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The Logical Choice

                                by Lynne Charles

Jacques LeRart sat at a tiny desk in his cramped quarters aboard The REBELLION. He had decided to throw a boat-warming party. He was busily scribbling out formal invitations in a distinctive style.

To the Holders of the Keys:

An Invitation: 7:00 pm

Aboard the REBELLION

You are hereby invited to join in a boat-warming gathering at which I will announce a surprise. I hope that each one of you will be able to attend, and look forward to having you aboard my ship. Please come as you are, and do not bring any refreshments or gifts.

Sincerely yours,

Jacques LeRart, Captain-REBELLION


Satisfied with his results, LeRart sealed the notes and pulled a braided rope hanging near the desk.

LeRart looked up as Alan entered his room. He handed the package of invitations to him and asked him to deliver them immediately. As Alan departed, LeRart thought about the surprises he was planning for his guests.

Alan soon returned with good news.

"Sir, every one of the guests accepts your gracious invitation with pleasure."

"Good! Good! We will be expecting them. Please see that all the preparations have been made."

"Yes, sir."

Jacques LeRart stood on the deck of his proud, old ship, quietly greeting his guests as they arrived promptly at 7:00.

"If you will kindly step this way, lady, (looking at the beautiful Adena), and gentlemen, we will have refreshments below deck, along with a few surprises."

The curiosity of the guests had been peaked by LeRart's mysterious words, and they willingly followed him down into the inner part of the ship. They entered a large sort of room decorated with ribbons and streamers. A beautiful crystal tureen, filled with a strange glowing liquid, was in the center of a long table. The table itself was overflowing with various kinds of cookies and cakes. The guests ate their fill, then settled back to wait for LeRart's enigmatic presentation.

LeRart disappeared into his cabin, and returned with a cardboard box. Ceremoniously, he opened the box and removed six antique vials. He placed the vials carefully on the table in a row.

"These vials were willed to me by Joanna Pierce, who possessed some secrets which she did not share with anyone, including her son."

As LeRart motioned towards Jonathon, he stared at the vials with some surprise.

"I now pass on this legacy, as I am growing quite old, and will not live long. You see before you six vials. I will ask each one of you to choose one vial for your own possession. However, I must warn you, once you have chosen, you cannot reverse your decision. Now, as you are the oldest, and wisest, of the wizards present, I will ask you, Iffley, to begin."

Iffley pondered his choice for a moment, then slowly pointed to the first vial on the right.

"Ah, you have chosen well, my friend. Open the vial, if you will. The red powder it contains will help you to examine all possible solutions to a problem, and make the wisest choice. Now, if you will make your selection, Adena of Furanose."

Without hesitation, Adena pointed to the third vial from the left.

"You, too, have chosen well, my dear. Your vial contains a green powder which will eternally preserve your great beauty. Please proceed, Archimedes of Phire."

Blue, unlike his spontaneous bride, needed a moment to think before he reached for the second vial from the left.

"The blue powder in your vial will enable you to perceive falsehoods, my friend. My godson, Jonathon will choose next."

Jonathon watched LeRart's hands as he placed them on the table. His right hand was near the vial on Jonathon's far left. He pointed to the vial that stood there and waited for LeRart's reaction.

"A wise choice, my boy. The purple powder in that vial will allow you to disguise yourself in darkness. Mr. T. G. Taft, will you please go next?"

The two vials left looked equally hopeful, so Taft trusted his intuition, and pointed to one of them. He picked it up, and opened it to find an orange powder inside.

"That powder will enable you to endow your own entourage with unfailing courage. As there is only one vial left, your choice is relatively simple, Mr. Randolph. Your vial contains a yellow powder which will enable you to endow your entourage with undying loyalty. How and when you choose to use these gifts is none of my business, but please remember that they were given to you in the sanctity of friendship. I am, and I hope, always will be, your friend. Now, I hope that you will excuse me, but my old bones are in need of a rest. You are all welcome aboard my ship at any time. Good night, friends. Have a safe journey back to your houses and lands."

The guests departed quickly to their various kingdoms, each wondering about the old man, and at their gifts, as well.

 © 1984, 

L. Charles, D. Conrad, A. Duncan, Enad the Great, J. Pierce, B. C. Randolf, and T. G. Taft

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