The lost ones
The morning light filtered down through the thick leaves dotting the ground with tiny pinpoints of light that danced as the wind shifted the branches of the trees. Hudd was the first to awaken today. He didn’t get too much sleep worrying about the crashed ship across the valley. He would have to go alone to see the crash sight and check for survivors.
If they were lucky the survivors would be friendly and well provisioned. If they weren’t lucky the survivors would be hostile and in desperate need of supplies.
The only weapon they had was Hudd’s blaster pistol. The battery in the pistol was shielded so it was okay. The other ones on his belt had been drained when the ion cannon hit the ship. Timtam had worked hard on a hand-cranked generator to replenish the blaster batteries however she hadn’t been able to finish it yet. Hudd would have to take his chances and go anyway with only ten charges on the pistols battery.
He got up and stepped out side taking in the cool morning air. On the ground in front of the pod were the three little creatures Timtam had been feeding. They were sitting all in a row looking up at him. He knew they wanted to be fed again. He started to shoo them off but stopped. If something did happen to him they would be Timtam’s only companions for a long long time. He tossed them each a chunk of his rations and watched them wolf the morsels down quickly.
“Uh huh, I knew you were a big softy.” Timtam said putting her arms around his neck and kissing him on the cheek.
“I did it for you. I’m leaving to check out that crash and I wanted to make sure you had company while I was away.” Hudd said.
“I want to go too.” Timtam said.
“No, you have to stay and get that generator working, it’s more important than this. If we ever want to get off this rock we’ll need to be able to fix all of the batteries so we can send a signal for help. We’ll also need batteries for lights, weapons, tools, and everything else.” Hudd insisted.
“But I’ll worry.” She said.
“No need to worry, I just want to take a look. Most likely they all died in the crash. Even if there are survivors I don’t think I’ll make contact this time. We don’t have enough equipment to help them. Besides I have to go and check it out by myself. I’ll need to move quick and silently and one person can move quieter than two. If I go now I should be home by nightfall or in the morning, I don’t want to try to travel at night.” Hudd said as he stuffed a backpack with food and water.
“I’ll make a deal with you, if everyone is dead then I’ll make a fire and put some leaves on it so it makes a lot of smoke. Then at least you’ll know that there’s nobody alive and I’m on my way back.” Hudd said.
“What if there are survivors? How will I know that?” she asked.
“I should make it there a little after noon so if you don’t see any smoke that means there are survivors and I’m on my way back. I won’t risk a meeting with them until I talk to you.” He said.
“How come?” Timtam didn’t understand why he would need to talk to her about it.
Hudd looked at her puzzled. “This is your territory. You were born and raised in Feloid space so I think you would know a lot more about the people and their ways than I would. Of course I’d ask you.” He said smiling.
Timtam’s eyes welled up with tears of appreciation. No one had ever treated her as good as Kero. He not only loved her he respected her as an equal.
“Thank you.” She said wiping a tear of joy from her eye.
“Now don’t start that again.” Hudd rolled his eyes and smiled.
“I know, I know, but you make me so happy.”
“Look, I really have to go now so be careful and stay close to the pod.” Hudd grabbed the backpack and kissed her goodbye. He made his way down to the valley floor and started out across the flat bottomland to the other side.
Suddenly he heard the sound of an animal calling out. It sounded as if it were in trouble. The beast wasn’t trying to be quiet. It was as if it was calling for help. Hudd crouched low and listened. He hadn’t yet seen any of the top predatory animals of this planet, the ones big enough to bring down large prey. This animal was making so much noise he was afraid the cries from this beast would soon attract one.
All at once there was a shrill cry that seemed to emanate from all around him. He quickly laid face down trying to gain as much cover from the undergrowth as he could. Within a few seconds he heard a huge surge as if something huge was crashing through the trees near where the animal was crying out. He heard the beast give out a high scream as if being attacked followed by the sound of the huge predatory creature that had attacked it. The jungle foliage twisted back and forth in the battle until all was silent again. It had only taken a few seconds for the beast to be killed by the predator. Hudd had never heard anything like the creature. The sound seemed to come from all directions, as did its attack. This was something he had never seen before and didn’t want to. He decided to crawl away while the creature was feeding. He had to complete his mission and find out about the crashed ship and its survivors.
After a few minutes he had made it to safety. The sounds of the brutality of nature had subsided behind him and he felt as though he could relax. He had wondered what the top predator on this planet was and having heard it hoped he would never have to face it.
After a while he heard voices. They seemed to be coming towards him down the mountain from the crash sight.
“Come on Khayle, we have to get to the bottom by nightfall. Captain Thane wants us to find a water supply by tomorrow.” Villem said.
“I know what he said but I don’t know if we can trust him anymore, I mean…he just shot those poor bastards in the back for no reason.” Khayle replied.
“He did it for all of us Khayle. If he would have waited those new guys might have caused problems, new crewmen are unpredictable, they haven’t had time to earn our trust, it was bad luck for them. He wouldn’t do that to us.” Villem said.
“How do you know that for sure?” Khayle countered.
“He insisted on us keeping our guns didn’t he? If he was going to kill us would he let us keep our guns?” Villem said.
“Well you got a good point I’ll say that.” Khayle answered.
“We’re his crew, he knows he can’t do everything all by himself, he’s not stupid.”
“I guess you’re right Villem, he does need us.” Khayle said.
Hudd had squatted down in the underbrush as soon as he heard the voices. He was right to be careful. These men had been a party to the death of their crewmates in someway. They were desperate and violent so that made them dangerous to him and Timtam. He let them keep moving by until they couldn’t be heard anymore.
Almost instinctively he looked back in the direction of the escape pod and Timtam. To his horror he could plainly see the smoke from her cooking fire wafting up through the trees. If he could see it then so could the men that had just passed.
Furonius sat across the table looking at Admiral Turnsk Vodag commander of the now surrendered Visiok fleet. According to Feloid law the Visiok fleet and all of their crews would have to swear allegiance to the Ty clan. Many of the lesser clans that served with the Ty clan had been defeated in the past and now were loyal members. It was just part of the culture of the Feloids.
“Well Admiral I must say I am somewhat embarrassed. As of yet we still have not been able to make contact with Ty Prime. So, as I am sure you will understand, I have no way of relaying the official surrender terms to you.” Furonius said.
“ Quiet understandable Admiral Furonius. The blame is not yours, it’s the fog of war, a situation beyond your control.” Vodag said raising his glass to Furonius.
“War is a fickle mistress indeed. If we would have met a day earlier only one of us would be having a toast right now with the other dead, floating in the void for eternity.” Furonius replied touching his glass to Vodag’s.
“It’s hard to believe that your brother, meaning no disrespect of course, managed to kill Lord Azak. We had been lead to believe that he was…less than skilled in combat.” Vodag said trying to be as delicate as he could.
“You mean he’s a drunken slave chaser.” Furonius stated flatly.
“Those are not my words.” Vodag smiled.
“No, just everyone else’s. Don’t get me wrong Admiral, I love my brother but the truth is the truth.” Furonius said looking into his glass.
“I must admit Furonius there are officers in my command that will not swear an oath to your brother. They feel he is not a man of honor and therefore not worthy to give their oaths to.” Vodag said.
“And what of yourself Admiral? What will you do when you are asked to swear an oath?” Furonius asked.
“I’m an old man Furonius, far to old to take my ships and become a smuggler or pirate. I will do as I am told as long as the terms are fair and I am shown respect for my past position. You won’t have a problem with me.” Vodag smiled.
“I’m glad, before all of this unpleasantness I had heard of your exploits and always worried I would have to face you one day in battle.” Furonius said. Vodag was at least sixty years old with more that forty years in the Visiok fleet as compared to Furonius being twenty-four years of age and only six years in uniformed service. He was wise to respect his opponent’s skill.
“Why don’t you seize control of the Ty Clan Furonius? My officers would much rather swear loyalty to you. Your brother should step down and give you the leadership position. Now that your sister is gone it should be you.” Vodag said speaking very freely.
Furonius wasn’t sure how to take Vodag’s statement. Was he suggesting he take control by force?
“I hope you’re not saying I should depose my own flesh and blood.”
“I don’t mean that at all Furonius I simply think that if your father or your sister were alive they would have given you the Clan Leader position over Mundis, after all, it’s my understanding that he never really wanted it.” Vodag said continuing his frank discussion.
Furonius sipped his drink. He had a loyalty to his older brother but everything Vodag had said was true. Regardless of his own qualifications Mundis was not fit to be the Leader. Mundis had stated he wanted him to take over but that was before his near miraculous victory over Azak. Things like that have a tendency to go to ones head. He would have to wait and see if Mundis would do the right thing. Furonius knew his first loyalty lay with the Clan and he would have to do whatever was necessary to ensure its survival.
The leader of the beast men squatted at the top of the ridge and looked down into the valley below. The rest of the group, Lionette, the three cat girls and the other four beast men all waited as the leader checked to see if it was safe to proceed. She wasn’t sure what he was looking for but she found it interesting that he was wary enough to have to check if it was clear.
He stood up and waved his spear in the air over his head as though he was signaling someone in the valley below. The leader then motioned to the group to follow him and then he started off down into the valley on the other side. They all stood up and began to follow. Once at the top of the ridge Lionette was surprised to see a large fortress built into the side of a huge rock outcropping in the valley. She could see several beast men standing on the walls as sentries. There were about thirty large animal hide tents dotted around the base of the structure.
Cooking fires burned as beastmen milled about the camp tending to daily activities. Knowing about history and social development she found it odd that these prehistoric beastmen could build a stone fortress that they shouldn’t have been able to design for thousands of years.
They all finally came to the gate of the fortress where the leader spoke to a new beastman at the gate. He was wearing metal armor and had a metal tipped spear and a metal short sword stuffed in his belt. The conversation between the two seemed to be about her. After a few moments the leader handed the armored beastman her chain. He took her inside the gate and into the main compound. She turned and looked back at her friend who glanced back at Lionette long enough for Lionette to point at her own head and back at the girl. “I’ll remember you.” Lionette hoped the girl would understand.
The armored beastman lead her across the inner yard and too a large stone building. She was then lead up some stairs and down a long hallway lit by torches. They reached two large double doors that he pushed open. There she saw a large room lit by candles and oil lanterns. She was taken to a stone circular depression in the center of the room and had her chain fastened to a ring in the floor. The armored beastman then tore off her dress and left her standing naked in the center of the room. He closed the door as he left taking the torn dress with him.
At once Lionette felt eyes on her staring from one of the dark corners of the room. She instinctively covered herself with her hands as best she could as she looked around to see if she could find her admirer.
“Such a beautiful figure should not be covered, put your hands at your side and let me see you.” The voice was clear and well spoken. Not at all like the beastmen’s language.
Lionette slowly dropped her arms to her side and stood erect. She knew her best chance of survival would be inside this building and not outside with seven foot tall cannibals. She dropped her arms exposing herself to the voice in the dark.
“You shouldn’t be here should you? You belong in a much
nicer place than this. You look as though you had servants and wealth at one time. Tell me your story…I’ll know if you’re lying.” Said the voice.
“You might find it difficult to believe.” Lionette said cautiously.
“Indulge me.” He said.
“My name is Lionette Ty. I am the Leader of the Ty Clan. Due to my own lack of caution I was captured by bounty hunters to be sold to the Emperor. One of my captors decided to keep me for himself and so he gave me a highly addictive drug and raped me while under the influence. He was later double crossed by his manservant who sold me to those creatures who brought me here. It is my hope that my situation might improve sometime soon.” The last sentence was spoken with a hint of sarcasm due to the effects of not having a dose of Mothers Milk or the moss that helped with the side effects.
“It’s been a long time since I’ve had a woman of intelligence and breeding as a companion here… I must admit I find you intriguing.” The voice said.
“So you do believe my story?” she asked.
“I can tell when someone is lying to me. I am a unique individual myself Lionette Ty.” He said.
Lionette turned as she realized he was standing behind her. He had stepped out from the shadows to reveal himself.
She gasped at his appearance.
He was tall and gaunt with long white hair that was parted in the middle and hung down straight on both sides of his wirery shoulders. Although thin he had a well-muscled body. His skin was also white as were his eyes. He seemed to be a ghost as he stepped from the shadows towards her.
Like the beast men outside he seemed to be a type of Feloid that had taken an odd turn of evolution, something that had no reason to exist. He wore a red silken robe trimmed in gold and black. It was very delicate and almost feminine in its design. He walked around her looking her up and down in bare feet without any hint of hiding the fact that she was being evaluated for some purpose.
“The savages outside all serve me. They depend on me for their technology. They seem to think that my kind are some sort of Gods come to help them slay their enemies. I’ve been doing this for two hundred years, can you believe that?” he asked smiling for the first time.
“How is that possible?” she asked.
He simply shrugged his shoulders. “My type lives for a very long time, that’s how the God’s made us.” He said as he reached out and touched Lionette’s hair.
“Do you have any idea where you are Lionette Ty?” he asked.
“The bastard that brought me here said it was Hell.” She replied.
“Quite the opposite, this is the home of the Gods, the ones of legend. Our forefathers defeated the Gods and drove them out if you remember your scriptures. This planet is the place of that final battle. Do you know who those Gods were Lionette Ty?” he asked knowingly.
Lionette realized he also knew the truth about the Feloid’s origins so she seized the opportunity to impress him.
“Humans.” she said confidently.
The ghost was silent for a moment. She had obviously surprised him with this forbidden knowledge.
“You are a very intriguing woman indeed Lionette Ty. I thought my people were the only ones who knew this secret.” He said taking a step closer and looking into her eyes.
“I will tell you this much, I wish I had never found out. I’ve had nothing but suffering in my life since I found out.” She said with a little more certainty that he wouldn’t harm her, at least not yet.
He took her arm and looked at the injection marks. “The plague of Mothers Milk even reaches this far off world. Would you like some more?” He asked.
“Yes please.” The words came out before she could think about it. Her response shocked her but the fact that she didn’t change her mind surprised her more.
The ghost saw the embarrassment on Lionette’s face even in this darkened room.
“There is no shame in it my dear, nobody can resist its effect.” He said sympathetically. “I’ll see you get some very soon. I think we will be great friends Lionette Ty. Is there anything else you require?” he asked.
“Yes, there was a slave that helped me after I arrived, can you help her? Could you bring her inside the compound, away from those beasts?” she asked.
“No, you will have to earn a favor like that. Besides I would just have to replace her with another so you would just be sending a different girl to the same fate.” He said.
“Then send me to take her place, I owe her that.” Lionette said. Her code of honor was at least as strong as her desire for the drug.
“You continue to surprise me Lionette Ty. I will tell the leader of that group that I forbid them to kill the girls from now on, that is my only offer.” The ghost turned and walked back into the shadows. Lionette knew this would be the only act of kindness she could expect from this man at this point. The girl would have to suffer a while longer but she would live.
“I would be grateful if you would do that for me.” She said humbled at her lack of power over the situation.
“Consider it done. You see I can be kind if you cooperate with me. I find you very interesting, but do not think I won’t throw you back to those savages if you displease me.” He said emerging from the darkness holding a robe similar to the one he wore. He handed it to Lionette and then took a small control unit from his pocket. She watched as he pressed one of the buttons causing the manacles to release and drop to the ground. A second button was pushed and moments later a cat girl came in the room and bowed to him.
“Take this woman to the tower and wash her. She will join me for dinner this evening.” He said. The girl motioned for Lionette to follow her.
“Oh, and if you try to escape I’ll have your cat girl skinned alive.” He said.
Lionette turned and smiled at him. “Where would I go?”
Matt had made his way back to the control room. He had been given permission by Mundis to go through the data recordings of the palace battle. There were two droids in the room helping to compile data since they were much faster than their Feloid masters.
“You there, I need all the recordings on file of the large observation tower. They should include any activity that took place there.” Matt said pulling one of the droids away from its current task.
“It would be my pleasure sir.” The droid responded. It walked to the other side of the room over to a computer terminal. The droid and the computer began speaking to each other as they began to assemble the information Matt wanted.
The last time he had seen Pep was when he left their quarters at the base to take care of his daily responsibilities. Soon after that he was arrested by two of the Colonels troops and taken too a cell deep under the Palace. He was told that he wouldn’t be harmed and as long as Pep did what they asked of her they would be reunited.
“We have the images sir.” the droid said as it pulled them up on the view screen. Matt watched as Pep fended off attack after attack from the Visiok forces. She had a wild angry look on her face that he had never seen before. The recordings were very clear and even recorded her as she jumped onto the back of the Visiok fighter and then jumped off and used her powers to fly. He was amazed at how powerful she had become. Nothing they could bring on the battlefield could hurt her.
“This woman seems to be quite a remarkable warrior sir.” The droid commented.
“Yeah, remarkable.” Matt said in shock. He was having a hard time realizing the woman in the recordings was his little Pep. He was watching a killing machine that any army would pay any price to have at their disposal.
“Wait! Stop the recording!” Matt said urgently. He had come to the part of the footage that showed the Imperial ship land on the tower and a pink haired cat girl come out. At first he thought it was Timtam but as he zoomed in on the face he saw she had an angrier face than Timtam ever could. He watched as Pep’s Force bolt was reflected back at her knocking her down. The woman dragged her into the ship and took off.
“Track the trajectory of that ship! I need to know where it went!” he ordered.
A few seconds later the droid had the information that Matt needed. “ The ship left Feloid space and had a heading bound for the heart of Imperial space.” the droid said.
Matt’s heart sank. The Empire had taken her. They had found out about her powers and now they had her.
Matt fell backwards into a chair stunned. He had no idea where they had taken her or who the Pink head was.
“She’s gone.” He said simply and put his head in his hands and wept.
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 02:50)