A time to choose
Timtam set the ship down on the newest landing pad at the spaceport. She was back on Geirgor again after their adventure on the jungle world they had crashed on.
The Landing pad was one of the latest additions to the new spaceport that was being built and in it’s final stages of completion.
The first time she was here she was an exile that was to be punished. She marveled at how quickly things had changed in such a short time. New buildings and merchants were popping up everywhere it seemed.
“Beautiful landing Misses Hudd.” Kero said leaning back in his seat. He was proud of his new wife and always let her know it.
“Thank you very much Mister Hudd.” She said and leaned over giving him a long sensuous kiss on his lips.
“Where to now?” Hudd asked.
“I guess we make an appearance at Brumbarus’s house first. It couldn’t hurt to drop in and pay our respects.” She said helping Kero to his feet.
“I think I’m starting to like this fake leg of mine more and more everyday.” He said.
“How come?” she asked surprised?
“It gives me another reason to grab onto you.” He smiled as she lifted him out of the seat.
Timtam giggled and kissed him again. They were happy at last. It was true what Timtam had said before, Brumbarus liked her and they would always have a home here as long as he was in power.
Timtam and Kero stepped out of the main hatch and onto Geirgor. It was early morning and still fairly cool for this jungle world.
A long sleek speeder pulled up to the ship. It was painted in bright orange and yellow with black lightening bolts running down the middle. Timtam was only slightly surprised to see Vultahn jump out and walk towards her smiling with his arms outstretched to give her a hug.
“Aaye! Pink head! You always comin’ back to Geirgor eh? Vultahn thinking you can’t be staying away from him.” He laughed loudly.
Timtam gave him a big hug. It had become a ritual almost that whenever she came back to Geirgor he was the first person she would meet.
“You remember Kero don’t you? We got married.” Timtam said happily.
“Aww I was thinking you save yourself for me Pink head!” Vultahn laughed and shook Kero’s hand.
“Some of da Feloids don’t like mixed up marriages you know but Vultahn don’t care as long as Pink head is happy wid you.” He said grinning.
“It’s good to know my wife has good friends like you Vultahn.” Hudd said smiling.
“Eh Kero, id look like you missin’ something!” Vultahn said looking at the artificial leg.
“Bit of pirate trouble after we crashed. Timtam sawed it off all by herself and saved my life!” Hudd said proudly.
“Better be good to her or maybe she saw something else off eh?” Vultahn laughed making a sawing motion at his crotch.
“Come on and get in. I take you to Brumbarus. He likes the pretty Pink head too much I think. If he don’t see Pink head he be plenty mad.” Vultahn said joking.
Kero and Timtam climbed into the speeder and hung on for dear life as Vultahn careened through the streets barely missing hapless pedestrians shaking their fists and yelling.
The speeder finally stopped at the top of the hill where the large house of Brumbarus had been built.
“Ear we be, at the big house up the hill!” Vultahn shouted as he got out and opened the door for Timtam and Kero.
“Eh Brumbarus, your little Pink head is come back to visit you I think!” Vultahn yelled towards the house. Vultahn smiled and motioned for them to follow him into the house. Timtam and Kero followed him up the stone path and into the large main area.
The main room had been completed in the short time they had been gone. The room had a high ceiling and was deep as it was wide with large open windows on all sides to allow a breeze to flow through.
“Pink Head!” came a bellowing voice. It was Brumbarus. The bandages had been removed from his face where he was having it repaired. It was a very nice job and she could even see small hairs beginning to grow from the synthetic skin.
“You look wonderful Brumbarus. So handsome” She exclaimed. Her child like enthusiasm warmed the heart of this combat hardened Pirate King once again. To him she represented the innocence and the pure heart of youth.
“Thank you my little Pink head.” He grinned.
“I see you’re still with the Human eh…at least what’s left of him.” He grinned looking past Timtam and at Kero as he hobbled in behind her.
Kero understood Brumbarus’s coarse sense of humor and took no offense. It was the way of these outlaws.
“You’re little Pink Head cut it off. She did it all by herself, she’s a hero!” Kero said proudly.
“What? She did it? Well Pink Head I guess you’ll never stop surprising me.” Brumbarus said and put out his hand in greeting to Kero.
Although Pirates and Smugglers, these Feloids had their own code of honor. They were much more accepting of different races. They prized loyalty over all other things. If you could show them you could be trusted they would take care of you. Like many other fringe groups they needed to have trust amongst themselves.
“I have to ask Brumbarus, how are the girls doing?” Timtam said taking his arm and walking him back to his usual huge pile of pillows where he sat. Cat girl servants came into the room hurriedly carrying trays of food and refreshments. Brumbarus sat down on the pillows and patted the spot next to him indicating to Timtam that he wished her to sit on his left. The right side was always reserved for Vultahn as usual.
“Your girls are well. They remain under my direct protection as Pep asked. The Lady Trahain has become a regular visitor to my home and has become like a mother to them. Most of them may have never known a mother and they all love her dearly. I think she has benefited from the arrangement just as much as the girls.” Brumbarus said leaning towards Timtam. “She smiles a lot more.” He said grinning.
They all sat quietly for a moment and savored their food and drink.
“So why have you come to visit me Pink Head? There must be a good reason.” Brumbarus asked casually.
“We want to stay. We want to live here.” Timtam said looking down. He could sense her need to settle down. He could tell she had been through enough.
“Nothing would make me happier.” Brumbarus said grinning.
Mykala and Destriss watched as Pep, Matt, Bronski, and Pidge lifted off into space. Matt had made the right decision to leave Tatooine at once. As long as Pep was not threatened the power remained dormant inside her.
“Well I hope they find a safe place somewhere. It’ll be a long time before we see any of them again.” Mykala said sadly.
“It’s best for Pep if they just disappear. If her power comes from her anger then she needs to be somewhere far away from everyone.” Destriss said.
“What’s that supposed to mean?” Mykala asked.
Destriss looked a bit embarrassed. He knew Mykala’s feelings about the cat girls in Feloid culture and he regretted breaching the subject again.
“It’s just that her type of cat girl usually has a life that’s much harder than the average girl that’s a servant or a worker. I just meant she would have a lot of anger in her is all.” Destriss said not wishing to start up the whole “Cat girl” topic again with Mykala.
“What do you mean by “Her type”. Mykala asked being over protective of Pep.
“I wasn’t being critical of her it’s just that I know how her class lives. It’s terrible. Most Feloids think of girls like her as something made up or exaggerated. They don’t want to believe we have that kind of darkness in us. They want to believe that what happened to her is something made up just to make things easier on the girls.” he said.
“I know you and your family try to treat them well but it’s hard for me not to get upset by it.” Mykala replied.
“It’s different than other slavery Mykala. These girls have been bred to be docile and submissive. It’s been that way for a thousand years. They wouldn’t know what to do if they were free.” Destriss said.
“Pep and Timtam seem to be doing alright, they contribute just as well as any of us.” Mykala said.
“They had special supervision and friends that gave them individual training that wouldn’t let them fail. That wouldn’t happen to all of the others. They would wind up trying to please whoever trained them but they would fail because they would not be able to escape their class and history. They would always feel different, less important than Freeborns and Royals. Pep and Timtam were both removed from Feloid society and had to except a new and free cultural system that only cared about what they could achieve and not what class they were born into.” Destriss explained.
“It still drives me crazy, what a waste of lives. Anyone of them could be someone that does great things for all of Feloid society if they were just bred for greatness instead of labor and sex.” She said disgusted.
“I agree with you whole heartedly but sometimes these things must be put aside momentarily to further a goal that is more pressing.” Destriss said looking guilty about something.
“What? What have you done Destriss?”
“Nothing. I got us a ride back to Feloid space and to the base so we can pick up your cousin Haven.” He said sheepishly.
“…And?” Mykala asked trying to draw out the rest of the story.
“Well you know I’m a Royal and with that comes certain privileges and benefits.” He said.
“…And?” she pressed.
“So if I want to get a ride somewhere any aligned clan ship is obligated to take me where I need to go for the asking.” He said.
“All of it Destriss.” She demanded.
“The ship is a slaver ship. I got us a ride back to the base and Haven on a slaver ship. Also it would be better if they didn’t know we had a…relationship. Being slavers they might not be all that trustworthy. They might tell others about us.” He said trying to make her understand his position.
“Pass…we’ll find another ship.” Mykala said angrily.
“I know I know. I don’t like it either but we have to get back and get Haven before the Sith figure out that she’s the safe place you return to.” He said finally justifying his decision.
Mykala paused at what Destriss had just said. Everything he said was true. No matter what she had to endure they had to get back too Haven as soon as possible.
A meeting was held that evening on the bridge of the Far Quest. Tessen explained that Zohe would have to leave them to pursue a vendetta of honor. He told them that she would return and take up her position again once the deed had been completed.
“Does that mean we have to have another election for a new Captain?” Reddarh asked annoyed.
“That seems like a lot of trouble if you ask me.” Doc added.
“Yeah, besides nobody else wants to do it.” Gemmah said.
“You really should take these kinds of things into consideration Zohe.” Lennut said.
“Don’t look at me, I tried to explain it to her.” Tessen replied.
“I was going to make your favorite dinner next weak.” Gayjee said quietly.
“It looks like if you still want to leave then you have to take us all with you. It wouldn’t be proper to turn your back on your responsibilities.” Sister said in her sweetest angelic tone.
Zohe smiled seeing that Sister had such a dry sense of humor.
“I thank you all for this but it really is going to be far to dangerous, I can’t allow it.” Zohe said touched by the crew’s loyalty.
Gemmah stood and took a step towards Zohe defiantly. “We’re going and there ain’t nothing you can do that will stop us, we have our honor to live with just like you do.”
Zohe understood now. They were true Feloids. They wouldn’t abandon someone they felt they owed a debt to.
“I thank you all for your courage.” Zohe smiled gratefully.
“I fear that if only you knew the true danger you were volunteering for you might have second thoughts. The animal I am hunting is of a race I know nothing about. She has large leathery wings that allow her to fly and clawed hands and feet. She is even more dangerous because of her obvious elite assassin training. She is highly trained in the use of Light saber combat and stealth. She may even have been trained under a Sith Enforcer.” Zohe explained calmly and coolly as if prepping one of her Palace Guard units.
They all sat quietly and shot quick glances at one another.
“So…it’s only one?” Reddarh asked minimizing the incredible risk they were about to take.
They all laughed releasing the tension in the air of the seriousness of their mission to come including Zohe.
“Yes, there’s only one Reddarh.” Zohe smiled.
“But this one animal made it past two squads of my Palace Guardsmen and into my room without anyone knowing. It was only by pure luck that I awoke and found her there in the same room as myself.” Zohe said calmly reminding her crew that although it was fine to bravely laugh at the danger they were about to face it was still going to be deadly serious when the time came to face her.
The crew all looked at each other. The fact that Zohe had been tricked and eventually captured by this bounty hunter’s friends was sinking in on them. Zohe was out for blood and revenge. This would be the most dangerous thing any of them would ever do.
“Do any of you have military training?” Zohe asked.
Gemmah raised her hand.
“Any combat experience?” she pressed.
None of them said anything.
“When the time comes you’ll have it. We’ll have to trick her into coming after me to find her. I intend to take this ship into Imperial space and begin to raid Imperial freighters. Sooner or later the word will get back to her of my presence and she’ll have to finish me herself. I may have a new name and face but she’ll know it’s me. She missed killing me the first time and her twisted code won’t let her not to finish the job.” Zohe said.
Reddarh smiled from ear to ear.
“What are you so happy about?” Gemmah asked.
Reddarh looked over at her still smiling. “We’re going to be Pirates.”
Bronski stepped down into the engineering section of the ship. Pidge had been avoiding Matt and Pep since they left Tatooine.
“How you holding up blue eyes.” Bronski asked.
Pidge pretended to be sorting tools and cleaning up. “I’m okay, just like to keep my station clean and orderly.”
“How about coming up to the galley and getting a bite to eat?” Pidge understood that Buck wanted her to quit hiding back here and get to know Pep a little better.
“Look Buck…I’m still scared of her…I mean Pep. The way she looked at me back there…she was going to kill me.” Pidge whispered.
“Yeah maybe but that’s over. You have to trust me now like you never trusted anyone before. We’re all on the run and you’ve chosen to throw in with us. If this is going to work then you’ve got to put what happened behind you. We all need to be able to trust each other and depend on each other from now on. This is how it’s going to be for a long time so you better put your big girl pants on and get up there and fix this.” Buck said extending his hand to her.
Pidge smiled seeing that Bronski would be with her. She pushed the tool drawer closed and followed him up to the galley.
Bronski had Pidge go into the Galley first. Pep was sitting at the table all alone with a cup in front of her. She looked small and sad sitting there Pidge thought to herself.
Pep looked up at Pidge and smiled awkwardly. She had the look of someone who knew they had done something wrong and was truly sorry for it.
With that one look Pidge understood the pain that Pep felt. She had powers she couldn’t control and knew she hurt people. Pep wasn’t a monster at all, she was in pain.
Pidge smiled sympathetically at Pep and sat down across from her.
“I’m sorry Pidge…” Pep began to say.
“Forget it Pep, no harm done.” She smiled and took Pep’s hand reassuringly.
It was the first time she took a good look at Pep. She had an inner sadness that melted Pidge’s heart. This woman had known pain and suffering that no one should ever have to know. Her eyes revealed a kindness and willingness to help others but she had a hard time keeping eye contact. She had been taught not to look into other people’s eyes as an equal. Even though she was trying she still had a hard time doing it.
“Where’s Matt?” Pidge asked Pep.
“He’s still checking the astrogation charts to see if he can find somewhere for us to go.” Pep replied. Her voice had a tone of guilt in it most likely because she knew they were on the run because of her.
“You know why you can’t handle your powers?” Pidge asked being very serious suddenly.
Pep shook her head no.
“Because you’re too nice. When you looked at me back there all I saw was anger and rage on your face. Now all I see is a kind hearted person. Of course you can’t handle dark powers like that. If you were a mean person you would live your life with those same feelings on the surface all the time. You would know how to control them because that’s how you would live your life.
You don’t treat people badly you take your bad emotions and bury them as if you don’t have them. You don’t do bad thinks to others so you don’t know how to control that much rage and anger when it comes out.” Pidge said.
Pep looked at Bronski. It was so simple she couldn’t understand how nobody saw it before.
“I think you’re right…I never saw it that way before.” Pep smiled. She now had a chance at learning how to control the power inside her.
The Guardsmen burst through the door to the apartment guns drawn.
“Palace Guards! Everyone get on the floor! This is official security business!” The officer in charge shouted.
They swept the small apartment with their lights trying to identify any threat to themselves. Each Guardsman fanned out and secured a room. In less than thirty seconds the apartment was secured.
“Check the closets and all places where he could be!” the officer shouted still maintaining his sense of urgency.
“In here sir.” One of the Guardsmen said with finality.
The officer stepped into the back room where the Guardsmen had spoken. Immediately he saw a male Feloid hanging by his neck in the closet. It was evident from the males bulging eyes and swollen tongue that he had been dead for some time now.
“Looks like he had a conscience after all.” The officer muttered too himself.
“Look for a note or a confession lying around somewhere. If we find one it’ll sure make this job a Hell of a lot easier at the inquest.” He said to the Guardsmen who found the body.
After a relatively quick search he found a confession about killing the young cat girl. It was very detailed and graphic in its description of the torture and murder. The man had been a known criminal and abuser of cat girls. It had been said that he was not quite right in the head and this confession seemed to confirm it. However now that he was dead there would be no way to confirm if he committed the crime other than the confession. It all seemed very neat and tidy.
The Officer read the note several times. Everything was taken care of now, case closed.
“What a bunch of crap.” He muttered too himself once again. Cases like this never ended this way. There was always a loose end or something that didn’t make sense. This was all too easily solved.
“Did you say something sir?” the Guardsmen asked.
“No…just talking too myself.” He replied smiling.
It all started to make sense now. He had been given orders to find the killer and do it quickly. There seemed to be a lot of pressure to get the case closed as quickly as possible coming from higher up in the chain of command. It had all been orchestrated that way to make him happy to have solved the case. If he solved it quickly it would make the higher ups very happy and he would be less inclined to take a second look at the whole matter. It had been intended from the beginning of the case that it be closed quickly and forgotten about.
The officer took the note and put it in his jacket pocket. He didn’t worry about contaminating the evidence at this point. It wouldn’t matter one way or the other.
Kllair sat back in her chair. The screen on the monitor in front of her in her darkened office illuminated her face. She had sent the twins to fix their little mistake. Earlier that evening the two had been lying in wait for the hanged man. He was a criminal and a degenerate that had been at the top of the list of suspects in the horrific murder of the cat girl in the basement of the Palace. Elith had followed him the day before and used her Zeltron empath abilities to get inside the man’s mind. She was then able to mimic his personality enough to write the confession the officer had found in the room. Once the man arrived home he was quickly over powered by the twins and dragged into the bedroom and then hanged in the closet. Once the deed had been done they carefully placed the forged confession in a place it would be easily found.
Kllair knew the man would be questioned this day or the next so she had been watching and waiting for the Guardsmen to arrive via the tiny spydroid she had the twins hide in the room just before they left. She was pleased that everything had gone as planned until she noticed the officers expression. After he put the note in his pocket he had inadvertently looked around the upper part of the room. It was as though he was looking for a camera that might be watching him. This officer was smart and no bodies fool.
Kllair saw in his eyes that he didn’t believe any of this. She was only slightly comforted that Elith had implanted a false sense of urgency in the minds of his superiors that this case be solved quickly. They wouldn’t question the note or want to pursue the matter any further. They would be happy enough with the outcome of the investigation as it stood now, after all, it was only a cat girl that had been killed.
Even with all of that in her favor she had already determined to keep an eye on this officer just in case. She felt he knew it was all a set up job to throw the murder off the real guilty party. The question now was would he leave it alone or continue.
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 03:12)