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Murder on the Mars Express: Chapter 11

Chapter 11: The Game’s Afoot Captain Crawford found Nick with his hands in his pockets staring out the window into space.  The captain scratched his closely cropped head as if he suffered from lice and paused. The view was a slowly rotating perspective of the stars.  If you knew where to look, you could see … Continue reading

Murder on the Mars Express: Chapter 10

Chapter 10: A Deerstalker? Io pulled back the top sheet and let it slip from her hand.  There was a tinge of disappointment in everything she did.  She hadn’t cleaned her teeth or brushed her hair or any of the little pre-sleep rituals women do to prepare for bed with her usual gusto.  Nick knew … Continue reading

Murder on the Mars Express: Chapter 9

Chapter 9: An Invitation “Begin recording.  Notes for a lecture. “Why do we love?  Is it the chemical equivalent of fate?  We are after all walking chemical factories.  Proteins, amino acids, serotonin and a thousand others… our bodies are practically awash in compounds that are in constant combat to balance and maintain the machine. “Poets … Continue reading

Murder on the Mars Express: Chapter 8

Chapter 8: Of Other Animals Io always was the curious one.  That’s how she became a travel writer… to pay for all her flights of curiosity.  She’d followed her nose to all the exotic places left for an escapist to escape to.  However, curiosity has spelled the end of more than one cat.   The … Continue reading

Murder on the Mars Express: Chapter 7

Chapter 7: Symbols and Signs “Recording?” “Yes, sir.  It’s on.” “State your full name.” “Doctor Nicklaus Jacob Kolthammer.” “Occupation.” “Professor of Literature.  I am to be a guest lecturer at the University of Jupiter.” “Describe how you came to find the body of Karen Nagana.” “I take a walk every morning before breakfast.  I was … Continue reading

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 … Continue reading

Murder on the Mars Express: Chapter 5

Chapter 5: It’s What Tiggers Do Best “We’re all members of the Corinthian Order.”  A gaunt, sandy haired man was addressing the entire room not merely the transport captain.  He was backed by over fifty of his order.  There was nothing to distinguish them from the remainder of the passengers or the crew.  They looked … Continue reading

Murder on the Mars Express: Chapter 4

Chapter 4: Blood Before Breakfast They had only been on the transport a week, and already Nick had established a routine.  Wake early, well before Io, dress and perform a morning constitutional. The transport had been dug out of a NEO, and its orbit shifted long ago.  A few thousand near earth objects are slung … Continue reading

Murder on the Mars Express: Chapter 3

Chapter 3: Shut Up and Kiss Me   Ionasia never could resist talking to strangers.  Nick could do without meeting anyone new.  Ever.  They were a rather strangely complementary pair. The transport to Mars….three months bottled up in a captured Near Earth Asteroid with six hundred fellow castaways, escapees, societal dregs, nutters, and dreamers.  Nick … Continue reading

Murder on the Mars Express: Chapter 2

Chapter 2: Heart of Darkness “I really get into old hard-boiled mysteries Raymond Chandler.”  Nick had gotten himself cornered by a fellow traveler, a hook-nosed retiree headed to Mars to see her great-great-grandchildren graduate from the University of Mars. “I don’t much care for Chandler’s Marlowe,” Nick said.  He could feel it coming on.  The … Continue reading