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Binro_the_Heretic
7th Aug 2002, 05:29
I'm still working on "Zulary Station" which is proving to be quite a continuity challenge because of the number of characters and the overlapping timelines. (the story is about a single series of events as viewed and experienced by many different aliens)


In the meantime, enjoy this little story inspired by my favorite movie of all time:

Binro_the_Heretic
7th Aug 2002, 05:30
Kasvablanka Station

At the height of the Jarvhann Conflict many living in systems already conquered by Jarvhann forces attempted emigration to Uhmragan-controlled space. The most popular departure point was Lizzbann Station.

A direct route was nearly impossible. Security had been tightened along normal space routes and thus a roundabout refugee trail sprang up. One could travel by mining ship to the Gulhakk system and from there to Tau Danur, then by cargo freighter or passenger liner to Kasvablanka Station in orbit around the planet Mirakko. Some, by money, influence or pure luck caught shuttles to Lizzbann. The rest waited on Kasvablanka.

Binro_the_Heretic
7th Aug 2002, 05:32
Mirakko and Kasvablanka had been somewhat independent from the rest of the Farrich empire whose homeworld had now come under Jarvhann control. The Mirakko system was remote and had few desirable resources. In the days before the conflict, it had been little more than a refueling station for the great cargo freighters. Now the station was becoming increasingly crowded with eager refugees. It maintained mostly autonomous status because of its remoteness and austerity, but still the Jarvhann influence could be felt.

An elderly pair of gem slugs sat sipping coffee at a posh sidewalk cafe. There was a sudden commotion as station security guards roughly escorted a gaggle of loudly complaining people past.

"I wonder what that's all about." asked the slugess.

"Have you not heard?" asked the left head of a turakken in a dapper suit sitting at a nearby table.

"Heard what?" asked the slug, his cup halfway to his lips.

"Two Jarvhann couriers were found murdered." began the right head of the turakken as he got up and came round to their table. "This is the usual roundup of vagrants, suspicious persons and, uh, pretty girls ordered by Captain Rinnult, the Prefect of police."

"Murdered!" said the slugess in a shocked tone. "How dreadful!"

"Yes, dreadful." said the left head of the turakken as it shook sadly. "Since the war began, this station has attracted the scum of the galaxy." He leaned close to the slug. "I beg you," began the left head in a low tone, "be constantly on your guard. There are thieves and criminals everywhere." He straightened back up, tipped both hats, bowed slightly to them and left.

The robot waiter approached and handed the slug his bill. The slug began to feel about his person looking perplexed.

"Something wrong, dear?" asked his wife.

"Silly me," he began. "I seem to have left my energy wallet back at the hotel. I could have sworn I brought it with me." He suddenly looked annoyed and began searching around for the little turakken who seemed to have vanished into thin air.

Binro_the_Heretic
7th Aug 2002, 05:33
Captain Rinnult, a gem slug who somehow managed to look pompous and seedy at the same time, waited near the entry port with a small squad of his security officers. Soon the domed iris opened revealing a hulking and vicious-looking kasvagorian in a gray Jarvhann uniform flanked by a pair of slightly smaller but just as imposing gors in similar dress though the plainness of their outfits marked them as much lower in rank. The three stepped off the lift platform and approached Rinnult. The slug and his officers all snapped to attention.

"Greetings, Major Stragza." said Rinnult with an air of ceremony. "Welcome to Kasvablanka."

"Have you apprehended those who killed our couriers?" snapped Stragza.

"Knowing the importance of the case," replied Rinnult deliberately ignoring both the gor's question and his crassness, "my officers have arrested twice the usual number of suspects. We now know who killed them."

"And have you arrested them?" asked Stragza again with a dangerous edge to his coarse voice.

"We will arrest them tonight." Replied Rinnult. "They will be at Rikk's. Everyone goes to Rikk's."

Binro_the_Heretic
7th Aug 2002, 05:34
Rikk's Cafe was one of the more popular establishments on Kasvablanka station. It sported a fine restaurant, an elegant bar and an ilicit casino hidden in the back. Light entertainment was provided for patrons of the bar and restaurant by a full band led by Zamm, a dijain piano player.

Rikk, a hefty kasvagorian with stern striking features, spent most of his time in the casino, watching the door and seldom straying out into the bar or restaurant. This night was no different. Rikk sat surveying a vortex chessboard and occasionally glancing at the door whenever anyone entered or left. Another gor more than twice Rikk's size acted as doorman, but it was Rikk who decided who should be allowed entry. A few regulars stepped past the doorman with little courteous gestures. A strange zedem tried to enter and found itself blocked by the doorman who glanced at Rikk. Rikk examined the zedem for a moment, furrowed his brow and shook his head.

"Apologies, Sir." said the door ward. "This is a private room."

"What?" demanded the zedem and then even more loudly. "You cannot keep me out! I know there is gambling here!" Rikk had already approached.

"Your energy will be accepted at the bar." Rikk said flatly.

"Do you know who I am?" barked the zedem.

"I do." Rikk replied. "And you're lucky the bar is open to you."

They were interrupted for a brief instant by a sly-looking grey entering the casino.

"Excuse me." it said with a slight smile and was allowed to pass between Rikk and the doorman unhindered. This seemed to infuriate the zedem even more.

"This is outrageous!" the zedem exclaimed. "I shall report you to the Prefect." With that, he turned and stormed out.

Rikk returned to his table to find the sly little grey waiting for him.

"May I have a word with you, Rikk?" it asked. Rikk did not reply but sat back down and once again surveyed the chessboard. The grey seemed to take the lack of a denial as an invitation and sat across from him.

"You despise me, don't you Rikk?" asked the grey.

"If I gave you any thought, I might."

"You object to my work, don't you?" Rikk did not reply or even glance in the grey's direction.

"Think of all the poor souls who would be stuck on Kasvablanka without me." Said the grey, sounding a little hurt. "Through ways of my own, I provide them with exit visas."

"For a price, Aug'Gati." replied Rikk in a bemused tone. "For a price."

"My prices are much lower than Rinnult's." Said Aug'Gati with a wry smile. "Almost half of what he asks. Is that so parasitic?"

"I've no objection to a parasite." Rikk said looking up from his board. "I object to a cut-rate one."

The grey forced a laugh and reached into a small bag.

"Here is something not even you have seen." it said, drawing out what looked like two small security badges. "Jarvhann marks of transit." Aug'Gati said. "They cannot be question or rescinded." This definitely got Rikk's attention and he stared hard at the two plastic cards.

"Tonight, I will be selling these for more energy than even I have ever dreamed of." said Aug'Gati, almost in a whisper. "And then it will be good-bye Kasvablanka."

Rikk had recomposed himself and pretended once again to be engrossed in the chessboard. "And who is providing your exit visa?" asked Rikk. "You or Rinnult?"

"Myself." replied Aug'Gati with a smile. "I found my prices much more reasonable." It pushed the marks of transit over towards Rikk.

"I want you to keep these for me, Rikk." Rikk stared straight into the grey's large glassy black eyes but did not speak. "Because you despise my work," Aug'Gati began, "you are the only one I trust with them." There was a long pause, but finally Rikk stirred himself.

"How long." he asked.

"A couple of hours, maybe less."

"I don't want them left here overnight." said Rikk scooping up the marks and getting them out of sight.

Aug'Gati smiled broadly. "Maybe now you will be a little more impressed with me?" it asked. The gor sat unresponsive.

"Thank you, Rikk." Said the grey. "I think I'll go share my good fortune with your bar." With that, Aug'Gati stood and turned to go.

"Aug'gati" Rikk called to the grey's back.

"Yes?"

"I heard the two Jarvhann couriers killed today were carrying marks of transit."

The smile quickly faded from Aug'Gati's face and it looked flustered. "Oh, yes," it stammered. "I'd heard that, too."

"You're right, Aug'Gati" said Rikk with obvious contempt. "I am more impressed with you."

Binro_the_Heretic
7th Aug 2002, 05:36
Rikk approached the bar where he found Zasha, the karmarama bartender, chatting up Ei’von, a pretty but, at the moment, surly-looking dahanese female.

"Another!" demanded Ei’von, pushing an empty glass at Zasha who quickly filled it with caelinard whisky. The siren swallowed the drink in a single gulp and winced as it went down. It was then she noticed Rikk.

"Where were you last night?" she snapped.

"That's too far back to remember." answered Rikk hardly looking at her.

"Will I see you tonight?"

"I never plan that far ahead."

She scowled at him and thrust her glass back at Zasha. "Another." she said and Zasha reached for the bottle.

"She's had enough." said Rikk and Zasha quickly put the bottle back down. Ei’von glared at him.

"Don't listen to him!" she said.

"Ei’von," Zasha began with a sheepish grin, "I love you, but he pays me."

"You can't treat me like this!" said Ei’von and there was a teary edge to her voice.

"Zasha, I want you to take her home." Rikk said suddenly as he took her firmly yet carefully by the arm and slipped her off the stool.

"Yes, boss!" exclaimed Zasha, eager to comply. He quickly stripped off his apron and hustled from behind the bar.

“I was a fool to have anything to do with you!” choked Ei’von.

“No argument there.” Rikk said flatly as Zasha trying to push a reluctant Ei’von in the direction of the door. Rikk grabbed his shoulder hard.

"Come right back." He said in a low warning voice.

"Yes, boss." said Zasha, disappointed. Rikk watched them head away until he was sure Evon wasn't going to cause a scene inside the place.

"Shame on you, Rikk, throwing away a perfectly good siren like that." said an oily disapproving voice behind him. "One day, they may be in short supply."

Rikk turned to see Rinnult pouring himself a shot from the bottle of caelinard.

"I hear they are in plenty in the Uhmagri systems. I often wonder why you do not return there." Rinnult said as he put down the bottle and raised the glass. "Did you abscond with church funds or run off with a senator's wife?" He sniffed at the pale pink liquid in his glass. "I like to think you murdered someone." he said as he cast a sideways glance at the stony-faced gor. "It's the romantic in me."

"A combination of the three" replied Rikk.

Rinnult took a sip of the whisky and grimaced. "And yet you must wish to return." he said.

"What makes you say that?" asked Rikk.

"Why else would one come to Kasvablanka? It is the next-to-last stop on the journey to Uhmagri space.”

"My Health." Rikk said matter-of-factly. "I came to Kasvablanka for the water."

"Mirakko is a desert planet." Rinnult said. "All our water comes from elsewhere."

"I was misinformed."

Rinnult and Rikk listened for a moment to the Zamm and the band.

"I get the idea you want to tell me something." Rikk finally said. "Out with it."

"I've arranged entertainment for some very important guests." The slug replied.

"The three uniformed gors at your usual table, I presume?"

"Yes. They are major Stragza and two other officers of the Jarvhann military, we'll be making an arrest for their benefit. We could have made the arrest earlier at the Blue Goma, but I like you so I thought we'd wait and do it here.”

“Our own entertainment is quite enough.” Rikk said.

“We'll be detaining the person who killed the two Jarvhann couriers this morning." Rinnult's eyes locked on Rikk's. "If you are thinking about warning them, I would advise against it."

"Why would I warn them?"

"Because I suspect under that cynical scaly shell of yours there lurks a sentimentalist. I know more of your history than you guess. I know you fought with the turakken colonists on Hiedoron and smuggled arms to the grouliens at Wundobble."

"And got well paid for it on both occasions."

"The Jarvhanns would have paid more." He paused and glared at the shot of whisky. "I know many illegal exit visas are sold here." He drained the glass and his whole gelatinous body shuddered at the taste. "I also know that you do not engage in this trade. That is why you are allowed to remain open."

"I thought it was because I let you win at roullesse."

"That, too."

"Get to the point."

"There is a dahanese coming to Kasvablanka who will pay a fortune to anyone who can provide him with two exit visas."

"Why two?"

"He travels with a female siren."

"He'll settle for one." Rikk snorted.

"I think not. If he did not leave her on Jinok or Kalsvar, he will not leave her here. At any rate, it does not matter. There are to be no visas for him at any price."

Rinnult set the empty glass back on the bar.

"Who is he?" asked Rikk.

"Victa’laslo."

"The Victa’laslo?"

"Rikk, that is the first time I think I've ever seen you impressed."

"Victa’laslo has impressed half the galaxy."

"I must help ensure he doesn't impress the other half. He must remain on Kasvablanka."

"It will be interesting to see how he manages to escape."

"Escape?" laughed Rinnult. "What makes you think he will escape?"

"He managed to escape the Jarvhann detention camp on Kanris Prime. " shrugged Rikk. "They've been chasing him ever since and he always manages to get away."

"The chase ends here." said Rinnult with an air of finality.

"Twenty thousand E says he escapes."

The slug glanced sideways at him and arched an eyebrow. "Make it ten thousand." Rinnult said. "I am only a poor corrupt official. Now, if you will excuse me, it is time to entertain my guests."

Binro_the_Heretic
7th Aug 2002, 05:37
An enormously fat gem slug entered Rikk's and glided over to Rikk himself at the bar.

"Good evening, Verari." said Rikk. "What brings you here?"

"The usual." replied the slug. "I wish to buy your cafe."

"No deal."

"You haven't heard my offer."

"It's not for sale at any price."

"What about Zamm, then?"

"I don't sell people."

"Too bad, they are Kasvablanka's hottest commodity. But I wonder how Zamm feels about it."

"Let's ask him."

Rikk and Verari approached the dejain sitting behind his crescent-shaped piano.

"Zamm," Rikk began, "Verari here would like you to come and work for him."

"I like it fine here." said Zamm.

"He'll double your pay."

"I have trouble finding ways to spend the energy I make here." said Zamm with a smile.

"There's your answer." said Rikk.

"Ah, well." replied Verari and he gave a long sniff of disappointment. "Perhaps we can do business another time." He smiled, bowed slightly and hovered away.

Binro_the_Heretic
7th Aug 2002, 05:38
Aug'Gati was trying it's luck at the roullesse wheel when it felt a firm tap on its shoulder. It turned to find a gor and two greys, all in the tan uniforms of Kasvablanka security officers.

"Aug'Gati?" growled the gor.


"Yes?"

"Will you please come with us?"

"May I cash in my chips first?"

"Certainly."

Aug'Gati made its way to the cashier followed closely by the security officers. In a sudden burst, it threw its chips into their faces and bolted through the casino door, drawing a concealed blaster as it ran. It spun and fired, grazing one of the greys on the shoulder. It sped for the exit only to find more security officers waiting, their own blasters drawn. It ducked and weaved, trying to avoid the pursuing gor officer. In its wild run, it came to Rikk and stopped short.

"Help me, Rikk!" Aug'Gati pleaded. "Help me! Hide me! Something." Rikk stood and watched as the gor officer seized Aug'Gati by both arms and dragged it away.

When they were gone, Rikk addressed the patrons.

"Sorry for the disturbance, folks. It's all over with now. Go back to your meals and drinks." The band resumed playing and the anxious silence of the customers was soon replaced with happy excited chatter.

Binro_the_Heretic
7th Aug 2002, 05:39
A pair of sirens entered Rikk's arm-in-arm. The female was of exceptional beauty, even by siren standards. The male had a severe scar over his right eye, spoiling his otherwise impressive looks. He also seemed too thin for a siren and his wings showed signs of old damage. Despite this, he still had an air of power and dignity about him. They were shown to a table and had scarcely sat down when a salt hog approached holding something that glittered in his hand up for their inspection.

"Excuse me, Sir, Madame, sorry to intrude but I find myself in a bit of a fix. I need some money pretty quick and was wondering if you might be interested in this here pendant. I'm willing to sell cheap. As I said, I need money pretty fast."

"No thank you." the male siren said, casually.

"You sure?" said the hog pressing a thumb against the back of the pendant. As the two sirens watched, an emblem glowed for a brief instant within the jewel on the center of the pendant, A smaller crescent within a larger crescent surrounded by three stars. Both sirens caught their breath and leaned forward.

"You're certainly not Aug'Gati." said the male in a low tone as the female pretended to give the pendant a closer look.

"Nope. Name's Barga." replied the hog. "Aug'Gati-" he began but was stopped short by a sharp glance from the female siren.

"Victa!" she hissed, glancing over the hog's shoulder.

"Yes, it's very pretty, but I don't think we want to buy." the male siren said in a normal tone of voice as he sat back in his chair.

"I'll be at the bar if you change your mind, sir.” The hog said as he hurried off avoiding the gaze of Rinnult who had hovered up behind him.

"Victa’laslo?" asked the slug. The siren looked up at him.

"Yes?" he asked.

"I am Captain Rinnult, prefect of security. I wished to welcome you personally to Kasvablanka."

"I am honored."

"You must be Ilsu’lund." said the slug as he looked into the warm violet eyes of the female who nodded in assent. "I was told you were the most beautiful creature ever to grace this station." he went on. "I must say that was an understatement."

"You're very kind, Captain." she replied in her soft musical voice.

May I join you?" asked Rinnult.

"Please, be our guest." replied Victa’laslo gesturing to an empty spot at the table. Rinnult hovered down into place. A robot waiter approached and handed menus around the table.

"A bottle of Gyenir champagne." said Rinnult. "My treat." he quickly added.

"Captain," began Victa’laslo, "you needn't-" but the slug had the robotic arm of his hover swing hold itself up to stop the siren short.

"Please, they will put it on my bill and I will tear up the bill. It's a system we are comfortable with."

The waiter left them with their menus while it went off to fetch the wine. Ilsu’lund did not seem interested in the offerings of the restaurant. Rather, her attention became fixed on the bandstand.

"Who is that dijain playing piano?" she asked.

"That is Zamm." replied Rinnult. "He came here with Rikk." The slug noticed a strange look cross the sirens lovely face as if she found some fear suddenly justified." Victa’laslo seemed not to have noticed, engaged as he was in reading the menu.

"Who is Rikk?" asked Ilsu’lund trying and failing to sound casual.

"My dear, you are in Rikk's." Rinnult explained as he glanced at Victa’laslo whose attention seemed to have been caught by the tone of Ilsu’lund's voice. The male siren's expression suddenly became contemptuous. Rinnult realized the sour look was directed at the looming shadow that had walked up behind Ilsu’lund.

"This is Major Stragza of the Jarvhann imperial army." said Rinnult.

"Forgive my not standing, Major." Victa’laslo hissed. "But you see I happen to be Gulvakkian."

"You were Gulvakkian." sneered Stragza. "Now, you are a subject of the Jarvhann Empire. To be more specific, you are an escaped prisoner of the Jarvhann Empire."

"On a free and unoccupied Farrich station." Victa’laslo added.

"I should like to discuss matters arising from your presence on this 'free and unoccupied Farrich station' if you please."

"This is neither the time nor the place."

"Another time and place, then. The Prefect's office at ten o'clock tomorrow morning."

"Is this your order, Captain?" Victa’laslo asked turning to the Prefect.

"Let us say it is my request." replied Rinnult. "That sounds more polite."

"Very well then." said the siren who picked up his menu again. "Good evening, Major."

The gor stood for a moment, glaring down at him then turned on his heel and walked off.

"Enjoy your champagne." said Rinnult with a slight smile. "I will see you tomorrow." he said as he set down his own menu, rose slightly up and hovered off after Stragza.

"They mean to stop me this time." said Victa’laslo with a glance into Ilsu’lund's eyes. He noticed her gaze still seemed to be fixed on the piano player.

"I'll be back." he said, rising. "I need to find out what Barga knows. Will you be all right?" She nodded. Victa’laslo glided of discreetly towards the bar.

When the waiter brought the champagne, Ilsu’lund asked it to have Zamm come over to their table.

Binro_the_Heretic
7th Aug 2002, 05:40
"Could I have another look at that pendant?" Victa’laslo asked the salt hog seated at the bar.

"Why certainly, sir." said the hog drawing it from his pocket and handing it to the siren as he sat down. They both checked to make sure the bartender was well away from them.

"I need to find a grey named Aug'Gati." muttered Victa’laslo.

"It got pinched." said Barga. "Arrested for murder. Right here in this place just a little while before you came in."

"It was going to sell us something." Victa’laslo said looking very concerned.

"Yeah, I know. Don't know if it was carryin' them or not. If it was, they're in the hands of station security by now." A very grave look settled on the siren's face at this news.

"We're having a meeting tomorrow night." The hog whispered. "Engineering deck, sector 9, berth 8. Come if you can." With that, he took back the pendant and stood up. "Oh well, then. He said at a normal volume. Sorry we couldn't do business." He walked off.

Binro_the_Heretic
7th Aug 2002, 05:41
Zamm glided over to the table preceded by his piano.

"Hello, Zamm." said the siren who awaited him. She smiled warmly and sincerely, but her eyes seemed a bit sad.

"Hello, Miss." replied Zamm, going through the motions of tuning up.

"It's been a long time." Ilsu’lund said.

"Sure has." replied Zamm not meeting her gaze.

"Is Rikk here?"

"No ma'am. He left for the night."

"Does he always leave so early?"

"He's got a girl he meets up at the Blue Goma most nights."

"You were never a good liar, Zamm." With that, the piano player finally turned to face her.

"Leave him alone, Miss.” He implored. “You're bad luck to him." He turned back to his piano and started playing.

"Play some of the old songs." she said softly. He paused and started a different tune.

"You know the one I want to hear."

"I'm afraid I don't."

"Then I'll hum it for you." She began to hum a soft lilting tune, sad and happy, simple and majestic all at the same time. Her eyes were closed as though she strove to remember more than the tune she hummed. Zamm, as though resigned to his fate, sighed and began to play along with her.

The sound of Zamm's piano drifted through the cafe like smoke or more accurately like the scent of perfume.

It eventually settled into Rikk's ears. For a brief glimmering moment a look of peace settled on the gor's face. His eyes seemed to gaze into an infinite distance. He suddenly snapped back to himself and looked annoyed. He scanned the cafe, looking for the source of the music.

Binro_the_Heretic
7th Aug 2002, 05:44
Zamm hopped down off his hoverstool. The cafe was dark and deserted. Even the staff had all gone. He waddled towards the door, his green baglike body swinging between his two limbs. Out of the corner of his eye, he caught a glimpse of light. Stopping to investigate, he found one table with the lamp still burning. Rikk was sitting there, his back to Zamm. Zamm padded softly over.

Rikk was hunkered over the table, his eyes fixed on the side entrance which still stood open. Before him was a bottle of groulien bourbon and two glasses. Rikk's clawed hands toyed with the half-filled glass directly before him. The other glass sat full across the table from him.

"You going to bed soon?" Zamm asked.

"No."

"You planning on going to bed in the near future?"

"No."

"You ever going to bed."

"No!" snarled Rikk and drained his glass.

"I'm not sleepy, either" said Zamm and disappeared into the darkness of the empty cafe. By the time he had returned with his piano, Rikk's glass had been refilled and half-emptied again.

"I'm waiting for a lady." he said hoarsley.

"Rikk, let's get out of here." said Zamm in a fit of emotion. "Let's go off and get drunk together. Lets drop down to the planet. We'll stay there until she's gone."

"Shut up and go home." Rikk snapped and took another drink.

"I'm staying right here." said Zamm flatly. He began to play his piano.

"What time is it on Dahneir?" Rikk asked after finishing another glass.

"My chronometer's busted."

"I bet they're sleeping on Dahneir." Rikk mused as he filled his glass again. He set the bottle back down and suddenly slammed his scaly fist on the table.

"Of all the gin joints on all the stations in all the galaxy, she has to walk into mine." he choked. "What's that you're playing?"

"Just a little something."

"You know what I want to hear."

"No I don’t."

"If she can stand it, so can I!" bellowed Rikk. Zamm hesitated for a moment, but then began playing the same tune he had played for Ilsu’lund earlier.

Binro_the_Heretic
7th Aug 2002, 05:45
The music transported Rikk back in time and across space. He stood on the surface of Parce in the Felran system. His arm was around Ilsu’lund's shoulders and they watched as the twin moons rose in the violet sunset, the tiny black sillhouettes of birds flying across the lights of glittering city below across a shining river.

Suddenly they were in the city. The sun was high and hot, but the air was mild as they cruised between the towering buildings in the hovercar with the top down. Rikk steered with one arm and Ilsu’lund held the other, her magnificent head resting against his massive bicep.

And then it was evening. The greater moon shone as a crescent of brilliant white against velvet black sky peppered with stars. Ilsu’lund was out on the balcony, sitting against the rail and basking in the cool night air, revealed by a slight breeze that parted the translucent drapes. The same breeze lightly ruffled the feathers of her outstretched wings. Light poured from the room onto her shapely form. Against the black of the night sky, she seemed to shine with a brilliance that radiated from within. Rikk, sitting within the room on the sofa, realized this was and would always be the most beautiful sight he’d seen in the universe.

"What are you thinking?" asked the siren, snapping him out of his reverie. She stood and gently folded her pinions. As she entered, they brushed the drapes aside. She drifted over to him as gently as the wind wafting through the open balcony doors and sat on his lap. As she leaned in close, he was nearly overwhelmed by the natural perfume of her skin and the smell of the clean night air in her silky black hair. It took him a moment to realize she had asked him a question.

"I was only wondering," he began, "why I should be so lucky to find you here just waiting for me to come along." She looked up into his eyes. A sudden shadow seemed to pass over her elegant face and he felt a sudden heaviness in the pit of his stomach.

"You mean, why is there no other man in my life?" she asked. Rikk felt his gut twist. He would have given anything not to have asked in the first place, but she gently laid her head against his chest.

"There was." she said. And there was an odd tone to her voice. "He died."

"I'm sorry." Rikk said. "I forgot we agreed: no questions." He let his enormous arms settle gingerly around her and she pressed close against him.

Then they were in the Golden Nova. The cafe was hushed. Even Zamm had ceased his piano playing. All eyes were fixed on the image projector behind the bar. Scenes of conflict were playing out on the screen. Jarvhann war ships were decimating the meager stellar defense forces of the Felran system.

“They’ll be here soon.” Zamm said gravely. “And don’t forget, you’re on their blacklist.”

“Their role of honor.” Rikk noted with obvious pride. Ilsu’lund held his hand tightly.

“Zamm is right.” She said with concern. “You need to leave soon.”

“We need to leave soon.” He corrected her.

“You aren’t afraid I’ll slow you down?” she said, smiling.

“I’m willing to be burdened.” He replied and softly caressed her chin.

And then it was two days later. Rikk, Ilsu’lund, Zamm and Aem’Mil the old grey barkeep were the only ones in the Golden Nova. Ilsu’lund had been acting strangely since Rikk had collected her from her apartment that morning. She was now staring out the window at the grimy overcast skies, skies from which the Jarvhann ships would begin dropping in a few days’ time to officially seize control of the planet. Rikk came up and nudged her shoulder gently.

“Drink up,” he began as he poured her a glass of fine parcian champagne. “Aem’Mil says we have three more bottles to finish. Says it’ll water the garden with the stuff before it lets serves any to Jarvhanns.” She accepted the wine, but did not drink it. Instead, she turned her attention back to the window.

“Don’t worry.” Rikk said, trying to comfort her. “We’ll be far away from here before they come.” She turned to look at him. Her eyes were on the verge of tears. She opened her mouth as if to speak, but suddenly turned away. He placed a hand on her shoulder and gently but irresistibly turned her back around. When she faced him once again, the tears were pouring freely. She flung herself around him.

“Oh, Rikk,” she sobbed. “If anything were to happen...if you didn’t get away…” She looked up into his eyes. Her own eyes blazed despite the tears. “Hold me.” She said. “Hold me as if it were the last time.” And her embrace tightened fiercely about him.

And it was suddenly that same evening. Ilsu’lund had insisted on going to her apartment alone to fetch her bags. She promised to meet Rikk and Zamm at the spaceport, there to board one of the last few orbital shuttles.

She had not yet come.

The skies had become uglier as the day wore on. Now, they were unleashing a bitter rain. Rikk was soaked as he waited near the bus that would carry passengers to the shuttle. He had sent Zamm to Ilsu’lund’s apartment to look for her. He decided to wait at the spaceport himself in case she suddenly showed up.

Everyone else was aboard the bus when Zamm finally returned, hopping at full speed. It is amazing how swift the dijain can be at need despite having only two limbs that double as arms and legs. He crossed the distance between the departure gate and Rikk with a few enormous bounds.

“Was she there? Has something happened?” Rikk shouted. Zamm thrust an envelope into his claws. Rikk tore it open and read the short letter within as the rain began to smear the words.

Rikk,

I cannot go with you. Please forgive me.

I will always love you.

Ilsu’lund

Numbly, Rikk allowed Zamm to pull him onto the bus.

Binro_the_Heretic
7th Aug 2002, 05:46
Phew!

Halfway through. Expect the other half tomorrow evening.

Let me know what you think.

Azuriel
7th Aug 2002, 06:58
i likes it!

Binro_the_Heretic
8th Aug 2002, 03:28
D'OH!

Sorry, but after trying and failing to complete it from memory, I realize I need to watch the movie again.

The real tragedy is I have almost the entire thing complete. The only bit I'm missing is what will be the very next scene after the last one I posted. It's like one clog in the pipe is holding everything else up.

Oh well.

Anyway, this has still proven to be a much more fun project than I thought it would be. If I get enough positive feedback, I may do the same for some of my other favorite movies.

I should have the rest up tomorrow, folks.

Again, I apologize.

Meddling Grey
8th Aug 2002, 19:37
Two words: Keep going. No wait, that's four words. Now it's nine. Er, twelve. Fourteen? Fifteen? Oh whatever. :)

Eighteen!... No? Hmph.

Binro_the_Heretic
9th Aug 2002, 21:31
The nearly empty bottle toppled as Rikk clumsily reached for it. It rolled towards the edge of the table. Zamm caught it before it could fall to the floor and stood it back upright, but out of Rikk’s immediate reach. The gor was very stooped in his chair now. His head swayed. As Zamm watched, Rikk’s gaze slowly swam up from the spot on the table where the bottle had been and fixed, more or less, in the direction of the side entrance. When Zamm looked there himself, he saw the voluptuous silhouette of a female siren framed in the doorway.

“I saved the first drink for you.” Rikk slurred. He heaved himself back in the chair and let his chin rest on his chest. It was the only way he could look at her straight. His head swayed crazily if he tried to hold it up.

“I had to see you.” Ilsu’lund said and glided from the door to the table. She passed Zamm as he slipped quickly out the door.

“Why did you come to Kasvablanka?” Rikk asked pouring the last drops of bourbon into his own glass. “There are other places.”

“I would never have come if I’d known you were here.” she said, sliding into the chair across from him.

“How long was it we had?” Rikk asked derisively.

“I didn’t count the days.”

“I did, every one. I remember the last day most of all, the wild finish, a gor standing on a shuttle tarmac with a comical look on his face because his guts had been kicked out.”

“Can I tell you a story.”

“Does it have a wild finish.”

“I don’t know how it will end yet.”

“Well, just start talking, maybe one will come to you.”

“It’s a story about a young girl who came to Parce from her home on Mirril.” She began as her eyes glistened. “At the home of some friends, she met a man about whom she’d heard her whole life, a very great and noble man. He opened up to her a whole new galaxy and new ways of thinking. All she ever became was because of this man. She admired him and looked up to him and felt what she thought was love for him.” Rikk suddenly leaned over the table and glared at her.

“So it was Victa’laslo you left me for? Were there others in between? Or aren’t you the kind who tells?”

Her tears began to stream as she rose and fled through the door. Rikk swept the bottle and glasses off the table. He folded his great arms together on the table and buried his face in them.

Binro_the_Heretic
9th Aug 2002, 21:37
Victa’laslo and Ilsu’lund entered Captain Rinnult’s office the following morning. The Prefect greeted them cordially.

“And how did you enjoy your first night on the station?” the slug asked.

“It was very pleasant, we slept well.”

“Really? Nobody is supposed to sleep well on Kasvablanka.” Rinnult looked them both over. Victa’laslo looked well enough, but Ilsu’lund seemed a bit pale and drawn. Her eyes showed signs of puffiness.

“Let’s not waste time with pleasantries.” snarled a harsh voice. Stragza stepped from a dark corner where he had been lurking unnoticed. His eyes glittered with barely restrained malice. “I am here to ensure you do not leave Kasvablanka.”

“Whether or not you succeed is yet to be seen.”

“Captain Rinnult’s signature is required on all exit visas.” Stragza turned to the slug who had hovered behind his desk and was engaged in reading a datapad. “Captain, do you think it is possible our friend here will obtain a visa?”

“I’m afraid not.” Rinnult said. He glanced up for a moment in the sirens’ direction. “My apologies.”

“However,” said the gor, taking a step closer, “you could be on the shuttle to Lizzbann station tomorrow.”

“Really?” said Victa’laslo contemptuously. “And what would the tickets cost, I wonder.”

“You know the names of the leaders of the underground resistance on Parce, Gulvakk and Hiedoron.” The gor began.

“And Jarvha Prime?” said Victa’laslo flippantly.

“If you provide us with these name,” the gor went on, visibly annoyed, “we will consider it a gesture of good will and a sign you are no longer a threat to our security. If you do this, passage can be easily arranged.”

“And I’m certain we can count on you to hold up your end of the bargain once you have what you want.” Ilsu’lund observed. A deep, barely audible growl came from the gor.

“Perhaps we shall stay on Kasvanblanka a while.” said Victa’laslo. “I’ve been in worse places.” he added. The two sirens silently turned to leave.

“By the way,” said Rinnult suddenly, stopping them in their tracks. “I believe you were interested in the whereabouts of a grey named Aug’Gati?”

“Yes.” said Victa’laslo with apparent trepidation. He had of course inquired about Aug’Gati, but not to Captain Rinnult.

“You had a message for it?” the slug asked, his gaze fixed downward on the datapad.

“Nothing important,” said the siren, “but may I speak to it now?”

“You will find the conversation a little one-sided.” said Stragza, his eyes regaining their former wicked gleam. “Aug’Gati is dead.”

“I’m filling out the report now.” said Rinnult. “Haven’t decided whether it committed suicide or was killed trying to escape.”

With a last hard look back at Stragza, Victa’laslo and Ilsu’lund turned and left.

“They’ll try the black market.” said Rinnult as he tossed the datapad back on the desk. “Not that it will do them any good.”

“Rikk has those marks of transit.” growled Stragza. “You should search that café.” Rinnult had pulled out a bottle of polvakian whisky and was filling two glasses.

“He’s not stupid enough to let us find them there.” said the slug, offering a glass to the gor.

“You overestimate him, I think.” Stragza said and took a healthy swig. “He’s just another blundering Uhmagri stooge.”

“Never underestimate Uhmagri blundering.” said Rinnult, swirling his own drink. “I remember when they blundered onto Jarvha Prime in the first conflict.” Stragza glared at him with a look that would have wilted a kranz bush.

Binro_the_Heretic
9th Aug 2002, 22:46
Rikk, still feeling the effects of the bourbon, shouldered into the Blue Goma past a rowdy cluster of boisterous salt-hogs who were coming out. Verari hovered up to him more quickly than usual.

“Just about to have some coffee.” the slug said with a broad friendly grin. “Will you join me.”

“No thank you.” croaked Rikk despite feeling he could really use it about now. “I noticed the scuzzers bringing in the supply crates. I came to pick up my shipment.”

“Oh, I can send it over later.” Verari said with a dismissive wave. He hovered over to a booth and poured himself a cup of fragrant dahanese coffee.

“Every time you send the crates, they show up a little light.” said Rikk dumping himself into the booth.

“Carrying charges, my boy. Carrying charges.” He sniffed the aromatic steam of his coffee with obvious relish. “A shame about poor Aug’Gati.” This evoked a chuckle from Rikk.

“You don’t miss it any more than I do.”

“A shame nobody knows what became of those marks of transit.” Verari said, raising his eyebrows.

“Practically nobody.” Rikk said flatly.

“If they were to come to me, I could sell them for a fortune.”

“So could anybody.”

“Rikk, I’ll put my cards on the table. I think you have those marks.”

“Rinnult and Stragza seem to think so as well. They’re searching the café right now.”

“Whoever you find to buy them, I can find someone who will pay more.”

Rikk slid out of the booth and stood. Verari looked more than a little peeved, but the look was quickly replaced by his usual air of warmth and friendliness.

“Ah well,” he said finally taking a sip of his coffee. “Keep me in mind, will you.”
he added in a low tone.

Just as Rikk reached the door, Victa’laslo was coming in. They stood looking at each other for a brief instant.

“Verari is the fat gent in the corner booth.” Rikk said and he left.

Binro_the_Heretic
9th Aug 2002, 22:48
Ilsu’lund’s delicate fingers toyed with the brilliantly colored fabric while the karmarama shopkeeper went on and on about the great care taken in its weaving.

“And a real bargain,” the karmarama concluded, “at only six hundred E.”

“You’re being cheated.” Said a familiar deep voice behind Ilsu’lund. She did not turn to look.

“Ah,” said the karmarama, “you’re a friend of Rikk’s. For friends of Rikk’s, we have a discount. Only four hundred E.”

“I’m sorry I was in no condition to receive you when you called on me last night.” Rikk said to the siren who still did not turn to face him.

“For special friends of Rikk, we have a special discount.” said the karmarama. “Only two hundred E.”

“You said everything there was to say last night.” said Ilsu’lund coldly.

“That was the bourbon talking.” Rikk replied.

“I have some more in the back” the shopkeeper said and quickly bustled off.

“Do you want to finish your story now?” Rikk asked. “Do you want to tell me why you left. I got stuck paying for a shuttle ticket. I think I have a right to know.”

“The Rikk I knew on Parce, I could have told him. He would have understood. But the Rikk I saw last night, the one who looked at me with such anger and hatred…”

“Is it because you couldn’t take the running, the hiding?”

“Believe that if you like.”

“Well, I’m settled now, above a saloon, it’s true, but walk up a flight of stairs and I’ll be there.”

Ilsu’lund turned to walk out of the shop.

“One day,” Rikk called after her, “you’ll lie to Victa’laslo. You’ll be there.”

“I don’t think so.” she said defiantly, finally turning to face him. “Victa’laslo is my husband and was before I met you on Parce.”

Binro_the_Heretic
12th Aug 2002, 05:02
Ilsu'lund entered the Blue Goma to find Victa'laslo sitting at a corner booth with an opulently large gem slug she presumed to be Verari. She lingered near the entrance until Vict'laslo saw her and gestured for her to come over. When she arrived at the booth, she was charmingly greeted by the slug who in fact turned out to be Verari.

"Please join us, my dear." said Verari with impeccable grace. "Will you have some coffee?"

"Thank you." she said sliding into the booth beside Victla'laslo. As Verari poured her coffee, she looked over at Victa'laslo who smiled but couldn't hide the concern in his eyes.

"Can you help us?" asked Ilsu'lund as she accepted the coffee. It turned out to be genuine unsynthesized dahanese which meant it must have been monstrously expensive to import. Verari was smiling, possibly from politeness and possibly because of her directness.

"I wish I could, Madame." the slug answered sympathetically.

"The word is out." said Victa'laslo.

"Yes," began Verari taking up his own cup. "Nobody on the station will dare to sell Victa'laslo a visa. I know Captain Rinnult gives a very convincing portrayal of sloppiness, but he is very cunning. Little happens on this station he doesn't know about."

"I'm learning that." said Victa'laslo.

"At any rate, it would become impossible for me to conduct my business if Iwere to provide Victa'laslo a visa, however..." He glanced at Victa'laslo.

"Verari thinks it might be possible to provide one for you."

"Victa!" exclaimed Ilsu'lund.

"Yes," Verari cut in. "It is only Victa'laslo who must stay on Kasvablanka. You are another matter."

"We can get you to Uhmagri space," Victa'laslo said, "and I can find another way later."

"Let us be frank." said Verari after a sip of coffee. "It would take a miracle to get you off this station and the Jarvhanns have outlawed miracles."

"I won't leave you." demanded Ilsu'lund.

"I see you two will want to talk about this." said Verari and excused himself.

"Ilsu, be reasonable.." Victa'laslo began once Verari had hovered off to the bar.

"If it were different," said Ilsu'lund, "if I had to stay, would you go?"

"Yes."

"Oh, I see. And when I was sick on Kalsvar and held you up for two weeks or when I didn't make the shuttle on Tevros and you knew you would have to wait another four days for the next, in danger every minute, why didn't you leave me then?"

"I meant to. Something always came up."

She smiled and placed a soft warm hand on his cheek. He laid his own hand over hers.

"I love you very much." He said.

"I know." she replied.

Verari was attending to some business when he saw the two sirens approaching.

"Have you decided?" the slug asked. Victa'laslo looked at Ilsu'lund who took his hand and leaned close to him.

"We will wait for two." he said with a resigned sigh.

"I hope it goes well for you." Verari replied.

"Thank you for the coffee." said Ilsu'lund, extending her hand to Verari.

"A pleasure to share it with such lovely company." the slug replied and instead of shaking the hand gave it a delicate kiss. The sirens turned to go.

"I do not know why I say this for it cannot possibly profit me." said Verari suddenly. They stopped and turned back to look at him.

"You have perhaps heard of Aug'Gati and the marks of transit?" the slug asked.

"Do you know where they are?" Victa'laslo asked anxiously.

"Not for certain. But it is believed Aug'Gati left the marks with Rikk before it was arrested."

"Rikk?" asked Ilsu'lund with a grave expression.

"Tricky customer that Rikk." said Verari. "One never knows what he will do."

Binro_the_Heretic
13th Aug 2002, 15:00
A gentlemanly turakken chatted amicably with a salt hog at the bar in Rikk's cafe.

"I warn you," said his left head, "be on your guard. This place is crawling with thieves and criminals." As he said this, his quick green hand lightly removed the salt-hog's energy wallet from his heavy work apron. The turakken finished his drink with his right head, tipped both hats and bid the salt hog a good evening.

On his way out, he bumped lightly into Chrona, the chubby little turakken waiter and begged his pardon before scuttling off. Chrona quickly felt his pockets and after finding everything still there, continued on his way. He deposited a bottle of fine polvokian brandy in front of Rikk who sat brooding at a corner table.

"You're getting to be your best customer." Chrona noted and swept off on another errand.

"You're becoming quite civilized." said Rinnult as he hovered up and glanced the bottle before Rikk. Rikk poured himself a shot.

"That was some going over your officers gave my place." said Rikk taking up his glass. "We barely got cleaned up in time to open."

"I told Stragza we wouldn't find anything, but I told my people to be especially destructive." said Rinnult with a smile. "I know how that impresses gors." he added wryly.

At that moment, one of the Jarvhann officers swept past, Ei'von hanging on his arm and smirking at Rikk.

"So Ei'von's gone over to the enemy." Rikk said flatly.

"Who knows?" began Rinnult. "In her own way, she may constitute an entire second front." He watche the gor and the siren heading for the bar. "Well, better go and flatter Stragza some more." he sighed and hovered off.

Rikk was lost in his own thoughts for a while when a very young slugess hovered up to the table. Her skin was more yellow than green and she still bore a few black freckles.

"How did you get in here?" Rikk demanded. "You're underage."

"I came with Captain Rinnult." the slugess replied timidly.

"Ah." said Rikk and poured himself some more brandy.

"My husband is here also."

"Rinnult's becoming broad-minded." Rikk said amused.

"Ullon is in the casino now," the slugess went on, "trying to win enough for our exit visas. We came here from Illura. The Jarvhanns have the planet by the throat."

"So you're trying to get to Uhmagri space?"

"Yes, only it cost us so much to get this far and there isn't enough energy left for exit visas."

"But Captain Rinnult is still willing to help you?"

"What kind of a man is Captain Rinnult?"

"Like any other man, only moreso."

"I mean, is he trustworthy?"

"Did he tell you to ask me that?" Rikk asked, eyeing her keenly. She nodded.

"Captain Rinnult says if I..." she fumbled for a moment. "He says if I am...kind...to him, he can arrange for some exit visas."

"And you want to know..."

"Will he keep his word?"

"He always has." Rikk sighed gruffly. The slugess was silent a moment, a look of intense emotion on her face as if many thoughts wrestled with one another.

"Sir, you are a man," she began and RIkk fixed her in his gaze. "If a woman loved you very much so that your happiness meant everything to her..."

"Nobody ever loved me that much." RIkk interrupted.

"If this girl did a very bad thing to ensure your happiness," the slugess went on, "and she kept this bad thing locked away in her heart and never told anyone. That would be all right, wouldn't it?" Rikk looked away from her eyes which were starting to glisten. He looked past her to the door where Victa'laslo and Ilsu'lund entered hand-in-hand.

"You want my advice?" Rikk asked as he stood roughly. The slugess was silent but looked up at him expectantly. "Go back to Illura." he growled.

"But if you knew what it meant to us to get to Uhmagri.." she burst out, a few tears now trickling from her eyes.

"Everyone on Kasvablanka has problems." Rikk said. "Yours may work out. Excuse me." He stalked quickly away towards the two sirens.

Binro_the_Heretic
13th Aug 2002, 15:22
Victa'laslo and Ilsu'lund stood waiting by the door as Rikk came up to them.

"You see we are back." said Victa'lalso.

"I'll take that as a great compliment to Zamm." Rikk replied, his eyes on Ilsu'lund. "I suppose he means to you Parce and happier times?"

"May we have a table close to him?" she asked coldly.

"And as far from Stragza as possible." added Victa'laslo.

"Chrona!" barked Rikk and the little turakken came bustling up. "Table thirty."Rikk ordered.

While Chrona led the pair to their table, Rikk approached Zamm at his piano. He bent low over the dijain and muttered something. Zamm looked upset for a moment, then with an apologetic look at Ilsu'lund, he began to play their song.

Rikk glared at her and stalked off into the casino.

A young gem slug sat at the roullesse table cradling a small pile of chips and looking anxious.

"Would you like to place another bet, sir?" asked the grey working the wheel.

"No." said the slug after some hesitation. He barely noticed Rikk leaning down close to him.

"Have you tried forty-two?" the gor asked in a low tone. Startled, the slug looked over at him.

"I said forty-two." Rikk said, his eyes fixed meaningfully on the grey whose large bulbous gave the slightest of nods. It spun the wheel and set the marble in motion. The slug hesitated for a split second and quickly placed all his remaining chips on the table in the forty-two spot.

"No more bets." annonced the grey as the marble started to rattle to a halt. It came to a rest in the slot marked forty-two. A large pile of chips was pushed towards the slug who gaped.

"Leave it." said Rikk, still bending low. The slug quickly pushed all his chips onto forty-two as the wheel was spun again.

"No more bets." announced the grey and the marble came to rest on forty-two. An even bigger pile of chips was pushed toward the slug.

"Cash it in and don't come back." muttered Rikk and he straightened up.

A salt hog roughly tapped Chrona who had stood watching with a pair of broad grins on his faces.

"You sure this place is honest?" the hog asked.

"Honest?" asked Chrona sounding deeply insulted. "As honest as the day is long!"

"How are we doing?" Rikk asked as he stepped past the grey.

"A few thousand less than I thought there would be." the grey replied, though it wore a slight smile.

Binro_the_Heretic
13th Aug 2002, 16:16
As Rikk left the casino, the young slugess rushed up and embraced him warmly, her eyes streaming despite her broad smile.

"He's just lucky." said Rikk, gently pushing her back. Ullon came hovering up as did Captain Rinnult. The young slug quickly offered the Prefect his energy wallet.

"Not here." said Rinnult sharply. "Tomorrow at security control.

"We'll be there at six!" Ullon announced joyfully.

"Very well." replied Rinnult. "I'll be there at ten." He grinned and bowed graciously. When the young couple had hovered away, the grin was quickly replaced by a scowl.

"I knew it!" said the slug in disgust as he looked Rikk up and down. "A rank sentimentalist.

"Chalk it up as a gesture to love." said Rikk, unable to keep the amusement out of his voice.

"Well," sighed Rinnult, "I forgive you this time. But tomorrow night I'll be in with a breathtaking slugess and it will make me very happy if she loses." With that, he turned sharply and glided off into the restaurant.

Binro_the_Heretic
13th Aug 2002, 16:18
Ei'von and the Jarvhann officer were standing at the bar being tended by a bitter-looking Zasha. As the gor turned to order more drinks, a gor in station security uniform muttered something under his breath to the siren.

"What's it to you?" she snapped. The Jarvhann gor came around her and spun the security gor round.

"What did you say?" he snarled.

"None of your business."

"I will make it my business!" He drew back a fist. The other gor quickly took a defensive stance but the Jarvhann's arm was grabbed by Rikk who bent it sharply back.

"I don't like disturbances in my place." Rikk snarled, glaring at the both of them and releasing the Jarvhann's arm. "Either lay off politics or get out."

Ei'von placed her hands on the Jarvhann officer's spiny shoulders and gently guided him away from the bar, giving Rikk a contemptuous look over her shoulder.

"I wonder if I might have a word with you?" asked a clear voice behind Rikk. The gor turned to find Victa'laslo standing there.

"Go ahead." said Rikk, leaning casually against the bar.

"Someplace more private?" the siren asked, glancing at the security officer.

"My office." Rikk replied and led him upstairs.

Rinnult and Stragza had witnessed the scene at the bar. Rinnult's usual table commanded an excellent view of almost the entire cafe.

"It is dangerous to let Victa'laslo leave." mused the Major. "It may be just as dangerous to let him stay." Rinnult did not comment. He was watching Rikk and the siren disappear into Rikk's office.

"The empire is infested with traitors." Stragza said, almost to himself. "Waiting perhaps only for a leader to set them off."

Binro_the_Heretic
13th Aug 2002, 19:26
"I'm a busy man." said Rikk, shutting the door.

"I'll get right to the point then." said Victa'laslo. "Some on this station beliave Aug'Gati left the marks of transit with you before it was arrested."

"Some people will believe anything." replied Rikk and he strode over to the window.

"You know my work." said Victa'laslo. "You know how important it is that I get off Kasvablanka with the information I have."

"I'm a saloon keeper." said Rikk. "The problems of the galaxy aren't my concern."

"They used to be." said Victa'laslo. "My friends in the underground tell me you fought for the turakkens and ran guns for the grouliens."

"An expensive hobby, but I never was much of a businessman."

"Are you enough of a businessman to appreciate an offer of ten thousand E?"

"I appreciate it, but I don't accept it."

"I could make it as much as twenty thousand and send more later if that is not enough."

"My friend, you could make it a million. My answer would still be no."

"Is there some reason you won't let me have them?"

"There is. I suggest you ask your wife."

"My wife?"

"I said ask your wife."

The siren seemed stunned for a moment but opened his mouth as if to speak. Before he could, though, there was a terrible din downstairs. Both he and Rikk swiftly left the office and stood on the balcony overlooking the restaurant.

The Jarvhann officer from the bar had commandeered Zamm's piano. He, Stragza and the other officer were belting out a hoarse Jarvhann military march.

Zamm on his hoverstool lingered a few paces away next to Ei'von who looked just as upset. Some eyes in the cafe were beginning to weep. Practically everyone in the place had been driven from their home by the Jarvhanns. Even Rinnult was looking sour.

Victalaslo's pale blue eyes blazed. A tremor ran through his ragged wings. He swept down the stair and stood before the bandstand.

"Play 'Farrich Gold and Fair'!" he demanded.

As one, the band turned to Rikk, who nodded. The band began to play. Victalaslo's commanding voice began to sing out the lyrics to what had been the anthem of the Farrich empire...when there had been a Farrich empire.

The Jarvhanns continued to sing but with redoubled vigor. However, every other patron and staff member in the place quickly came to attention and began singing along with Victa'laslo. The gors were drowned out immediately and the anthem continued uncontested. Many wept as they had during the Jarvhann march, but their voices were not sorrowful, they were strong, defiant and indignant. Victalaslo's voice rose far above them all.

Rikk had descended the stairs and saw Ilsu'lund still sitting at her table. She mouthed the words, but did not sing aloud. Her streaming eyes were fixed on Victa'laslo. Rikk had to look away.

The song reached it's climax. The final notes blended easily with the joyous shouts and cheers that followed.

"Farrich forever!" shouted Ei'vonn over all the wild whoops and applause.

Rinnult, smiling reached for his glass of wine. A gor talon came crashing down hard on the hoverswing waldo. Rinnult looked up into Stragza's flashing eyes.

"Shut this place down!" snarled the gor.

"But everyone's having such a good time." Rinnult protested. A deep resonant growl was his only answer.

"I've no excuse to close it." Rinnult offered feebly. Stragza leaned in, bringing his face close to the slug's.

"Find one!" With that, he released the robotic arm and stood back upright, his gray eyes glittering dangerously at Rinnult.

Rinnult drained his glass in one gulp, set his glass back on the table with a long sniff, straightened his prefect's cap, retreived a small silver whistle from the carrying compartment of his hoverswing and hovered out to the center of the restaurant. A single blast of the whistle brought everyone to attention.

"This cafe is to be closed immediately by order of the prefect of station security!" Rinnult announced. "Everyone is to vacate the premises!"

Station security officers began to hustle people out the door. The two Jarvhann officers remained at their table watching smugly. Rikk accosted Rinnult.

"Why are you shutting me down?" Rikk demanded.

"I am shocked!" began Rinnult with all appearance of sincerity, "shocked to discover there is gambling here!"

The grey from the casino stepped up and held an energy wallet out for the prefect. "Your winnings, sir." it said.

"Oh, thank you very much." replied RInnult quickly snatching the wallet and heading for the door. Rikk glared down at the grey.

Ilsu'lund tried to make her way through the crowd to Victa'laslo. The figure of Major Stragza loomed suddenly up in front of her and she started back.

"After tonight," said the gor menacingly, "It may not be safe for Victa'laslo to remain on this station."

"Well," said Ilsu'lund defiantly, "there isn't much we can do since he's not allowed to leave."

"He can leave any time he wishes to cooperate."

"We shall investigate the alternatives first."

"There is only one other alternative. Perhaps you have already observed life is cheap on Kasvablanka?"

Ilsu'lund went pale. Suddenly she felt a warm firm grip on her shoulder and Victa'laslo was at her side, staring hard at Stragza. The gor gave a slight bow and walked away.

Binro_the_Heretic
17th Aug 2002, 04:44
Victa'laslo and Ilsu'lund entered their darkened hotel room. Ilsu'lund switched on the light and walked into the lavitron. Victa'laslo rummaged in a small open suitcase pretending to look for something but in reality casually glancing out of the small round window the suitcase was sitting underneath. He saw a quick movement as someone stepped quickly behind a corridor lamp.

"Did Rikk have the marks of transit?" Ilsu'lund asked softly as she stepped back out, crossed the room and sat on the bed.

"I think so." said Victa'laslo straightening up and stepping into the lavotron himself.

"And he wouldn't give them to you." It was not a question.

"No. When sentiment didn't persuade him, I tried to buy them, but he says they're not for sale at any price."

"Did he say why?"

"He told me to ask you."

"Me?"

"Yes, he said 'Ask your wife.'"

Ilsu'lund looked quickly away. Victa'laslo hesitated for a moment, turned out the light and sat beside her.

"When I was in the detention camp," he began and laid an arm across her shoulders, "Were you lonely on Parce?" Ilsu'lund, still averted her gaze. He drew her close to his side and she laid her head on his shoulder. "Is there anything you want to tell me?" he asked. She sat up and looked him in the eye. For a moment, he thought she would speak, but instead she just shook her head.

"I love you very much." he said smiling sadly and running a finger delicately under her chin.

"I know." she said and again laid her head on his shoulder. They stayed that way for a while.

"Victa," she finally said, "whatever happens, please believe I-"

"You don't even have to say it." he interrupted. "I'll believe it."

He gently slid his arm from around her shoulders, stood carefully and glided stealthily to the window. The corridor below appeared to be deserted.

"Victa," said Ilsu'lund, "Don't go to the meeting tonight."

"I must." he replied firmly.

"But after Stragza's threat..."

"This has always been dangerous. Would you have me hide and sit by as so many others have done?"

"Please be careful."

He smiled at her. After a final embrace, he slipped quietly out. Peering out the window herself, she saw him cautiously make his way down the empty corridor.

Binro_the_Heretic
17th Aug 2002, 04:54
Rikk and Chrona sat in the empty cafe. Chrona's left head was engrossed in the figures on a data pad while the right rapidly tapped buttons on a calculator. Rikk sat silent and motionless, staring thoughtfully into space.

"You're in pretty good shape, Rikk." said Chrona's right head finally.

"How long can I afford to stay closed?" Rikk asked, his attention coming quickly back into focus.

"Two weeks," said Chrona's left head, "maybe three."

"Maybe we won't have to wait that long." Rikk grunted. "A bribe has worked before." he sounded doubtful.

"In the meantime," he continued as he stood up, "everyone stays on salary."

"Zasha will be glad to hear that." said Chrona's right head. "I owe him money" continued the left. The turakken stood and took his overcoat from the wall.

"I'm going to the meet-" began the left head.

"Don't tell me where you're going." snapped Rikk.

"Goodnight, Rikk." said the right head as Chrona exited.

Rikk surveyed the empty cafe for a while before shutting off the lights and heading upstairs. When he opened the door to his office, he found Ilsu'lund waiting for him.

Meddling Grey
23rd Aug 2002, 22:21
Please don't stop now! I've never actually seen the movie Casablanca. I need to know how the story ends! It will haunt me forever if you stop now! My life will be filled with torment! My emotions will run wild and my sensibility will decline as my mind slowly drains away and leaves me completely insane! My personal life will wither and die, and my friends will shun me because the only thing I will be able to think about is the unfinished Kasvablanka Station!

Guilty yet? Should I keep going? ;) :D

My body will waste away as I spend every day in a sanitarium, my only thoughts of the ending to a fanfic that was never actually completed...

Binro_the_Heretic
24th Aug 2002, 02:42
"I knew you'd be here." said Rikk. "But I didn't expect it to be so soon." He closed the door quietly behind himself. Ilsu'lund stood motionless before the open glass doors of the balcony looking little different than she had that night on Parce. "Your visit wouldn't happen to be connected with those marks of transit, would it?" Rikk asked. "Seems as long as I have them I'll never be lonely."

"You can name any price you want, but you must give us those marks."

"I went all through that with your husband already. They're not for sale."

"I'm asking you to put aside your feelings for something bigger than both of us."

"Do I have to hear again what a great man he is? What a noble cause he's fighting for?"

"It was your cause too."

"Not anymore. I'm the only cause I'm interested in now." He strode across the room to a small bar and poured himself a shot from the first bottle that came to hand.

"We loved each other once." She said softly, almost pleading. "If those days mean anything to you-"

"I wouldn't bring up Parce if I were you." he snapped as he rounded on her. "It's bad salesmanship."

"If you only knew the truth-"

"Truth?" he snorted. "You'll say anything now to get what you want. Why should I believe you?" He turned to see her eyes filling with tears.

"Because one woman has hurt you, you will take your revenge on the rest of the galaxy? You've become a petty weakling!" she choked. He glared hard at her.

"Oh, Rikk, I'm sorry," she sobbed, "but you're our last hope. If you don't help us Victa'laslo will die on Kasvablanka."

"What of it?" he asked and turned to pour another drink. "I'm going to die on Kasvablanka, it's a good place for it." He set the bottle back down and took up his glass. "Now, if you'll-" he began as he turned around and then stopped abruptly at the sight of Ilsu'lund and the blaster she had aimed directly at his chest.

"I won't leave here without those marks." she said, her voice wavering. "Go and get them."

"No need." he replied cooly patting the breast pocket of his white jacket. "They're right here." he lied.

"Put them on th table!" she commanded. He looked straight into her eyes for an instant and took a sip of his drink.

"If Victa'laslo and the cause mean so much to you, you'll stop at nothing." He took another sip and stared back at her. She went very pale and the hand holding the blaster began to tremble.

"I'll make it easier for you." he said finishing the drink, setting down the glass and coming forward until the barrel of the blaster was almost directly against his chest. The hand holding it began to tremble even more. The Siren's mouth worked as though she were trying to speak but no sound came out. Rikk gently removed the blaster from her hand without resistance and set it aside.

"Oh, Rikk!" she cried and flung her arms around him. "I never thought I would have to see you again." she cried. "I almost died the day you left Parce. If you only knew how much I loved you..how much I still love you. I thought I loved Victa, but it was...oh, Rikk!" He folded his own arms softly around her and cradled her head with a single massive hand.

"How long were you married to him...before we met?"

"Only a few years." she sputtered. "I had been so young and he seemed so...so..." words failed her. "It was soon after we married he had to go into hiding. Nobody knew he had married me, not even our closest friends. It was his way of protecting me. I knew so much about what he was doing." She turned her tear-streaked face upward. He lightly brushed away the two locks of lavender hair above her pottu and gazed into her deep violet eyes.

"And then he was captured." she went on. "Every day that passed was terrible for me. I wanted more than anything to hear some news, any news, but dreaded it. And then it happened. They said he had been killed trying to escape." She buried her face against his chest again. "I had nothing then, not even hope." She looked up again and this time a smile shone through the tears. "But then I met you." she said, reaching up and laying a warm soft hand against his scaly cheek. He brought his own hand up to lay over it.

"But the day before we were to leave Parce," she began and the smile faded, "One of our friends in the underground came to me. He said Victa was still alive. He had made it back to Parce, but he was sick, maybe dying." She choked once more and it was a moment before she could continue. "He was asking for me." she said at last. "I had to go." She drew a deep shuddering breath.

"But I wanted you to leave, to be safe. I was afraid for you, afraid you wouldn't leave if I just left without explaining...only I couldn't explain...so I wrote...I wrote..." She broke down into tears again and Rikk gently guided her out of the office and onto the sofa in his apartment. He eased down beside her and dried her tears with a handkerchief.

"It's still a story without an ending." he said after a long silence. What happens now?" Ilsu'lund was no longer crying, but she looked tired and worn.

"I haven't the strength to leave you again." she replied. "And I can't think now." she added. "You'll have to do the thinking for both of us." She leaned over and rested her head on his chest once again. He leaned his own head presing a cheek against her silky black hair.

"This would be easier if I didn't love you so much." she said smiling. "You'll give Victa the papers now, won't you? You'll help him to leave?"

There was a sudden sharp noise downstairs and they both snapped to attention.

Binro_the_Heretic
24th Aug 2002, 03:14
Chrona's heads peered between the slats of the blind, checking the corridor outside Rikk's.

"I don't think they followed us." said his right head.

Victa'laslo emerged from the shadows clutching his right forearm. Blood trickled from under his hand. Chrona bustled behind the bar, got out a fresh cloth and handed it to him. Chrona watched the siren dress the wound. Victa'laslo was taken up with the task but not so taken up he didn't notice the sudden appearance of Rikk at the entrance to the bar. Chrona, however, was taken totally by surprise when Rikk barked his name.

"S..security. They broke up the meeting." stammered his right head.

"I want you to come with me." said Rikk. "I need you to turn out the light by the rear exit. It might attract them."

"Zasha always turns out that light."

"Tonight he forgot!"

Chrona quickly shuffled from behind the bar and joined Rikk who walked with him into the lounge where they both found Ilsu'lund waiting. Both of Chrona's heads boggled at the sight of her.

"Make sure she gets back to her hotel." Rikk said in a low tone. Both of Chrona's heads nodded dumbly.

"Rikk-" Ilsu'lund began.

"Later." he said and watched as the pair left. He ruturned to the bar and Victa'laslo.

"I hope he's not in trounle for helping me." the siren said. Rikk shook his head and stepped behind the bar.

"Close call?" he asked glancing at the siren's swaddled arm.

"Those two Jarvhann officers were waiting. Security flushed us out and chased me right to them."

"This should come in handy." said Rikk pouring two glasses of strong groulien scotch.

"Is it worth it?" Rikk asked after they both had a sample. "Why do you do it?"

"You may as well ask why I breath." Victa'laslo replied as if the answer were obvious. "If we don't breathe, we die. If we don't fight, the galaxy will die."

"Then it'll be out of its misery." Rikk muttered.

"Are you trying to convince me or yourself?" said Victa'laslo. He took a stiff drink of the scotch and stared Rikk straight in the eye. "We all have a destiny," he said at last, "for good or evil."

"I get the point."

"I wonder if you do. I wonder if you realize what you are trying most to escape from is yourself."

"Can you blame me? I'm not very good company."

"That doesn't seem to matter to Ilsu."

"Don't know what you're talking about."

"That first night we were here, I knew there was something between you two. I don't ask for any explanations or lay any blame. Sometimes things just happen." He finished his drink and set the glass on the bar.

"If you won't give me the marks," he said decisively, "use them yourself. Get Ilsu out of here. Get to Uhmagri space."

"You love her that much?"

"Perhaps you think of me only as the leader of a cause, but I'm also a man. Yes, I love her that much."

The door to the cafe was flung violenty open and a group of Kasvablanka security officers were suddenly in the room, their blasters drawn. Rikk and Victa'laslo leaned casually on the bar, unperturbed.

"Victa'laslo!" barked a gor security officer. "You are under arrest for disturbing the peace and violating station curfew." With great dignity, Victa'laslo stood straight and strode over to them. As he was being escorted out the door, Rikk called after him.

"Seems destiny has taken a hand." said Rikk darkly.

Binro_the_Heretic
25th Aug 2002, 03:35
Rikk sat patiently in Rinnult's office as the slug tapped a few things into a datapad and handed it to a junior security officer. The targ accepted the pad and with a small salute walked briskly out of the office.

"So, Rikk," Rinnult asked, "to what do I owe the pleasure of this visit?"

"I was wondering what you plan to do with Victa'laslo." Rikk replied evenly. Rinnult eyed him with suspicion.

"Well, all we can really do is hold him for a few days and fine him." the slug said.

"You might as well let him go now."

"Rikk, if you're going to try and help him escape-"

"Why would I do that?"

"For one thing, you bet ten thousand E he would escape. For another, you have those marks of transit and don't bother to deny it. Lastly, well, maybe you'd do it just to annoy Stragza."

"All excellent reasons." Rikk replied "But what I really want to do is help you."

"Help me?" Rinnult asked. Rikk leaned forward in his seat and lowered his voice.

"If you were to arrest Victa'laslo in possession of those marks, it would give you every right and a perfect excuse to turn him straight over to Stragza."

"Certainly." said Rinnult, looking more suspiciously at Rikk than ever before.

"I want something in return." Rikk said.

"Go on."

"I want two exit visas, for myself and a friend."

"Why don't you just use the marks?" snorted Rinnult, now looking almost insulted.

"I want to make sure I never see Victa'laslo in Uhmagri space." Rikk replied. The look of disgust on Rinnult's face was replaced by one of puzzlement.

"My travelling companion will be Ilsu'lund." said Rikk and Rinnult's puzzled look was replaced by one of absolute amazement.

"I get Ilsu, Stragza gets his man and you earn the eternal gratitude of the Jarvhann empire." Rikk sat back in his chair. Rinnult seemed stunned for a moment then once again pulled out his whisky and a pair of glasses from the desk drawer.

"There's something I don't understand about this." said Rinnult as he poured the drinks. "Ilsu'lund is quite beautiful, but you've never been interested in any woman."

"She's not just any woman." replied Rikk, accepting the proffered glass.

"Rikk, I am going to miss you." chuckled Rinnult, taking up his own glass. "Apparently, you're the only person on Kasvablanka with fewer scruples than myself."

Binro_the_Heretic
25th Aug 2002, 03:49
If Verari's grin had gotten any wider, the corners of his lips would have touched at the back of his head. Rikk applied his signature to the hardcopy of the contract transferring full ownership of Rikk's Cafe over to Verari.

"I've always given Zamm twenty-five percent." said the gor, handing the papers back to the slug.

"I happen to know you give him ten percent," Verari said, joyfully accepting the papers. "But he's worth twenty-five." He eyed the contract like a child who received as a present a toy he had long wanted.

"Zasha and and Chrona stay." said Rikk.

"Of course!" replied Verari as though it were ludicrous to suggest otherwise. "Rikk's wouldn't be Rikk's without them." He turned his attention back to the papers.

"Ah," he said wistfully, "to go to Uhmagri space. Maybe if the climate here becomes to warm I'll head there myself one day. Who knows, perhaps one day I'll see you there."

"Not if I see you first." said Rikk as he rose and shook hands with Verari.

"Good luck." said Verari, still entranced by the papers before him.

"Don't forget," said RIkk as he turned to go, "you still owe Rikk's a dozen crates of weedicle wine."

"I shall remember to pay it...to myself."

Arctic_Wolf
25th Aug 2002, 04:15
I haven't read any yet except the first bit, its simply to large. Is it okay if I copy it to word and read it when I'm at work?

Binro_the_Heretic
25th Aug 2002, 04:23
Rinnult met Rikk outside the still-closed and therefore deserted cafe.

"They'll be here shortly." said Rikk, quickly ushering Rinnult inside. "I told them to meet me ten minutes before the last shuttle to Lizzbann puts away. Have you got my visas?"

"Right here." said Rinnult, producing a blank pair from the compartment of his hoverswing. "I'll sign them once I have Victa'laslo in custody."

"We''ll be leaving through the side entrance. Make sure you stay out of sight." Rikk said.

"I have to know," began Rinnult, "where were those marks when we searched the place?"

Rikk went to Zamm's piano and popped open a servicing panel. He slid the marks from between two printed circuit boards and held them up for Rinnult to see.

"Serves me right for not being musical." said Rinnult. He turned and left quickly through the side entrance.

Rikk returned to the front door of the restaurant and waited. It wasn't long befor Victa'laslo and Ilsu'lund approached looking anxious and apprehensive.

"My office." said Rikk as he gestured them inside. As Victa'laslo strode ahead, Ilsu'lund lingered beside RIkk.

"He thinks I'm going with him!" she whispered urgently. "Shouldn't we tell-"

"We'll tell him at the port." Rikk interrupted. "The less time to think abut it, the better for everyone." She looked up at him, worried. "Trust me." he said.

"I have the E." said Victa'laslo as they entered the office.

"Keep it." said Rikk. "You'll need it." He reached into his jacket and produced the marks of transit. He handed them to Victa'laslo who tucked them away.

"I owe you more than I can ever repay." the siren said offering a hand to Rikk. "The galaxy owes you as well." he went on.

"Don't thank me yet." replied Rikk, not taking his hand. "Not until we get you off this station. Will you have any trouble on Lizzbann?"

"No, it's all been arranged."

"Good, let's go."

They left through the side entrance. Rikk exited first several paces ahead of the two sirens. They were only a few strides away from the doorway when Captain Rinnult suddenly appeared, a blaster aimed directly at Victa'laslo.

"Victa'laslo!" the slug snapped. "Empty your pockets!" When the siren didn't comply immediately, Captain Rinnult raised the gun a little. Reluctantly, Victa'laslo drew out the two marks of transit and held them up.

"You are under arrest as accessory to the murder of the two Jarvhann couriers those marks were stolen from!" said Rinnult with an air of smug triumph. He saw the siren shoot a contemptuous look at Rikk, who was standing just behind Rinnult. Then the look suddenly changed to one of bewilderment. This made the slug half-turn to see what he was looking at. He saw Rikk standing there...with a blaster aimed directly at him.

Binro_the_Heretic
25th Aug 2002, 04:31
"Drop it." Rikk commanded.

"Have you lost your mind?" asked Rinnult.

"Yes. Now drop it." After a moment's hesitation, th slug let his own blaster fall.

"Call the port." Rikk ordered. "I want to make sure there won't be any trouble. And remember, this gun is aimed directly at your heart."

"My least vulnerable spot." sneered Rinnult as he liffted his commlink. "Hello, port security?" he began. "This is Captain Rinnult. There will be two passengers coming down for the last shuttle. There's to be no trouble for them." He lowered his commlink and glared at Rikk.

"Good." said the gor. "Let's go."

In his hotel room, Stragza stared perplexed at his commlink. He pondered for a moment what Rinnult's odd message might mean. When it finally struck him, he bolted out the door.

Binro_the_Heretic
25th Aug 2002, 04:32
Originally posted by Arctic_Wolf
I haven't read any yet except the first bit, its simply to large. Is it okay if I copy it to word and read it when I'm at work?

Be my guest.

Arctic_Wolf
25th Aug 2002, 04:57
31 A4 Pages! Well done! Though with proper Book format itwould probablybe reduced to around 26. But still, its massive!

Binro_the_Heretic
25th Aug 2002, 04:58
The port sector on the engineering level was practically deserted with the exception of maintenance scuzzers. It was just before curfew and once the shuttle to Lizzbann was away, there would be no other dockings until the curfew lifted six hours later. The group made its way easily to the port itself, Victa'laslo and Ilsu'lund followed by Rinnult followed closely by Rikk.

"I'll take care of these." said Victa'laslo, indicating their bags. He went off to find a scuzzer porter to take them to the luggage chute.

"Time to fill out those visas." said Rikk.

"You think of everything, don't you?" asked Rinnult as he pulled the papers out.

"Fill them out for Victa'laslo and Ilsu'lund." Rikk replied.

"Rikk, no!" said Ilsu'lund urgently. "Last night-"

"Last night, you said I was to do the thinking for both of us, and I have. Do you have any idea what you'd have to look forward to if you stayed? Odds are we'd both be packed off to a Jarvhann detention camp."

"I'm afraid Stragza would insist." agreed Rinnult.

"I'm going to stay here with him until the shuttle is safely gone." Rikk continued. "Victa'laslo needs you. You're part of him. You're the thing that keeps him going. I'm no good at being noble, but it doesn't take a genius to see the problems of three little people don't amount to anything in this galaxy. If that shuttle leaves and you're not on it, you'll regret it. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but soon...and for the rest of your life."

"But what about us?" she asked, tears beginning to well in her eyes.

"We'll always have Parce." Rikk replied tenderly. "We didn't until you came to Kasvablanka. We got it back last night." He stepped back from her and looked up. She turned to se Victa'laslo approaching."

"Use those instead." said Rikk jerking his head towards Rinnult and the now-signed visas. Victa'laslo glanced over them and then graciously handed Rinnult the two marks. The slug accepted them sharply and scowled.

"That's everything, then?" said Victa'laslo, tucking the visas away and taking Ilsu'lund's hand.

"Not quite." said Rikk. "You said you knew about Ilsu'lund and me. What you didn't know was that she came to my place last night. She wanted the marks. She tried everything to get them from me. For your sake, she even tried to pretend things weren't over between us. I let her pretend, but it was all over with a long time ago."

They all stood silent for a moment. Ilsu'lund drew close to Victa'laslo and tried to hide the tears. A public address announced the last call for the Lizzbann shuttle.

"Welcome back to the fight." said Victa'laslo, again offering his hand to Rikk who shook it this time. "This time, I know we'll win." said the siren.

The pair turned and walked away from Rikk and Rinnult. They stepped onto the port lifting platform. Ilsu'lund's knees seemed to weaken. She clutched at Victsa'laslo who wrapped his own arms around her for support. She laid her head on his shoulder as the domed iris closed over them.

Binro_the_Heretic
25th Aug 2002, 05:42
"I suppose you know this isn't going to be pleasant for either of us." said Rinnult. "I'll have to arrest you, of course." He eyed Rikk's blaster warily even though the gor had lowered it to his side.

"After the shuttle is gone." Rikk replied flatly. The lights on the port pylons went from green to yellow. The ship would be departing soon. Just then, Stragza came rushing up looking furios. His own blaster was drawn and he looked ready to kill.

"Where is Victa'laslo?" he snarled.

"On the shuttle." replied Rinnult calmly.

"Why aren't you stopping him?" the Jarvhann bellowed.

"Why don't you ask Rikk?"

Stragza di not ask Rikk. Instead, he drew up his commlink. He was just about to speak into it when Rikk raised his own blaster again.

"Drop it." he growled.

For a brief, tense moment, the two gors stared daggers at one another. Stragza made a sudden movement and the silence was broken by blaster fire. Stragza's beam shot mere millimeters past Rikk's cheek. Stragza himself lay motionless on the deck with a smoking hole in his chest. Rikk lowered his weapon again. He and Rinnult stared down at the body until a pair of security officers came running up with their own blasters drawn.

"Major Stragza has been killed." said Rinnult matter-of-factly. He glanced over at Rikk and paused.

"Round up the usual suspects." he said, turning back to the officers.

The targ security officer called on her commlink and had Stragza's body beamed off the deck. The groulien security officer called on his commlink for security control to begin the usual roundup of vagrants, suspicious persons and pretty girls. After they had walked away, the lights on the port pylons burned red and Rikk hear the dull hollow boom of the mooring clamps disengaging. The shuttle was off and away.

"Not only are you a sentimentalist," began Rinnult, "you've become a patriot."

"Seemed a good time to start." Rikk replied.

"Perhaps you're right."

They both turned and walked back to the lift. They made it back to the recreational deck in time to se, through the massive viewport of the gallery across from them, the Lizzbann shuttle blazing it's way through the perpetual night of pace, bound for the hyperspace jump point. Rikk watched it until the rotation of the station cut it off from view. He and Rinnult glided quietly down the empty corridor.

"Rikk, I think it might be a good idea for you to get off Kasvablanka for a while."

"I could use a vacation."

"I might be induced to write up a visa for you."

"You still owe me ten thousand E."

"Should be enough to cover our expenses."

"Our expenses?" Rikk chuckled slightly. "I think this could be the beginning of a beautiful friendship."









The End

Binro_the_Heretic
26th Aug 2002, 00:29
I just re-read the whole thing and realized a piece had been removed!

There was a part after Rikk heard Zamm playing his and Ilsu'lund's song that got cut out.

I know it was posted, why was it removed?

Meddling Grey
6th Sep 2002, 23:55
Hurrah! That was a great story, even if a piece is missing. I personally didn't notice any gaping plot holes, probably because I was too busy enjoying reading. I wonder why part of it would be removed, though. Perhaps it was unsuitable for podlings under the age of- well, whenever they learn to read. Or maybe it's a dreadful conspiracy by the mods to-

<goes silent as Alpha walks by>

Hmm. Lots of mods around. I know! I'll speak in code. The ods-may are rying-tay to estroy-day the niverse-uay by oving-may your ory-stay, kay-oay? Ight-ray. Heh, that ught-oay ool-fay em-thay. H-uay h-oay! I an't-cay op-stay! Elp-hay e-may!