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JUL/AUG "You are my Fortune"


Arielle Teagan
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For Dewey the Silent!

****************

It was a warm summer night; my sister, Whistler, Whiny, Silent and I were sitting on the roof of our house watching stars and talking about the old Earth book we were discussing in school. Dangerous book… dangerous if you are 10 and your parents don’t have time for you as our parents didn’t have for us.

Worse, Whistler found some old map in one of thousand crates on their huge attic, which was one of our two most favorite dreaming places. Fortune map his granddad stored there. Years later we will learn about the map and its origin, but it’s another story.

“We need to make some dry rations for everyone.” Said my sister and Whistler added almost sounding offended. “Why? We have replicator on the yacht.”

Whistler’s parents were traders and he was crucial part of the adventure, otherwise my sister would most probably kick him from our little team long ago, especially since she didn’t like Whiny, his sneaky and silent sister who was always *against*. It didn’t matter who proposed whatever nor was it accepted by everyone else, she was always against it!

For the first time she didn’t even try to oppose the adventure. Moreover she pulled her brother, even before my sister could say something. “You can’t take replicator to the raft. We need some food for that part of our travel.”

Watching his sister surprised, Whistler concluded. “Everyone get enough of your own clothes and food and bring them to the warehouse tomorrow evening. We’ll leaving Friday afternoon when guests start arriving to our estate. That’s best time because everyone will expect us to be in our room and nobody will check on us for a long time. Since your parents...” He turned to face sister and me. “…are guests, too I expect it’s best for the two of you, too.”

It was more than best time because supersmart sis made sure it is. Mentioning how bored everyone will be she managed to gather everyone in our house. Since we had that *party* agreed upon by our parents, even Silent’s folks let him sleep at our place, despite our parents will not be there.

So we boarded SS Black Rose, named that for Whistler’s mom whose naturally dark black hair made beautiful woman look classy and dashing. Even we boys watched her with awe…. aaah.

Back to our crazy adventure, shall we?

It was Friday evening, dawn was making shadows long and despite our hearts were bumping strong in our throats we left the house where we left the music maybe just a tad too loud, set to die at 1:30 in the morning with lights turning off half an hour later and sneaked toward the warehouse and a Black Rose.

With a first stars of the night we started the engines and flew into Space and a magic adventure. First problem occurred when flight control wanted to know where we’re heading, but sis was smart again and with a feminine chuckle explained. “Me and hubby just want a bit of privacy while our guests have fun.”

Cold and annoyed… “Understood ma’am, see you soon. Will log it that way.” …made us exhale for the first time since they contacted us. Next problem was making the ship go into warp, what it refused till we left the system.

It was not all, ship’s computer also wanted to know where to jump. “Stupid thing.” So we gave him that treasure map which he analyzed for far too long for us to like. But in the end he found it. If you think he went into warp, you’re wrong. Stupid computer now wanted to know how fast to go and how many jumps.

“One jump, maximum warp, you moron.” Whistler was on the edge, constantly expecting one of his parent’s ships to appear and stop our search for fortune.

Yes, we all wanted to see new things and experience adventure we dreamed of on the roof reading Tom Sawyer adventures, but Whistler, well, Whistler wanted the gold and diamonds, to can leave his parents. He had everything and far more than he ever needed, but still he wanted more. More than his parents thought is fit for his age.

Computer warned us that one jump may take us through dangerous region of space, but we were in a hurry and decision was made…. and that’s the lesson we’ll remember for the rest of our life.

What hit us, don’t ask me I was 10 and have no idea. I don’t know where we went or through which part of Galaxy were traveling, but when *that* started it was horrible. Lights went off and only nasty sparks from fried equipment were showing the faces of other equally stunned companions. Fortunately we were all sitting strapped in the chairs, so only small flying objects hit us from time to time. Then I saw the planet coming to us and screamed and screamed and….

I opened my eyes to screams, but this time it was not me screaming. Screams were coming from outside the yacht. “Dad will kill us; it’s ruined, completely ruined.”

“Stop crying like babies and let’s unload everything we can. The sea is rising.” My sister was in her element, but this time instead of just ordering around she was first to start doing. After some time of roaming the ship she found two antigrav sledges and started dropping everything she thought useful onto them.

When both were full of things, she grabbed one and started pulling it toward the wood. Whistler was sitting in the sand crying, but Whiny proved girls are stronger at that age and frowning at her brother grabbed second sledge and followed my sister.

Silent found some tools and survival kits what made my sister kiss him and made him completely unusable for the rest of the day. Well, not completely, he made fire, while we set the tents.

“You think they’re going to find us?” That were first words Whiny managed to produce since the landing and scream when saw the yacht from outside.

“Of course they will find us. Will they?” My sister watched me asking to say yes and to do that with confidence.

“We should call for help, you know. I saw it in one of those educational vids, we have to turn computer on and send dis…distrac…distressed call or signal or something like that.” I was smart and felt really good for knowing the word. I believed I sounded smart, but others were not so confident. Silent was first to respond. “I tr..tr..ied to activate the compppupuputer, but it’s completely dededead.”

“Nooo, bwahahahahaha:” Yes, that was big and powerful Whistler and I really started to wonder why we nicknamed his sister Whiny.

“Time to eat, then we’ll go and try with computer one more time all together.” So we opened invaluable dry rations we almost didn’t prepared and after eating them returned to the yacht.

We did everything it came to our minds and we were resourceful and smart kids, trust me. Well, yes, not smart enough to avoid this adventure, but despite all our laziness (I admit we were lazy, yes I do) we all skipped some grades and were good students. Silent was in the same class with all of us, despite being 2 years older, but he was very ill for a long time and had that speech impediment.

When we were exiting the yacht we realized its getting dark. It didn’t seem so late when we returned to yacht and we realized it’s dark not because of coming of night, but because of the storm arriving fast. We run to the camp and taking our backpacks each run into tents, sister and Whiny in one and we boys in another.

If you think you know what is loud and what big bad storm is, I’m ready to bet you never experienced this planet and its storms. I’m not Whistler and I believe I’m brave, but after few hours I started to cry, I just couldn’t cope with it… moreover since Whistler was screaming with every nearby thunder and Silent pinched me every time.

When it calmed, we crawled together in the corner of the tent and when girls joined us we fell asleep like a bunch of puppies abandoned in the cardboard box by the dumpster, moaning almost silently, unable to say anything.

Next day was clean, blue warm and sunny and living in the wood by the beach changed our mood upside down. That day was followed by another similar and one more not much worse, only a bit less sunny.

Life was good and we were kids playing in the sand and swimming in the warm sea. But as all good things has to come to an end this adventure showed its teeth when we realized we don’t have enough water. It made us explore the land deeper in the wood.

When we finally found water it was late and we gathered it in all the containers we had running fast back to… to camp, right… but camp had another idea. Finally when we realized it’s too dark to continue we again gathered like a puppies in the box and slept in the bush under the big tree.

In the morning we realized if we don’t find camp we don’t have any more food, and any more was not much, despite all the planning we made and all the rations we brought with us.

Around the midday we realized; we have no idea where we are, where we should go and that we’re too hungry to think rationally. Not really that way, not that any of us even knew how to say or explain that, but we felt it and were all hiding those tears we were brushing away walking one after another through the wood.

Some crazy scientist long time ago said, anything that can go wrong will go wrong. Before we could realize it thunder stroke near us. We saw patches of open land throughout the wood, but having no experience we couldn’t even guess what they were.

Soon we found out, when another lightning stroke like a bomb maybe 20 meters away igniting the wood. We watched the fire raging like bewitched till Silent screamed. “This way.” That was the first and last time I heard him say something without stuttering, and we followed him.

He was leading us up the hill. After some time we were climbing on all 4 grabbing through the mud to get as high as possible, through heavy rain and thunders. Fire was raging all around us strong and even the flood bathing us and making the climb really hard could not stop her.

I was climbing trying to see those around me, till I got covered with mud and completely blind and deaf, realized the light very close and screams and then nothing. I was all alone near the top of the hill trying to find my companions. My hear sunk and unable to control I screamed and screamed and screamed till my sister slapped me.

We were on the transporter pad of the freighter who picked automated distress signal from the yacht and after retrieving small vessel found in the logs about its 5 little passengers.

We spent next 4 days in the ships infirmary being observed for injuries or unknown infections we could get on the unexplored world, constantly listening Whistler crying for what will his parents do when see Black Rose.

When we got transported down to the warehouse landing pad, Black Rose, or rather the wreckage of it was already standing there with our parents watching it. We were so ashamed we couldn’t look up or say anything. Parent’s noticed us when we were close by.

Whistler then did what neither of us would ever expect from him after his behavior last days, stood in front of all of us and bravely faced his dad. “It’s all my fault. I found the map to the treasure and made them follow me. I know the yacht cost you a treasure and I ruined it… I’m sorry.”

His father approached him grabbing him and pulling in the air. We all froze till the man started to laugh hugging kid. “You are my fortune, you two.” Pulled Whiny into the hug. “You’re fine and it’s only important.”

My parents said nothing, just hugged us strong.

Silent’s mom grabbed his ear and pulled him into a hug. “Fortune!”

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