How the house burned down

“What story, Mom?”

“Well, Amish pirates are not known for subtlety.  They’d rather kill you and turn you into fertiliser than negotiate with you.”

“But we’re not like that, are we?”

“Shadowgrass, let me tell you the quick version of what happened when one of your great-great-uncle’s cousin’s boy’s father’s cousin’s nephew’s cousin’s uncle’s father’s boy’s cousin’s uncle burned the house down.  It started one day when the two of them were clearing a field…”

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“How big was the wasp?”

“Bigger than the farmhouse.”

“Bigger than our Martian habitat module?!”


“What did they do?”

Bai popped into their thought trail.  “Hey, guys!  I’m back!”

“Hi, Bai.  How did it go?”

“Great.  But boy, am I mentally wrung out.  Alek advanced me to the next level of dancing.  I’ll tell you something funny.  He said, ‘You know the way a guy keeps pestering you to dance with him and you aren’t interested?  He keeps asking and asking until you are giving him the look that says ‘Get away from me!'”  I told him, yeah, I’ve made that look.  ‘Well,’ he said, ‘stop giving me that look.  Act like you want to dance with me.  Flirt with me!’  Me!  As if I don’t know how to flirt.”

Guin and Shadowgrass laughed with Bai.

“Hey, can you believe Stephane only drank water last week?  And he’s accusing me of finally growing up!”

“When are you coming over to our colony?”

“I don’t know, Guin.  Depends on my schedule.  I’m booked for the next two marsweeks.

“Okay, I’ll see you when you get here.”

“Sure thing.”

Guin turned to Shadowgrass.  “Where was I?”

“Jersey and the Frenchman were about to battle the great, big, gigantanormasaurus Wasp.”

“That’s right.  But it’ll have to wait until tomorrow.  You’ve got work to do.”

“Ah, Mom.  I thought you said that you and Dad brought your electromechanical design wizardry to Mars so no one would have to work again.”

“We did.  But then we found that we liked to share time with our creations.  Nothing like getting your hands into the soil yourself.”

“Must be the Amish pirate in you, eh, Mom?”

“Well… I don’t know…”

“Stabbing giant worms with your sabre!  Slashing through deadly grass blades!”

“That’s right, son.  You can imagine what all we faced on Earth and why we wanted to start over here.  Just make sure you get plenty of nightmares letting your imagination run too wild.  And remember to tell us about them tomorrow.”

“Mom, you’re being facetious, aren’t you?”

“Am I?”  She smiled at her little genius and scrunched her nose.  “Maybe just a little bit.”

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