Lionette sat on the raised dais next to Light of the sky’s chair. Several of the beastmen had been called in so that he could give them instructions on this month’s business. It was amazing to see this tall thin wisp of a man ordering these brutes around like pets. They all knelt at Light of the sky’s feet in fear and awe. He was their god and they did as he ordered.
Lionette looked around the room and noticed a second ghost Feloid standing at the end of the corridor. It was hard to tell at that distance but it appeared to be a female. She wore a long white sateen gown that draped over her lithe form. The long thin white hair melded into the dress giving her a haunting appearance.
“What? What are you looking at?” Light of the sky asked suddenly.
Lionette knew not to lie to this man. “A woman, there was a woman at the end of the hall. She was like you.”
“Hmmf, my sister. She isn’t like me…she has no powers. I let her stay here because I can’t bare the thought of giving one of our kind to these animals only to be raped and eaten.” He said crossing his arms.
Light of the sky waved his hand at the group of cowed beastmen sending them on their way with their new instructions.
“I have a special guest here today Lionette. He is a smuggler and a murderer. He is my link to the outside world. Like many of the Feloid worlds this one is rife with rare gems. They fetch a high price on human worlds so with my beastmen as miners I can get a good price for them.” He said as he led Lionette along the hallway and down the steep stairs leading too the lower floors.
Upon entering the room Lionette saw the Feloid smuggler reclining in a large overstuffed chair. He looked to be in his late forties by his graying hair. His belly protruded out from under his fine vest that he wore under a large well-worn greatcoat. He was partially obscured by the sofa in front of the chair he was sitting in and it wasn’t until they were completely in the room that they noticed the cat girl kneeling between his legs servicing him.
Lionette looked away shocked by his complete lack of dignity. Light of the sky noticed Lionette’s reaction and laughed to himself.
“I see it didn’t take long for you to avail yourself of my hospitality Dahnor Swagg.” Light of the sky said leading an embarrassed Lionette over to the sofa.
Dahnor Swagg nodded and smiled. He placed a meaty hand on the cat girl’s head and pulled her away from her task. “Business first my dear.” He said grinning. The girl tucked her business away and jumped to her feet. With a swat of his hand he sent her trotting off into the next room.
“What have you brought me this time?” Light of the sky asked as he sat down. Lionette stood next to him for a moment then noticing his gaze knelt on the floor by his side. She had a dose of Mothers Milk in her so that hadn’t quiet worn off so it didn’t bother her to do so.
“It was tough but I managed to get you a solar generator. Not like the little ones you have on the tower but a nice big one.”
Light of the sky sighed in disappointment. “How many times must I explain it to you…there’s no sun shine here. It’s always cloudy.” Light of the sky said.
“Not always…plus this one will give you four times the amount of power with the same amount of sun as the others. Relax, you’ll see when its hooked up and working.” Dahnor smiled.
“What else have you brought?” Light of the sky asked unsure.
“Lennut Nonrut.” He said proudly.
“What may I ask is a Lennut Nonrut?” Light of the sky asked dryly.
“You remember. Last year you said how great it would be to have one of the people that made Mothers Milk here so you could make your own and sell it. Well Lennut Nonrut is one of the old school makers of the drug. Her partners put a price on her head so I kidnapped her and brought her here. There isn’t anything she don’t know about Mothers Milk.” Dahnor said pouring himself a drink. “So no one will be looking for her.”
“You’ve done well my friend.” Light of the sky said smiling back.
Dahnor snapped his fingers and Lionette watched as a woman was brought in with a bag over her head. She was being man handled by two Feloid males presumably two of Dahnor’s crew. They then threw her too the floor in front of Light of the sky.
Lionette watched silently as the woman slowly pulled the bag from her head with noticeably shaky hands. She was Feloid, about the same age as Dahnor Swagg. She was well dressed and looked as though her abduction was sudden and violent.
The woman recoiled as she saw Light of the sky for the first time.
“Who are you? Where am I?” she asked in a near state of shock.
“You’re at the end of the line sister. Your friends wanted to get rid of you so here you are.” Dahnor said poking her with the tip of his boot laughing.
Timtam was still leading the way. The mud was drying now and turning white giving her the appearance of a wild jungle dweller. She smiled as she saw one of the tiny creatures like the ones back at camp in the path ahead. Timtam held out her hand towards the animal to see if it would come near but it hissed and ran off instead.
Hudd laughed. “I guess they all can’t like you.”
Timtam turned to see one of the creatures standing on its hind legs sniffing Hudd’s hand.
“It must be my scent, most animals like It.” She smiled. “Since I’m covered in mud they can’t smell it.”
“Then why does it like me?” Hudd asked.
“My scent is probably all over you.” She smiled.
Hudd went white. He never thought about that. He must reek of her scent almost as much as she would without the mud.
“Damn it! I never thought of that.” He said uneasily.
“Hold it right where you are.” Thane said stepping out from the jungle. Hudd went for his pistol only to have it knocked out of his hand by Kyus who had been following from behind.
Hudd felt sick to his stomach. This must be the Captain that the other men said killed the rest of his crew. They wouldn’t get any mercy from him.
Kyus tied Hudd’s hands behind his back with a length of vine as Thane walked slowly around Timtam.
“No wonder we couldn’t smell her. Pretty clever idea human but since you’ve obviously been slobberin’ all over her you wound up smellin’ just like her.” Thane laughed.
“Don’t hurt her we’ll cooperate.” Hudd said.
“Oh I know you will.” Thane said grinning. He walked Timtam over to the river and pushing her in.
“No!” Hudd yelled just before Kyus kicked him in his right knee causing him to fall.
Thane grabbed Timtam by her tail and laughed as she tried to grab onto something to pull herself out of the water.
“Clean off that mud and be quick about it before I cut this humans throat.” Thane said. He released her letting Timtam fall back into the water. She quickly washed off the mud and rinsed her hair as quickly as she could.
“Hey Captain, she’s a pink head.” Kyus said. He knew if they sold her she’d fetch a high price.
“And quiet the beauty too.” Thane said as he pulled her from the water by her neck. “You’re going to be a good girl aren’t you?” he asked Timtam.
She looked at Hudd lying on the ground trying to get back up. He had a look of shame on his face. Shame because he didn’t protect her.
“I’ll do whatever you tell me to.” She said coughing and choking.
Thane tied her hands behind her back and put a piece of vine around her neck as well. He pulled her closed and ran his rough hands over her body and smelled her hair.
“You know Kyus, there’s something about their smell I just can’t resist. We’ll take them back to the pod for now. Her scent should be back completely by then.” He laughed.
They spent the next three hours walking back too the pod. Kyus and Captain Thane taunted and ridiculed Timtam and Hudd the entire time. By the time they reached the pod Hudd could hardly walk. He collapsed in front of the doorway exhausted. Timtam fell next to him crying.
“I’m sorry, I’m sorry I couldn’t protect you.” He said grimacing in pain.
“You saved me a long time ago Kero, now I have to do what I have to do to keep us alive.” She said and kissed him on the head. Timtam stood up and looked seductively at the Captain. She new as long as they were interested in her they wouldn’t bother with Hudd.
The Captain grabbed Timtam roughly and threw her down over small cargo container. “This is what we do to dirty little cat girls that fuck humans.” He said. Thane broke off a long thin branch from one of the trees and walked around in front of where Timtam lay. He stepped on the vine tied around her neck to keep her from getting back up. With a sadistic laugh he began to beat her back and rear with the branch.
“Stop it!” Hudd yelled. Kyus laughed and kicked Hudd in the stomach to shut him up. He then walked around behind Timtam and began to unfasten his belt.
Timtam was screaming as Thane continued to beat her.
Suddenly there was a huge animalistic scream from the jungle all around them. Hudd knew the sound from earlier. It was the creature he had heard before when he first encountered the pirates. The sound shook everyone to the core. Even Thane and Kyus were frozen in fear.
“Captain?” Kyus said holding up his pants.
“Shut up!” Thane responded trying to be quiet.
There was a huge rush of gray as something leapt forth from the underbrush. A wave of hundreds of the tiny gray animals like the ones Timtam and Hudd had been feeding surged forward and completely enveloped Thane and Kyus. The animals kept flowing over them like a swarm of insects clawing and biting the two men. They screamed in agony as the swarm quickly tore them to pieces and dragged them off into the underbrush. The whole thing was over in just under a minute.
Timtam was able to get to her knees and look around. Hudd had rolled over to his side and was trying to sit up. They both were stunned at what they had just witnessed.
The little animals were what Hudd was worried about. He worried about running into the top predator on this world and all the while his wife was making friends with it. They were like a hive of insects that would come together to destroy any threat to the group. Timtam’s kind nature had saved them both. By befriending the little animals both of them were now considered one of their extended family. Nothing here would harm them ever again.
“If you don’t mind Lord Mundis I think it would be better if I addressed your brothers concerns.” Kllair said.
“I agree.” Furonius said.
“Very well my dear, pray continue.” Mundis replied to both.
“As you are aware Lord Furonius the Empire has already thrown down the gauntlet and attacked the Feloid race both directly and indirectly. Thousands of lives have been lost because of the Feloid promise to the Jedi and if I must say none of this has been necessary.” Kllair said.
Furonius was becoming angry that this human was criticizing the Feloid war efforts.
“Now please hear me out Admiral. I am not totally against the efforts so far but I do question the tactics. I was raised and trained to be a warrior but I was horrified by the loss of so many lives and so much property in warfare. It was senseless. I found a new way of ending conflict with an enemy. I cut the head off. If leaders wants to send thousands of the people he is duty bound to protect into war then they should face the same risks.”
“So what is it you are proposing?” Furonius asked.
“I have already shown what I can do. I have ended two wars in Feloid space using my methods. I have forced the Empire to withdraw and I have placed the armies of two of the mightiest Clans in Feloid space in your hands with one shot. Even you can’t deny this.” She said smiling with confidence.
Furonius thought for a moment before answering. “It’s true, it was you that ended both conflicts.” He said.
“ I need a patron to support my efforts. Although I like your brother he is no leader. He and I have agreed to this point and it is not meant as an insult to him.” Kllair said looking over at Mundis. Mundis shrugged his shoulders in agreement.
“My flaws of character are well known Furonius. Only you and Lionette had the leadership qualities needed. Our people wouldn’t follow me for long” He added.
Mundis and Kllair made sense although the idea of warfare by assassination wasn’t honorable it was used on occasion by weaker Clans against more powerful aggressors.
“What is it exactly that you want from me assuming I become Clan leader?” Furonius asked directly.
“The Emperor isn’t finished with the Feloid race by any stretch of the imagination My Lord Furonius. The war against the Empire is just starting. In his mind there can be only one leader, him. Everyone must answer to him even assassins.” Kllair said looking at her crew. “We choose to serve your Clan instead. We would agree to take orders from you as long as we have safe haven within your territory. If you find our tactics distasteful then don’t use them. However the day may come where you have no choice but to avail yourself of our talents and on that day we will do your bidding without hesitation.”
Furonius listened to Kllair speak. She was a woman of some breeding and no street thug to be sure. He would take her word and the risks that went with them.
“I will give you protection and in exchange you will serve only me from this moment on.” He said extending his hand to her. Kllair smiled and took his hand in acceptance.
Mykala sat at the controls watching the sensor array. Pep, Destriss, and her had just escaped from an Imperial planet but were far from home free. The Imperial ship they had taken had a tracking device in it that Pep had disabled. That would give them a big advantage as long as they didn’t stumble across a patrol ship.
They were running as fast as they could now hoping they weren’t picked up by and Imperial patrol. Their plan was to abandon the ship they were in and find another ship as quickly as possible to throw the Empire off their trail.
“I’ve entered the code into the transmitter like you wanted Mykala. Are you sure it’s safe? We’re taking a big chance doing this.” Destriss said.
“The code can only be received by special transmitters used only by the Rebellion. It’s pretty safe all things considered.” She said smiling at him.
“How’s Pep doing?” Mykala asked changing the subject.
“She’s going over the engineering readouts again, she wants to make sure there are no problems with the ship.” he said.
“It’s amazing. The first time I saw her she was a naked, half starved, and beaten slave. She wouldn’t even make eye contact when you spoke to her. Now she’s an engineer and in a relationship, not to mention she’s also one of the most powerful Force users I’ve ever seen.” Mykala said.
Destriss sat down next to Mykala. “I was always raised to believe the cat girls were animals. They were less than us and what ever we did to them was what they deserved. It’s the shame of our entire race that most of our kind still think that way.” Destriss said.
“You’re a lot like your brother Destriss. Araya was always kind to them even though he didn’t have to be.” Mykala said.
“We had a nanny growing up that was a cat girl. Our mother died while we were young so she was the closest thing to a mother we had. We loved her.” he said smiling.
“I understand why people hate. It’s all about fear, fear and anger. It’s strange how a people like yours that are so brave and honorable cling so tightly to their contempt for those of your race that have no say in being born into a social class that is so reviled. They don’t deserve it.” Mykala knew she may be offending Destriss but it didn’t matter to her. Their people needed a wake up call.
“The time will come for change one day and when it does it will be followed by death and destruction, changes this big always do.” He said looking down.
“Did you know we breed them to be submissive? We don’t even give them the desire to be free; it’s monstrous when you think about it. Imagine never wanting anything but the chance to please the people who despise you. They are never angry with those who abuse them and only want to try harder to please them. No wonder we hate them, they’re cowards. We’ve made them exactly what we wanted them to be and yet we hate them because they act just how we want them to.” He said disgusted.
“It’s not your system Destriss, you can do what you want.” Mykala said.
“I do. I treat them well but few of my race care one way or another since nobody complains about it.” He said. “It’s just in our nature to dominate the weak.”
“That, unfortunately, is a trait shared by all races. Some more than others but we all do it to some extent.” Mykala said checking the sensors again.
“Okay Buck, here’s where the fun begins. We’ve just entered Imperial space without any registration documents, or any reason to be here. They kind of frown on those little idiosyncrasies.” Matt said leaning back in the pilot’s seat.
“We got business to attend to first before we can kill any Imperial shit heads. We’ll just have to run away for now if we run into any.” Bronski said.
As if on queue the sensor alarm sounded.
“That didn’t take long.” Bronski said disgusted.
“Looks to be a transport ship, medium sized by its signature.” Matt said looking at the display.
“It’s hailing us. What do you want to do?” Matt asked Bronski.
“Don’t think we can avoid it now…better if we talk to them. We can always run later if we have to.” Buck said.
Matt turned on the transmitter. “This is the light scout Adrenic returning call from Imperial transport, what is your situation?” Matt replied sounding very official.
“Repeat. This is the medium transport Dodilla on route to the inner core worlds. We have a consignment of Rebel prisoners on board and our engines have failed. We need assistance at once, do you copy Adrenic?” the Imperial officer replied.
Matt switched off the microphone. “Rebel prisoners…we didn’t come here for this Buck we came for Pep.” Matt said anxiously.
“Relax buddy, maybe we can do both. At least we can help them get free and take the ship.” Bronski said smiling.
“Okay…but Pep comes first no matter what we have to do.” Matt said.
“Hey, that’s the whole reason we came right.” Bronski said still smiling. Matt knew he just wanted to get into a fight and kick some Imperial ass.
Matt switched the transmitter back on. “Dodilla, we are coming on board to render assistance, over.” Matt replied.
“You may dock in the rear cargo bay. Thanks Adrenic, we’ll meet you there.”
“Make sure the Captain is there, he’ll be best able to let us know what your situation is.” Matt said.
“Will do Adrenic, over and out.” The transmission ended.
Matt maneuvered the scout ship behind the larger transport. The Dodilla was at least ten times as big as the scout but most of the ship was made up of large open cargo areas. The scout ship entered the cargo bay easily and landed. After letting the rear hatch close Matt and Buck looked around to see if the ships Captain was there. After a few minutes the Captain walked into the cargo bay smiling.
“I’ll check it out.” Matt said.
“Don’t start shooting anyone unless I’m there.” Bronski said.
Matt smiled and went down to where the Captain was.
“Hello, I’m the Captain of the ship. I’m glad you stopped to help.” He said. Matt looked at the Captain. His uniform seemed too small for him and he was past a few days from a bath and a shave.
“I’m sorry Captain, I didn’t quiet catch your name.” Matt said shaking his hand. The Captain just stared at Matt as if unsure what to say. Matt’s suspicions were confirmed; something wasn’t as it should be.
Matt quickly spun the “Captain” around drawing his pistol and using him for cover.
“Your not Empire, who are you?” Matt asked watching for other people.
“Don’t shoot…we took over the ship. The crew disabled the engines and locked themselves in the engineering section. We control the bridge and the communications but they control the engines, it’s a stand off.” He said.
“You’re a Rebel? Then this was a prison ship.” Matt said.
“Yeah, we’ve been stuck here for two days trying to get the attention of someone friendly.” The Rebel said.
“How’d you know we were friendly?” Matt asked.
“We didn’t. We just took a chance. Can you help us?” the Rebel asked.
“How many of you are on the ship?” Matt asked. He didn’t want to get involved in a rescue right now.
“Eight hundred give or take fifty or so.” He replied.
“Eight hundred!” Matt had no idea there would be so many. The scout ship could only hold maybe twenty at the most if the life support would hold out.
“Help us. We don’t have anyone that can even fly the ship. We’re all ground pounders, you know, infantry.” The Rebel pleaded.
Mat looked up to see the rest of the Rebels coming forth. They were all half starved and sickly. This was the last thing they needed. He and Buck had to decide what was more important, Pep or the lives of eight hundred people.
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 02:55)