Aug 5th 2011, 14:44 by E O Hatterpol | 1228 AU FROM SUN
That stupid cop sauntered over, jangling his keys. Nixie explained the situation. I whipped out my smartphone.
"Let's see, here: three Flybrarians chose the noble path - the one where I stroll out of here with swagger like James Bond - and let's see... how many of them chose the violent one? The one where I punch this punk policeman for brutalizing me with his baton?"
The guard unlocked the cell door, eyes lowered to the keyhole. I drew my arm back like a cowboy cocks his gun, then let my fist fly right into that motherflounder's cheekbone. His head snapped back, carrying the rest of his body down with it.
"What'd you do that for?!" Nixie demanded. She crossed her arms and tapped her feet.
"Against a cop?! I can't believe you, E O! We just made up and you go and do this?!"
"I don't do anything without the sage counsel of my Flybrarians back on Earth, and this is what they told me to do. And to be honest? It felt great."
I stepped out of the cell & held the door open. Then I locked eyes with Captain Makemake.
"I won't close this back. We've had problems in the past but if what you say about the Man in Red is true, then we're in this together."
Makemake smiled big. He walked over to the door. Then he slammed it back shut.
"You can't put money under free parking," he said simply. "That's not how you play the game."
Makemake's unhinged laughter lapped greedily at our backs as Nixie and I fled the police station. Something about the way that man acts - what motivates him, which choices he makes - unsettles me. He's too absurd to be predictable.
"What do we do next?" Nixie asked breathlessly.
"That cop said I was under arrest for the murder of that zonbi girl AND the disappearance of forty-some-odd other chicks!" I shouted over the oncoming hustle and bustle of the Squid's Beak.
"There have been disappearances, E O! More girls go missing every day!" Nixie shouted back, elbowing her way through the main square's crowd.
"Think it has anything to do with Master Bokor? That zonbi girl said he takes them in the night--"
"And whips them, I know, because I was there. Do you think that's literal? Is that supposed to mean something, or is there really somebody on this Starbase with a bullwhip?" Nixie asked.
"I don't know, Nixie," I shouted, looking over my shoulder to see if any cops had gotten the big idea yet.
"We need to do some research!" Nixie said, grabbing my arm and stopping me. "Listen! We can't just run around. We need a place that's safe. We need a place with all the information we could hope to find on zonbis and this Master Bokor and whips and stuff."
Three policemen appeared on the other side of the Squid's Beak. They pointed at us and started running with their batons out.
"We need somewhere to go, E O, and we need it NOW!"
I grabbed her hand and bolted down Tentacle Four.
"I know just the place!" I called back to her, a wide grin opening up.
"Where?" she called back. "Where can we go?"
"Back to the Starship Flybrary!"
I could feel my thighs pounding with lactic acid and blood drumming furiously in my ears, but I could also see the tentacle narrowing, smell the spines of old, well-loved books and taste the Fried Fish Fridays on my tongue. We were getting close.
"This is it!" I told Nixie, rounding a corner to the loading bay where the Flybrary was docked.
I had smacked right into a solid wall! I hit the ground, rubbing my head, and looked up.
"What is this?" asked Nixie.
I took a good look. It took me a second to fully absorb what I was seeing. Even when I opened my mouth to speak, I could hardly believe what I was saying.
"It's a wall of books."
WHAT should I do, Flybrarians?
A: Go further down Tentacle Four and find somewhere to hide - another loading bay, behind crates of cargo, anywhere - until the cops are off my trail.
B: Shake it off! Stand up & fight, like a real man-o'-war! You don't need to be afeared of no cops! You just need your bookshield & beer sword - take 'em ALL on!!
Vote A or B in the comments section below, on Facebook or @EOHatterpol. Storyline ideas can be mailed to EOHatterpol[at]gmail[dot]com.