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Bounty Hunter

by J D Marskman
Once more, Neilar came upon another dead end but a possible lead. This time there were evidence of his presence
in the surrounding vegetation where he now stood due to a hasty retreat. For over two hundred thousand light years
distant, he has been chasing his elusive enemy. From the evidence thus gleaned from this recent attack, Neilar ought
to be able to trace his activities toward the ultimate goal and come face to face with this evil creature.
He has been using nearly all the same techniques and leaving nearly identical results as his last rampage. Every
planet in his path has been leading to another verified location that may end in a complete cycle similar to a time
preceding his last capture. All samples detected have had definite traces which this evil creature has fed off from
which somehow compelled him to do further heinous acts.
Standing up so he can step out of the indentation made by Clovius, Neilar pulled out an instrument that recorded the
telltale but dissimilar results of the flattened out carcass of a male being. He found a similar one on the prior planet
and to take readings of this one cemented his dastardly deed. The residue left behind by this killing creature was
very strong signifying a fresh kill of no more than a six hour period.
Shaking his head in disgust, Neilar looks up into the darkening sky, taking note that the four suns reigning over this
planet were just beginning to slip over the horizon one by one which will leave the skies in a thick darkness unheard
of in this quadrant. Breathing heavily from the weight of the air, he finishes his work abruptly and declares,
"Enough of this nonsense. I'm out of here." Abruptly he vanishes from the thick liquid air of Zantanty heading out
at speeds superseding the realms of light to another system where he sensed his enemy could have wandered to in an
attempt for a more heinous set of crimes.
While in route past a glorious nebulae, Neilar notices a ripple in the spatial zone off to his left and he speeds off
there knowing that is where Clovius will make his next strike. Finding him was sooner than he thought. <Since
when does he go after carbon entities? That system is of a totally different makeup from his regular victims.
Besides, this system has no Zantium mixed with the air whatsoever, how would he be able to breath for very long?>
As he finished musing to himself, he extracts from his belt pack an injector that is designed to allow small doses of
the vital Zantium element to be released into his body's blood flow which would enable him to exist in any world's
atmosphere for a short period of time without having to experience serious consequences later.
Creating a slight haze of blue as he rapidly descends to the region just outside of his enemy's line of sight, he looks
around and notices these denizens scurrying about. Reaching out with his senses, he makes a brief contact with a
mind so hideous in thought that he pulls back quickly from shock. Never before had this bounty hunter come in
contact with such evil. Reeling back as if punched with the force of a hurricane, he shirks with determination and
rushes on towards his mark; the enemy of all lifeforms, the Marauder of Cerrius.
Putting in place his massive defenses which the Grand Overseer had provided him, he advances to witness this
hideous creature bending over his victim and raking his claws at her clothing to intimidate her and with an attempt
to rip her tender flesh open. He wants to hear her scream out in agonizing pain before he takes her lifeforce, but
coming short of the tender flesh, Neilar calls out to him in a strong commanding voice. "Leave her alone, Clovius."
Turning around with a nasty snarl, he leaps toward Neilar with mouth agape showing vicious grey teeth five
centimeters in length. Dropping short, he slams into Neil's barrier with a loud smack. "Yhou! Yhou arrhogahnt
fhool. Who dho yhou think yhou are to sthop me?"
"One who has the authority to do this." Neilar exclaims as he presses a button on his belt producing a sonic clamp
on the raving creature in front of him. Struggling against his restraints, he realizes that he is beaten for the moment
and settles down to regain his strength and focus on how he might free himself of this restraint and make this foolish
adversary a ragged doll.
"Sho. Yhou belhieve me to bhe captured. Whe will shee about that." Twisting and turning once more in an attempt
to free himself as he had done before on his last escape from this bounty hunter, he realizes that what had set him

free before does him no good now. He lets out a horrendous howl of desperation and anger knowing that he has
finally been beaten. It pierces the ears of the beings that have gathered in a semicircle around them, which for him,
is an embarrassing scene. The sound he emits causes them to cover their heads and scurry away seeking a way to
escape the assault to their tormented ears. The harmonics he makes barely annoys Neil's ears and so Clovius settles
down to a simmering wimper to await his fate at last.
"Are you through with your tantrums, Clovius?" Neilar asks slightly perturbed.
"Yhes," he whines. "Let us gho quickly sho that my fhate will bhe made quick and sure bhy the Grand Overseer
instead of having tho suffher any lhonger."
Hearing this from his captive, Neilar knows the chase is over nad this thing before him will finally meet his end
soon enough. Coming toward him, Neilar stops as Clovius hisses and gnashes his teeth at his captor as a last attempt
to intimidate knowing that anything he did would make no difference now. Taking his arm, Neilar activates a
stronger forcefield around them both to prevent any possible escape and together they disappear to race across the
cosmos to Anatensia, the greatest space station ever built by a long extinct race of beings and placed in the Tuliandra
system.
Approaching the entrance to the great judgment hall, they pause to be acknowledged by the guardian attendee.
Upon acceptance, they enter in through the mighty portal when the doors retracted and to come stand before the
Grand Overseer himself. Moving to a terminal, Neilar goes through a preliminary mission account leaving the one
known as Clovius to stand by himself. Neilar produces his recorder and uploads the data into the court's registry at
the terminal.
Sitting behind a large ornately designed desk which rises above the ground floor and encircling his body, the
overseer calls forth the data onto a hidden screen for review. As he browses, Neilar wonders how old he is. It was
rumored that the age of the overseer is unknown --possibly as old as the station itself-- and is only guessed at by
others in the universe. His face is even much more the mystery. Only one other has ever seen it, but they are
prevented from revealing any description since they would also be in danger of losing their position and life. The
mystery is heightened even further by having a shield of haze that hovers in front of him blocking the view of all in
the room.
There seated at his desk, the overseer continue to review the collected evidence then the record made by Neilar as he
tracked his prey across the cosmos. There is a pause as he looks down at Clovius then returns his gaze to the
remainder of the record. Suddenly the Grand Overseer chimes for attention and his verdict is proclaimed. "The
defendant is GUILTY of the crimes against sentient beings throughout the universe. Furthermore, his continued
disregard to the harmony of all life has justified my decision of his punishment. Let the record state that he is to be
incinerated within the period of three minutes. Within the interim, he is granted to make a last recording of anything
he may wish to be remembered by. The condemned must remember that his power to escape from his predicament
has been removed the moment he entered this court and that attempting to escape would be a waste of time and
energy." Looking directly into Clovius' eyes, he says, "You may proceed, Clovius, also known as the Marauder of
Cerrius."
"I wish tho bhe remhembhered has the one who whas the longhest evader of this great bounty hunter hof all time;
Neilar of Tuliandra. I have great respect fhor him. I whas once as great has he is nhow and I salhute him. Nhow
yhour majesty, if yhou would let me see the cosmhos one last thime before I perish, I whould apprechiate hit."
Giving his approval, the Great Overseer waves his hand to the court attendee at the hall's main portal to do as
Clovius asked. In response, she activates the viewing window that opens up to view the void of great expanse --the
cosmos.
Seeing it for the last time, the creature called Clovius is seen to have a slight trickle of a tear that raced down his
maudlin face to be lost forever in the following second. <Ah, the beauty these old eyes will never know again.>
Looking over to Neilar, he says in perfect Basic, "Never loose the love of travel, my friend. Nothing compares to
the thrill of traveling throughout the cosmos or the beauty it contains..."

Before he could emit another word, his body is glowing momentarily as he smiled sadly. Suddenly without
preamble he is disintegrated and lost for all time.
Neilar is silent for a brief moment to store his thoughts for a later time to contemplate this last bit of irony. As he
turns to face the Grand Overseer, he shakes his head in wonderment then asks what his next assignment is.
"You must go to a planet outside of our system which borders the rim of the galactic edge to retrieve a being who
had perverted all its inhabitants of that region of the true meaning of life. He is a very powerful and cunning enemy
to wellbeing of all concerned. He is full of crafty techniques, so I want you to go to our team of scientists of special
forces to obtain the needed equipment that will ensure your success. Beware of him and safe journey."
"I hear and obey, Grand Overseer."

The End

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