Friday, July 15, 2022

Emerald of Earth – EPISODE 26 Stolen Necklace

THE STORY SO FAR: Emerald Marcillon’s parents excavated artifacts in the Chicxilub Crater that point to a long-ago alien war that spilled over to Earth. Inamma, an alien AI survived the war and will kill to retrieve the artifacts. When assembled, the AI intends to create a weapon that will destroy all of Humanity – thinking we are descendants of its ancient enemies. It murders her parents, but Emerald escapes and is taken to the SOLAR EXPLORER. The crew, aware of the origin of the artifacts, plan to protect her from Inamma. Emerald who is a preteen who lives with autism. She holds the key to the artifacts and has made a few friends…and Inamma has also found her…

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Half an hour later, Emerald was standing at a door on a quiet deck after passing through the controlled chaos of several other Units. She’d gathered from the talk she’d heard, that SOLAREX was about to activate something called a Microscopic Singularity Gravitational Slope Induction Drive to accelerate to their first destination planet, Venus. The theory was that they would spend a year in orbit there, examining the planet as it had never been examined before. It would be thoroughly scanned, mapped by hordes of nanomolecular robots – nanobots – designed to withstand Venus’ hellish atmosphere. Then there would be Human landings, carefully orchestrated and planned for maximum information gathering…

The door slid open and a woman only a bit taller than Emerald stood in the doorway, facing her. She had a slight case of buckteeth, her graying hair was a mess and the coverall she wore was tent-like on her tiny frame. She looked like a character from a children’s book and for a moment, Emerald was surprised that there wasn’t a wart on the end of her nose. In a surprisingly pleasant voice, she said, “How may I help you, young lady?”

“GADI…uh, my room nanny…said you stole…collected the boxes from the room. She thought I forgot the tektite necklace in the boiling room but I brought it back and I want everything back now.” The whole sentence came out in a rush.

Dr. Tasia Viahakis looked at Emerald both over and through her glasses. “I’ll get back to you regarding the alleged theft.” She stepped back and the door closed.

Emerald stood blinking for a moment, then pounded on the door, pressing the opening panel repeatedly. “Come back here!” she shouted.

She waited, pounded on the door some more then pounded on the opening panel itself. She stood facing the door, certain that Dr. Viahakis was watching her. She was probably laughing at her, too. “I want my things back!” Emerald turned and leaned against the door, her pulse pounding in her ears. “I’m not going until you give me my boxes back!” She’d stay here until the woman came out of her unit, then demand answers. “I’m gonna tell my great aunt.”

She stood for a long time, even though she was exhausted from working in the cane fields all day. Her legs were so tired, they trembled. She slid to the floor, still leaning against the door. A few people passed by, giving her strange looks but not saying anything. Suddenly Emerald heard voices that she recognized coming down the hall. The corridor curved a bit, so she couldn’t see Yamata no Orochi until they almost tripped over her.

Izegbe stopped, stared at her and said, “What are you doing?”

Emerald opened her mouth to speak, closed it, and finally said, “I’m waiting for someone to open the door.”

“Why would you voluntarily want to talk to Dr. Prymore?”

“I thought this was Dr. Viahakis’ unit?” Emerald said, scrambling to her feet.

Ayaka said, “Same person. Everybody calls her Dr. Prymore because she’s always nosing around in people’s lives, trying to pry out their secrets.”

Emerald nodded. Izegbe cut in, “You ready to eat? I’m starving. So is Ayaka.”

“I am not starving, I’m having a growth spurt and require sustenance,” she said, lifting her nose into the air.

Izegbe glanced over her shoulder at the shorter girl, saying, “You’re always hungry and you know it, so just get over it.” The two-headed dragon looked at Emerald.

Emerald said, “There’s food here on Nile Level Two.”

“Boring. There’s a hangout over in the Congo on Level Seven that we’ve taken over,” said Izegbe.

“You and Ayaka?” Emerald said.

“No, silly! Teenagers. There’s about a hundred of us on SOLAREX. We just started hanging out at one of the alternate cafeterias. Pretty soon, the oldsters and the babies stopped going there. The servers got younger and the cooks did, too. Next thing we knew, we’d taken over. Food’s better, company’s better, and the music’s WAY better.”

Ayaka added, “They have a massive 3V there and someone hacked access to the pryzhok stadium you found!”


Izegbe laughed, grabbed her arm, lifted her up from the floor, and said, “Hesitation’s as good as a yes! Let’s go have some fun!” As they headed for the bolus, Izegbe said, “What do you want to talk to Prymore for?”

“She took some of my stuff,” Emerald said.

“Like what? Cocaine from the jungles of the Yucatan?”


“Illegal carved Human bones from cannibal tribes in the interior of Mexico?” said Ayaka.

“There aren’t any cannibals in Mexico!”

“What about the Aztecs? They killed people, cut their hearts out and ate them!” said Izegbe.

“That was a religious practice that died out like six hundred years ago.” Emerald shook her head. What could she tell them? The truth? They already knew about the knife-footed robot she called Inamma. Emerald shook her head. “They’re artifacts from Earth. My mom and dad dug them up from the Chicxulub Crater in Mexico...”

Izegbe hummed and tapped at the control panel, Ayaka looked at her nails and picked at one and Emerald stopped talking, uncomfortable because they were uncomfortable.

She wanted to keep the boxes a secret. They held all that was left of her life on Earth; all that was left of things they’d actually touched back on Earth. Things her parents dug up themselves. It was also quite clear from their bored behavior that Ayaka and Izegbe didn’t want to know anything else. Emerald said, “I guess I’m hungry enough to eat. I can always come back and…” She was talking to their backs as the girls sprinted down the corridor and stopped in front a bolus panel, pounding on it. They were already in when Emerald got there.

“Slowpoke,” said Izegbe. The doors squelched and the bolus started to move. A dull silence broken only by a faint, metallic tapping that swelled and faded as the bolus slid silently through the bowels of SOLAREX until they reached Congo Sector. Even so, Emerald wasn’t sure what kept them from talking. It was as if they were deliberately suppressing the conversation and the effect wore off as they walked away from the bolus.

By the time they made it to the cafeteria, they were chatting as if nothing had happened and Emerald couldn’t remember what she’d been worried about. Their silence seemed…fuzzy, almost like something was forcing them into silence.

The ipik buzzed her shoulder where she was wearing it today. She tapped it and said, “Yeah?”

“Emerald? This is Dr. Tasia Viahakis. Are you alone?”


“Does that mean ‘yes’ or ‘no’?”

“Uh, no. I’m not alone. Should I be?”

“That depends. Are any of the people you’re with likely to be thieves?”


“Step away from your friends or go to earphone function,” said Dr. Viahakis.

Emerald tapped her ipik and said, “I’m on earphone.”

“Emerald, someone took your tektite necklace. I tried your room, but the AI said you hadn’t brought it back with you from the plantation. I went to the Team Twelve and Four work area and searched the boiling room, but didn’t find it. I had the AI there run a complete security check, but it hadn’t recorded anything.”

“You waited...”

“How long I waited to tell you is not important anymore. Obviously the necklace is important to someone.”

“It’s important to me!” Emerald shouted and slapped the ipik, cutting off the doctor.

She ran to catch up with Ayaka and Izegbe. “What was that all about?” Ayaka asked.

“Nothing,” she said, jerking her head sideways toward the door, “Let’s eat.”

Guy Stewart is a retired teacher and counselor, with science fiction for young people and adults published in ANALOG Science Fiction and Fact; podcast at CAST OF WONDERS; and in CRICKET the Magazine for Children. For links to his other online works, go to For an interview with me about EMERALD OF EARTH, try this: