An impossible choice
Ragg found Ceecee just as she was about to close down her workstation. She was entering the information about the status of the day’s repairs into the bases data banks.
She glanced up for a moment at him and smiled. He saw she was still busy so he just smiled back and nodded. She continued on with her work as he waited. He had come to see if she wanted to do something together that night. They had been having a casual relationship for some time now and everything had been great between them.
“Good evening sir.” Ragg turned around to see one of the guards that usually patrolled this area standing behind him. He was young and fit, one of the recruits he had personally trained.
“Good evening Swegg, aren’t you a little early for duty tonight?” Ragg asked smiling.
“I’m not on duty tonight sir. I’m here to see Ceecee. We have…plans.” He said awkwardly.
Ragg looked at Ceecee just as she noticed the young man. She smiled at the young soldier and waved. It was obvious she was happy to see him.
She motioned for him to wait so she could finish her work. He nodded and smiled back.
“Why are you here sir?” the soldier asked trying to make conversation.
Ragg suddenly felt like a third wheel. He had insisted that Ceecee and him had a casual relationship but he was surprised to find himself feeling jealous.
“I just wanted to ask Ceecee something but if you two have plans it can wait till tomorrow.” He said forcing and unconvincing smile.
He stood up and pointed at his watch indicating he had to go. Ceecee nodded and waved goodbye and went back to her work. He looked over at the young soldier and he smiled back. Ragg walked away from Ceecee’s work area and across the floor of the hangar.
That was the second time she had made him look stupid. He was used to women chasing him so he had just expected her to be waiting for him to show up and give her the pleasure of his …company.
“Good evening sir.” Said another recruit as he passed by.
“Tuck in that shirt soldier!” he snapped.
“Sir, yes sir!” the recruit replied with one hand shaking in a nervous salute and his other frantically stuffing his shirt into his pants.
He had regretted admonishing the recruit as soon as he did it.
“That’s better soldier…have a good evening.” He said feeling even dumber than he had before. Ragg quickly walked away continuing across the hangar floor.
He was angry because he knew he was jealous. He shouldn’t be jealous! What did he care who she slept with?
Ragg went back to his quarters and sat down in his chair. The room was dark with only the light by the door on.
He’d been working all week and was ready for a little relaxation. She should have told him she wouldn’t be available tonight. She was starting to mess with his head. They all do it sooner or later.
His communicator beeped, it was Ceecee.
Ragg quickly turned it on. “Hey Ceecee, what’s going on?” Ragg said as casually as he could.
“I wondered where you went? Did you need something?” she asked.
“Uh…nope, I mean nothing that can’t wait till tomorrow.” He said.
“Okay, if you’re sure.” She said.
“Oh yeah, tomorrow, we’ll talk about it tomorrow.” He said.
“Okay Ragg, I’ll see you tomorrow I guess.”
“Okay, see you tomorrow.” He said. He turned off his communicator.
Ragg sat in the darkened room alone. This situation was getting out of hand. He had to pull himself together. There were plenty of women at the base that would like to spend some time with him.
He got up and started to leave his quarters. There was a knock at the door that startled him. It must be Ceecee. He opened the door quickly and saw one of the young female volunteers standing there. He had talked with her on several occasions since her arrival.
“You look disappointed. Were you expecting someone else? I can leave if you have plans.” She said. He looked down at her. She was very pretty. She looked up at him with her big blue eyes.
Her name was Fuhmma or Tuhmmac or something. He couldn’t remember.
“No no, come on in Fuhmma.” He said.
“It’s Luhanna. My name is Luhanna.” She said disappointed.
“Of course it is, come on in and sit down.” He said smiling.
The yacht shook violently as it reached the end of the wormhole. The entire trip had been a bumpy one but the ship had finally reached its limits of endurance. Za’sha had made sure all shields were at maximum and the engines were at full thrust. She looked over at Remha who was sitting next to her in the copilots seat. Remha was busy monitoring the shield regulators trying to shore up any weak spots. Za’sha looked over her shoulder at Bronski who had strapped himself in behind Remha. He was looking right at Za’sha. The ship lurched and twisted almost flipping end over end before Za’sha could regain control.
“A wormhole…great fucking idea.” Buck shouted over the roar of the ship’s engines as they strained to generate enough power to fight the forces in the wormhole.
Za’sha laughed as she turned back around facing forward. “You can always get out and walk.”
Remha laughed as well. It had become obvious that the one thing Bronski had some fear of was space travel. Although to be fair they were traveling through an uncharted wormhole…in a yacht.
The hull began to creak and groan the farther in they went. The vibrations were becoming so violent that they could be seen as unsecured items began to move around the ship.
“How are the shields holding?” Za’sha asked Remha.
Remha looked back at Bronski and then at Za’sha. “Maybe we should all get out and walk.” She said hinting at a tone of uncertainty.
The alarms began to sound as system after system began to fail. There was an explosion in the rear of the ship as the cargo hold door was torn off.
“My speeder!” Remha yelled followed by a look of embarrassment as the rear hatches began to twist and buckle from the sudden decompression in the entire rear of the ship. She realized the speeder was the least of their worries at this point.
“I can’t hold it! We’re not going to make it!” Za’sha yelled.
“Shut down the engines and put full power to the shields!” Bronski yelled.
“We won’t be able to steer the ship. We could wind up anywhere!” Za’sha yelled back.
“What difference does it make if the ship is destroyed!” Remha yelled. She understood what Bronski meant.
Za’sha growled as she shut the engines down and put full power to the shields.
The ripping and groaning stopped almost at once. They were being tossed around inside the wormhole like a cork in the ocean.
Suddenly they caught a glimpse of the opposite end of the wormhole. With each rotation they could see it getting closer and closer. They felt the ship’s shields being pummeled by debris that had been sucked into the wormhole from the side they entered on as they neared the opening.
“We’re moving faster.” Za’sha said.
“This opening must be smaller…right?” Remha said unsure why they had increased speed herself.
“Our speed if off the instrument readouts.” Za’sha said worried.
“Just keep the shields up and hang on to something.” Bronski said.
The ship suddenly began shaking violently as they neared the exit point. There was a sudden increase in the vibrations and then they were free. The twisted and battered ship shot out of the wormhole as if fired from a cannon hurtling threw the debris that had also spewed out.
“Quick, where are we! Get a fix on our position!” Bronski yelled.
Remha began entering commands into the computer.
“I can’t believe it! We’re here! We’re in the system. Look there’s the planet right there!” Remha said pointing out the window.
She was right. The wormhole had shot them out and into the system itself.
“And you wanted to get out.” Za’sha said looking at Bronski smiling.
“Fire up the engines and lets get on the ground.” Remha said.
Za’sha played with the controls for a moment. “They won’t start… we’re going down!” Za’sha said.
Remha tried the controls in front of her with the same result. “I got nothing here either.”
“Escape pods?” Bronski asked.
“They were in the cargo bay.” Za’sha said.
“What now?” Bronski asked.
“Well now we get to see what a space ship crash looks like from the inside.” Za’sha said still trying to start the engines.
Flames began to appear in the cockpit window as the ship entered the atmosphere. Za’sha and Remha systematically went through all the emergency crash protocols. They were fortunate that the yacht had plenty of extra safety features onboard. They deployed the emergency flaps and all three drag chutes. They also lowered the landing gear to create as much drag as they could. The ship started to slow down just enough for Za’sha to take the controls and try to pull the nose up. The ship nosed up slightly and level out.
“Ha! Who’s the greatest fucking pilot in the galaxy!” Za’sha yelled as she slowly regained control of the yacht.
Remha and Bronski looked at each other in amazement as the ship swooped low over the dunes just outside the city. They had done the impossible. They were the first ones to survive a trip through the Wesdurn wormhole.
Just then there was a loud creak and then the sound of tearing metal. Suddenly the left engine broke loose causing the yacht to roll to one side as it hit the dunes. The yacht broke in two throwing debris and sand over a mile long section of beach. The front part of the ship slid upside down and finally came to rest in the surf just before it would have been underwater.
There was finally a few moments of silence except for the sound of hissing as the waves touched the hull of the ship causing clouds of steam to erupt each time.
Bronski was the first one out of his harness. He quickly cut Remha down after a few seconds as he felt his way through the steam.
“Za’sha? Where’s Za’sha?” Remha asked.
Bronski reached over to where she should be just as the steam cleared. The chair she had been sitting in was completely gone along with a large section of the cabin. Bronski jumped through the hole and down into the water. He frantically felt around in the surf until he found the chair with Za’sha still strapped into it.
Remha had found the hole and had leapt into the water as well. They both dragged the chair holding Za’sha up onto the beach out of the water as quickly as they could. Bronski cut her from the harness and gently as he could lay her on the sand.
Remha cradled Za’sha’s head on her thigh and stroked her hair.
“Za’sha, Za’sha?” Remha said trying to wake her.
Za’sha finally opened her eyes and looked at the broken and smashed wreckage strewn all over the beach.
“I’m sure glad that I didn’t pay for that thing.” She said smiling. She then grabbed Remha’s hand tightly and she was gone.
Tarin had been taken to the penthouse apartment where the men on jet bikes had taken her the night she lost her memory. She had been placed in an empty room and tied to the same heavy wooden chair she had been put in the last time. She was glad to be out of that dank basement with its stink of death and away from the droid. At least now she had a chance. She was beginning to remember things again. The man who owned the penthouse was a syndicate kingpin. His name was Bhek Lasar. He had hired her to do something but she didn’t do it or she had done the wrong thing. Either way he was plenty pissed at her for whatever it was she did.
She could make a deal with him. He was a businessman for the most part. She might even be able to buy her way out of this mess.
The door opened and in stepped Bhek and two of his goons. He walked in front of her and waited. One of the goons pulled up a chair for him and he sat down in front of her.
“So Tarin Farstar has returned. I’m thinking at this point in your life you wish to make things right with me don’t you?” he said leaning forward.
“Yes sir Mr. Lasar. I would like to do that very much.” Tarin said with as much respect as she could muster. “I think that I would be willing to pay any price you think is fair sir.” Tarin had an unmistakable tone of helplessness and defeat in her voice. There was no help on the way and she was out of clever tricks. Her actions towards Bhek over the next few seconds would determine if she lived or died.
“Since you left over a year ago my life has been considerably more difficult. Your decision to kill Varnum the Gotal’s son instead of him nearly caused a war between our two organizations. I was lucky enough to have BFR 88 in my employ at the time and he was able to find out that you did it for your lover, the Captain, by torturing the woman that helped you escape from this very penthouse. She said you did it because you, of all people, fell in love with the Captain of the local branch of the planetary law enforcement division. I can only assume you surmised that if you started a war between the two gangs that your hero Captain Gertrun would simply have to mop up the surviving members thus making his job much easier and far less dangerous.” He said.
“Yes Mr. Lasar. Everything happened exactly that way.” Tarin knew her only hope was to beg and agree.
“Well I’m sorry to tell you that your Captain died along with his wife that night long ago. After you escaped once again BFR 88 finished him off. He was given a burial with full honors and a medal.” Lasar said gauging Tarin’s reaction to the news.
“With all due respect…it is like I said last year…I don’t remember most of what happened. All I can remember is you are a very powerful man and I crossed you somehow. I can’t defend what I did because I can’t remember what happened or why I did it.” Tarin said sobbing.
Bhek leaned back and pulled out his blaster pistol.
“The question still remains what should I do with you?” he said as he leveled the pistol at Tarin. She raised her eyes towards the ceiling trying to think of some last ditch reason he shouldn’t shoot her here and now.
The door to the room suddenly opened. The droid BFR 88 stepped in. “The tracking chip that her mercenary had on him when we fought has been turned on again…he’s back.” The droid reported in his typical mechanical voice.
“Oh yes, and then there’s him. If you wanted to make nice with me then why did you bring a mercenary the first time you came back?”
“He’s a just one of the people I know…I tricked him into coming in case I got into trouble.” Tarin said.
“Now that I believe. You always had a way of making smart men stupid. Did you tell him you were coming here just for fun? Did he think he might tap some of that sweet sweet ass of yours?” Bhek said taunting her. He had her dead to rights.
Tarin looked at him angrily now. She was angry with herself for tricking Bronski. “Yes, that’s just what happened. I tricked him because I knew he liked me.”
“Ha, I know you to well Tarin Farstar.” Bhek said.
“Now I k
now what I’m going to do with you. It’s your only way out of this. If you do this I’ll not only let you go but I’ll pay you for the hit you did. Now that’s a fair deal isn’t it?” Bhek said standing up and holstering his pistol.
Tarin looked at him in disbelief. She was going to get a chance to live. She almost agreed but she stopped as she saw Bhek laughing. She knew what she would have to do.
“Not that, anything but that.” She pleaded.
“You figured it out so quickly. Yes Tarin I’ll forgive you for everything you’ve done but you have to do this one thing. You have to call your mercenary and tell him to come here. Once he’s here we’ll kill him. If you do that, if you sacrifice him for what you did I’ll let you go.” Bhek said smiling.
“Oh Mykala, I had a feeling you might be coming to check on me.” Stella said smiling.
“Stella I’m not checking on you. I just came to see if you wanted to do anything today. I was hoping you were feeling better.” Mykala said.
“I’m sorry Mykala I didn’t mean it the way it came out. As a matter of fact I was just headed down to my ship and get something out of it. You can come along if you want.” Stella said smiling.
Mykala was enjoying the fact that Stella needed her help. She had always been thankful to Stella for giving her a chance. She had been the only person that saw past the ganger girl image and gave her a chance.
“Okay, lets go.” Mykala replied. It was different now. Stella was treating her with much more respect now. Stella was seeing Mykala as an equal.
The two talked and even laughed a little on their way down to the hangar bay. They walked past the Feloid guards who nodded at them as they passed.
“Forget something?” the Feloid officer asked Stella smiling.
They both stopped unsure of what he meant.
“What do you mean by that?” Mykala asked.
The officer looked at both of them equally confused.
“She was down here earlier. She went to her ship and took something out that was wrapped up in a bright red cloth.” The officer said.
“I haven’t been down here since yesterday morning.” Stella said angrily.
“Begging your pardon ma’am but you were here not half an hour ago.” He said confidently.
Stella stepped back and looked at Mykala. “She’s here! The Sith enforcer is here!” she said excitedly.
“What are you talking about?” Mykala asked.
“There was something I didn’t tell you before. The Enforcer looks just like me, I don’t know how or why but she does.” Stella said becoming frustrated.
“Why didn’t you say something about that before?” Mykala asked.
“You all would have thought I was crazy! I can see the way you’re looking at me now! I know what it sounds like but its true Mykala.” Stella was becoming agitated.
“I don’t think you’re crazy Stella. I’ve seen too many things in my life to dismiss what you’ve said. We need to calm down and figure this out. After all Stella I can’t even die so your story sounds much easier to believe than mine.” Mykala said taking Stella by her shoulders.
Stella looked into Mykala’s eyes and began to get hold of herself.
“Okay then…you’re right. Lets figure out what’s happening here.” Stella said slightly embarrassed. “Thanks Mykala…I know how it sounds.” She said.
Mykala noticed they had drawn the attention of most of the Feloids in the hangar.
“Lets get out of here Stella. Go get what you needed and we’ll leave.” Mykala said.
Stella looked at Mykala as if she wasn’t sure what she was talking about.
“The thing from your ship. You said you needed to get something from your ship remember?” Mykala asked.
Stella looked at the Feloids staring at them.
“It can wait…I’ll get it later.” Stella said. She took one last look at the bewildered officer as she turned to leave.
“You coming?” she asked Mykala.
“Yeah, I’m right behind you.” Mykala said as she followed Stella back up the stairway that lead to the guest quarters.
Mykala watched Stella as she walked in front of her. She was beginning to have her doubts about her sanity. Was there a Sith enforcer here in the palace? Why didn’t she get the item from her ship after they went all the way down to the hangar? Had all the hardships Stella had gone through finally driven her over the edge? Mykala would have to hold back her judgment of Stella for a while longer.
Den Athgar sat up suddenly. He had been resting in the back room of Hesta’s house. He sensed something he hadn’t felt in a long time. He was sensing Stella’s anger. She was defiantly here in Feloid space. He also sensed confusion and frustration in her. He wanted to go find her but his feelings for her were too strong. He had to keep his distance from her.
Den got out of bed and poured himself some water. He looked out of the window into the evening sky. Soon it would be dark and he could leave. He would go to Tarsis station later that night and meet with an informer that could tell him the truth about the Sith Enforcer. There was a good chance the whole thing was a trap but he still had to try and find out.
“I still think you’re crazy.” Hesta said entering the room.
“You always did.” Den said smiling at her.
“You know it’s a trap and yet you insist on going. What do you hope to gain Den?” she asked.
“I have to try Hesta. I’m a Jedi, one of the last of our order. Soon we’ll all be gone.” He said looking at the glass of water in his hand.
“You know what I think Den? I think you should forget this mission and go find Stella. Go find her and come back here. Start a new life with her here and forget the rest of the galaxy. Your death won’t change anything. Just think how much satisfaction you will have knowing you and Stella have beat the odds and the Empire won’t be able to do anything about it.” She said.
“You’re a good friend Hesta. You of all people must understand honor. The Jedi lost focus on their duty to protect people from the Sith. Because of our loss of focus millions will now die. I have a duty to fight the Sith anyway I can for the people of a thousand worlds. It is my responsibility. If this isn’t a trap I’ll gain important knowledge. If it is then they’ll be in for the fight of their lives I can promise you that.” Den said as he readied his equipment.
“Please be careful Den.” Hesta said forcing her smile. “Remember though if you change your mind you and your woman will always be welcome here.”
Den opened the door and turned back towards Hesta.
“I’m doing this because of people like you. You prove there is still goodness in the galaxy so I have to try and protect 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 02:27)