Crime Science Fiction

Odin slid across the grass, kicking a ball. It flashed across the yard between another boy's legs and through the fence behind. Three boys cheered and another four waddled away in defeat as Ambrose picked glass blades and weeds as he laid out on the sidelines.

The party was quickly stopped when a woman came out onto the steps of the nearby house. "Helios! Time for bed!"

"Mom!" he exasperated.

"Now!" she said, disappearing back into the house. 

“Tomorrow guys?” Helios said, plowing his fingers through his hair.

A series of ‘see ya tomorrow’ began their dispersion. 

Odin stopped at the gate. “Ambrose!” He turned. “Time to go!”

Ambrose scrambled to his feet, letting the grass fall from his body. “How was the game?” He let the gate slam behind him.

“If you’re not going to play or watch, why did you come?” He threw his arms up as he walked away.

Ambrose tried to catch up. “Does that mean you won?”

“Yeah-” he rolled his eyes - “we won. Let’s get home. Mom said she’s got a surprise for us.”  

Ambrose stopped in his tracks with every muscle in his body at attention and started to shake. “Do you think it’s cookies?!”

“You always think it’s cookies.”

“But do you think it’s cookies?”

“Yeah, probably. Let’s go before they get cold.” He ushered Ambrose further.

Shaking his head like a dog shaking off water, he mumbled, “No one likes cold cookies. No one likes cold cookies.”

They continued on the walk home with Ambrose ahead of Odin, pushing his usual limits. He didn’t even stop at the hopscotch drawing that he had insisted on doing just a few hours earlier. 

The house was in sight. Only one obstacle remained in their way. And they failed to measure up to as they tripped over a mechanic’s creeper. 

Ambrose whimpered as Odin hopped up. “Are you okay?” he asked, wiping the dust from his forehead. He slid his hand around to his neck as his gaze wandered from Ambrose up to the weed-broken cement to the boat parts scattered around to the man pounding another into a boat as if he was a nail.

“Hey, stop!” Odin shouted, leaping over Ambrose. 

Dodging weeds and parts like enemy fire, he ran up the drive. With all his full force, he rammed into the violent man like a linebacker.

The only one to fall was the man being pinned to the boat. The one Odin hoped would was only thrown off-balanced and he was a bull in a Matador fight because of it. He wiped out his revolver. 

Odin inchingly raised his hands and tried to get his feet to walk backward.  

"You shouldn't've been a hero, kid!"

A shot rang out as a series of metal tinks rattled across the lot. Both hid the sound of Odin falling and the bullet grazing the hood of a police shuttle.

The man with the gun bolted, jumping the fence that divided the boat repair shop from the surrounding neighborhood. Two officers followed, mimicking counted sheep. 

Another officer stopped at Odin's side. He spoke but instead of words, static filled Odin's ears. His face scrunched up as the officer tried to tell him something.

A crying scream roared over everything. 

“Don’t touch him!” Odin yelled, fumbling over to Ambrose. 

Ambrose was curled into a ball, rocking on his tailbone. His hands were suctioned cupped to his ears. Humming, he flinched every time the officers tried to comfort him.

“Stop!” Odin shooed them away. “It's alright,” he cooed.

Ambrose raised his head off his knees. As the stream of tears dried away, he mouthed the word 'hug'.

“Yeah. Come here.” He opened his arms for Ambrose to crawl into. 

“Does he need to go to the hospital?” an officer asked.

“No! Just home.” 

“Hotei! Secure the scene. I’ll take the boys home,” said the officer who had come to Odin’s side earlier.

“Yes, sir,” she said as she and her partner moved away.

“Now, boys-” he bent down with his hands on his knees - “where’s home?”  

Odin explained that it wasn’t far and that they didn’t need him to bring them. 

The man wouldn’t hear it. He helped Odin up and respected Ambrose’s space. With all parties ready, he led the back of the group, forcing them forward and down the block. 

Odin’s mom was the first to the door. “By the stars, what happened to you?” She licked her thumb, wiping little blood from her son’s forehead.

Odin stiffened trying not to make a scene.

“Can we come in, ma’am?” the officer asked.

“Yes. Yes. Boys, get washed up and there’s a treat on the counter for you when you’re done.”

At the word treat, Ambrose bounced on his toes. Odin placed his arm out in front of Ambrose's leg to stop him from rushing in until mother finished talking and moved out of the way. When Odin's arm dropped, Ambrose was off like the green flag was waved at the Grand Prix.

He ran past Odin's dad. Getting a bit of whiplash, father said, “They'll still be there when you're done... You really had to make cookies didn- … Hello.”

“Hello, I’m Lieutenant Taishi.”

“What happened? They didn't look hurt. They're not in trouble, are they?”

“No. No. No, the opposite. Your boys were quite brave. They stopped a man from being beaten.”

“That sounds like our Odin,” mom said.

“Headfirst into everything,” dad added, leaning against the dining room table.

“Luckily for Mr. Juno. And if you don’t have any questions, I need to get back to my officers.”

“Thank you, Lieutenant, and goodnight,” dad said.

The lieutenant tipped his hat and backed away. 

“He left already?” Ambrose squeaked, with a cookie in each hand. “He didn't say goodbye.” 

“It's okay, Ambrose,” dad said, pulling out a chair. “Come. Sit.”

“Okay,” he answered, doing as he was told.

“Is Odin coming?” 

“Yeah, I had to get the milk,” Odin said, walking through the kitchen doorway with two full glasses in his hands. 

“I like this surprise,” Ambrose said, trading his second cookie for a glass.

“This isn’t the surprise, honey,” mom said, taking the seat across from him. 

“There’s another surprise!”

“Well maybe, if you two feel comfortable after today,” dad rambled.

Mom grabbed his hand. “We want to go on our honeymoon. And we thought you two could spend some time with uncle Jason at the dock shop.”

“But, I like it here,” Ambrose cried.

“It would only be for a few weeks,” dad explained.

“And you can see the boats and shuttles come in whenever you want,” mom added.

“Kitten can come?”

“Just don't drop her in the water,” dad said.

Ambrose stared at him. His head tilted and eyes squinted at dad's words.

He clenched his jaw. “Yes, you can bring her.”

Odin placed his hand on Ambrose's chair. “Finish your cookie and we can go to bed.”

“That sounds good.” He dunked his cookie.

The image of the sun on the dome rose above the dock’s light catwalk. Dad knocked on the rear door. Footsteps rushed to the door. “Ariadne, Achilles! You’re late. You're lucky I could hold the shuttle to Earth for you.”

“Thank you, Jason,” mom said, “and thank you for taking the boys.”

“No problem, sis, just catch your ship before it leaves.”

“Bye boys. Have a good time,” she said, kissing Odin's forehead.

“And be good for your uncle,” dad added.

“Go!” Odin and Jason protested.  

Ambrose adjusted his backpack and waved goodbye until they waved back as they walked to the far end of the dock.

"Well, come in," Jason said, backing away from the entrance. 

The boys walked into a bulk room with a living room, a kitchen, and a large industrial table. Along the back wall were a row of doors and a staircase up to another row of doors. 

"Nice place," Odin said, adjusting his pack. 

"Thanks. There's a bathroom upstairs and downstairs, closest doors to the stairs. The last door upstairs is to the roof. And… your room is the last one down here. Ari said you would like to see the lake."

"Can I go see?" Ambrose blurted.

"Sure," Jason said, sending Ambrose zooming across the room. "Are you okay, Odin, you look tired?" He placed his hand on Odin's shoulder.

"Yeah, I woke up early." He ruffled into his pocket, grabbing a piece of paper. "I made you this."

"This is?"

"A list. Things about Ambrose. He takes a nap on Tuesdays and Thursdays at four before dinner. Always take a bath Mondays and Fridays before bed. Some other things… And don't touch Kitten. He's quite territorial about her."

"Thanks but don't you think this is a lit-"

"He can be a handful especially if you don't know how to care for him."

"Why don't you go check out your room while I read over this."

"Sure," he answered, easing away. "Just shout if you have any questions."

Jason meandered his way to the kitchen island. He read the note, then unfolded a little more. And a little more. And a little more, with his expression fading from an amused smile to downright lost. 

As he read on, two people rushed through the door at the bottom of the stairs from the shop. “Jason will you tell her she’s completely wrong!” one shouted.

“No, will you tell him he’s completely out of his mind!” she shouted in return.

When they didn’t get their normal ‘what’s it this time?’, they crowded around him.

“Hey, big Jase!” the man said, putting his hand on top of the paper. “Your nephews here yet?”

“Just did… I think I might’ve bitten off to much, though.”

“Why? It’s just two even if they’re boys,” she stated. “They’ll probably just entertain themselves.”

“I’m not worried about that. I’m worried about the rest. I’m worried about this.” He waved the paper.

The man ripped away from Jason before the woman ripped it from his. “Well, these aren’t too bad,” she said as she read, “Eros is still afraid of the dark.”

Eros snatched it back. “And Diana takes two hours in the bath so one hour won’t be a problem.”

“But what about not knowing how to swim, is scared of cooked eggs, or doesn’t understand what happens to fish after they’re caught.”

“Yeah,” Eros said, “those might be a problem.”

“What are you talking about!” Diana abjected. “We’ll just eat pancakes and waffles for breakfast, put him in a float vest on the boat, and keep him busy when the fishermen come in. Everything will be-”

“Hey, Uncle Jason, do ya wanna do something before I give Ambrose the green light-” Odin walked back into the room and stopped when they turned to him. “To unpacked,” he squeaked. 

“Odin these are my co-workers. The annoying-looking one is Eros and the pixie to my right is Diana.”

Giving a single wave, he replied, “Hi.” 

“Well,” Eros started, “I have to go check stern numbers. You two wanna come?”

“Sounds good.”

“Sounds boring!” Odin blustered. “That’s what I should’ve said.”

“I like it,” Ambrose bubbled, watching his feet to make sure they stayed within the plank on the dock.

“Yeah, going around checking the numbers on shuttles to make sure they didn’t skip off the Mars without paying or make sure they left like they were supposed to shouts fun to me.”

“Can I do the next one!” 

“You can do the rest of them.”

Ambrose skipped down the next finger of the dock. He turned to the sterling silver one on the right and started to read them. “The circle and flower.”

“Once again, it’s the flower of Aphrodite. They’re from the capitol.”

“V… M… D… L… I.”

“Aphrodite. 5551. Check.” He scribbled on the clipboard. “Next.”

Ambrose spun on his heels. “It doesn’t have one, Odin,” he cried.

“It has to!” He leaned closer but not stepping. “That odd. Clean off the mud.”

“Alright… Looks like a lion head and the thing from hangman.”

“Phobos C, really. That the dome city next to here.”

“Is that the sugar one or the vegetable one?” he asked, cleaning a bit more off.

“Okay, okay-” he rubbed his forehead. “On Phobos, colony Alpha is fruit, Betta is vegetables, Gamma is… greens and herbs, Delta is of course fishing, and Epsilon is … cattle. You got those numbers yet?”

“Aha! C-”

The glass from the porthole next the Ambrose exploded out as three bullets whizzed by. Ambrose fell to his knees with his hands slammed against his ears. 

“Ambrose!” Odin yelled, running towards him, bending under the height of the portholes.

“Ambrose! We need to go!” He tried toi get him up, but he wouldn’t budge.

Heavy footsteps banged inside.

“Now! We need to go now.” He tried again to get him up. “Don’t make me carry you!”

Ambrose gave in when the shuttle’s door banged open.

They ran back down the dock as another shot rang out. As they ran, Odin kept looking over his shoulder, causing him to run into Eros.

“What's goin' on?” he asked as the two hid behind him.

Another bullet answered his question.

Eros grabbed for the back of his belt. “Freeze!” he yelled, pulling his own revolver.

The boys shut their eyes as two shots fired and a large thud came from the planks. 

A hand touched them both on the shoulder. They jumped before the voice came.

“Lets get you two back to the shop,” Eros said, pushing them away before they could see the man crying and holding his knee.

Diana met them at the door. “What's going on?”

“Where's Jason?” Eros asked, ushering the boys in.

“Right here,” Jason said, getting off the couch.

“Nearly had to shoot him to keep him here,” Diana added.

“What's happening, Eros!” Jason said, cuddling the boys.

“Take them to their room,” Eros ordered. “Please!”

Jason hugged them closer before moving them away. Ambrose immediately jumped into his bed and smotheringly hugged his stuffed kitten. Odin had him moved over so he could sit with him. Jason closed the door as Eros said, “Call the Lieutenant. We have a big problem.”

Jason sat on Odin’s bed and watched as the boys fell asleep. By the time a knock came to the door, he had started to drift. Both him and Odin jumped but Ambrose stayed in his ball. 

Lieutenant Taishi walked into the room. “Do you mind?”

“Come in,” Odin said, swing his leg off the bed. 

“Do you want me to stay?” Jason asked, running his hands down Odin’s arms.

“I’m okay. You can go back to work.”

“Okay,” he said, with his leave.

“It seems that trouble follows you around.”


“And it was the same man that you encountered yesterday?”

“Yeah. He even pointed his gun at me again.”

“And I’m sorry about that. If my officers had caught Yan Wei yesterday, this wouldn’t have happened.”

“Well, he did run faster than Ambrose at the word cookie,” he laughed.

“And thanks to you and Ambrose, Yan Wei isn’t the only one good to jail. Everyone connected to that shuttle and their drug operation.” 

May 29, 2021 02:13

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