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May 2023 Ficlet Challenge
The word prompt for this month is ... JUDGE

And for the second challenge:

Write a ficlet inspired by the concept of arigata-meiwaku — a favour that turns out to be a nuisance for its recipient.

Happy writing!
As I'm off on my hols soon, I thought it best to upload my little tale a tad early.

This time I’ve combined both prompts and Lurena has provided a lovely piccie…

Oh yes, for this to make sense you will need to read the previous couple of months' prompts

Judgement Call

“Look, Gan, I’m expecting a delivery.”
“Not another one, Vila?” Gan sighed, “You almost gave the game away last time.”
“That’s why I’m asking you to do me a favour; make sure that it’s you who signs the manifest and no-one else.”
“By no-one else, I take it you mean Blake and Avon? Look, they are both very suspicious as it is.”
“I know. But this is for Cally and Jenna. They loved the one at the Kingdom Health Resort and I’m just going down to the hold to get things ready.”
“All right, I’ll do it. But I still think you are making a big mistake.”

Unfortunately, Gan’s best efforts to do Vila a favour failed. Staying awake after his turn of duty was too much and he was asleep when the package was delivered.

“Morning, Guv.”
Blake was exasperated “Not you again? And why do you insist on calling me Gov?”
“Part of the old vernacular, isn’t it? Anyways, are you going to sign this chitty or do I have to find the Guv ‘nor?”
“The Guv ‘nor? Who’s that?”
“The bloke that ordered it, Mr Restal. He’s in charge isn’t he?”
“NO…I am the Guv…man in charge. Give me that chitty…manifest. What is it I’m signing for anyway?”
“Dunno. I just deliver the stuff; it’s in the hold, if you’re interested. Just sign mate, I’m behind schedule as it is…”

“I see our friend is back,” Avon smiled as the jocular delivery driver pushed past him.
“This is getting beyond a joke. He called Vila the Guv ‘nor because he’s in charge…”
“And you are a mere Guv.”
“Yes. He should be calling me the Guv ‘nor. After all, I’m in charge. Not Vila or anyone else on this ship…and that includes you, Avon.”
“Well now, I shall be the judge of that.”
Blake stared at Avon, finding the look in Avon’s eyes a little discomforting.
“I’ve got to find out what is going on. Do you realise that there is a big gap in the Ship’s Log?”
“The Ship’s Log? We have one?” Avon asked incredulously.
“Yes we do. While you and I were…shall we say, indisposed, the Liberator took a detour.”
“To where?”
“I don’t know. Zen keeps telling me that that information is unavailable and Orac keeps telling me it is classified. But I do know that all this trouble with that delivery driver started just after the Liberator went…wherever it went!”
“The last time you tried to find out we met a literal wall in the shape of Gan.”
“And then Cally and Jenna appeared from goodness knows where, wearing those fluffy white dressing gowns.”
“You noticed then?”
“Well, of course…look Avon, we have to find out what is going on.”
“But not in such a gung-ho manner. No, I think this calls for a more subtle approach.”
“It does? How?”
“Leave it to me.”

Making his way through the interconnecting service shafts was not Avon’s idea of fun, but at least he would be undetected. All he needed to do now was find the cover nearest the hold. Hopefully, he wouldn’t come across any barrier this time.
He stopped beneath a cover and listened.
“Well here goes …” and he pushed open the cover and began to haul himself out, only to find a strong pair of hands aiding him.

“We’ve been expecting you,” he said.
Avon stared at him, “We?”
“Yes, Marilyn and myself.”
“My colleague. I haven’t been assigned a name yet as neither Cally nor Jenna can decide. It’s between George, Brad and Tom at the moment.”
“How did you know I was coming?”
“Orac and Zen are most accommodating.”
“I see.”
“I’m so glad to meet you, Avon, I’ve heard so much about you.” It was Marilyn, her breathless voice making his spine tingle.
“Let me guess, Vila named you.”
“He did. I hope you are more of a gentleman than he is.”
Avon cleared his throat. He dare not ask exactly how ungentlemanly Vila had been.
“Blake wants to know what is going on with his ship,” Avon said, changing the subject as Marilyn entwined her arm through his.
“We do have a problem,” George, Brad or Tom began, “Perhaps it is best that we show you. It is Mr Restal’s recent purchase as a favour for the ladies. Come.”

“A hot tub! On a deep space cruiser!?” Avon sighed, “Whatever was Vila thinking of?”
“Well, the ladies really enjoyed it during their stay in the Kingdom Health Resort,” Marilyn purred.
“But this is…ridiculous. The water must go everywhere?”
“It does,” concurred George, Brad or Tom, “and we have to mop it up everytime. Which is not good for our mechanics.”
“You’re androids aren’t you,” Avon deduced, “Which may explain why Zen reported no unusual life signs.”
“Could you let Mr Restal know?”
“Oh, I’ll let him know. This is something that he will regret; trust me.”
“Meanwhile,” Marilyn began, “Perhaps I could interest you in a free trial?”
“A free trial?”
“Yes, for your back pain.”
George, Brad or Tom smiled, “She’s an excellent masseuse.”

Vila was not happy.
“Why has it got to go?”
“Because the androids are fed up with the water going everywhere. It could cause all sorts of electronic trouble. You have to go and mop it”
“What all of it?”
“Yes, or I tell Bake what has been going on since he was hospitalised.”
“Oh, don’t do that,” Cally and Jenna chimed together, “we love our daily…weekly massages.”
“Maybe, we could come to some arrangement?” Gan suggested.
“We could?” Vila asked.
“Vila mops up all that water and disposes of that hot tub, and we cut you in for part of the profits.”
“What profits?”
“We own the Kingdom Health Resort and it’s doing rather well.”
Vila rubbed his hands together, “Yes Avon, you don’t tell Blake about anything and we cut you in for a percentage of the profits from the Health Resort? Isn’t that a good idea?”
Avon thought for a moment, “I’ll be the judge of that.”
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Marvelous work, Little Sue. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this. Grin
I have never understood why it should be necessary to become irrational to prove that you care, or indeed why it should be necessary to prove it at all.
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