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Heroine Smuggling

by on April 1, 2013

Last time, in the Catrina Chronicles, our heroine had just been found guilty of murdering an alien, sentence to be carried out forthwith. And now, the drama continues.

Catrina was not feeling very well. All that morning a queasy feeling had fluttered in her stomach, like a veritable butterfly of nausea. Of course, she had a logical explanation for this; she was about to be laser-rifled to death and then have her soul sent off to Character Hell. Even now she was standing in an open courtyard, tied to a gleaming metal post, as five snickering Zarminnan insect guards powered up their laser rifles. It would be enough to upset anyone’s appetite.

Sternly she admonished herself to buck up. She didn’t want to go out of this puking over her boots. She was going to face her death proudly, and die like a character should. She’d had some practice with getting killed off, after all; this time Catrina was going to go out in style. She looked up at the jeering insect crowd and the solemn clone judge who would give the order, and flashed a defiant smile.

“Does the prisoner have anything final to say?” the judge asked, after calling the crowd to silence.

Catrina was caught unprepared. She had assumed that she would just be laser-rifled and that would be the end of it. She hadn’t known she would be expected to give a speech.

Her brother Edmund, who had been gleefully watching the whole thing from the judge’s platform, chortled loudly. “Of course she doesn’t! She wouldn’t know an eloquent speech if it bit her on the nose! But if she’s not going to say anything, then I certainly will.” He smirked viciously. “Oh, Catrina, when your author abandoned me after the first episode, and you went on to have glorious adventures, I swore you would rue this day. Well, now you shall.” He paused, but her smile didn’t flicker. “Well? Go on! Start ruing! Rue, I say! Rue!”

“What do you think I am, a character from The Hunger Games?” Catrina shot back. “The only day I’m ruing is the one where I saved you from getting run over by that water buffalo! Remember? You said that farmer wouldn’t have one, and I said you should worry because everyone has a water buffalo, but did you listen to me? Nooooo! And I saved your butt from getting trampled! And I was only three! I should’ve let that water buffalo run right over you!”

“Well,” Edmund said, a little flustered, “You didn’t. And you certainly should rue that, because now I shall have my revenge!”

“A little melodramatic, much?”

Edmund sneered. “You want melodrama, sister? I’ll give you melodrama. Fire!”

Five laser rifles took aim at Catrina. She closed her eyes, hoping that it would be quick. Then she felt a sudden ripping sensation, like a napkin being torn up by a hyperactive child, and her eyes flew open as she realized what it was. Catrina had never much liked teleporters, but now as the execution square vanished into streaks of light, she had never appreciated technology more in her life. The space hamsters, she thought. They’ve rescued me. Thank heaven.

It seemed to take longer than usual. Catrina wondered if there had been some mistake. Her consciousness wafted about for nearly five minutes before the light surrounding her took solid form. She gasped. This wasn’t the Dangling Participle. This was the Kilo-Sierra 2363, the ship belonging to Kilkenny Speed, the very same mercenary that had tried to give her over to the Zarminnans! “What the-” Catrina started to exclaim.

“Hi-ya!” Krystelle said.  “How’s it goin’?”

“How’s it going?” Catrina repeated. “I’ve just been kidnapped for the second time in this story arc by the same mercenary who kidnapped me the first time. Also, I’m not feeling terribly well.”

“Sorry about that, but in your condition, ya gotta expect a little being sick in the mornin’, y’know,” Krystelle said sympathetically. “Anyway, ya weren’t kidnapped, ya got rescued!”

“Rescued?” Catrina said in disbelief.

“Yep!” Krystelle said proudly. “See, I figured you weren’t gonna get a fair shake in there, what with your brother being all mean and stuff, so I got my friend Smudge and we hired this Speed guy and he swooped in and did his teleportin’ thing, and here you are!”

“Smudge.”

“He’s a dwarf.” Krystelle leaned in conspiratorially. “We’re seein’ each other, but we ain’t made it Facebook-official, so keep it to yourself, okay?”

Catrina took a deep breath. She’d learned in her adventures to expect the unexpected. Being rescued by a rogue elf and her dwarvish boyfriend wasn’t really all that abnormal.

Just then there was a flash of blueish light in the transporter room, and Thrud materialized. “Odin’s pants, I am so glad you are safe!” she exclaimed. “You have no idea how distraught Tyr was when you were convicted.”

“Well, I do appreciate his defending me,” Catrina said. “Really, I do. And I hate to ask another favor, but since we’re talking about it, I don’t suppose you know where Mlrning is, do you?”

“The Shovel of Thor?” Thrud said. “Oh, of course. It is in our tool shed in Asgard. Where else do you think we would keep a shovel?”

“Excellent. That was a lot easier than I had expected. Might I borrow it?”

Thrud hesitated. “I would let you, and transport us to Asgard straightaway, but….I am afraid I cannot. I have received word that your brother is in a fury because of your escape. He has rallied the dark armies of Character Hell to hunt you down. He knows you were in Asgard before, and if we transport there openly and he learns of it, he will undoubtedly launch an attack. And if he does, he might very well bring about….” she paused dramatically…”Ragnarok.”

“Is that some sort of Norse heavy-metal band, or what?” Krystelle said, being woefully unfamiliar with Norse mythology.

“It is the end of all things.”

“Yes, and that would be unfortunate,” Catrina said. “So….what can we do? I’ve got to get that shovel, you see.”

“Why can’t we just sneak in?” Krystelle said. “People have snuck into Asgard before, yeah?”

Thrud took offense. “No one has breached the walls of Asgard and survived! Our defenses are impenetrable!” Then she considered. “That is, almost impenetrable. I have heard some rumors about Loki…although he does not exactly count….”

Catrina smiled her trademark half-smile. “So, it can be done. Perfect. That’s the plan, then. We’ll sneak into Asgard, get the shovel, and sneak right out again, and no one will be the wiser. Especially not my idiot brother.”

A worried look creased Thrud’s face. “We may have to ask for help in making our way in. And you may not like whom we must ask.”

“I’ll take anyone’s help, at this point,” Catrina assured her. “It’ll be fine.” Then something earlier in the scene struck her, and she rounded upon Krystelle. “What did you mean back when you said that someone in my condition should expect being sick in the morning? What condition?”

Krystelle looked confused. “Well, y’know, your condition. The way you are. The teleporter screen picked it up. You know, right?”

“No, I don’t,” Catrina said, even more confused than the elf.

“Y’know, you’re…” and Krystelle’s voice went into an exaggerated whisper. “With squirrel.”

Catrina struggled to understand the unfamiliar euphemism. Then her eyes grew wide as dinner plates as the full meaning hit her. “I’m WHAT?”

This has been another episode of the Catrina Chronicles. For previous episodes, go here. To buy Catrina’s first novel adventure in print or e-book form, go here. Thanks for reading!

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