The price of order
Timtam had invited one girl at a time girl back to the courier so she could ask them how they were doing here on Geirgor. Each one gave the same story more or less. They had been treated very well. The Lady Trahain had been a constant companion to them and a terror to the male Feloids that tried to get too close. They all spoke very highly of Brumbarus and it seemed that everything he had said was true.
Hudd had been helping Timtam with her interviews. He had been recording them all and keeping notes as to each girl’s identity since they all had chosen a name for themselves.
The Lady Trahain was the last one to be interviewed.
“Hello Lady Trahain, I am Timtam and this is Kero Hudd. Pep has sent us to check up on the girls for her. I’m sure you were told about our arrival.” Timtam said.
“Yes I was and please call me by my first name, Sindera.” She said extending her hand in greeting.
“Okay, Sindera, I was told of your situation and was to trust your judgment of the situation here.” Timtam said,
“Well my child I will admit that when I first came here I had no other option but to help these girls. At first the prospect seemed like a life sentence but I am delighted to report it has been a wonderful experience. These girls are all like the daughters I never had. They are kind and grateful girls that never question my instructions or advice. They are all eager to learn and help each other.” Sindera said smiling.
“I’m glad to hear this. Now I was also told to ask you if there had been any eligible suitors for the girls. Men that are stable and hard working. Pep is very interested in seeing these girls have normal lives and families here.” Timtam said.
“Well there has been one draw back to all of this freedom. It seems after years of abuse by men they don’t believe any of them are…good. Now that they can choose to be with whomever they want to they have chosen to be celibate. They want nothing to do with men in any…intimate way.” Sindera said.
“You mean…” Timtam asked wanting to be sure.
“They don’t want to be…physically involved.” Sindera said restating her point.
“What now?” Timtam asked Sindera.
“Well I had hoped that in time they would see that a few of these cutthroats and villains are not so bad but unless a better breeding stock is introduced I don’t see anything changing their minds. These girls have good reason to not be with ruffians such as these. They need to be exposed to kinder and more understanding men in my view.” Sindera said.
“Perhaps if the saw you taking an interest in one of the locals they may change their minds.” Hudd suggested.
Sindera raised an eyebrow in contempt. “I hardly see that as a possibility.” She said.
Timtam looked at Hudd. She could tell that they were both thinking the same thing. Maybe Sindera’s standards and views of these men had influenced them negatively towards the local men.
“Maybe you should try to find one or two that meet your standards so that Pep’s vision for these girls can come true.” Timtam said trying not to offend Sindera.
“This is were they will be safe and these men are what you have to work with. Maybe Brumbarus can suggest a few. He seems a good judge of men.” Hudd said.
“Very well, I see your point. This is what we have to work with and perhaps my standards are a bit unrealistic all things considered.” Sindera said. “I will ask for Brumbarus’s opinion of a few of his best men and set things up.”
Matt had grudgingly done as Ragg had told him to do and ordered his ship make a run for it. The one thing their freighters had going for them was speed. Ceecee had invented a manifold that increased the thrust more efficiently without modifying the engines. Running away was the only smart thing to do. If he had stayed it only would have allowed the Empire two victories instead of one. His ship was also unarmed just like Ragg’s. They had both depended on the new fighter squadron to be there but they never arrived.
“Keep the transmitter open in case they send us a message.” Matt said. He knew the chances that the second ship somehow escaped or there might be survivors were close to zero. The best those men and women on Ragg’s ship could count on was a life sentence in an Imperial labor camp. “I wonder who has it worse Ceecee and the rest of them in the engine room or Ragg and Lore?” Matt asked himself quietly.
“If they capture Lore he’ll be executed immediately.” Kang said overhearing Matt’s comment.
“They must have been tipped off. There’s no way that Frigate could have accidentally jumped from hyper space so close just by luck.” Kang said slamming his massive fist down on the table.
“We have to find out were they took them. We can’t loose over two hundred troops without firing a shot. Once word of this gets out we won’t be able to keep the recruits we have much less hope to get any new ones.” Matt said.
“As much as I dislike her this would be a good job for Kllair and her group of monsters.” Kang said.
“Sir, we have a large debris field in front of us.” One of the bridge crew said to Matt.
“Well I think we found our missing fighter squadron.” Kang said looking at the monitors. The read out showed hundreds of space ship parts drifting in space. Some were still recognizable as Rebel fighters.
“I get the feeling we’re up against something new. I think the Empire is trying out a new weapon or ship or something and they’re using us to do it.” Matt said looking at the smashed and twisted wreckage strewn as far as the eye could see.
“No life signs at all in the debris field sir.” The officer said to Matt.
“I didn’t think they would leave any witnesses.” Matt said almost to himself.
“I guess all we can do now is head back to the base. It’s too risky to stay out here without any weapons or escort.” Kang said disgusted.
Matt nodded his head at Kang. “Make for home Captain. This mission is over I’m afraid.”
Lionette tossed and turned in the bed. She had taken a room in one of the local hotels at Tarsis station. She was still angry at Azak’s negotiations with the Empire. She finally sat up and threw off the covers in disgust. Neeka wasn’t having the same problem. She was fast asleep on the couch, her arm and left leg hanging off as she lay completely relaxed. Lionette smiled and for a moment envied her and her simple life. Being thrust into the leadership role of the Ty clan she didn’t have the luxury of not worrying.
She decided to get up and get some water from the kitchen area. The night was dead quiet and she felt safe with her personal guards stationed on every floor below her. Lionette found a glass and ran some cool water in it. She watched the bubbles tumble endlessly by the hundreds as the aerated water flowed into the glass. She felt the cool air blow in the balcony doorway all the way across the room to the kitchen area. Neeka must have left it open before she fell asleep.
Lionette sipped the water slowly thinking about her next course of action as she crossed the room to close the door to the balcony.
Neeka couldn’t have been the one to open the door because she would have heard her cross the room as she lay in bed unable to sleep. It must have been someone else.
Lionette suddenly realized Neeka and herself weren’t the only ones in the room.
She continued sipping her water and walking towards the door. Whoever had slipped in had been completely silent. The intruder was most likely an assassin, a Sith Assassin.
Lionette had to be careful not to tip off the assassin that she was aware of their presence in the room.
She went to the doorway and looked out as if she thought that there was nothing strange about the door being open. She took another sip of water and held the glass up as if looking to see if there was something in it. Lionette carefully scanned the room while pretending to examine the water in the glass.
There, behind the other couch was a shadow on the wall cast by something behind it.
Lionette threw the water glass at the couch as a diversion to gain herself a second or two of time as she leapt across the room to grab her light saber next to the bed.
The figure behind the couch sprung up and over it just dodging the glass just in time.
Lionette grabbed her light saber and rolled across the bed landing on her feet and turning on the weapon all in one fluid movement.
The assassin shocked Lionette by leaping to the other side of the room and extending a huge pair of wings that blocked the light in the kitchen that gave the assassin a demonic appearance. The thing hissed and its eyes glowed red in the dark.
Lionette struck a defensive pose holding her light saber above her head.
The assassin laughed as it turned on its own light saber and tossed it back and forth playfully from hand to hand. The assassin was no novice to the use of these deadly weapons.
Lionette had never seen a being like this one. She could see it was female and about the same build as herself. The defining feature of this individual was her large bat like wings. The assassin flapped its wings trying to distract Lionette but she was too good a fighter and stayed focused on the beings eyes and light saber.
“Do you have a name assassin?” Lionette asked.
“Why do you ask warrior? Do you wish to be my friend?” Jen Jaya asked and then leapt at Lionette with her wings flapping and blade slashing.
Lionette stayed focused. She had dismissed the assassin’s wings as harmless unless she allowed herself to be preoccupied by them.
Lionette blocked and countered her blows driving Jen Jaya back making her angry.
“I want to know your name so I can tell your master the name of the dog I have killed.” Lionette growled angrily.
Neeka was awakened by the sudden fighting and screamed.
“On the floor Neeka and into the kitchen as fast as you can. I don’t want you under foot!” Lionette yelled to Neeka.
Neeka rolled under the couch her eyes wide with surprise.
“ Of course, now I remember, you Feloids like to keep your pets close.” Jen Jaya said as she took a halfhearted swipe at Neeka causing her to duck back under the couch where she was now trapped.
“Mistress please take care of my daughter.” Neeka cried.
“Leave her be monster, you have come for me haven’t you?” Lionette asked.
“Maybe I’ll wound you by killing your little pet…its all the same to me.” Jen Jaya said grinning evilly. She jumped up on the couch and drove her light saber down through the cushions and into the floor repeatedly barely missing Neeka who was twisting and squirming as she dodged each strike.
Lionette threw a lamp at Jen Jaya and jumped at the couch with a flying leap kicking it out from under Jen Jaya’s feet.
“Move, now!” Lionette yelled at Neeka to get out of the way.
Neeka didn’t have to be told twice. She sprang to action and leapt on all fours into the kitchen.
Jen Jaya landed on the floor next to the couch.
“You’ve shown your weakness Princess. You care about that one.” Jen Jaya said taking a step towards the kitchen.
Jen Jaya looked at Neeka and was surprised to see her opening the door to the cold food unit.
Lionette new her place in the Galaxy and that she was under constant threat so it would have been foolish of her to forgo training Neeka in the use of fire arms, after all, she was a free person.
Neeka pulled out a blaster rifle from its hiding place in the cold food unit and opened fire at Jen Jaya.
Blaster bolts tore across the room with every squeeze of the trigger ripping holes in the walls and shattering furniture.
Jen Jaya dove for the balcony and leapt out into the night sky but not before Neeka had scored two hits on her wing.
Lionette’s personal guard crashed down the door almost as soon as Neeka had begun to fire. The Captain ordered his elite troops to find the assassin using their jet packs. Immediately four of them took to the sky from the balcony.
Lionette put her hand on Neeka’s blaster and pointed it at the ground. Neeka looked at Lionette wide eyed and shaking with fear.
“Nicely done Neeka, you hit her twice I think. You’re a hero.” Lionette said taking the weapon away from her gently.
Neeka turned and threw up in the sink.
“I don’t feel like one.” She said with her face still in the sink as she ran water in it.
Neeka looked up and past Lionette under the table in front of the couch. There was a small black box beneath it that wasn’t there before she had gone to sleep. She ran from the kitchen pushing Lionette out of her way and dove for the box. Neeka grabbed the box and stood up. She looked at Lionette as if she had suddenly regretted her decision but it was too late now she had to act. She looked frantically around the room for a safe place to get rid of the box.
Time seemed to slow down as Lionette ran towards her to help but was stopped by the Captain of the guard.
Neeka suddenly turned and ran to the balcony where she could get rid of the device.
Lionette called to her to throw it but it was too late. The bomb went off in a blinding flash and a huge explosion that threw Lionette and the Captain of the guard back into the kitchen.
After a minute Lionette sat up stunned.
“Neeka!” she yelled. Lionette tried to stand but was pushed back down by the Captain who went in to the next room.
“Stay there My Lady.” he said solemnly.
Lionette saw him pull down the tattered curtains and lay them on the floor.
She jumped to her feet and went into the next room where the Captain was standing. There on the floor was the already bloody curtain covering Neeka.
“Hurry My Lady, we have to leave…its not safe here.” He said gently taking Lionette by the arm.
Lionette didn’t resist as he lead her from the room and into the hallway. She looked back expecting Neeka to sit up at any moment but it wasn’t to be.
Neeka was a free person, a full Feloid citizen; she had died with honor as a good Feloid should die. Lionette hoped Neeka’s daughter would understand.
“Come with me My Lady, you’ve been injured.” The Captain said.
Lionette looked down to see a four-inch splinter of wood stuck in her leg. “I didn’t even feel it.” She laughed still somewhat in shock at Neeka’s violent death.
They heard blaster fire coming from the floor below. A gun battle had erupted between her guardsmen and some unknown assailants. The Captain stepped in front of her and handed her his side arm. He went forward shouldering his blaster rifle and watching for any enemies as they proceeded down to the next level.
It wouldn’t have been safe to bring a flyer to the window for Lionette to escape in because it would make too good of a target while it hovered above the street below for an enemy with a missile.
They had no choice but to make their way down to the street and make their getaway. Lionette was angry that she had become the hunted here at Tarsis station. It had been her intent to hunt down the assassins herself. She had underestimated these Sith executioners. It would be the last time she would do that if she survived.
By this time it had become quiet down stairs. The Captain turned to her and smiled. His men had done their job. He opened the door to this floor and stepped out. Lionette saw him freeze for a moment and then look up. The Captain was struck by a ball of plasma that detonated as soon as it hit him. The rush of air blew Lionette back into the stairwell knocking her unconscious.
The huge hand on Torbarr’s battle armor picked up Lionette’s limp body. He lifted her up close to his face. Torbarr opened his protective visor and breathed in her scent deeply. Torbarr growled under his breath with pleasure. He held in his grasp a Royal Princess. Lionette was magnificent to behold with her scantily clad body and long thick mane of black hair hanging down behind her. He lifted his other hand to pull her nightdress off for a better look.
“Torbarr, what is your status?” Zayer’s voice asked as it crackled over his helmet receiver.
He quickly took his hand away, the voice reminding him of his situation.
He looked at the bodies of Lionette’s personal guard strewn about the room. His two plasma guns had burned them to blackened heaps, baked in their own armor.
“Everything has gone according to plan with one added bonus. I have captured Lionette Ty. The bomb didn’t kill her. It only wounded her.” Torbarr replied as he scanned for more of Lionette’s guardsmen.
“Excellent. Now her Jedi will have to come. They owe her too much to not take a hand in her rescue personally. Sy’ah is on her way with the landing craft. Get outside and wait for her then we can all meet back at the base.” Zayer said.
“As you wish Zayer.” Torbarr put Lionette over his shoulder and walked outside. Two of Lionette’s guards had rounded the corner just as he stepped out of the door. They realized he was carrying their Princess and put up their hands.
Torbarr smiled and opened fire on them killing the men where they stood.
Azak and several of his own guard ran out of a building across the street and directly at Torbarr.
Torbarr grabbed Lionette and held her out in front of himself. Azak could seem him laughing.
“You said she’d be killed. This changes everything!” Azak yelled.
“Tell it to Zayer. I take my orders from her.” Torbarr replied.
Azak pointed him blaster at Lionette. “We’ll see about that. I don’t want her around after I’ve taken her thrown.” He growled.
Torbarr pointed one of his plasma guns at Azak. “Put it down Visiok scum or I’ll burn you where you stand.”
Azak could hear the low dull pulsing of the plasma gun’s capacitor charging up that enabled the deadly weapon to launch balls of pure energy that were thousands of degrees and could turn him and his men in to walking bonfires in an instant.
Azak put down his weapon, as did his men. “This better not alter our agreement Torbarr.” He said calming himself.
“You’ll have all of Ty space as soon as we have their Jedi and the Rebels Azak. That’s what you wanted wasn’t it?” Torbarr said.
Sy’ah suddenly became visible as the lander flew over the rooftop above the street. She deftly landed the craft just feet away from Torbarr.
Torbarr turned and clanked towards the lander in his massive armor and climbed in. within seconds the vehicle took off and shot out of sight.
“What now Lord Azak?” one of his guards asked.
Azak thought for a moment. “We continue as planned. We lure Lionette’s main fleet away from their home world. Her youngest brother is in charge and he is brash and easily enraged. Once the fool has left the home world undefended we will send in our invasion fleet and seize control while they are still trying to figure out who’s in charge and after the smoke clears I’ll have what I want. I’ll control all of Ty space along with Visiok space. This should be fare compensation for the losses we suffered during the war to protect the Jedi.”
Mykala had set out early the next day. It was still raining heavily under dark gray skies. With Holla’s help from last night she was able to find the southern star port with ease. Security was surprisingly lax most likely due to the fact that this was a Hutt world and everything was more or less a part of their cartel. Stealing anything here would be suicidal to say the least.
Mykala finally found the ship in one of the old abandoned repair docks. As she neared the vessel she could see someone had sabotaged it pretty well. Several of the access panels had been removed and wires were hanging out of them as if some part had been pulled loose.
“She made sure I couldn’t run this time.” A voice said from the shadows.
Mykala spun and pulled out her light saber taking a defensive stance.
Stella walked unarmed out of the shadows. She looked as if she hadn’t slept for days. “I guess I’m glad they sent you Mykala. If I have to die I’m glad it’s you.” Stella said smiling exhaustedly.
“I didn’t come to kill you Stella, I came to help you. You’re not safe on your own. Let me take you back with me, please.” Mykala said as she put away her light saber.
“I can’t ever go back. She found a way in last time and she’ll do it again. Everyone thinks I’m crazy and maybe their right but I can’t go back and I certainly can’t be left alone, I know too much.” Stella sat down on a stack of boxes and put her face in her hands.
“What if I help you prove she’s real? What if we could catch her and bring her back with us? They’d have to believe you then.” Mykala said.
Stella looked up at her and laughed. “She’s way too smart to let that happen. She knows everything I’m going to do before I do. She’s more a part of me than I can understand or explain.” She said.
“Well she can’t read my mind Stella. I’m exactly the person you need to catch her. If we work together then she won’t stand a chance.” Mykala said as she sat down next to Stella. “ You gave me a chance when you found me in that dive. You saw something in me that no one else did and you were right. Well I owe you for that chance you gave me. I’ve seen things and done things I’ve only dreamed of. I’ve become the queen of a planet and have lived in palaces. My friends are some of the most powerful people I have ever met in the galaxy. Sometimes I feel guilty that I never went back too Bentoo and saved my friends. Why haven’t I done that?” Mykala asked.
“Not all of us are meant for greatness Mykala. Not all of us can handle the responsibility and power that comes with it. You have done well leaving them behind, their just savages on Bentoo.” Stella said smiling.
“But I was given a chance, shouldn’t everyone be given a chance?” Mykala asked.
“I was lead to you by the Force Mykala. You are part of the prophecy. Those others back on Bentoo are just ashes and dust in the greater scheme of the Force.” Stella said reassuringly.
“Are you saying that some people don’t count? I can’t believe that you think we’re better than them.” Mykala said surprised.
“Not better Mykala, different. Some of us are born to live out our lives without influencing the Force and destiny. Others, like ourselves are meant to bring peace and order to it. We are meant to watch over these others and guide them into doing what is right.” Stella replied.
“That’s what the Sith believes too.” Mykala said angrily.
“Yes the Jedi believe the same thing but we lead others into doing the right thing. The Sith uses power and violence to do it.” Stella said.
“So there isn’t that much difference between the two.” Mykala said.
“Both sides want order but use very different ways to achieve it.” Stella said. “Look at how much good has been done by our side Mykala. Even though thousands must die to bring order to the Galaxy it would be far worse if chaos ruled. I know you may have realized the Sith’s way of bringing order is quicker but those lives lost mean a better life for the ones who survive.” Stella said putting her hand on Mykala’s shoulder.
“It’s hard to understand isn’t it?” Mykala said uncertain of the differences.
“Life is a struggle Mykala. People will fight and die for some cause even if there was no Sith or Jedi. Bringing peace and order at any cost is what this is about, not lives.” Stella said smiling.
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 02:34)