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Thrilling Tales of the Downright Unusual
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Enlarge: Officer da Cunha catches her prey and makes a discovery

The air shrieked past Maria as she guided her cruiser into a tight outside loop that would have been the envy of a stunt pilot. She'd lost some ground on the Hepmobile, she saw, but since whoever was flying it wasn't exactly avoiding her, there wasn't any question that she would overtake it.

Where and when that would happen were a little less certain. The Hepmobile was behaving strangely.

It looked like its pilot was waving back at her. Is it out of control? she wondered. She pointed firmly at the ground below.

The runaway rocket dropped, caught itself, and spun. It dropped again. It really did look like the pilot had no idea how to fly. What are you doing up here? she wondered.

By fits and starts the Hepmobile finally landed and it was only then, when Maria let out her breath, that she knew she'd been holding it. She pulled out her ticket slate on her way to the idling Hepmobile and promised herself that This guy is going to wish he'd never been born, which made it all the more startling when she saw that he had, in fact, never been born. The Hepmobile's pilot was a small, excited robot who was gesturing furiously while he bounced up and down in his seat. He seemed happy to see her.

That alone made this a first for Mari

Reader Comments
There are 2 reader comments on this page.
Val says:
July 20th, 2011 at 1:23 pm

I am SO looking forward to learning how Rusty communicates. And, how DID he get that hepmobile to land?

Bradley W. Schenck says:
July 21st, 2011 at 12:10 am

Well, the first part’s easy, as long as you’ve ever watched Buster Keaton or Harpo Marx communicate; though your spoons, I think, are safer with Rusty.

The second one’s more interesting, maybe, since (as we touched on back when Lew was flying into space) Retropolitan rockets, thanks to the mystery metal inertrium, are essentially weightless. It’s easier to make them fly than it is to make them land. So, yep, good one Rusty! Beginner’s luck.

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