By Alex C. McDonald
Phantom 500 – Episode 11
By Alex C. McDonald
Copyright 2015 Alex C. McDonald
Thank you for purchasing Phantom 500 Episode 11. If you leave a review at your favorite retailer, please e-mail the author at and you will receive the next episode in the series for FREE.
The TV was turned up as the patrons of the roadside diner gathered around to watch the panel of experts discussing the news that Starfleet’s flagship, The Mayfair, had been destroyed. The panel was discussing whether Lycan’s had been involved or whether it was the issue of possible corruption amongst Starfleet’s ranks. Admiral Hermann Chambers was shown leaving a hospital with his arm in a sling and brushed off the media as he jumped into a helicopter.
James Riker didn’t follow the other patron’s heads to the television, he just sat in the corner finishing his breakfast and taking the last slurps of his fresh coffee. Today he wasn’t a Captain of a spaceship, nor was he a former member of Starfleet. In fact nobody recognized him in the diner and for that he was pleased. Today he was just a regular guy.
“Thank you,” said Riker to the waitress as he got up from his table, leaving a healthy tip.
“You’re welcome,” said the waitress, who barely took her eyes off the television. The doorbell rang as he left the diner.
The sun was shining and the sky was blue as Riker hoped into the 1967 GT 500 Shelby Ford Mustang. His investor, Atsushi Takamatsu, had lent him the classic car from his own personal, private collection as a thank you for the work Riker had done. It turned out that delaying the delivery of the Europa Water with all the Starfleet problems he had actually increased the demand and price. Riker and his crew were now enjoying the money.
Crystal had gone back to college and was accompanied by a personal security guard, Aurora was somewhere in south-east Asia, Kakura had gone to Alaska to see Grizzly Bears and Riker had stayed around California.
The V8 engine of the Ford Mustang roared as Riker turned on the key and sped out of the carpark of the diner and headed down the highway. He was pushing the speed limits, but he didn’t care, he was rich and carefree. That was until he saw the red and blue lights of a police hovercraft pursuing him.
“Dammit!” said Riker, who slowed the car down and pulled over. The police hovercraft landed and a cop got out and walked over to Riker and knocked on his window. Riker obliged. “Good morning, officer.”
“License and registration please,” said the police officer. Riker handed over his license and the registration of the car. The police officer began writing him a ticket. “You know you can’t be driving this antique on the open road anymore.”
“What? Why not?” said Riker.
“Pollution laws. This thing is spurting out so much carbon dioxide your personally going to put your own hole in the ozone layer,” said the police officer, who handed him over a ticket.
“Five thousand dollars!” said Riker.
“Oh yeah and here’s the speeding fine,” said the officer.
“Another five hundred!” said Riker.
“I suggest you drive a more eco-friendly vehicle and stay within the speed limits. Have a good day,” said the officer.
“Yeah, thanks,” said Riker. The police officer got into his hovercraft and flew off. Riker’s phone then rang, Riker picked it up. “Hello.”
“Good morning, Captain, I hope you are looking after my GT 500.”
“Mr. Takamatsu, I just got a five thousand dollar fine,” said Riker.
“Oh yes, I’ve had plenty of those. Don’t worry I’ll cover it for you,” said Takamatsu.
“Good,” replied Riker.
“Listen, Riker, I want you to drive to a house in Malibu to meet a man called Sergei Starov and his wife Ivanna,” said Takamatsu.
“Why?” said Riker.
“ They’re buying 51% of the business,” said Takamatsu.
“You’re selling?” said Riker.
“Not completely, but he will have control of the business. He has made me an offer I can’t refuse,” said Takamatsu.
“What’s my cut?” said Riker.
“Nothing, you don’t own any of the business,” said Takamatsu.
“Yeah, but I do all the dirty work,” replied Riker.
“Listen, James, go and meet with him. I think you’re going to like what he has to say. I’d hate to have to find another Captain for my ship,” said Takamatsu.
“Your ship?” replied Riker incredulously.
“Yes my ship. He’s talking about upgrades. Now are you going to go and meet him or not?” said Takamatsu.
“Send me through the address,” replied Riker who hung up the phone. He turned the engine on again and then sped off at the same law breaking speed he was just travelling at.
The Malibu house was right on the beach. Palm trees created shade as Riker pulled the GT500 Ford Mustang into the driveway of the mansion. There were great big ‘over-the-top’ Greek statues and a ridiculously lavish fountain.
“Where the hell am I?” said Riker, as he walked up the stairs to the front door that was flanked by Roman pillars. He went to knock, but the door flung open and a youthful young man, who wore an unbuttoned Hawaiian shirt and board-shorts opened it.
“Ah, Captain James Riker, so glad you could make it. Please come in,” said the young man.
“Er, I’m looking for a Sergei. Is he here?” said Riker.
“That is me. Sergei Starov,” replied the young man, revealing his identity.
“What? Is this a joke. What are you like 5 years old?” said Riker.
“Oh, very funny, Captain. Actually my biological makeup age has been tracked by scientists at exactly 19 years and 5 months,” said Sergei.
“Pretty sure you don’t need scientists to track your age,” said Riker.
“Well I do, because my actual age by Earth years is 63,” replied Sergei.
“I’m sorry, I am not following at all,” said Riker.
“You will, please come in,” said Sergei. Riker nodded and walked into the mansion, which was a beautiful home. It had a dark marbled floor that led down to an open kitchen and lounge room, where there were large ceiling to floor windows. His back area was stunning, as it had a large swimming pool that overlooked the Pacific Ocean.
“If your 63 then she is way too young for you,” said Riker gruffly pointing out a young girl in a bikini who jumped into the swimming pool.
“Ah, yes, that is my wife, Ivanna. My scientists have her at 20 years old, but her actual age by Earth years is 56,” said Sergei. “Would you like a mojito, Captain?”
“Sure,” said Riker, who was openly staring at Ivanna swim and trying to figure out why Takamatsu had sent him here. Sergei poured them both a mojito and handed one to Riker, who took a large gulp.
“Captain, have you figured out what is going on yet?” said Sergei.
“Either this is one elaborate prank organized by Aurora or you’re about to tell me,” said Riker.
“ No, Captain, this is no prank. I am your new investor. For the past year I have been trying to buy the Europa Mining Corporation, but to no avail, despite them seemingly going broke. The owner and I do not have a pleasant history,” said Sergei. “So I instead have purchased a 51% holding in the only merchant ship that has managed to get back to Earth with some of the water.”
“What?” said Riker.
“It seems Starfleet have put their own embargoes on all merchant ships trying to bring the water into Earth and are taking all of it for themselves,” said Sergei.
“Really?” said Riker.
“Yes, hence the reason why your last shipment went up considerably in price,” said Sergei. “It seems you need that extra cunning now to be a merchant ship in space.”
“Sure, something like that,” said Riker as he finished the rest of his drink in one large swig.
“Captain, anything you need, I will pay for. Upgrades, weaponry, extra crew members. Just name it and I will pay,” said Sergei.
“My crew is fine, but weapons are needed,” said Riker.
“Perfect, I will give you the number to my business manager who will organize anything you need,” said Sergei. Ivanna walked out of the pool and dried herself with a towel. She then walked in and kissed her husband, then put her hand out to shake Riker.
“Captain James Riker, I presume,” said Ivanna.
“Yes, that’s right,” said Riker.
“It’s an honor to meet you, as your reputation precedes you,” said Ivanna.
“That’s right, a hero of the Mars Wars,” said Sergei.
“I don’t like to talk too much about my Starfleet record,” said Riker.
“Oh, sorry, I did not mean to offend,” said Ivanna.
“You didn’t, but I’m just trying to put my finger on this. Sergei, you’re 63 years old and Ivanna you’re 56. Do you have the best plastic surgeons in the world or something?” said Riker. Ivanna walked over to the kitchen and took out a bottle of water and began drinking it. Sergei smiled.
“Three years ago, Captain, I suffered a heart attack. Luckily I survived, but of course it resulted in a huge lifestyle change for me. That is when a friend of mine handed me a bottle of the Europa Water. I drank it all immediately and felt wonderfully better. I began to acquire several bottles and drank one per day for a month,” said Sergei.
“That’s an expensive habit,” said Riker.
“Yes, you are right, but my doctors were astounded that my heart seemed to have completely recovered from the heart attack and was now healthier than ever,” said Sergei. “So I increased my dosage to three liters of Europa water per day.”
“What? You must have been drinking every last drop of the stuff on Earth,” said Riker.
“You might say so, but the miraculous started to occur, my body began to reverse the aging process. Wrinkles began to disappear, I no longer had to dye my hair and I could exercise like I did when I was young. Soon Ivanna joined me and then here we are, three years later a picture of health and youth,” said Sergei.
“So, now the divide between rich and poor has gotten even bigger. If you’re rich you can now cure the ultimate disease, death,” said Riker, Sergei and Ivanna laughed.
“Yes, you are right, Captain. This drink is just for those who can afford it at the moment, but I want to change that. I want to bring enough Europa water to Earth to bring the price down considerably to make it affordable,” said Sergei. “My plan is to have you bring Europa water back three times per week.”
“Three times per week! Do you realize the danger you are putting us in?” said Riker.
“I know, Captain. That is why I am offering you anything you want,” said Sergei. Riker smiled.
“ I want 25% of the business,” said Riker. Sergei’s face went red with anger.
“5%,” said Sergei.
“25%,” said Riker.
“10%,” said Sergei.
“Deal,” said Riker, then they shook hands.
“You are about to become a very rich man, Captain Riker,” said Sergei.
“Not quite as rich as you,” said Riker, who handed Sergei his empty glass. He winked at Ivanna and then walked out of the mansion. “Get your business manager to draw up the deal, Sergei, and then I’ll gather my crew and we’ll launch.” Riker then walked out of the mansion, leaving the youthful couple feeling uncomfortable with the deal. They heard the roar of the GT500 Ford Mustang start-up.
“I thought he was a mercenary, not a businessman,” said Ivanna.
“ We will have to be very careful with him. He’s a man that likes to win, to be the best. A 10% cut of the profits could be just the beginning,” said Sergei.
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About the author
Alex C. McDonald is a writer of fantasy, apocalyptic horror and science fiction.
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Phantom 500 – Episode 1
Phantom 500 – Episode 2
Phantom 500 – Episode 3
Phantom 500 – Episode 4
Phantom 500 – Episode 5
Phantom 500 Anthology – Episode 1-5
Phantom 500 – Episode 6
Phantom 500 – Episode 7
Phantom 500 – Episode 8
Phantom 500 – Episode 9
Phantom 500-Episode 10