Saturday, November 15, 2014

It's All About the Game! - Chapter 23 - Final

The whole thing turned out to be a bit anticlimactic. Once the Hummer Arr was talking to understood that the Calpernia, which is what it related to, could fix the problem, the Hummer started bouncing the code out to the Hummers it was connected to, they bounced it to the next group until all the other Hummers in all the NBs throughout the Verse had a copy and the fix for the virus.

All this time the Valarians thought each Hummer team in each NB was an isolated entity, but all along they were connected and had been talking to each other all this time. It was truly amazing.

Our part was finished. The NBs were back online. All the backed up traffic was being routed properly and within a week or so even the outlying areas were back to operation as usual.

The only thing left to deal with was Zackary Taylor.

“You have a safe trip,” Jake said, as he gave me a one-armed squeeze. Daniel and I were headed back to Ma-rye-a, and on further to Zack.

I hugged him back and then reached out for Arr. Daniel gave up Arr’s hand and we exchanged places to thank our hosts for all their invaluable assistance.

I gave Arr a big hug.

“Thank you,” Daniel said with all the sincerity he had to offer.

If it hadn’t been for Jake, and Arr’s unusual talents, who knows what would have befallen our little corner of the Verse. I reached over and gave Kay-o a chuck under his chin and a good scratch behind his left ear. He leaned into my hand.

“I’ll see you guys later,” I said.

“Keep safe,” Jake said, as he patted Daniel on the shoulder.

Daniel and I crawled in the pod and I pointed us back toward Ma-rye-a.


“The defendant is found guilty of eighty three counts of murder in the second degree,” the juror read off her flat and then handed it over to the bailiff.

The plea of temporary insanity had not worked, but based on Daniel’s testimony the jurors fully understood that Zack was not knowledgeable enough about the workings of a star ship to realize the enormity of the problems the virus would manifest with regard to the weaponry aboard said star ships. Zack also had no idea the Hummers all communicated and hence the virus would spread beyond the three he infected close to Valarian space. Therefore, murder in the first degree had been ruled out.

Daniel hired the best attorney money could buy for Zack. Thomas Patterson had never lost a case. We didn’t need a win. There would be no win. Justice had to be served, but we hoped that it would be served for everyone, including Zack.

Patterson made an emotional plea in the judge’s chambers for leniency as far as the judge could stretch it. He presented the offer that he, a team of doctors and Daniel had put together for Zack’s future incarceration. We all hoped the judge could see both sides of this convoluted series of events and the aftermath it held for all involved.

The judge took the flat from the bailiff and read it again and then set it to one side. He leaned back in his chair and templed his fingers together in front of his chest. He had held this position for hours during the course of the three month long hearings. He took a deep breath and released it in a sigh.

“What seems like an open and shut case is really quite complicated,” he began his summery. “Mr. Taylor does not deny he created the virus and proceeded to infect the NBs with said virus, resulting in the death of eight-three people – twenty-one of which were young children who had their whole lives before them. Children whose parents and siblings will outlive them and miss them the rest of their lives.

“The enormity of the financial aspect of this case is not to be trivialized either. Trade was disrupted, companies were close to bankruptcy and failure. Workers would have lost their livelihood and families could have ended up destitute were it not for the intervention of Mr. Daniel Drysson on behalf of Mr. Taylor in order to keep multiple companies in business.”

Daniel had done his best to mitigate the financial end of the situation. He transferred so much money over the past six months that it would have made a Valarian’s head spin. None of the companies affected by the incident folded. He saved them all. And in doing so, he now had a hand in a plethora of industries he never would have even known about in the past.

“On the other hand,” the judge went on, “we have Zackary Taylor – a man we have all heard from who was well liked and efficient until his accident. Who then, through no fault of his own, was left crippled and destitute. Who buried himself in a fantasy world until being mentally driven to a state of unrest and revenge.”

The judge swiveled his chair and leaned forward toward the jury.

“Mr. Drysson takes at least partial responsibility for Mr. Taylor’s state of mind and I feel this is a correct placement of blame. Mr. Drysson has also offered to help make amends to the families of the victims and to Mr. Taylor. With this in mind, I pass the following judgment.”

I clasped Daniel’s hand sitting beside me. Now we would see if what we had Patterson propose was really going to fly or if it would never make it out of the pod bay.

The judge turned and focused his attention on Zack. “Mr. Taylor, you shall be remanded to the Rigil Perry Institution on Rigil Four where you will be incarcerated for the rest of your life with no chance of parole.”

I squeezed Daniel’s hand. This was what we proposed. The Rigil Perry Institution was a high security facility for criminals, but it was also a working city within its walls. There was a library, labs, medical facilities, a commissary, etc. This was where they sent the criminals who still have something to give to the Verse. Scientist who maybe took a wrong step, but had a brilliant mind. Medical personnel who over stepped their bounds, but who were top quality surgeons. In other words, the upper crust of the institutionalized criminals. Zack would have the opportunity to do good work.

“I do this,” the judge went on, “in the hopes that Mr. Taylor will in turn write programs that may benefit people in the years to come and in some small way repay his debt to society.”

The gavel hit the desk and court was adjourned.


“You are looking well,” Daniel said to Zack.

They were sitting on a bench in the quad, nestled among the buildings that constituted the research area of the Rigil Perry Institution, or RPI as Daniel had heard the inmates refer to it. They had walked out to the bench. Yes, Zackary walked. No more servo chair. They couldn’t rejuvenate his old legs. They had been inactive too long. But, a cutting edge physician, committed to the institute for insurance fraud, removed the tissue, tendons and muscle down to the bone and after several months of a growing process and rehab, Zack was once again walking on his own two legs. Of course, Daniel had provided the funding for the process. It had worked out brilliantly.

“I feel like a new man,” Zack said, “and I am for all intents and purposes. New legs, now vocal cords. Plastic surgery to fix the scaring.”

“You’ve been through a lot,” Daniel commented as he propped one foot up on his other knee. He leaned back and enjoyed the outdoors. It was hard to believe this was a criminal institution.

“I’d go through it again in an instant,” Zack said.

He ran his hands over the tops of his new thighs. He never thought he would ever walk again. It was not difficult to wrap his head around being confined to the Institute for life. Hell, he was more confined in that little apartment in his servo chair then he would ever be here. He was working on a new program for the doctor who ‘regrew’ his legs. If it worked out it would speed up the process for others in the Verse who had to go through what he had in the past few months. It would also cut the costs in half, making it more accessible to others. He was excited about life again even if it was here in the RPI.

He looked up, and out across the lawn and a thrill went through him at the mere thought of the fact that if he wished, he could stand up and run across that lawn to the commissary and beyond.

“I can’t thank you enough, Daniel.”

Daniel sat silently. Zack had thanked him over and over again. Daniel was just happy a good man had been saved. A brilliant mind would live to work on for the good of mankind. And he, Daniel, had been able to right his wrongs as well.

Daniel pulled his flat from his coat pocket. “Let me see your flat,” he said.

Zackary handed over his from his jacket pocket. Daniel bumped them together to transfer the data from one device to the other and handed it back to Zack.

“A new game?” Zack asked.

Daniel launched the game and its intro started, a deep baritone voice announced, “I am Matt Milestone. I set out to find adventure, but as it would happen, adventure found me.”

The End... Or just the beginning of the Story?

If you enjoyed this story, help yourself to more of the same under the
 Star Trader Updates link on this blog.

If you would like to know more about Jake, Arr and the members of the MT #2424 team
Check out the Star Traveler Series on Amazon
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Vol. 1 and 2 available in paperback Nov. 28, 2014
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AND join us next week when we start a new Fantasy story
"Fur and Frost - A Dragon Love Story"

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