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Murder on the Mars Express: Chapter 6

Chapter 6:

It’s All About Timing

Nick had taken his morning walk and had returned to the stateroom to do some reading.  It was nearly noon before he realized Io had not returned from the common room.  She had gone for a cup of tea.

The common room was mobbed.  The captain, wearing his sidearm, was shouting at Marakov and the rest of the Corinthians.

“Damn it!  I am disappointed, dismayed at the verdict-”

“Then do something about it!” Marakov shouted back.  The Corinthians looked on the verge of rushing the crewmen.  Many of the other passengers shouted their disapproval of the captain and support of Marakov.  They may not like his brand of faith, but they wanted something like justice.

“I am bound by the Maritime Code.”  A collective groan went up.  Io grabbed Nick’s arm and pulled him close.

“Nick, it doesn’t look good.”

“Hell, it looks like somebody’s going to get killed.”

“We’re not.”  Marakov said.  The room went strangely still.  The captain put his hand on his sidearm.  Io edged us closer to the center of the room and both of them.


“Give him to us.”


“We’ll take him.”  Marakov looked unarmed.  He had forty or so Corinthians and assorted other passengers with him, although many of them probably hadn’t planned on fighting it out.  Even with just the captain armed he had fifteen crew.  What did he hope to accomplish?  Did he want to be a martyr?  Incite a political incident?  Or string up the offender himself?

Marakov shot his hand out and lunged for the captain’s arm.  Suddenly, he tripped and fell headlong into a table.  The sound of his skull cracking on the table reminded Nick of the sound of a genuine wood baseball bat striking a baseball.  Eerie and sickening at the same time.  His head snapped back, and he fell to the floor unconscious.  The captain had his gun out pointed at the Corinthians.

“Someone help me get him to the infirmary,” Io said.

“I don’t like the verdict or the sentence, but I am bound.”  The captain looked down at Marakov.  He had a good gash above his left eye that was streaming blood.

“This is over now,” The captain said, paused, then added, “I shall see to it.”


“It’s all about timing.  There’s really very little strength needed.”  Io explained as she washed Marakov’s blood from her hands.

“You’ll have to teach me that trick sometime.”  Nick said.

“You just catch his foot as he extends it forward.  Sometimes a good shot to his back at the same time makes it more effective, but Marakov took care of that himself.  I merely steered him away from the captain and towards the table.”

“Ah, nothing so beautiful as the practical application of physics.”  He handed her a towel.  “However, I daresay it has merely postponed the inevitable.”

“I think if it gets too far out of hand the captain will just arm the entire crew.  That’ll be sure to stop the Corinthians, right?”



About Rob Sterner

English teacher, Film buff, Filmmaker, Writer, Musician, Photographer, Runner, Taoist, Thinker, List maker...


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