Matt had made his way down to the hangar bay. Most of it was still in working order. He was trying to find one of the Rebel scout ships used to carry supplies back and forth from the Palace to the base. The Feloids were rushing around making repairs and helping the wounded in a makeshift aid station.
He headed towards the back of the hangar a saw one of the ships he was looking for. Matt made his way through the debris and over to the Rebel ship. To his surprise he saw Bronski step out of the hatch of the ship and smile.
“I thought you’d show up here eventually. Everything’s working on board so let’s get moving.” He said.
“What are you talking about?” Matt asked.
“Pep, you’re going to find Pep right? So I’m going with you.” He said lighting a big black cigar.
“Thanks, I could use the help.” Matt said.
“What? No protests? You don’t want to try to be a hero and do it all by yourself?” Bronski asked.
“They’re taking her to the Emperor Buck…I don’t have time to be a hero.” Matt’s voice sounded somewhat nervous. He knew he was going to need as much help as he could get.
“The Emperor huh?” Bronski rubbed the back of his neck. “Aww screw it. Fuck that shit head. If he wants Pep he’s gonna have to take her from us eh buddy.” Bronski said grinning. Matt knew that Bronski, on occasion, would find a soft spot for someone or something. For some reason Buck found one of those spots for Pep. “She’s been through enough.” He would always say. Maybe she reminded him of someone else long ago or maybe he was trying to right a wrong from his past. Either way Matt was just glad to have him helping to get Pep back.
Matt smiled back and nodded.
They both knew trying to find Pep and rescue her was a long shot that would most likely get them all killed but they had to do it.
Matt began to go through the lockers on the flight deck of the hangar. He was looking for things they could use on the journey. As he found things that were usable he tossed them to Bronski and Bronski tossed them through the door of the ship.
“It’s all coming apart isn’t it Matt.” Buck said.
“What’s coming apart?” Matt asked only half listening.
“The Rebellion, you know, the Group. It’s all over isn’t it.” Buck repeated.
Matt stopped for a second and looked around.
“Yeah Buck, I think you might be right. Now that Lionette’s gone I don’t think we can count on the Ty Clan anymore. I think Mundis is going to have his hands full just doing the day-to-day stuff for the clan. He won’t put much into what we need. At best he’ll let us all stay as his guests as long as we don’t cause any trouble. He’s not a warrior.” Matt said as he began to go through the lockers again.
“After we get Pep back you two should go away and live in hiding someplace. Forget all this fighting crap, get your money and open a bar someplace and sit back and enjoy your lives together.” Bronski said through clenched teeth holding his cigar.
“That sounds nice my friend. Peace and quiet.” Matt smiled.
“ It’s a shame you two can’t have kids, I think she would have liked that.” Bronski said suddenly.
“What?” the comment took Matt by surprise.
“I just thought it would be niece is all.” Bronski replied trying to down play his last statement.
Matt understood what he meant. Bronski was coming to the end of his mercenary carrier and didn’t have anyone or anywhere to go back to. He was hoping to come with Matt and Pep and help them with their lives.
“You know if I did buy a bar I’d have to find someone to run it. I’m not really a businessman.” Matt said trying to sound nonchalant.
“Well I’d be willing to help out until you found someone, hell I’ve spent most of my life in bars…I guess I know something about them.” Buck said almost wishing he hadn’t. He was afraid he sounded needy.
“If you worked there who would I get to throw you out?” Matt joked at Bronski’s record of being ejected from most of the bars he went into.
Bronski laughed relieved at Matt’s joke. “I never thought of that.”
“Well I think we have everything we’re going to get out of this place. Now we have to go back to the base and pick up all of Pep and my belongings. We have all of our money back there and we’ll need as much as we can get. If we pull this off we won’t be coming back. The Empire will sick every bounty hunter in the galaxy on us so I don’t want to lead them back here.” Matt said.
“I guess you’ll have to come with us until we find a good place to disappear. They’ll be after you too.” Matt said as he climbed into the ship.
Bronski smiled. “Yeah, I guess I’ll have to at that.”
Hudd was sure to hold tight to Timtam’s hand as she made her way through the underbrush. Feloid’s had much better skill at crossing difficult terrain than humans did so he was following her.
They had followed the path down to the river above the waterfall and carefully made their way to the other side by walking on the rocks that formed the upper edge of the waterfall itself. Once on the opposite side they waded upstream about a mile before they climbed out and back onto land.
“That should slow them down a bit. We didn’t leave any tracks so they shouldn’t have any idea where we are.” Hudd said relieved.
“What’s the matter?” Hudd asked.
“It’s me. It’s my scent. They’ll be able to pick up my sent. We were bred to give off a powerful pheromone that males can smell very easily. It’s so we can’t escape, they always find us.” She said looking down.
Hudd became exasperated. Why didn’t she say anything about this before? They could have run away earlier and he wouldn’t have had too shoot those two Feloids. He quickly calmed himself and sat down to think.
“I’m sorry. I wasn’t thinking. I was scared and just wanted to run. I should have told you.” Timtam said sniffling and wiping her nose.
“What can we do about it?” he asked.
“They make ointments and perfumes that cover it up but I don’t have any.” She said.
“Can you wash it off? Does it come out when you sweat?” Hudd was trying hard to come up with something to cancel out the scent.
“It comes out of our sweat glands I think.” She said.
Hudd thought for a moment. “Take your clothes off.”
“What?” Timtam asked surprised.
“Just do it.” Hudd said.
A few moments later Hudd had covered Timtam in mud from head to toe. He had even put mud in her hair. Hudd turned her around to see if he missed anyplace.
She looked up at him pouting.
“It’s only until we can make sure we’re far enough away they can’t smell you. Relax, it washes off.” He smiled.
“I look stupid don’t I?” she asked still pouting.
Hudd took a good look at her and couldn’t help himself. He covered his mouth and began to laugh.
“Timtam began to laugh too even though she was still feeling stupid. She took the mud in her hair and twisted it into horn like points and jumped at Hudd with her hands out as if attacking him. They both laughed some more and gathered up their belongings.
“You see, it’s not so bad.” Hudd smiled.
Timtam looked down at her reflection in the water and made a few faces at herself. It really was the only thing they could do at the moment so she might as well get used to it.
“Come on, we’ve lost enough time already.” Hudd said trying to stay positive.
“Where are we going Kero?” Timtam asked.
“Right now all we can do is put as much distance between them and us we can.” Hudd said.
“I can help Enna, I’m a mechanic. Let me look at the engine.” Pep said.
“Not happening cat girl, I still don’t trust you.” Enna said drying off after being outside.
“Give me a chance to show you please. You can leave the binders on my wrists if you want. At least let me sit up for a while.” Pep said squirming as if her back was sore.
Enna pulled her pistol and undid the binders on her ankles. She then unhooked the wrist binders from the bunk so Pep could sit up. Her wrists were still bound so Enna knew she wouldn’t be able to use the Force.
“Okay cat girl we’ll go out side so you can take a look but if you try anything stupid or I’ll blow your head off.” Enna said jabbing Pep in the ribs with the blaster.
Enna opened the hatch to the outside. Both women were met by a blast of cold wet rain and wind.
“Tools, I’ll need some tools.” Pep said shielding her eyes from the wind.
“First find out if you can fix it then I’ll decide if I want to give you a weapon.” Enna had escaped from captors many times and knew a simple tool could become a weapon in an instant.
“Okay, I understand.” Pep smiled the most understanding and cooperative smile.
They went along the side of the ship holding on to whatever they could to keep from being swept away. Enna showed Pep the handholds where she could climb up to the engine. Pep began to climb up even though her wrists were still in the binders. Enna climbed up behind her until they made it to the top of the engine about twenty feet off the ground. Once on top they crawled on their knees too the access hatch. Pep looked back at Enna to see if it was okay to open the hatch. Enna nodded and Pep pulled the lever that gave them access to the engine compartment. It was too small for two people so Enna was forced to stay outside only being able to put her head inside to keep an eye on Pep.
Pep saw were she had disconnected the couplings with her mind and was momentarily surprised to see how well it had worked. Pep smiled at Enna. “It’s the couplings, they came loose. I can squeeze down and hook them up again and then we can be on our way.”
Enna thought for a second. “Okay, but remember I’m watching you.”
Pep switched on the utility light in the compartment so she could see better. There in front of her was the button she was looking for. Above it was a sign that read, “Warning! Maintenance start up only.”
Pep connected the couplings and smiled up at Enna.
Enna knew what the smile meant, she had been tricked but even she wasn’t crazy enough to fire a blaster into an engine compartment that she was standing on top of. Enna growled at Pep just as Pep pushed the button on the engine causing it to start. The ship spun around violently as only one of the engines had been started. Sparks flew from the landing skids as it wheeled around out of control throwing Enna off and onto the landing pad below. Once Pep saw Enna disappear from the open hatch she pushed the button a second time shutting down the engine. As quickly as she could she clambered out of the hatch and climbed down onto the ground. She knew the next step of her plan required precise timing.
Pep began to run across the landing pad towards the building fighting against the wind as she went. She felt a hand grab her shoulder and spin her around. It was Enna, she was battered and bruised and very, very angry. Without hesitation she hit Pep square in the face causing her to fall on the wet ground. Enna pulled Pep up too her knees and hit her again. “I’ll kill you for that cat girl!” Enna screamed at Pep over the hollowing wind. Pep fell again and was soon being kicked and stomped by Enna’s boots. Pep tried to roll away without any luck as Enna pursued her.
“I’m going to kill you slow you low bred whore!”
Pep finally got up to her knees and grabbed Enna’s jacket pulling herself up. Enna pulled her close and looked her in the eyes. “Say good bye to that human of yours.” She sneered and then head butted Pep in the face knocking her to the ground again causing her to roll over on her stomach. Enna laughed and looked around. She saw her blaster lying in the rain and picked it up. She walked over to Pep and carefully pointed it at her. She stopped as she heard Pep laughing.
“What’s so funny cat girl?” Enna asked angrily.
Pep pushed herself up and looked over her shoulder. “You call that a beating? I’ve had worse beatings from my masters children.” And with that said Pep tossed Enna back the keys too the binders on her wrists. Enna caught the keys and frantically felt around her neck for the cord she had them tied to. Pep had provoked Enna into beating her so she could get close enough to snatch the keys from her neck. Enna quickly pointed the pistol at Pep only to have Pep pull it out of her hand and fly through the air into her now free hand.
Enna took a step back and watched. Pep leveled the pistol but before she could shoot Enna dove to the right and bounded off into the storm.
Pep turned and ran towards the buildings confidant now that she had her powers back Enna wouldn’t dare to attack her without a new plan. As she ran through the storm something guided her to one of the buildings in the center, the one with the roof that overhung between it and the one next to it. As she rounded the corner she wound up right behind a storm trooper holding his weapon on two people. To her surprise she saw one was Mykala.
“Mykala?” Pep asked as she brushed past the storm trooper.
“I said freeze!” the storm trooper repeated loudly.
Pep looked over her shoulder at the storm trooper. He dropped his weapon and clawed at his throat as if suffocating and then fell face down dead.
“By the Gods of my fathers!” Destriss said shocked. He had never seen anything like what Pep had just done.
Mykala looked at Pep’s eyes. They were glowing bright yellow in the darkness.
“It’s okay Destriss, Pep is a friend.” Mykala was able to control her surprise. She had shown up out of nowhere beyond all odds of any rescue.
“I have a ship.” Pep said beaten and bloody. She appeared to be only half focused on their conversation. “We must go now.” She said insisting.
“Take us too it Pep.” Mykala wasn’t sure why but she knew she had to go with Pep at once.”
“Wait a minute… are you sure?” Destriss asked. He had no idea who this cat girl was and where she had come from.
Mykala put both hands on Pep’s shoulders and looked her in the eyes. Pep seemed to snap out of the fog she was in and smile.
“Pep is my friend and she is her to save us.” Mykala said smiling back.
“Okay then lets get moving.” Destriss said. He still wasn’t sure just what to make of this strange cat girl who had suddenly appeared out of the storm but if she had a ship that was all he needed to know for now.
Pep took Mykala’s hand and led her across the landing field. The rain pelted all three of them mercilessly as they headed towards Enna’s ship. Pep looked around for any sign of Enna. Enna was nowhere around. Pep had figured that Enna wouldn’t confront her now that she had her powers back and it appeared she had been correct.
The three made it to the ship and climbed inside. Destriss was the last one in so he shut the hatch. Pep climbed up into the cockpit and started up the engines. Mykala looked at Pep in the light of the ship’s instruments. She had blood in her hair and coming out of her nose. Her left eye was turning black as the bruise started to emerge.
“Are you okay?” Mykala asked Pep.
“What? This?” she asked pointing to her face. “You forget where I come from, this is nothing.” She smiled and wiped the blood from her nose.
The ship lifted off and into the black stormy night. Mykala found the first aid cabinet and began to clean up Pep’s face while Destriss took over the controls.
“How did you find us?” Mykala asked.
“I saw you in a vision. Somehow I knew where you’d be and that I had to rescue you.” Pep replied wincing as Mykala applied medicine too her wounds.
“You’re having visions now?” Mykala knew about Pep’s other powers but this was something new.
“Why did this happen to me? I never wanted these powers but I have to keep using them. I just want to leave all of this behind but I just can’t get away from all of this.” Pep said sadly.
“I don’t have the answer you want Pep but I know someday you’ll be happy, I can feel it.” Mykala said smiling.
“Where are we going ladies? I need a coarse for the astrodroid.” Destriss interrupted.
“Back too the Palace. I need to find Matt.” Pep said.
Furonius sat cross-legged tapping his fingers on the table. He was supposed to be meeting with Mundis but he had been waiting for over a half an hour in the room alone.
The double doors opened at the other side of the room and in stepped a tall human woman. She had long dark hair and a buxom figure. A finely crafted cybernetic eye that glowed red as she looked around the room marred her pretty face. She didn’t show any emotion as she stood there making sure the room was safe. Once satisfied all was secure she stepped aside to let Mundis into the room. He wore his normal clothes and smiled when he saw Furonius sitting in the room.
“Brother, what a relief to see you unharmed. Can you believe the great fortune we have been blessed with?” he said grinning from ear to ear.
Furonius was stunned to see Mundis stone cold sober. The usually ever-present cat girl or girls were also noticeably absent. They seemed to have been replaced by female human mercenaries. Behind him walked a very attractive blonde woman who seemed to whispering something into his ear.
Two smaller women trailed behind her sporting blood red hair and dark aggressive make up. There was a definite air of malice about them that gave the two an obvious disconnect to everyone else in the room.
Bringing up the rear was a Zeltron beauty. She slinked more than walked a few steps behind the main group subtly brining attention to herself as was the habit with her kind. They lived only to please and to be pleased by others physically.
“I see you have dispensed with the Royal guard Mundis. Have you deemed these outsiders more loyal than our own kind?” Furonius asked calmly.
“Not at all brother, these women are for my protection in addition to the Royal guard. The only other Feloid that I need to trust is you. How much more loyalty do I need to show? Besides with most of the Royal guard’s officers dead I must pick new ones, with your aid of course, before the guardsmen will except me as the leader.” Mundis said sitting across from Furonius.
“Until then these women, who are the real heroes of this struggle, are the only people I can trust…besides you of course.” Mundis said.
“So I’ve been told. Very well, I will respect your wishes as our leader and promise not to question this decision further.” Furonius said leaning forward.
“Wonderful, now down to business, as before we discussed the idea of my abdication to you. I fully intend to do that but with one slight difference.” Mundis said in an official tone.
This was it. This was what Furonius dreaded. Mundis was about to ask him to do something that he couldn’t do. He didn’t know what it would be but he knew these women had managed to take some control over Mundis. This is where he found out just how much.
“And what would that difference be?” Furonius asked maintaining his demeanor.
“As far as my abdication goes I intend to postpone that for a while longer… but not permanently.” He said reassuringly. “ I will stay in the Leader position until the two Clans have hammered out the differences and united. Until then I will place you in charge of all of the armed forces of both Clans allowing you to be a part of the final negotiations thus for all intensive purposes giving you the real power if only behind the scenes.” Mundis smiled.
“And what do you think of all this?” Furonius asked Kllair suddenly.
“None of this is my concern Admiral Furonius. I am only a bodyguard and nothing more. Regardless of the details I am loyal to the Ty Clan whoever is in charge.” Kllair said smiling her most polite smile at Furonius.
Furonius almost believed her. He detected no malice or subterfuge in her voice. It worried him to no end.
“It all sounds completely logical brother, I’ll agree to your proposal only after one condition is met.” Furonius said.
“And what would that be?” Mundis asked.
“Why are they helping us?” Furonius asked flatly.
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 02:54)