They’ll see we can help
“I’ve looked over the information Adda gave me about the station that we need to hit.” Bronski said.
Ragg and Matt were sitting on some crates in the hangar bay listening.
“For a station this size we will need a minimum of forty troops to secure all the crew and the landing bay. I think a quick get in get out strategy will work best. Now I want to change the original plan and destroy the entire station instead of leaving a still nearly functional one behind. It might cause them to think about why we really attacked it. Of course this means only the assholes we grab will survive. What I’m trying to say is no prisoners, so don’t let your men speak with any body on board. I don’t want anybody making friends.” Bronski said to Ragg.
“Don’t worry, my guys can handle this, most of them volunteered because the Empire took or killed someone they cared about.” Ragg said.
“Good, now how about the distraction Matt.” Buck asked.
“I’m still waiting to hear from Ceecee, she’s going to piece together a ship that we can send in with a distress signal to draw their patrol ship away.
“Well when will we know something?” Bronski said.
“I was getting to that. Ceecee promised she’d let me know by the end of the day.” Matt said.
“What about the troops Ragg? How soon can they be here?” Buck asked.
“I took the liberty of having one hundred of the four hundred under my command sent to your base. So when we get a green light on the mission they can be here or we can go there in less than twenty four hours.” he said.
“Excellent, good thinking Ragg.” Buck said.
“How come you never say that to me Bronski?” Matt asked.
“When you do something right I will, hell, I’ll throw your dumb ass a party.” Bronski replied.
“It is unfortunate that knowledge can’t be unlearned.” Lionette said to Neeka. She was sitting in bed as Neeka brought in her food.
“What do you mean Mistress?” Neeka asked as she placed the tray on the bed.
“Some things we learn in our lives are very difficult to live with. They call on us to make a decision and that may mean changing everything in your life.” Lionette said.
“If I may speak freely Mistress, I’ve had to see things and do things that I didn’t like but I accept that they happened and they are now over. This is what helps me and gives me hope about the future. I know things can change for the better so I live each day with that thought.” Neeka smiled.
“This thing that bothers me is different than that. It may already be to late for me not to act on this information.” Lionette said. “If I had known what I know now a year ago I would have done things very differently Neeka. I have done things that I thought was right at the time that I know now may have been wrong. I’ve hurt people that may have been innocent of their crimes.” Lionette pushed the tray away and covered her face.
Neeka put her hand on Lionette’s shoulder. “ Mistress, you need to talk to someone that would understand these things. Their must be someone you trust that you confide in.”
Lionette thought about Mundis and his attempt to find the book without telling her. She thought of Adda and the others who kept the secret of Geirgor from her. Then it hit her, Verasia ! Her Jedi trainer. She was the last one that she still trusted.
“Neeka, get my clothes ready, I’m going to see Verasia. Tell them to have my ship standing by, I’m leaving tonight.” Lionette said jumping out of bed.
“Are we going to the palace when we get back?” Timtam asked Mykala.
“Yes Timtam, I am going to confront Lionette about you and your place in the group.” Mykala said.
“Don’t do it.” Timtam said with her head down.
“It has to be done, Lionette will just have to see what you mean to all of us.” Mykala smiled. She always wanted to tell Lionette off about how the Feloids had slaves.
“Why don’t I just hide until we leave again?”to Timtam this was a much better plan.
“What’s the matter? Don’t you see you’re free now. You can be one of the group like Pep or anyone else.” Mykala said smiling. She wanted to reassure Timtam that it would be alright.
“ What if she wants to take me away and send me back to Geirgor? She will not let you stand in the way of Clan law. She may even withdraw her support to you and the group. I will turn myself over to her when we get back and you won’t have to worry about it.” Timtam was upset by her situation.
“Why would you do that? Why would you give up your freedom?” Mykala didn’t understand.
“Because I’m not worth it. I can’t be free if it means Lionette would no longer support you.” Timtam said almost in tears.
“Relax Timtam, nothing bad will happen. I promise.” Mykala said.
“What do you mean he held the door for you?” Baltis asked. He couldn’t believe what he was hearing.
“I’m telling you once he found out that the book wasn’t there he just let us go.” Tarin said.
“I think he was there without Lionette’s knowledge and that’s why he let us go.” Kllair added.
“What would he want with it?” Baltis asked.
“Look, we walked out of there because Mundis let us go. This whole thing with this book is nothing but trouble. If we did get it the Feloid royals wouldn’t hesitate for a second to kill anyone that knew about it. I think we should just forget about the whole thing.” Tarin said.
“ I think you’re right Tarin, I think we should let this one go.” Baltis said.
“Here’s the information you wanted Matt.” Ceecee had been looking for Matt and found him in the meeting room. “ Everything you asked for is there, range, fuel capacity, the works.” She sat down and put her boots up on the table. As usual she was covered with dirt and oil, but on her it just looked natural. On her it looked like make up, it complimented her.
Matt glanced over the report on the ship. “This is first class stuff, very good Ceecee.”
“Gee, thanks Dad.” she said sarcastically. She leaned forward and grabbed Matt’s drink and took a big swallow. “What do you think of the Major?” she asked wiping her mouth.
“Seems like a good enough guy to me. Now’s the time to feel him out though. Don’t believe that stuff about testing his metal in combat. The only way to really find out about a guy is watching how he treats others when there’s an option to be good or bad to them. In combat sometimes there is no choice.” Matt said introspectively. “Why do you ask?”
“Oh, no reason, just curious I guess.” Ceecee took another drink.
“So how long till you can get this ship up and ready?” Matt asked.
“It’s ready to go now dad.” Ceecee smiled.
“You know I’m only about ten years older than you.” Matt said.
“Twelve, Pep told me. How old do you think the Major is?” Ceecee asked.
“Why? You want to sleep with him?” Matt smiled.
“Maybe.” Ceecee replied with a devilish grin.
“Yeah, well leave me out of it. I don’t want to know.” Matt said. He stood up and looked at his drink, it was empty. “Can I get you anything else?” he smiled.
“I thought you didn’t want to know about that.” Ceecee smiled.
Lionette landed her ship at Verasia’s home. Most of the reconstruction was finished by now after Lyda Starkiller’s attack. Lionette saw Verasia standing in the doorway of the landing pad access building. Lionette looked back at the Blood Claw as she made her way over to where Verasia was standing. It still felt strange for her when she turned around not to see Timtam walking behind her smiling.
As soon as Lionette walked up to Verasia she saw Verasia’s face change to one of happiness to concern. “What is it? What’s wrong ?” Verasia asked.
“I need your counsel Master. I have never been dealt a blow this severe and I don’t know how to deal with it.” Lionette said. Her voice was shaky.
“Come, we will speak at once.” Verasia took Lionette’s hand and lead her up a back stair case to her private rooms. She sat Lionette on the sofa and checked to make sure no one was around.
“ What is it that is troubling you my friend?” Verasia asked.
“I have by circumstance come into possession of a book. It is an ancient book over two thousand years old. If it is true it tells the entire history of the origins of my race.” Lionette hesitated.
“If it is true everything I have been taught about our people has been a lie. If this book tells the truth about us everything we are, and stand for is completely meaningless.” Verasia actually could see Lionette’s lip quivering from the enormity of this new information.
“It must have been a tremendous shock to you.” Verasia said.
“ I’m devastated. I have sentenced others to their death for trying to right the wrongs we have done over the centuries. What should I do Verasia?” Lionette pleaded.
“ Do you feel it is important that things change?” Verasia asked.
“We can’t be a race of liars but to bring this information to the public would destroy us as a people. There would be those who accepted it and those who would reject it. It would mean civil war and hundreds of thousands killed. My people deserve to know the truth about themselves but it would mean chaos. To expose this knowledge would be like erasing to thousand years of culture and tradition. In one sudden blow we would have nothing to unite us.” Lionette said.
“How bad could it be? What lies are the worst ones?” Verasia asked hesitantly.
“Our race did not evolve naturally, we are the result of human genetic experiments over two thousand tears ago. We have human genetic code in us. He worst part is the non human part of us is from an non sentient being, a simple jungle animal.” Lionette said.
“The part of us we have always revered comes from a dumb beast.”
“None of that matters. The Force flows through your people as with all living things. None are less than others because of their creation.” Verasia said.
“I have been taught my whole life that we are better than the other races. We are not even a part of the natural world. It also says that the Pink Hairs were created by us and it was our fault they were the way they were. Hundreds of generations have been bred into a life of ignorance and servitude because we tried to breed a superior warrior race.” Lionette was getting the shock out of her system. She was beginning to feel more at ease.
“ I think this truth will come out some day on it’s own in the future, it always does. You have an opportunity to steer your people in the right direction as to lessen the blow when the truth finally does come out.” Verasia said.
“What do you mean ?” Lionette asked.
“You should give the slaves more protections and education. Begin to bring them into your society slowly. You could encourage more trade with other races so your people will find out they are not so different than your own. Begin with tiny steps and can have the changes you want.” Verasia said.
“None of what you say will be easy. I wouldn’t even now where to start.” Lionette said.
“As long as you do start it doesn’t matter.” Verasia said.
Mykala had landed the Stella One on the main hangar platform at the palace. She let Timtam stay on board with Haven. She felt until this issue with Timtam was resolved with Lionette it would be safer for her to do so.
“Mykala I heard you brought back Timtam. Isn’t it enough that she is free? Why do you insist on making things more complicated?” Adda asked. She was waiting for Mykala to arrive.
“You of all people should know why. It’s because she can’t defend herself. She was wrongly accused and punished and that needs to be made right.” Mykala said pushing past Adda.
“Does it have to be done this way?” Adda called to her.
“It’s the only way I know.” Mykala replied.
Lionette had just returned from Verasia’s a few hours before Mykala landed. She saw the Stella One land and was curious to find out why Mykala had come back unannounced. Lionette hurried down the back stairway towards the main landing platform. As she walked down the long hallway she saw Mykala arguing with Adda about something.
“Mykala, Adda, what’s the matter?” she asked as she got closer.
“We have to talk Lionette.” Mykala didn’t have a happy tone in her greeting.
“What’s wrong ?” Lionette asked.
“It’s Timtam, we’ve rescued her and I want you to pardon her, now.” Mykala demanded.
Lionette looked past Mykala for a glimpse of her little slave. Not only had she survived Geirgor but she was with friends now.
Lionette became frustrated. “Why did you bring her here ! I cannot pardon her for what she has done. You must take her away, You are not Feloid so I will allow this as a favor to our friendship.”
“No Lionette, you must pardon her. She doesn’t even understand what she did was aiding the conspirators.” Mykala was inches away from Lionette.
Mykala was forcing the issue. Lionette had to act. “Mykala I warn you that you are pressing an issue that cannot be changed. Don’t you think I would if it were possible?” Lionette was angry that Mykala would think she was that cruel.
“Don’t make me force you, I know Feloid law allows me to challenge your decision in combat. I can beat you Lionette.” Mykala was not going to stop now.
“ You dare challenge me in my own home?” Lionette became angry. She couldn’t back down from this fight.
“Stop it you two, have you lost your minds.?” Adda had reached them and was trying to stop this before it was too late.
“There is nothing that can be done !” Lionette shouted.
“Yes there is My Lady.” It was Pep. She had heard that Mykala had brought Timtam back for this very show down.
“What are you talking about? By what authority do you make such a claim?” Lionette asked in her condescending tone. A part of her still looked down on Pep.
“By your own authority My Lady.” Pep smirked.
“Explain yourself or leave, I don’t have time for these wild accusations.” Lionette challenged.
“By Feloid law once a slave escapes any Feloid that recovers that slave has the rights of new ownership and is legally entitled to keep or sell the slave as they see fit.” Pep explained.
“What are you getting at?” Adda asked. She new that Pep was well initiated in slave law as many times that she had been sold.
“When Timtam escaped from Geirgor you lost all rights to her, even the sentence you passed on her was lost. When she gave herself up to the doctor at the breeding facility he became her new owner.” Pep saw everyone was taking her seriously now, even Lionette.
“When we arrived I bought her as was my right as a free person. I then gave her her freedom and my support until she could become a contributing member of society. So that means, since you and your Clan were lax in the security of Geirgor and no attempt was made to recapture her by you or your Clan she is now legally free and no longer under your sentence of punishment.” Pep said calmly.
Lionette stood looking at Pep. Her anger subsided as she realized she was right. Everything she said was true. They had been lax and Timtam had escaped without any attempt by her to recapture Timtam. It was all legal. Lionette had no claim on Timtam at all anymore.
Mykala looked at Lionette as she looked at Adda and then back at Pep.
“Pep is right. Everything she said is true. I have lost any claim on Timtam or what happens to her from now on.” Lionette said stiffly to Mykala.
“What are you saying?” Mykala asked.
“I mean because of my lack of duty Timtam is not only free she is entitled to my protection as a free person.” Lionette said.
“So…we don’t have to fight?” Mykala asked.
“No, it seems Timtam has had a champion all along. A very smart champion indeed.” Lionette said nodding in respect to Pep.
Pep nodded back and smiled.
“Pep, I would consider it a favor if you would explain to Timtam what has happened and also let her know that I hold no malice towards her and she is now under my protection by Feloid law.” Lionette said calmly.
“So…everything is okay now?” Mykala wasn’t convinced it was over so easily.
“It’s over.” Lionette said.
Adda, Mykala, Lionette and Pep all stood silently for a moment. They were all happy that the whole thing was over. This rift between them was mended even though it was an awkward mend.
Pep turned and walked back towards the landing platform and the Stella One. Mykala followed Pep. They were both eager to give Timtam the news.
Mykala suddenly stopped and slapped herself on the head causing everyone to look at her.
“Stella !” Mykala suddenly remembered. “She’s back !”
After Mykala, Haven, and Timtam had returned they had told the others that they had seen Stella and she was alive. They had very little information to relay except she said she would return. The others had just as many questions as they did but there were no answers. What had happened when she fell down that bottomless shaft at the pirate base so long ago? How did she survive? Where had she been? They would have to wait for the answers until she returned.
Matt was the last one to enter the room. Buck gave him a dirty look. This was his meeting and he didn’t like people to be late. This was where he shined. This meeting was about killing. He took his job very seriously.
“Are you here now Mazin?” Bronski snapped.
“Sorry, sorry everyone.” Matt knew it was best to let Buck have his way and get mad.
“Ragg, have you selected the teams yet?” Bronski asked.
“All done, there will be three teams of twenty men. Each team will be lead by Matt, myself, and you. Each team is armed with blasters and two heavy lasers for anything big we might run into.” Ragg said.
“Good. You and Matt will split up after we land. Matt goes up you go down. Both teams will kill anybody that isn’t one of us. I’ll lead the third team to the operations room. Once we grab a couple of their information officers my team will meet up with you in the docking bay and hand off the prisoners. Your teams will be providing security and killing anyone that we might have missed in the first sweep. My team will continue to the reactor and set the demolition charges before we all link up and leave.” Bronski said.
“ What about the rest of us?” Tarin asked.
“You’ll come with my team. You can help disarm any security we can’t get past and if things get rough I can always hide behind that big fat ass of yours.” Bronski said.
“That’s what it’s for.” Tarin smiled and patted her perfect rump and smiled.
“Mykala will go with Ragg’s team. You will provide support for anything not expected.”
“ Mykala nodded in acceptance.
“Matt’s team will be on it’s own because the upper levels aren’t very populated. There are a lot of places to hide so do a good sweep and don’t be afraid to use grenades, we’re blowing the whole thing up anyway.” Bronski said.
“What about my crew? Aren’t we in on this?” Kllair asked.
“No.” Bronski said flatly.
“Why?” Kllair answered.
“Because it’s my responsibility and I don’t know you or your crew. I don’t risk lives on people I don’t know.” Bronski said looking directly at Kllair.
Kllair stared at Bronski for a second. “Fine.” Kllair new Bronski’s type. She wasn’t mad. He was just looking out for his people and wasn’t going to explain himself to a stranger.
“Ceecee will fly the lead ship with Granic right behind her. After the decoy ship draws the patrol craft far enough away Ceecee and Granic will shut down all systems and glide right into the hangar.” Bronski said.
“Now I have an important assignment for you Pep. You will fly the decoy ship. It’s an important job but easy. Once the patrol ship gets with in the designated range I want you to turn the ship away from the base and run away as fast as that ship will go.” Buck said looking at Pep.
“I can do it.” Pep said nervously.
Buck looked at Matt.
“She’ll do fine, Pep’s your girl.” Matt said smiling. He wanted to jump up and protest but he pushed for Pep to be a part of the group and now was her big chance. He wanted to keep her back here where it was safe but he had to show Pep he had confidence in her. He was sick with fear for her.
Pep looked at Matt and smiled from ear to ear.
Matt smiled back hiding his emotions.
“Unless there is anything else we will link up with Ragg’s men at the base tomorrow so everybody get their gear and meet up on board the ship in an hour.”
They all stood and began to leave the room. Timtam had been silent during the meeting. She made her way over to Bronski as everyone began to file out.
“Mr. Bronski, can I go? I want to help.” Timtam said.
Bronski had forgotten that she was free now. He looked down at her and rubbed the back of his neck. Buck looked around and saw Pep talking Matt.
“Hey Pep, do you want a gunner for your ship? I hear she’s not bad.” Bronski looked at Timtam and winked.
“I’d feel a lot better with someone else on board that’s for sure.” Pep said.
Buck looked at Timtam again. “ Get you gear shorty, your hired.”
Timtam smiled as she gave Buck a big hug before she ran over to Pep and Matt.
They had all been working towards this day for a while now and it was finally here. Gear and weapons were stowed and good byes were said. Ceecee took off in the lead ship followed by Granic. Bronski and Tarin went in Ceecee’s ship with the rest going in Granic’s.
Pep and Timtam climbed aboard the decoy ship. Pep felt strange without Matt to turn to if things went wrong. He had believed in her since they first met and now was her chance to show him he had been right about her.
“ We did it didn’t we?” Timtam said.
“Did what?” Pep asked.
“Two ex-slaves are part of the group. It’s all because of you Pep. There will be more and more of us, just you watch. They’ll see we can help.” Timtam said proudly.
“Let’s just try not to get blown out of the sky first.” Pep smiled nervously.
The soldier shook the officer awake.
“What is it? What’s wrong? “ he asked trying to wake up.
“The Witch, she says she needs to speak with you.” the soldier said standing at attention.
“Never mind soldier this can’t wait.” Vult Vulla said walking into the officer’s room. “I’ve found her. The Jedi that escaped us on Tatooine. I know where she is going to be. We can be there waiting for them if we go now.” She said.
The officer stood up and went to the control panel.
“Attention, this is the Captain. Prepare to change course.”
He was eager to catch the Jedi that caused him so much trouble. His ship’s hangar bay was still having repairs done to it. He was humiliated that she had been so close and instead of capturing her she nearly destroyed his ship.
Adda was sitting in her room trying to relax. The assault would start in just a few hours. It was her first time in charge of the team and it’s mission. Adda dearly wanted everything to go well.
There was a knock at her door. Adda’s servant went to the door to see who it was. Adda knew it was Lionette by the reaction of her servant.
“Come in My Lady, what can I do for you ?” Adda asked.
“I need to speak with you in private Adda.” she said.
Adda dismissed her servant and lead Lionette to the sitting room. She sensed Lionette’s confusion and anxiety.
“What is wrong Lionette?” Adda sat next to her.
“I want to change things. I want to give my slaves more freedoms.” Lionette answered.
“That would be a wonderful thing but why now?” Adda asked.
“We are living in an era of war. A war just at the borders of our territories. It has even come here and shown it’s face at the Palace. I need my slaves to be able to contribute if war comes. I need them…willing to help. If the Empire were to attack they have no incentive to help us fight. They would become a liability, they would not survive.” Lionette replied.
“What do you need from me?”Adda asked.
“I need an excuse to do it. The other Clans would view it as an anti-Feloid act. They would see it as heresy of the highest order. I need reason to do it that will give the slave more freedoms and yet not be seen as being helpful to them.” Lionette said.
Adda thought for a moment. “ I have seen in my life how the way things are phrased or the context they are stated can make them more palatable to people.” Adda smiled.
“What do you mean?” Lionette said intrigued.
“Instead of telling every one the slaves will be given more training and education tell them the slaves will have to be taking on a greater burden that will require extra duties. If presented the right way even the slaves will not realize your true reasons.” Adda said waiting for Lionette’s response.
Lionette stood up and paced across the room in thought.
“Could it be that simple?” Lionette said turning to Adda.
“Try it on a small scale at first. Then little by little you can expand you plan.” Adda said.
“I think you may have something Adda. But what should I do with them first?”
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 02:00)