1 The Chronicles of the Samuel Hain 5th Series What’s For Dinner?

“This looks useful.” I picked up a shiny white triangle. I walked slowly behind Nork, one of DipDip’s favorite employees. He was tall and lanky, but this Goothalk was as graceful as a cat. Nork looked at it closely and hesitantly touched it. “Does it work?” “No!” Dip-Dip snatched it from my hand and carefully laid it on the ground. “Very dangerous.” He frowned. “Kervan. No understand – no touch.” “Lots of cable here.” Gork, a fat Goothalk, commented. He tugged on a nearby cable and the panel above him came crashing down, spilling all sorts of metal and plastic parts on the floor. I’m not sure what Dip-Dip saw in this walking catastrophe, but Gork had worked for him longer than anyone else. “Nethasians not helping?” Pundip showed a lot of guts, questioning the boss like that. “Nethasians treacherous. Will be of use later.” Dip-Dip grimly answered. We kicked some fission globes and crystalline tubes out of our way in the dim, red lit cavernous hall. He was so close; I could just reach out and grab him. If I just didn’t have Givan with me to complicate matters. I still remember the day he was assigned as my partner; I was told that I would learn a lot from him. What was he told? Growing up on Kaymar, the disheveled excuse for a home world, you had to know your competition inside out, front to back, and from start to finish. Years of scuttling between the massive shanty towns, toxic landfills, and junkyards had taught me that. I was surprised to realize that I didn’t know Givan that well; I knew that he hated Kaymar. However, I thrived in that dirty, discarded, rusting world with its bombed out buildings and crumbling roads. With trash heaps bigger than some Earth skyscrapers, one could really advance through the ranks – either ethically or unethically. “Kervan.” Dip-Dip turned to me.

“Yes sir!” I saluted him by brushing my right hand across my right cheek. “Find good fission globes. Goothalk search in next hallway.” He pointed to a juncture that led to a parallel corridor. “Aye-aye!” I bowed low. I watched them sneak off into the gloom. It was kind of sad, their pathetic attempts at secrecy. Givan and I had seen them slinking off into that section of the ship on more than one occasion. The only advantage they had was the codes; they knew them – nobody else did. If there ever was a time to act, it was now. “Kervan. You there?” Givan’s voice crackled over my earpiece. “I’m here.” I sighed. “I hit the jackpot. I found our star blades.” “Really?” “Yup. Meet me in the Star Drifter in one hour.” “I might not be done babysitting by then.” “I’ll come down to you.” Givan was eager. “No…stay there…we don’t want to alarm our quarry….or intimidate the informant.” I picked up some of the shiny white triangles and hid them behind a nearby panel. Two could play this game; Givan and I could have some bargaining chips under our control that no one else knew about.

The bridge of the Samuel Hain was in disarray. The Khemthemthem, bots, and Japhirdan were using cable from other parts of the ship to make the necessary repairs. The Kithu and Yvvy were busy realigning the computer core with sensors and the digital library. The Av-Gelshek were huddling in a corner waiting for lunch – or waiting to be lunch; I couldn’t tell which. As usual, the Nethasians were out patrolling the ship and making their own plans. “We have fission globes!” Dip-Dip triumphantly announced. He stood in the center of the bridge and held up the two fission globes that I had given him. Everyone (especially his loyal employees) clapped and cheered. “You found only two?” Givan whispered to me. “I only gave him two. I found seven. C’mon – I’m curious about something.” “Then I had better keep an eye on you.” Given playfully tugged on my fin. It was a silly attempt to diffuse the tension that we both knew was on our heels, but I still appreciated the attempt.

I brought up the military and science files from the Hain. “I recognized this item as primitive gravitational technology.” A diagram of a white triangle floated above my oracle. “There is a large planet nearby and if we can set up a gravity sling around it, we can propel ourselves back home – or at least a lot closer to home.” “Gravity slings can be tricky…but it’s a risk we can afford to take.” Givan conceded. “We the crew?” “No – we the Star Blades. It’s time to end this mission; let’s go home, grab the fugitive and move on.” “Eager to complete?” “Let’s just say that I don’t want to eat any more Empire rations and I don’t want to taste AvGelshek.” My partner helped me collect the fission globes and triangles. “You’re starting to catch on.” I winked. Now things were becoming clearer.

We set up the equipment in a taboo place; this was supposedly the home of the “Entity”. However, I never once felt like I was being watched; I never heard drooling of smacking of lips; I didn’t even hear a menacing laugh. All we needed was some power – and I knew how to get it. I opened a panel below us and cut some cables with my blade. The oxygen started to thin out and the lights started to flicker. Our surroundings got very, very cold and I shivered. Ice crystals were starting to form on my fin. “Are you crazy?!” Givan grabbed me by the arm. “No, just creative!” I grabbed his arm and led him out of the hall just as he passed out.

Back on the bridge, the environmental malfunction had not gone unnoticed. Despite efforts to repair it from the computer consoles, it persisted and spread. Finally, Dip-Dip stepped into the center of all the chaos. “We need more power to that section.” I approached our “Captain”. “Agreed.” Dip-Dip nodded. “Increase power and send Nethasians to repair.” He pointed to the red warriors. “A Nethasian repair crew?” Manfred walked up to us. “Simple repair. Nethasians do the trick. Need you and others to monitor power and systems. Nethasians repair - you make sure they don’t explode ship.”

“Star Blades, you go with Nethasians. Help. Repair go much faster.” Dip-Dip motioned to us. It was like he read my mind. While the Nethasians were doing the repair, I could route some of the power to our equipment. “This is too good to be true! It’s all working out.” I whispered to my partner. “You know what they say: ‘When it’s too good to be true – it’s too dangerous to try. He’s up to something.” Givan looked at Dip-Dip and his comrades suspiciously. “And if we don’t get down there, we’ll never know what. We’ve got to play along; remember an informant is not always an ally.” As the Nethasians cut, hammered, and blow torched the ship back to good health, Givan and I stood a little distance away, slowly increasing power to the fission globes. When the energy levels reached a critical state, the triangles floated above the spheres and started spinning. There was a screeching in the gloom ahead of us. As the triangles spun faster and faster, the noise grew more desperate. A tentacle stabbed out of the shadows and grabbed N’Shafix. It rapidly curled around his body and the Nethasian just shriveled up in the monster’s grasp. Thamphor and his gang attacked with ferocity beyond what even I knew, inspired out of survival, but the thing was immune to lasers and steel. Running was the only option; it was something I had never seen a Nethasian do. Unfortunately, Thyphif, the General’s favorite, was too slow. The Dark Entity’s tentacle punched through the Nethasian’s chest like a blade through flimsy papyrus. A low sound distorted the air and blew us off our feet. When we got up, it was eerily silent. All the sound had been sucked from the hall. We were unable to make any sort of noise, no matter how hard we tried. The ambient light around us flickered and popped for just a brief moment; then the sound inexplicably returned.

We left Thamphor and Arvyshog on the bridge, still shaking and babbling something about Goar’Phax-Thoth, the Nethasian Underworld. Givan and I headed straight to the Captain’s office; DipDip was waiting for us. “Gravity sling. Clever. Thought about it long time. No work. Need hundreds of fission globes, not just seven.” He smiled a cunning, evil smile. “So, you kept that a secret and let us aggravate the Entity?!” Givan was furious. “Fission globes useless. Dark Entity very useful.” The words slithered out of the Goothalk’s mouth. “That’s why you sent the Nethasians down there.” I admired his craftiness.

“You could have gotten us killed.” Givan drew his blade. “No. Entity on leash. Entity no like sound.” I could see Dip-Dip running his fingers over a control panel on the Captain’s Desk, but I didn’t know what he was doing. I’m sure he wasn’t about to let us know either. “Now know how to make it angry. Very useful.” I had to hold Givan back. “This doesn’t change anything. Your employee is still wanted by the Empire. We will bring him to justice.” Dip-Dip rose to his feet. “Changes everything. Let’s deal.”


© 2013 Benjamin F. Kaye

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