Lionette grinned baring her teeth. She felt good again. Her heart pounded as the beastmen charged wildly down the corridor. She had made the fateful decision to hold off the beastmen as long as she could so the others could escape.
The first one lunged at her swinging a huge club banded in iron. She dodged him by back flipping once but landed sloppily. She wasn’t at her full game just yet and she had to remember that. Lionette swung around behind the creature slashing at him with the heavy knives. She caught him in the upper thigh splashing his blood in her arc. He went down on his knees yelling in pain. He was far from being out of the fight but he had been stunned into inaction for a few moments at least. The second brute hesitated causing the ones behind him to stop. She had underestimated their intelligence. They were after all hunters and although they couldn’t’ read and write they knew how to kill.
Lionette was now between the first one bleeding on the floor and the ones entering the room. If she made a run for the stairway down to the ship they would overtake her and catch the rest. She had to hold them here for as long as she could.
The beastmen in the hall began to file in, weapons at the ready. The room was getting crowded fast and she had to make her move.
She stood erect and placed her arms by her side. She held her chin up and stared each one in the eye. They had never seen a cat girl act this way.
“I am Lionette Ty, Clan leader of the Ty Clan. My warrior skills as you have see (she pointed too the beastman bleeding on the floor) are far superior to yours. Who will challenge me next?” she asked pointing at each one with one of the two large fighting knives.
Again they hesitated. She had spoken with such authority that they weren’t sure what to do. Then one stepped forward. He was the largest and most likely the leader of this group. He wore thick leather armor and carried a two handed ax in his massive hands.
He simply pounded his chest and growled at her. This was about as far as verbal rebuttals would go she surmised. Lionette snapped into a defensive stance and smiled at him with contempt. Even this dullard could tell he was being mocked. He growled and came at her warily. She had delayed their attacks buying her cohorts time but in doing so was now forced to fight the biggest one of the attackers in open combat. There would be nothing to hide behind and nowhere to run.
He circled closer switching the ax from one attack stance to another as he moved. This fellow knew his business. Lionette circled as well switching her stances to counter his. The beastmen began chanting and making catcalls. They had completely forgotten about the others and where now transfixed on the battle before them.
Once in the position she was trying for she turned in a flash to one of the beastmen behind her and threw a knife at him striking him between the eyes. Without hesitation she followed the path of the knife running up the dying beastman as he fell backwards and pulled out the knife from his skull. She rode him down to the ground and leapt into the now unblocked hallway. Lionette couldn’t resist smiling at the dumb struck brutes over her shoulder as she started to run down the hall.
“After her!” the ax-wielding leader bellowed. He knew he had been tricked and he wanted revenge.
Lionette had a good lead but the beastmen had longer legs than she did and would soon be on her heels. She could run faster if she dropped to all fours but she wouldn’t be able to keep the knives due to the scant slave outfit not having a place to keep them. She would have to leave go of the knives. This would leave her unarmed. She glanced over her shoulders and saw they were closing. She had to choose. Lionette dropped the knives and bounded down the hallway. She knew she wouldn’t be able too fight off all of them and decided to try to loose them in the fortress corridors instead.
She had made it back to the large room at the base of the stairway that lead to Lennut’s laboratory. She stopped to catch her breath momentarily. A spear smashed into the wall behind her head missing her by less than an inch. Four more beastmen came at her from the hallway across from where she stood. She was cut off. Lionette had nowhere to go but up. She could hear the first group coming up as well so she ran up the stairs. Soon she was in the laboratory trying to find something to bar the door with. The beastmen would find her any second now. Frantically she looked around the room for anything that would help her. The door burst in knocking her backwards. The beastman with the ax was the first to enter. He was quickly followed by five of the beastmen with more behind. She had reached the end off the line. In moments they would drag her down and ravage her. No Princess of the Ty clan would die in such a way. Lionette jumped up on the long tables and ran across the room past the brutes and dove through the window smashing it to bits. The tower was seventy feet above the ground and the thick forest below. Her freefall ended with a sudden jerk as the beastman leader grabbed her ankle at the last second. He was hanging out the window to his waist holding onto her by both hands.
Lionette kicked at his hands and flailed in midair wildly trying to break his grip. He started to pull her up and back into the window. Lionette swung herself up and was able to grab the brute’s collar. She threw her other hand upward and grabbed his belt. Then half contorted she pushed against the window frame with her one free leg. He yelled to his cohorts that he was falling. Before any of them could reach him Lionette gave out a loud scream and pushed with all of her might. Both the beastman and Lionette fell free of the window and tumbled head over heels down into the thick forest below.
This was where she would end her days. On some long forgotten planet populated by genetic mistakes.
The branches of the trees struck her causing the two of them to tumble down through the foliage. She had hung onto his belt but suddenly released it after striking a branch and smashing her outstretched arm. She screamed in pain as they continued being thrown into each other and more branches. She hit the ground with a thud knocking the air from her lungs. To her amazement she found herself still alive. She was able to see the ship lifting off through the foliage. Her friends had escaped.
Her head was swimming as she lay next to the dead body of the beastman. She could see he had landed on a broken stump bursting his innards. She closed her eyes and tried to relax so she could catch her breath. Little by little her breathing became normal again. Lionette tried moving her fingers and toes, they worked. It was a good sign. After a while she moved her legs and arms. The right forearm was broken badly but the left one was fine although bruised a little. She carefully lifted the right arm and laid it across her body. The adrenaline in her body must be bumping because the broken arm didn’t hurt as badly as she thought it would have.
She noticed her vision was off and waved her left hand in front of her face. She couldn’t see out of the left eye at all. She wiped her hand across the left side of her face and felt a large flap of skin hanging down over her eye. She began to shake as she realized her face had been slashed open in the fall and she was bleeding badly. She heard someone approaching from behind her. She had no idea that they would find her so quickly. She lay back down and tried to play dead. The footfalls didn’t sound like one of the beastmen. They were much lighter than that. Lionette remained quiet as the person reached the spot where the beastman and her lay. Lionette heard the person gasp as it saw the broken body of the beastman. After a few seconds Lionette felt a small hand on her chest. She realized the person was trying to see if she was breathing or not. Lionette opened her good eye and at once recognized the girl as the one that gave her the moss to ease her pains when she arrived here. Lionette grabbed the girl’s wrist and held it tightly.
“Help me.” Lionette whispered.
“We’re going to Tatooine.” Matt said.
“What? How come?” Bronski asked. He had fallen asleep and was desperately trying to look like he had been awake. Bronski had been taking his turn at the controls while Pidge finished up doing maintenance on the ship’s engines.
Matt smiled. He wasn’t mad at Buck. They had been traveling off the normal routes and there was almost no chance they would be stopped and inspected way out here.
“I don’t know…we just have to try Tatooine first, I can feel it.” Matt said reluctantly.
“What’s on Tatooine that makes you think she’s there?” Bronski asked rubbing his face trying to wake up.
“It’s the first place we spent time together alone…you know just the two of us.” Matt replied.
“I hardly think a bounty hunter would take her there even if she asked real nice.” Bronski said.
“If the bounty hunter was lucky enough to get her to the Emperor we wouldn’t have a chance in Hell of getting her back but if she escaped I think she would go there.” Matt said.
“Well you know her better than I do. If you think we should go to Tatooine then it’s okay with me.” Buck said.
Matt sat down at the controls next to Bronski. Buck wasn’t as good as Matt when it came to astrogation and setting coordinates so he was happy to let Matt do it.
“You do any more thinking about where you might open that bar you were talking about?” Buck asked.
“If we find Pep and get out of all of this crap I’m going to go as far away from the Empire as I can get.” Matt said as he entered the calculations.
“You still planning to come with us?” Matt asked Bronski.
“I guess I’d better. You two need to be under constant supervision at all times.” Buck replied leaning back and closing his eyes
“How about Tatooine? That’s about as far as anyone can get.” Matt said.
“What about it? Buck asked.
“Tatooine! Do you think it would be a good place for a bar?” Matt asked.
“Nope, you know what they say about Tatooine “Too hot and too Hutt.” Buck answered. “Those gangsters would take a slice of every credit you made.”
“You got any ideas?” Matt asked.
“Not really, I never could find just one place I’d like to spend the rest of my life.” Buck sounded somewhat introspective.
“It doesn’t matter to me Matt everywhere I go I still have the memories of what I’ve done haunting me every second of every day. I’ll never be able to relax completely I guess. I have an army of ghosts that follow me everywhere I go.”
Matt became concerned. He had never heard Bronski talk this way before. “You okay Buck?”
Bronski just remained in the seat leaning back with his eyes closed. “I’m just tired all of the sudden. I’m just really tired.” Bronski said.
“You know? I’ve done more fighting than anyone I’ve ever known. I’ve been fighting since I was eighteen years old in every war I could get into. I should have been killed at least a hundred times but it never happened. After a while I started to think I was meant for something special, you know, like I was being spared so I could fulfill some destiny.” Bronski said.
“Yeah?” Matt replied trying to get Buck to tell him what was wrong.
“So when I croaked back there and you were almost killed trying to save me I realized that I wasn’t being spared for anything.
It had all been just dumb fucking luck.
I’m like the guy that pulls a card from the deck every day and never pulls the death card. Every time I drew a card from that deck I new it wouldn’t be the death card because I was meant for something special. But back in that engine room on that freighter I just died for no reason. No heroics. No saving the princess or the kingdom, no nothing, I just died.” Bronski opened his eyes and looked at Matt questioningly.
“I mean what’s the fucking point of living if you have no reason to be here? I’ve done bad things Matt. I’ve sent a lot of people to their reward but it was okay because I always knew it would be alright in the end because I had to survive so I could do that one great thing I was destined for.” Bronski rubbed his face trying to gather his thoughts.
“There’s still time Buck. You didn’t die back there. They saved you, they saved both of us.” Matt said trying to put a good twist on Bronski’s outlook.
“Maybe your right pal. All I know is I’m just really tired.” Bronski closed his eyes and drifted off to sleep.
“I’m going 4-9. Are you sure the medical download was successful?” Timtam asked.
“Yes mistress. The program was one used by Feloid settlers along the border areas so luckily I had no problem with the instillation.” 4-9 replied.
Timtam looked at Hudd one last time. He was still asleep and resting well. She was able to get a good nights rest last evening even after performing major surgery on her husband. She was becoming a pretty tough customer since she had been sent to Geirgor.
Timtam grabbed her backpack and took one last look at Kero. She then turned back too 4-9.
“I have to go back to the wreck and see if they have any more pain killers and antibiotics. I want you to keep an eye on him 4-9. If there’s any problem you can call me on the wrist transmitter.” She was glad that she had come across the droid. 4-9 had been able to recharge the power cells on most of the devices by manually operating the generator nearly nonstop.
“Are you going to try to set up the solar collectors while you are there mistress?” 4-9 asked.
“It all depends on if I have time to do it. My first concern has to be getting the medicine Kero needs.” Timtam said as she picked up one of the blaster pistols and stuffed in the backpack.
“Keep him sedated 4-9. I don’t want him worrying about me going back to the wreck.” She said stepping out of the door.
“Very good mistress.” 4-9 replied. He watched Timtam head down the trail a ways and then shut the pod door.
The trek was arduous and hot. Timtam wasn’t afraid this time since neither Hudd nor her had any problems on their trips to the ship except for the pirates. She was able to enjoy a little more of the scenery this time. She liked this planet for its beauty and thought that if there were more technical conveniences that it would be a pretty nice place to live. After all she had lived in a palace most of her life and she could only take the wilderness in small doses.
Eventually she reached the crash site again. Timtam sat at the entrance to catch her breath and have a drink of water before she entered the ship. She could see across the valley and could just barely make out the escape pod where her husband and 4-9 were waiting for her.
Suddenly there was a huge roar overhead. From behind her she saw in the sky above a single sleek black ship. It was about three hundred feet long and painted the traditional black of a Feloid pirate craft. She quickly ducked inside and peered out to watch the ship.
A cargo door in the rear opened and almost at once four suits of heavy battle armor dropped out of the rear and into the sky directly above her. These battle suits were very similar to the on Bronski used but were of a Feloid design having much sleeker lines and robotic arms. They fired their jump jets all at once allowing them to land within forty feet of her location.
Each one was painted in a different color scheme. The pilot within had individualized them. They stood scanning the area with their rotating antenna arrays mounted on each ones back. The one that seemed to be the leader was decorated with an over all black base color covered by an expensive flame job and several skulls. The battle suit immediately turned and stomped its way over to the smashed opening were Timtam was hiding.
Timtam fell backwards at the suddenness of the battle frames movement and retreated farther down inside the wreck. She could still hear the machines plasma engine droning just outside the hole in the ship. Timtam heard the remaining three battle frames fire their jump jets and take off to some other location in the distance. She immediately thought of Kero and 4-9 back at the pod. Maybe the pirates had spotted them and the other three had gone to check it out.
The unmistakable sound of metal tearing came from the direction of the battle frame. It was trying to force its way inside the wreckage.
Timtam began to pull her blaster out of her backpack with shaky hands until she realized the pistol would be worthless against the machines armor. Just then she heard the battle frame struggling. It had become tangled up in the heavy support cables of the wreckage. The pilot thrashed and twisted the battle frame wildly but only became more and more tangled. Suddenly it stopped moving and stood motionless for a few minutes.
“You inside the ship, come out. I mean you no harm. Come forward so we can talk.” A deep growling voice said through a speaker just under the scanner helmet.
“I know you’re in there somewhere so come out where I can see you.” The voice boomed again.
“Who are you? Why can’t you just leave people alone?” Timtam yelled out of frustration. She always seemed to be in some kind of trouble no matter what she did.
“If you have a weapon throw it out. I won’t hurt you.” The pilot demanded.
Timtam realized that the battle frame was hopelessly trapped in the wreckage and could only be freed by some outside the machine clearing away the debris. The pilot was now the one in trouble and they knew it.
Timtam crawled out from her hiding place and stepped out in front of the battle frame with her blaster drawn. “I know you’re stuck.” She said nervously pointing the gun at the three-ton behemoth in front of her.
“Come out and hold up your hands. Come out or I’ll disable your oxygen lines, I’m a mechanic so I know how to do It.” she said.
There was a moment of silence from the battle frame then the pilot spoke. “Okay I’m coming out but don’t shoot, I don’t have any weapons with me.”
Timtam nodded and pointed the gun at the hatch of the machine. There was a pop and a hiss as the airtight seal was broken when the hatch opened. She was surprised to see a Feloid woman swing the hatch open. Timtam recognized her as a member of the Gygee Clan. Her hair was long and blonde, an unusual color amongst Feloids. She had a fair complexion and violet pupils that Timtam could see even at this distance. The pilot held her hands up looking quite irritated at here predicament.
“Well, what know?” she asked in a well-spoken accent.
“You don’t sound the same.” Timtam couldn’t help remembering that the voice coming from the speaker was masculine and very ominous sounding.
“My own voice isn’t very intimidating now is it darling? I use a voice modifier built into the speaker to sound that way. No one would be threatened by my real voice.” She said with a slight grin.
It was true. The pilot had a beautiful speaking voice. She sounded like she could be a Royal.
“Well, okay. Now climb down out of that machine and don’t try anything.” Timtam said still pointing the gun at the pilot.
The woman climbed down in front of the battle frame and looked at the cables holding it in place.
“I knew I shouldn’t have tried to get inside this ship. Now how am I going to get my baby out of here?” she said too herself aloud.
“Never mind that now. Where did the other machines go?” Timtam asked trying her best to sound tough.
“I sent them across the valley to your escape pod. You don’t understand dear, we’ve come to rescue you.” The woman said smiling.
“Why? How did you know we were here?” Timtam asked suspiciously.
“Brumbarus asked me to find you. The war between the Visiok and Ty clans is over. Everyone is looking for you by order of Mundis and Furonius Ty.” She replied.
“Furonius? Why? What did I do?” Timtam asked.
“Nothing my dear. Like I said before this is a rescue. They went over the battle reports of the Visiok Clan and there was a report that they shot down a ship like the one you left Geirgor in. Since Geirgor is closer to the area where you were shot down the Ty Clan asked Brumbarus to help if he could. I was there trading goods with him so I volunteered to help in the search.”
Timtam lowered her pistol. “So we can go home now?” she asked.
“Yes darling. But first we have to go back to Geirgor so I can drop you off. I’m on the wanted list of the Ty Clan. I just can’t help myself, you Ty clan people have such nice things.” She said somewhat apologizing for attacking Ty clan shipping.
“My husband! He’s hurt. His leg was infected and I had to cut if off yesterday. He need’s help.” Timtam said suddenly.
“You cut his leg off? All by yourself?” the woman asked grimacing at the thought.
“Yes…I didn’t have any choice…” Timtam realized that if they had just waited one more day they might have been able to save Kero’s leg now that the rescuers had arrived. “Can you help him? Please help him.” She pleaded.
“That’s why I’m here darling.” The woman said reassuringly.
Timtam didn’t know what to do next. “I want to see my husband, I want to go back to the escape pod.” She said.
The woman nodded and smiled. “Send down the lander to my position and a recovery crew. My Battle frame is hung up and I’ll need help getting it free.” The woman said speaking into the wrist communicator on her gauntlet.
“Once they arrive I’ll have my crew free my battle frame and then me and you will go over to the escape pod together.” She said.
Timtam suddenly remembered the little gray animals.
“Tell your men not to get out of their Battle frames. There are some very dangerous animals over there.”
The woman contacted the other three battle frames and gave them the warning.
Timtam looked up and saw the lander leave the landing bay and begin it’s decent down to the planet’s surface.
“My name is Timtam.” She said turning to the woman.
“I am called White Sword. I’m very famous in some places.” She smiled.
“Don’t you have a regular name?” Timtam asked innocently.
The woman turned away and stared out over the valley.
“Not any more dear, not any more.”
It finally hit Timtam who the woman said sent her.
“You said Mundis and Furonius sent you…why not Lionette?” she asked.
“Oh of course you wouldn’t have heard, she was killed by bounty hunters just before the war began.” White Sword replied.
Timtam covered her mouth in shock. How could this be?
White Sword looked at Timtam and saw the news had left her shaken. “I’m so sorry my dear…did you know her?”
Timtam dropped to her knees sobbing. “She was my Princess.”
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 03:05)