Chapter 21 Journeys
The repair ship streaked trough hyper space. Everything was quiet. Tarin was at the controls, it was her shift. She was used to vessels with a lot more class like private shuttles and yachts. Those days were behind her now. She had taken sides in this conflict and she was stuck with her decision until it was over. Still she couldn’t complain. She liked most of her new friends and the ones she didn’t left her alone. She was getting used to being part of a group. Tarin was always by herself before. She never had any real friends in her line of work. It would usually go like this. She would accept a job, then go to the planet. There would be a meeting of some sort then she would watch her target for a while. After she figured out how and when to do it the job would be done. She’d get her money and spend the next few months blowing it and screwing some high roller until it was time to move on. It was fun but mainly it was a very solitary life with a few moments of happiness and excess.
Baltis was resting in his room. The fall he had taken had hurt more than just his body. He should have checked the platform he intended to set up his shot from. They had all discussed earlier how dangerous Lyda was and that they shouldn’t underestimate her. The thing that bothered him most was the thought had never even crossed his mind. It would have been different if he thought about checking but he didn’t. He just never thought to check it out. Did Lyda use some kind of mind trick on him? If so ,how could any of them avoid that later on?
Venis had been sitting in her room alone. She didn’t have the lights on. She could see the lights of hyper space zipping past the porthole. She had tried to sleep but couldn’t. Lyda Starkiller was down in the cargo hold drugged and bound. Bronski had laid his sleeping bag out on the floor just a few feet away from her. He had even tied a grenade to her neck and then tied the ring to a support beam. If by some miracle she woke up from the near fatal dose of drugs Tarin had given her and tried something she would pull the pin and blow her head off. The hull plating would be strong enough to survive the blast but her head wouldn’t. Even with all these precautions she couldn’t relax. She had become a bundle of nerves. Worse yet she was becoming a liability to the group. It was clear nobody thought she could pull her weight anymore. They didn’t trust her and she had a lot of information that could be used against them all. She was the weak link and a clear security risk. If she was captured she could easily be made to talk, even she knew it. They would have to do something about it. Most of the group were professional killers of some sort either mercenaries or assassins so it was not a problem to find one of them to do the job of eliminating her if need be. She thought of Ceecee and how calm she was. She talked to her dead sister all the time she had told her. Her sister was supposed to be looking out for them all. It was all some big mystical journey they were on and everything would be just fine. What a load of crap. She wished she could believe in ghosts and fairies so she could sleep. She wished she could believe in anything.
Bronski had pulled up a chair and was sitting watching Lyda Starkiller laying on the floor. He slowly pointed his scatter caster at her head. “Pow. Game over bitch.” he said to himself. That’s how easy it would be. One stinking round from his gun and it would all be over. He could go upstairs and lie down in a nice comfy bunk and get some sleep or go and give Tarin a hard time. He had put troopers out of their misery and blown up towns and villages that had civilians in them. When he was done they said he was a hero. A fine brave soldier that did his duty. He had killed more people than he could remember but that was his job. There were most likely some folks that would like to stand him up against a wall and shoot him for what he’d done in his life.
Lyda Starkiller was to have a trial. She had to be dragged into some court in chains and paraded in front of somebodies chieftains so they could show their people that they had made their homes safe again. The monster would be destroyed.
What a waist of time.
“Are you certain Captain?” Lionette asked. She was pacing back and forth across the room.
“I am as certain as I could ever be. I would never make such accusations if I wasn’t positive My Lady.” the Captain of her security forces had completed his investigation into her fathers death and Cheena’s sudden disappearance.
Lionette was crushed . Such betrayal in her own house could not be tolerated no matter what the cost to her personally. The security cameras had told her everything she needed to know. Lionette walked back over and sat down in the big chair at the head of the table and sat up straight.
“Bring her in.” she said to the guards at the door.
They went into the hallway and escorted Timtam into the great hall. They had her stand at the far end of the long table. Timtam knew she was in trouble for something but didn’t know what it was. She stood silently at the end of the table waiting to be yelled at or beaten for whatever it was she had done.
“Take her to the labor camps on Geirgor. Give her to the workers do do as they please. I never want to see her again.” and with that said Lionette stood up and walked out of the door on her side of the room.
“No! Please Mistress! What have I done?” Timtam started towards Lionette but was grabbed viciously by the guards and dragged out of the room and down the hall screaming and crying.
Lionette had seen the security files of the conversation between Cheena and Timtam. Timtam had known it was Cheena and her fellow conspirators that had her father murdered and had said nothing. She had remained silent this whole time. She was as guilty as the rest in Lionette’s mind.
Lionette sat down behind her desk. It was her fathers desk not too long ago. The room was large and dark. It was almost night and the sun was setting on the far side of the palace by now.
“Send in the Colonel please.” she said into the intercom. The door opened and in stepped a huge Feloid. He walked up to Lionette’s desk and stood at attention.
“What can I do for you my Lady?” he asked eyes forward.
“Colonel, you were my fathers most trusted warrior, you are the only soldier I have considered to carry out this order.
Lionette slid a piece of paper across the desk to him. “This is a list of the people responsible for my fathers death. I want you to find them and kill them. I don’t want any trials or martyrs Colonel. I want revenge, I want blood spilled for this act.” Lionette swung the chair around facing away from the Colonel. “Will this be a problem for you?” she asked.
“My Lady, if I had found this scrap of paper in the street and knew what these people on it had done I would have killed them all on my own. I am gratified that these are my orders.”the old soldier replied.
“ Take what you need from my personal armory and use any of my personal guard to accomplish this mission.”
“It is already done my Lady.” he said and left the room.
Timtam screamed and struggled to free herself. Geirgor was a primitive planet that Maxis Ty had taken control of four years ago. It was where they sent the worst of his enemies to die. The inhabitants were the most viscous criminals and traitors under Ty rule. They were sent there to build facilities for future colonists and military out posts. There was no chance of escape so there was no garrison on the planet. The only law was determined by the inmates. They had a work quota to fulfill to be given food and medicine. It was a brutal place and Timtam was to be dropped right in the middle of it for her betrayal. Timtam didn’t fully understand what she had done wrong. These things were way over her head so she had a tendency to roll with the punches.
She had seen the cold look on Lionette’s face before. It was the one she had when she went into a fight knowing she had to kill. By sending Timtam to Geirgor she had essentially killed Timtam just as if she had plunged a dagger into her heart herself. A pretty house slave that had lost favor was as good as dead. She would be passed around to be ravaged until she died. It would be a long slow lingering death full of pain and misery.
The guards threw her into a holding cell full of other prisoners. Timtam begged and pleaded to talk to Lionette but her fate was sealed. As the guards walked out from the outer room she heard the heavy steel door slam shut. The ships engines started up with a low rumble and Timtam could feel the massive freighter lifting off.
Timtam grabbed the bars on the door and pulled on them as hard as she could.
“Nooo !” she could feel the ship rising from the planets surface. She knew the feeling well. It was the feeling she had every time Lionette would take her on one of their adventures. She felt sick. She was on her last adventure but this time all alone.
Venis had drifted off to sleep during her turn at the controls. She sensed someone standing behind her causing her to wake up. She jumped up and looked down the hallway, no one was there. She climbed back into the big chair and relaxed. She could smell Ceecee’s perfume on the chair and she missed her. Ceecee would stand by her no matter what and that gave her a sense of relief. After a while Venis noticed a dim light in the hallway behind her. At first she thought someone was walking around with an electric lantern but the glow became brighter and brighter. She leaned over the chair’s arm to look down the hall but the light had become so bright it was blinding her. Then the light flashed as bright as a sun and it was gone. Venis fell back in the chair momentarily stunned. As her eyes adjusted she saw Ceecee sitting on the bench across the cockpit from her. She had a strange glow around her and was just sitting there looking right at her.
“Ceecee, what are you doing here?” Venis rubbed her eyes trying to make them adjust quicker.
“I’m Jaycee.” the woman said.
Venis froze. She looked closer at the glowing woman and realized she had blonde hair, it was Jaycee, Ceecee’s dead twin.
“AAHHH !!!” Venis fell out her chair screaming at the top of her lungs. She hit the floor butt first.
The woman remained seated and smiled at Venis.
“AAHHH !!!” Venis scrambled across the floor and down the hallway finally regaining her feet. She looked behind her and saw the glow in the cockpit begin to get brighter. Venis climbed the ladder up to the next deck and made her way to Tarins room.
She beat on the door yelling for Tarin still looking over her shoulder.
The door opened. “What is it?” Tarin asked as she looked past Venis to see what the trouble was.
“There’s someone else on board the ship. I just saw them in the cockpit.” Venis was frantic.
“Who? Who is on the Ship?” Tarin grabbed Venis by the shoulders and looked her in the eyes.
“It was…I’m not sure. She said she was Jaycee.” Venis said.
Tarin straightened up. “She’s dead. Jaycee is dead, I saw her head when they brought it to the room. I saw her broken body. She was dead.” Tarin didn’t like what Vee had just told her.
“I know she’s dead but she was in the cockpit just now. She spoke to me.” Venis was trembling and kept looking over her shoulder.
For some strange reason Tarin believed her.
“Let’s go have a look.” Tarin said. She took Venis by the arm firmly and lead her down the ladder back to the cockpit. Tarin had not been much of a believer in such things in the past but she had witnessed things recently that could only be described as genuine.
Tarin was the first to step into the cockpit. They saw a communications light flashing. Tarin pressed the button underneath it.
“What is it?” she asked.
It was Baltis. “I thought I heard a scream. Is everything alright?”
Tarin looked around the cockpit. Everything looked normal.
“Just a little visit from the booger man is all.” she answered looking at Venis.
“A visit from who?” Baltis asked puzzled.
“Sorry, it was nothing, go back to sleep.” she turned off the button.
“Well she’s gone, are you going to be able to finish your shift?” Tarin asked. She didn’t ask in a nice way. She asked in a way that was clear she wanted Venis to say yes.
“Yes, yes I can .” Venis was more afraid of Tarin right now than the ghost.
“Good.” Tarin looked at the clock on the control panel. “Then I guess you’ll let Baltis take over in four hours won’t you?” Tarin was telling Venis that she was to finish her shift and not bother anyone no matter what. It was becoming clear that she was loosing patients with Vee.
“I’m sorry, it won’t happen again.”Venis said trying to be brave.
“You’re sorry a lot lately aren’t you Venis?”
“Yea I am.”
“Well stop it, we need to know we can count on you.” Tarin said somewhat nicer.
“I’m trying, I really am.”
“I’m going to bed now, anything else?” Tarin asked smiling.
“No, I’m good.” Venis climbed back into the chair and nodded smiling at Tarin.
Tarin gave a reluctant smile back and went to bed.
“Lionette? Are you in here?” Mundis called.
“Come in brother.” came a voice from deep in the large dark room.
He walked in slowly barely able to make out the obstacles in the room.
“Over here Mundis, don’t turn on the lights, I have a headache.” Lionette said calmly.
“The servant girl said you wanted to see me.” he said. Something was wrong but he wasn’t sure what had happened. Something was different.
“Where’s Timtam sister. Is she alright?”
“ I think right about now she’s crying her fool little head off and wishing she had done things differently.” Lionette gave out a forced laugh.
“What do you mean sister?”
Lionette pointed to the view screen and turned it on. Mundis sat in shock as he heard his little sister and her friends admitting she had their father murdered. Then he watched and saw her confess the whole thing to Timtam.
“She never said a word about it. Not one word.”Lionette said in astonishment.
“I can’t believe what I’ve just seen. Are you positive these files have not been tampered with?” Mundis asked.
“Yes I am positive. These files were meant to be used for security only, not for spying. I want to assure you Mundis this security system is only used in the palace there is no such system in your home.
“I never thought there would be.” he said.
“It all started when I had my security forces check the files for my room. Timtam had a bruise on her face so I wanted to see what she had done wrong this time, I got a lot more than I wanted. She was bruised when our brother Furonious tricked his way into my quarters and raped Timtam for several hours and then left. I watched in horror as my own brother violated my slave in my own bed over and over.
“Furonious has always been troubled…”Mundis wasn’t sure what to say.
“Furonious has been banished to the fleet until I say he can return.” Lionette said interrupting.
“You are merciful Lionette. No one would have blamed you if you had him shot.” Mundis said.
“ I then watched as Cheena found Timtam and took her to her room to help her. Well you’ve seen what happened next.” Lionette said as she shut off the view screen.
“That explains what happened to Cheena, I suppose she’s on the run then.” Mundis walked closer.
“I’m sure to find her. I’ve sent the Colonel and some men to find her and the rest.”
“Then what.” Mundis already knew the answer.
“There will be no trials.” Lionette said coolly.
“Of course.” Mundis agreed.
“What has been done with Timtam exactly?” Mundis asked.
“Geirgor.” Lionette said as she waited to see Mundis’s reaction.
“What a pity, the poor stupid thing most likely had no idea what her conversation with Cheena was all about.” Mundis poured a drink.
“She knew, she’s smarter than she lets people think.” Lionette said convincing herself that she had done the right thing.
“Mundis?” Lionette said.
“Will you stay loyal to me?” her voice seemed as though she was asking the question to herself. As if she was wondering about it aloud.
“I have no reason not to be. I never thought I would be Clan leader so It never was an issue with me. Besides I enjoy my fun too much to be that serious of a man.” Mundis poured another drink.
“It’s just us now Mundis, I hope you will try to be a little more serious for my sake.” Lionette said.
Timtam lay in the corner of the holding cell. The other prisoners had taken her boots and gloves. They beat her up and took what little she had. Her clothes were torn and bloodied. She didn’t care anymore. She wanted to die. Her only friend had turned her out of her home and had abandoned her for a reason she didn’t understand. She would surely die on Geirgor. She wanted to die but it would take a long time and a lot of suffering before it happened. She had betrayed her best friend some how and there was no way to fix that. The beating she had just taken was just the start of her new life. Once Pep had told her how she had to live and what was done to her. Timtam new she wasn’t strong enough to survive those things. It was late and the others had gone to sleep. She looked around the cell and saw a thick pipe running across the ceiling. That would have to do. Timtam pushed a stool under the pipe and stood up on it. She took off her remaining clothes and tied them over the pipe. There was just enough hanging down to tie around her neck. Once the knot was secure she stood looking down, the stool rocked suddenly and she fought not to slip off. She gave a laugh that she tried not to slip because she wasn’t ready to hang herself yet. She thought of Lionette. Timtam wished she knew what she had done wrong that caused this all to happen. She kicked the stool out from under herself and dropped.
“Buck you’ve got to get some sleep, go take a nap, I’ll watch her for a while.” Tarin said.
“I’ll sleep during the trial.” Bronski replied. His tone denoted his adverse view of having a trial.
“Whatever, just go get some sleep, please. You can sleep right here on the floor next to me while I keep guard.” Tarin was being nice for once. “I’ll get Baltis to watch from over head.”
“A fat bit of good that did last time.” Bronski chuckled at seeing Baltis hitting the floor. “How’s his wittle boo boo anyway?”
“Look just get some sleep damn it, I can handle this.” Tarin snapped. Bronski was just sitting there with his legs stretched out and his arms crossed.
“I’ve stayed awake longer than this on guard before.” Bronski lit up another cigar.
“Oh spare me the war stories, why can’t you just do as I ask?” Tarin said angrily.
The war stories weren’t just stories to Buck, they were his life. They were stories about what he did with his life, they are all he had left to give anyone. By now Buck knew that he loved Tarin but she thought of him as a old relic.
Buck stood up and turned towards Tarin. He had a look of such anger on his face that she almost called for help. He was furious but he knew how and when to release his anger. She saw his hand pick up his scatter caster, it was trembling. Was he just a big old fool to her ? He turned away and walked to the ladder that went up to the crew deck and disappeared down the hall.
“Buck I didn’t mean it.” she yelled but he was gone. Why did he have to make her so mad all the time? She didn’t mean it at all. He was the only real man that she ever met but couldn’t tell him. He’d just laugh at her or tell her to take a number for her turn on the bucking Bronski ride. He was crude and ugly but he was the toughest man she’d ever seen. He was half animal with his thick hairy arms that she found so sexy. She dreamed about him grabbing her with those arms and forcing himself on her like a crazed beast. Tarin sat down in bucks chair and looked back to see if maybe he had come back for something. She was all alone. She looked down and saw Lyda twitch. Tarin fired two more sleep darts into her, better safe than sorry.
Venis nearly jumped out of the big chair when Baltis entered the cockpit.
“I didn’t mean to scare you.” he said. “You scare easily don’t you?”
“That’s the general consensus around here.” Venis said disappointed.
“How come?” Baltis asked.
“You want to know why I’m scared? How come?” Venis was suspicious of Baltis’s reasons.
“Maybe I can help?” he laid his rifle on the bench.
Venis had been so nervous lately she just opened up to Baltis. Maybe because he wasn’t human or maybe it was his cold clinical manner.
“I can’t help it, I’m out of my league here. You guys are all killers. I’m just a petty thief and smuggler. I used to think I was a big deal but I found out just how tiny I am in this galaxy. A while back I was captured by a guy I ripped off. He had me tied up naked hanging from the ceiling. There was nothing I could do. He told me he was going to skin my face and let me live like a freak the rest of my life like that.” Vee’s lower lip was trembling as she told the story.
“How did you escape?” Baltis asked calmly.
“There was this girl, he had cut out her eyes. She helped me, she died helping me. I left her there…I tried to take her with me but I couldn’t. I’m alive because of her and I just left her there.” Venis began to cry.
“So why are you so scared?” Baltis brought her back to his first question.
“It’s because I failed her. I couldn’t even take care of her body. I never even tried to find out who she was and I owe her my life. Every day after that one I walk around is because of her.” Venis was still crying.
“What if it was the other way around? What if you had died saving her? Would you be concerned about your body or what was done with it? Or would you have found happiness knowing you saved someone else from that man.” Baltis asked.
Venis looked at Baltis.
“I would be happy for what I had done.” Venis said. “There’s only one problem I have, I didn’t deserve it. I would have left her there. If it was me and I had the choice to do what she did, I wouldn’t have done it. I wasn’t the one who should have been saved. It should have been her and not me.”
“But it was you, it was you who lived. There is a reason you lived. After all, wasn’t it you that saved Ceecee. Aren’t you there for her now. She had no one but now she has you. You have helped us all as well.” Baltis lit up a cigar. “ If you had died and that girl had lived Ceecee would most likely be dead right now. We wouldn’t have found Lyda Starkiller and she would still be killing people.” Baltis said as he leaned back on the bench next to his rifle. “She died so a lot of other people could live and be happy. If you really want to honor her sacrifice you should live your life in a way that would make her happy also.”
“That’s a good way to look at it Baltis, thanks.” Venis said wiping her eyes.
“Believe me when I tell you, there are people in our group that have done things far worse than what you have done by far. All of our lives have lead us to this time. We are all here for a reason and you must understand none of knows what it is or why. We can only try to do the right thing each day.” Baltis stood up and sat in the big chair.
“Thank you Baltis, you’ve really helped me.” Venis said.
“Now go get some sleep, we’ll be landing at the palace before morning.”
“What do you mean she’s not in her room?” Rollo asked the guard.
“I went to check on her like you told me to but she is not in her quarters my lord.”
“What about her slave? Was she in the room?” he growled.
“No, her quarters are empty.” he said.
“Check and see if she has taken one of my ships. If she has stolen one of my ships I’ll have her head.” he was getting worried that he had been double crossed by Josi Nabb.
“I’ll save you the trouble of looking for her lord Rollo” it was Cheena, she had walked in unnoticed. “She’s gone, captured by her enemies.”
“I ordered her to stay in her room !” Rollo bellowed.
“It’s all part of her plan my lord. I have given the plans to the palace of my sister, my family home.” Cheena said taking a drink.
“What does she intend to do there?” Rollo asked intrigued.
“She’s going to fix everything.” Cheena swished her drink in the class.
Rollo raised his eye brow. “ What does that mean?”
“She’s going to kill everyone.” Cheena said and gulped down the remaining liquor in the glass.
If you have enjoyed these stories please check out my first all original book series at Amazon.com. The title is Beyond the Crystal Heaven.
Once again thank you for your support.
Last Updated (Tuesday, 10 September 2013 01:52)