Knapp 2 Astor Scifi tale written by Alfred F H Juillet F Casa Juillet

Casa Juillet Semper Vivens -------------------------------------------------------------------------------" Knapp 2 , or Hunter Astor . " ( Follow up of " Knapp one or Konslo Gefuhl " ) Written Enero 2007 cuento de CF escrito por Alfredo Juillet Frascara . Characters - Personajes: Queen Rixia of Rixiaberg, Knapp planet. - Astor , Hunter - Doctor Franz - Miss Maria Lwiron, daughter to Senator Lwiron of Janarvia . Lucrifuga , efemale for Astor while on the spaceship. Captain efemale : Trefulgona , spaceship Onefin". Shista = Special Hubot Intelligence Section Temporal Agency - Barilia, a woman Mr. Huston , tourist ; Tourists : nine tycoons with their ladies .The men: three from Earth = Hudson, Bushion, Gonzalez ; two from Janarvia = Iwo, Sasko, Lee, and three from Javel, the fourth planet of Knapp's planetary system, and of course, of Asiatic stock = Shuiyen, Sukito, Akio . The mistresses = Latinia the clever, Marlene, Olivia, Shannon, Barilia, Teniada Noshan Legan Lenevia Tidilenia . Servants to the Millionaires : 21. Ten emales, eleven efemales , names : Ejames, Efederico, Ejusto, E49, Egarlo, Efredo, etc. And the efemines : Edia, Egarla, Egasta, Enette, Ekala, and etc. SafariCrew members : 8 : Saldan, hunter.Goston, Farendo, others Sahman Lugar : Ciudad de Monlau, Planeta Janarvia , Estrella Gamma de la Constelacion Piscis . Year : 3507 DC. Capitulos de la obra: Chapters : 1 .- Hunter Astor ................page 01 2.- The beginning of a Safari on Knapp ...........page 10 3.- In the Black List ..................page 22 4.- 3 A.U. Away...........page 29 The end .....page 40. Chapter 1 ASTOR Astor seats in his old battered sofa and stretched his legs , looking the landscape ; through the steelplast of the windows he could saw the thick traffic of a thousand different lines of aerial vehicles traveling over the city of Monlau at Janarvia planet , third from Gamma Piscis , colonized in the year 3.230 by Viodel Nastirenio ; the year was the 3507 Common Era ( Earth chronology). In low tones, the holotvradio was giving the last galactic and local news of the day; often mentioned was the volumes of commercial interchange between Janarvia and the people on Sarkino IV, fourth planet of Beta Pisces . A Visophone beguin chiming, and Astor answered the call; it was old Fred 39, who told him he had a new customer ; and if accepted, he could begun packing right away.

"It all depends ! How much I'm going to receive ?"- Astor asked mildly. "It's a leisure trip , with all the luxury you could imagine ! Three tycoons are going there with their mistresses ! Extreme tact is required. "- Fred 39 said. "Tact ! I'm the dumb clam of my trade ! "- Astor laughed, happy with the project. "Remember you are going to Knapp , where there are two kingdoms , separated by space and birth ! Knapp is ruled by the old king Knapp, of Knappian origin, and Rixberg its actually governed by Queen Rixia, widower of former Janarvian King Reitze, killed by a dinosaur Parasaurus ; he left also a son, Prince Marmun, now ten years old. You must remember not to talk politics there , nor to go to the Knapp Kingdom except in disguise, or you'll be imprisoned without notice." "Old news to me."- Astor replied, boringly; those new electrobots believes themselves the only fountain of knowledge in life ? , he thought. "Remember Queen Rixia is of Knappian stock; she didn't want big vessels there, nor harmful objects, or substances like cocaine, morphine, hashish, Preludins, crack, marijuana, Extasis and the like. "- Fred 39 prayed away. "Understood; I'll leave my pipe here."- Astor said. "You certainly could carry it there ! Just remember not to fill it with tobacco; it's forbidden."- Fred 39 remembered him. "I'll be waiting the data to arrive here; I must know the names and the object of this trip."- Astor said. "I'll be sending you everything plus a money advance by the airtube. Remember to be at the Dimensional Port to-morrow at nine o'clock. Good riddance, Mr. Astor."Fred 39 said. "Bye, Fred."- Astor said, looking at the video monitor; the green face of Fred 39 was there , as stolid as ever. It flickered away, and the airtube gives a luminous warning ; a thud and Astor walked there, to open the lid; inside the tube, another plastic tube, red in color. He opened it, and several glossy plastic sheets were written in blue print, telling him everything he needed to know about the future mission; he also finds there a small wallet, with a plastic card with his name on it; a new Bank (the "i3i33") has him as a customer, with 39.000 Credits available. He whispered a small mantra, and begun calculating how much it'll rest , after he ends paying his bills in retard... He begun paying the bills using the credit card, and when all was paid, just a meager 18.390 Credits were available; he decided it was time to revise his gear, and half his guns and rifles were with problems; so he takes that half and carried to Gus Wissel, a good gunsmith, saying :' Fix this in a hurry ! I get a job !" The man was small and with beady eyes; he said, with a profound voice K" Good to hear that ! I was thinking you was retired !" "It's isn't funny ! Well, tell me when are you going to have all this ready for me !"- Astor said. "Three days, at the least ! No less ! I must to be careful with my reputation; no faulty repairs here !"- The gunsmith said, examining again those guns and rifles. "Take, five hundred Credits . Three days."- Astor said, and paid the man; Gus Wissel takes the money and put it in a box beneath the counter, while Astor went out of the shop; it was located in a very busy street, where he could also buy a glass of beer; the attendant was a superb woman, with a big smile; she said " Good afternoon, sailor ! You from some outworld ?:" Astor was accustomed to hear that remark ; possibly his job was to be blamed for this; so he said :" No, beauty ! Just a hunter." She narrowed her eyes, and said :' There are not much of your kind here, handsome ! Want some relax, after hours ?" "Could be ! I'm going to be out of town for some weeks; a little dance will suit me fine. "- Astor replied; the woman was pure honey. " Fine, hunter ! Wait me until this joint gets closed - about one o'clock in the morning." "I'll be nailed to the door, honey!"- Astor said, looking deep inside those green eyes of her ... After the drink, he went out to the street, and visited his friend doctor Franz,

at the second floor of a condemned building; the staircase was creaking at heart's content, while another "tenant" was sneaking inside. "That stair did squeak, Doctor !"- Astor said. "Oh, I guess it want to collapse ! Last night I was figuring the whole building was collapsing ! A good chunk of a wall collapsed last night; guess the building has serious basement problems."- Doctor Franz said, looking at him near a stuffed table; upon it, several pots, frames, photos, neckties, a pot and some dishes were standing. "Well ! Guess you are moving, at last !"- Astor said. "Oh, and if I don't move, the house will move for me !"- Doctor Franz said, chuckling; he was some 68 years old, white skin, 1.69 mt. In height; he was from the old Terra planet, but moved from there in haste, after some experiments with human clones. "I have news for you."- Astor said, putting a hand on the left shoulder of the old doctor Franz. "Bite, tell me soon what is on it for me !"- The old doctor smiled . " I will be going in a hunting ! Several weeks, lots of Credits involved ! Do you want to come, in case I get cut in several pieces ? You could sew me in ,again. I know you could build me again , if a nail could be find.!"- Astor said. "Of course! Could be a hair ."- Doctor Franz said, taking one from the shoulder of the hunter. "Oh, perhaps that could made me a Nigger ! Get to clean my hair more often."Astor joked . " You must come and help me out with my valises; my treasures and ..." "Please, Doctor ! Take your medicine bag and be ready to-morrow at eight !"- Astor said, going away ; doctor Franz smiled , with lightened spirits : his problems were going to end . Astor went to pick up the lady at 01.00 hours in the morning; she went out with an orange skirt and white sandals; her hair was smooth and danced at the sides of her head, when looking for him ; he said :" I'm here!" "Oh! I was thinking you wasn't going to happen !"- She said, smiling. Astor hailed a cab, and they went to a dancing place, where some drinks were available at a table; she seats, looking fresh and saying " Oh, nice place ! Never been around here." "You going out too often ?"- Astor asked, taking her hand. "Oh, not much ! "- She said, looking at him dreamily; she pressed his hand, and his dress tightened around her breast . He suddenly needed a drink, and while he was drinking, she said : " Why don't we dance ? By the way, I don't know even your name !""Astor."- He said, walking to the dancing floor, who was very crowded with beautiful women and ugly guys. "My name is Shista ! " She said, smiling . They danced, and very quick she was leaning on him, who was aspiring everyone of her female odors with delight , wrapped up on a cheap perfume . After some two hours there, she said :" Oh, I'm suffocated here ! Could we go to some more refrigerated place ?" He takes her to his apartment, where they went straight to the bedchamber; she was eager for love, and he was looking for a couple of dozen days in the open and without a female, so he was eager too for love. AT seven in the morning, Astor wake up, takes a shower and was going to leave, when she stand up on the bed, and asked :" Where are you going, love ?" "Oh, I had things to do, honey ! You could stay here as long as you want ; but please, when leaving, shut the door, will you ?" She stand up and walked by the room, with a tiny baby - doll on her, and his mouth melted with desire; she smiled tenderly, and said :"NO time for another hug ?" He looks unto his watch, and blamed Doctor Franz, and said :" As you wish, baby ! I have no guts to deny you that !" But instead of just a hug, it was a full time " catch as you can " , and they

ended up on the shower, laughing. When dressed , he said :" Now, guess you are leaving too ?" "Yes, darling ! I have some things to do too ! It was so very nice... I hope you 'll go there to see me to-night ?" - Shista asked , looking at him with a sweet smile. "OH, I don't know if I 'll can ! But I also finds you very attractive .'- Astor said, feeling miserable . " Bye !"- She whispered , and departed in a cab ; he also takes another taxi, a flier, and he gives the doctor's address, when asked. In five minutes, he was climbing the old staircase; it creaked at heart's content. When arriving to the doctor's door, he finds a note : " Wait me for some minutes; I'll be back soon." He get inside, as the door was ajar, and finds a lot of bags and magazines scattered all around; he pick up one of the papers, and it was a very old copy of a Terran magazine, with a girl and a monster at the cover; he smiled, thinking how much imagination the old painters had in the old days; no monsters had been found in the Galaxy, nor even at the new planet beyond the Brana ( Knapp) , for that matter ! The doctor arrives soon afterwards, carrying a big suitcase, perhaps the biggest in town. He said : " Look what they give me ! A big suitcase, big enough to carry my precious !" "It seems you are prone to read Science Fiction, Doctor Franz ? I thought I was going to find medicine books , around here. Or CD's. "- Astor said. "No CD's ! Too expensive for me, those small machines of to-day ! I was collecting magazines once, and this that you are seeing here, it's nothing but a quarter of it all !"- Doctor Franz said, stuffing the suitcase with bags and magazines. "Perhaps you could sell them all ! In this days of electronic books, magazines made on paper are expensive ; I mean, a collector could paid you well !"- Astor commented. "That's what you think ! A new magazine costs $8.000 credits; and for this relics of antique times, just a couple of thousands ! No, thanks! I will keep them ! And there are copies in the old fashion way ! Real paper; no faked paper as they all are using now."- Doctor Franz assured him. When the work was donned, they both carried the very heavy suitcase downstairs; but at the center of the descent, the whole staircase begun to moan and grind so much, they both run down without the suitcase; soon the whole staircase follows, and from the dust sprouts the suitcase, landing almost in the middle of the street ! A cab stopped, when seeing them signaling, and asked :" What, do you blow the house, dad ?" "More respect with a doctor, Sir ! Astor, help me put the suitcase on the truck of the car !"- Doctor Franz asked of Astor, and when releasing the object , they climb the flier, and Astor said :" Driver, take us to the Ritze Enterprises, please." The flier crawled the way to the address given; the taxi driver gets very angry, and when landing on the top of the building, he asked double fare ! "Yes, that ton your Doctor is carrying there, almost fused the system of my flier !"- The man said, extending his hand in his direction. Astor paid, as he was with big dug now, and they both carried the suitcase inside of the shaft; soon they were at the bottom of the building, presenting themselves in front of Fred 39. The office was almost a cubicle, and the big suitcase was outside, blocking the entrance. Fred 39 rise his head, and looked unto Astor with his yellow eyes. " Are you ready, Mr . Astor ? The clients will arrive at 18.30 hours, sharp. It's 9.50 hours, now. Good, as I must give you advice first: the clients are in that document I sent to you. Did you read it ?" "I cannot say I read it all; perhaps I get stuck on my emoluments."- Astor said, smiling to the shiny face of Fred 39.

"Bad,bad ! Documents must be read in full ! No wonder there are so many mischief in the world ! Well, and this person here, are you going with him?"- Fred 39 asked of him. "Yes, it's a Doctor ! He could mend our scratches, while we are there."- Astor said. " Mm ! Good, a doctor. I was going to offer one of our own."- Fred 39 said. "A electroman ? I wish I will be not needing one, when the occasion occurs ! I trust more in a human ."- Astor said, forgetting Fred 39 wasn't human ! "Thanks for the compliment ! I am not human myself , you know ?"- Fred 39 's voice looked harm. "Oh, no ! You are more than human, for me ! You are like... a father, yes ! A good father."- Astor said, patting one of the three arms of the Artificial Intelligence Being in front of him. (AIB). "I'll skip that ! The clients are 38 in number; three of them are artificial intelligence beings - women. See that you treat them all in a good manner; we needn't complaints here. "- The AIB Fred 39 said, looking at them unblinkingly. "My staff. That is what is worrying me; also, the food and carriages; last time your trucks weren't able to climb a small mountain !"- Astor said. "Don't worry for that, now ! We have five new trucks already on site; with electromen as drivers - the state of the art, mind you ! And you 'll find the luggage already in place; food and water guaranteed ! The map of your trek it's the easiest one we could devise."- Fred 39 said, producing a map on a big screen on the wall. "Yes, a good trek devised behind your desk ! "- Astor said, coughing. Some time later, with a couple of electromen, they arrived to the Threshold, a device to travel trough the branas without a capsule, and they find a new city at the other side. One of the electromen said :" Rixiaberg, population 982.093 inhabitants ; ruled by Her Majesty the Queen Rixia . " "Yeah, I had been here before."- Astor said, looking at the blue sky . " But I hadn't ! Tell me, mechanical man, how is the medical care around here ?"Doctor Franz asked one of the Artificials. " Hospital General at Reitze Avenue, third block to the left. Eighty three different specialties attended, First Aid, but you must be a subject to the Queen to be attended, except if your infirmity it's too serious . Are you ill ?:" - The electroman asked. "Not me, of course ! I was just asking."- Doctor Franz said ; he was always looking for a place where to retire, and this place was looking , to him, a real Eden - for once, there were no Fliers jamming the sky - just a couple now and then; also, no trucks were seen , but instead, a lot of carts, drawn by some queer animals, apparently apes ! " Tell me those aren't apes !"- Doctor Franz said to Astor. "They are apes. Don't worry ! They treat them very well , here. Clever animals; a little smelly, that 's all."- Astor replied. " Apes ! Our ancestors, maybe , drawn carts and wagons ! They should be ... freed ."- Doctor Franz said, following the Electromen. "Horses lives only on Terra ! They cannot be drawn here, as they die in the space ! Pity, but certain truth."- Astor said, who had often dreamed himself on a horse, galloping through those forest beyond. The Safari Agency provided them with rooms at a whole four stories building at the outskirts of town. They went there on foot, to wait for the clients. "Pity we cannot visit the city ! I assume they have very different attitudes, being another race of humans."- Doctor Franz said. "I had seen no different approach to reality, if that is what you mean, Doctor."Astor remarked ." Don't you worry about the scarcity of time to sightseeing here ! At our return from this Safari, you'll be able to stay as long as you wish, here ! For my part, I 'll take a long Vacation at Gemein ! I meet a wonderful woman just yesterday ! "- Astor confided. "I was wondering why you arrived late this morning, with those two big dark rings

under your eyes ! - Doctor Franz expounded. "Don't you get smart on me, Doc ! I'm sure I have no dark rings under my eyes !"Astor said, touching that part of his face with tender fingers ... "Two rooms for you, gentlemen ! In fifteen minutes, I' ll carry you to see the gear and personnel with whom you'll travel in this tour ! Have a good morning."One of the electromen said, on the corridor. Astor opened the door to his apartment, and so did the Doctor ; they find a bedroom and a bathroom inside, no windows, and the whole furniture were the bed and a closet. The bathroom was small, but at least had a shower . Doctor Franz inserted his suitcase inside his apartment ; the way to the bathroom was blocked with it, so he walked to the bathroom marching through the bed. He bathed his face, who was perspiring - there was a lot of heat on those apartments - and returns to the corridor. Astor looked into the Doctor's rooms, and laughed. "Gee ! Guess you have a truck inside your bedroom, Doctor Franz !" 'No need to be prickly , Hunter ! I need all that stuff ! Besides, you know I have no luxury apartment where to hide my treasures until I get back from Safaris !"Doctor Franz said. "Calm down, Doc ! You'll have more dug at our return , so you'll be renting a room at the " Hudson Hotel" and forget this harsh times !"- Astor said, slapping on his shoulder . They went to the main hall, where they were guided to see the rest of the crew ; at a small yard, eight people were standing in different positions, but staying alert when one of the two electromen from the Company hailed them. "Please, gentlemen and dames, come close ! This is Hunter Astor and his associate , Doctor Franz ! I'll say a few words on behalf of the Travel Agency, and then you'll be under Mr. Astor's command ! Suffice me to say this is a very special trip, with a very special group of clients; all of them are millionaires on Vacation; they represent a lot for this Company, so they must be treated with great respect and never be denied a thing ! If they are clearly in disobedience with the rules of a common Safari , Mr. Astor and only Mr. Astor is entitled to represent the misdeed unto them ! And with fine words ; the rest of the crew members must not talk back to the clients ! Specially the men ; they are going to be with some dames, to whom you'll be attentive but never engage in romantic attitudes , so not to enrage a male client ! In case of injury, Doctor Franz will be calling our Quarters for a fast emergency rescue; Queen Rixia has fast Ambulance Fliers, who could arrive to the site in haste; for that purpose, Mr . Astor will be provided with a radio beam, to guide the vehicle to the spot. In case the Clients decide to finish the trip before time, or after the appointed time, Mr. Astor will decide about it, using his experience in this matters . The supplies are enough for thirty days; the clients have a previous contract of twenty days; so you'll have more than enough meals to eat during this Safari. Any questions ?" "I am not seeing any carriage here ; I wish to see it before to be dismissed ."Astor remarked. "In due time, Mr. Astor ! First, we are going to let you talk to your crew, and then we'll be showing you the vehicles . Good morning, Gentlemen."- And both of the Electromen went out of the small enclosure. Somebody coughed, and others shuffled their feet; the remarks heard by them were sufficient for a headache . Astor looked them one by one ; he was looking a very dissimilar lot, and also three females were standing there, as red posts of peril. He said : " Let's relax, people ! I'm not a drill Sergeant !" The females smiled back, but the males were as dull as a mule. Astor said :" Doctor Franz and me are old friends, so I ask you the due respect for the man who could mend your broken bones in case of accident. The voyage it's due north ; plenty of wild animals and forest that way, but that is the meaning of a Safari; I'll lead the way, and it will be by the safest parts I know of; this is a strange planet, and notwithstanding we are going to be armed with big guns, accidents happens every day, so please take care and obey when ordered not to walk away from

the group . The payment I had no way to increase or decrease; have that in mind, as I had often had quarrels with other personnel, who thinks that I have something to say about payments , when things go rough in the course of the Safari. I am not against love affairs on this trek, but the minute I see a quarrel about some damsel, I will dismiss the people involved, and they are going to get back here by themselves - I will not stop the Safari for them . Is t hat clear ?"" The men nodded their heads, and one of the ladies moved assertively her head; Astor said :"Now, to your quarters, to wait for the clients, or you could wait near the entrance; they are supposedly to arrive at eighteen hours ." With that, he went out with Doctor Franz, and with the Electromen , they revise the wagons and supplies ; about the weapons , five big rifles were provided, and eight pistols of great caliber . He didn't complaint, as the rules of the Rixiaberg Nation were very explicit at the respect : Safaris were to sightseeing and not to exterminate the Fauna - Ecologist way. The horse- simians were as smelly as always, with their eyes almost sparkling with intelligence, and that moved again the mind of Doctor Franz, to think about the inappropriate use of that race to pull wagons. He decided to do a study of those specimens, and find if his ideas were right or wrong. Later, a Mr. Huston appeared; he was wearing a Texan hat, and a pair of showy revolvers at his sides; he talked with Fred 39 at the office, and after a brief talking, Hunter Astor was called. "This is Mr. Huston; Mr. Huston, this is the guide of your Safari."- Fred 39 introduced each other. Huston was a fat big white man in his forties; he was wearing a Texan hat and a pair of 45' revolvers ; to Astor, that was funny, but he was somewhat accustomed to those guys with more money than brains; he said :" Well, Mr. Huston ! Ready to ride with us ?" "Of course I'm ready ! Pity the rest of the team is not ready yet ! That was why I was telling your Fred 39 about ! They will be retained by their work for another five or ten days ! Not that they will be not here ! They are as interested as in the first minute about this Safari ! So I beg of you, to wait for us a little longer."- Houston said. " Of course, Mr. Astor ! No problem ! The longer I am hired by this Company, the more I earn !"- Astor said; and soon Mr. Huston went out, leaving a smiling Astor in the presence of the Artificial Intelligence, who said :" Why did you mention your wages in front of Mr. Huston ? Don't you know it's the Company policy never to talk about the employee wages in front of the clients ?" "Oh, I'm sorry ! I didn't know that paragraph !"- Astor lied with an angel face , and add " I also want more money for this delay, or are you going to shorten the Safari now ?" "No reduction of time its planned, Mr. Astor . You could be at our facility here, or return to the city of Gemein ; but in the last case, you must be available the minute we require you ."_ Fred 39 said. "I'm not happy here, so I think I'll be going to Gemein; at least, it's just a jump away."- Astor said, and departed; at the main hall of the building, he called ( by the loudspeaker and intercom) the rest of the crew , and when assembled there, he said :' A client just arrived, with some news : they are going to be retained at Gemein for some time, so we could be waiting here, bed and meals included, or go wherever we want, but being able to respond when called . What are you going to do ?" The majority wants to return to their abiding places at Gemein, and so they said; just a few remained at the Tourist Agency's building in Knapp; among them, Doctor Franz. "You know, I have nothing to do at Gemein; I don't even have a decent room there."- Doctor Franz told Astor. "Do what you please, Doctor ! Here is your opportunity : to learn about the ways of the Knappian guys in the city of Queen Rixia ! Have a good time !"- Astor said, leaving the building with the rest of the crew who wants to be at Gemein rather

than at Knapp. When arriving to his apartment, he opened the door and finds everything missing; not even his bed was in place ! He called the Manager of the building, and said :" I was robbed ! See what is missing ?" "I am seeing a couple of empty rooms ! What happens here ?"- The man said, rubbing his chin. He was tall and bald, with a mustache. "Happens that I went out for a day, and I was robbed ! Do you saw something strange, Sir, or are all your cameras not working ?"- Astor was referring to the security cameras every building must had. The Manager, Otto Binz, said :" I'll revise everyone right now ! This is outrageous, in my very building ! I offer you my apologies.""Offer me some compensation, also ! I'm without a bed, without my holotelevision phone, and everything is gone !"- Astor said, remembering his pistol collection; the different hats he had in cardboard boxes; the magazines, the toothbrush, the old corduroy jacket from Venus IV, and ... "Don't you worry, Sir ! I'll offer you some furniture we have at our disposal ! Things the tenants sometimes forget, when leaving ! I'm sure we'll get some understanding ."- Otto Binz said, perspiring lightly. "Of course; you know, I had some rare pistols, hats and other expensive stuff in here. I'll tell the police about that, and I expect to be lucky, and that they really catch the burglar !"- Astor said, rising his voice. Otto Binz perspired a lot more, and said :" Not the police, please ! This building has a A rate ! A police call, and all my work of years will be lost ! At what level of damage you are calling your loss ?""About a hundred thousand Credits, of course ! Nothing less than that !"- Astor said, including in that sum the deception he was suffering at the moment. "A lot of Credits, my Sir ! Well, I'm sure we'll get an understanding ! But for now, I offer you another department, bigger, and perhaps with that, a compensation is coming, no ? You see, I must repair this apartment, I mean, the locks and all ! I don't want to have another breach of security in my building !" - The Manager said. "I accept ! And about the check, I expect to be ready soon ! I am going to depart again, in five or ten days ! "- Astor informed him. "Of course! Mr. Astor, You'll have your check, your department and of course, I expect we could be forgetting the whole matter in the future !"- Otto said, guiding him to another department; this one was bigger and with more appliances; in half an hour, an Army of Electromen appeared, stuffing the department with different styles (or without any style at all) of furniture; also, a big water bed, with "Amorinis" in the four beams of the mattress ; golden colored. Otto included a lunch service (it was four in the afternoon) with duck "a la Cantonese", with a white wine ; a waitress (efemale) attended him with exquisite smiles and soft bumps ; soon he was eating, forgetting the hat collection while looking at the generous bust of the egirl. She takes her hand, and she said " The name is Laruna." "Beautiful name."- Astor said, smiling . "It goes for Leisure Artificial UnAffected. Do you liked ? I could offer you the special treatment for 1290 Credits."- She said, kissing him lightly. "WoW! Guess I'll call you later."- Astor said, desires quenched by the big price of the girl's "attendance." Soon afterwards the Manager come to his apartment, asking if he was all right. "Yes, only I miss my objects. Perhaps with your little payment I could afford to try and replace them."- Astor said. "Of course; I only want to settle this thing as quietly as possible. Good night."The Manager Otto Binz said, going out the door. "Great. "- Astor said, and for the ninth time, he looked into his card credit Bank Account- for nothing, as not a Credit more was in there; the Manager Binz possibly was waiting some authorization up there ... At midnight, a chime awakened him; he went to the door,and there was Laruna ,

standing with a silver platter in her manicured hands. "Compliments of the Manager."- She said, walking inside the room; Astor takes the money, and said : " Just 1290 Credits ! I was expecting a hundred thousand Credits !" "Oh, yeah ? He told me to come here and give you that money- I am here to serve you, and he seems you were interested but out of cash. So this is something like an advance."- She said, kissing him, but this time with real fire in it. He gasped, and poured the money on her, saying :" Guess I'll receive the installment for to-night ! " She giggled, and chased him to the dormitory ... At exactly five hours in the morning, the girl departed, with her well deserved money; Astor slept until seven, takes a shower, and went to the Safari Voyages Co., and asked Fred 39 about the tycoons. "Nothing new had happened about them, Mr. Astor ! Why, do you need something ?"Fred 39 asked him. "No, of course not ! Just asking ; guess you are not molested by that ?"- Astor said, looking at the eman. "Not in the least ! You could drop in here anytime you want. "_ Fred 39 replied, and while he was working with a machine, one of his eyes was stuck on Astor. "Bye, then! " - Astor said, departing . At the entrance of the building, he bumped with Doctor Franz, who was going out with a lot of photographic machines. "Oh, is you, Mr. Hunter ! How it was last night ? Guess your blackened eyes will have for a lot more of time."- He said, laughing. "It was some book I was reading- so interesting, I couldn't wait the morning to keep on reading . "- Astor lied him. "Oh, yes ! Of course. Well, I'm going sightseeing ! There are lots of things here to see ! And study, specially the horse- simian stock . You coming with me ?"Doctor Franz asked him. "No, of course not ! Too smelly for me."- Astor replied, remembering the stench a worked out simian horse could be in the morning... Astor lunched at the Facility's Restaurant (for free) and went back to Monlau , in search of Shista, as the "Seven Stars Bar" ; she was helping attend the bar, so it was easy to talk to her, when not serving someone. "Hi, darling ! I miss you to-night ! I slept totally alone."- She said, licking her lips. Astor smiled, and said :" Baby, to'nite you' ll have my company ! Don't date anyone !"- Astor said, sure the girl was almost on his lap. She denied with a movement of her head, and said "Pity I'm dated already ! Not with one of the clients ! With the boss himself ! Sorry, darling, I cannot say no to him !"Shista said, looking apparently real sorry. " No kidding ! the Boss himself !"- Astor said, and he was going to ask her who the guy was, but Shista went to attend a new customer, and he was forced to wait until his return. "And to-morrow ?"- Astor begged. He was not prone to beg, but that girl was something. Shista said :" To-morrow its half a Universe away ! But stay assured : if you ask me tomorrow before eighteen hours about that, my answer will be yes."Shista said, and pour some more whisky in his glass; he moves from then on from one customer to another; the guys were going in at a steady pace; soon a black woman appeared near him, saying :" I'm Shista's old sister. " Astor looked at her, in bewilderment; this one was African if there was Africa somewhere ! Black eyes, black hair, black skin; only her teeth were astonishingly white. "Sister my shoelaces !"- Astor said, unbelievingly. She smiled, and leaned unto him; she had a pair of breast nobody couldn't notice ! She whispered :"I know you are a close friend to my sister ! I could release your dragons just the same ! What do you say about my offer ?" �stor looked at Shista, that gives him a blink, as permitting the whole bargain. Astor said: " And at what time you could go out, darling ?" " The name is Norla ! And don't trouble yourself about delays ! I can go out - or

in, if you prefer- right away !"- Norla said, leaning some more on him; her legs were something a physic modeler could envy. "Let's go , then ! I 'm hungry for you already !"- Astor said, taking her small left arm in one of his. She traveled the way to the street on high heeled shoes, and when outside, he hailed a cab. "Need'nt be a Hotel, dear ! I have the perfect love nest."- Norla announced, and gives a travel card to the driver - an old model of Autopilot, with an eternal smile on his plastic face. The edriver said :"Goering's Building it is ! Five minutes."- And raced through the air; soon they were among hundred of other aerial cars (or Fliers of several kinds ) until a looming building right ahead was signaled by Norla, who said :" That is the nest !" The driver landed on the roof, and soon they were in floor 393, where she said "This is my apartment ! I seldom date people here- I like privacy.""Good ! Nobody will came to molest us !"- Astor said, embracing her; she give him a series of kisses he could almost bear- too hot and demanding ! Afterwards, she said :"I left you panting, darling ! How about a little shower , to calm down a little ?" "Of course, Norla ! You let me perspiring all over !"- He said, laughingly; he enters the tiny room and takes a hot bath with plenty of Shampoo; afterwards, she said "Take this tower, and wait me in our bedroom, darling !" She said "our" bed as naturally as it can be; it provokes , in Astor , a sense of familiarity with the woman ; soon she was returning; Astor gasped : the body was almost perfect and better than the one Shista had; only in black, but now it was sparkling with tiny dots of water ! Norla said :'I want to dance ! Will you dance with me ?"- And she clapped her hands together; a music begun, from hidden loudspeakers; a rhythmic succession of sounds; she was dancing and moving her waist; he try to dance but was very awkward in it; she pay no attention to it, and tried to enjoy the dance; Astor was looking a very attractive female, dancing for him alone ! She said "Time to get rough, my darling !"- And they danced glued to one another; soon they were in the bed, kissing each other fervently. After two hours of delight, they went out of the Nest of Love; he was exhilarant, and she was walking meekly at his side, saying :"Thanks for the 3000 Credits, darling ! You needn't be so magnific with me !" "I wonder if I could go again to your love nest to- night !"- He asked, hugging him at the aerial cab. "No, darling ! I'm a one date girl , only ! Perhaps to-morrow ! Or are you going to be with my sister ?" Norla asked him, embraced to his chest. "Guess we could forget about your sister !"- He said, and she kissed him several times, and said : "Thanks to said that ! That means I'm better than my sister " "You are unique !"- Astor said, trying to convince her to return to the Nest of Love, but she was adamant, and they both disembark at the "Seven Stars Bar ". At the entrance, they saw how Shista went out with a bald man with a cane, laughing and climbing on a private flier . Soon they were lost in the distance. "See ? My sister has lucky ! That trip of hers means another 3900 Credits on her Bank Account. "- Norla said, smiling proudly. Inside the Bar, Astor went straight to the Bar, and asked for a Whisky; when obtained, a brunette appears near him, saying "Too lonely, sailor ? " She had a beautiful blue eyes, white skin and gorgeous body; her dress was some patches of green. "Oh, company ! Welcome to my docking place, honey !"- Astor said, taking her by the hand; it was small and firm. "The name is Barilia. Like my dress ? "- She said, swirling around; he was dazed by the curves and he gasped, out of air; she laughed, and seating at a stool near him, she said : "Why is it always man looks so forlorn when I did that ? " "Guess you are superb."- Astor said, trying to be kind to her . Barilia wasn't a dancer nor a steady worker at " Seven Star Bar" ; she was a person who helps the Management to made the customers drink more than first decided - easy, as she also

could ask for more and more, and the barman will be pouring a soft drink in her glass. So, Barilia made Astor drink more of the count, and he begun to boast about his condition of a famous hunter; soon he was drooling over Barilia, who laughed and giggled at him. The Bartender called her, and said :" Take your friend out of here, or I'll see you don't come back here again." "Why ? I'm not responsible of him !"- Barilia barked in response, but when arriving at Astor's table, she said : "Darling, we must to get moving ! To heat in here !" Astor went with her outside; Barilia knew it was no good idea to return alone to that Bar, or the bartender could be very mean to her, so she said " Let's go to some place where we could discuss my mother illness !" "What ? Have you a mother in distress, or something ?"- Astor asked, climbing to a flier ; soon they were at a Hotel, and he was having problems to get an erection; so she said :" Men ! When most interested in a lady, they are the less deserved of all creatures !" - And she went to the bathroom, to smoke a cigar and forget about it. Meanwhile, Astor saw how some pills were being spilled from her purse, so he takes them and put again inside that small bag; he swallowed one, and soon he was as sober as a mountaineer on the Alps ! He get dressed, and went out, before she went out of that bathroom. "Honey ?" - Barilia said, looking for Astor; he also looks out the door, but the man was already on the street. She get a fist of rage, and get dressed among courses to all men in general; soon she was walking out of the Hotel, but a bellboy stopped her, saying : " Lady, you forgot to pay the fare !" "What fare ? I was with a gentleman ! Did he not pay you ?"- Barilia said, feeling herself going down in a pool of mud. "Nobody paid for the room you choose ! Now please, come with me to the Receptionist !" - The bellboy asked of her. She went there, and soon her eyes were almost out of her sockets, as the man in charge said :" 290 Credits for one night, Madame ! It's not our fault that you choose to go two hours afterwards you booked in ! " Barilia said she was a lady, and that she was invited there , but to not avail; the police arrived, and takes her out ; at the Police Station, she ends by paying the fare, or else, she was going to spend the long night in a cell . Meanwhile, Astor went to his apartment, and slept there, amazed to feel himself so sober , thanks to that white pill he swallowed in the middle of his drunkenness ... CHAPTER 2 THE BEGUINE OF A SAFARI ON KNAPP . Five days later, Fred 39 asked him to present at his office; there , he presents him to several middle aged gentlemen, saying :" This is Mr. Huston, who am I sure you remember ." "Of course; he told me there was going to be a delay in the departure."- Astor said, seeing the proud man ignore him now. "Yes; and this are Mr.Bushion , Mr. Gonzalez, Mr. Iwo, Mr. Sasko, Mr. Lee, Mr. Shuiyen , Mr. Sukito and Mr. Akio ; they are the ones who hired our services ,to start a Safari at Knapp planet. Gentlemen, this is Mr. Astor, the Hunter and your Guide from now on."- Fred 39 informed them ; a fat big guy said :" Glad to know you, Astor ! I expect you guide us to a place teaming with wild animals and peril ! I am well informed that in Knapp they are still a lot of Dinosaurs !" "Yes, Mr. Gonzalez ....; there are more dinosaurs than the eye of a camera could record !"- Astor said. " Good ! But also, we are going with some ladies ! So don't exaggerate too much; we want action, but with a margin of safety, I don't know if you understand my meaning !"- Mr. Gonzalez said. ; Astor wasn't sure if the guy heard what he speaks, but he nodded in approval . The rest were silent.

"Well ! Mr. Astor will guide you through the portals , and at the other side, I am sure, you'll find everything ready to beguine the Safari."- Fred 39 said, looking at them with his strange yellow eyes ... After some more talk, they went out and crossed the portal; the women were superb, dressed with expensive sport clothes, and with big dark glasses to protect their eyes from the glare of the sun ( Knapp) . Astor leaded them to the wagons, and said : " This wagons has the minimal conditions for your trip; food, water , beds and some artifacts of our civilization, but not much, or the sense of adventure could collapse." "I love civilization."- One of the women said; he was tall and with blonde hair; Astor look at her legs; they were streamlined and white as milk, ending in a pair of golden sandals... "I bet, lady, but ..." - Astor was saying, but tycoon Huston said :" I will ask you, Mr. Guide, to refrain to direct your commentaries to our ladies; they are here not to be disturbed in any way." "As you say, Sahib."- Astor replied, much to the amusement of the ladies, who blinked eyes to him . Astor was sure they were of lower stock, and now they were with this big shots just for the money , so he paid not much attention to the remark of Mr. Huston , who was already climbing to the nearest wagon, in an inspection course that send him to the rest of the wagons; when finished, he smiled to Astor, saying :" I find the interior much acceptable; congratulations; but remember your position in this Safari, understood ?" "Yes, Sahib."- Astor replied, using the traditional name to the clients of every Safari since the Times beguine. Afterwards, he assembled the crew members, Doctor Franz included, and said :" We're going to depart at last. We had nine tycoons with their ladies here, and as they had told me, three of the men are from Earth, two from Janarvia , and three from Javel, the fourth planet of Knapp's planetary system, and of course, of Asiatic stock, whatever that means to-day. They are here with their mistresses, and some twenty two other servants will arrive soon, as Fred 39 told me at his office; we had to wait for them . " "That ladies - smell good."_ Somebody said, and they all laughed. Astor continues :" And the ladies are off limits ! Don't have any funny ideas about them; perhaps not now, but in the course of the Safari, we men begin to have certain hunger."And the crew members laughed; some of them had fire on their pupils, when looking to the spot where the ladies were stretching their long legs ... In less than three hours elapsed time, a group of people arrived and presented to Mr. Huston; he give directions, and seeing Astor near by , he said :" This are my friends , and mine, servants ! They are all electric creatures ! See that they are treated with care; each of them has a big value in the market of Artificial People!" "Of course, mein Sahib !"- Astor said, bowing . He get close to that people, seeing they were that ten of them were efemales, and the rest emales... Half an hour later, he asked everyone on their simian horses or in the wagons, to start the trip. As the wagons advanced at ten kilometers per hour, and in lapses of three hours each, three lapses were possibly on a day, so they advanced ninety kilometers per day ; more than enough for a Safari . Astor knew that in the vicinity of Rixiaberg only grazers were permitted, so there was no real danger in the first day of voyage ; but the tourists were astounded when seeing the beautiful and enormous Centrosaurius , and the smaller Compsognatus , and Eustrutomimus grazing or galloping at the great forest . The first day at camp, all were cheers and happiness - Astor knew about this human behavior beforehand , as in his previous trips that was the regular conditions; so he joined the celebrations, knowing the females were going to be attracted to him, as he was the expert at hand. "And are you not afraid to die , doing this dangerous Safaris ?"- One of the women asked him, when Huston was not in sight - they were seated at a nice portatil table. "Well, really, lady, there's no real harm in this portion of the continent ; only

grazers are around here, and several smaller versions of dinosaurs ." "And why is it that there are so many species named as the extinct dinosaurs from planet Earth ? Are they alike, or just approximations ? = Asked Latinia, the smartest of them all, but notwithstanding that, as gorgeous as the rest of the rest of the ladies. "OH, that takes an immense weight from my shoulders !"- She smiled - she was the mistress of Mr. Gonzalez , a fat big man , and perhaps that was a remark with double meaning .. Soon the millionaires were all at their wagons - a lot of action going on, being the first night alone for the tycoons with their beloved young females ... 443 Astor was two hundred meters away, completing a circle of protection ; the rest were formed for his team ; all were armed in one way of other - not enough to stop a predator, but enough to gives the alarm. Some small creatures were lurking in the undergrowth ; Astor thinks about how many of them could correspond to the grandfather of Homo Sapiens ... A gunshot alerted the whole ring of guards; shouts were heard; and someone cried :" Tyrannosaur !" . The blood on Astor's vessels and veins seems to freeze; he think about it; he realized that against a Tyrannosaur the only way out , in the present circumstances, was to run away ! He saw a big bulk running around, trapping his men as biscuits; he run away as fast as he could - that wasn't much, as it was pitch dark . He uses his torch lamp , in short bursts of light, jut to see what was ahead. He climbed a big tree, and when high on its trunk, he heard more gunshots in the distance ; Astor knew he was the Sole Responsible of the whole Safari - but he was sure a dead Guide serves for nothing at all. He waited during three hours ; then he descend, and traveled back with care. He found half gnawed bones, pieces of clothes; one or two shoes - he approached the Tents - they were all there, he also head snoring sounds in the dark . Astor looked around, for footprints- the dinosaur didn't neared the tents ! 445 He returned to the spot where the Tyrannosaur did a carnage; he collected the weaponry , made a hole and buried the remains of those braves . The rest of the crew was sleeping at their tents, so Astor calculate the remaining lot - from eight original crew members, three died at the night watch, not one remained - so there was only five alive. Sunlight came, and he call the remaining crew lot to the mound where the deceased were, and said :" Good morning, Gentlemen. Last night me and the night watch fought a Tyrannosaur ; I run away , after emptying my revolver on the Beast, and at my return I found a few remains, that I had already buried here, meanwhile you were asleep." One of the crew said :" I heard gunshots , but as after a while there was silence, I thought it was just to scare some minor animal." Others said the same. Astor continues :" Well, we had two decisions to made : Return to the city and tell the authorities about this accident, or to straighten our wills, keep on and at our return give the bad news ." "No, patron ! If you do that, authorities will forbade our team to keep on our Safari, under the pretext it is too dangerous to be here ! I say, let's tell the news at our return !" - Saldan, a hunter , said. "All right ! What did the rest say about this ?"- Astor asked again. They were all decided to keep on, mainly 446 thinking in their own wages ! "We are going to move very quick from here ! That Tyrannosaur will digest its food soon, and he'll be hungry again." They hasten to roll up their tents, and Astor called on the Tourists, saying the day was to be a very hot one, and to find a more dense part of the forest was needed , where the heat would be less, so they were going to leave the site.

"All right, you hear the Guide ! Let's pack and get moving ! = Huston said, clapping his enormous hands; he was the natural leader of those millionaires in Vacations. They walked at the wagon's space, and at noon they were far from the dangerous spot. "I am a stupid , or you are missing some of your men ?"- Doctor Franz asked. "You're right ; we had three men missing . Put the blame on a Tyrannosaur , last night ! " - Astor replied, much to the astonishment of Doctor Franz. "Really ! This is not a peaceful Safari any longer ! Pity on those people !'Doctor Franz said. 447 The terrain was almost a jungle ; a group of Estiracosaurus passed by, running at a hundred meters distance; and their bodies were seen while they trotted among the ferns. This excited the tourists, who begun running to see them closer, so one of them bumped on a log, and went down ; he was Bushorin, a man in his sixties, small and with a crew - cut. Doctor Franz cured his nose, with a bandage - and said :" You refrain now to do exercises during two days, Sir." "Oh, I guess it's nothing !"- Said Bushorin, and remained seated on a stool, while the other tourists keep on searching for a good view of the ....... "Goston, Farendo ! Go and keep that group together !"- Astor commanded. Both crew members run in pursuit of the tycoons and their ladies . Astor had a glass with Whisky on the Rocks on his left hand, and perceived a small tremor on the ground. He leave the glass on a small rock, and saw it has ripples ! Doctor Franz, who was watching him, approaches and said :" What's wrong with the Whisky, Astor ?" "Nothing ! Want something ?"- And he handled the glass to the Doctor, who gives a long pull of it, and said :" Thanks ! Good quality." "There's a dinosaur coming this way."- Astor said, pulling his sleeve. "Oh ? And is it big ?" "Great ! Better run alongside with me, perhaps we could save ourselves."- Astor said, running to the left. Soon they were surrounded by the shrubbery ; Astor went inside a crevice among big roots. The Mud soaked his pants ; Doctor Franz said :" I don't see any dino ! It's this some kind of a joke, or what ?" 449 A horrible bellow sounds very near, and the Doctor almost dive into the crevice. They were looking out- they was a big Tyrannosaurus passing -by , snoring and smelling ; Astor pour some more mud on his face and hair; Doctor Franz imitate him in no time at all . The beast went away - directly to the camp ! Soon there were hearing faint detonations. "Poor fellows ! They had no chance, with that brute ! "- Astor said. "But, they have big rifles ! A good shot, and the Tyrannosaurus must fell down !"Doctor Franz said. "Not in a million shots ! Should be a lucky shot ! Those brutes had a brain the size of a peanut, hidden on that meter and a half brain case of him!'- Astor reminded him. "Bad , bad boy ! You should had warned them !"- Doctor Franz said. "Perhaps."- Astor replied ; his experience said it was a bad idea to tell the others in a case where dinosaurs were involved. "And what are we going to do now ? The Tyrannosaurus could kills us , if we return !"- Doctor Franz said. Astor looked at his wrist -watch in Knappian mode, and said :" It's fourteen hours twenty minutes now. Guess at seventeen hours we'll try to move." They climbed a near -by tree, and put their garments to dry on some branches. Doctor Franz said :" By any chance, that bottle of whisky, it is with you , now ?" Astor chuckled a little, and produced a small flask ; he offered the cup filled with the yellowish liquor to the Doctor, saying :" Special brand , forty years

old." Doctor Franz gulped it , smacked his lips , and said :" Delicious ! Nectar of the gods ! You must be throwing away a lot of dug, in order to obtain this brand !" "Not me ! The Tycoons ! I have access to their liquor." "Don't kidded me ! Those guys had everything inside those wagons, and their servants see nobody could sneak inside."- Doctor Franz said - he knew it, as he had tried to get inside those wagons himself... "The wagons ! I mad a trap door in everyone of them , beforehand ! I could also take their Credit Cards, if I excel myself a bit !"- Astor said. "What a crooked mind ! "- Doctor Franz said, moving his head . "In this Era, in this Outworld, you cannot expect Justice, and well behavior , with Miss Muerte breathing at the back of your head ! Stick around me, and you'll return in one piece."- Astor recommended. Three hours later, they return to the camp; the weather was changing - cold wind was blowing ,and 451 when looking at the tents, they were all in rags ; the crew men were disappeared . The imprints of the big feet from the Tyrannosaurus were by everywhere . "Look in the underbush, Doctor ! Perhaps we could find some remains !" But they only find a huge heap of excrement , and in it , protruding, they saw several bones. Doctor Franz pulled one out, observed it, and said :" A Tibia. Human stock. Pity, this should be a bone corresponding to the previous lunch." "Show a little respect for my men , Doctor. That guy die while working for me ."Astor reminded him. "Oh, yeah ? Then, take this remains and buried someplace !"- Doctor Franz said, leaving the bone at his feet ; Astor said nothing else ; he was disconcerted why the Safari, under his command, was a butchery. Suddenly, they heard voices, and at that, female ones. From the jungle, the young females appeared laughing, and after them, the Tycoons and all of the Servants, some of them armed with rifles. "Oh, there you are ! What kind of a Guide are you, that leave your men when in peril ?"- The fat Houston boomed out. "The Tyrannosaurus attacked, and I fired my gun ant then there was nothing more to do ! Be happy you saved yourself, by not being here !'- Astor said, somberly. "My friends and I are thinking we better get back to Rixiaberg and hire another guide !"- Houston said. "Do as you want ! But I warn you : the minute the Authorities realize that some people has died here, they will not permit you to come back ! They will say it's unsafe !"- Astor replied. "And it is safe ?"- Marlene, one of the girls asked with fright. "Milady : the whole planet is unsafe ! But to see their beautiful landscapes and animals, we must to risk ourselves a little !"- Astor commented. The tourists went to the only available wagon, and they begun to discuss the matter among them. By the meantime, Astor called the remaining crew members, and said :" We had bad luck . Guess it's the old damnation of Safaris bearing women !" They all agreed with that; women brought bad luck in dangerous spots. "I don't know if this tourists wants to keep themselves on hunting - well, they hadn't hunted a flea !"- Doctor Franz said , almost yelled . His words were heard by the Tycoons, and not after ten minutes , their leader, Houston , approaches Astor and said :" Perhaps you're right and this accidents did happens; we had not hunted 453 a single dinosaur , and I guess it's about time we did. Lead us to them ! But I tell you, no more than another seven days is our desire to be here ! After that period of time, you'll get us back to Civilization." Astor was happy to hear that remark : the Safari keeps on ! He said :" All right, Mr. Hudson ! I'll excel myself this time ! I promise you will not regret of your

happy decision ". Houston growled, and went back to the rest of the tourists. "See that the wagon could be moved by the Simian horses ! Collect every piece of food you can find scattered around ! We are on the move !"- Astor told his remaining crew members (5). "Somebody must be in the lookout at all times, Sahib ! We need to be alerted when peril comes ! - Sahman said- he was one from the old crew , with scars all over his body. "Right ! I'll be on the lookout ! I will fire my revolver twice, in case I see something dangerous !"- Astor said .' "And after three hours, I'll call on one of you to did the next shift." In three hours, a lunch was prepared and consumed ; the wagon was used to carry the ladies and the food supply. Astor was in the rear ; he was eager to find a dinosaur as a target to the Tycoons. Then... " Sahib ! There's a Triceratop ahead ! Old 454 and an easy target !"- Farendo told him. "Go and bring here that old band of Oldies ! This will make them younger !"- Astor said. The tycoons appeared, brandishing new rifles. Houston was saying :" Where is it ? Is it big ?" " Yes ! It is a big Triceratops ! Come this way !"- Astor told him ; the whole group of Tourists aimed at the beast, who was eating at some branches of ferns. The detonations sounds like a discharge of a platoon at war - but apparently , the Triceratops wasn't hurt, because it jumped sideways and with a bellow, trotted away. "Let's chase it ! Now !"- Houston said, eyes gleaming. "All right !"- Bushion and Gonzalez cried ; and an Asiatic cried in dismal. Astor told the hunters of his crew to lead the way, and they all trotted after the Triceratops . 456 The hunters were trailing it; it was easy, as the beast did a wide track after him. The tourists were shouting and commenting how they did hit the Creature. "I'm certain we'll find it bleeding out somewhere !"- Shuiyen said, panting. Astor didn't believe they could outpaced the frighten herbivore ; as it runs at thirty five kilometers per hours, and maybe more ! So he began to slack his pace, until the Tycoons were out of sight . Astor seats over a log, and dried his perspiration with a handkerchief. "Resting ?"- A voice said. Astor looked around, and saw Doctor Franz with a bag . "Of course ! That Triceratops run as a rabbit !'- Astor explained. "Well ! Those millionaires will run to the horizon the day away ! For no purpose. But you knew that already , don't you ?" - Doctor Franz said, seating at a rock; he produced a fine bottle of whisky from the bag, and two tin cups. "Want some ?_ He invited; Astor said : " Of course ! Never too early for a drink." A Archeopteryx perched near them; Astor fired at it, and the Archeopteryx come down with some leaves . "Nice shot. A dinosaur less !"- Doctor Franz said, rising his tin cup. 457 - Guess we could made a good soup after it !"- Astor said, standing. He examined the Archeopteryx , calculating his weight in seven kilos. - Let's return to the camp, Doctor ? There's nothing to do around here."- He said, and they went , with Astor Carrying the Archeoptery . At camp, the women were sunbathing themselves, on top of the wagon. One of them , Marlene , saw them first, and saluted them with waves of his left arm . "Hi, ladies ! Your friends are chasing dinosaurs, but I bring here our meal !"Astor said, showing the Archeopteryx . They all descended, giggling, to see the dinosaur.

"Oh ! How ugly it is ! "- Marlene said. She was dressed with a blouse and a mini skirt; the rest of them had their clothes in a similar fashion. Astor lit a fire, while he peeled the creature of its hide . It was like a bat. Then he roasted it , and served 459 it on a platter ; some of the efemales served salads and liquor with it to the ladies; two of them drink heavily : Lenevia and Tidilenia ; both were interested in the flora near by , and asked Astor to explain some of them; soon they were out of sight , and Astor begun kissing Lenevia , while Tidilenia seats on a log; soon he was enjoying Lenevia while Tidilenia stripped her clothes and waited; soon it was her turn, and she moaned at heart's content , saying : " This is a man, and not that old wreck !" They return to the compound and soon the Tycoons also arrives , carrying a dead animal . Astor went to see it, and it was an old troodon, perforated his chest in a dozen sites. "Nice shooting !"- He said; Huston turns his head to him, saying :" Are you complaining about our aiming ?" "Of course not, Sahib! "- Astor replied. "Well, if you were there, perhaps with your skill , you could had killed him with one shot ! By the way, where were you , while we risked our neck out there ?" Huston asked, in a bellicose way. "Feeding the females ! I brought a Archeopteryx and I roasted it in here !"- Astor explained. Huston gets near , and said :" Well , what we have here ? I told you once : don't mess up with our ladies ! And you come back alone , and you made a whole party , barbecue out of a piece of meat ! And who knows what else !" Noshan said :" He takes Lenevia and Tidilenia to the woods - for more than three hours !" A dense silence followed that remark ; Huston was looking at Astor, and Astor looked back. "I'll settle this matter with you, afterwards ! Now we will celebrate our first prize ! "- Huston said, and the servants peeled and roasted the Troodon's remains in the fire. Lenevia and Tidilenia were assuring Sukito and Akio (their fiancees) that they just walked with Astor in the woods, and nothing more ... Sukito and Akio knew they couldn't discard the pair of females now, in the middle of the Jungle, or they wouldn't enjoy females until their return to the civilization , so they pretend the whole matter wasn't important at all ! Doctor Franz approaches Astor at his tent, saying :" You accept too much bullying from Mr. Huston ! Why is it ?" "They are paying me to do a service for them ! I'll accept bullying until I believe is enough ! " - Astor said, pouring some whisky on another glass, and handled it 461 to the Doctor. "Well, I'll be damn if for a few bucks I also accepted those humiliations in front of my crew and the ladies ! By the way, what did you do with them at the woods?" "Nothing at all, Doctor !"- Astor said, and the Doctor chuckled a lot ... He didn't believe Astor when he was pretending not to be a Don Juan ! Later, the Tycoons made a ball, and they danced under a PCAll ; the ladies drink a lot, and went stumbling to the 462 tents, followed by the Tycoons . "This seems to be an orgy !"- Doctor Franz said. Astor was revolted at it, and he takes a rifle and went to the Jungle - the scene just saw makes him tremble with hate - perhaps the young women deserves that whoring treatment , as they put the Credit sign before all other things ... He saw a beautiful longfeathereddromie flying over the treetops ; other

Sinovenator Shangii were perched on a tree, coloring it with their hides . Some of them were awake and their beady eyes followed his figure as long as he was traversing the place. He looked at his compass ; he was heading East ; he turns to the North, and he found mounds of sand, filled with red fat ants ; a small creek was running some meters away - he followed it for one hundred and fifty meters , and the half eaten carcass of a Triceratops was there, blackened with flies , that buzzed around the corpse. 463 He keeps on at the sight of the creek ; several thousand ferns were growing there , with all the shades of green and yellow . After three hundred meters away, he found a lagoon, with ancient trees growing around its banks. In a quiet spot, among rocks, he gets naked and swim a short while, cleansing his body . When he was dressing himself again, he heard a bellow ; looking back, he saw a horrid head of a Stygimoloch eyes fixed on him ! He jumped to the water, and swimming there, he saw how the terrific creature was searching for a place to get into the lagoon. He begun by swimming as fast as he could; soon he saw the creature reappearing behind some muddy logs; he was walking in two legs in his direction ; the water didn't covered his knees, but soon it was waist- deep in the water. Astor was swimming fast; soon he was nearing the other side ; the Stygimoloch was in deep waters now, and his head appeared now and then, as he apparently was swimming in some freaking way. At the other side was a lot of mud ; he wallowed over it, and arrives to solid land; the ferns didn't permit him to see the terrible Stygimoloch , so he jump over logs, run and finds a suitable big tree to climb . From the upper branches , in hidden, he saw several times the terrible beast lurking down there , and he was panting of fright. 464 He has lost his shoes and the rifle; his compass -plus - watch was on his wrist ( a habit of him : never to take his wrist watch while on the jungle ). Darkness begun, and he straightened his will to endure the pass of the night . With the first star in the sky, the growling and bellowing begun; now and then, an horribly agony cry was heard, chilling his blood. At the peak of the growling; he looked at his watch : it was 03.12 hours ; suddenly, a scratch and a rustle , a sound of branches being moved out of place; something was climbing ! He had no weapon at all , so he clinched his hands . A pair of soft yellow eyes suddenly appeared. "Calm down !"- He said, trying to represent himself as the commanding presence there; he expect to have control of that situation, whatever the creature was ; and it moves swiftly away, and didn't harm him . At dawn, he awake , after a brief period of slumber. 465 and begun looking for the Stranger; he spotted it near by, in a branch. The creature was looking at him, and it was pale blue, had two big round eyes and it was a fish ! Astor couldn't believe his eyes; a strange kind of fish: it has no tail fin, but it has two legs ending in some 466 kind of feet. Astor calculated an height of a meter and thirty centimeters for the incredible creature; to see a fish on a tree wasn't so queer for him, who had seeing lots of Documentary films about fauna , and at Earth there were fishes that climbs trees at night ; also he knew there were flying fishes . He descended , and revised the surrounding area; the Stygimoloch imprints were profound, so it was easy to recreate his trajectory ; after a while, he knew the creature had returned to that lagoon. He east some fruits, and he begun walking in a half circle, in order to avoid the lagoon. At noon, he was nearing the camp. "Astor ! What happened to you, man ?"- Doctor Franz asked him. "A Stygimoloch !"- Astor said, with a movement of his shoulders.

"Well ! Here, that ugly man Huston , takes all the gear and departed ! I stayed here, in case of your return. "_ Doctor Franz said, signaling his lonely tent. "I cannot believe it ! The guy is a fool !"- Astor said, receiving the whisky bottle the 467 Doctor was handling him. "You must cure your feet ! Wounded - you loose your shoes ? "- Doctor Franz asked him, while they walked to the tent. "Yeah ! I throw myself on the water, and swim at heart's content , with a Stygimoloch motivating me behind !"- Astor replied. "Oh, I should had been there, with a film camera ! "- Doctor Franz, chuckling ; he cured his soared feet ; Then, he provided Astor with boots. "I had this in stock ; too big for me , but I had been intending to sell it , at our return to Rixiaberg !" "Fine idea, very commercial one. But now I'll ruin your little business ."- Astor joked about. "I guess you should take the rest of the day - with that feet, in the condition that are they, one day or two of rest, is something worth doing ."- Doctor Franz said. "I understand you ! Well, guess we can 468 play chess !" "I'll beat you."- Doctor Franz said, taking out a box with that ancient game. While they played, Astor said :" We hear science saying there's no traces of an almighty god." "Somebody say there in the heart of man god abides."- Doctor Franz said. "Kind of a retreat from the Heavens , to a place in our memories ! It sounds childish."- Astor remarked. "We are child , learning the secrets of an Universe too big to understand."_ Doctor Franz said, taking a pawn. They keep on playing; several .... and .... passed by, looking at them but not approaching. At night, Doctor Franz slept inside his tent, and Astor near a fire, slumbering there with a pair of rifles loaded near him. At dawn, a flock of ......... passed above them, with their long wings flapping in the Air. When Doctor Franz awake, he went out of his tent and said:" Did you sleep well, Astor ?" 469 "Like in a luxury Hotel, Doctor ! I'll went to the Jungle for our Lunch !"- Astor said, carrying a Rifle. Soon he spotted a small Hypsilophodon ; he aimed and fired; the Hypsilophodon went to earth with a thud. He grabs a leg , and carried it to the camp ; soon he was working with a knife, slicing the better parts. "Pity there's no more people here ! Too much food for us to eat !"- Doctor Franz said. "Don't worry about that , Doctor ! Enjoy the moment ."- Astor recommended him. "I'm worried about the rest of the team ! And your clients, so imprudent that they are ! What if they didn't come back ?"- Doctor Franz asked. "I'll be searching for them to-morrow! My feet are better now." They eat; Astor climb to a big tree , and from there he looked above the tree-tops ! He saw different kinds of Tenontosaurs and Unintatherium ; the air was sweet over there, and he feel the happiness of to be alive once more. At his tent, Doctor Franz was looking at a book of his Trade, while drinking a glass of Whisky. At dusk, Astor returns to the tent ; lit a fire, roasted some more meat, and they 470 eat. "To-morrow I'll be going after the crew members, our clients, and servants. Are you going with me , or are you staying here ?"

"I rather be here than climbing trees and running away of dangerous animals !"Doctor Franz said. "Suit yourself ! This is a good spot; no dangerous animals lurking around. "Astor approved. He slept on a tree and at dawn he put a new backpack at his shoulders, and with a rifle and bullets , he start following the tracks. He soon finds tin cans, wasted paper, dung from the Simian Horses; also a pair of prophylactics. At noon, he rested in the same spot the groups uses as a night camp. By the debris found, he collected they were a couple of days ahead ! He smiled,as there were no bones in the debris; the aiming keeps on being lousy! He slept at a tree, when darkness come. In the night he heard heavy stomping, but couldn't recognize the beast until the next day, when finding the line of footsteps - in a line, and not going hither and thither - the claws marked the earth after a long imprint. "Spinosaurus !"- Astor murmured, in a hiss. He find the Safari tracks, and hurried in that direction. He found another "night camp"; more debris, several liquor bottles, bones of a Chaelophysis . He calculated the time elapsed : a day, for those remains and tracks; at a trot, he tried to reach the Safari crew that same day, but darkness fell before he could achieve it; he climbs a tree and slept there . AT dawn, he was awakened by several shots -= he localized the source , and run for the site - some bullets passed hissing along; he stumbled to the ground, finding a red spot on a shoulder; soon he missed conscience and all blackened out. He awoke and it was pitch dark ; some noises were indistinguishable ; a pain on the left arm and chest was growing , and he perspired with 472 the fire that it seems to provoke. Later, it subsided, and he lie there panting tremulously. The hours passed by, and as if in a dream, he saw how the leaves and the trunks begun to shine in green colors. He try to stand up, and he managed to do that , leaning on some branches. He begun retracing his steps, thinking that the only solution for him was only to get to the camp where Doctor Franz was. For two days he walked, and at the morning of the third day, he arrives to camp. Doctor Franz saw him from his tent, and helped him arrive to his own bunk. "What wrongs with you ? "- Doctor Franz said, while he was opening his first aid suitcase. 473 He cut his shirt, clean the wound, and said :" I must sedate you ! Are you ready ? " "Proceed, doctor !"- Astor replied; soon he was injected and while unconscious , Doctor Franz extracted the bullet and after disinfected the wound , sew some veins and nerves, cauterized, and sew the wound . After the operation was ended, he bandaged him; he also boiled his utensils on a small acerplast dish, to disinfect them . After several hours, Astor awake, seeing a bonfire lightning the surroundings; soon Doctor Franz saw him awake, and gets inside the tent, asking :" How do you feel ?" "Weak but without pain. Did you pull out the bullet ?" "Of course ! I'll do an amulet out of it ! And thanks you were not closer of the firing arm, or that bullet would had sent you to the Other World."- Doctor Franz said. "Nice to hear that ."- Astor said. "Did you see the Safari team?" " No, Doctor ! I was hearing a lot of firing, so I get closer; the bullet hit me, and I couldn't arrive to them." "Good ! There's nobody there with medical skills."- Doctor Franz said. Later, Astor slumbered, and Doctor Franz went out to throw some more wood on the bonfire. The morning come, and Doctor Franz went to the Forest, searching of fruits; meanwhile, the Safari team arrives to the camp, finding the injured Astor in bed.

"Well , how are you, Mr. Astor ? At last you appeared !"- - Mr. Huston said, while observing him. "I 'm recovering from a bullet fired by someone at your camp ! I was nearing, after several days following your tracks, and ..." " Don't lie to me , you bastard ! You fire yourself !"- Huston bellowed. "You are not going to treat me like this ! 475 Astor said, trying to stand up, but Huston went out of the tent, saying :" You 're a fiasco ! A yellow coward !" Lenevia and Tidilenia get inside the tent, and seeing him pale and bandaged, they ease him to the cot again, saying :" Don't pay attention to his words ! He is being acting like this since he takes control of the Expedition !" - Tidilenia explained . They offered him some water in a jug ; then the Doctor returns, and after being told what had happened, he said:" I'll go and talk with that stupid right now !" Astor tried to stand up again, and the girls forbids him to do so; soon the bellowing of Huston was heard, and then a silence; the Doctor returns with a half closed eye, and said : " That brute hits me in the eye !" "There's plenty of meat outside ! Put some on your eye, now."- Astor said, while he walks out of the tent with a revolver; he saw Huston laughing in front of his tent, and fired ; the big guy went down like a log, while some of the girls yelled ; he returns to his cot and said to the two ladies :" Sorry, but that guy trespasses the line." "I don't care about him ! He was an animal !"- Tidilenia said. The other, Lenevia , said :" They say it's of a place in Earth where the people are quarrelsome." "You bet."- Astor said, leaving the revolver at hand... Doctor Franz seized the occasion to call on the crew members to Astor's presence; he said:" What I did, is to kill a dangerous animal. Not aloud by our laws, but here there are no laws but my own ! Now you are going to disarm every emen and ewomen here, plus the millionaires ! To-morrow we'll begun the retreat to the civilization, were we'll arrive in time. " They all acquiesced to his request; the fire-arms were reunid in one place, and the millionaires were deprived of his luxury weapons. Astor waits the next morning, to stand up in front of them, and said :" What happens with Mr. Huston was something inevitable in our position; there is one leader here, and is me. Now, you have your memories, your films, and we are going to return to the civilization. Any question ?" "Where are you burying the deceased Mr. Huston?"- One of them asked. "I'll leave that to you : you could dig a hole for him, or make a mound out of rocks; for me , he is finished."- Astor said, retiring to his tent; there, he went to the cot, with a pain on his chest. "What 's wrong with me, Doctor ? Did you pull out or not that mixed up bullet ?"Astor asked him. "I don't know ! I am sure there was nothing else there ! But I could be mistaken; I have no X rays in here !"- Doctor Franz said, taking his temperature; it was a normal 37 ( under the circumstances ). "I want to sleep !"- Astor said, ashamed to be so weak. Doctor Franz injected him a sedative, and said :" Sleep well, my friend ! I'll take care of things around here !""That sounds good."- Astor said, getting asleep... Doctor Franz was sure the bullet was the only thing Astor had in his body; but perhaps there were some minor problems inside his body, so he gives him a shot with penicillin. Then, he went out, and told the crew members :" I'm the second in command, now. Our chief is ill, as he received a bullet when approaching your place three of four days ago. What was the shooting at ?" Goston , a hunter, said :" We were not firing ! But the Tycoons were ! They thought some Archaeoceratops were lurking near the camp, and they started a fire in all directions ! We almost get killed out there !":

"Bad, bad ! Tourists with shotguns must be forbidden !"- Doctor Franz expounded..."But to-day, no marches ! Three of you should go and hunt some animal, to make soup to-night !"- Doctor Franz asked them; when returning to his tent , he saw the whole lot of women looking and caring of Astor, who was asleep. "Dames ! The man is wounded ! Some of the millionaires fire him , while he was nearing your camp, four or five days ago."- He told them. "Oh, what a pity ! And yes, those men were for ever shooting at anything that moves ! "- Tidilenia said. "We want nothing more from them ! They are filthier by the day ! We ... I will not return there !"- Lenevia said. The others were thinking the same thing; and Doctor Franz said : "Pity, I have but just one cot here, and it's Astor in it." "Don't you worry ! We'll ask the servants to made a big tent, and we will be everybody inside it !"- Tidilenia said, and so they did. Astor was very well attended, and Doctor Franz was blushed all over, with all those beauties running around the place ... When the hunters return, they brought a big Archaeoceratops ; and five big eggs; the servants made a good dinner, and they were very happy; all was collapsing, when the Tycoons appeared for their share of food. "We need you at our wagon, ladies ! You cannot desert us ! We paid for your staying here !"- Bushion said. "I guess we didn't belong to you, old man !"- Latinia said, mockingly. The men grew mad, but Doctor Franz produced a gun, and aiming at them, he said :" You go now to your wagon in peace, or I'll send you to make company to that friend of yours, Mr. Huston !" They went to the wagon cursing them all, and soon they heard they were drinking and yelling at hearth's content, inside of the wagon... The women were not as happy as they should be, and Latinia saidK" We are not for their love or physical strength ! We are here for the money ! At our cities, we profit from men like those. Now, every money they offered us for to do this trip, goes in a puff of smoke." "Pity ! I was sure I could buy a mini Flier, at my come back !"- Marlene said, caressing one of her long legs . The rest said similar phrases. Doctor Franz said:"Well, you find your proud and honor here , ladies ! Don't mind the money !" "You say so because you were hired for a Safari and you'll be paid ! Or they paid you in advance ?"- Latinia asked him. Doctor Franz said :" Well, something I receive beforehand ! But I tell you: I have no home, no car and I live happy!" "Where, in a square ?"- Olivia said; she was a blonde woman with a big rear. "No ! But I am sure you'll have parents alive ! You are young and beautiful; soon they could hire you somewhere ."_ Doctor Franz said. "Yes ! The quicker we went out of this zoo, the better ! I don't want to see a dinosaur in my entire life !"- Teniada said; she was from Javel . That night, three of them went to sleep with Astor, and he was very happy to have them in his bed; in the morning, he went to the tycoons's tent, and said :" Gentlemen, be ready ! We are departing back to the civilization !" "It was time to do that ! We have a profound dislike of this whole Safari of yours !"- Bushion said, belligerently; he was drinking scotch in the morning. The simian horses were attached to the wagon, and at nine hours in the morning , the group begun to walk; for five days they walk as fast as the simian horses could go, and at the sixth day, they arrives to the city of Rixiaberg; the second they could, the Tycoons accused Astor as the assassin of Mr. Huston. He was brought to a Rixiaberg court; one judge , and three councilors. Five days later, they heard what the eight men said, and then to Astor and some of his associates. Judge Beruio heard the case, and went to an office with the three councilors, who had studied the case for two days. "Well, what do you suggest we could do in this case ? As the witnesses said two different things, we have here a case where there were two antagonists with their clients; I am sure Mr. Huston said he owns the whole Safari for himself, and must had been a pain in you know where."- Judge Beruio said.

"Your Honor: I had talked with everyone of that Safari; the clients and the servants, plus some epeople that were serving there."- Afuion said . "Councilor ! You had hit the nail ! An epeople cannot lie ! Or at the least, not with a good technician in computers ! So I am eager to hear what you had to told us."- Judge Beruio said. "They said Mr. Astor kills Mr. Huston after a dozen insults received in several occasions; so we have a person here, Mr. Huston, trying to exacerbate a man , who was in this case Mr. Astor. And of course, Mr. Astor is a hunter; he resolves everything by firing at it, or by stabbing it. "- Councilor Afuion said. "I understand. Do you understand the case, Mr. Ouoain and Mr. Njidio ?"= The Judge Beruio asked of this Councilors. "Yes, Your Highness ! We understand the man; or both men, in this case, and we recommend you to release the guilty with a money fine he could afford; they had told me they were paying him a million credits for this trip."- Councilor Ouoain said. "Very well then, a million Credits it is ! "- Judge Beruio said, going to the Court Room with his Councilors; he read the sentence, and the tourists weren't too happy , as they were willing to see Mr. Astor for every in jail . Astor, for his part, wasn't at all happy, as he was going to pay everything they paid him, and more ! "I will be selling my apartment to pay the fine ! "- Astor told Doctor Franz. "Be happy ! You will not be hanged or jailed for life ! What is money ? "- Doctor Franz said, giving him a punch. So, Astor pay everything they had paid him, and then he sold the apartment, in order to pay the rest of the fine- of course, he was not selling his precious guns ! He rented a small room, and tried to be hired again by the Travel Agency; but Mr. Fred 39 said :" No more deals with a man who kills a tourists in a fit ! So you better go finding some other trade for you; in this planet, nobody will touch you , not even with a ten meters 's pole." "That is what you say."- Astor replied, going out of that office in rage; but with the time, he understand he was on the black list for Safaris ! CHAPTER 3 IN THE BLACK LIST. Doctor Franz obtained a place in the General Hospital of Rixiaberg City ; from his position, he tried to obtain some work for his friend Mr. Astor, but to not avail. "I will never accept a post of janitor ! "- Astor was yelling to the mirror, in his small room ; he was in debt now, and he get meals from a Catholic Church nearby; the Christians were in the effort they are better suited since the beginning of time, that is, to insert the meme of Jesus in every human alive . Astor didn't believe all that myth, but he accepted the soup and the bread; he takes his portion, eats fast, and went away from there - he dislike the idea that he was out of job. At last, he went to Janarvia, and at the Bars near the Cosmodrome, he finds a job. "I offer you small amount of money, but you could use your skills as a marksman ! Also, you will not need to organize the expedition, nothing ! Just be a hunter; that is all I want of you."- A fat man from Carinia VI said; he was yellow skinned, with faint gray eyes; the hair was not to be seen, as the guy shaves his head to a ball of yellow skin. "I understand that , Mr. Reskin; I am a skilled hunter, you'll see. I have some pictures that I could show you, to probe the point."- Astor said. "Oh, Mr. Astor ! I knew about you , from years ago ! The case in Oregon IV, by example. Do you remember when you save ...." - Mr. Reskin was remembering, but Astor interrupted him, saying :" Oh, Mr. Reskin, don't embarrass me any more ! I accept ! When and where, please !" "That's the spirit ! Pity, cannot be to-morrow, as I would like; I depend on

others, but in the end, must be in less than five days. Could you wait that long, Mr. Astor ?"- Reskin asked, emptying his glass of Rhum. "Of course !"- Astor said, gulping his share ; the liquor went like a fire inside his throat and ended in a faint explosion at his empty stomach. He had lost 19 kilos in the process of to find a proper job ! "Take, five hundred Credits ! Go and buy a new shirt, perhaps shoes; you cannot present yourself without style ! This guys , from the University, are very inquisitive ! A man without good manners and good clothes, cannot be a winner ! That's is what they think."- Reskin said, standing up; Astor imitates him; the man saluted him, German style, and went out of the Bar. "Good luck !"- Astor said, asking for another drink; he was happy now; a new job and a trip to the stars ! Three days later, some officers from the Police arrives to his room, searching for him; he escapes by the window , and worms his way to the roof; there, he run until the building was far away; he descended to the street, and wandered by the sidewalks, thinking what was the cause he was being asked by the police... Possibly, the killing of Mr. Huston ! There was no other case in his record of misdeeds; the rest were minor things, not worthwhile to be mentioned ! He enters his building at night, and the landlord lady saw him sneaking by the corridor, and said :" Mr. Astor ! The Police come asking for you to -day ! Were you not at your apartment, this afternoon ?" "I... no, of course not ! What they want of me ?" -- Astor asked, meekly. "No idea, Sir ! But you own me two months of rent ! Eighty Credits it is, Sir ! When are you going to pay me ? "= And the landlord lady was very serious; he was so, as he was thinking the renter was going to depart, now the Police was after him! "Take, here is five Credits ! I sold my wristwatch to-day !"- He said, looking grim; she takes the money, and said :|" You better pay me before you go! Now that the Police is after you.. possibly you are going to move out ! But I warn you: no suitcase of you should cross my door ! You pay or you left your belongings in here !" "No problem, Madame ! I'll pay, you'll see."- Astor said, going inside his apartment; he knew, at a glance, the Police hasn't get inside his apartment, nor had revised his belongings; all was like when he was there last time; so he relaxed a little; the thing wasn't so important... He takes whatever belongings he had, and stuffed in the suitcase and in a giant bag; no weapons were there; he was no stupid; in that room, anyone with an iron bar could enter easily; so he left his weapons at the Cosmodrome Depository ! For some coins a month, he could leave his precious there, where a lot of guards takes care of things. .. He rented another, cheaper, room; this was no Hotel, it was a home converted in a kind of residential place, where people could live in one of the rooms for a cheap price . He often returns to the Bar where Riechen contacted him in the first place; five days elapsed, Riechen appeared again, and show him a photo. "This is a new model of spaceship ! It's a Glasso Class ; special for Universities and Prospectors; 180 meters long, 20 meters wide, with a capacity to change of Branas while on flight !" � "This was an invention made by New Deutschland ! I heard about this, in a news report - guess they are making at Alpha Orion, if I'm not wrong."= Astor said. "I guess you're right; well, we are not going to another Brana now- too risky ! Instead, we are going to Magna Eight ! "- Riechen (Olfatear) said. Astor was now like suspended in mid air, and he said :" The Bug planet ? Very risky." "But you accepted the trip ! Don't say you aren't going now !"- Riechen said. "I'll go ! But it's dangerous." "No way ! Remember about that planet : 477 two continents ! One full of life, and the other ..." "With poisoned fumes !"- Astor remembered. "You see ? We're not going directly to the dangerous continent at all !"- Mr.

Riechen said. Of course, Astor didn't believe in it : possibly the trip was going to be dangerous, but he hadn't any other choice to make. He visited Doctor Franz, and said :" I know they are doing something strange, but I'm stuck with my trade." "I understand. A hunter cannot be without a hunt ! Possibly dangerous, yes ! Take provisions ! Pity; I cannot go with you ; plenty of work at the Hospital."- Doctor Franz said. "I assume they had a doctor already; well, now I 'm going to get ready."- Astor said, thinking in his firearms. Six days elapsed, while he was hanging at that same Bar, at 22.00 hours, he saw Mr. Riechen approaching. "Hi, Astor ! Glad you are here ! "- The man said; he seats next to him, at the bar , and shake hands. "Are we ready ? "- Astor asked him. "Not in the least ! We have problems of every kind ! I'm tired of begging for money, but at the University, there are guys more interested in money than in the Expedition ! But, take no heed ; you can reimburse the money in the future." "What ?"- Astor asked, astonished. 478 "Yes, the money in advance I give to you ! The trip is a no -go, so I'll be refunding the money, among other things - a total fiasco !"- Riechen said, drinking from his glass of Whisky. "Unheard ! This is highly irregular ; I paid the rent , use that money; I'm in the Black List, because of something that Happens in my last Safari ... "_ Astor complained. "Don't worry ! I can wait - but of course, not for too many days ! Say, in ten Days you refund me that Dug, and all be settled between us ! What do you say ?"Riechen asked him. "I'll try ! "- Astor said, somberly; Riechen finished his drink and said :" Bye, Astor !"- And departed. ..... "The man said the Safari is canceled. I'm out again, and I must reimburse some money in eight days elapsed. "- Astor said. He was at a corridor in the General Hospital of Rixiaberg; Doctor Franz was at his lunch hour, eating a sandwich and drinking a yogurt . "Pity to hear this ! You was interested in it ! About the money, I can give you two hundred and fifty Credits, if you want, now. Next month I could give you some more." "Thanks ! I don't want to appear as a Thief."- Astor said, receiving the 250 Credits. "You'll pay me when you get another job."- Doctor Franz said, looking at his Wristwatch. "O.K. , I'm going ! You have work to do here !"- Astor said, and departed. At his rented room, 479 he count all his money, 325 Credits . With 15 Credits he could put an add at a place in the Cosmonet - perhaps someone could give him something to do, with a little luck. He put the advertisement at an Agency, and went to take a Scotch at a Bar; he saw Riechen there, talking with some ladies. "Hey, Astor ! Come on here, to present you !"- He bellowed ; at a glance, Astor realized that the man was drunk. He stops at a corner of that table, with five women already seated in front of it; each one using a different color dress; also , they were very dissimilar among them. Four women were very quiet, so he thought they were mere Artificial People - Ewomen. The fifth one was fat and ugly- no designer 480 of A.I. bodies could had elected her to be; but, in this days nothing was for

sure, as they were people who paid high prices to have Replicas of their Deceased Ones ... "But here we are ! Miss Penel, Miss Audiel, Miss Shilar, Miss Agala, Miss Maria . Miss Maria is the Entrepreneur, here ! "- Riechen said, drinking some more Whisky. "Oh, no ! Just the person who happened to said Yes to my Uncle, Ramsor Rowliner ! He is ..." - Was saying that fat lady, but Riechen interrupted, saying :" She's the Inheritor ! Or she'll be !" "Please ! Let me talk with the Gentleman ! - Miss Maria said, blushing - patches of red appeared on her round face .. "But he hasn't a glass ! Waiter ! Brint the Gentleman a glass of liquor !"Another dame in the Group said. "Thanks. Bring me a Cola de Mono, bitte !"- Astor said, trying to take as much as possible from that encounter in a Bar. "We were asking Mr. Riechen about a trip to some country where people - I mean, where people from our civilization ... hasn't arrived yet. "- Miss Maria said, blushing like a Semaphore . "I understand . "- Astor replied, and saw that the waiter arrives with a glass half full with the whitish substance. He drinks, and smacked his tongue deliciously cold ! The Cola de Mono was simply Brandy with milk, plus some Smell Nails, to give it a good flavor ... 481 "I see. But what is the profit of this Voyage? You will be sightseeing , and expending lots of money, when you have thousands of already known worlds where you'll be almost as isolated than at this new planet you want to Discover."- Astor said. "My father is paying for all of it ! He is a Senator in Terra Three ."- Miss Maria said, proudly. "And ?" "He told me to go where no man has gone before, and in case of Discover something unusual, to put that in tape and brought it to him. Perhaps he could make a profit out of this all, who knows ?"= Miss Maria said. "Well, this is better ! To know."- Astor said. "When do we depart ?"- Miss Penel asked. "The spaceship is ready, all is ready ! "- Miss Audiel said, happily. "My wages ..."- Astor mentioned. "Oh, let Mr. Riechen speak about that !"- Miss Maria said. " Yes, Astor ! Don't bother the Lady with meager things !" - Riechen said, laughing with duplicity. 482 The ladies departed from the Bar, and Riechen said :" The fat lady Maria is the daughter of Senator Lwiron ; she is always with that bunch of machinery ." "You mean ... the beautiful ladies are just efemales ?"- Astor said, mildly surprised. "Right. But you wished to speak about money. I arrange things for you : they will pay you three million Credits."- Riechen announced, looking shrewd. Astor was astounded, and he said :" Very well ! A highly paid Safari !" "Wait ! I must say this : a million now, before the trip begins ; it means , also, that you must buy your gear : weapons, detectors, scanners, night vision goggles ! " - Riechen explained. 483 Astor did as told : he searched for a room for rent, and finding it, he carried there his weapons and the new acquisitions. He also have a stove and kitchenware , so he prepare his own meals . At the eight day, Riechen asked him , in a meeting at the Bar, to get ready. "To - morrow the Skipper said he must to deeply the ship ! Too expensive , he said, to remain in a docking place for too many weeks." "It figures."-

"Then, you must carry your stuff to-night ! Be there at 21.00 hours. " Riechen said. "How's the Skipper ? A grumpy old sky - sailor ?"= " No,but you 'll see at 21 hours for yourself. Well, buddy, guess that's all."Riechen said, and departed. Astor drink another Whisky, and went out of the Bar. At the street, several women were passing ; he remembered he was to be out for a long period of time, so he choose one, paid, and enjoyed it. At 21.00 hours , he was on the lift to the lock of Spaceship " Onefin" , a red and Chrome new model. When the hatch was opened, he saw three beautiful women, and said :" I am Astor, the Hunter. I was hired by Miss Maria , to help her in this trip." One of them, a very thin woman, said: " Welcome aboard, Mr. Astor ! You are certainly in our list. Aloud us to help you with your gear." Surprised, he saw how the females takes those bags with ease - then he realize they should be Efemales - Artificial Intelligence beings ! He was shown to his room : it was almost luxurious ! Two rooms : one of them was the bedroom, and the other has three armchairs, a table with an Hipercomputer and ergonometric chair; the efemale who remained with him said :" I'm at your personal service ; my name is Lucrifuga . " "Fine, Lucrifuga. Any other name ?" "MRU2O3O88 ; that's the number ; incept date 03.05.3506 "- She said. "A new model ?""Model AR - XB- PLENT02 "- Said she. "Tell me : are the patrons arrived yet ?" "No, Sir." "Tell me Astor" "No, Astor." "Great. Who's the captain of this Spaceship ?" " The Captain of this Spaceship is Trefulgona."- Lucrifuga said. " Did you say , a woman ?" "An Efemale, Astor; you meet her when aboarding ship . She told you : Welcome aboard, Mr. Astor ! You are certainly in our list. Aloud us to help you with your gear." - Lucrifuga said. "Great ! And I, expecting a grumpy old man !"- Astor said. "You desire an old man as a Skipper ?" "Not really ! I was afraid it was an old man , full of regulations !"- Astor laughed. "Do you permit me to laugh, Astor ?"- Lucrifuga asked him. " Of course ! You can laugh at any time you want !"- Astor said, thinking the Efemale must be very new ( in life) to do such questions . "Thank's you, Astor ! I want to be your best company ! So, when you laugh, I will laugh with you."- Lucrifuga said. 486 "I will take a bath . Guess you can't ."- Astor said. "Of course I cannot ? Why do you think I cannot ?"- Lucrifuga asked him. "Well, I was thinking in all your valuable components ; some water inside those circuits and ..."- Astor was saying, but she begin to laugh and interrupted him : " Oh, Astor ! You are very old fashioned ! Now all the circuits are isolated blocks of hard but soften crystal - like hardware ! I can swim and open my mouth there's no conduit inside. Also, my other orifices didn't get inside my vital parts."- She said. "Oh, better still ! Indestructible ?"- Astor asked of her. " Not indestructible ! I can stop functioning if some grave accident occurs to me ; same as with a human body; of course, I can reborn, if there is interest in it."- Lucrifuga said. Astor went to take a shower and called her : "Undress and rub my back with soap and sponge !"- Commanded.

She did a told . He was interested in to see her naked; it was superbly built her buttocks and chest were round and firm ; he touched her , saying :" You are perfect." She giggled ,and said :" That is because I'm built under the Terran preferences ! And you are from that stock." "Right."- Astor said; he went out of the bath , and Lucrifuga jumped to dry his body with a towel. "Thank's you. I see I needn't give you too much indications."- Astor said. " I will learn your ways, and I will serve you well . I can learn pretty fast."She said; then, she 487 dry her own body with a towel and her hair with a hairdryer. Astor saw her dressing the same clothes, and said :" Have you no more clothes ?" "Oh, I have more , Astor ! There's a section where we Efemales on board, could take as clothes as we wish . What, do you resent me for using the same clothes ? I could go and change. "-Lucrifuga said. "Not necessarily ! Where are you going to sleep to-night ?"- He asked. "I don't sleep, but if you prefer, I could pretend to do so."- She replied. Astor laughed, and opened the door ; she follows him, laughing too. He went to the main room; he saw there three officers, and said :" Good afternoon, ladies." They looked at him, and said: "The Hunter ." "Yes, I'm the hunter ! Where is the Captain, and at which time we depart ?" Two of the officers returns to their duties ( looking at their consoles, and occasionally pressing the console in certain points ) . "The captain Trefulgona is at the Engine and Brana's P.S. , Sir. The time of our departure depends of the presence of the promoters of this trip, and they hadn't arrived yet."- That officer said. "All right. I was only asking. "- Astor said. There was a series of clicking sounds between that officers and his assigned servant , Lucrifuga. Then, Lucrifuga said :" Shall we go there, Astor ? This people is busy, although it doesn't look much." "Pretty well. "- Astor said, following her; he understand when he was out of place . The corridor had several closed doors at the sides; Lucrifuga leaned on him ; her body pressed unto him , and she say :" Do you want to play with me ?" "To-night! "- He said, feeling himself as a stupid: he knew not how to take this; he never before has nothing sexual to do with Efemales ; he was almost sure guys searching for A.I. people had something wrong in their heads ! "As you like it , Astor !"- She said, smiling. The elevator stops, and they enter a nice room, with several tables and chairs; in each table, a different game; she explained 489 to him they could play against each other, or against the machine . They seated at a table, and Astor said :" Let's play Chess. I love that game." "Chess."- Lucrifuga said to the table, and instantly a board of chess appears ; the pieces begin to change, from one set to another. "Several figures ! You can choose terran standard, Trek version, Spanish set, Mayan set, you choose ! "- She said, smiling. Her skin was very white , and with her big green eyes, she was looking stupendous... "Spanish set ! " - Astor said; then, they begun playing - as the board and the set pieces were holographic, he only needs to touch the selected piece, and then touch the place where he wants to move it. After a good match, where she wins, but barely, he said :" You are very good at this ! I almost win the set !""Oh, but you are good at this game, too ! Do you enjoy it ?"- Lucrifuga asked. "Of course ! Let's play more !"Lucrifuga knew about human behavior, so she "loose" the next two games, and win the fourth one. He was in high spirits , and he takes her hand , while climbing

back to his place in the elevator. "That was wonderful ! But do you really lost, or is just a pretending ?"- He asked her, close to her left hear. "Oh, why do you say that, Astor ? Do you want me to be mad at you ?"- And she looked at him 490 with big sparkling eyes. "Oh, sorry ! I only guess .... you.... well, forget it !"- Astor said. She leaned on him, and kissed his mouth real sweet ... They arrive at the upper deck; soon they were at his bed, naked, and discovering each other eagerly ... After the first time, she adequate her body to him, in a very subtle way , so as they were having their second intercourse, Astor believe himself at the gates of Heaven ! For her part, her builders puts in her every kind of sensors and emotional responses, so to cheat any man who didn't know she was not a "natural" . She feels, and could feel herself very happy, happy, and all the steps down to very unhappy ; just like a "Natural" could sense .... The difference was she fights to please her mate. 491 At the next day, the inheritor of Senator Lwiron , Miss Maria Lwiron, arrives ; her retinue was of twenty one persons : nine efemales, two males, and the rest were drones, a special production set of Epeople, resembling robots as envisioned centuries of years ago, in the planet Terra; a meter and sixty centimeters high, sixty eight kilos of weight; useful, made of Acerplast in different colors - the ones of Miss Maria were dull gray in color. Miss Maria went to her luxurious cabin, with her servants, and soon afterwards the spaceship begun to move. The voice of Captain Trefulgona was heard by all inside the spaceship through the Intercomm : " To all of the crew and passengers aboard the " ONEFIN" : we are going to get away from Janarvia and try to make a cross to the next Brana ! Please be seated strapped, same thing if you are in bed." Astor was in bed with the beauty; he thought things again had changed : instead of a planet full of bugs, the lady Maria was going now to a new planet beyond a Brana ! He said to Lucrifuga :" Time to think if we are doing the correct thing." "I know I'm doing my job !"- She said. "And that is ?" "To be with you at all times ! Protect and see you are happy."- Lucrifuga said. "You are my angel."- He smiled ." But who appointed you in this mission ?" "Captain Trefulgona ; We are all members of the N.S. Tourism Central" , with branch offices in all the Known Worlds. " "Pity you will forget about me, when the trip is over."- He said, embracing her. She kissed him, and said:" You'll be for ever in my memory." He begun to make love to her, and they were very busy throughout the whole passage from One Brana to the Other... Unbeknownst to them, the Heiress Maria had access to every bedchamber of the spaceship , a service provided by the Company for their best clients; Maria saw the scenes of passion , and he embrace a "Natural" male of her team, saying :" They say A.I. people don't know what is love ! But to have sex is an Art, not a promise of Eternal Love ! Who is the guy ?" "The Hunter Astor, Madame."- The male, whose name was Ergindo, informed her. "A real hunter and his love prey ! Wish I could have a stallion like him at my bed !"- She said, and devoured the episodes ... 493 494 Captain Trefulgona Push the screen where it says " IGNITE PASS TO ANOTHER BRANA - GENERAL ALARM OF TEN SECONDS ", and so they all knew what was to happen . She had set a random number to pass through , so at the algid moment , the ship and all of its occupants race through space and Time, jumped like Bingo Ball and appeared close to a planetary system. Immediately, the Automatic Sensors close the blinds to

every window at the Ship; but the heat couldn't be blinded - the star was an enormous one, and with its heat make cinders of the bodies inside the 'ONEFIN" . At least, Astor was embracing superb Ewoman Lucrifuga, who was performing the Perfect Sexual Act. Chapter 4 3 A.U. Away Floating at 3 A.U. away, a sphere ship from the Ghamcunin (or Ghancounin) , that defeated race( In Constellation Orion, planets pertaining to Stars Saiph , Rigel : Malsiderion planet, Slidiel planet and some others. ) As some knows, in 2493 Captain Kirk and Captain Naomi were poisoning waters on those planets , and so killed millions of intelligent squids ; some spaceships from the Ghamcunin went away and weren't found ... OR6345 said, from his tank, filled with yellow sea water :' Those imprudent again ! Did you notice the foul entrance to this Brana ?" "Childish movement of them, Captain !"- LEO6382 replied. "Makes me puke ! How could a race like this , achieved the Jump between Branas ? I cannot understand ! Brains to build, and no- brains to drive ! "- OR6345 said, moving a tentacle out of the water, to grab a knob and had a better view of the now charring spaceship ( "Onefin"). "Our instruments indicates there are two remaining living bodies there." "Amazing." "Could we save them ?" "To probe our mastering of medical recovery of scorched bodies ? What for ?" His Grace Gutha 600 ( husband of Lady Maluda) , from another part of the sphere ship, gets into the conversation, thanks to the intercom:" Bring him here." "Yes, Your Grace !"- OR6345 said, and pushed the necessary buttons at his out- of the -water console. The transporter brought both bodies to the Sphere Ship "I would be glad to send them to the Zoo at Berchtesgaworld, but as you know, that it's not permitted by the Great Tuberoso CXI. So we'll find them a good spot in this Brana ."- His Grace Gutha 600 said. "Very well, Your Grace ! Moving to planet 6AK 83826 XV now."- OR6345 said; the flying Sphere moves silently - and fast, to the new position; traversed the atmosphere, landed near a brook, and when opened the tanks, the liquid washed out of the Sphere Ship those three recovered and reconstructed bodies. Astor and Maria coughed until they removed the amniotic liquid from their lungs. "What is this ? - Astor said, looking the big Sphere near him, and the forest that surrounds them. "Not compute."- Lucrifuga replied, with her big green eyes looking at him in disbelief. "Specimens out. Hatch closed. Departing."- OR6345 said, and the Flying Sphere hovered above the ground, before climbing smoothly into the sky. "Gone !"- Astor said; he saw a pink object ten meters away; he stand up and said : " Miss Maria ! What happened to us ?" She must moaned and slurped; she was in no condition to speak , for the moment. 498 Astor walked around the clearing; the trees were strange in form, but with tree trunks and leaves in the usual colors. At the grass, plenty of insects moving along, Astor saw several bird-like passing over him. The climate was mild; it was a good thing, as he was naked, same as the woman , who was being consoled by Lucrifuga, who appears somewhat clumsy. He seats on a log, and try to recapitulate the last events - he remembered to be at his own bed chamber, with Lucrifuga in his arms - then the swimming pool , and the release by a spaceship , in this forest. One thing was for sure : the Orb was not the spaceship "ONEFIN" , and of course, that type of model was from an old enemy of mankind, the Ghamcounin ! Astor remembered who had used them - the squid people ! He kept thinking what happened to the ONEFIN; perhaps they collide with

some asteroids and those alien creatures saved them who knows why ? From above, he was being looked upon, by the crew at the Sphere Spaceship . OR6345 SAID : " Our saved male human is trying to figure out what happened to them." "Yes ! He is trying to meet ends - guess we could had given him weapons and clothes.- LEO6382 said. " And food."- His Grace Gutha 600 said by the Intercom. "We'll stay here for a while. If it is needed, we'll help him survive."- Gutha 600 said, eating some clams at his Tank Deluxe. Astor realize that the Saviors were gone, probably thinking their human gesture was accomplished, forgetting that Man is but a very weak creature , if alone . He approaches Miss Maria Lwiron, and said :" Are you recovered, Miss Maria ? " "But , what happened here ? Where are we ?"- Maria sobbed, while Lucrifuga was patting her back. "Mystery, Lady ! One thing is for sure : we aren't in the ship, and we were saved by some unknown crew from a Sphere Flying apparatus. Whey they saved us , and leave us here, I only guess, and my guess is as good as yours."- Astor said. " Oh! And our ship?"- Miss Maria Lwiron asked, grabbing his hand in the process. " No idea ! Possibly damaged, somewhere. Wrecked, I suppose." "And the crew, my friends ?"- Maria asked. " Could be that they were saved, but we aren't seeing them here. Could be more injured than us, and they were sent to some Hospital ! We are alone here; we are naked ; night will brought some cold conditions ! I recommend you to stand up and follow me ; we must seek shelter in the woods, where I'll try to make us some primitive garments, by the moment."- Astor said, as talking with a child. At last, he convince Miss Maria that to stay in there wasn't a good idea, 500 And the three of them went to the woods; there , Astor teach how to woven liana ; but Miss Maria didn't pay attention and did nothing; while Lucrifuga , who was very quick, made the most of the fabric . He made kilts for everyone; they searched for food , mainly fruits, and for that purpose they walked a great extent, and before dusk , they found grapes. "And I, who happened to eat the most delicate of deserts, look at me ! Eating like a savage in a jungle !' Miss Maria complained, 501 As Astor said it was imperative to climb a tree and slept there, Miss Maria refuse from the idea from the beginning. When darkness fell, and horrid growling sounds begun, Miss Maria just stayed there under some leaves, trembling and weeping . Some steps away, Astor was kissing Lucrifuga, who was as immovable as a Statue. "But, what happened to you, Lucrifuga ? You was so lovable and tender to me !"Astor complained. "My attitude molest you, are you disturbed by me ? I beg you sorry, Astor ! I cannot find my sympathetic system ! I can be of use, it's that not enough for you ?" - Lucrifuga said. So, Astor commit his acts without efforts by her side; that was very disappointing to him. In the morning, he said:" Lucrifuga, you stay here with Miss Maria. I'll go hunting,." "Very well, Astor. Have luck."- She said, indifferently. Soon he was running through the woods, tweaking some branches, as a guide for his return. He finds a river, some three kilometers to the North; it runs Eastwards . Some animals were present, at a Distance ; they seem to be Mammals , for the shape of Them. He also noted birds, some were real big, and he believe they should take care of those. But the thing he was must Anxious to find, a Civilization, was absent. A sense of futility hangs from the sky upon Him , who wasn't at all happy with his Environs; no love, no civilization, a fat weeping woman , and 502 no gun. So he made a weapon, using a long branch, and wrapping at one end a rock. He also

cut another pair of branches, and at one point he sharpen It with fire; so he had two spears. Cautiously , he approaches the river, and soon he find a flock of birds, and he throw one of the lances, inserting one of them - the rest run away in mid flight. He knocked the head of that bird ; it was half reptile and half a known bird ; as he was not so eager to went back to Miss Maria and the Indifferent Lucrifuga, he started a fire, and after roasting that bird, he ate - the meat was brown and coarse. He packed some of the meat , wrapping it with some leaves; and went back to Miss Maria's abiding place . She had moved to the South, and was near a Brook; Lucrifuga was seated near the stream , while Miss Maria was seated at the sand bank. "Hi, ladies ! I brought you something to eat ! "- Astor said, and handled the meat. She eats some, and said :" Really coarse, and with no salt ; I like salt in my meals !" "Sorry, Lady ; I''l search for salt next time ."- He said, looking at Lucrifuga. "Why don't you go searching for some now ?"- Miss Maria asked him. " Very well. Lucrifuga ! Follow me !"- Astor said, and departed to the North ; when arriving to the river, he said :" We'll follow the river until it swallows into the sea ! Prepare yourself for a good march !". "Yes, Astor !"- She replied, trotting along. 503 They trotted along several kilometers, until darkness . Then, they climbed a big tree, and stayed there for the night. "Not improved , Lucrifuga ? Your sympathetic circuits are starting in the right direction ? "- Astor said, embracing her. She cuddled in his arms, saying :" I am sure I'll find the cause in time." "I wonder what happened to us. One minute we were at the "Onefin" and at the next instant I could recall, we were here, with that fat woman."- Astor said. "You don't remember, Astor ?"- Lucrifuga asked. "Did I look like I remember ? I'm tearing my brain apart, trying to figure why am I here !"- Astor said. " I know why I am here."- Lucrifuga said. "Did you ?" " Yes ! I 'm here to serves you."" Right ! "- He smiled. Now, to be close to Lucrifuga was like to be near a computer. They saw the dawn coming in . Astor said : "Pretty fast." "What, Astor ?" " The night here ! Must be about four hours elapsed ?" "Four hours and seven minutes, Astor." "Great ! Four hours to sleep each night ! And who knows how many hours in daylight ?" "Seven hours thirty eight hours, Astor. That means a full revolution in this planet takes eleven forty-five hours in all ! I guess your internal biologic clock will go mad. "- Lucrifuga said; and Astor laughed. "Why do you laugh ? Did I say something funny , Astor ?" "Yes, you did; in the present circumstances."- Astor explained. "You are comfortable now, with me ?"- Lucrifuga asked him. "Yes , of course ... not ! You are too cold with me ! You stay there as a statue ! "- Astor reprimanded her ; but there was no way for her to recover the emotive hardware ; the system didn't recovered her full potential. Eighteen days later, they arrived to the sea ; it was a dark place; the sand was black , and the sea has a very dark color; the birds were plenty. "The sea ! Let's see if there's salt somewhere ."- Astor said, seating on the black gravel of that beach. Lucrifuga searched for it among the rocks; and finding it, brought some to Astor in a dried shell. "Salt !"- Astor said, tasting it . - "Lady Maria would be delighted when you

brought to her the salt !" "You want me to bring this SALT to her ? Alone ?" "Of course, dear ! You can go at a trot, day and night, as you have night vision. You could tell me now, how many days are you going to spent, in the round trip?" Astor asked her. "If at a trot, nine days; if I run at the easy parts, seven days; if running all the time, four days."- She said, instantly. "Make it running all the time. And, Lucrifuga ?' "Yes, Astor ?" "You get back the minute you give that fat cow her salt , do you hear me ?" "Yes, Astor." " And no matter how bad she is, no matter if she begs you to stay, no matter if a real problem needs you there..." "I'll be back."- She said, and departed. Astor looked at her receding figure, and said."Yes, you do that." He searched for a tree - the closest one was a kilometer two hundred meters away from the beach ; he perched on a branch, twenty two meters below the earth, tied one leg to it with liana and get asleep... Soon it was full day, again ; he decided to sleep three hours more; and at his wake up he feels himself better. He went to the beach, and take a bath ; the water was cold and refreshing . He ate 506 some small fruits , and chase a small rodent, but he didn't roasted it, afraid it could be harmful. Later, he had a better luck - a mammal a meter twenty centimeters long , herbivore, was drinking , and Astor could hit it with one of his lances; he finished it stabbing it in his heart. He made a fire and roasted that animal for several hours; his meat was good, and Astor takes his hide to made himself some better garment. The four days alone were a good relax for him; also , he made plans. When Lucrifuga arrives, he said :" Hi, beauty ! Tired ?" "No, Astor ! I cannot get tired."- -She said; her feet were dirty with so much running by the land. "Glad to hear that . But tell me : how's the filthy woman ?" "She was not waiting the salt, Astor ! She told me she run out of fruits." "She can walk to another sector and find food ! Well, did you see something interesting in your trek, apart Miss Maria ?" "Interesting ? I saw several big animals eating at the forest. Birds flying. By night, lots of small carnivores - two or three of them try to catch me , but I outrun them." - Lucrifuga said. "Small carnivores. Draw me one , on the sand."- Astor asked her - The draw was very accurate - the end result depicts a fearful animal with lots of teeth. He said :" I'll ask you to learn how to throw spears. Let us see ..." - And he handled her his best weapon ; she aimed , and missed at a tree. "Whoops ! Try again !"- He commanded , handling her another two lances ; the second hit , she collected them and handled to Astor." Ready, Astor. I could hit trees now." "Try once more."- He said, incredulous. She throw the tree lances in a swift series, and hit the target point blank. "Do you think you could made more lances, Lucrifuga ? Perhaps you could do it better than me."- Astor said, thinking in the potential she had. "All right, Astor . I see you are being eating meat."- Lucrifuga said, walking to the lances ; she collected them and said :" Let's go hunting, Astor." They climb a tree; Astor said :" We get to communicate with intelligent people on this planet - this is if there are a civilization here. Had you seen any indication of it ?" "No, Astor ! As you probably know, I have a radio receiver built in ; and all I

can hear is static." "Pity ! That signifies we are in the wrong planetary system."- Astor growled. "Yes, Astor."- Lucrifuga said. He embraced her and said :" What a pity you are not as you used to be ." She didn't reply, as she already knew it : Astor keeps repeating it like a bell. He slept three hours after the light of the star arrives; Lucrifuga keeps embracing him, seeing that he didn't fall from the tree. "Wow ! Magnificent sleep ! Come, give me a kiss !"- He said, when awaking. She did it, and he said :" Real good ! "- But in his inner self, he was portraying it like be kissed by a mirror ... 509 They descended, and he said : " Go to find me some edible food at the forest ! See that you aren't caught by a Predator ! I'll be swimming at the sea ." "Yes, Astor !"- Lucrifuga replied, and departed. Astor walked to the beach, thinking in how sweet it would be, for him, to have Lucrifuga as in his first setup, in this delightful planet ! He swim in the sea for some minutes, and he saw Lucrifuga running smoothly by the sandy beach, and splashing into the water, swimming to his side. "Hello ! You're very fast , aren't you ?"- He said, touching his waist. "I was forced to run, Astor ! Some men followed me - and they had clubs."- She said. Astor looked at the deserted beach, and said :" Are you sure ? I see nobody there." "Wait for twenty three seconds... twenty two, twenty one, (etc)." - Said she, and when the zero second was mentioned, a whole pack of hairy fellows appeared at the black sandy beach. They smelled the air, like dogs, and spotted them into the water, by others looking at the area. "See ?:" - Lucrifuga said,, pointing a finger in their 510 general direction. "I see ! Seems to me a pack of anthropoids ! Cave men, or worst ! Seems to be a hunting team."- Astor recollected. "Twenty three individuals, Astor ! But we can wait here until they leave."Lucrifuga said; several ape men try to get into the water , but none of them knew of could swim, so they just stayed there, waiting. "Seems they 're not leaving."- Astor said. "They will be boring soon."- Lucrifuga said. "We will swim away. Let's go !"- He said; but while they swim, the ape men walked by the shore at the same velocity. "I can help you improve your swimming, Astor."- Lucrifuga offered him. " Yes, do that !"- Astor accepted; soon they were swimming real fast, but the hunting pack was trotting along by the beach, keeping pace ! "Wait ! Let me repose for a while !"- Astor asked of her. She remained close, and said :" If we swim underwater, undetected, I'm sure we could trick them and went ashore in some other point of the beach. What do you say ?"- She asked . "You are forgetting I' m not a frog ! I cannot retain my breath for more than a couple of minutes !"- Astor said, coughing. "You are forgetting I could give you the necessary air from my deposits ! I can give it through our mouths, or do you not want me to kiss you again?"- She asked, smiling. Suddenly, the ape men begun to yell, and Astor saw a big animal appearing close to the beach; coming out of the woods was a big bear. His front teeth shinning under the star, and he growled - the sound was 511 faint to Astor's hears , but had a menacing meaning that chill the bones ... But the most terrific thing, was his height; more than five meters tall ! Notwithstanding his bulk, he run to the ape-men very fast ; three of them stayed and tried to hurt him with their spikes, but soon they were smashed by the furious animal ; meanwhile, the rest gets inside the woods as fast as they could.

"It's time to swim, Astor !"- She said to him ; he nodded, and they swim to the opposite direction ; when out of sight of that bear, they arrive to the shore , and run to the woods . Astor was helped by her when climbing to a big tree, where she embrace him after arriving at a safe height : " You're very cold , Astor . I must give some more heat to you - "- And she increases the heat of her body, so to give him what was needing, according to her sensors. Later, darkness fell, and Astor get asleep in her arms; Lucrifuga detected movement below the tree; with her night vision she saw several ape men lurking down there. She didn't move a finger. Soon they were away. At her positron mind, those sounds they emitted (for communication) were studied and she decided it was not a real language, but a system of communication far superior to those of among birds or cats , but not reaching the human standard. At dawn she saw how Astor awake and saw her so near ; smiled, and said :" Just a few hours of sleep for me, darling ! " And slept three more hours. For three weeks they marched along the beach; in the afternoons they went to the forest for fruits and some occasional animal prey to roast ; in some mornings LUCRIFUGA descended and searched for food, so when he awoke, she was already there at his side, with the fruits. But that morning she had something more than fruits for her. "What ? Are you staring me like I had measles !"- Astor told her, while eating some pear-like fruit. "I found something to the North ! Just a scant eight hundred meters from here !"She said. "Oh, yeah ? Fruits, animals, what ?"- Astor asked. "Ruins." - She smiled back. 513 "Ruins ? "- Astor's heart give a couple of out of beat drumming sounds : "That means intelligent people ! Good ! Very good find." "Thanks you, Astor."- Lucrifuga said. They walked there; Debris were all around; mounds of bricks and iron bars were protruding everywhere. Astor climbs a half demolished building , and looked around : craters were also visible , but half hidden by the trees. "Ancient battlefield. Pity to know there were wars in this planet."- Astor commented. 517 They walked for two hours elapsed time; and found a big structure : a shaft was visible in a side, and they get by it; Lucrifuga had a light torch beam available :her eyes could be lit ; the luminosity wasn't too much , but soon Astor's eyes could distinguish the surroundings , while Lucrifuga could see very well, with her night vision system. "To the right : watch for a stair."- She said. They ended in a large and dark corridor ; rooms were along his path, behind doors. The height of the ceiling was five meters . 519 Every room had skeletons , but also machinery and furniture. "Seems like a gas catches them unawares !"- Astor realized. "Bacteriological attack; there are traces of dangerous viruses."- Lucrifuga said. "Then am I doomed ?"- Astor asked , while a cold shiver runs along his spine cord. "Let me scan . Probing. Give three minutes to the test."- Lucrifuga said. Astor found small rifles, the skeletons were 1.10 meters in height, with bulky heads and large eyes. "Could be Grays ?"- He asked. "Not computing."- Lucrifuga replied. "Right!"- Astor coughed; the gal was not remembering her History Software ! "Viruses found : Leprosy, Anthrax, Smallpox, Spanish Fever ."- Lucrifuga enumerated . 523

"All those known by Earthlings ! So my race were marauding this place ?"- Astor asked her. "Don't know for sure, Astor. Viruses found are harmless now - their time of lethalcy it's overdue. Perhaps you could get a headache."- Lucrifuga said. He was exhausted ; he found a room without skeletons lying around, and climb a table, saying :" I' m going to sleep . You keep watching ." "Very well, Astor."- Lucrifuga replied. When he awoke, seven and a half hours later, it was in pitch darkness . He seats on the table, and said:" Lucrifuga ?:" Not a sound was to be heard. Her glow wasn't there to help him see. He called harder, and waited for an hour . As it was being increasingly hard for him to wait, he begun to walk , firing the small rifles he had found previously; they were laser guns, so the light could help him find a way out of there . He kept walking and firing, and ends in the upper corridor, where he soon saw the light of day, at the end of a runway. When he arrives to the surface, he seats to wait for Lucrifuga . Astor was troubled about her : with all the din he make down there, only a deaf person couldn't have heard him ! So, something 524 had happened to that wonderful artificial intelligence mechanism. As it was day time, and he happened to be awoke a short while ago, he descended from the ruins, and walked through the forest , eating fruits that seems to be harmless. Birds and small animals were there to be seen, and he had left the shafts near that subterranean entrance so he hunt not. He founds a fountain and drink from its cold waters. Refreshed, he return to the ruins and there was nobody in sight; he takes two of the lances and went looking for more details; he soon saw a brick wall with bass relief in copper; the figure of the original inhabitants of that alien city presents now to his observation, coincided with those skeletons he saw in the underground : big heads , slant eyes and weak and small bodies, under the Terran standards. "Grays."- Astor mumbled to himself, as he knew from old stories, they were the enemy of Man from old times'; they never fight openly, and always were ruining crops and forests and provoking red tide to poison fishes and crustacean , wishing men to be starving. Some humans had come to this planet, and erase them from the face of the world. Surely, some resistance the Grays had being producing, so the craters and the poisoning of the air. He looked at the subterranean entrance for the last time that day, and departed to search the Cosmodrome of that big city. He found huge craters , where now bushes were growing; small pieces of metal, and not a sign of spaceships... Another stupendous building was half buried in debris, and several entrances were available , but without a proper light torch , Astor only could see the first meters , where nothing was to be seen of interest. The day begun to an end, so he went to the forest, where he rushed to climb a tree, where to sleep somewhat more safely. Upon a branch, and before he get asleep, he think about the Grays. The place wasn't only gassed, but also bombarded ; the craters were the product of big bombs. 525 he muse about how many other cities could had been bombed likewise. He slept seven hours ; it was full daytime when he awoke and descended the tree; he return to the first site, and find his shaft there unmoved. He needs Lucrifuga , no matter if her loving care was gone. Staying there, he removed the debris in the easy parts , finding bones whitened and dried by the action of a thousand years. Suddenly, a creature like a wild cat appears , hissing at him ; Astor waited and then he throw at it one of the shafts ; it crossed the body of the carnivore and pinioned it to the ground where the animal fights to escape, but soon collapsed and die. 526 And that wasn't at all the end of the small carnivore , as Astor roasted it on a

fire, close to a ruin. He eats the meat under the glare of the star. He kept the fire going on during part of the night; he get asleep before dawn. When opening his eyes, all was quiet and warm. Some birds passed by in a blue sky ; the ruins were there, yellow under the star, and he was utterly alone. He begin to see flickering movements at the corners of his eyes, and he realize he was deluding reality ; so he get to find some people, or at least some action. He takes the shaft and began walking to the woods; once inside it, he climb a tree and waited near the fountain. Certain creatures come to drink, and Astor tried to stab them with the shaft ; at the first intent he kills a rodent ; with the second he kill a fat one meter long four footed animal , and then appeared a strange creature who makes his lower mandible hang. It has four legs, and a head like a woman ; it drinks and suddenly saw him, staring through the branches ; Astor descended , and the animal run away , with the sound of its feet . Like a good hunter, Astor trailed it and arrived to a small lake; the creature was already arriving to an island on the center . Several other creatures were there, too . Some of them were taller and of darker pink color ; he swim to the island ; the males were on the shore , snorting in his direction, and the rest 527 were not visible as there were trees and shrubbery in that island . The males weren't too big , so he just ignore their snoring and threatening ; when standing on the shore, he seats . That makes them a little less provocative; he waits until only two males were in between him and the island. Suddenly, a fib roar makes him stand in awe: at the other side of the lake, a big creature like a big serpent mounted on a giant bull appeared, bellowing . The males trotted to the bush, and so Astor could see the way open for him . He kept looking at the serpent - plus giant bull , who swamped to the lagoon and after some steps , only his long neck, head, tail and the upper side of his loin were to be seen ; he run to the interior of the island , in fright . He climb a big tree , and kept climbing until he thought he was safe; but when the Diplodocus (alien version) appeared in the vicinity , dripping mud and foul water, Astor realize the long neck could make that head climb to where he stand, so he kept still and in hidden ; soon the beast rummaged by the site, and finding a pink creature, he grabs it and squashed among his upper and lower teeth ; blood as red as fiery rubies spilled to the ground , from an altitude of three meters . Sweating, Astor was spellbound . The perspective of a sweet life among deer and birds fall down to earth as a cheap shattered mirror. Soon the beast went back to the 528 woods ; the afternoon snack was donned. Perspiring all over, Astor descended and kneeled close to the blotch of red blood; so the pink animals did; one after the other, until thirty eight of them were surrounding the macabre site . Astor was unmolested, but close watched by the males at all times ; a murmur was going on among them . They looked at him, and he said " Sorry about the calf. " His voice seems to be a curiosity for them, and asked for more; he narrates how he landed on the planet, loose a companion, wanders through the forest, finds one of them ; followed and arrives to the Island . One of the males snorted and went away; he was black all over, with only his mouth in pink color . The rest seems to accept his presence ; even the one he saw first , with eyes as fine as a woman's , and murmuring something incomprehensible to him. Night came, and they all trotted away; Astor finds a shelter near some roots; he was very worried by the monster's menace , so he stayed for two hours blinking in the darkness ; suddenly he heard that murmur, and a soft touch on his left arm; he touched also, and realize it was one of the strange deer ; as he was now seated, the creature 's face rubbed against his own face ; suddenly he felt the lips of that alien kissing him lightly; he takes the head into his two hands and enjoyed the kissing for a long time; they were both heaving , panting , and so he try and

succeed in mating with that creature, who moaned as a woman did in those cases; after it, she stayed with him until daylight. Astor was ashamed of himself, but at the same time, interested fully on that creature, who know how to smile at him with very tender eyes. She murmur to him, and he went after her; soon they were in a crevice, where the other creatures were; the black mare grunted all along, but the rest looked at him in an placid way. Astor saw there were grapevines in a sector , and that they enjoyed eating them; his "lover" takes some grapes and with her teeth offered them to him; he takes the same way, kissing her in the process, to much enjoyment of her and the rest of the bystanders. After a while, the mares throw themselves to the water of that lagoon, and swim to the other shore. Only the small ones and four older creatures remained there ; and also his "lover", who was looking at him. He said :" If you want to go there, I'll go too."- But the creature murmured and didn't went to the shore, so he stayed with them - he saw how she take care of the calves , nurtured the old beings with grapes , and at last went with him to the shore, where she galloped and swim after him . He laughed a lot; at last, he lie on the beach, under the star, and she leaned unto him and began the joyful game of kissing. He again could' t endure the heat, and make love to the creature , who now moaned with more freedom - she, afterwards, kissed him and trotted to the water to cleanse her body; later, he went to take care of the calves again, to see they were unharmed. Astor just didn't rationalize his 530 actions, and run after her; she was happy to see him helping in her works. Before sunset, everyone of the away team returned to that island, and prepare themselves to sleep - but the one with Astor pushed him after her, and went near the shore . Astor was worried - that monster so similar to a Diplodocus , if returning, would catch them in the open. But the female seems not to be worried, and finding a shelter among rocks and bushes , awaited for him. He lie there, and she was very happy with it - soon it was pitch dark, but Astor now could felt her body, and also her heat . Before sunrise, the creature awakened him by kissing , and again they copulate; she moaned and kissed him, but this time she urged him to accompany her to the other side of the lagoon, swimming by the translucent waters. Soon they were walking by the jungle ; she guided him to places where fruits abound, and they looked a the good parts of the jungle with childish content; soon darkness begun. Astor understand very well that she cannot climb a tree and slept there, so he searched a secured place among rocks ; h e pointed his lances to the entrance of the enclosure, and when noises began, he was very worried by the growling, scratching, grunting that was out there. Astor barely slept, but the creature did slept , possibly feeling herself very secure with him around ! Astor slept, and the creature awakened with the first light of the new day ; she went to the island alone, and visited the group there, and after looking for the calves, she return to Astor as fast as she could; he was still asleep, so she waited until he opened his eyes. "Oh ! Good to see you here !"- He said, when seeing her there waiting. He stand up and went with her to a creek, where they drank; near that place fruits were also available, and they ate for a while. Astor didn't chase animals , now he had a creature so remarkable similar to some of those he killed; the lances were now to defend himself. Twice those felines attacked them, and he kill them throwing the lances with skill . The bodies were left where they fell, to rot. He followed the drain of the lagoon ; what was at first a simple channel, became a whole river, after some tributaries adds their streams to it. A month later, they arrive to the sea; the birds were chases by aerial mammals with terrible beaks; at the shore, great turtles were spawning eggs in holes they did on the sand. The creature run among the turtles, smiling all the time; when closing to Astor, she murmured but unfortunately , Astor didn't comprehend her speech, if it was so ! The love affair was strong between them - Astor had all the activity he always

dreamed of, and she looks to him more human than ever, no matter she was a Quadruped who didn't speak as a human does. He revised her hoofs, and she smiled and let him did it. When the rain season come, fruits weren't as easily available, and she turns unto tubercles or leaves and some kind of grass ; Astor couldn't eat tubercles or leaves , so he talked with her , saying :" You understand something of what I could say; now you must understand me : I get to eat food or I'll starve to death. I Must hung and eat meat." And with that speech, he also did a mimic of what he wanted to do ; she easily comprehends, and smiled. He hunt a kind of monkey ; he skin them and roasted - she wants a piece of meat, too ! But it was clearly she didn't find it too palatable ; she stick to vegetables and Astor 533 eat meat as seldom as possibly. Two months elapsed, she was more smiling than ever, and he laughed, trying to know the cause of her mirth. He realize, at the third month , that the creature was PREGNANT ! He was astonished , as he was almost sure the DNA of them didn't match ! And by nights , he had horrible nightmares as they depict their sons as quadrupeds ! Astor searched for a safer enclosure ; he finds a place near a ravine, where only by dwindling among big boulders , a small animal only , could arrive; the bigger ones, just simply couldn't pass through . He also made walls out of stones, a strong door , and a thatched roof, to stop the rain . She went wherever he went and her burden seems not to be a bore; but at the eighth month she just lie on the soft bed of leather and waited him to be feed. At last, the offspring come to life out of the womb; Astor was already prepared , so when he sees her, understood and smiled reassuringly , who seems to be as worried as he was in his inner self. The creature's offspring was borne and has four legs ; but the front paws weren't so, but hands - the rest was like her own mother, who begun feeding her immediately. Seven days later, the small creature begun to wail ; her mother was very surprised - then, the calf began to cry and wail. Astor realize that 534 his offspring had the possibility of to talk like him ! In later days, he observed the infant was also able to murmur as her mother; with the passing months, Astor saw her climb small hills with them, with very easy galloping ; their bands he uses with globes he made her using leather obtained from the hide of animals he killed. With the passing years, the creature gives birth to five other offspring ; Astor was amazed of it. He also teach the first offspring how to talk ; at first was only small talk, but later serves to interact with the mother. By the first time Astor could talk with his mate - and he was certainly amazed to know a lot of things about her tribe; she was expelled of the tribe in the morning he come back after "the night out" with Astor ... when asked to "abandon the strange creature who walked on two legs " . Her uncle - the black furred creature - was , at that time, the Chief of the Tribe, and decided so; that was why she stick to Astor from then on. Astor asked about the other bipeds of the planet, and if they had intercourse with them ; and she said she never heard of such an event before ; the only bipeds were those ape men he saw first. When the smallest of the child accomplished his fifteen years of age, Akene, the creature who was his mate, said , through her first daughter :" It is time now to search for my tribe; because it is not good that brothers mate with their sisters." 535 So they prepare for the expedition ; Astor had teaches them how to throw spears, and they could hunt as well as him, but they seldom eats meat. With utmost care, he guided his family through the perils of the Jungle - they killed three wild cats in a day ! There were much more than before, and perhaps a

little more aggressive . When arriving to the lagoon where the island stands , they all swim and arrives to their homeland. They found the old tribe there, but the black male wasn't now among them. The creature Akene talked with the new chief , who happened to be one of her cousins , named Maruelo. He said : "Your uncle and mine father, died one cold day in winter, lots of days ago. As you see, we are just twenty two people now." "Why , cousin ? Is that monster of the long neck the responsible ?" "No, Akene : it is the old enemy, those wild cats . They are great in numbers, now, and they swim and attacked us when darkness fell. "- The Chief Maruelo said. Akine told Sulana, her first daughter, to tell of this events to her father ; Astor heard about the matter and said :" If the Chief accepted us as members of the tribe, we will fight the wild cats , with our weapons." And to illustrate that , he went with her elder daughter to the forest, and from behind the trees , they stabbed one after another of the wild cats : those carcass they carried those carcasses to the shore in front of the island, and hailed them to see their trophies. They all were very impressed to see eight of those invincibly felines lying dead ! Astor and his sons and daughters swim to the island and were accepted , together with his mate , into the community. The Chief Maruelo said :" I am very happy to have you in our tribe; until now, we just only run from our enemies, but from to-day , we are able to fight back!" Astor was well aware that his spears will not deter a great carnivore , but at the least they will survive the minor threats ; with his sons he begun doing an enclosure to the ravine , in order to be safe inside a palisade of sorts. The handless creatures were of little or no help, so the work was long termed and hard, but worthwhile doing . Weeks mounted to months, and the small community repels and kill several animal threats; when the large beast appeared, it was wrestled not with spears, but with fire. Surprised, the small creatures saw how the simple fact of a bonfire scared that enormous Diplodocus, who return to the water without his accustomed victim. Astor smiled , now more confident in the survival of his sons and daughters. The end.

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