The ship had made it to the secret base in the Feloid controlled territory. They would have to be careful about sneaking Timtam aboard another ship and take her to Tatooine where Tahl Jae Roe lived. Granic would take his ship with Timtam hidden on board. The ground crew had given it heavier shielding in the crew compartment so it would be safe for non Reptus to travel in. They would use the new refit as a reason for him to go on the trip. A sort of test flight. It would be a safe and logical destination that wouldn’t raise suspicions.
Kang, Pep, Ceecee, and Tarin would go back to the Palace taking Lore and Thorim with them as planned.
Adda, Matt, Baltis, and Bronski were all feeling much better and once they all were reunited they could begin planning what course of action to take next against the Empire.
Mykala had decided to stay at Tahl Jae Roe’s with Haven until Granic and Timtam arrived. Destriss would leave and make his report to Lionette now that his mission was over.
Timtam hid in a crate marked as Granic’s personal belongings so no one would look inside. The crate was placed on his ship without incident. After saying their farewells he took off to Tatooine to take Timtam to her new home. A few minutes into the journey Granic opened the crate and let Timtam out.
The first day was very awkward for both of them. They never had really talked before and to top it off they had nothing in common at all. Granic was a bigot that only worked with other races because he understood that everyone had to come together to defeat the Empire.
Timtam liked everyone and always wanted to please people whenever she could.
She was constantly in Granic’s way and always wanting to help. Granic made a hard decision. He had to take control of the situation before he killed her. He would train her to be a first class pilot and how to understand the workings of a space ship.
To his great surprise he found her to be a quick learner and showed much more intelligence than when she was a slave. It was becoming apparent that her lack of education was her main draw back. The more she was taught the more she wanted to learn. Granic found to his surprise that he actually liked this little Feloid. He found himself enjoying her company and their conversations. She looked up to him as a student does to their teacher and showed him respect and thanked him continually for teaching her.
“I hope I can work on space ships one day. I need to have a job and earn my own way. I’m glad you’re teaching me Granic.” she said and gave him a hug. Granic froze stiff. He didn’t know how to handle her show of affection. She gave him one last squeeze and let him go.
“You’re…welcome Timtam.” as much as he fought it he couldn’t hate this Feloid.
The others had arrived at the palace by now and everyone was glad to be back together again. They had several brief meetings about what to do next but nothing was decided.
Bronski and Matt wanted to begin recruiting fresh troops and train them to carry out harassing raids against the Empire. They felt it would show people that there was still hope.
Kang and Lore wanted to go and find more Jedi that may have survived Order sixty six and still be hiding out somewhere.
There was even talk about Tarin and Baltis forming small hit squads that would target Imperial officials and war criminals.
Adda wanted to begin a network of spies and informers. These agents would be useful with everyone elses plans.
Ceecee, Pep, and Thorim had always seen themselves as support personnel and didn’t really care which plan they pursued.
Lionette had sent General Duddle back to their base of operations but had Major Tempess remain as their representative. She felt he could be an asset to the group but only time would tell. He was self confident to the point of arrogance and that was always problematic trait.
The Imperial officer stepped out from the mobile command vehicle. He was surprised just how hot it was at this hour. The witch, Vult Vulla, had been unsuccessful in making contact with her subject for the last five days. It had become his task to oversee this operation. They were trying to manipulate the actions of people that were known to be working for the Rebellion. They wouldn’t know where those people were but they could cause them to believe they were experiencing supernatural phenomenon. They would be able to make their target think they were in contact with dead friends and enemies. In reality they would be given suggestions from the witch Vult Vulla.
“Welcome Captain, I’m just finishing up here.” Vult said. She was standing in the center of the cave. Two of her apprentices were wiping away the body paint from her naked body.
The Captain turned and looked away. “Have you had any success tonight?” he stammered.
“Don’t be shy Captain. I’m sure you’ve seen a naked woman before.” She said taunting him slyly.
“I need to make my report witch, have you had any luck tonight?” he said still looking away.
Vult was suddenly in front of him. He hadn’t seen or heard her cross the room. She put both her hands on his chest. “These things come and go. Most of the contact depends on how open the subject is at the time.” she said straightening his uniform. Her two attendants had moved uncomfortably close to him silently.
“Very well, I will go and file my report. We’ll try again tomorrow.” He said awkwardly and pushed past the women. The Captain turned as he left to see the three witches laughing at him. He continued on his way out listening to their laughter grow fainter the farther up the steps he went. Once out side he saw a trooper looking at his tunic. There was white and black body paint smeared on it from where the witch pressed up against him. He tore the tunic of and threw it to the ground humiliated.
Granic landed his ship at Tahl Jae Roe’s home on Tatooine. Timtam hesitated at the door of the ship. She new once she stepped off this ship that meant she was officially never going back home. It was a new life for her now. It meant working and being able to be seen as an equal by everyone else now. It meant she could follow any path she wanted to. Timtam was frightened to be sure but she had seen she wasn’t stupid. Mean old Granic had taught her about space ships and he said she did well. She would learn how to do other things too. Maybe she would even meet a good man and be happy like Pep.
“You must be Timtam.” said the woman as she stepped towards her. “You really are quiet beautiful like they said you were. I am Haven Dak, Mykala’s cousin and I am very glad to meet you.” she gave Timtam a friendly hug.
Next came a familiar face, it was Mykala. She smiled as Timtam ran to her and gave her a big hug.
“ I hear you had a big adventure. Well you look like you came through it okay.” Mykala said.
“I didn’t think I was going to live through most of it. I was in a jungle and there were pirates and a crazy pink hair girl that looked just like me.” Timtam was happy to have survived but also for the first time in her life she began to feel like an equal. She had been told of other peoples adventures and sometimes even was a part of them but this time it was her story. It was all about what she had done on her own and people wanted to hear about it.
“Slow down Timtam, we can catch up on your adventure soon. First you must meet your host.” Mykala gestured at Tahl Jae Roe as he walked through the door.
Timtam took a step back. She wasn’t sure what to make of this creature. Tahl Jae Roe was an Ithorian. They had two arms and legs like most humanoids but their heads were the thing that truly made them a being that stood out in a crowd. The head was long and thick with a mouth opening on each side. The eyes were placed at each side of a hammer head type of protuberance at the top. His skin was a dark rust brown in color and covered with his loose fitting tunic and pants.
“Welcome to my home young one.” he said in stereo and then smiled with both mouths.
Mykala was afraid Timtam would say something inappropriate to him due to her lack of experience with alien species.
“ You are the most amazing person I have ever seen.” Timtam said with simple childlike enthusiasm that only she could make genuine.
“Wonderful!” he laughed. “I find you delightful as well.” he laughed in stereo again.
Timtam’s eyes looked quickly from right to left alternately at each mouth and grinned. “Truly amazing indeed.”
Ragg Tempess walked out onto the veranda from his room. The guest rooms on this side of the palace all shared this common area. It was early morning and he wanted to see the sun come up over the mountains to the east. He was surprised to see a lone cat girl out here sitting by herself. He quietly moved to her left to get a better look at her. She was about twenty five and very pretty. She was dressed in clothing more commonly worn by humans than Feloids. She had on a loose pull over shirt and tight cloth shorts. There was a military style jacket draped over the back of her chair. She must have snuck out and didn’t want to wake someone because her socks and boots were sitting on the floor next to her. The girl looked sad as she looked out at the view and sipped her tea.
“Excuse me, my name is Ragg, Ragg Tempess and I’m a guest here.” he said trying not to startle her. He took a step closer, smiled and stuck out his hand.
The girl turned to him and smiled slightly. “I heard you come out, my name is Pep Pudin and I’m also a guest here.” she took his hand and they shook.
“Are you a member of Lionette’s family?” he asked.
Pep looked surprised that he would think she could have been a free born. “No, I’m here as a guest only. Me and my friends work with Lionette sometimes. If you want to know any more you’ll have to ask Lionette.” she said.
“No, it’s quiet alright, I was just trying to make conversation.” he smiled.
They both turned to the sound of someone clearing their throat and then spit over the rail. It was Bronski making a not too subtle attempt at letting them know he was there.
He began walking over to them with one hand on the rail. The early morning air always made him a little stiff.
“Morning Pep. Who’s the new face?” he asked. He didn’t like that this pretty boy was talking to Pep without Matt being there.
“The face’s name is Ragg Tempess.” Ragg said standing up straight and crossing his arms.
“Where’s Matt Pep?” Bronski asked. He really didn’t care who this guy was he just wanted him to know that he had to concentrate on him now and forget about Pep for the moment.
“I think he’s still asleep. I just got up to have some tea before I made him breakfast.” Pep said.
“That Matt’s a lucky guy to have some one as devoted as you to look after him.” Bronski smiled at Ragg.
“I”m the lucky one.” Pep replied.
“Well I guess you’re both lucky to have each other.” Bronski said looking at Pep.
“Well I’m going to make breakfast for Matt, It was nice meeting you Mr. Tempess.” she said.
“Call me Ragg, and it was nice meeting you too Pep.” he said.
Pep smiled and went back inside. Ragg admired her form as she swished inside. He turned only to see Buck staring him right in the face.
“You got a problem with me?” Ragg asked Bronski.
“That girl has had an ice cold hard life. Now she has it pretty good because of a friend of mine. Don’t let me catch you sniffin’ her up again, understand?” Bronski said as bluntly as he could.
Ragg wanted to say something smart back at this busted up old man. He sensed something about this man that told him not to. This man could back up what he said. This man wasn’t just a wanna be tough guy. He was the real thing. He was the kind of guy most guy’s wish they could be. Ragg submitted.
“I didn’t know it was like that friend. I get the message, hands off.” He smiled to show there were no hard feelings to Buck.
Bronski was taken a little by surprise by Ragg not challenging him.
“Alright then, as long as we’re clear on that. The names Buck Bronski. I work with Lionette too.” Buck put out his hand. Ragg shook hands with him and that was the end of the misunderstanding.
“What brings you to the Palace Tempess?” Buck asked.
“I would prefer to let Lionette make my introduction. She’s put a lot of effort into my being here so I don’t want to mess anything up.” he said.
Bronski looked him up and down. “Okay face, we’ll do it your way.”
The twin suns were setting over Tatooine. Timtam watched from the tower window in her new home. For the first time she had been given her own private room. Her old room was in Lionette’s suite and part of Lionette’s quarters. Mykala and Haven had both given her some clothes that were better suited to the warm climate on this planet. Haven had mentioned to her how happy she had been to hear there would be another woman staying at Tahl’s home. She was often all alone except for Tahl and an occasional merchant that would stay the night.
Haven was an aristocrat, raised in palaces and always had the finest of things. At the same time she was completely without pretense and never talked down to anyone. It had been left to her as the sole survivor of the ruling class from her home world to continue the traditions of their ancestors. The ruling class had been taught that they answered to the people and were the true servants. It was their responsibility to see everyone was taken care of. The people chose the ruling class and Mykala and Haven’s family had been allowed to rule for six generations due to their undying loyalty to the people.
Timtam found it very different than Lionette’s house hold. Haven shared the choirs and always made it a point to see if Timtam needed anything. Mykala would often find herself laughing as these two women tried to serve each other to the point of becoming frustrated. All in all they hit it off from the start since both of them were naturally friendly and helpful.
Haven walked into the room and sat next to Timtam. The breeze coming into the room was always cool this high up in the mountains. The view from this high up was truly breath taking. One could see the valley below for miles in all directions. In the distance they could make out the lights of several Jawa sand crawlers as they set up camp for the trading season that started in a day or two. It would be a big event with offworlders arriving as well as people from hundreds of miles away.
“We can go to the the big trade meet if you would like. It only happens twice a year and to be honest there really isn’t anything as big as this meeting around here.” Haven said.
“ That would be nice. I guess I could buy some things for my room. My friend Pep gave me some money to buy what I need, but I have to pay her back when I get a job. I need to earn my own way now so I have to have a job.” Timtam said.
“That’s good, how much money do you have?” Haven asked.
Timtam pulled out a small box from under her pillow and opened it. There was money in several different forms in the box. Timtam pulled out only the gold coins that she had used for buying things for Lionette. She counted them and stuck out her hand to Haven. “Fourteen, I have Fourteen.” she smiled.
Haven realized that Timtam had only a very basic, almost child like knowledge of money. She knew she had fourteen coins but she had no idea what they were worth or that the box still had other forms of money in it.
“That should be plenty. Would you mind if I helped you buy your new things? Some of the traders might try to cheat you and some of the costs could be confusing.” Haven said.
“That would really help, thank you Haven.” Timtam knew Haven was being kind about her lack of understanding money.
“Just make sure you have enough to buy a reliable gun. You are going to need a gun with you at all times.” Haven added.
“Now that everyone is here I think we can start.” Lionette said. The group had assembled in the formal meeting hall this time. Ever since her fathers assassination and the betrayal of her sister Lionette had become a bit more professional in her relationships with others. There was an obvious need for her to be removed from close relationships.
“First I want to introduce Major Ragg Tempess. He is the representative of another group that is fighting the Empire. They have asked me to mediate for their group with you own the possibility of working together. The purpose would be to strengthen the two forces and set up a network where information could be shared between the two groups.” Lionette said.
“ I suppose this was inevitable. Sooner or later we would have to explore the possibility of combining forces with other groups.” Kang said.
“I must say that I am very impressed by what your group has been able to do. Our group is strong in number but weak in experience and leadership.” the Major said.
“That always sets me off when I hear about weak leadership. Just what does that mean?” Bronski asked.
“ I want to be completely honest with you. The leadership of my group is made up mostly of very wealthy men that have given themselves their rank and positions. They do leave the strategy to the real soldiers but I fear they will soon begin to believe the lies about what great leaders they say they are and start to try and run things themselves. We need their resources which tend to be vast but they need to stay behind the scenes.” The Major said.
“Sounds like more trouble then they are worth.” Baltis said.
“I agree but they have over four hundred fighting troops that I command as of now. They are all armed and most have been trained by myself. Four hundred men armed and trained is worth the aggravation they will give us for now.” he said.
“Us?” Bronski asked.
“I hope to become a member of your group. I think I would be much more effective if I was working with you.” Ragg explained.
“ How did you become a Major? Did one of those guys that gave themselves a rank give you that one as well?” Buck added.
“Bronski I wish you would give the Major the benefit of the doubt.” Lionette interjected.
“Why? Because he’s good looking? I want to know some more about the this guy before I have to depend on him.” Buck insisted.
“ I think we should give him a chance, we all had to prove ourselves to each other when we joined. Let’s give the man a chance at least.” Tarin said.
“What do you know about combat murderer? You need to stay clear of this decision.” Bronski seemed to be a little harsh on Tarin for defending Tempess.
“Why do you think you’re the only one here that matters. You’ve been wrong before and you’re wrong now dumb ass.” Tarin replied.
“She’s right Buck, we need to give him a chance.” Matt said.
“If you saw him this morning sniffing around Pep you’d know you were the one taking the chance pal.” Bronski said sharply.
Matt looked at Pep.
“I didn’t do anything Matt.” Pep said.
Matt smiled. “I know.”
“Bronski, you need to shut up. We get it, you don’t trust this guy. But we’re going to decide this, not you.” Matt said standing up.
“Look, if my joining this group is going to cause trouble I won’t do it.” Ragg said angrily.
“You mean you’re just going to back off because you don’t want to drive a wedge into our group?” Buck said.
“Yeah, that’s about it big mouth.” Ragg shot back.
“Well that’s good enough for me, he’s in.” Bronski leaned back and lit up a cigar.
“You were testing him this whole time?” Tarin said angrily.
“Someone had to do it.” he smiled.
“You see what you’re getting into.” Kang said to Ragg.
“Captain, I need to speak with you.” Vult Vulla said as she stepped into the Command vehicle. She was wearing a full length black hooded cloak. Her two attendants were dressed the same way.
“What is it now witch.” He hadn’t forgotten how she had humiliated him the day before.
“I’ve come to apologize Captain, I showed bad judgment with my little joke. It was only because I had been trying make contact unsuccessfully for such a long time. Once again I apologize.” said Vult.
The Captain looked at her to see if she was serious. He didn’t understand why he had been given this assignment in the first place. He knew nothing about the ways of Sith clairvoyants.
“Very well, apology accepted.” he said. There was still a tinge of distrust in his voice.
“Thank you Captain.” she said.
It was the first time he had seen her with out the body paint and her hair was washed and cleaned. She was a very attractive woman.
“Now what is it you need to talk to me about?” he asked.
“I have found two Jedi while searching my subjects memories. They are on Tatooine. One is a master and one is very special. She is the one called Mykala. The one that killed Lyda Starkiller.”
“How did you know about that. You don’t have clearance for that information.” he said.
“My subject was thinking about it. She gave me the information.” Vult said.
“We are in agreement that we shall now have different branches to our organization. Adda and Thorim will head up our information gathering unit, Tarin and Baltis will handle special operations that require small special unit tactics including assassination when necessary. The larger operations such as commando and demolition attacks will be lead by Bronski, Matt, and also Ragg since we will be needing his troops for such missions. Pep, Granic and Ceecee will be in charge of transport and vehicle acquisitions.” Lionette said.
“The Jedi in the group, Kang, Lore, and Mykala will mainly be charged with finding and rescuing any Jedi that we can find as well as supplementing the other branches when possible.”
“What about a leader, we should pick one of us to make the final decisions and coordinate us all.” Matt said.
“Would you like to nominate someone Matt?” Lionette asked.
“How about Adda? She’s got a good head on her shoulders and she knows how to handle herself in a tight spot.” Matt said almost with out thinking.
“She’s about the most normal one out of all of us and I’m sure she has every ones respect.” Lore added.
“Any one disagree?” Lionette asked.
“Wait a minute, I don’t want to be the leader. I don’t know what to do.” Adda protested.
“If you don’t mind my input, my group is lead by a bunch of guys that can’t wait to be the one in charge. They can’t be trusted. I think a person that doesn’t want the spot is maybe more trust worthy and more likely to ask the advise of his friends.” Ragg said.
“I can’t argue with that. A good officer takes suggestions all the time. That sounds just like you Adda.” Bronski added.
“Would you mind giving it a try Adda?” Lionette asked.
“I guess I have to if every one wants me to.” Adda said.
“Then Adda is the new leader. I think we should refer to her as General so she will be given the respect she deserves from any other group we contact.” Lionette added.
“What about you Lionette? You never said what you will be doing.” Adda asked.
“I’m afraid I must see to my duties here for my people’s sake. I will have to step down and turn everything over to you my friends. You will of course continue to be under my Clan’s protection as long as you want it but I can no longer be a part of your operations. I can only humbly remain your loyal friend.”
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 01:57)