Kharkaram and the Search for the Red Fly

Originally posted 20-JUN-1990

Log of the SS High Rhodes
Mar 17 Word reached us in port of rioting in Thoth. Seems the natives were upset about the murder of a noble and attacks on some troops by some red men. Cries for justice led to rioting in the foreigner's quarter; those who survived managed to get to a building or two where the militia gathered. We don't appear to have been connected to the murder-but they did have Estes' name.
Mar 20 Arranged dinner party for one of the top Red Captains, one Sir Michael Paget-Smith. Rather arrogant sort.
Mar 22 Paid the lads. Met with senior crew members to discuss this Red Fly venture. Goebbels mentioned that a contact of his (probably the German Consul) had passed on a rumor of two earth women being offered for sale or ransom. Some of the kaffer hands had heard that the Red Fly hadn't been in port in 6 months, though some number of her hands were.

Ordered out for our own flag to fly. Bayswater nearly had a fit. "What's wrong with the Union Jack?" he kept shouting until I asked him to leave the dining room.

Found a potter to make us some small bombs to try dropping, but that will take a week. We'll wait.

Mar 28 Left port in search of the Red Fly. Kharaatl, our captured pirate, will guide us to their lair. When he does so, I'll release him to the tender mercies of the desert.
Mar 30Weather cloudy - unusual for Mars.
Mar 31Cloudy again, and blustery and cool. Rather like the South Atlantic in Autumn. Very unusual for Mars in my experience.
Apr 1Spotted flock (I guess that's the best word for them) of High Martians flapping about near a mountain. Although Herr Doktor wanted to get closer to observe, I mustered the marines and ran out the guns, but otherwise stayed clear of them.
Apr 3Spotted a Small Bird class screw galley. As it was obviously smaller than the Red Fly, our prey, we ignored it. No sense in becoming weakened before the main event...
Apr 4Had a chat, along with Barkley and Hawkins, with Kharaatl, about why he's taking so long to find the Fly's lair. He claims that he was not a navigator, and is going by memory (if he is, damned if I know how; all these mountains look alike to me). We keep screwing up his memory when we turn away, as with the Martians and the Small Bird. He grew quite excited when we discussed tying him to the jib boom.

Copyright 1996 by Mitchell K Schwartz

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