Chapter 51 Marooned
Wednesday, 12 January 2011 23:44 | Author: Jim Neal |
If you have not read “Forgotten memories” in the Character Background section I suggest you do before reading this chapter. There are several references to it in this chapter and it will help you to better understand Tarin’s situation.
Azak entered Adda’s room. He was followed by two armed guards. He looked serious. He was bringing bad news to Adda; it was going to be done very officially.
“The Clan leaders have decided to uphold their decision about your exile. Believe me when I say that I deeply regret that I am the one that must carry out this order. You will be taken out side of Feloid space and left on a neutral planet.
There will be a minimum of provisions left for you but eventually you will have to fend for yourself. You may give me a message to give to your friends if you wish. I will give them your location so they can help you later but you will not be allowed back into Feloid space.” Azak said looking straight ahead. He didn’t like the way this was ending but he had to be loyal to the other Clans and their wishes.
“ I have only one request of you Prince Azak. I would like you to tell my friends that I am leaving under my own free will. I agree with the Clans decision and I am leaving voluntarily. Explain to them that I feel that when I took my job as leader I also took on the responsibility that goes with it. My decision to use Kllair and her crew was a dangerous one. I took the risk so I must be held responsible. Please tell them I left so the Feloids could be held blameless of the things that were done.” Adda said.
“You are an honorable woman Adda Beddo. I will do everything in my power to make you comfortable on your new home.” Azak said as he turned to look at her.
“The Feloid race has always upheld it’s pledge to support the Jedi so I have no choice but to do what must be done.” Adda said looking down.
Azak noticed Adda’s hand was trembling, she was frightened. He could see she had no illusions about what she was about to face. In the best case she would live a long life completely cut off from any other intelligent being and not go mad. In the worst case she would starve or become ill and die slowly on some forgotten rock deep in space.
Pep looked up and saw the flyers coming towards the compound. Each ship carried about ten Feloid males carrying guns. She wasn’t sure that these men were slavers like Rizor or just a bunch of locals that had seen the smoke and came to see if they could help.
Pep quickly pulled her boots off.
“Nynee, get me a blanket, hurry.” Pep said. Nynee ran to the cart and grabbed one of the spare blankets. Pep wiggled out of her coveralls and pulled off her socks. She then put the coveralls, boots and socks in her cloak and balled them up. Nynee arrived and gave Pep the blanket.
Pep handed Nynee the balled up cloak and had her put it under the drivers seat in the cab of the tractor. Lastly she rubbed her hands in the mud and wiped then on her face and in her hair. She now looked like any of the other girls here. She knew the men coming wouldn’t ask any of these girls what was going on. The girls were thought of as animals without any real intelligence and not a good source of reliable information.
The fliers circled the compound about fifty feet above the girls. It was obvious they were trying to figure out what had happened here. Pep told the other girls to let her do the talking using their secret cat girl speech.
The first flier landed near the house. Nine of the men got off the vehicle leaving only the pilot on board. Two of the men walked over to the girls and stood watching over them. They seemed relaxed and didn’t consider the girls to be of much concern. Three of the men ran up to the house and into the lower floor. Pep could hear them calling for Rizor and some of the other men that lived there. They quickly came back outside coughing and choking from the smoke from the upstairs that was now fully engulfed in flames. The last four men ran behind the large storage building where the tractor was. They were looking for any of the men that used to be here.
One of the men that had come back out of the house seemed to be the one in charge. He was short and wore a large broad brimmed black hat with a red band around it. He had a fancy gun belt and blue and white thick striped pants. He and the other two walked over to the men watching the girls.
“I can’t figure out what is going on here. Where is everybody?” he asked. He was wondering about Rizor and the guards. He didn’t consider the girls as any one to be concerned over. They were just livestock to him. The four men that had looked behind the large building came back. “Nobody back there Ghery. What’s going on here?” one of the men asked.
“I don’t know, I can’t figure it out.” Ghery replied.
“What do you want me to do with them?” one of the men watching the girls asked.
“Just don’t let any of them wander off. If we don’t find anyone I guess I’ll take ‘em.” Ghery said.
“Hey what’s he doing?” one of the men in the second flier noticed something next to the whipping platform and was motioning to Ghery and his men on the ground to check it out.
Ghery and the two that had gone into the house with him ran over to the platform stopping in their tracks at the sight of Rizor’s broken body laying on the ground with his own blaster stuck in his mouth and the back of his head blown off.
“What the Hell is going on here?” Ghery asked. They all looked at each other wondering.
“Could it be raiders, maybe the came to steal the girl’s? Someone find Aprosia and ask her what happened.” Ghery ordered.
One of the men started to call for Aprosia. Pep stepped forward and ran to the man and knelt before him.
“Well? What do you want?” he asked.
“Aprosia is in the house Master, she never came out.” Pep said looking down. She was being careful to hold her blanket tightly around herself.
“This girl says Aprosia is dead too. She’s inside.” The man thumbed at the burning house.
“Ask her what happened Taehyl. What happened here.” Ghery said as he walked closer.
“There was a woman, she came from nowhere.” Pep said still looking down.
“She said she had come to punish the owners of this place. She killed Rizor and shattered the bones of the guards with just her thoughts and the hate and anger in her heart. Anyone that tries to stop her dies horribly.” Pep said as she stood.
Ghery and the guard instinctively took a step back. This slave was different somehow. They felt a wave of fear cross over them.
“What did this woman look like?” Ghery asked as he slid his hand down his hip and onto his pistol slowly.
Pep looked up at Ghery. She then turned and looked at the flyer that they had gotten out of. The flyer began to twist and shake as if giant unseen hands were tearing it apart. The pilot jumped clear once he was able to bring it down close enough to the ground. Soon after he hit the ground the flyer was bent in half and exploded.
Pep looked back at Ghery who had his pistol half way out of his holster.
“She looked a lot like me.” She said grinning.
The man standing next to Ghery turned and ran away. Ghery smiled awkwardly and slid his gun back into his holster. He looked around and saw the man that ran had made his way back to the others. He was telling them what had just happened.
Ghery swallowed nervously. “Me and my men ain’t slavers like Rizor was. I own a small mining company over in the next valley.” He said wiping the sweat from his forehead. Pep kept grinning at him without moving. Ghery couldn’t tell if she was mad or not.
“Me and the boys just came over to see if we could help. I mean we saw the smoke and thought there might be trouble.” He regretted the last sentence since he was now speaking directly to the person that had caused the trouble.
“So once you got here what did you find? Was there any trouble?” Pep said finally.
“All I see is some people working out a personal problem that’s none of my business. So if you’re happy with that me and my boys will be going now.” Ghery was genuinely frightened of Pep and what she could do. No one had ever seen anybody do what she just did.
“I think you and your boys need to stay here for now. We need your flier to take us all to the nearest space ship.” Pep said as she took a step closer to him.
“I guess you’ll be wanting our guns too?” he said.
“I’m not afraid of your guns, you can keep them if you wish.” Pep’s eyes were blood shot and her face had turned red from the power building up inside of her.
Ghery took his communicator in his shaking hand and ordered the second flier to land.
The Feloid warriors had taken the last of the survival rations from the ship and put them in the stack with the others. They were in a hurry. The ship had landed on a desolate world just after dawn far outside of Feloid space. The location was to remain a secret to everyone except to the Visiok Clan. No one of importance was sent with Adda to over see her exile. She was to be dropped here and forgotten. As cruel as it seemed this punishment was considered a kindness. At least she would have a good chance at survival here. Most high crimes in Feloid society called for the death penalty so this was seen as lenient.
Adda stepped back as the ship took off and disappeared into the sky. She stood looking at the vista before her. They had left her on the side of a large hillside covered in moss rock and grass. Down below her in the valley she could see large areas covered in thick forests of low spreading trees. She would have to spend the next few days looking for a good source of water. Once she did that she would also have to begin searching for a defendable area to build a shelter and find a good reliable food source. She fell to her knees and began to cry. “How could things have gone so wrong? She had only thought to do the right thing her entire life. She had spent her life training only to do good and help others. How is it she wound up here all alone?”
She cried for only a few minutes. She needed to stay focused. Her emotions would have to wait until she could ensure her survival.
Adda stood up and brushed herself off. She took her staff in her hand and started down the to the valley. The journey down hill was easier than she thought it would be since she had decided to stick to the path.
“A path?” she thought suddenly. She looked down at the path and noticed it was well worn and wide. This was no simple game trail she was on. This was used by beings of some intelligence. The Feloids must not have surveyed this planet as well as they thought, or did they? Was it possible that Azak knowingly had her left on a planet he knew was inhabited? Could this be an act of mercy on his part? She was suddenly filled with hope. At least there would be someone to talk to. She quickened her pace as her curiosity got the better of her. It was still early in the morning so she could do some exploring before she had to go back and set up her camp.
Suddenly she was struck from behind by something large. She was thrown to the ground face first hitting the ground with such force that she was nearly knocked unconscious. She instinctively rolled over and under a bush to gain what little protection she could. Adda looked up and saw the beast. It was huge, about nine feet tall. The creature looked to be some kind of predator if it’s teeth were any indicator. It had an almost humanoid shape but the front arms were somewhat longer than they should be. Adda watched in horror as it reared back on its hind legs and roared. She took this opportunity to grab her staff that she had dropped when she fell. Now at least she had a weapon she could defend herself with. The beast dropped down on all fours giving her a good look at its head for the first time. It was long and canine like with sharp teeth hanging out of the sides as if it was a large reptile. It had no eyes but there were two long bright red ovals that ran along the sides of its head that she took as sensory organs of some kind. The skin was coarse and leathery with a dark gray color. The only hair was a thick black bristly ridge that ran down its back from the top of the head to its hips.
Adda pushed herself back up under the bush even farther. The plant was very large with thick branches that made it hard to reach her. The creature roared and snarled as it reached under the branches trying to grab her. It was lucky that she wore so few clothes. If the claws had snagged a sleeve of a pants leg it wouldn’t be any trouble for this beast to pull her out from under the protection of the bush. Adda was able to strike one of the sensor organs with her staff causing the creature to pull back. She needed to try something different, she feared jabbing this monster with a stick wasn’t the best way to handle this situation. She concentrated on the beasts mind trying to calm it down. To her relief it began to work almost immediately. The animal started to pace back and forth in front of Adda as if it was reassessing the situation. She continued to calm the animal with her mind as she slid out from under the bush. The animal sat back on its haunches and began to sniff at her. She slowly moved closer and put her hand out for the beast to smell and remember her scent. Adda kept telling the beast that she was no threat to it sensing that she was attacked because she had come into its territory. After the creature had calmed down enough it got back up on all fours and started walking away. Adda sighed in relief, she survived the attack this time. She tried to make sure the creature knew her scent and that she wasn’t a threat to it. She hoped the next time she ran into it the impressions she put into its mind would still be there.
Ragg walked into the infirmary where Matt was recovering.
“Good news Matt. We have a record of Pep taking one of the Y-wings and we also have a report of a Y-wing traveling through Feloid space with the same tracking code and markings. With a little luck we should be able to figure out where she was headed.” Ragg said as he pulled up a chair next to Matt’s bed.
“Why are you doing all this? Why are you helping me?” Matt asked.
“If I had a girl, wouldn’t you help me? We are on the same side aren’t we?” Ragg asked.
Matt couldn’t figure out why Ragg was ignoring who he really was. Why was Ragg so willing to look the other way?
“Ragg, I have to know why you’re not doing anything about this. I told you who I was and you’re not doing anything about it. You always seemed to be a professional, I have to know why.” Matt said.
“Because there’s a lot more at stake now. You have to understand just one thing. You need to go and find Pep before something happens. She’s getting more and more powerful every day and you’re the only one she’ll listen to. It’s more important to save her than to punish you. Just understand this one thing, until we find Pep your secret is safe with me. I won’t do anything until Pep is back and safe. Besides, now that I know about you nobody else needs to know. If I see you going back to your old ways I’ll shoot you myself.” Ragg said.
Matt looked at Ragg and saw that he meant every word he said. Ragg viewed Matt as an asset to the team. He was living in the here and now. Ragg didn’t care what happened somewhere else. It wasn’t his responsibility to bring Matt to justice. He knew Matt was a good leader and would take care of any troops under him. Ragg understood Matt’s motivation. Matt strived to make amends for his wrong doings. Everyday Matt would try to put his friends and troops before himself because he had no choice. Matt had to fix his life. Other officers may not do that. They hadn’t gone down that dark road that Matt had. They were still capable of doing the wrong thing. Matt no longer had that option; he had to do the right thing everyday for the rest of his life.
“Okay Ragg, if that’s how you want to handle it then that’s the end of it, you do what you need to do, it’s your choice.” Matt said conceding to Ragg’s will. “Now what do we do?”
“I’ve talked with Ceecee and she has a ship ready for us to go get Pep. She asked if she could go with us to help and I agreed. She’s a good pilot and is friends with Pep so I know she’ll help us.” Ragg said.
“I don’t know how much help I’m going to be with my legs all shot up.” Matt said.
“Ceecee said she can rig you a exoharness for your legs to help you get around, it won’t be pretty but it will help you to walk normally.” Ragg said.
“Okay then, tell Ceecee to bring me my legs so we can get on our way.” Matt said.
Timtam had been working on the parts that Granic had laid out for her. She had noticed that he was being nice to her for some reason. He hadn’t called her a stupid Feloid or “Fuzztop”; an insulting term used by Reptus in reference to the hair on top of most humanoids heads.
He hadn’t even mentioned Hudd. Granic had become very protective of Timtam over the last few weeks. He would never admit it but he liked her.
She thought he would have asked about Hudd and how he treated her but he acted like he knew nothing about the two of them being together.
Timtam turned and saw Granic staring at her. He had a very serious look on his face. He noticed her looking and walked over to her.
“I’ll be done these two in a minute Granic, I just have to put the oil back in and they’ll be ready.” Timtam knew he was checking up on her.
Granic put his hand on the part she was working on. She could tell he wanted her to let it go so she did. He placed the part down on the workbench and looked at her.
“Does your friend need a job? I’ll give him one if you want me to.” Granic asked.
“Why? Why do you want to give him a job?” Timtam asked surprised.
“Does he need one or not?” Granic snapped at her.
“Yes please, he wants to work, he has nowhere else to go.” She begged.
“Knock off that begging, I just don’t want him living off you.” He said.
“He’s not like that Granic, he’s a good man.” she said.
“What can he do?” he asked.
“He’s a pilot and he can work on ships a little. He’s very brave too.” She said proudly.
“Okay then. Tell him to see me tomorrow and I’ll see what I can do for you two.” He said as he walked away.
Timtam ran up too him and gave Granic a big hug. He froze and looked around to see if anyone saw.
“Knock that off Fuzztop, you’re going to give me fleas or some other skinny (smooth skinned being) disease.” He said pushing her away gently.
Tarin handed Bronski another drink. He had forgiven Tarin for lying to him and almost getting him killed. Most people wouldn’t understand why Bronski was willing to let it go. He had been in so many near death situations that they just didn’t seem like that big of a deal anymore. He had accepted that he would die violently one day and to him it was normal.
“So what’s the next step?” Bronski asked. He was slightly distracted by Remha who was standing behind the couch across from him and leaning over resting on the back. Her ample bosom was pushed up and barely remaining in the armored corset she wore. She was swishing around her drink in one hand
causing her breasts to jiggle slightly. It didn’t escape Bronski that she was doing it just to tease him. He didn’t care; he was just enjoying the show.
Tarin looked to see what Bronski was staring at so hard. Her eyes met Remha’s as she smiled at Tarin. She was enjoying Bronski looking at her and not Tarin. Tarin stepped in front of Remha blocking the view. She knew Remha loved to push peoples buttons. By making them focus on what she wanted them to she was able to control their actions. Bronski frowned and looked at Tarin as if she had just taken away his toy.
“The next step is to figure out what happened to me before I woke up in that alley. I don’t even remember coming here.” Tarin said.
“You should have stayed with us Tarin, at least then we’d know why you came here.” Za’sha said.
There was a loud clang and a thump as the ship suddenly lurched to the left causing Tarin to fall into Bronski’s lap followed by Remha as she tumbled over the couch.
“What the Hell hit my ship?” Za’sha yelled.
Bronski looked at Tarin. She had a scared look on her face. Then Bronski knew.
“It’s not a what, it’s a who.” He said struggling to get out from under the two stunning women. Until now he wasn’t in hurry to get them off of him.
There was another loud bang from the front of the ship and the sound of metal being torn loose.
“It’s tracking you!” Remha screamed at Tarin.
Like a flash Tarin remembered waking up tied to the bed in the torture chamber of the droid back when this whole thing started. She had been knocked out and it would have been easy to slip a short range-tracking chip inside her while she was unconscious.
Bronski instinctively grabbed Tarin’s hair at the base of her neck behind her and lifted it up.
“What the Hell are you doing?” she asked flustered.
“Relax your Highness, its purely professional.” He said angrily. He looked down and saw a tiny scar just under the hairline.
“Let me go you big shithead!” Tarin yelled as she tried to pull her head out of Bronski’s crotch.
“All you two need is some wine and a few candles.” Remha said laughing.
“Shut up!” Tarin and Bronski said almost on queue.
“We gotta get out of here. He’s got us trapped with nowhere to maneuver. There’s no room in here to fight.” Bronski said as he stood pulling Tarin to her feet.
“Back hatch!” Za’sha said. They all turned and made their way to the farthest part at the rear of the craft. The droid was still trying to rip a hole in the ship to gain access.
“Move, move, move!” Bronski said pushing Tarin down the hallway. Remha and Za’sha followed close behind.
“We need to make a run for it. We have to find a safe place were I can cut that thing out of you.” Bronski said to Tarin.
“You’re not cutting anything out of me.” Tarin said.
“You want him to do it?” Bronski asked referring to the droid.
“Stop arguing and keep moving.” Za’sha yelled. She wanted the droid to stop smashing up her ship. Tarin hit the emergency button that detonated the explosive bolts on the hatch blowing it clean off its hinges and down onto the landing field.
“Ladies first.” Bronski said as he shoved Tarin unceremoniously out of the opening and down to the ground. He watched as she landed on one foot then tumbled once and sprung up onto her feet running as if she had planned the fall herself. She was as fluid in her movement as a jungle cat. He jumped out after her followed by Remha and Za’sha. Bronski howled in pain as he hit. The shock of hitting the ground sent waves of agony through his broken rib cage. To his surprise Remha and Za’sha each grabbed him under each of his arms and helped him across the landing field with Tarin leading the way. Bronski was witnessing them working as a team for the first time. At first he thought Tarin had just left him doubled up in pain on the ground but she knew that Remha and Za’sha had his back. She was clearing a path for their escape. He watched as her head swung from side to side looking for threats. Tarin dropped to the ground and rolled coming up facing the opposite direction. She fired a wrist rocket as she halted her roll. It zipped past them and back at the ship. It struck a huge jet bike blowing it to bits. Tarin knew it to be the droid’s vehicle.
“That should slow him up a while.” She said as she ran after them.
“Who are these guys?” Za’sha yelled. Coming at them from the left they saw five speeder bikes approaching them at full speed. Tarin recognized them as the men that rescued her from the Gotals in the alley after she was thrown out of the window.
“Tarin are they good guys or bad guys?” Za’sha yelled again. They needed to know what to do.
Tarin thought hard and remembered they took her to a crime lord that tortured her. “Bad guys! Very bad men!” she yelled back. It was getting very dangerous on this landing field.
“What did you do? Send out announcements that you were coming back here?” Bronski yelled.
“I do tend to draw a crowd don’t I?” Tarin replied.
“Here they come!” Remha said raising her arm and pointing her wrist launcher at the oncoming speeder bikes.
“I’m ready.” Za’sha said as she raised hers as well.
Tarin aimed at the lead biker. “Okay! Let ’em have it!”
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 02:10)