The gangs all here
Hudd had set some simple traps down stream from the waterfall. He had taken some long reeds and tied them together making a kind of fence. He stuck them in the mud along the rivers edge in the shape of a funnel. He had hoped that any fish scavenging along the riverbank would swim in and not be able to find their way out. The whole process had taken longer than he wanted but if it worked it would be a good self-sustaining trap that didn’t ever need to be reset. There was a thunderous roar from across the valley followed by a huge crashing sound as if something had smashed into the jungle about five miles away. He ran back to the clearing by the waterfall and climbed up the rocks until he could see over the jungle canopy.
There was a huge swath of uprooted trees that went a quarter the way down the mountain on the other side of the valley. A ship had crashed landed and was burning, or at least some parts of it were. He thought for a minute. Should he go and see if they needed help or wait and see who they were first? They could be anyone. He had to put Timtam’s safety above anyone else’s.
He turned and heard Timtam calling him. She must have seen the crash pretty well from where the escape pod was sitting high on the opposite side of the valley. Hudd climbed down from the rocks and met Timtam on the path.
“Shhh. Don’t make so much noise.” He said quieting her down. “They might be able to hear you across the valley.” He said catching up to her.
“I’m sorry. Why do we have to be quiet? They might need help Kero.” Timtam asked confused.
“Kero?” Hudd asked. Nobody ever called him by his first name.
Timtam smiled. “I can’t call you Hudd anymore, that’s my name too.” She was right. Now that they were married her name was technically Timtam Hudd.
“Okay then, I guess you’re right Mrs. Hudd.” They both smiled.
“Anyway, we have to be quiet until we find out who they are. They could be anyone. Pirates still raid in these back space areas.” He said.
Timtam nodded in agreement.
“It would be dark before we got there so we’ll have to wait until morning before I go take a look.” Hudd said.
They both headed back to the escape pod along the path. Once at the camp Hudd noticed three of the little animals eating out of one of the ration cans. Timtam had told him about the little creature she had seen and he was afraid she would do this.
“Honey we can’t afford to be feeding these animals. They know how to hunt and take care of themselves we don’t.” he said sternly.
“But it was just a little bit and besides I like their company when you’re out hunting.” She said grabbing his arm and looking at him with her big blue eyes.
“You’ll be sorry you gave our food away when we’re forced to eat bugs to survive.” He said.
Timtam scrunched up her nose at his last statement. “Ewww!”
“Yeah, I thought you might see it differently. Besides you told me they like eating the bugs here anyway so let them eat them and we’ll eat our food.”
“Alright Kero.” She said finally agreeing.
“Kero…that’s going to take some getting used to.” He said half under his breath.
The ship flew closer to the heart of the Empire. Pep woke up suddenly. Enna was leaning over her very closely.
“You awake?” Enna asked. “You better not be faking.”
“No I was asleep. I guess I drifted off; I get very tired after using my powers. My body can only take so much before it shuts down.” Pep said trying to slide back to get away from Enna.
“So you can’t sustain it, you have a limit on how long you can do it then.” Enna said sitting up and looking Pep up and down.
“Each time I use the powers it lasts a little longer. I guess I get better each time.” Pep said.
“Are you lying to me?” Enna asked.
“I don’t need to lie to you, you’re not going to turn me in, I can tell.” Pep smiled.
“You seem pretty confident about that.” Enna said.
“You know my idea is a good one. If you had known I would work with you willingly you most likely would have thought of it yourself.” Pep said.
Enna looked at Pep for a second. “You’re right, it would have been my idea if I’d known that. So I guess it really is mine, since you put it that way.”
“Of course it is. We should work together as a team…but with you in charge. I don’t have a good head for planning things.” Pep said.
“I am a born leader. It’s been a hard life for me cat girl. I’ve had to kill a lot of people just to get where I am today. They wouldn’t listen to me so they had to be killed. They lacked vision. They never saw what I was capable of.” Enna sounded almost as if her feelings had been hurt.
“I won’t release you cat girl. You’ll stay bound until I make my decision.” Enna stood up and looked at Pep. “I still don’t trust you.”
Enna got up and walked out of the room. She made sure to leave the door open so she could hear Pep if she tried to get free.
Pep lay on the bunk silent. She had to do something to get free. She needed to get back and make sure Matt and the others were all right. It was driving her crazy inside to know that she was getting farther and farther away every second. She couldn’t use her powers as long as she was shackled and the stasis field was on. Pep realized she had to come up with a completely new idea to escape.
She had watched Kang and Lore meditating to get in touch with the force. It might work for her as well. There was a chance she could influence the Force with her mind like they did.
She lay still and calmed her breathing. She tried to focus on Matt and see if he was injured or worse. After some time she began to feel as though she was drifting in space and that time had stopped. The feeling was frightening at first but she strained to continue. She saw a figure in her mind’s eye. It was a woman in a cage. The woman was someone she knew but she couldn’t make out who it was.
This isn’t what she wanted. She wanted to see Matt. She tried again and the woman reappeared in her vision. She saw a city high on a hillside on a windswept rock-strewn shore. The city was close and she needed to go there. This woman needed her help even more than Matt. She finally understood the vision. Before she could return home she would have to help this woman.
Pep knew what she must do. She thought about the ships engines. This was a reason she had decided to learn how to repair them and had learned the way they worked. It was for this moment. The Force had placed her here to help the woman. She was part of the prophecy. The woman was Mykala. Pep thought hard about the engine and through thought alone disconnected the power drivers on the port engine.
Alarms sounded in the cockpit.
“Damn it!” Enna yelled. The ship bucked and lurched until she got it under control.
“I have to land and make repairs.” Enna yelled back over her shoulder too Pep.
“Where’s the closest repair port under Imperial control?” Enna asked the astrodroid. It clicked and whistled its reply to her as she read the information on the interface screen.
“Cestiss Mortis.” Enna said too herself. “Wet and cold, I never wind up anywhere nice and sunny.”
Cestiss Mortis, the name of the planet she needed to go too was Cestiss Mortis. Somehow Pep knew it was the place in her vision.
“Will we be there long? I want to get back to my man as soon as I can.” Pep asked in an effort to sound as if this stop wasn’t what she wanted at all.
“Shut up. Stop asking stupid questions. Do you think I want to stop here? Besides I haven’t even decided if I’m going to turn you in or not.
Pep remained silent the rest of the journey. She knew the less she said the better. She planted the idea that she wanted to keep going and she knew that was better than forcing the point.
The ship was buffeted by wind and rain as it came in for a landing. There was a big blast of cold wet air as Enna opened the door.
“Don’t do anything stupid cat girl, I’m just going out and check the engines.” Enna said as she clenched the collar of her jacket tightly closed around her neck to keep out the chill.
Pep could hear in the distance the sound of waves crashing against a rocky shore. She smiled too herself. She had interpreted the vision correctly.
“Damn it! The port engine is dead, it just stopped working for no damned reason.” Enna said as she climbed back in the ship and closed the door. Enna quickly walked over to Pep and drew a long thin knife and pushed it against her throat.
“Did you do this? Did you cause the engine to break down? I swear I’ll kill you if you caused this.” Enna said pushing the blade across Pep’s throat.
“I can’t do those things! I’m not a Jedi! Please…I’m on your side Enna! Please don’t kill me!” Pep pleaded with Enna for two reasons. Firstly she wanted to appear weak and vulnerable so Enna felt she was still in control of the situation. She had learned this behavior as a slave. Secondly Pep was truly afraid of Enna. She was a homicidal maniac and Pep understood that Enna would kill her without thinking about the consequences to herself or her own plans.
Enna stood holding the blade to Pep’s throat thinking. She stood like that for what seemed forever to Pep. Slowly she took the knife away from Pep’s neck.
“Okay cat girl, I believe you…for now.” She said putting the blade back into its sheath.
“Thank you, thank you Enna.” Pep responded submissively.
“I’ll have to wait until morning before I can get someone to look at the engine so we might as well get some sleep.” Enna said changing the subject as if her near murder of Pep never happened.
“The Visiok fleet is hailing us Admiral Furonius.” The communications officer said.
Furonius and the remainder of the Ty fleet had been rushing back to Ty Prime to help in the defense of the home world. They hadn’t received any transmissions from the Palace in over twenty-four hours. All they knew was that the Visiok Clan had begun their assault and shortly after that they lost contact either due to jamming or the transmission station on Ty Prime had been destroyed.
“What do they want.” Furonius asked the communications officer. He had no desire to speak with any Visiok scum at this point.
“He said they wish to surrender. They said we’ve won the war and they wish to surrender.” The communications officer said astounded.
“Put me in contact with their commander.” Furonius said hastily.
There was a few seconds of communication between the fleets when the view screen came on and there in front of them was the image of the Visiok fleet’s commander.
“I am Admiral Turnsk Vodag, I wish to arrange for our surrender to you Commander.” The Visiok officer said humbly.
“We haven’t had any communications with our home world Admiral Vodag, we’re not sure what you’re asking of us.” Furonius asked.
“It seems at the very point of our victory your brother Mundis Ty was able to kill our lord in fare combat and is now the Leader of both Clans. This forces me into the position of having to surrender to you so we may be escorted back to Ty Prime for our judgment.” He replied.
“One moment Admiral.” Furonius said as he blanked out the screen.
Furonius looked around the bridge of the flagship at his crew. He could see on their faces that the report of Mundis Ty saving the day made them doubt that it happened that way. Some may actually be thinking the Visiok Clan had made the whole thing up to catch them off guard.
“What? No celebrating?” he asked. He had his doubts as well but if he could change the way he used to be then maybe it was possible for his brother to rise to the occasion.
“It’s just such a sudden turn of events sir, we haven’t had time to take it all in.” one of the officers said stepping forward.
“Very well, put their Admiral back up on the screen.” Furonius said.
The screen came back on and they saw Admiral Vodag waiting patiently.
“I apologies for that Admiral. In response to your question of your surrender I think it best that you have your fleet stand down where it is now and you should then proceed by shuttle to this flagship with a small detachment so we can further discuss the surrender of your fleet.” Furonius said.
“I will do as you request Admiral with all haste.” He saluted and ended his transmission.
Furonius turned back to his bridge crew. “I want to know what happened. I want all communications units searching the stars for information on what happened back home. I don’t care if it’s from a tramp freighter but I want to hear some news from someone. Try all frequencies and all channels.”
“Do you believe them sir?” the one officer asked.
“Well something happened back home that made them surrender to us. When their Admiral arrives I’m sure he’ll tell me the full story. After that we’ll know best how to handle the Visiok fleet.” Furonius said.
The beasts trudged through the thick wet forest along an old trail. The cat girls and Lionette were in the middle of the procession either for protection or so they could be kept watch over more easily, it was hard for Lionette to tell. The effects of the Mothers Milk had begun to wear off and she could feel the cramps starting in her stomach already. The girl that had tried to signal to her the night before was behind her in line and seemed to be tugging on the chain between them as they walked along. Lionette risked a quick glance back at the girl. She had stuck her arm out so Lionette could see she had injection scars on her forearm like Lionette did from the Mothers Milk doses. Lionette looked forward and down at the ground as they walked. The girl was trying to tell her that she was addicted also to the drug. She seemed okay though and there were no new injection marks on her arm so she must have found a way to get by with out the drug.
The lead warrior halted suddenly and quickly crouched down. The other creatures also knelt down followed by the cat girls. Lionette instinctively knew to crouch at the same time, she was familiar with hunting and survival skills so she knew to automatically mimic the movements of the leader. She heard a snorting sound in the distance. There must be a large animal nearby somewhere.
She felt something hit her foot and looked down at a bit of loose moss that had been thrown at her by the girl behind her. She had a piece as well and motioned to Lionette to eat it. Lionette took the whole piece and stuffed it in her mouth and began to chew. It was bitter but moist due to the wet environment. She looked back and the girl rubbed her stomach indicating that the moss would ease the cramping from not taking the drug.
She nodded in gratitude to the girl. She had always thought cat girls only looked out for themselves but this one was risking her life to save her.
All at once there was a crashing sound as the thing in the forest charged the group. It came out of the underbrush directly in front of the cat girls. The creature was huge and covered in short gray-black hair. It stood about five feet at the shoulder and had four huge tusks jutting out of its mouth. The beastmen creatures threw their spears at the monster but only one hit it in the side. It continued to charge headlong at the girls as they screamed in horror. Lionette grabbed a broken branch and jammed one end under a thick root and raised the forked tip to receive the charge. The creature struck the branch full force lifting it off the ground just missing the girls. Part of the chain between them snagged on its tusk and dragged all four girls including Lionette into the forest.
Lionette was able to grab the chain with both hands and push it against the ground as they were pulled along. Just as she hoped the chain snagged on a heavy root and spun the beast around flipping it on its side crashing onto the ground.
The other girls were trying to stand up which Lionette knew was a mistake. If the beast saw them it would charge at them again. She had to think fast. The drug had dulled her thoughts but her combat training had become instinctual. She dove for the chain where it had snagged and pulled it tighter then looped it around again over a second root locking it in place.
The beast squealed and tugged at the chain. It was then that Lionette realized she to was still fastened to the chain with the beast just a few feet in front of her. It stopped struggling and looked directly at her. Suddenly one of the beastmen leapt over top of her jabbing his spear into the beast’s head. A second and a third struck the beast with their spears repeatedly until it stopped twitching. The lead beastman looked at Lionette as if it was the first time he had ever seen her. Lionette looked back at him and then at the rest of the beastmen and the cat girls. They were all staring at her in amazement. She had taken control of the situation and saved everyone from death or grievous injury.
The lead beastman roared at the group to reestablish his authority over the group. The girls fell to the ground immediately in submission. Lionette bowed her head and knelt before him in submission hoping it would be enough to appease him. He walked over to her and grabbed the manacles on her wrists and pulled her hands up for a better look. Her hands were smooth and soft with manicured nails. She had injection marks on her arms as well. He may be a brute but he wasn’t ignorant of how things work in the world outside. This slave was a person of some importance and had others attend her needs. She had been given drugs to make her more compliant to sexual advances. And she knew how to fight. She had been drugged, starved, and raped and was still able to stop this huge beast in its tracks with just the chains that bound her. He grabbed her by the throat and squeezed.
“Big boss. You do what boss say.” He said sternly in his guttural tongue.
Lionette tried her best to nod yes but could only blink her eyes as a response because of his mighty grip.
He understood and dropped her on the ground. The leader then barked some orders in his own language to his men setting them to carving up the beast for its meat. A few more commands had the girls hustle over to a thick tree and sit with their heads down. He took the collar off of Lionette separating her from the other girls. She was to be set apart from them. She had become valuable. He pushed her down on the ground indicating that this is where she was to wait. She put her head down in submission not wanting to press her luck.
Satisfied that Lionette’s prowess would not be a threat to his position in the group he then set about chaining the girls to the tree. Lionette looked up and saw her friend sneaking a look at her. The girl motioned for her to keep eating the moss. Lionette nodded and found a small patch next to her. She slid her hand over to it and gathered as much as she could and put it under her torn dress since she didn’t know when her next opportunity to gather more would be.
They camped at that spot for the night and cooked up some of the slain beast. The food was shared with every one, even the cat girls. It was then she realized that she hadn’t been given any food the day before. The only food they had then was the murdered cat girl that they had roasted on the spit. The other cat girls must have had to eat her as well. Lionette felt sick but forced herself to keep down the food she was given. Sertera had been right about this place. It was her worst nightmare realized.
Bronski, Kang, and Baltis made their way up into the Palace. They had to bluff their way past several guards but they had finally made it to the outer chamber of the throne room. They had been told Mundis was inside under heavy guard until his position could be secured completely. Kang insisted on seeing him so the guards finally sent word of their presence out side.
“This is bullshit.” Bronski said grinding his cigar out on one of the statues in the hallway.
“Take it easy Bronski, it’s just a little confusion. We’ll get an audience with him soon enough.” Baltis said.
“Tell him we have a case of booze and a half dozen cat girls with us!” Bronski yelled through the doorway.
The guards bristled at the insult to their new leader. Bronski grinned and nudged Baltis in the ribs. “Two hours ago they all thought Mundis was going to fuck everything up, now he’s a hero.”
Kang turned to Bronski and snarled. “Buck, if there was ever a time in your life that you needed to just shut up this is that time.”
“Fine, but it was funny.” Bronski said giving in to Kang’s request.
The door finally opened and they were ushered in. there in front of them was a scene that had them all frozen in their tracks.
Mundis was sitting in the Clan leaders throne wearing the royal cape and holding the staff of the clan. To his left sat Kllair relaxed and cross-legged with a drink in her hand smiling her evil smile. Elith was standing behind Mundis messaging his shoulders and whispering in his ear. Novuh stood with her hands on her hips wearing a Royal Guardsman’s coat looking very authoritative and cocky. The twins sat behind Kllair’s seat crouched down and giggling to each other. They all knew something the others didn’t yet.
“I’m sorry it took so long for you to be let in. there was a lot of confusion.” Adda said apologetically. She was dressing Matt’s wounds as he sat on a couch off to the side of the room.
“Adda!” Kang exclaimed loudly. They had all thought she was still in exile in Visiok space.
Baltis looked at Kllair and then at Adda, he knew Kllair coerced Adda into joining and had twisted her mind into believing some lie so she would help her. He was sure Kllair just wanted a powerful Jedi in her group and that Adda, because of her innocent nature, had been tricked.
Baltis nodded at Kllair. They both knew the truth but Kllair also knew Baltis would keep his mouth shut about Adda because no one would believe Kllair could be that persuasive.
“Back from the dead, eh Adda?” Bronski walked over to her and gave her a big hug. Adda tactfully pushed Bronski back and removed his meaty hands from her rear end.
“I’m glad to see you to Buck.” She said smiling.
“Welcome my friends! We’ve won the battle and beyond all hope we have been victorious!” Mundis exclaimed.
“I owe my life and the lives of the Royal house to these saviors of ours. They snatched us from the jaws of defeat and have made us the victors in this conflict.” Mundis said grinning from ear to ear.
Mundis continued. “I have made Kllair, upon my insistence, chief of my royal body guard. I cannot think of any group more suited for this position than our hero.”
Bronski began to protest but was silenced by Kang with a heavy tap on his head.
“We see you’re in good hands Lord Mundis. We are all well aware of Kllair and her group’s talents. At this point I can’t think of any group that would be better at keeping you safe.” Kang knew his words had a double meaning. He knew Mundis was safe as long as Kllair needed him to be. There was no use in trying to explain to him that Kllair had returned for her own reasons and she was not to be trusted.
To Mundis she was a hero that saved him just in the nick of time. Kang however was certain she could have killed Azak much earlier but she had waited until he was standing in front of both clan’s soldiers to kill him. The effect worked perfectly. Mundis had appeared to kill Azak at the last second so he was trapped in a lie in order to end the conflict.
Kllair knew he would have to go along with it and that he would want to. He was no longer a useless drunken playboy he had become the greatest hero of the Ty Clan and the worst part is he just might start to believe it himself.
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 02:43)