shuttle from the Scimitar landed softly as the last light from SOL
faded. Saturn's enormous body now successfully blocked all of the life-giving
rays from the sun. Without the sun to provide the light and warmth, the
satellite lost its functions as an artificial star. This period was known as
the Dark Time, its duration as diverse as the stars in the heavens.
occupants of the shuttle hurried along the catwalk to escape from the icy grip
of the Night. Dion walked silently beside Doctor Sharpe, who was pushing Adena
in a hover-chair. Adena bit her lip at the restraint--She really was well
enough to walk to Yorkshire.
entered the mansion and immediately went straight to Adena's room, the Emerald
Room. As most of the rooms in the mansion, the Emerald Room was decorated only
in the color of the gemstone for which it was named. A strikingly beautiful
chandelier sparkled as the light reflected off its multifarious dangling
emeralds. Pale green carpet stretched across the floor and climbed partway up
Little Miss, you stay in this room, or I'11 have to strap you in bed. And no
more of your sneaky tricks, Young Lady. Good Night." Torquay left the two
women in silence.
slowly dragged on, each woman staring at each other. Infinity slowly crept by
the pair. In an effort to break the deafening silence, Adena said, "Dion,
would you care to play a game of..."
thank you," Dion curtly interrupted."We have some serious matters to
then, proceed." Adena lifted an eyebrow at her friend's g1eg
Ledic, I have only one question to ask you: Why? Why did you abandon Iffley
when you met Blue; Why did you reject him and later ask for his help? Why are
you here now?" She spit out the words in a fury of emotion, ignoring any
consequences she might invoke in Adena.
uncharacteristicly opened her mouth. No words, however, would issue from her
lips. Dion continued with the interogation, "But most importantly of all,
what are you doing here trying to take Iffley away from me? Wasn't Blue
enough...Or is it the Power you're after?" Adena stared blankly at Dion.
She had not realized the extent of Dion's devotion to Iffley. Even still, the
torrent continued, "I had a chance when you were dead. I still wish that
you were dead! I wish you were dead! I..." Dion stopped in horror at her
last spoken statement. "Adena, I...I'm sorry." Her face streaked
with tears, she ran out of the room.
watched the door slowly close, her mind twisted with inner torment. She
huddled at the end of the bed, wondering what had become of her life. Perhaps
it would have been better if she had died. Perhaps....As the rhythm of her
heart slowed, the first ripples of sleep touched her muddled brain. The last
words taken in by her conscious were an announcement over an intercom: Ms.
Puriantio, there is an emergency on Cinap. You are immediately to depart
* * * * *
scene on the Enchantress, the finest Dreadnought in the Fleet, was one
of turmoil. A dozen of the Fleet's leading Admirals and Captains, including
the elusive Admiral Barrymore, several ambassadors, Taft II, and Jonathon
Pierce sat at a rather large conference table. Each participant voiced his
opinion in a vociferous tone. Some pleaded surprise attack; others, a
blockade. Iffley, however, had another suggestion.
turned to Taft II and said, "Do the people know that their leader is Blue
Ledic? I thought not. What if we were to expose him to his followers. Imagine
the impact." He turned to the chancellor, "Locate Mr. Slocin--I
believe he and John Jemason are planetside. Have him transported here, I want
to see some proof." The chancellor nodded and busily carried out her
me, gentlemen, but what would this action cause?" Captain Boothe
inquired, not really paying attention to the meeting.
stared at the Captain in annoyance, "Once the people will learn of his
identity, they will overthrow the government."
but isn't the real Taft inhabiting Blue's body?" Iffley sat in
consternation: News travels fast in the Fleet.
assure you," Taft replied, "that no one will believe my father. They
all think he's dead!"
the chancellor looked up from her screen. "Captain Iffley, there is an
emergency message for you from one Adena Ledic. The message reads: 'Dion left
for Cinap on an emergency mission, and I haven't heard from her in four hours.
She is, I feel, in danger, and needs our help. That's the end of the message,
Captain, shall I send a response?'
but not to Adena. Send a message to the Sentry, informing them of the
emergency. Under no circumstances are they to let Adena follow me. Place a
guard outside of her room." He glanced at the members of the conference,
"Gentlemen, you will have to continue without me. No, Jonathon, you stay
here at the meeting, this is something I must do alone." He left the room
and rushed toward the hanger.
chancellor look up again from the screen, "Jonathon, another message has
been piped in from the Scimitar. I think you should read
* * * * *
shuttle lay abandoned at the base of a cliff. Iffley, using his extreme logic,
identified it as the shuttle used by Dion. With her location known, he softly
landed his shuttle beside the other. Clad in a thermo-suit, he exited the
winds greeted him with fierce exuberance. As the wind's icy touch chilled
through the suit, Iffley wondered if even Ecap fur would withstand the intense
cold. He ran to the base of the cliff and, noticing a cave, ran inside.
cave, free from the elements, was oddly hot. Lanterns illuminated the entire
cave. Stalagtites and stalagmites lined the entrance and outlined two
passageways. Iffley examined the floor by the passages and chose the right
one, mostly out of instinct. He followed its winding corridor, coming,
finally, at a large cave.
underground spring bubbled warmly in the center of the cave, several fish
swimming in its clear waters. Dion, chained to a column, reached for her
blaster, which was sitting on a flat rock. Startled, she looked up,
"Iffley, I knew you would come. John Jameson tried to kidnap me, his own
smiled, "Maybe I should just leave you here for a while, it might sweeten
your disposition a little." Aware of Dion's glare, he dissolved her bonds
with the Sceptre. He bent over and picked up her blaster. "This is yours,
Madame." She calmly took the blaster from him. "This way,
Madame," Iffley waved at the direction.
smiled at him and pulled the trigger. A brilliant blue beam of energy streamed
from the weapon and streaked toward its victim. Iffley's face contorted in
pain as the energy struck him. The pain exploded in his spine, streaming
throughout his entire body. He fell with a groan to the floor. Dion removed
the Sceptre from Iffley's grasp and laughed.
illusion soon faded, revealing the true identity of the villian. John Jemason
stood over Iffley, the Sceptre heavy in his hands. After securing Iffley to a
stalagmite with chains, he mocked, "Maybe I should just leave you here
for a while. It might sweeten your disposition a little." His father
would have been most pleased. Two victims in the same day. And now, he had a
Key, to boot! They would all pay for killing his father. First his mother
would die slowly and painful1y; then Iffley; then Adena; they would all pay.
He left the large cave and took the left passage.
passage ended abruptly. At the end of the corridor, Dion, chained and gagged,
shook in fear for her life. John picked up a long, sharp knife, blade caked
with dry blood. Dion screamed, the gag muffling her voice. "Now, now,
Mother, you sit still and be quiet. I must punish you for what you did to
Father. It will all be over soon..."
| ||© 1984, ||K. Blaire, L. Charles, D. Conrad, Enad the Great, J. Pierce, B. C. Randolf, and T. G. Taft|