Let’s make a deal
Timtam started off across the valley between the two hillsides. She had climbed down from where the pod lay earlier that morning carrying two water bottles, and a days food rations stuffed in an over sized back pack. She held the blaster in her hands with the sling going over her one shoulder and up along her side. Hudd made sure she but the back pack on after she slung her weapon so it wouldn’t slip off if she fell.
“Shoot first and ask questions latter.” Hudd had told her. He looked worried when she left. His leg hadn’t gotten any better that night and although he tried to hide it from Timtam he guessed the pirate broke it when he kicked him.
Hudd had told her the valley would be the most dangerous part of the trip. Few animals would travel on the hillsides. Larger animals would want to walk on the relatively flat terrain of the valley instead of risking a serious fall.
“Remember, the bigger the animal, the bigger the damage it can do to you.” Hudd had said.
So far there hadn’t been any sign of any animals at all but she was certain they were all around her from the noises they made. A rustle of leaves, a snapping twig, all of these sounds kept her alert.
She had taken Hudd’s advice and wrapped her bright pink hair in a black bandana making sure it was covered.
Timtam looked up the steep hillside. She could see the smashed and bent stabilizing tail sticking up out from behind the trees above. At least the wreck would be easy to find. She began her climb upward. It was hot and she was covered in sweat. She smelled a strong fowl odor ahead. Timtam soon found out what it was. A pile of bodies had been dumped in a gully just off the path. They each had been shot in the head.
Timtam decided not to investigate the bodies. She could always do it later since they weren’t going anywhere.
Reaching the top of the hill she finally found the bulk of the remainder of the wrecked ship. She soon found a large gash in the side of the wreckage and looked inside. The ship was still in pretty good shape inside. Things had been thrown around roughly but all in all not in bad shape at all. She crawled inside and quickly found the main hallway. It was sloping down at a sharp angle towards the bottom of the hill. There was no power so the interior was fairly dark. She went too the first door and opened it. Timtam’s Feloid vision gave her an advantage when seeing in the darkness. The room was one of the crew’s quarters. Everything had been tossed onto the floor when the ship hit the ground. The ship was almost at a forty-five degree angle so she found it just as easy to stand on the wall as the floor.
Suddenly there was a large crashing sound behind her. Something was moving around just outside the opening in the hull. She crouched down in the corner and watched. Then she heard it. Whatever it was began to come inside.
Matt sat up in bed suddenly. There where several people standing over him trying to hold him down.
“Calm down soldier. Everything is okay. We’re trying to help.” Said a woman’s voice. Matt focused and saw it was one of the Rebel troopers, a medic. He was in the transport ship’s sickbay by the look of the medical gear all around him.
“Bronski? Where’s Bronski?” he asked anxiously.
“He’s alright. We got to him in time.” The woman replied.
“What happened? We were dead.” Matt asked.
“You two held them off long enough to get an assault team in there. They arrived just in time to save you both. One of the team said he knows you guys. He asked me to let him know when you woke up.” She said.
“Who is it?” Matt asked.
“I don’t know his name but if you wait here I’ll get him.” She said smiling. The woman left the room to get the person. After a few minutes a haggard looking man came in smiling. His face had been beaten quite badly and his nose had been broken. He was unshaven and a little gaunt around his cheekbones.
Matt looked closely at the man trying to put a name to the mangled face. “Ragg?” Matt realized it was Ragg Tempess. They had been on a mission together when they were ambushed. Ragg’s ship had been captured and Matt’s ship had no way to fight off the attackers so they had to leave Ragg and his troops behind.
“Matt! We got to you just in time. We got them all, the ship’s ours now. Some of the Rebels have engineering skills and are trying to get the ship up and running again so we can get out of here.” Ragg said happily.
“Ragg…we couldn’t help you. We didn’t have any weapons on the transport to fight with. There was nothing I could do, I had to save the others, it was my responsibility.” Matt said apologizing.
“I know Matt, I would have done the same thing. You did what had to be done. Besides, you came back for us now right?” Ragg said smiling.
Matt hesitated. “No Ragg, we we’re looking for Pep, the Empire took her.”
Ragg looked at Matt surprised.
“It’s all different now Ragg, Lionette’s dead. There was a Clan war and Mundis is in charge of the Ty Clan. I think it’s over as far as the Feloids helping us. The Empire kidnapped Pep in the battle and Bronski and me went looking for her.” Matt said.
Ragg looked around. “What am I going to do with all these people?”
“Make a run for it back to Feloid space. I think Mundis will take care of you all out of respect for Lionette until you can make other arrangements. You’ll be safe there for a while at least.” Matt said exhausted.
“I guess that’s our only option.” Ragg said.
“What about Bronski?” Matt asked.
“ He’s alive but his hearts messed up. His fighting days are over.” Ragg said.
“Is he awake?” Matt asked.
“He was but they had to sedate him. He got so angry that no one came in to help that he might have had another heart attack.” Ragg grinned.
“Yea, he sounds okay.” Matt grinned back.
“Look if you don’t need our help any more I’ll just grab Buck and we’ll be on our way.” Matt said sitting up.
Ragg looked at Matt. He knew that nothing was going to keep him away from Pep for too long. He didn’t care what happened to these people as long as helping them was keeping him away from Pep.
“No, go ahead and take Bronski. I’ll make sure we get to the Feloids in one piece. Thanks for your help. We’d all still be sitting here adrift if you two didn’t show up.” Ragg said.
“Okay…look it’s not that I don’t want to help you guys it’s just that…” Matt began.
“Matt, I understand, Pep needs you. You two are meant to be together.” Ragg said putting his hand on Matt’s shoulder.
“Who is this fellow again?” Furonius asked the guardsman.
“He says he has information about Lionette my Lord. He says she’s still alive.” The guardsman replied.
“Keep him locked up.” Furonius ordered.
The guardsman gave a quick salute and hurried back down the hall.
Furonius sat down in the big chair behind what used to be Lionette’s desk. If what this man said were true it would change everything. Since Mundis was credited with winning the war all of the Visiok clan had sworn allegiance too him. If Lionette returned they would have to know where she was and why she was missing and why they should swear their loyalty to someone who had missed the entire war.
“This is a problem Furonius. This is a big problem.” Kllair said stepping from out of the shadows.
“I agree. In our culture if a leader is not leading at a time of war then they had better have a damned good reason not to be.” Furonius said leaning back in Lionette’s chair.
“What do you want done to this man, Dahnor Swagg?” Kllair asked as she sat down on the corner of the large desk.
“Go talk to him, find out where Lionette has been. I want my sister back one way or another but I need to know the circumstances in case we have to make special arrangements for her.” Furonius said. Kllair smiled. She knew exactly what he meant. Unless there was some sort or miraculous reason for her disappearance on the eve of war that would satisfy the masses it might be better to have her brought back in secret. Furonius wouldn’t ever think of leaving Lionette to whatever fate she found herself trapped in now. He would handle things quietly and make sure she was safe.
“How much persuasion should I use if he becomes uncooperative Lord Furonius?”
“Just don’t kill him. He’s our only link too her location. Handle him as you see fit but I want him kept alive.” Furonius was adamant about the last part.
Kllair smiled and bowed as she left the room. Her smile disappeared from her face as soon as she got into the elevator to the holding area. This man was about to ruin everything. It was only luck that allowed her this opportunity. Lionette would never have allowed her this much trust or power. It would be just like Lionette to suddenly reappear and ruin her plans. She had connived her way into being Furonius Ty’s right hand and confidant.
This man said Lionette was alive and he could arrange to have her returned. Kllair knew that if Lionette returned there was a chance she would take back control of the Ty Clan. If that happened Kllair would loose her position and maybe even be forced to leave.
She needed a plan to keep all of this from happening and it had to be conjured from thin air before she arrived at the detention area. Then it hit her. It was so simple it had to work. She quickly sent a message on her wrist communicator and smiled.
The doors to the elevator opened and Kllair stepped out smiling at the guards.
“Lord Furonius sent me to speak with the ship’s captain in room eight.” She said calmly. The guards led her to the room and opened the door. The old Feloid sat relaxed and somewhat surprised to see a human woman come into the room.
“You come here to keep me company.” He asked grinning.
Kllair leaned over him. “I’m here to help you you idiot. In about two seconds an assassin is going to come through that door and kill you. Furonius doesn’t want Lionette back and he means to kill you to keep you silent.” Kllair said urgently.
She slipped a dagger into his hand.
“When she gets here kill her. I’ll watch for the guard. After she’s dead we can steal her ship and escape.” Kllair said.
“Who sent you?” he asked.
“Who do you think?” Kllair responded. She had no idea whom he would envision sent her but her answer would wind up being interpreted as her being sent by the very person that would do this very thing, it didn’t matter who it was to her as long as he attacked the next person through the door.
Kllair threw herself against the wall as the door slid open. The man stood suddenly with the dagger hidden behind his back. The woman entered the room and smiled. He looked at the tall full figured woman. She was beautiful. He screamed and lunged with a Feloids skill only to have his arm knocked aside at the last possible instant but still allowing the dagger to cut the skin of the scantily clad woman. Kllair twisted the dagger around and plunged it up under his chin and into his skull.
“An assassin! Most likely sent by the Sith. It appears they know you’re here Adda.” Kllair said as she let the man slide down to the floor dead.
“Why did you want me to talk to him?” Adda asked Kllair.
“I didn’t, I wanted you to use your Jedi mind trick and get him to tell us about Lionette.” Kllair responded acting as if the whole incident was as big a surprise to her as Adda.
“Do you think he knew about Lionette?” Adda asked.
“Probably not. It was most likely just a trick to get himself this close to the upper classes of the Feloids and the Ty Clan. He must have figured it would eventually get him close to you.” Kllair said.
“So…” Adda hesitated.
“We can only assume she’s lost to us. She must be dead if they are using Lionette’s name as a ruse.” Kllair said. “Remember it was their bounty hunters that attacked Tarsis station, they would be the only ones that knew for sure that Lionette was dead.” Kllair said.
“What will you do now?” Adda asked holding her wound.
“I’ll tell Furonius it was a dead end. They’ll just have to accept the fact that no matter how badly they want it Lionette is never coming back.” Kllair said.
And if she had anything to say about it that statement would be ironclad.
Mykala jumped down off the upper bunk and punched the wall. “How long are they going to keep us cooped up in here?” she asked angrily.
“Calm yourself, they’re probably just testing us. Maybe they want to see how we react to pressure.” Destriss smiled as he leaned up against the wall and crossed his arms calmly. Mykala gave him a dirty look knowing she had just failed the proposed test.
“What’s got you so upset Mykala?” Pep asked touching Mykala’s arm compassionately.
“Stella. I looked up to her. She was the reason I joined the Rebellion. I trusted her and she turned on me.” Mykala said as if a huge weight had been lifted from her shoulders. “She was like a sister to me.”
Destriss put his arm around her and pulled her close. “It’ll be alright Mykala. We’re safe now. As soon as Isseh finds out we’re telling the truth she’ll help us get back home and too our friends.”
“I wouldn’t be too sure about that. Did either of you notice how haggard the crew is dressed. I don’t think this ship gets into port that often. There is something else besides our good captains mission going on here.” Pep said quietly.
“What do you mean? I’ll admit the Captain may seem a little stern but this ship is on a very dangerous mission. If they’ve been operating under the nose of the Empire for three years so she has to be tough to maintain discipline.” Destriss said.
Pep looked somewhat embarrassed. Destriss had challenged her idea forgetting his Royal position and the implied superior station over her.
“I’m not disagreeing with you Pep but it’s just that I don’t understand your concerns.” He said smiling in an effort to have her open up to him.
Pep smiled at Destriss. “The shabby clothes, the trophies from battle, they seem as though there is an extreme anger driving this crew. They enjoy killing Imperials at the expense of everything else.
“I guess I can see that but I’m not sure how much of a distraction it is.” Destriss said politely.
“Who cares? I just want to get out of this room and move around. I’m going crazy locked up like this.” Mykala had just traveled several days locked in a cage and was starting to feel a little claustrophobic.
Just then the door opened. There in the doorway were two storm troopers holding their blasters on them.
“You three come out of the room and get on your knees.” The first storm trooper said. They all froze in shock. They hadn’t heard any battle or the sounds of the ship being boarded. They must have been on board the whole time. Mykala saw Isseh standing a little behind the storm troopers smiling.
“You lying bitch. You sold us out.” Mykala said angrily.
“ Your right, I did sell you out, it’s my job. Whenever a Rebel scum ball like you escapes they send me to find them. I won’t tell the Imperials how the coded signal works and they don’t really care as long as I keep bring you losers back to them.” Isseh said smiling.
“On your knees traitors.” The second storm trooper said.
All three went down on their knees.
“You’re going to be executed unless you tell us the exact location of the Rebel base in Feloid space. We only need to hear it from one of you so two of you are going to die anyway. Whichever one talks first is the one who will live.
Pep took a deep breath and closed her eyes tightly. The storm troopers began twisting and jerking around as if fighting an unseen force. They were trying not to point their guns at each other.
“Stop it!” the first one cried.
“It was a test! Release us!” the second one yelled.
“Stop! Wait…it’s just a trick. We needed to test your loyalty!” Isseh yelled.
Pep opened her eyes suddenly and fell back as if released by some unseen force. She gasped for air and looked around surprised.
The fake storm troopers pulled off their helmets and stepped away quickly. Isseh took a step or two to one side and looked at Pep as if she had never seen her before.
“What’s going on here? Who is this girl?” Isseh asked Destriss as she carefully inched her hand towards her blaster.
“Don’t do that Isseh. You’d be dead before it cleared the holster. She won’t hurt anyone as long as you leave us unharmed. She’s very powerful but she’s on our side I promise.” Destriss said reassuring her.
Isseh took her hand away from her blaster and stood erect placing her hands on her hips.
“What else can she do?” Isseh was now very interested in Pep.
“I can boil your brains were you stand and burst the hearts of everyone of your crew members before you took your next breathe.” Pep said in a hissing tone, the same one that came over her when she began to allow the power to over ride her own control.
“It’s okay Pep, it was just a test. They had to make sure we weren’t Imperial spies. They’re going to help us get home now.” Mykala said calming Pep’s anger.
“All right. I’ll take you where ever you want to go but you have to do something for me first.” Isseh said kneeling down to Pep who was still on her knees.
“No deals just take us home.” Pep said.
“Or what? You’ll kill us all? Then who will tell you when the Empire sends its patrols to each sector? Who will enter my voice code to the ship’s computer everyday, the code that keeps this ship from being used by anyone but my crew and me. You see I have powers too. This is my world. All I have to do is say one word and the ship will self destruct and then nobody goes home.” Isseh said with out fear. She knew her security preparations gave her the upper hand.
“I could make you do it.” Pep said.
“Okay…everybody relax. Nobody wants to die here. We’re all on the same side remember. Let’s talk about it a little bit, then we can send each other to blazes later if we have too.” Destriss interrupted.
For the first time Pep, Mykala, and Destriss saw Isseh smile.
“I like these three.” She said to her crew. “They have guts. Okay let’s work out a deal. We’ll all put all our cards on the table.” Isseh said as she stood.
“I have a daughter that’s in an Imperial labor camp. I need help getting her out. There are just too many guards there to do it with just my ship and crew. However if Pep here is as powerful as she says she is we could be in and out before they knew what hit them.” Isseh said.
“How many prisoners are there?” Mykala asked.
Isseh shrugged her shoulders. “Over a thousand I guess. What of It? I only want my daughter back.” Isseh said coldly.
“Then why spend all this time helping people to escape? Why did you do it?” Pep asked.
“I did it to gain information. Everyone I rescued told me something new about the Empires penal system and how and where the prisons worked and where they are. I’ve done all of this for my daughter. She was taken from me three years ago and I haven’t rested since.” Isseh said.
“What do you want me to do?” Pep asked.
“Hold on Pep. We haven’t agreed to anything yet.” Mykala interrupted.
“I can do this. A prison break will be easy. Besides, I’m tired and want to get back to Matt. This is the quickest way to do It.” she said looking at Isseh.
“Wonderful. We can be at the camp by tomorrow night.” Isseh said happily.
“I’ll want your word that when we’re done the first thing you do is take us home.” Pep said.
“If you get my daughter back for me I’ll take you anywhere you want to go.” Isseh 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.
Once again thank you for your support.
Last Updated (Tuesday, 10 September 2013 02:57)