5 - Viva Los Kudos!
gate was sure, donned in his black leather coat flapping in the
brisk breeze with a swagger to his walk and powerful shoulders
swaying. His pistols, exposed on both his thighs, reflected the
garish colors of the sky indigo turned bright. To John, the mighty
skyscrapers were lit up like Christmas trees, reminding him of
Las Vegas, New York...no...Hollywood!
got to be kidding me!" John said, looking at Aeryn . The
lights played on her face. Aeryn an angel? he thought.
Nah, but she sure was gorgeous in black leather. His mind
was going crazy over her, and his heart pumped double time in
her presence. He wondered what they were going to do about the
baby and her returning to Moya with him. But now wasn't
the time to address these matters. It was time to figure out what
the Regent really wanted of him.
she said with a grunt. "No wonder they need surveillance
and weaponry satellites, with this thoughtless display of fluff."
couldn't believe that came out of her mouth. It struck him like
a slap, "Hey, this is as close to Earth as you're gonna get,
so lighten up." And, it was very like his old planet.
They hurried toward Armana's "Temple of Gratuities,"
as guided by Captain Kendrell, walking beside them. They approached
the largest structure in the city--the one that doubled the tall
Sears tower. It was a stark contrast to the others and had an
achromatic tone that flickered violet, magenta, tangerine, melon,
lemon, then ochre by the flood lights.
spoke in John's ear, "Alas, be gentle with lady girl here,
she's a frisky cold wind. Brrrr." Kendrell mimicked a chill.
John reared back with laughter, his eyes watered from the captain's
wry remark. It was good to see someone else felt that refrigerator
witnessed the commotion. John thought these people couldn't have
sent probes to Earth to televise the Oscars and then return to
mimic the whole shebang. This was Yontur showing off her city.
There were critters everywhere, including races he recognized--human-like
Sebacians, gray-complexioned Nebaris, huge-type cranium Interons,
tentacle-sporting Luxens, and others he couldn't name. Personage
from afar streamed toward the complex like tributaries, silhouetted
against the pure white light as their ingress was toward the lobby
here we come!" John hollered. He was amazed, seeing vehicles
three limos long, pulling up to an endless slick silvery walkway
that sported a crimson carpet to the entrance. Flying audio blimps,
dozens of them, whirred above heralding the grand event in unison:
here at the Gratuities!
to meet the Regent Mo-tan-nish-no...
leaders from all around
who hear are meant to be invited...
see leaders from worlds afar!
music...sweet music. Music...sweet music. Music everywhere. Everybody
grab a partner. There's dancin' in the streets. That's
what John thought it sounded like--that old sixties song. Though
alien, it blasted with a rich resonating beat. It permeated him;
caused him to rock. And, what topped it off were the large video
screens, half the building's size, displaying what was occurring
in the convex temple. Flood lights searched the sky and lit the
structures, changing this time to emerald, gold, then crimson,
flashing across vertically, then horizontally.
with these people. We've landed in the middle of Gone With The
Wind's premier...or something? Look!" John cried. A flash
of ice green appeared among the crowd. It was Furlow all dolled
up in a light green gown with a headpiece! Couldn't be.
John touched Aeryn on the shoulder, "Did you see her? Furlow.
You know, Dam-ba-da."
Aeryn filed in after a group of four turquoise aliens entered.
"Come on, we're wasting time." John felt her snatch
him inside by the arm.
gone, maybe it wasn't her." John's voice was drowned out
by the cacophony.
an arn before, when D'Argo returned from Moya with John's
request for ammo, while they were in the Complex Royale's ready
room, he told John about Palimous delivering the food. D'Argo
had done the task of watching Palimous and the two barges' crew,
two men to each barge, keeping hidden from their sensors. He told
John about the overseer docking barges of food supply aboard Moya.
They were compacted in storage chambers equipped to keep the food
fresher than Moya's refrigeration units. D'Argo had boarded
Moya when Palimous and the empty barges left. And, in D'ArgoĆs
opinion, Sikozu and the overseer seemed to share more than judgment
on food, especially the way she railed about him. D'Argo grunted
on that note.
also quickly told John that Noranti saved the Laka bug's juice
and innards in a container ready made for John to sniff.
said you may need it; 500 microts and you forget everything,"
D'Argo said and handed the distiller to John. "I agreed.
You know, Mele-On Grayza?"
tasting bile at the mention of her name, "Commandant Cleavage.
I get it." That† woman had played whoopie with him too often
without his consent. A sniff of her sweat, mixed with heppel oil,
had caused John's endorphins to overreact. The Laka bug innards
were the only thing that neutralized the perfume, giving him a
clear head to escape her hold. He happily placed the precious
vile in his pocket.
here's your holster for the second pistol." He handed John
the holster that easily connected to his main belt strap and thigh.
"Pistol," D'Argo lay the gun in John's hand.
John said, balancing the dark weapon of steel that he stored away
after hearing the death of his departed counterpart in his left
hand, and with his right, he unclipped his other trusty pistol.
"Finally," his voice gruff, resonated through the room.
"Wynona Ryder!" John smiled with arms stretched, pistols
extended in opposite directions. He was happy; his balance was
back, including his Aeryn. He bellowed with laughter, then pivoted
360 degrees, "I'm complete!"
glanced at Aeryn, silent and aloof. She didn't look pleased, so
he stopped and quickly plopped the pistols in their holsters with
two resounding clicks. "I guess we need to get on with the
show." John turned and noticed D'Argo held something dangling,
wrapped in something like burlap.
got a surprise." D'Argo unwrapped it and revealed a casing
with weaponry. Then he pulled something out. "Remember this?"
extended his hand, "You got it!" D'Argo gave him the
shield belt. "I may need this." John patted D'Argo on
say you weren't protected." D'Argo gave John another hug.
you make sure, big guy, that Palimous and anything else he may
have left behind, other than the food, is off Moya. And,
make sure she hides so they won't know our location, got that?"
D'Argo nodded and left for his ship. "Meet me tomorrow morning,
and I'll try contacting tonight. Let you know how things went.
keep a watch." D'Argo left on that note.
John placed the weapons in a closet before Kendrell arrived for
Aeryn, then decided to accompany Aeryn and Kendrell.
filed at twenty different acceptance ports. Receiving each person
at the ports were grand ushers, tall creatures that looked like
a 1960 Chevy chrome bumpers turned vertical.
ushers bent with steely hands and said in voices that bounced
from the walls, "Put your hand in the portal detector, then
you will be ready for entrance and protocol."
interior lobby was larger than what John expected from the outside
of the structure, probably an optical illusion, with silver white
walls reflecting everyone's figure. Perfumes, aromas like apple,
watermelon, rubber, and traditional ones of floral and spice clouded
his senses--it would take getting used to. It was like a vacuum
in there, no sound of the ruckus from outside, and none from the
entrance of the reception area. Short tubules, six metras long,
extended from twenty entrances, which likely isolated the noise
within the reception area.
before the tubules were the check-in points. "Your weapons,
please," requested a small, purple biped with tentacles for
arms, reaching for John's pistols.
felt the slimy tentacle against his hand. "Hey!" he
cried, and slapped it away. Strange. But what has he seen or heard
any stranger? Oh no, he had done something wrong, noticing the
perturbed usher, advancing toward him. John quickly relinquished
his weapons and coat. He received a round plastic claim tag that
attached to the inner pockets of his black leather vest D'Argo
had brought from Moya. Aeryn and Kendrell did likewise,
smoothly and without friction. Well, it was their galaxy.
transparent, circular door slid behind the crew, then the one
before them slid open. When they entered, it hit like a monsoon--waves
of music, blinding flashes of colors, and tantalizing aromas of
food coming from the reception room! John couldn't move for a
microt, neither could Aeryn or Kendrell. Amazing. John's name
and background was announced, as if he were on a popular football
team at the annual Super Bowl game. He imagined himself running
around the arena, arms raised, pumping as the crowd cheered his
name. But then Aeryn and Kendrell were announced in the same fashion.
They marched together side by side, glanced in the darkness as
spotlights played on their faces. They couldn't see the crowd,
but just beyond their sight, a table lit up--not a lamp--but the
whole table and the square part of the floor. The grand usher
had informed them beforehand that's how their table would be identified.
John said as they approached the blue-lit table, "this beats
Vegas." He chuckled and noticed Aeryn and Kendrell weren't
listening to him. What was up with them? They should be enjoying
the whole setup. Exotic food was spread on the table, ready to
wrong with you dead pans? This is it! Party time!" Before
John got a response, the place lit up--lights bright like the
sun--and then the music quelled. Adu commenced eating.
while chewing on a round piece of fuchsia meat, looked up toward
the ceiling and noticed †stalactite
crystals with variations in style and size, were everywhere. John
nudged Kendrell almost causing him to choke on the food in his
Cap, what's up with all that hanging stuff. It's everywhere."
leaned toward John, with an ominous blue reflective light against
his melanin skin, and spat the food onto his plate. "Ahhh,
observant. Very good."
counteracted, leaning closer, "Don't put me through a litmus
test, Cap. Just tell me what the heck they're for."
me Adu. Those structures are an all-in-one convenience package.
Each crystal has its own surveillance eye, integrated with
the others, creating a 360 degree surveillance system. These crystals,
my man, also serve as lighting and are very efficient."
like a commercial." John grunted, peered at Aeryn, who was
silently eating but listening also. John noticed she was wearing
an ebony vest, which must've been hidden beneath her flight jacket
before she took it off in the ready room. The vest was zipped
over her spaghetti-strap top, a pity, he thought, he would've
enjoyed the sight of her tantalizing, ivory landscape.
continued, "Once those crystals are energized, they can be
controlled by dimming, brightening, high-speed flashing."
noticed Aeryn's brow crease as she sat silently having finished
her meal. There had to be more to this. It was getting hard to
speak once again since the lights dimmed slightly and music started
up again. People that he no longer called aliens spilled toward
the center of the room, which appeared to be a dance floor.
do they get the crystals from?" he asked.
in the mines," Aeryn's gruff voice was heard clearly above
prolific beneath Yontur's surface," Kendrell said. "Sophisticated
tunnels have been drilled from this city to others across this
a reason for this, John," Aeryn said, then looked at Kendrell.
John cocked his head to one side.
brother man, they can become explosive."
mean, one of those can drop and...Ka-boom!
nodded. "There is an artificially made chemical, when mixed
in correct proportions with the crystalline substance, contained
in an encasement, and then ignited, can detonate to a one-hundred-thousand
candle-light energy blast."
got to be kidding me."
worry, my man, there is no such chemical here."
feigned shivering, smiling, "Gives you the heebee geebees."
what I'm here for. To deter any Ka-booms! as you say."
sat back with coolness, "Tell him the rest."
more?" This was getting worse by the minute. And to think,
he had wanted to mix with the crowd and dance.
drew Crichton's attention by locking eyes. "The compound
has to be formulated with those very crystals up there, acting
as the natural alkaline. Notice, I've said Ćartificially made'?
The igniting compound is made from extracts of the crystal called
CL3. I've been investigating and discovered a heavy shipment of
it being transferred to an invisible buyer. There's been two large
barge transports made possessing containers with CL3. It takes
three parts of CL3 and one part of the artificial chemical called
fribrium to make this dangerous concoction."
could sense where this was leading, "What's the problem?"
makes a powerful weapon. Someone could destroy this planet given
the right tools. The shipment was enough to blow this planet,
taking at least three others. We have to keep an eye out. Not
everyone wants this alliance to succeed."
wondered why he was drawn into this conspiracy and trusted with
the critical information, but with Aeryn here--
you pleasure us with a drink, sir?" The waitress offered
a thin glowing green liquid in tall looking lava lamps to them.
John and Kendrell grabbed the containers. Aeryn sat back with
arms crossed. What's eating her? John thought.
neither of you should drink." Aeryn said with arms still
it alcoholic?" John asked.
then," he slurped down the ice-packed green drink.
wouldn't drink that," Aeryn had such a wicked smile on her
face. John squinted and drank it halfway down, then burped. Aeryn
he cursed. "GOD! Has this got KICK!" He felt
woozy. It was burning straight through him, he started to sweat,
and his mouth felt rubbery.
chuckled, "Probably some allergic reaction, should last only
about eighty microts."
leaned into Kendrell, "What does the drink do?" he asked.
heard it can enhance the adrenaline or act as a depressant for
leaned back in her chair, "He never listens. Look at him,
and we're supposed to be focused."
focused," John said, emphatically, slamming his hand on the
table, and perused the center of the room where the people were
had already drunk the green stuff, "Go ahead, participate."
slumped in his chair. "Nah!" His head lolled back as
Kendrell got up and stood behind with hands on John's shoulders.
want to participate? Brother man can't dance? Alas, afraid?"
think I can't dance?"
then," John got up, flinging the chair back while heads turned
as it crashed into another table, causing those seated there to
jump from the impact. "Let's show 'em how!"
left Aeryn at the table, but John turned back and grabbed her
hand, "Come on, Aeryn. Scared?"
stood, "Someone has to focus."
her toward the dancing area. She didn't resist. She put her hands
on his shoulders and joined the dance with him.† His head was
swimming, feeling her warm breath against his neck. He felt happy,
happier than he'd been for cycles.
music slowed. John held her close; he could tell she didn't know
what to do. "Here, put your feet on mines. Like this."
John touched her upper thigh, she stepped onto his feet. He did
some steps--forward, backwards. She looked flustered but stayed
is strange, embarrassing."
no, stay with me. Feel me, where I go. Feels good, huh?"
He cooed in her ear, coaxing her to relax. He sensed her heart
patter against his chest. That delicious smell of leather and
her skin tingled his senses. "It's okay, just have some fun,
baby." He nestled into the curve of her neck and felt her
silky hair caress his face. He could stay there forever.
the music changed, the tempo too quick. He saw arms lifting, bouncing
heads, stomping feet...if he wanted to call the couple next to
him having feet...more like hooves. The strobes were bright, sharp,
making him lightheaded, felt good. The base resonated through
him, pumped his adrenalin or was it the drink? he couldn't tell.
It didn't matter.
jumped off his feet in response to his erratic movements, no longer
smooth. She stood erect, not making a move while he bounced to
the beat, his head bobbing up and down. Idiot! She crossed
her arms, began looking around for any disturbance. This wasn't
going the way she thought it should. It was good until he started
this act of an imbecile. He looked like an archaic piston, jumping
up and down, out of rhythm from the others, causing sparks.
good, Aeryn," John yelled above the blasting noise. "Go
with the flow! Come on, shake those shoulders!"
peered at him, cocked her head to the side with arms crossed,
on, shake Ćem like I did when I was in your body, like this."
John shook his shoulders, then slightly bent over to shake his
hips against hers. "Come on, baby!"
is adorable, she thought, in his clumsy way. "I...I
can't!" She felt him grab her shoulders, and he began to
gyrate them. "This is ridiculous, I won't!" She
swatted his arms away and turned to leave but was trapped by the
crowd. She felt seeking hands on her hips and him calling to her,
his voice like the deep reverberating hum of her prowler, "Come
on, come on, come on, baby." In a spin, she was directly
facing him with his arms wrapped around her waist. Strong arms.
Strong lips and she touched them with her fingertips, his bouncing
ceased. He stared, said nothing.
I have to check on some things. I have to leave. Please. Get a
get a grip." This time his voice rumbled, low, soft, like
a feline's purr. "Mmm."
you told us you felt someone following you." He kept caressing
her, his hand on the nape her neck, the other on her hip, rhythmic,
graceful. "If you would focus on what's around." She
felt a pinch on her backside. "Crichton!" She jumped,
then laughed with him. His crystal-like eyes sparkled bright with
mischief. Despite his manliness, innocence shined through for
her that night. She stroked his face and found the creases that
ran vertically on each side of his cheeks...dimples was what he
called them...they deepened with his smile. Her stomach flipped.
Ignore and focus.
she spoke in her authoritarian tone into his ear, "I checked
with security and no mechanics or techs were scheduled to maintenance
those crafts today. So there is something out there."
his voice was still relaxed, low, rumbling in her ear. "I'll
keep an eye out." She could feel his hips swerve softly to
the beat against her pelvis. It was enticing. Never, never, never
had anything felt so good to her except him. John Crichton,
she thought as she closed her eyes. She was glad she didn't take
that drink because her resolve would be lost, and she wouldn't
be able to resist this moment for their safety.
have to look around." She opened her eyes, unhooked his softening
embrace, then went toward the other end of the room. She looked
over her shoulder, she saw him standing still in the center of
the room with the music blaring, people dancing around him, lights
flashing. She heard him from far away.
turned away. "Frell," she sighed.
now, brother man, thought you said you could dance." Kendrell
plopped his hand on John's still shoulder. "Back there for
a while you looked like a fish flapping on the beach. Flap, flap,
flap, struggling for life, struggling for air. Do you hear me,
man, the music's playing."
John said, quietly, barely distinguishable, "I hear you."
He still looked in Aeryn's direction.
redirected John's attention, as he gracefully showed him ways
to shake and move without bobbing. "Keep your center, let
your hips, shoulders do the work, not your head." John lamely
want lady girl, you've got to have grace, patience. Work her like
your pistol. No jerky movements. No self-pity. "
stopped abruptly, squinting, and locking eyes with this stranger.
"What do you mean?" he said slowly.
took John by the arm and began toward the table when Aeryn came
from behind and tagged his shoulder.
Furlow! Over there!" Aeryn said with urgency, pointing. He
turned, followed Aeryn's aim toward the dancing crowd. Only a
few motras away, he saw Furlow of Dam-ba-da, the mechanic who
fixed his module. The one who took the data on his wormhole research
to barter his module back. PAID IN FULL with his counterpart's
us Adu, we've got an appointment with an old friend." John
grabbed Aeryn's arm, "Let's go."
saw her talking to a few aliens, brown creatures shorter than
her and thin as spaghetti. She was probably running a con on them.
What shocked him was her dress. John thought all anyone needed
to do was take her mechanic outfit, make an ice-green gown with
the same restraints under her chest and around her waist, then
take a silver headpiece shaped with holes, like a frosting cap...no...a
colander, and pull strands of her sandy hair through it. Yeah,
I'll just strain her thin, he thought.
Furlow noticed their approach, John interrupted the heated conversation.
us," John said to her companions, their eyes bulged larger
than the width of their bodies. John smiled, "We've got an
pay them any mind, they're old customers. You don't mind?"
Furlow asked her companions that squabbled. She turned to Crichton
with a wry smile, "Looks like they don't--"
Furlow finished, John and Aeryn braced her in a tight hold on
each side. They whisked the twisting captive away, retrieved their
weapons, except Furlow's, and rushed her through the tubules to
the outside, where more cacophony sounded.
and Aeryn, still not speaking a word, took Furlow down a dark
alley behind an adjacent skyscraper. To John, she was like a porcupine--playful,
cuddly, and eatable to unknowing victims, but painfully dangerous.
This 280-pound gal he had to be careful with.
John could say anything, Furlow gave that innocent look with her
vanilla ice-cream eyes.
you are," Furlow said, slightly tilting her head, "The
sexiest flyboy this side of Yuton."
sweet quill caught him off guard. John responded with his ego
inflated and gave her a grin. "Dang, Furlow, you look mighty
spiffy in your rags."
girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do." John noticed, she
did that shimmy, shake with her head without her headpiece or
up! How's the entrepreneur Mama of Dam-ba-da doin'?"
now you're here." Furlow looked at Aeryn, then John. "What
happened to you lovebirds? Last time, you were so feely, feely...touchy,
quill. It lanced John's heart to hear his former counterpart and
Aeryn were such an item, and everyone else saw it...openly...plainly.
Reacting from the pain of knowing, John slammed Furlow into the
give you touchy. We've got some questions you'd better answer
or you'll be a part of this wall!" John sucked in his lower
lip, his face ominous, tense, and pressed his pulse pistol against
drew John's attention away, touched his shoulder and shook her
head. John then released the pressure on Furlow and lowered his
are you doing here?" Aeryn asked. John saw shadows play on
Aeryn's face. A dark unfamiliar smile seemed to form out of sheer
control near the brink of violence.
a good time, like you guys." Furlow looked at John, "I
see you took my advice and let someone else be the hero or you
actually did shut down that engine."
quill. Pain inflicted,
a fluid move, Aeryn pushed John aside, and with her forearm and
elbow, smashed against Furlow's throat and rammed her onto the
structure. "You will tell us what is frelling happening
in there and why these people are invited. Understand?"
can do your Peacekeeper thing if you want," Furlow said,
choking the words out, "but you've got the wrong bait. It's
you, not me." Furlow made her triumphant speech, John could
see she wasn't giving up anything. He nodded to Aeryn and she
released the chokehold.
all been invited," John said, feeling defeated. "So
it's no secret. Why are you really here?"
Scarrans, Peacekeepers, and you..." she rubbed her throat
"a melting pot of gold. I wouldn't want to miss it for anything.
Oh, did you know the Regent's speaking at midnight and it's only
eleven. And, you know, tonight has something to do with the lining
up of three moons. Romantic isn't it, like a pagan celebration
made in Armana just for you, gorgeous." John saw her scanning
him up and down. Lusty old girl, he mused. Then
unintentionally he perused her full bosom, showing as the sudden
refraction of flood lights danced on her milky skin. She blew
him a kiss.
and Aeryn looked at each other. "Let's go back," they
said. And they let Furlow go with a bruise to her throat. She
strutted away in her ice-green gown, having pierced her victims
to senselessness, as with the porcupine's quills.
returned to their table with no trouble, no interference, and
apparently missed nothing of importance. While they were gone,
the ushers had cleared their plates and dining ware. At the moment,
there were entertainers, a trio, three creatures whose bodies
convoluted, like contortionists with swirls of flashes, in and
out, out and in. Disgusting. John leaned the back of his chair
against the table, turned toward the front stage of the action.
He crossed his arms, propped himself, and absently rubbed the
fleshy part of his lower lip with the pad of his thumb.†
noticed Adu had guarded their table while they were away taking
care of business. It couldn't just be fate. It couldn't just be
fortune. John leaned further. The Regent, Palimous, this whole
alliance crap, what did they really want from him? John's scowl
didn't go unnoticed by Aeryn's wing man.
Adu said, slapped his hand on John's shoulder. John shrugged at
the intrusive gesture. "This is your first time?"
are you gettin' at?" John asked.
here on Yontur. Strange isn't it?"
no stranger than a cover-up."
felt Adu withdraw his hand, probably the guy is smiling wider
smart, real smart." Adu shook his full bush of hair and finally
sat beside John.
was lurking behind Adu's eyes? Seemed like lurkers and lurking
were on John's top ten hit list.
dancing trio halted while the clanging, choppy music was replaced
with a whiney flute. A voice...a whispered voice was echoing in
John's ear. Secrets. Secrets. Never trust them. Don't be naive.
Always watch your step. John made a startled, thrashing movement
with his arm, almost falling out of his chair. Whoops! Guests'
eyes gaped at his erratic behavior.
cut it out, not in public. John's
arm now rested on the table, and he sat more erect. Rattlers,
when do they cease? Oh no, not now! Harvey appeared with
a tutu and ballet slippers over his black temperature suit.
rolled with laughter, "You take the cake, Prima. Now, what
are ya doin' here?"
show of expression is so exhilarating. Dance isn't it? How can
you despise it?" Harvey in his silky voice, perused John's
outward environment of dimming lights and screens lighting up
around the rim of the humongous room. "I am actually enjoying
myself. Thank you, John, for not taking my advice and killing
up!" John hissed.
you all right?" Aeryn asked from across the table.
yeah, just thinking." He hated to get out of control, let
them see him talking to the air. God, he was insane. Well, not
really. If he behaved this way on Earth, he'd be behind padded
walls. Poor shell-shocked Viet-Nam vets, they had their brush
with death, drugs, and insanity. He laughed a hallow laugh. Yessir,
he was a product of the Uncharted Territories, yours truly, John
Crichton, new and used.
twirled on pointed toes. Offensive. He'll never visualize ballet
the same anymore. Harvey huffed and puffed and stopped. "You
must watch out because this place is so...so wonderful. It would
be a pity to see it go. Well, I must make my departure. Goodbye."
You son of a--
John, look," Aeryn nudged him and† pointed toward the screens.
The† reception hall had filled with an encircling screen, the
walls themselves a complete screen. And Aeryn was no longer across
the table, but sitting beside him.
images of the Regent appeared, then different worlds flashed in
an electrical reality. Some worlds John had visited and others
he had never seen played on the screen. Then the images moved
three-dimensionally from the screens toward the middle of the
room. Overtones of the Regent's voice rippled the atmosphere.
Holograms now, so real, brilliant, flashed, showing aliens, faces
was Snow White from that Utopia planet that John had visited early
on in his accidental tourist career. Volmae was her name, the
leader from the planet Sykar who started a new rebellion, locking
all trades in place, starving the Peacekeepers of their Chakan
spaghetti couple were king and queen of their world and vied against
the Scarrans and the hoofed people opposed the Peacekeeper's hope
to truce with the Scarrens. But there were others mentioned by
the Regent, many others.
the finale. Moya's descent on the shadow depository and Talyn's
destruction of it, and the command carrier's implosion. John was
the strategist, according to the Regent's accolades. Yes, John
was their main hero.
how did they...how?" John asked, his face flushed, he was
leaned close, speaking in her deep, matter-of-fact tone, "Analyze
this. There are recorders, satellites everywhere, reading what
takes place, always leaving a file. You know that Peacekeepers
are very efficient. These people could have had a spy and stolen
copies of these files."
secrets," John whispered, rubbing his lip harder. The rattlers
lights blasted at full strength and almost made John jump out
of his skin, but externally, he appeared calm. He willed himself
to stop being jittery and wished for his Wynona.
greet you my visitors." The Regent Mo-tan-nish-no glided
toward the dais with an outfit, a glimmering outfit. The ruler's
robe and hat were constructed of small shimmering gold coins.
The rich fat cat poured out syrup-filled compliments. "Everyone,
acknowledge our heroes and let us give homage where homage is
due! Stand! Clap! Everyone!"
thunderous response ensued. Chairs screeched back, bodies ruffled,
and responded in the humongous hall. The sea of aliens stood with
glee, clapped, cheered, and chanted John's name over and over
again. So the Super Bowl vision was to be fulfilled here on Yontur.
John stood and pulled Aeryn up with him, hoping the tumult would
stop, bowed his head hesitantly, and plopped back in the chair.
Aeryn sat in cue with John. A frelling, embarrassing experience,
especially when he couldn't trust them.
was an arduous night. The regent had invited John and others to
sign an agreement to make an alliance the next day at midday.
John planned to be there. He was going to tell them thanks, but
no thanks. Once the event ended, John, Aeryn, and Adu left, retrieving
their coats and weapons.
was good to get some fresh air. It was good to get out of there
with no explosions or assassinations. Great! He could relax. As
they neared a walkway, John wondered why Furlow really was there
and why they hadn't mentioned her during the program.
Aeryn interrupted John's revelry. "I'll meet with you at
the barracks." Adu nodded toward her and smiled at John.
the most reverend brother man, you must feel good," Adu said.
like eating crow," John said, looking toward the moons. Moya
was behind one of them. Then he pulled up his coat sleeve and
looked at his chronometer, midnight? It was a few arns afterwards,
near dawn. What were Pip, Sikozu and Palimous doing? Adu had already
said goodnight and left. Aeryn was peering at him, tilting her
head. He saw her, but as if from far away. He felt a piece of
himself was gone. Was he a copy, missing a part of himself or
just plain homesick?
still don't trust them." John said, while walking toward
the Complex Royale.
don't trust anyone."
we going on this merry-go-round again?" His words came too
quickly, too sharp. He hoped Aeryn wouldn't take offense.
smiled coyly, "We've had good results."
chuckled. She always brought him back to reality. He felt real
with her and put his arm around her waist. It was so good to be
back with her. "Okay, I don't trust the Regent, Palimous,
kept astride once John took his arms off her waist and began to
gesture and explain. He stopped at the alley where they confronted
Furlow. "See, there was no mention of Furlow. I would think
she's pretty key in all this. And these people, they're rich.
They're too far out in this territory along with the planet's
resources being low. There's not enough water. And they're rich.
There's a symbiotic thing going on here, and I've got to find
out who it is."
why don't you leave now? Avoid all this?"
And not check out why they need me? It would be rude for me to
up and leave like that. You know me, Aeryn. I've got to know who,
what, why, when, and how. Besides, I'm afraid we're being set
up like sitting ducks ready for peacekeeper target practice."
shrugged her shoulders, "Then we'll have to prepare for ambush.
Simple as that."
raked his fingers through his hair, "It's not that easy with
you here." His voice was low, deep. He pulled her closer,
sniffed her wonderful scent that drove him wild, and gently stroked
do you mean?" Her voice went to a purr. "I'm battle
know, but--" He felt Aeryn's muscles tense. She abruptly
backed away. "Tell me now, Aeryn. We've got to talk before
things get nasty." She glanced back.
do you see something, about five metras away?"
it's too dark." But he felt his hackles rise, prickles up
Aeryn paced ahead through the alley. John could see her shadowed
figure, but other forms seemed to coalesce into clumps near the
structure's wall. God, they were everywhere, and they stank.
Ru--" Aeryn started to yell, but her sounds became muffled.
A struggle was ensuing.
whipped out his pistols and pulled the triggers to fire. No response.
He sniffed them. The Chakan oil smelled flat. He heard Aeryn yell
again, a strangling sound this time, but there was no pulse fire
coming from her direction. He hit his comm for D'Argo. That didn't
work either. Frell! Nothing worked!
John yelled, swerved, and swerved again, boxing at a massive,
but indistinctive form that overtook him. He couldn't breathe
or see. They blew something in his nose and eyes. Pain. Little
hands grabbed him everywhere, suppressing him. Black little creatures
with ember eyes. They brought him down, slammed him to the ground.
John struggled, but they swarmed, then melted away as fast as
He yelled down the alley where she disappeared. His heart drummed
too loud. His thinking became clouded by the continuous roar in
his head. His chest heaved with pain. He bounced up and dashed
toward her last direction. His hands felt the walls of the structures,
then helplessly pounded on them. He hoped, cried they would open
and deliver Aeryn to him. Nothing. He knew she wouldn't answer
back. She was gone. Out of fear or sheer need, he kept yelling
for her. Fury became his companion. His vision was blurred. His
eyes burned. He tried to regain control. Aeryn could take care
of herself. She could. He tried to convince himself. But they
had stolen her, those dark, dirty creatures. The regent and
Palimous! It's their planet. They have to know something.
ran toward Armana's Temple of Gratuities.
Angels continues with part 6 >>