Intercosmic - Chapter 37 - How Can He Slap

Earth, I’ve spent much of my life here, and even after beginning to work things out with my mom and dad, I’m not sure Earth is the place for me. I’ve been to Mars, I’ve been to Pluto, and Enceladus. Sedna provides absolutely no interest to me. Supposedly it’s humanity’s dirty little secret, filled with warring clans of nomadic mutant humans who were experimented on by the Revrell and abandoned on Sedna. So far out of the Sun’s reach that nobody dares go there. I’m not interested to find out if the rumors are true. As far as I know the only people that go there are on scientific trips or military business. I can honestly say it’s one place I never want to go, but part of me wonders why there’s a ship here on Earth today. It’s not really a concern of mine, and I’d rather not go sticking my nose where it shouldn’t be.

I thought I’d run out of money sooner, but to my surprise my paychecks just kept coming, as if I was still on duty. There’s a whole mystery to solve here; I’m still getting paid and even got a promotion. Someone is pulling the strings behind the scenes and they want something. Unfortunately, I don’t have the ability to figure out either right now. There’s a child that has constantly been wailing for the last few minutes and scattered any ideas I had about future plans.

Right now, I can only decide what planet I plan to go to next. I wanted to figure it out before I got to the station, but I couldn’t decide. Just about every major location in Sol has a ship that arrives and leaves on Earth once a day. I’ve watched most of them leave without selecting an answer on where I plan to go. I always hated multiple choice. A lot of Nexus searches over different locations, a lot of new knowledge and no tickets. I could always come back tomorrow, but I’ve checked out of my hotel and I don’t want to spend another night on mom and dad’s couch. I really can’t believe that they’re going to let this kid keep crying.

I settle on Venus, one of the last ships out this evening. It’s similar to Pluto since the cities are domed in. The difference being the heat on Venus is almost unbearable. While the temperature of the planet has cooled since it was first explored due to some of humanity’s genius influence, it still isn’t anyone’s idea of fun.

The kid who hasn’t stop crying wanders past me, and everyone seems to ignore the little girl. I suppose that means it’s my problem, because it doesn’t take a genius to realize that she’s lost. Not sure why everyone is ignoring the kid.

“Hey kid, kiddo, what’s going on,” is that how to speak to kids?

“Mommy, I can’t find my mommy,” she speaks through the tears.

“What does she look like?”

“She’s tall, with long hair and she always has pretty shoes,” that is the worst description I have ever heard. What did I expect from a child? This is why I’m not a parent, and tend to ruin every relationship I’ve ever had.

“Hey kid, how about I lift you up and you tell me if you see your mommy?”

The kid doesn’t even agree to the plan before she’s reaching up for me to grab her. Why are kids so trusting? They’re just little drunk people, trusting everyone and depending on anyone without a thought. I sit the girl on my shoulder and begin to walk through the crowd as she calls for her mom. A few people give us some odd stares but they aren’t exactly eager to help this little girl either.

“I think that’s her, she went down that hall,” the girl points down a hall.

I follow her lead but the hall only leads to a few doors. I bring her down from my shoulders as we check each of the doors. I feel my stomach drop, and suddenly realize I’ve been set up. I was dumb, I didn’t think someone would pull this kind of scam in a transport hub. Well, I didn’t think anyone would try to pull this beyond Mars.

“I found her,” the girl cheers.

“I’m glad to have helped, I’ll be on my way,” I smile.

In front of me stands a group of three teenagers; a chubby boy with dirty blonde hair, a thin girl with a missing tooth and a boy with what the haircut of a balding old man. The girl skips behind them as if she’s just won a prize. I know what comes next, and I’m not really interested in fighting kids, but I will, and I’ll probably laugh. I have to give it to them, it was a nice set up.

“Don’t go running so fast, hate for something to happen to you,” the girl missing the tooth tries her best intimidation voice.

“I wasn’t running, but I’ve got a ship to catch. You kids play nice now.”

“Get him Matuszak,” the girl calls out.

The chubby kid lunges forward, if he had been an adult, or even an older teen he might have been threatening. Instead his face makes quick contact with my open left hand. A quick slap across the face seems to shock everyone. I suppose people are okay being robbed by children but I’m not. Maybe I’m messed up because I probably shouldn’t feel so calm slapping a child. It could be my training, technically this is a combat situation. Hesitation gets you killed, and I wasn’t about to hesitate.

“You can’t do that,” the senior citizen looking teen calls out.

“How can he slap,” the little girl asks as if she didn’t lead me to a trap.

“I’ll do it again,” will I? Probably, screw these kids. “We done here,” I ask after they’ve sat in silence for a while.

“Just get away,” the girl with the missing tooth asks.

“Stop trying to rob adults, someone else might have had a gun. Go to school and don’t do drugs,” I take time to point at each of the kids individually and look them in the eye.

I have no idea what my life is turning into. Maybe that bounty hunter idea wasn’t so terrible. Seriously, I’m slapping kids now? I might be going to jail if those kids call the police. No, they wouldn’t call the police, they’re too scared. I check the departures board, there are 47 ships set to leave the station before closing, far from the 4000 that were scheduled to leave today. I make my way to the last counter open this evening.

“What’s the last flight out today?”

“Give me just a second,” the man at the counter swipes through displays. “There’s a flight to Nyame.”

“What’s it like?”

“I’ve never been but I’ve heard it’s like Earth, without as much law enforcement.”

“Sounds great, I guess I’ll take a ticket.”

“Would you like a connecting trip to any city in particular?”

“Nah, I’ll figure it out when I get there.”

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