Captain Tiberius says one of the author’s favorite lines. “Well, by Kreptar’s Dimple, man, read it before she gets a cramp.”
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Captain Tiberius hadn’t had a situation make him want to sputter since his first command on the HMB Whaddahel, but Doall’s announcement got him close. He folded his hands together and clenched his glutes in a prayer for strength, then said in a calm and commanding voice. “Well, that’s both fortuitous and perplexing. Put them on screen.”
The deceptively peaceful view of the planet was again replaced with an interior – this time, of a rough hut of hard-packed earth, fabric covered walls and a thatched roof. While Chawa stood in the foreground, he did not command attention. Rather, the crew’s eyes were drawn to the young native who was twisted into a pretzel and looking rather annoyed about it, a stern-faced Loreli, and Enigo sitting calmly in a chair while a native…
“Lieutenant,” Jeb asked, “are you getting a tattoo?”
“Yes, he is,” Loreli answered, with more barbs in her tone than Jeb had heard since her prickly teen age years.
Enigo rolled his eyes, “I keep trying to explain…”
“Save it for when you’re back on the ship. Chi Nikki Chawa, I understand you want all us humans off your planet, and I have no problem with that, but there’s a bigger situation you need to know about.”
“We already know,” Chi Nikki Chawa said, gesturing to the girl. “It has been written in prophesy.”
Jeb eyed the girl. “’Written’? On her, you mean?”
The girl wiggled her toes in reply.
“Well, by Kreptar’s Dimple, man, read it before she gets a cramp.”
“Thank you!” The girl spoke for the first time. Then, she lifted one arm to point to where the designs from her ankle intersected with those on the curve of her jaw.
Chawa grimaced at losing his dramatic moment, then intoned, “…and so the ranks of heroes shall swell. A sign shall come. Green Woman and her…companion…shall arrive from the Beyond. The children will bless her with water. (FIX UP – It will be for a sign of the danger to come from the Beyond. They who will threaten The Source and future of the People. Heed then, the plan of the heroes, for they will return the world to the safety and comfort of isolation. Thus shall the People continue to live in peace and harmony long after the heroes have gone.”
“Okay, that’s both accurate and vague,” Jeb replied as the girl untied herself with the Katt-like grace. On the bridge, the ready room doors slid open and J.R. and Bobby stepped out.
Jeb continued, “And, on behalf of Green Woman and the rest of crew of the Impulsive, we’re fine with returning you to your safety and comfort. But this has gone beyond whether or not we should leave you to die of the unnatural causes we created. My side of the universe knows about your unobtanium, and they’re coming for it.”
Chawa smirked, “From the time I, the first Evolved Paleo, understood the value you place upon the Source, I and the other heroes like me have been taking secret steps to deny you your prize. We give you three hours to gather your people and leave to where you came. Then, we shall destroy the gateway that let you enter our space.”
“Gateway? The anomaly? You can do that? We can’t even do that.”
Chawa answered with a smug grin and a snort. That arrogance was enough for Jeb. He glanced at his first officer, who with a nod, started transmitting orders to evacuate.
Suddenly, J.R. stepped forward with a shout. “Traitor!”
* * *
Oh, oh! J.R. is made. Hey, how much trouble can a half-crazed, power-hungry genetically manipulated Seip do, especially on the Impulsive and with Secutiry righ there? (HAHAHAHAHA… No, really, just come back next week and let’s find out.)