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grabbed him as he fell , glaring at Aeryn. She waved the remote
at me again , as if to say she hadn't done anything.
grabbed both my arms. "What year did you get stuck out here?
I have to know." He could barely talk. I could barely see through
the tears in my eyes. I had found another human! I held his arms
as tightly as he held mine.
was 1999 when I got launched out here. I've been here for just over
a cycle." I told him.
that 5 years then." He said. He suddenly threw his arms around
me and laughed so hard I felt his whole body shaking with it. I
started laughing too , pounding him on the back. After a minute
or so he let go and sat back down , waving me to sit down as well.
she human too?" he asked, looking pointedly at Aeryn. He eyed
her up and down openly , evidently liking what he saw as much as
I do. When I do that same thing I usually do it when she's not paying
sir , that's the radiant Aeryn Sun. She's all Sebacean, and if you
keep doing that , she'll demonstrate just how bad a pantak jab can
hurt." I warned him.
laughed and bowed his head towards Aeryn. "It's an honor to
meet you Miss Sun."
Office Sun to you , slave." She retorted.
saw him wince at her words. I'd have to remind Aeryn of tact one
of these days. "How in the name of hell did you get out here?"›
I asked him.
know all those stories about alien abductions? They're not all bull."
He said. He took a deep breath. "Okay , let me give you the
short version. I lived in Seattle most of my life , and was what
they call a 'troubled youth'. When I was about 9 my father got me
into a martial arts school, hoping I'd learn some discipline. By
the time I was 15 , I was into kendo , the sword. I stuck with it
through high school and college. During my second year of graduate
studies , I was heading into the woods to go camping after a week
of some really hard tests." He reached behind himself and got
a flask of something to drink. He took a swallow and offered it
to me. I took a slug , thinking it must be water or something. Instead
, my head exploded and I couldn't breathe.
should have warned you , sorry about that. The natives call it oothlik.
Strong huh?" he grinned at me.
get you for that." I wheezed. I waved at him to keep telling
, I found a campsite , made my fire , set up my camp. That night
I saw all the usual things; bright lights , no sound , an object
moving in strange patterns across the sky. All of that." His
eyes grew distant. "I can remember standing next to my fire
thinking some local was trying to pull my leg." He shook himself.
"The next thing I know, I'm strapped down on this hard , cold
slab. I could hear people moving around me , but I couldn't move.
When I could see them , they were short , about 5 feet or so , grey
skin , very slende , delicate looking. No noses , large , totally
black eyes , hardly any mouth."
looked at Aeryn. She shook her head. This must be a race the Peacekeeper's
hadn't encountered either.
type probing tests?" I asked him with half a grin.
, you know the tabloid stories." He chuckled weakly. "The
one thing the tabloids get wrong is that you do feel everything.
I was one of I don't know how many subjects they had." He took
another drink of that oothlik stuff. "I got tossed into a cell
with another alien. A female. She's kinda like these people , only
feline. Pointed ears , slitted pupils ," his voice trailed
like a planet full of Lassie's huh?" I asked.
like Dobermans. They're all nice and hospitable until you make them
angry , then they'll bite your head off."
could see Aeryn rolling her eyes at our cliches. It was nice to
not have to explain them all the time. I wondered if he'd join up
was your major in school?" I asked , trying to change the subject.
Information Systems. I was going for an MBA. I would have made it
too." He said wistfully.
computer geek with a MBA and a sword? Look out Wall Street. So what
happened? How did you end up here?"
captors decided they had found out as much as they wanted to from
me and about 8 others , including my cellmate. Purbithlaya was her
name , I just called her Bith. They didn't give us translator microbes
on the ship , so we had to learn each other's language. She's quite
a lady. She's the one who started calling me Kublai Khan. I'd keep
reciting what I could remember of poems , songs , anything I could
to remind myself of home. I said Kublai Khan so much she thought
it was my name at first. We got here , and we got herded off the
ship and into this building. That was about 4 and half years ago
I guess. These nice folk gave us all shots , which included the
translators , and explained why we were here. To fight to protect
their government's interests." He glared at the door the guards
used. "When they asked our names , I just stuck with Kublai
Khan. I wanted something to keep to myself that these people couldn't
take from me." He grabbed my arm again , so hard I felt my
hand go numb. "Get Bith and me out of here!" he whispered
you not treated well? Beaten , tortured?" Aeryn asked , stepping
fight last night? If you can call it a fight. That was the twenty-fifth
person I have had to kill to keep Bith and myself alive. I cannot
do it anymore. I can't keep killing. But , since you're a Peacekeeper
OFFICER Sun , so you must love that kind of thing. Want to trade
places with me?" Years of bitterness added acid to his voice.
I thought Aeryn would use that collar to knock him out after that.
"Oh , all the slaves are treated well , we get fed twice a
day , are free to train when and how we wish , given weapons of
our choice to practice with. But we are still prisoners here. We
cannot leave , cannot go anywhere but to the arena to kill or be
is Bith?" I asked him. "Do they make her fight?"
, she's a servant for that lapdog that brought you here. Monath.
He treats her and me like his own personal property. Well , she
is I guess. He bought her outright , and me on behalf of his government.
I've seen her at every fight , serving Monath. I think he brings
her to remind me just who is really pulling my strings. She hates
him though , I can see it in her every time. Now you Commander Crichton.
I remember reading stories about the new Renaissance Man , the PhD
who designed , built and was going to fly his own spacecraft. How
did you end up in these god-forsaken lands? And in the company of
the radiant Aeryn Sun?" He winked at Aeryn for good measure.
sat down beside me , and I started with my story. How the wormhole
shot me out of Earth's solar system , hitting Tauvo's Prowler ,
and all the adventures since. Aeryn corrected me on a few matters.
I didn't mention what happened when were stuck in the Flax and thought
we were going to die , or what had happened that night on the Ancient's
version of Earth.
tell you one more thing." Gabe said after I was done. "I
have heard stories from guards. When they think the slaves aren't
listening they talk about some one , or a group of people that have
managed to get slaves out of here. They don't discuss it to openly
, but from what I have gathered , who ever is helping slaves escape
has to have an ear inside the government." Gabe looked at us.
"Has Monath mentioned anything about it? I know he has a few
of his children working for him."
we heard the lock on the door being slid back. Aeryn and I jumped
up , and Gabe went back to his kneeling position. Monath stepped
in , looking around for the guards. "Officer Sun , Commander!
My most sincere apologies. The guards are never supposed to leave
guests without supervision."
waved the collar control in front of Monath's face. "We had
everything under control Monath. Khan was well behaved and answered
all our questions." She said in a cold voice. The guards filed
back in. Aeryn tossed the lead guard the control. Gabe stood up
and followed them from the room , not once looking back at us.
, I'm glad you are satisfied. If you'll follow me , I believe that
Deetra has already had your supplies loaded. I shall be sorry to
see you leave. You've been most entertaining guests." He said
, leading us from the dormitory for the slaves.
any of the slaves escaped Monath?" I asked , just to test the
, some few have now and again. Most realize they have a good life
here. They don't have to fight all that often and are allowed access
to most anything they might desire. Art , music , literature if
they can read our alphabet."
the choice to walk out and never be forced to kill again."
, there is that of course." Monath chuckled , thinking Aeryn
meant it to be funny.
much would it cost to buy Khan's freedom?" I asked. "Just
a general figure."
, I'm afraid he's not for sale Commander. His skill has allowed
us to annex rather large areas of land for agricultural use and
mining , and expand our ocean territorial claims for fishing and
industry. He's far to valuable to sell."
, some slaves have been successful in escaping. Do you hunt down
escaped slaves?" Aeryn asked. "Surely your guards must
be nervous being around so many skilled warriors. An escaped slave
would have an edge , a desire to remain free , and be much more
dangerous. How do you reclaim them?"
quite easy. When we purchase property , we only purchase linked
pairs. Khan , for example , had become romantically involved with
a Natarian , a fellow criminal of his on the ship when my government
purchased him. He was also a well-known criminal , picked up by
bounty hunters. The officials who wanted him deemed our purchase
of him fitting punishment. Both he and the Natarian were to serve
life sentences for their crimes. Most of our property are condemned
prisoners or those serving life imprisonment." He stared at
the sky for a moment , collecting his thoughts. "Those who
are chosen to fight know that if they escape , their other half
will be eliminated. The same goes for the insurance property. If
they escape , the fighter is eliminated. It also makes reclaiming
them quite easy , since they invariably try to free their counterpart."
Monath explained. "Khan has a strong attachment to this Natarian
, so I know as long as she is alive and well , he will continue
to prove his value. And she adores him , so it works out well for
was waiting for us at the doors. Monath told us good day and went
off towards another vehicle. There was a woman waiting by the vehicle.
I quickly slipped the monocle on and zoomed in. This must be Bith
, from the fight. She had long , thick auburn hair. Her skin was
a slightly olive color. If it wasn't for her eyes and hands , I'd
have guessed she might be from Italy or Greece. I could see that
her eyes were slitted , just like a cat , and the way the light
shone on her indicated a light coating of fur , just like Deetra.
Like our hosts , it seemed the female Natarians had less fur than
the males. I could see her fingers ended in claws when she bowed
as Monath got close. She gazed over at Aeryn and I and made a slight
waving gesture with one hand. I guess she knew we'd spoken with
uncle got everything you asked for , plus some extras that Dominar
Rygel asked for this morning. He said you had forgotten his list."
She said brightly.
groaned , and Aeryn asked , "What did the Dominar ask for?"
I could tell she dreaded the answer.
He said he'd give half his realm for fresh Marjules." She told
us. "My uncle added them to your supplies at no cost , a gift
for the Dominar."
god!" I thought. "Tell your uncle I'm sure the Dominar
will be grateful for the gift." "And out of our hair for
at least a few arns" I added mentally.
merchant is your uncle then Deetra? Are you related to any other
celebrities?" I asked. "Is Monath your father , or will
we find a horde of your cousins cleaning the transport pod?"
I smiled at Deetra.
, no , you won't find my cousins cleaning the pod , but Monath is
my father. He keeps me as his secretary. He's found positions for
my two older brothers in the government too." She looked directly
at me. "My brothers and I aren't happy with what he does ,
buying slaves , but he is our father , so we help him when he asks."
She concentrated on driving our airport tram.
wonder he said he didn't mind your nepotism when I said your uncle
got us excellent supplies. That's his brother." I said to myself.
grasp of the obvious is overwhelming Crichton." Aeryn said
just as quietly. She looked at me with an eyebrow raised. "Perhaps
these are Khan's eyes."
got back to the landing pad to find another transport pod had landed
next to the one Aeryn and I had brought down. Zhaan got down from
the ladder as we walked up. I could tell she was furious from her
, Aeryn. Why did neither of you tell me these fights ended with
one of the fighters dead?" she demanded. Deetra backed away
from Zhaan's fury. She barked quick orders for our supplies to be
loaded and hid behind the transport.
, I didn't think it was a good idea. You said yourself these fights
brought bad memories back. I didn't want to add to that." I
said , trying to calm her down. She stalked back into the transport
pod she came in , Delvian swearing blistering the air behind her.
Aeryn and I followed her.
, what we found out will not help your mood any Zhaan." I said.
Aeryn and I related the story Gabriel had told us. Zhaan got angrier
know the Natarians. They are a peaceful people. Artists. Performers.
They are perhaps the most graceful dancers I have ever seen."
Zhaan seemed doubly upset to learn Monath was using a Natarian female
to keep Gabriel in check. "Come with me." Zhaan strode
out of the transport pod , Aeryn and I following.
found Deetra hiding behind the pod , supervising the loading of
supplies. "I assume you can take us to see Monath?" Zhaan
, if it is necessary." She said , fear making voice tremble.
is necessary child. Take us to him now." Zhaan didn't wait
for an answer; she just got into the vehicle and waited for Deetra
to start driving. D'Argo stuck his head out from the pod with the
Can we leave this frelling planet now?" he asked. "Any
people who keep slaves have no concept of honor." The techs
all backed away at his words. I'm sure the fact he was nearly two
feet taller than them made them just a bit nervous.
a little while D'Argo. Why don't you fly the loaded pod back up
to Moya? When we're done here we can leave that much faster."
I told him. He nodded curtly and shut the hatch.
and I joined Zhaan in the airport tram as Deetra finally decided
to do as she was told. She drove us through the financial centers
this time , to a large building. This must be their government center.
It was mostly two stories high , with a large tower rising out of
the middle , a good 6 stories above the main part of the building.
She got out and silently led us up the steps. Once we entered the
building , a great many functionaries murmured as we walked by and
bowed. I guess word had spread a tenth level Pa'u might make a visit.
Their reverence for Zhaan might help get Gabe and Bith out of this
place. Deetra led us to an office , and opened the door. She obviously
did not intend on going inside with us. She stood by the door like
you Deetra ," Zhaan said as she walked by. Aeryn and I joined
her , not sure what else to do.
Zotoh Zhaan! It is a great pleasure to meet you in person."
Monath said , rising from behind his desk. I could see Bith and
four other women standing in a row along one wall , waiting for
an order from their owner. "I must say , it is quite a surprise
though. If I had know you were coming I would have made preparations."
me you empty platitudes. If you had informed me of your methods
of resolving disputes I would never have sent any of my friends
to this nauseating place." Zhaan nearly shouted at Monath.
and I moved up and took Zhaan's arms. "Easy Blue , take it
easy." I said quietly. Bith's eyes seemed to flash at Zhaan's
Pa'u! This is how my people have resolved for over two hundred cycles
, ever since your healers aided us so long ago. It is a tried and
true method." Monath argued. "Your aid showed us the folly
of war. We have found a better way , just as your leaders told us
regained some of her composure. "This is not a better way.›
As the Minister of Foreign Relations , you should be seeking
alternate methods of resolution that do not involve the death of
any living thing , a peaceful resolution that offers the best options
for all involved. I want you to release one of your servants to
me right now."›
course , I shall select the most worthyš"
Zhaan pointed directly at Bith. Bith walked to stand behind Aeryn
, I do not think you will be totally satisfied with that ones services.
She is headstrong and willful." Monath protested. That room
we met Gabriel in must have been bugged. He had to have known why
we wanted Bith.
do not want her service Monath. I want her freedom." Zhaan
said in flat voice.
you desire Pa'u. Now , if you'll excuse me , there are matters that
demand my attention." He sat back down and ignored us , activating
a terminal and typing away.
left , Bith following just a step behind us , looking like a servant
out on loan. Deetra hurried to catch up , getting in front of us
and leading us back to the waiting vehicle. She drove us back to
our pod. No one said a word the entire drive.
got into the remaining pod and shut the door. Once inside , Bith
suddenly sprang to life.
you great Pa'u!" She knelt in front of Zhaan , grabbing the
hem of her robes. "Please , you must help me free my friend
Gabriel. Without me I'm afraid Monath will try to kill him."
Her voice was light , musical , with a lilt to it. It may have been
the microbes , but I could have sworn she sound Irish. Maybe it
was the red hair and green eyes.
up child ," Zhaan said gently. Zhaan bent down and help Bith
to her feet. "We will do what we can to aid your friend. This
is John and Aeryn. They have spoken with Gabriel today , and John
shares a special kinship with your friend."
turned to me with a shocked expression. "You are a hoo-man
too?" she asked.
, I'm from the same planet as Gabriel. He was taken a few years
before I got trapped here in the Uncharted Territories." I
replied , smiling at her. Bith suddenly grabbed me in as tight an
embrace as I'd ever had. She was very strong. I started seeing spots
in front of my eyes when she finally let me go. "Gabriel must
have been so happy to meet you." She was nearly in tears. I
had never seen a cat cry , so I didn't know if they could.
we can , we will try to free as many as we can ," Zhaan said.
She brought up her communicator. "Pilot , please tell D'Argo
to return with another transport pod. We will need him. Also Pilot
, is Moya ready to starburst?"
D'Argo is on his way Zhaan. Moya can starburst at any time."
Pilot said. He didn't ask any questions , so he must have understood
why Zhaan asked. Zhaan must have left her comms link open.
, tell us how you came to be here." Zhaan asked Bith. The Natarian
sat on the edge of a console and told her story. Her story jived
with Gabriel's , so Monath's claim that they were bought from bounty
hunters was definitely a lie. I doubted any of the slaves were condemned
relaxed for another arn , then felt the pod vibrate slightly as
D'Argo landed next to us. Zhaan went out to meet him. Bith looked
at Aeryn and I.
you mated?" she asked us.
just crewmates and friends Bith." I said. Aeryn appeared to
be choking on air.
should be , you make a nice pairing." The Natarian said. "How
many can you bring down from your ship?"
one. Ka D'Argo. Luxan warrior extraordinaire ," I said.
one?" she asked. She almost started crying again.
, he is an excellent warrior , strong , brave and loyal. He's worth
20 of these locals." I told her. "He is Luxan after all."
returned with D'Argo in tow. He went right to Bith. "We shall
return your friend to you. I promise."
, that seems simple enough. Now , how do we do it? From what Bith
says , we had best do it soon." I told everyone Bith's fears
, and what Monath had told us about buying slaves in pairs.
sat down and began to make our plans. There was a sound by the door
to the pod. I went to see what is was , only to find Deetra running
towards the vehicle. I yelled for her to come back , but she only
waved at me and sped off.
may have a problem. Deetra just took off. I'm pretty sure she knows
we're going to spring Gabriel." I said worriedly.
She's my friend. I don't think she'd try to stop us. She might try
to help us." Bith said.
hope you're right." Aeryn told her.
best guess would be that Monath would try to have Gabriel killed
after dark. Bith seemed to think that Monath would try to make it
seem another slave had done it to lay the blame on a rival owner.
According to Bith , we had about 4 arns before sunset , so we had
to hurry. Aeryn and I checked our pulse pistols , D'Argo converted
his Qualta blade to its rifle form. Zhaan went to the other pod
and came back with a pair of pulse rifles , one for her , one for
, Deetra left with the vehicle. We need that if we're going to pull
this off." I said. "You think we could land a transport
pod in that dorm's courtyard?" We had to salvage this plan.
Then there was knocking at the pod's door.
opened the door with the rest of us covering it. Deetra stuck her
head in and looked at us. "Please , don't shoot. I'm here to
waved her in , and following Deetra was her uncle. Both wore dark
cloaks that covered them neck to foot. "My niece has told me
some of what you have planned. I will do what I can to help."
great Lassie , but how do we know we can trust you?" I asked
, I have been helping slave pairs escape for cycles. I have aided
a dozen pairs so far , with no one the wiser. It helps to add to
the embarrassment of my brother. And call me Neith." He said
crossing his arms and glared at me.
your brother?" D'Argo asked.
I told him. I turned to Deetra. "So , what Gabriel said is
true. You've been spying on your father to help your uncle spring
slaves. Let me guess , since your uncle is a merchant , these slaves
seem to find their way off planet on one of his cargo ships right?
, I have been spying on my father." Deetra said , hanging her
head. "I am not proud of my father , or what he does. All he
does is buy and sell slaves. He gets the credit for the victories
they win. It disgusts me. And you are right John Crichton. My uncle
does find himself with extra helpers sometimes."
, our own little Underground Railroad." I murmured. Six pairs
of alien eyes turned to me at once. "Never mind."
all piled onto the airport tram , trying to keep our weapons concealed
as best we could. Deetra drove us directly to the dorms.
Neith!" the guards at the door exclaimed. Our guides were well
known and popular , which gave us an edge.
need to see Khan." Neith said. "He's been given special
dispensation to have visitors tonight. This Pa'u needs him for some....
studies this evening." He grinned at the two guards , handing
over a small pouch the jingled slightly.
A wise choice Pa'u. He's quite a specimen ," one guard said.
The other looked at Aeryn , D'Argo and I uncertainly.
are the Pa'u's bodyguard. Two Sebaceans and a Luxan should be more
than enough in case Khan gets out of hand." Neith explained.
The guards looked at Bith. "Surely , you don't expect my niece
, Councilor Monath's daughter , to go about unattended at night
, and the bribe , seemed to satisfy them. They opened the door and
we filed in. Neith took the lead , bypassing the weapon check room
and led us down a corridor to the left of that grand staircase.
The whole building was dimly lit. The low light might have been
enough for the locals but not me. I pulled the monocle on and turned
on the nightvision capability. That was much better. Neith seemingly
took turns at random , but he stopped in front of an ornate door.
is it." He knocked lightly. "Khan , it's Neith."
door opened slightly , I could see Gabe's face clearly with the
nightvision of the monocle. He looked devastated. "What is
it Neith?" he asked. His voice sounded raw. "I got bad
news today , so make it quick."
got to come with us , right now. We've got a way to get you out
of here." Neith urged him.
you get it Neith? Bith is gone. She finally pushed Monath over the
edge and he killed her. He came and told me so today. I'm supposed
to die at some point in training tomorrow. I just want to rest and
then get it over with."
cannot die yet!" Bith pushed past us and tackled Gabriel. He
couldn't talk. They just held each other tight and whispered to
each other. Part of what they were saying couldn't be translated
but it didn't seem to matter. I think we all got the idea.
hate to break this up , but we need to get going." I said ,
tapping Gabriel on the shoulder. I could see tears in his eyes.
right Crichton. Let's get out of here." He said , pulling Bith
along by the hand. Neith stopped him , and handed him a pair of
cloaks from under his own. Then Neith went to each of the other
doors , tapping lightly on each one. The other slaves all gathered
in Gabe's room. Since he was the top dog he had the largest one.
, I've found a way to get Khan and his mate out of here. But we
, they , need your help. Will you?" Neith asked. I could see
both Bith and Gabe blush as Neith introduced them as mates. The
other slaves gathered around Gabe , making their farewells , promising
to never forget him , making him promise to remember them. D'Argo
was talking with the Luxan slave. They both stepped forward.
have an idea." D'Argo said. "If we cause a large enough
diversion , we should all be able to slip out the front , past those
any of you can make it to landing pad 94 , we'll take as many as
we can tonight." Neith said. "Now , how do we cause this
diversion?" he asked.
fight , of course." The Luxan slave said. Without warning ,
he punched the Scorvian. I remembered that Luxans and Scorvians
didn't really like each other. The other slaves pushed them out
the door , down the hall , towards that main training hall Aeryn
and I had passed the day before.
closed the door , and watched through the grill. We could all hear
the shouts from the rest of the slaves. Guards ran down the hall.
After a few minutes , Neith opened the door , and motioned for Gabe
and Bith to put their hoods up. We hurried back to the front door.
Guards ran past us without looking at us to break up the brawl.
It sounded like more than just the Luxan and Scorvian were fighting
now. We made it to the front door , past the other two guards. Neith
whispered something to them and they sped off to help stop the fight.
now , all of you. I told them I'd stay here and watch the door.
Those two will forget how many were really with you Pa'u , and tell
me stories of how brave they were." Neith kissed his niece
on the forehead. "Hurry Deetra."
ran to and clambered into the tram. Deetra drove the quickest route
back to the landing pad. I had to fight the urge to tell her to
drive faster , but I knew that would draw attention us. I turned
to hand Gabe a pulse pistol , but he shook his head and showed me
the hilt of his sword. I nodded grimly. If push came to shove ,
he'd do what needed to be done.
parked , and we headed up the steps. The moon had risen , and the
moonlight showed about a dozen guards between our pods and us. Between
the guards and us stood Monath.
daughter , did you enjoy your trip to see the slaves?" He sneered
at his daughter. "I'm sure that Khan was eager to join you
, now that his beloved Bith is free." He laughed.
could see D'Argo holding both Gabe and Bith back. Zhaan pushed her
hood back. Aeryn , D'Argo and I followed suit.
, Pa'u , with your Peacekeeper , and now Luxan bodyguards. How interesting."
He turned to his guards. "Take them."
got the left!" I yelled , pulling my pistols out and firing
at a group of guards. I hit one with two shots. He fell back; the
two behind him stepped forward and began firing back.
side!" Aeryn and D'Argo said in unison , the yellow flashes
of Aeryn's pistols and the blue bolts from D'Argo's Qualta blade
knocking back a trio of guards.
didn't pick a side; she just started shooting at the remaining 8
guards. Bith threw back her hood and stepped next to Zhaan , picking
shots at the guards still standing. She must have had excellent
night vision , since she was more accurate than the rest of us.
Gabriel threw back his hood , ripped his sword out , and leapt up
the steps. The Minister fled , terrified at what he saw. I could
imagine. With all the flashing lights , and the dimness of the moon
, Gabe's cloak spread out about him like wings. Suddenly , it was
if I was looking at the Archangel Gabriel , coming down from Heaven
bearing God's wrath. I pitied Monath in that moment , just a little.
official tripped on his own feet , scrabbling to get away from death's
grim approach. Gabe whipped that sword under Monath's chin and snarled
at him , "Tell your men to drop their weapons."
- D - Drop them!" Monath wailed.
this point , there were only 4 guards left. They dropped their guns
immediately , backing away from us. We could hear sirens wailing
in the distance.
should kill you Monath , for what you've done to me. To her."
Gabriel hissed. "But I won't. By now , tonight's occurrence
will draw lots of attention. The involvement of your daughter and
brother will only mean that you must have been involved as well.
You're finished here Monath. You might just become a fighter yourself."
He left Monath whimpering on the ground. A dozen more slaves were
running up the steps behind us , dragging a mate or significant
other behind them.
turned to the remaining guards. "RUN!" he roared at them.
The four guards ran as fast as they could. "Quickly , into
the pods. They can't track both , and if they don't know who is
on which pod , they probably won't shoot at us."
and Zhaan ran to the far pod , Aeryn and I ran to the near one ,
Gabe and Bith following close behind. The other slaves clambered
into which transport pod they were closer too. We skipped the pre
flight check and took off , pushing the pod's engines to their limit.
I could hear the pod groaning against the strain.
off Aeryn , I think we made it." I said. I turned around to
see Gabe and Bith locked in another embrace. "Well , we did
one good thing today."
, open the docking bay , we're coming home." I said.
Natarians had been overjoyed that we brought one of their own back
to them. Bith's family treated all of us like long lost cousins
when we landed. I had invited both of them to come along with us
to find D'Argo's son , but Bith wanted to stay with her people ,
and Gabriel would do anything to make her happy. I knew how he felt.
When Bith announced her intention to make Gabriel her mate , the
party really got under way. Her father made us all Blood Kin to
his Clam , including Pilot and Moya. Even the slaves that wanted
to stay on Natara and build new lives were welcomed to his Clam.
The Natarians didn't have beer or fellip nectar , but they had something
that was pretty close. I was carrying a case of it back to my quarters.
you sad that your fellow human didn't want to stay with us Crichton?"
Chiana asked , as we walked towards our quarters from the docking
really Pip. It's just good to know there's another person like me
out here. And , he said we're always welcome on Natara. Well , his
new wife did." I replied with a wink.
was nice of Zhaan to marry them wasn't it?" Chiana said. "You
humans have strange rituals though." She frowned at me from
the door to my quarters. I hid the case of drinks from Natara as
best I could. I was pretty sure Rygel would try to find it , but
I convinced Pilot to have a DRD stand guard , just in case.
stranger than some of the others that I've seen out here. It was
nice to have another human to swap stories with while we took them
to Natara , even if I did have to catch him up on a few things that
had happened since he'd left." I rubbed my thighs , still on
fire from the wedding's reception. "Zhaan was right , those
people are great dancers. I didn't know Luxans could dance though.
I'm just glad D'Argo decided not to sing."
, I guess so." Chiana still sounded puzzled.
is it Pip?"
, I'm trying to figure out why Gabriel asked Aeryn , Zhaan , and
me to jump out of a cake , naked." Chiana looked at me , expecting
an explanation. I was too busy trying to get my breath.
a cake Crichton? And what is a Bachelor Party?"
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