Website of freelance writer and artist Ali Kayn, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Marl, heroine of Marl's Story a children's science fiction story by Ali Kayn; 279x208Marl's Story

by Ali Kayn

        A person has some pride.
        A person likes to think that she might do something BIG. And when a person gets told that she'll never amount to anything because she doesn't do her home lessons - well! A person can't just sit there.
        I know I was supposed to be doing my maths, but I couldn't keep my mind on the display. From my window I could see the ships as they headed for space from the local port.
        I always like to watch the ships. I mean to pilot one when I grow up. Not a common freighter or a tourist bus, of course. I'm going to be an explorer. An important spacer like Jude Mays.

Marl in her bedroom, Marl's story a sceince fiction story by Ali Kayn; 279x191         It was her ship I was watching when my tell-all study terminal told Mom I wasn't responding to my lessons and I got told off. The ship was beautiful. Shiny and silver with good clean lines, almost aerodynamic - which isn't necessary for space, of course, but helps if you visit places like ours where they don't have satellite terminals. Well, she followed the usual flight path, coming past a little lower than usual, then banked off towards the main valley in the Ranges. That's not the normal flight path, radar can't keep track of a ship in there, but I knew that she'd know what she was doing.
        And that's when my mother came in.
        Parent's! Honestly, sometimes.
        Then after her lecture the big alarm went off, calling emergency teams to the port. The announcer on the tele said Jude had gone down somewhere along the flight path and they assumed the worst 'cos she hadn't sent a flare or message or anything yet. Just a garbled mayday when things had started going wrong.
        Of course I knew she hadn't been on the regular flight path when I last saw the ship, and I was going to tell the authorities ... but a person can't always go by the rules, you know. By the time I had made the computer let me make an outside call during lesson time, and made the authorities see that I wasn't just a dumb kid making things up, it would be too late. There was a big storm on the way. Anyone could see that.
        So I decided to go check for myself. If I found anything I could send up a flare or a radio-buoy. I had some in my hiking gear.
        It wasn't exactly dark, and I didn't have time to be scared, of course. I knew it'd take me almost an hour to get to the valley if I hurried.
        The storm came up before I got to the wreck. At one place I panicked trying to figure out where the ship could be. Then I thought about what I would do when I was a pilot and I headed for the big old quarry area.
        I could hardly see for the wind. I kept tripping, being small makes things hard sometimes. I found the ship when I walked right into it. The ship was head down, tail up, so I crawled in through the back cargo hold. I talked my way onto a Scout ship once, just for a look, so I had a pretty good idea of how to get in and up to the bridge.
        Jude was out. And her radio was out too.
        I crawled back to the cargo hold, grabbed a radio-buoy from the wall (ship's ones are strong than hiker's ones you know) and got out into the wind. I shot off the buoy and I actually thought I could hear it transmitting as it went up, but of course I didn't really. Those things go pretty high before they start coming down - so the radar can pick them up and get a fix you know - but I ducked inside again quickly anyway.
        There was a big fuss when the emergency teams brought Jude and me in to the hospital. Jude had hit her head or something, but would be alright. As for me, I didn't think it was fair that I should get double lessons for a whole month! I mean, really.
        But I did get to talk to Jude, and I'm going up with her. Only one quick orbit, of course. Just as soon as I finish my lessons.

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Site last updated: Nov, 2008

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