Scimitar pulled slowly into orbit around Titan. Its long journey ended,
it returned home to reap the rewards of its mission. The rescue attempt had
been successful, Adena had been saved from the lion's den. Iffley, however,
had some explaining to do.
stared at Adena, remembering the joy she once brought to his heart. Adena
recognized Dion, but Iffley would have to explain his youth to Adena. She was
still recovering from shock, but the sooner she found out, the better for all
concerned. He thought that a familiar nickname would convince her of his
identity. "Little One," he began, "are you feeling
stared at the youthful Iffley in unrecognition. "Who are you? How do you
know my nickname?" Her face flushed and grew quite pale.
you know me...I guess not. I am Suralio Frith Iffley, the advisor to Adena
Ludit Ledic and the throne of Furanose." Iffley's eyes twinkled with each
word. He noticed her smile as she recalled his face and name.
happened? You look so young!" She purposely stressed 'young' to annoy her
ally, and her friend.
with constant interruptions by Dion to fill in missing details, informed Adena
of their transformations. His narrative then continued to the rescue attempt
and finally finished with the recent recovery of one battered patient named
now fully recognized Iffley and the couple embraced warmly. Dion, in the
manner of her friend, raised an eyebrow. The couple's reunion, however, was
short-lived. The intercom buzzed, "Captain Iffley, we have just received
a warning from an unknown source. The message warns that Taft is about to
stared, deep in thought. After a moment, he said, "Condition Yellow. Have
Jonathon and Taft II sent to the bridge." He turned to Adena, "You
stay here. You are not well yet. You mind the Doctor."
a pig's eye." Adena said under her breath as she watched the receeding
* * * * *
scene on the bridge was tense. A dim yellow light flooded accented the various
consoles staggered about the room. Iffley sat in a large chair in the center
of the room. The lift opened and two figures stepped onto the bridge. Jonathon
quickly assessed the situation and examined the tactical screen. Several large
blips, representing missles, flashed on the screen.
Tartre, please locate the missiles' point of origin." Iffley said in
control of the situation.
computing, Captain...The point of origin is Phoebe, one of the outermost
interrupted: "Missles closing at 3000 kilometers."
Greene, target the missles. Await my order to fire." He turned to Taft II
and said, "I have a few questions for you. First, how do you know that
Blue Ledic is ruling the Domain? My Informers tell me that Archie won in the
power struggle. Secondly, why is your father attacking me? 1s he that afraid
of the Alarian forces?"
I know that Archie is in reality Blue Ledic. I was informed of this by Mij
Slocin--which was why I wanted to bring him along."
want facts, Taft, not innuendoes."
supposedly has the proof...only I haven't seen it yet. In answer to your
second question, my father could not possibly be attacking us, because he is
dead." Taft II replied bluntly.
who had slipped onto the bridge unnoticed, shouted, "You liar! Taft is
not dead! Granted his body is gone, but his evil mind still lives. I
discovered his secret--" Adena's words were drown out by Jonathon's
status report of the missles. At the conclusion of his report, she continued,
"Blue and I had made a promise to love one another. Material possessions
did not matter as long as we had each other. I asked 'Archie' to complete our
pact, and when he answered wrongly, I knew that he was an imposter."
Adena's voice trailed off. Her head began to spin and she grabbed the railing
to maintain her balance.
you are not well. Return to sick bay or I will have you carted down in a
stretcher." Iffley's concern spread throughout the room, everyone
affirming his statement. For once, Adena did not protest. With Dion's help,
she entered the lift and returned to the Medical Level.
Taft, your father does seem to still be alive. Like a snake, his mortal coil
is tightening upon us, cutting off our only exits. Why is he attacking us? Is
it for the sheer enjoyment of feeling his prey squirm in his grasp? Obviously,
he knows that we rescued you and Adena. Is he that afraid of you, Taft? or is
it Adena that he fears?"
lack of response showed his apparent puzzlement. He could not believe that his
father would throw him in jail and now try to kill him. Then, of course, there
was that matter about his usurping his father's rule. He deserved the Domain,
not his father.
at 1500 kilometers."
Red. You may fire when ready, Mr. Greene. "The navigation officer obeyed
the command, releasing the tremendous energy from the ship. The bolt of energy
sped through space, impacting on the lead missile. It exploded in a brilliant
burst of sparks, setting off a chain reaction.
Iffley, my father was right: you are a worthy opponent." The speaker
looked quite pleased with himself. "It really was terribly easy to enter
this ship, though. Perhaps your security is a bit too lax. Allow me to
introduce myself, I..." His voice trailed off as Dion returned from sick
bay. He stared at Dion in deep recognition. After a moment, he finished his
sentence, "I am John Jemason, son of Kirk Jameson and, yes, you, my dear,
stared at the group, moving from one face to another. He stopped at Jonathon.
"I thought I had gotten rid of you. I went to all that trouble to take
over Alarius and I got nothing in return. That was a tough battle between the
Titan and myself. Of course, had I not taken your place, you would have died
from that wound."
looked shocked, "So it was you that shipped me off to Aldery. That
explains a few things. But how did you 'take my place?'"
after I was born, my father took me away from my mother. I had, however,
received some very interesting traits from you, Mother. I had the ability to
read people's memories. I am not a telepath, but because of my mother's
empathy, I can probe the deepest reaches of the mind. Strong memories work the
best, like memories of friends or family. I probed Iffley's mind and came up
with the idea to take over Alarius.
I was a mere infant, I exhibited this talent. My father, however, was too
impatient to wait for me to grow up, so he accelerated my growth rate. He also
taught me to master molecular structures. I can only transform my molecules,
but it comes in handy. Let me give you a demonstration. From Iffley's
memory..." His body began to blur and disassemble. The correct changes
made, the blur returned in the form of Adena.
filled Iffley, as he realized that he could now no longer trust his friends.
With John on the loose, he would never be able to completely rely on anyone
slapped the image of Adena, scolding John never to do that again. Obligingly,
John returned to his normal form.
least the missing Ring has been explained. I was beginning to wonder if I
hadn't gone off the deep end."
nervously began twisting the Ring around his finger, while John finished his
story." I wasn't as evil as my father expected. He wanted me to use my
talents to exploit other people. To please him, I tried to take over Alarius.
I failed. I then realized that unless I used my gift to help people, I would
always fail. I guess, Mother, that your traits were the more dominate
ones." His story finshed, he embraced his mother, in attempt to reconcile
would seem that John was not so evil after all; and yet, Iffley could not but
fear for the safety of those around him. John had seemed almost too sincere,
and that worried Iffley. He kept his thoughts to himself, wondering if
Jonathon was thinking the same thing.
Teale, contact the Fleet and arrange a meeting at Yorkshire. The topic will be
plans for attacking Taft and his Domain."
| ||© 1984, ||K. Blaire, L. Charles, D. Conrad, Enad the Great, J. Pierce, B. C. Randolf, and T. G. Taft|