After a few minutes,
making sure that Bronson was completely gone, Enad the Encephalon leapt to his
feet and shouted, "Kwamkut! Change course to Pluto!" A set of lights
flashed on the console, but Enad felt no change in motion. He stepped up and
flipped on the vocal mode of Kwamkut. A set of blurred electronic voices
screamed. "My controls have been cut off! All changes in course must be
done manually!" With great cautiousness, Enad adjusted a few switches and
gizmos in front of him, causing the ship to arc to the right. He sat back,
relieved. "Good thing I had my Knophisghtian innate abilities," he
thought, "or else that drug would have had some effect on me."
cheered heroically as the news of the Act's demise reached the
Mercury. "Three cheers for Bronson!" he cried out. "The
Domain is destroyed, and we are now undoubtedly the Champions in
it seems, was the captain of the Ranierian space carrier Mercury. He
had worked hard to gain this position, and he was one of the most talented
officers Bronson had. So talented was he, in fact, that he felt only a sense
of challenge when he heard the contents of the message now coming in over the
said a small ensign to his right, "I am detecting, on long-range scan,
two abnormal ships. They are, apparently, the same ones that were to leave to
the Snicker's galaxy. Shall we destroy them?" The ensign had a strange
power-hungry look that prevaled throughout most of Bronson's fleet.
however, was smart; he knew the power of those ships, and he rightfully feared
the zim-bam gun. "Call the Archangel and tell them that we're
going to have a look at an unidentified object in that sector. Tell them that
we will find our own way home."
ensign, obviously sad that Doug wouldn't let the entire fleet pound the two
ships, did his chore regretfully. Then another crewmember plotted a new
course, and the Mercury raced toward the Pents.
**T. G. Taft**
back on Earth, Adena was preparing to receive a cordial call from two friends
of hers. She had chosen, for the call, a room high in the castle; one which
had many windows. The windows were surrounded by a grey brick, accented by
white curtains. This was one of Adena's favorite sight-seeing rooms, as one
could see almost all of Furanose from it. But back to the business of guests.
Adena had asked one of Leffy's friends--Leffy, as you will remember is on
T'mir--to send the pair in as soon as they arrived. Adena smiled as she looked
out one of the many windows. The lovely land of Furanose spread as far as the
eye could see. Soon she let her mind wander. You know, everybody was happy
under her reign. Not one single soul could complain. Everything was so great,
in fact, that Furanose must have the greatest government that there ever was
or ever could be anywhere. Traditions were kept without hesitation, and no one
bothered to feel jealous that most of the wealth in the land belonged to one
clan. Man, things were great. Suddenly she heard a knock on the door.
"Thou may enter."
jiffle named Miffy entered the room and smiled in a broad, unaltered grin.
Jiffles, if you will recall, are just plain fun. "The men whom you are
entertaining have arrived, M'lady." Miffy said in a very feminine
them in." Adena said with a smile.
through the door walked her guests, Bronson Colt Randolf and his mentor
friend, Madison. They bowed to the Enchantress, and sat down on a couch facing
can I do for you gentlemen?" Started Adena.
looked at the beautiful hair the Enchantress had. "Aaaah... I don't know,
exactly, maam, aaaaah, you see, Madison wanted to talk to you, and I just
wanted to tell you that all of the Domain's ships have been destroyed, and,
my, but that's a beautiful blouse you're wearing today, Adena..."
quietly mumbled a silence spell at Bronson. He looked at Adena in a daring
sort of way. "I will come directly to the point, Adena. Did you not kill
Dion Cameo Puriantio, as I have heard?"
looked hard at him, as if she were trying to watch her words as she said them.
"Yes, I did. She tried to take my Amulet, my main source of
I have, according to tradition, one recourse. Adena, Dion was my one and only
daughter. According to my family heritage, I must revenge her death.
Adena," he said with a sigh, "I'm going to have to kill
**T. G. Taft**
watched keenly as the ships grew larger in the dark void of space. "Get
them on communications," he cried to one of his subordinates.
on line three, sir."
pushed a button on a console in front of him. "I thought you were asked
to leave the galaxy, Pent."
strange voice came through the Mercury's speakers. "This is not
Pent. This is his next in command, Sir Veyor. Sir Pent and Siress Pent are in
the Snicker's galaxy."
why aren't you there too?" Doug said, slightly miffed.
seems that the white hole we entered in our galaxy cannot be found in this
one. It was like a one-way passage here. We could find no trace of where we
came out; therefore we surely cannot return. Enad, that great guy that he is,
took the Pents back to their galaxy on the Cantible. We, however, are
stuck in this galaxy. That's why I was taking the Myomycophyta and the
Coniferophytae back to the Earth. I thought maybe we could find an
uninhabited area and settle..."
I have a better idea. Why don't you go to the sixth planet in this solar
system, to one of its moons named T'mir. They will have plenty of room for
came from the other end. "OK, thanks."
watched quietly as the two Snicker ships made a turn towards Saturn. He smiled
to himself and then said aloud, "no use having them on Bronson's
**T. G. Taft**
twitched a little, and immediately grabbed for her Amulet. She wasn't quite
sure what Madison might do, but after all, he was a retired Wizard.
"Madison, that was her punishment. She stole one of my Keys. She had to
motioned to her with his hand, and turned his face away from hers. "In
Ranier, as in the other two civilized nations on earth, the only thing
punishable by death is death itself. All other reasons of execution are known
as murder. What other things are punishable by death in Furanose?"
took a small swallow. She followed this with a deep breath, which seemed to
give her confidence. "In Furanose, tradition remains the kingpin. Death
can be ordered by the stealing of a Key, the breaking of an oath, any attempt
on my life..."
rudely interrupted her. "Then I feel sorry for the people living here.
Adena, according to my tradition, I am supposed to kill you at the
first chance I might have. But I will not. I am more civilized than that. But
let it be known that our long friendship is over. You killed my offspring
without due cause. I think I'm letting you off easy."
stood up, pulling Bronson with him. Bronson tried to mumble out something, but
his words were absorbed by Madison's spell. Adena sat still, thinking.
"But she caused the death of many others, especially in
turned around slightly. "Did she knowingly, and on purpose, cause anybody
to die in your jurisdiction?" Adena closed her eyes and let her face drop
to the floor. Madison and Bronson quietly walked out of the room.
**T. G. Taft**
slowly turned the Mercury toward Earth, smiling as he thought of his
position. He was part of the strongest nation in space--even stronger than
Alarius--and one of the more prominent men within its society. He thought
about his wife and two children at home. Just another hour till home; then he
could relax in Betty's arms...
then the lights aboard the bridge flashed warily. The buzzers went off all
over the ship, and a huge thud came over her starboard bow. The ship weened as
crewmen were thrown to the portside. Electric sparks flew in all directions as
computers burst in the faces of men. "Shields... up!" Screamed
it was no use. The minimal shielding that was routinely kept up was instantly
destroyed at the same time all other systems aboard the Mercury went
out. She had no shields, nor any hope of ever retrieving them. Doug flew
around as he heard a shimmering noise behind him. Three men filtered onto the
bridge and grabbed Doug by the shoulders. One man pushed a button in his
pocket, and the shimmering effect appeared once again to take the four of them
off the Mercury's bridge.
reappeared aboard the Adhesion. Doug looked around waringly, curiously
noticing that it was a perfect match of the bridge of the Mercury;
perfectly, that is, except that the yellow and gold of Ranier had been
replaced with the orange and white of the Domain.
strange man, sitting in a custom-made command chair, turned around to look at
Doug. Doug stared at the strangely misshapen man. He appeared to be skinny
with a twisted body; he had near-bald brown hair, and wore a black patch over
his left eye. His nose had a deep, long gash down the center of it, and his
lips appeared to be only relics from left-over wounds. "Welcome,
commander of the Mercury. My name is Wayne J. Max, commander of the
Domain space forces. And you are...
stood straight up in a saluted position. He rumbled off a memorized speech...
"Name: Norman D. Exeter. Rank: Captain. Serial Number:
spare me the formality. Aren't you a little curious as to what this ship is,
and what happened to yours?"
remained stiff, even when poked by one of the men around him.
well, I will tell you anyway. While Ranier was busy building its monstrous
fleet, the Domain was not idle. What we sent into battle against Alarius was
merely the first phase of our galactic control project." He stared a bit
at Doug. "But you see, Norman D. Exeter, we noticed that you Ranierians
had very powerful ships. So, we called on our spy in Ranier to gain the needed
information... isn't this getting to you, Norman D. Exeter?"
stood straight up, not moving a muscle.
have all of Ranier's technology, plus our own! Your ship was hit by your own
powerful laser!" Doug stood straight up, not making a single move.
this will make you listen. He pushed a button on his console, making a big
screen in the front of the bridge illuminate. In the center of the field was
the Mercury. Wayne directed one of the officers below him to push
another button. A stream of red issued from the sides of the screen and
impacted on the Mercury. Nothing could withstand two of Bronson's
lasers, and it immediately incinerated. But Doug continued to stand straight
up, not even flinching.
looked exhausted. "All right. Then perhaps if we told you who the spy we
sent was you will listen." He motioned to someone standing by the exit.
Then he leaned back and whispered something to a man behind him. "Have
the carriers Atrocity, Autopsy, Axis, and Addict
pull to the front of the fleet, with the Madison class Richard,
Wayne, Dion, John, and Gibbenhide near the rear.
Keep the twelve battle cruisers to our left and right, and, make sure they
have their scanners on at all times. I don't want to be "surprised"
like our first fleet was."
he had said this, the man who had been sent returned escorting another man.
Wayne smiled evilishly. "Norman D. Exeter, I want you to meet the
spy." Said he, jesturing at the escorted man. Doug stammered a bit as he
recognized the man as Marlin F. Exeter, his only brother.
| ||© 1985, ||K. Blaire, L. Charles, D. Conrad, Enad the Great, A. Mann, J. Pierce, B. C. Randolf, and T. G. Taft|