Book 1 in the MU Series.
A Martian-constructed island that houses the elite Martian University, floats off the west coast of the United States of America. A known half-Martian is the first ever to be admitted into in Suzette's Troop, where the guys are intimidated and the girls are besotted. The big problem is that someone is shooting full-blooded Martians ... obooko.
Download Book 2: MU Madam Ceasar
"Suzette?" Dad's head pokes in my door. It was closed but you don't think he'd knock, do you? "Suzette, are you here?" Dad is in his late forties and has dark brown hair that is graying at the temples, which does look distinguished but it's a little premature considering our heritage. His eyes are a deep brown. The chub on him makes him seem warmer than he truly is and he stands out in our family because of it. We all have leaner features.
I close my book and sit up on my bed. "Weren't you going to stay on the Island until school starts?"
"Change of plans. I have some good news that couldn't wait. Artie's whipping up a special meal as we speak." He's excited and it is a rare day that Stanley Russell lets his emotions show. Unlike me, Dad's full Martian. I'd tell you to think Mr. Spock but that analogy is a very limited one. His ears aren't pointed, his eyebrows are normal, and although he's aloof he is hardly clinical twenty-four seven. However the Mr. Spock comparison is right on the money when it comes to Martian views on feelings. Emotions are determined to be weak and hence hidden. Martians pretend not to have any. Since they bottle them up, when they show, they show brightly. And Dad's big smile is bright and shiny.
The term Martian was adopted by our people in the 1950's when science fiction peaked in popularity. We use it tongue-in-cheek. Earthlings never discovered our home planet before it died and the first Martian settlers communicated via telepathy, so we never had a word for home or ourselves. Other worldly being sounded too dry and formal.
"What's the occasion?" Why do I bite? He's stringing me along for a big announcement. Dad wants the anticipation to last.
"At dinner. Artie will want to hear." Told you he liked to play me and with that tantalizing teaser Dad leaves with a skip in his step.
Artie's full name is Artie Mann. Dad isn't the most creative person on the planet and since Artie is an artificial man, he named him just that. If anyone, human or Martian, could tell Artie is robot, I'd be impressed. He is six foot exactly and has light brown hair and blue eyes that never get red or bleary. Other than not blinking enough and this weird
pupil size fluctuation tick when he thinks, he's a perfect imitation of life. Artie isn't really a maid or a butler or a baby-sitter but he does what we need. An old friend of Dad's had made him for us since Dad got saddled with me. Fatherhood isn't a natural talent of Dad's, so he figured an unnatural substitute would fill in the gap.
Artie is an independent thinking being with synthetic emotions that are developed and balanced. His last programming was when I was five. He was given free will to use his best judgment. Somehow Dad didn't foresee that a robot and a wise-ass kid could find ways to bend the spirit of the rules without breaking the letter of the law. I wasn't that bad. Dad went off the deep end when he heard I had eaten Mac & Cheese for every meal in a week. So rather than having Artie contact him constantly, he choose to let the robot make the wise choice. By giving Artie self control, Dad pretty much made Artie alive. The three of us see it that way. Artie has more emotional range than dad and more emotional control that me.
As for how Dad got saddled with me, I'm his sister's child. She's a free-spirit. It happens with Martians occasionally. Amanda Russell is her name and I haven't seen her in years. She tends to run off and vanish for long spells. Once she was gone for three years and when Dad found her, she was pregnant with me. This current disappearance started four years ago. I'm worried. Artie tried to find her last spring while I was at school. Artie doesn't fail often.
Dad may not be a great Dad and since he has Artie around, he doesn't have to be. He loves me and treats me like a princess, which he called me until two years ago when I broke it to him I was too old for that. I only mention this because I don't want you thinking he's ?ber arctic.
So dinner with my two favorite men in the world is a grand idea with or without a cause. Of course, I'm half Martian and we're curious beyond belief. Dad's hint is like painful torture by suspense. What would be too big to phone home? Could he be getting married? He never did, probably because of me and hiding my human roots. Maybe he wants kids of his own? He's getting kind of old but we live longer, so he's still in the safety zone. It's funny how Martians are all about perpetuating our race but a lot of us go down a solitary road. If you want to hear my two cents on the matter - it's our pro- apathy stance that takes the fun out of romance.
I can accept a wife in Dad's life. Especially if she's cool? Amanda is the only Martian woman I know personally and she is atypical with a capital A. If Dad was at work and therefore on campus, this new woman must be on staff at Martian U. Now the suspense is terrible and I can't take it any longer.
Hurriedly I give myself a check over in the mirror. No need to change if we're dining in.
The yummy smell of Chicken Cordon Bleu wafts up the stairs as I descend.
Everything Artie makes is my favorite. Martian metabolism is high, mine even higher, and I'm lucky to eat all I want. If we over do it, we get the urge to burn it off. I'm a runner. In the kitchen Dad is preparing the salad. Wow! Per him, food prep it robot work. Curiosity is now too weak a word to express my intrigue.
"Can you tell me now?" I take a carrot and nibble.
"You didn't want to change out of your jeans?" Dad hates that I wear jeans all the time. He thinks they are overtly human and grungy.
I ignore his question since he ignored mine. "Does this have anything to do with Martian U?"
Martian U is sometimes called the Island but if you're not in the Martian crowd, you might have heard it referred to as Island U. Humans assume it's a super elite college that extends admission only to legacies and that is the entirety of their knowledge on our school. It isn't true that you have to be a legacy. You must be Martian to attend, no exceptions. Technically your parents need not be alum but most still in Martian society went to Martian U or its sister school Bermuda U. Bermuda U is the older site and floats west of Bermuda in the infamous triangle. Technically they're the same school but they run independently of each other.
Martian U is more selective in admissions and broader minded than Bermuda U. I would have got in regardless of Dad's position. He's the Engineer of Education. It's his job to determine standards in students, teachers, class options and what those classes entail. Sure, if my scores were light, Dad would have pulled strings but I aced the entrance exam. How could I not pass? I was homeschooled by a high tech robot that loves me.