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"We have got to find out what's going on, and we need to find out quickly," said Chaz half out of breath from the previous attack from eight Locustas ganging up on everyone.
Tom stopped and pointed to Aiedo,"Hey, look. It's Aiedo and isn't that a shapeship?"
Chaz and Rika looked towards their home and sure enough the Landale was parked right in front of the gates of Aiedo. Standing in front of the well known spaceship were some familiar and one not quite so familiar face. Wren was doing some maintenance work with the unknown person, while Rune "supervised." Demi turned and saw them and waved at the worn out group. Chaz and Rika waved back. Tom not really knowing any of them waved just to follow suit with his partners.
Everyone came to great each other with warm smiles, hellos, and other such greetings, when Chaz and Rune both said at the same time:
"So, who's your friend?"
Chaz and Rune laughed at that. Chaz spoke up first. "Everybody, this is Tom Steiner, he is our new partner at the guild. I saw the same talent in him that I believe Alys saw in me."
Rune raised an eyebrow in thought, "Steiner?"
Tom raised his hand and Rune took it, "Yes, Rudolf Steiner was my ancestor."
Rune smiled, "Yes, Lutz's memory of Esper Rolf and his friends Rudo and Anna Steiner are among the stronger memories."
"Lutz?" asked Tom
Chaz put a hand on Tom's shoulder and smiled, "Tom, this is Rune Walsh, aka the fifth generation Lutz."
"Hello tiny legs."
"Tom, ignore him."
Everyone except Tom, Wren, and the unknown person laughed at that.
"This is the android Wren."
"Hello," was the curt response.
"This is Demi, Wren's assistant."
"It's a pleasure to met you."
Tom smiled at the polite android and nodded trying to remember everybody's name.
"And I don't believe that we have met."
The unknown person stepped up and offered his hand.
"My name is Derren. Both Demi and Wren created me."
After that announcement you could here a pin drop.
Rune broke the silence. "Yeah, when I heard that Wren and Demi had created a 'little one', I offered Wren a big Molcum cigar, but he didn't seem to want one." Rune then threw his head back and laughed like he had just said the funniest thing in the world.
It was ironic that Rune referred to Derren as 'little one', because the fact of the matter is, Derren was huge. He was almost, but not quite, bigger then Wren.
Tom looked confused, "This is the Lutz of legend?"
"I'm afraid so, apparently the fourth Lutz lost a bet," said Chaz with a smirk on his face.
"Well, Chaz I see that you haven't changed."
"Neither have you old friend."
"Derren, you don't look like an android at all," said Rika inquisitively, "and Rune we missed you at the wedding."
Rune just shrugged his shoulders as if to say "So." Rika's face started to turn red and everybody stepped out of her way, but Rika managed to calm herself down.
Chaz whispered to Rune, "You are lucky."
Demi then stepped inbetween them, "Yes, Derren was given a more Motavian appearance, for the sake of blending in."
"I hate to break up this little reunion, but we need to talk about we is happening in Algo," said Wren.
"Right, you have no idea what has happened to us on our way back from the academy," said Chaz.
The three then tell of what happened to them from the discovery of the Zio cult symbol on their suspects chest to the attack to the highly organized bio-monster attacks.
"Zio," was all Rune could get out.
"Yeah, it sends shivers down my spine too," said Chaz.
"I'm worried about the bio-monster's organization. It's as if someone is controlling them, but I didn't think that that was possible," said Demi.
Wren moved to the Landale.
"Wren, what is it?"
"Nothing of major importance, but I detected an anomaly at Kuran some time ago. It didn't seem that important, so I neglected taking care of it. Demi, isn't there another shuttle at the spaceport?"
"No, but I think that there is one at the Machine Center."
"Rika, Tom, and I have gone to the Machine Center a couple of times, we found a bunch of LandRovers and Hydrofoils to use for the guild, but there were some other things there and we weren't sure what they were."
They all get into the Landale and headed off to the Machine Center and sure enough there was a small shuttle there that could be used.
"Derren, I want you to go to Kuran to see just what is wrong up there."
"Sure thing father."
Wren flinched just a little bit at Derren calling him father, but the flinch was so slight that no one except Derren noticed.
The shuttle then took off for the satellite Kuran.
Tom spoke up, "What should we do now?"
"Now, we head back to Aiedo and decide just what are we going to do next."
Peace. It almost seemed like a trivial concept, and yet it was here. When the sickness that was brought about from the Black Energy Wave had nearly killed off every Meese resident the Espers came did everything in their power to save them. Not to mention that Dark Force was defeat by Lutz, the Esper leader. In addition to all of this, not one single person from Dezolis was able to defeat Dark Force, due to their sensitivity to the Black Energy Wave that Dark Force was creating. Needless to say, the efforts of Chaz and company had resulted in a complete attitude change to Motavians and Espers, and for the first time in nearly 2000 years....the blue protection field around Esper Mansion was no longer needed.
Rajim made sure the box containing the Eclipse Torch was secure. "It's amazing that something so small can be so powerful. Jn'pokhan, why aren't we announcing our trip to Meese. I mean we could have..."
Raja had flinched at title Jn'pokhan. He hated titles, usually trouble came with him, even if he was the religious leader of Dezolis, and talk was spreading that Raja could be president within a few years. Then again, maybe that is just what Raja is afraid of.
"Trust my judgement," was all Raja said.
"No buts, and no titles. Call me Raja. Ka'Glem has no problem with that why do you?"
"Jn'p...Raja, it is...unfit for someone of your stature to..."
"What? Travel in secret, look something is amiss here. The haven't been any Carnivorous Trees since that dreaded tower, and now their back and at the Presidential Building no less. Besides, Dezolis is finally at peace for the first time in who knows how many years. I don't want anything to disturb that. An armed escort is NOT how you keep the peace."
"Jn'pokhan, I know that..."
"Rajim, this discussion is over," said Raja and then went back to his book.
Rajim knew that he would get nothing more out of this so he decided to drop it. Raja however knew what was so troubling for Rajim, here he was with royal blood in his veins and had no chance of getting a position of power, do to the fact that the Poh'tekkan no longer has any real power, while sitting right across from was a possible future presidential candidate.
Raja decided to break the sudden silence that had emerged from Raja and Rajim's last conversation, "So, Ka'Glem how long before we reach Meese."
"It'll be another two hours, that is, unless I take one my special shortcuts," said Ka'Glen with a smirk.
Rajim's eyes widened in horror, while Raja broke out into laughter. the last time they took a Ka'Glem shortcut the Ice Digger cut stuck in some really thick ice, or a two-hour trip, became a seven and half hour trip.
"Calm down, Rajim. Ka'Glem was just joking. We need to get Meese as soon as possible to rectify this situation."
"Jn'pokhan, are you truly worried that the peace will be broken?" asked Rajim.
Rajim sighed, a habit he had picked up from the Motavians, "My friend, I feel like these trees are just the beginning."
It was at that exact moment that the Ice Digger skid to the side and an explosion rocked the Ice Digger, just barely missing.
"We're under attack!" shouted Ka'Glem.
[Duh!] "You know sometimes I hate being right all of the time. Hey, Ka'Glem! I thought I told you to avoid your shortcut this trip."
Ka'Glem laughed, "Tell that to the guys with the big guns!"
"How do you know they have guns?" shouted Rajim over all the noise.
"Will you stop seeing conspiracy everywhere?!" shouted Raja, "and call for backup!"
"Jn'pokhan, the radio is dead!" said Rajam.
"And so are we," thought Raja.
Juza looked down as the puny Ice Digger tried in vain to avoid his troops shots. Flying his ship and firing his own cannons now and again to add to his humor. Just as one blast nearly knocked the Digger into a frozen lake which would be a pain to recover.
"Alpha 3, they NOT to be harmed," said Juza
"Sorry sir," said the subordinate.
"Sorry doesn't cut it. Lord Lassic would take it out on you personally, should his prize be damaged!" shouted Juza.
Juza wasn't referring to the torch, but to its occupants. Their great master had something special for them.
Raja looked out of the viewport ,"Look at those ships! I wonder where they got all of those."
Another blast rocked the Ice Digger. Raja looked around. "Stop the Digger."
They both gave him a bizarre look and said at the same time "Are you nuts?!?!"
"Look, they're just toying with us. With all of their weaponry they either can't hit the broad side of a planet or they want us alive."
Rajim looked up suddenly. "The Eclipse Torch!"
"Of course! Ka'Glem you keep driving, Rajim load the Eclipse Torch into the cannon," said Raja
"Are you crazy?" asked Rajim
"Yes, now do it," said Raja.
"Will that work?" asked Ka'Glem.
"Probably not, but I can't take the chance that the torch will fall into the wrong hands, the result would be cataclysmic," said Raja.
"You're right," said Ka'Glem.
"Loaded," called Rajim from the back.
"Aim for the Musk Cat Cave, it's the closest place to our current location," said Raja.
"Ready," said Rajim.
It worked. The Eclipse Torch flew through the air glowing like a heated plasma charge and went just underneath one of the planes and landed some distance away.
"But, won't that damage The Torch?" asked Ka'Glem
"Nothing I know of can even damage the torch," said Raja.
Juza smiled. It was time to end his fun. "Cease fire." A series of "Yes sir!" came in and Juza charged his ion weapon. A weapon that shorts out every single electric component in its target. Juza joyfully pushed the fire button and it hit home, there was series of external sparks as all of the Ice Diggers systems shorted out.
"Land, capture the occupants, and get my the Eclipse Torch."
"What? They've stopped firing," observed Raja.
"Now, they're going to kill us, since our fun is over," said Ka'Glem.
The Ice Digger shook with such force that all three of them were tossed about, as circuit boards exploded or shorted out, and then it all went dead.
"What was that?" asked Rajim.
"An ion cannon would be my guess," said Ka'Glem.
"Great," was all Raja could manage.
After what seemed like an eternity in the dark the doors flew open with the blast from a plasma rifle from outside.
"All right you green freaks of nature, step outside," shouted a solder.
Rajim's face turned slightly blue, a sign of great agitation.
"Now Rajim, getting angry is no way to solve our current dilemma," said Raja.
They all stepped out. Faced with about fifty Motavians aiming their rifles at them. Raja sighed his disappointment.
[So much progress, so little learned.]
Five guards rushed into the Ice Digger and began to rampage threw the transport in order to find the Eclipse Torch that wasn't there.
Juza's ship landed and stepped out and walked up to them and laughed his evil laugh. Just then one of guards inside of the Ice Digger came up to the door.
"Raja I presume," mocked Juza.
"Who or what are you?" asked Raja angrily.
"I am Juza, great disciple to the all powerful..."
"Great Juza, the Torch is not in here!"
"What?!" inquired Juza, he then turned and walked right up to Raja, "all right where is it you green freak?"
"Say please," said Raja.
Juza loosing his temper fired a shot of the Black Energy Wave right at Raja, he yelled out in agony and fell, Rajim ran to him.
Juza stopped him. "Perhaps you know."
And for the first time Rajim decided to use Rajas form of humor, "Oh, did I forget to pack it? What was I thinking?"
"Oh please," scoffed Ka'Glem "the old fool loaded it into the cannon and fired it towards the Musk Cat Cave."
"Oh really? Thank you Ka'Glem. Not we can finish our mission and dispose of those fleabags at the same time!" said Juza laughing.
Raja tried to sit up, but the pain in his chest was too strong. His eyes for a bright red and his face was turning blue. He was VERY upset.
"Ka'Glem you Mus'nok! I trusted you! And here you've been cooperating with these Patiaks!" shouted Raja.
Juza laughed, "My, my, my, such language from such a Punyas."
Juza and Ka'Glem laugh at that. While they are laughing Rajim moved over to Raja who is still on the ground, but is starting to recover. Rajim puts a trimate on Raja's wound.
"Jn'Pokhan," was all Rajim could say.
"Rajim," whispered Raja, "they are after me not you."
"No buts, I will create a distraction, you steal a ship and warn the Musk Cats."
"Good, now help me up."
Rajim helps Raja up, but Raja needs little help, the trimate seems to have helped considerably. But Raja pretends to be more seriously injured.
Ka'Glem laughed, "Ah, look. Do you need help old man."
"Actually no. Rajim NOW!!" shouted Raja
Rajim bolted for one of the closest ships as a dozen troops took aim, but Raja took a full stance and held out his hands, and shouted "Saint Fire!!" A full burst of blue smoke and flame flew out and Ka'Glem was at the epicenter, he fell to the ground in a smoking heap, Most of guards were either knocked down or were distracted by Raja, including Juza who turned and fired a blast of Black Energy at Raja knocking him out cold, he then moved over to the unmoving body of Raja and laughed.
"You don't know how lucky you are that Lord Lassic wants you alive."
No one even noticed Rajim getting into one of the ships, he even had time to get a reasonable proximity of where the Eclipse Torch, and then he started the engines. Juza's troops turned towards the source of the new sounds, they then charged up their plasma rifles, but it was too late Rajim had gone off to recover the Eclipse Torch and warn the Musk Cats.
"Everyone! Into the your ships, follow that green freak!" shouted Juza "I'll go to Lassic and deliver his prize."
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