pale. “Oh no. You don’t mean…that blob…”

“I’m afraid I do,” Kilkenny Speed said. “That blob of Jell-O was the primary god of the Zarminna Community. They experienced a bit of a faith crisis, as anyone might do when their god is blown up by an Earthling with a towel. Since then they’ve been sending out swarms of Beetlecruisers rampaging across the galaxy to find the person responsible. And now they have.”

Catrina hadn’t been introduced to the concept of the Prime Directive, but still, she might have agreed with its point just then. She couldn’t believe it. She’d only meant to defend herself; she had never meant to devastate a planet’s belief system and start a galactic war. Catrina closed her eyes, and let her Sporksaber fall from her hand and clatter noisily on the deck.

There was only one thing to do. The only right thing. She hoped Perry would understand.

“Captain,” she said in a quiet whisper, “you don’t have to tranquilize me. I’ll go quietly. Only….” and here her voice wavered, just a bit. “Would you mind getting a message back to Earth for me? I don’t know…I don’t know where Perry is, but you’ll probably find Ermingard there, or the elves. Could you tell them-”

“My apologies,” Kilkenny said, “but I can’t do that. I only carry messages if I’m paid. And I gather you won’t be in condition to be paying anyone at all.” Without another word he engaged the transport controls, and Catrina vanished from the ship. A few more keystrokes, and Thrud’s pattern disappeared from his memory banks, transferred to the Beetlecruiser. Seconds later a cargo of padamantium bars materialized in his hold. The Zarminna Community had kept its word. Kilkenny Speed powered up his thrusters and warped out of the Libra cluster, steadfastly refusing to think what the Community planned to do to Catrina. It wasn’t his affair.

This has been another exciting, if somewhat ominous, episode of the Catrina Chronicles. For previous episodes in Catrina’s current story arc, the quest for Mlrning (the Shovel of Thor!), go here. To read Catrina in Space, the aforementioned novel where Catrina blew up the Jell-O blob and had other adventures, go here. Thanks for reading!

 

 

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4 Comments
  1. Oh, no! Don’t surrender, Catrina, never surrender! Somehow I suspect it won’t keep her down, though.

    The baby tomatoes were a nice touch.

  2. Doesn’t Catrina always get into trouble?
    Isn’t that why we love her?

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