Space Hostages

Space Hostages by Sophia McDougall Read Free Book Online

Book: Space Hostages by Sophia McDougall Read Free Book Online
Authors: Sophia McDougall
solar system? I’ve heard it a couple of times,” said Dr. Muldoon. “Hi, Alice. Nice book. So. I have a pointy nose, have I?”
    I writhed, not only because I hadn’t meant to upset Dr. Muldoon, but because I’d been hoping no one would remind Rasmus Trommler that I’d written a book at all. I stammered, “I didn’t mean it in a bad way. . . .”
    Dr. Muldoon grinned. “Ah, stop squirming. If I didn’t like it pointy, I’d have grown myself a new one years ago.”
    â€œIndeed so,” said Mr. Trommler, turning to beam at her. “I love to name my ships after beautiful women. How do you think the Valerie sounds?”
    Dr. Muldoon stared at him. “Inappropriate,” she said.
    â€œHa ha,” said Mr. Trommler, undismayed. “Well, my Helen loves me, at least, don’t you, Helen?”
    â€œYes, I love you so, Captain,” sighed the voice from the walls.
    â€œWait, is the ship conscious and in love with you ?” Josephine asked, horrified.
    Trommler paid no attention to this. “Helen, beautiful? It’s time. Let’s go to the stars.”
    Dr. Muldoon discreetly rolled her eyes.
    â€œYes, Captain. Course set,” agreed the ship happily.
    And then the blue haze of Earth faded behind us, and the stars blazed ahead like a snowstorm. Then they began to change color, from red to orange to yellow to green and then they slipped through violet and vanished into blackness.
    The Helen of Troy quivered and strained against something, an invisible membrane. And suddenly we burst through and were spat into hyperspace.
    Wispy specks of pale light filtered out of the dark, gathering into smoky threads spooling past the ship, glowing brighter and brighter until the windows filled with so much light it was dazzling.
    â€œWhat you’re seeing is not starlight,” said Dr.Muldoon. “That’s the background cosmic radiation of the universe. It’s always passing through you, but only in hyperspace can you see it. You’re looking at the aftermath of the Big Bang.”
    â€œWow,” breathed Carl. His hands curled in front of him as if resting on invisible ship controls. I hoped Trommler had been serious about letting him fly the Helen .
    â€œIf we were to come back into normal space now, we’d already be more than a million miles away from Earth,” Rasmus Trommler said.
    â€œOh, thank god,” I said. Even traveling at unnaturally high speeds, that was surely much too far for anyone to send me back.
    â€œWhat?” asked Josephine.
    â€œI’ll tell you in a minute,” I hissed.
    â€œThese are the thoroughfares of humanity’s future,” said Rasmus Trommler grandly, standing framed in the glow of the universe, his jaw uplifted. There was a brief pause, and then we began politely applauding again. Mr. Trommler smiled and walked away.
    â€œGet used to it,” said Dr. Muldoon when he was gone. “It’s a two-week trip.”
    â€œHe did invent Häxeri,” said Josephine loyally.
    â€œThat’s true,” said Dr. Muldoon. “I’d never havethought he had it in him.”
    â€œBut he’s invented lots of things before,” said Noel.
    Dr. Muldoon shook her head. “Practically every other Archangel product was invented by someone else. He just put them in pretty packages and raked in the cash. Häxeri really is his baby, though. Well, I should go too; I’ve got some tests running in the lab.”
    â€œI’ll be there later,” promised Josephine as Dr. Muldoon left.
    â€œJo,” complained Carl. “You don’t have to.”
    â€œI have tests running as well,” said Josephine. “But anyway, Alice. What were you going to tell me?”
    I tried to grimace at the Goldfish.
    â€œGoldfish, we need some privacy,” said Josephine.
    The Goldfish tilted doubtfully.
    â€œIt’s GIRL STUFF,” continued Josephine

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