Adda, Kang, Lore, and Mykala entered Lionette’s office. Neeka stood by the door holding it open with her head down. They saw four chairs set out before Lionette’s desk one of which was larger than usual to accommodate Kang’s massive frame. They each sat at a chair and waited.
Lionette came in the room through the door behind her chair. She was dressed formally and said nothing until she was seated.
“I have been contacted by Prince Azak Visiok in reference to a situation that he has discovered. It seems General Desha has surrendered to him in an effort to have his wife released. He claims his wife and children were kidnapped and tortured until he withdrew his troops from all of Feloid space. The man has no fight left in him, he just wants his wife returned and has promised to cooperate in any way he can.”Lionette said.
Adda stood up. “This situation is entirely my fault. I enlisted the help of one of the secondary group of assassins we have. I told them to assassinate the General and to use their best judgment on how to proceed with the plan. I was warned by their leader that they would do as I asked and that they would get the results I desired but it would be at a great cost to my sense of right and wrong. Only too late do I see just how right she was. It was me who set those animals loose on that woman and her children. I am sure that none of them will ever be the same again. The blame for this is to be mine and mine alone. I swear to you Lionette that my friends next to me knew nothing of this plan. I have done everyone involved a great deal of harm and for that I await your decision.” Adda said.
Lionette sat back stunned. “You ordered this? I can hardly believe it Adda.” Lionette said.
“ I wanted to end the war. The Empire attacked the Feloids because of your protection of us. I felt it was my duty to do whatever it took to end it and let any blame be with me.” Adda responded.
“Prince Azak is furious Adda. He knows soon the word will be out that this atrocity took place and his Clan will be blamed for it. I’m now in the position that I must tell him that it was your doing. I will have to turn you over to his Clan for punishment. My first duty is too the Feloid race Adda, I have to tell him.” Lionette said frustrated. She liked Adda and respected her.
“You won’t have to. After we’re done here I plan to leave and go to the Visiok clan and turn myself over to them. I will make it clear that no Feloid or Jedi other than myself had a hand in any of this.” Adda said.
“Adda Beddo, I wish there was something I could do for you. I am grateful that you ended the war and saved thousands of lives but I cannot condone the methods employed. My hands are tied.” Lionette said standing in a show of respect.
“I’ve made it clear to all who serve under my command that the line was crossed by me. Anything that happens from this point on is because of my poor decision. The Ty Clan has at all times been loyal to their promise of protection and there will be no ill feelings towards the laws and codes you must obey.” Adda said.
Adda turned and walked out of the room.
They all sat silently trying to take in what just happened.
“What do you think they will do to her?” Mykala asked.
“It’s out of my hands Mykala. Azak is a fare man, however he must do what must be done to save face for his Clan.” Lionette said.
Rizor struck the girl with his whip again. She screamed in agony as the leather bit into her back again and again. There were close to forty catgirls kneeling in the muddy courtyard watching the punishment. Since the clothes they wore belonged to Rizor they were told to leave them in their huts. It was cold and they all were shivering as they watched the brutality before them. Not one dared to complain. The clothes they wore were for customers to see them in. They needed to look somewhat civilized or it would drive down their price. The only ones spared kneeling in the cold mud were the ones that were pregnant. They were left inside. They were carrying future revenue.
This was life at the breeding camp. Rizor and his family had been breeding catgirls on the Feloid frontier for generations. The camp had never belonged to any Clan or been sanctioned by the counsel. It was operated under the table and the girls were sold to whoever wanted them for whatever reason. Fear ruled this place. The girl being punished had dropped her water bucket and needed to be taught not to do it again. The other girls needed to be taught not to drop their water buckets either so they were made to watch. Rizor enjoyed watching the girl twist in her bonds with each blow. It was a good thing he enjoyed it so much otherwise it would seem like work.
Rizor stopped suddenly as his sensitive Feloid ears picked up the sounds of fighting at the far end of the compound near the front gate. Something was wrong. He saw the gatehouse was on fire now and he could see the guards running away in the distance.
“Everyone back to your huts.” he said calmly. The girls all ran as fast as they could back inside. They lived and died at his word, he didn’t have to yell his orders to them.
He saw the smoke wafting across the courtyard towards him. The gatehouse was burning out of control by now and it was beginning to spread. He took a few steps closer to see why none of his men had reported to him what was happening.
Two Feloids stumbled out of the approaching smoke in his direction. They seemed stunned and their arms hung loose at their sides. He then realized the two men had their arms broken and they had a fear in their eyes he had only seen on his catgirls until now.
The smoke revealed the silhouette of a woman. As she came closer he instinctively put his hand on his blaster. Something wasn’t right. This wasn’t one of his girls. She walked towards him slowly with her head down. The wind was blowing away the smoke now. Her hair was dark and long. She wore work boots and a simple pair of coveralls. A cloak covered her shoulders that blew in the wind revealing she carried no weapons.
“Who the Hell are you?” he yelled fingering his pistol.
“I’ve come home father. It’s Pep Pudin here to see the man who gave her life.”
“I’ve sired plenty of your kind. Why pay for a stud when I can do the job myself?” Rizor said. “I have had hundreds of daughters and they’ve all made me money, that’s what they’re for. Why should I remember you?” he asked smugly.
“I didn’t think you would remember me Rizor. I do know this however, when this day is done no one here will ever forget me. You say you’re their father but what kind of father rapes and sells his own girls?” Pep asked becoming angry.
“I don’t have to listen to you. You’re just a dirty slave. Just something to play with and do what you want to with. I’m the one who calls the shots around here girl.” he said as he drew his pistol slowly. Rizor pointed the gun at Pep and smiled. “If you grovel to me right now I might let you live.” he smiled.
“No Rizor, I don’t grovel anymore.” Pep stared hard at Rizor and watched as his hand twitched and he began to point his own gun at himself. He tried to fight his own arm. He then tried dropping the gun. He no longer controlled his arm.
He watched in horror as the gun was forced roughly into his own mouth. He looked pleadingly at Pep.
“Do you want me to spare you Rizor? Do you want me to let you go?” Pep said walking up to him.
He nodded yes, he wanted to live.
“Grovel, get down in the mud and grovel for me.” she yelled suddenly at him.
He felt his finger start to squeeze the trigger on the blaster. Rizor fell to the ground and began squirming in the mud. He begged Pep not to kill him. She delighted in seeing him this way.
He was the reason she was born. She was born to be a thing of derision. She was to be a living punching bag, something to use and abuse. A thing to satisfy ones basest desires with. She was less than an animal. Because of him she had been sold time and again. She had been beaten and raped by anyone with the money to buy her. She had survived the horrors that others of her kind died from.
In polite Feloid society they didn’t like to hear about her kind of cat girl. The unregulated breeding farms. These houses of horror only existed in tawdry and cheap books and media. They weren’t real places. Civilized Feloid culture wouldn’t allow such places to stay in business.
The cat girls had been watching from inside their huts. A few had started to come out for a better look. Pep looked up and saw them.
“You two, come over here and cut that girl down.” she said in a calm voice. “She shouldn’t be left up there like that.”
The girl looked at Pep and gave a faint smile of relief to her.
“I’ve decided not to kill you Rizor. I am going to give you the gift of pain. You have given this same gift to countless cat girls over your lifetime so I wish to return the favor. One by one Pep began separating his joints. She began with his toes and all the bones in his left foot. He writhed and twisted in agony with each snap of cartilage in his foot. He noticed he could now control the trigger finger on the hand holding the gun in his mouth. She was giving him an option. She was showing him mercy.
“I”ll allow you a cowards death Rizor but it’s up to you.” she knelt down next to him.
He looked into her eyes and pulled the trigger.
Pep looked around the camp. The main gate was completely engulfed in flames that reached a hundred feet in the air. The catgirls were huddled together in small groups unsure of what was to happen next. Pep made her way up to the platform where the girl was being whipped. She remembered the whipping frame well from her youth. The two girls bowed and stepped away from the beaten girl that lay at the base of the platform weeping.
“I need to take you all away from here. You must do what I tell you if you want to live.”
The whipped girl looked up at Pep. “Who are you?” she asked.
Pep knelt down and cradled her in her lap stroking her hair. “ My name is Pep Pudin and I’m your sister, I’ve come to take you away.”
The thing stepped into the dim light given off from the street light above. It was huge. This droid was ancient, like something from a museum. Most of it’s original armor plating had been lost long ago. It was skeletal in appearance although hunched and twisted. The one functioning eye turned from green to red increasing it’s malevolent look.
“I’m here for Tarin Farstar. It’s her I want.” it said in a deep tinny robotic voice. If a droid could sound angry it would sound like this one. Bronski thought for a second. He looked up at the window and saw Tarin still leaning out. She looked like she was crying. She was actually sorry that she had brought him into this.
“Damn it.” Bronski said after seeing her expression.
“Okay tough guy, show me what you got.” Bronski said grinning.
“AARRGGH !” the droid croaked as it came at him. He ducked just in time to miss it’s arm as it swung down on him.
Buck laughed. “Missed me asshol…” the other hand grabbed him by his chest and smashed him against the wall. The droid slammed Bronski into the wall again and again until he hung dead in his hand.
The droid looked up at Tarin. “How many brave men will die for you Tarin Farstar.” he asked and dropped Bronski’s lifeless body onto the side walk.
Tarin pulled herself back inside and fell to the floor. Buck was dead and it was her fault. She was trembling with fear. She heard the monster rip off the front door and come inside of the building. She sat with her back against the wall breathing heavily. There was no rescue for her now. She had nowhere to run.
The droid went from post to post on the lower floor knocking each one down. The floor below her began to sag noticeably. He meant to bring the entire structure down with her in it.
Tarin forced herself up and ran to the stairs. She looked down only to see the droid smashing the stairway to pieces with one of the support pillars he had pulled loose.
“Nowhere to run this time Farstar.” it yelled up at her as the building began to moan and crumble.
Tarin ran back to the room with the broken window. The same room that she had been thrown from that fateful night. She looked hurriedly out the window for any chance of escape. The building began to fall backwards, it was now or never. She jumped from the window and down into the alley below.
Matt lay in the bed at the infirmary. Ragg was sitting in the one next to him. He had been fortunate. The burns on his hand weren’t as bad as they looked. Pep had only let the fire burn a second or two before Matt told her to stop.
Matt had explained everything to Ragg. He told him who he really was and that he had changed. Ragg understood Matt’s desire to continue to do good in the name of the man he killed. He needed to replace him to do that. On the other hand he was still Captain Zekk. He still needed to be put on trial for his crimes even though he was reformed. There was the matter of his victims that could not be over looked.
“What should I do Matt?” Ragg asked. He was sure no one could hear what he was saying.
“I like you, I like Pep too but the others need to know what’s going on. I can’t keep this information a secret. I’ve got a responsibility to them too. Help me out here Matt.” Ragg wanted to do the right thing. If he told the others Matt was Captain Zekk it would mean a sure death sentence for him. Pep had disappeared completely without any explanation as to what she was doing or where she went. She had become very dangerous and powerful. Ragg was in the awful position of having to tell the other members of the Rebellion what was going on.
Matt lay in the bed and stared at the ceiling. “You have to tell them who I am Ragg. I always knew this day would come. If you have any decency in you then you have no choice. I’ve thought about what I was doing every day since I decided to become Matt Mazin. I never should have done it. If I really wanted to do the right thing I would have turned myself in and faced what was coming to me. I convinced myself that becoming Matt would be better because I could begin to make things better. It was all a lie.” he said.
“Not all of it Matt, look at Pep. If it wasn’t for you she would probably be dead by now. Then there are all those catgirls she rescued, they would be dead or worse by now. She even bought Timtam’s freedom. If you didn’t save Pep and then Pep save Timtam we all would have died when that Imperial Star Destroyer showed up when we were leaving that station we raided. The way I see it a lot of people are alive because of what you’ve done Matt.” Ragg said.
“My name is Zekk.” Matt said quietly.
“Until I meet this Zekk guy you keep talking about I’m still going to call you Matt.” Ragg said.
Adda was lead into the great hall of the Visiok Clan. Before her sat the Clan’s great leaders and the Prince himself, Azak.
Adda retold the story of her actions to the Clan leaders. She told them she had sent word to have the Generals wife brought to Azak’s home so she could be reunited with her family. Once again she made it clear to all present that no one else was aware of what she had done. No blame was to be associated with anyone else.
There was a brief deliberation between the leaders. Azak stood to pass sentence on Adda Beddo. The room fell silent.
“Long ago our people nearly destroyed each other in a huge civil war. Several of the strongest clans invited the Jedi to intervene. Even though they were outsiders they stayed and helped our Clans work out a set of rules that we live by to this day. The Jedi have always been the only non Feloid group that has been able to move freely in Feloid space even across Clan boundaries. This gratitude is still strongly felt today. This common past we have together is what makes this decision so hard.
We here all understand that Adda Beddo’s actions were not meant to cause us shame or to loose face amongst our fellow Clans. Some action must be taken against her in order to distance ourselves from what she’s done. Therefore it is our decision that Adda Beddo will be banished from Feloid space never to return. In order to ensure this decision we will consider it an act of war for any other Clan to let her return and give her safe haven. We give her one week to conclude her affairs under the Ty Clans protection. After that she will give herself up to the Visiok Clan to be deported from Feloid space.
“Don’t you think that’s a bit harsh? After all she was tricked like all of you were.”
The voice seemed to come from nowhere.
Kllair threw back her cloak to reveal she was standing right next to Adda. Adda stepped away surprised. No one had suspected she was there.
Guards ran forward leveling their guns at Kllair. Kllair put her hands up in mock surrender and smiled at Azak.
“What is the meaning of this outrage?” he demanded.
“I’m here to explain that this woman is innocent, everything she did was part of a plan that was laid down even before the Empire attacked.” she said. Kllair turned to the spectators in the hall.
“I represent an organization that has been battling the Sith for thousands of years. This organization was founded by normal people, people not blessed with force abilities. These men and women were not happy having their lives constantly up ended by the Sith or the Jedi. They wanted a say in what these force using groups did. They took it upon themselves to change the order of things.” Kllair turned back towards the Clan leaders. She saw they had become very interested in what she was saying.
“They had to become an invisible society, they had to be able to be completely undetectable. They had to be everywhere and never be seen or heard about.
I have been given permission to explain this all to your Leadership because the Feloid race is isolationist and has little dealings with Sith and Jedi troubles, that is until now. Things were getting out of hand so we needed to intervene in this war. Some of your own leaders are members in this organization and asked for the end of the war.” Kllair looked at the Clan leaders one by one to reenforce the fact that one or more may be here now.
“As proof I offer this statement to the oldest leaders. There is a certain book that no one knows about. Yet even though it is unknown there are those that do know about it. A book of truth from ancient times.” Kllair used her knowledge of the book she had heard about from listening to Cheena Ty. Although she only knew what was supposed to be in it she was sure no one here had actually read it. It would be impossible for a non Feloid to know about this book.
“Only the most powerful organization outside Feloid space could know about it.” or in her case a person who just happened to be in the right place at the right time.
“The end of the war was orchestrated as a gift to our Feloid friends. Be thankful that it was done, it won’t happen again. You are all outraged that women and children were tortured. We do not do things in half measures. We deal in lives saved and lives lost every day and at times they are as commodities to us. This act was done by us, not the Visiok clan or Adda Beddo. I also think that no matter how outraged you say you are most of you are glad it happened. At this point you may want to reconsider your verdict on Adda Beddo. She is blameless of these acts of violence.” Kllair quickly pulled her cloak back over her head and disappeared. The guards surged forward to prevent her escape but it was too late. The Clan leaders began shouting back and forth making accusations at each other.
“Silence ! Silence !” Azak shouted at the leaders. “We all need to remain calm and process this new information. Adda Beddo will be taken to my home where I will take responsibility for her until we can sort this out.
Tarin reached out into the night sky as she fell. There was nothing to grab. As she fell she watched the building come crashing down with a huge rumble and cracking as the stone and wood disintegrated into a huge pile of dust and rubble.
Just ten feet from the ground she felt something strike her in the back and slow her decent enough to keep her from being seriously injured. Tarin got to her knees and quickly twisted around to see what had struck her in the back. It seemed to be a large ball of a gummy substance that was stuck to her. She looked up to see a tether line going up to the roof of the next building. She felt the line and it was attached to a metal cone with the other end attached to the gummy ball. The cone had a button on it that she pushed that released the ball causing it to retract into the cone. The whole apparatus suddenly retracted further as the tether line spooled its way back up to the roof of the building silently. Someone had saved her but she couldn’t think about that now. She stumbled down the alley around to the front of the building. Through the dust and darkness she saw Bronski’s body laying lifeless on the ground. Tarin ran over and knelt next to him. Tears were streaming down her face. She had killed him. The unstoppable juggernaut was finally dead. He died trying to buy her time to escape. No. she had to try. Tarin ripped open Bucks shirt. She pulled back shocked to see his chest was covered with scars completely from years of wounds and wars. He had known nothing but pain his whole life. She caught hold of her emotions and put her hands on his chest and started to push repeatedly. Every five pushes she would lean over and breath into his mouth.
“You can’t die you big dumb brute.” she pushed and breathed again.
“You need to give me a bunch of shit about this later.” she said with tears still in her eyes.
There was sound coming from under the rubble now. The big droid was still alive. She could hear it’s mechanical screams as it fought to free itself from under the tons of debris. She was running out of time. In the dim light she could see blood running out of Bucks ears and nose. She tasted blood with each breath she forced into his broken body. The wreckage of the building erupted as the huge droid burst out from under it. It looked at Tarin and screamed at her in that angry droid voice. “How can you be alive? You can’t be alive!”
Tarin tried to revive Bronski even harder. “I won’t leave you. I won’t leave you here.” she said to him.
The droid picked up a metal ceiling support and stomped over to her. Tarin threw her arm up in a futile effort to protect herself.
Suddenly two darts struck the droid in the chest. He yelled and dropped the metal post as he convulsed violently. Thousands of volts of electricity was being pumped into him through two thin wires connected to the darts. Tarin looked over to see a woman dressed exactly like her. She wore thigh high boots and a black bodice. Long black gloves covered her arms as well as a chrome bubble face shield.
“Tarin ! Get out of there, I can’t hold him much longer !” the woman yelled.
“I’ve got to save him !” Tarin shouted back.
A second woman dressed like them ran out from the next building. She leveled her wrist at the droid and fired a missile at him. It exploded into a vaporous haze that surrounded him. It began to crystallize holding him tightly in place.
“Good thinking Za’sha. The first one said.
“Do something quick, it only lasts for three minutes.” the second one said.
Tarin continued resuscitating Bronski as best she could. Suddenly he coughed as blood trickled out of his mouth. He felt around in one of the many pockets until he pulled out a tiny white container.
“He’s okay !” Tarin cried.
Buck grabbed Tarin’s hand and pushed the container in it. “ I…I want you to have these.” he said as he fell limp. He had passed out but he was alive.
Tarin opened her hand and looked at the container, there was something written on it covered in Bronski’s blood.
Tarin frantically wiped it clean so she could read the words. “Breath Mints.”
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.
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Last Updated (Tuesday, 10 September 2013 02:08)