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Star Blade Refugees Episode II

Star Blade Refugees Episode II

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Published by Benjamin F. Kaye
"Sam's Place"
"Sam's Place"

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Published by: Benjamin F. Kaye on May 05, 2013
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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07/08/2013

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1Sam
s Place
UThe red lights flashed.
Warning, entering sector 404-298-773; sector is disputed. Protectionunder intergalactic laws not guaranteed.
The computer, always so unemotional, imparted the messagewith a skittish sense of urgency.
Thanks for the warning.
I turned the computer off and slowly wrapped my fingers around thecontrols.Spread out before me was the cosmic graveyard known as
Dream
s End
. Ships of all sizes andshapes floated in the vast, starry expanse. Rouges, raiders, and
recyclers
of all sorts and intentionswere said to roam this haunting, chaotic wasteland. As I slowly glided through the debris, no onecrossed my path or came into view. Out of the corner of my eye, I could occasionally see somethingscurrying into the lifeless hull of a ship. The sparks coming from the ransacked bowels of these deadleviathans could have been last flickers of life or blow torches. I turned on my EM receptors to get abetter idea of what was out there. Amid the white noise and feedback, I could hear fragments of veryfaint conversations in a multitude of alien languages.I looked up and there they were; two helpless planets, each about the size of Jupiter. As Iwatched, their surfaces were slowly being peeled back, like an onion. Billions upon billions of scavengerbots flew from the surface to the metal cage that imprisoned the celestial bodies. They looked likelocusts with long tubes dangling from them.I steered to the right, slowly. I wasn
t here to visit them. I found a piece of something skimmingalong at a reasonable speed. I carefully nestled into a crevice to hide from the scavengers. I was quitehappy with the results until I heard a faint tapping coming from behind me. A scavenger bot was alsousing this piece of junk as a hiding place. My Stinger must have been an irresistible meal to him. I gotout of there and maxed out the engines, rolling, spinning and diving all the way, but I couldn
t shake him
 –
or his five companions.
Navigational systems off line.
The computer was back to its usual, unemotional state.A nearby asteroid gave me an idea. I headed straight for it.
Gyroscope failure. Take ship in for service immediately.
 
 
2
I don
t think I would like the service in this neighborhood.
I quipped.The ship began to wobble uncontrollably. I compensated as best I could.
Memory core three compromised. Take ship to qualified service personnel.
 
They
re in the ship?! That
s it.
I zipped into a crevice that a sheet of paper shouldn
t havebeen able to pass through. I could hear the hull scraping against the rock. A menacing crack shotthrough the cockpit window. The slow hiss of escaping oxygen told me that it was time to end mysightseeing. As I exited the asteroid, I could see the five dead scavengers drifting along the invisiblecurrents.Finally! Below me was Sam
s place. I touched down in a domed parking lot nearby and slowlygot out of the ship. It was badly dented and chewed up. I listened carefully
 –
oh so carefully. I plungedmy star blade into the cockpit, right behind the wing. I pulled it out and examined the bot; it wasskewered on the tip of my blade and still squirming. I lifted it off with my tentacles and crushed it.
Sorry
 –
no free rides.
 I looked upon the legendary night club. Sam
s place
 –
where anything goes, anything comes,and anything is for sale. This was really it: the
original 
UDA Samuel Hain, the one Captain IsaiahMontrose took to the edge of our tiny solar system. I could almost see their ghosts now, still roamingthose gutted out halls: Garin Halverson, Nara Arteau, and Strontium Jones all engaged in their duties.How this mythical ship ended up here was a mystery no one would ever unravel.The dance floor was dark and crowded; music was being relentlessly pumped out. The DJ worea yellow box over his head; each face of the box was a different mood. There was a happy face, a sadface, an angry face, and a scared face. Just as the tempo changed, he spun the box around and hisemotions changed. The most unusual thing was that he was chained to the floor. Underneath him awild variety of revelers danced; there were Shikaisee, Khemthemthem, Goothalk, and Japhirdan. Andthose were only the ones I could identify.
Welcome to Sam
s.
The words were friendly, but I couldn
t quite tell if they were male orfemale. I turned around.
This must be your first time.
 The greeting came from a human looking being, with two arms, two legs, and a head. Its skinwas hairless and blacker than midnight. It studied me with wild yellow eyes. It was wearing nothingbut a silver collar around its neck and as my eyes drifted downward, I expected to see reproductiveanatomy of some kind. However, all I saw was smooth, formless skin.The creature laughed.
Is this what you
re looking for?
She unlatched her collar and I saw amultitude of slits. Yellow, wormlike appendages peeked out of the holes, only for a moment, and thenslid back in. She smiled and the collar was back on.
You really must not have gotten out much as achild.
 
 
3
No, I haven
t
 –
miss
 –
or do I call you sir?
 
Now I know that you
ve lived your whole life on the Cluster!
She laughed again.
WeNeredites have five sexes
 –
it just depends on where your
sex
is. My name is Shevu.
 The Cluster? I thought I would save that for another day.
I
m looking for Hyphym.
 
Well then, you
re in the right place.
She motioned for two others to come over. One of them was also a human looking creature; the only anomaly I could see was a few feathers on its arms.They were magnificent however, like delicate splashes of gold, green, and blue on its graceful limbs.This being made a chirping, trilling noise, like a bird. The top of its head was covered with alternatingbands of yellow and purple fuzz. Two long tongues flicked out from its mouth. The other being lookedlike a blue human with a pronounced forehead. A black and red fin ran from the top of the creature
shead all the way down its back.
Pleased to meet you.
I bowed respectfully
 –
for I didn
t know what else to do.
The one with the feathers and the two tongues is a Kithu. Her name is Spiceling. The one withthe forehead and fin is a Borgan. His name is Xelevan.
There was something in Shevu
s smile,something in her words that implied a larger mystery.
Dealing with a Nethasian? I
m not sure Shevu.
Xelevan looked me over from head to toe.
Especially this one. Not military, probably not a raider, maybe Intelligence Ministry?
 Spiceling let out a series of chirps and tweets. Words appeared on the large pendant she worearound her neck: {He is a Star Blade. I have not met one before
 –
neither has Hyphym.}As they led me to a back room, I felt the stares of some of the patrons. There was somethingabout being a Nethasian that my sensei never told me
 –
something I would have to discover for myself.
From another galaxy?
The words had a hard time squeezing through all the noise.
Definitely. They
re like nothing you
ve ever seen before.
Came the reply from somewhereamid the sweat and bodies.
Perhaps these refugees will crash land on a planet close to home.
 The rest was drowned out by the DJ. The ship shuddered and the lights flickered. Everyonestarted to float upward
 –
everyone except the DJ. Now I knew why he was chained to the floor.Spiceling and Xelevan grabbed nearby chains that were attached to the ceiling. Spiceling motioned forme to do the same. When the artificial gravity was restored, I was gripping the chain, dangling twentyfeet above the floor.We descended the chains and entered a spacious room. I wondered if it had been CaptainMontrose
s quarters. Hyphym was sitting in the center, on what looked like a giant, metallic lotus thatshifted from orange, to blue, to green, to black. He was talking with a Khemthemthem trader and a

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