48) A Cold Chill

Biltar and Edyn peered out through the transparency of the Kultaki scout craft. The yellow sand dunes of Tarsenay stretched to the horizon. High above – Miraba loomed in the sky. Portions of the planet were shrouded in darkness. The erupting volcanos had dumped volumes of dust and smoke into the atmospere. Weather patterns had been disrupted and some areas were engulfed in torrential rains while others wilted under tormenting heat.”Well,” said Anadia, “Pheledra is having success. Boots and Orange have been rescued and are now on board the Firefly. The droids are planning to retrieve Red from the lake bottom. As soon as they get Red, she’ll take the Firefly back up into orbit and wait for us to complete our mission. Meanwhile, when we’re sure the coast is clear, we will go down to Penyat and get those energy devices. So far, I have not been able to locate Fryd. He may be dead but we won’t know for sure until we get there.”

“He lived close to where the devices are hidden,” said Biltar, “maybe someone there will know what happened to him. If he is still breathing, those energy devices will be his number one priority. I still have hope.”

“I pray you can get together with your old colleagues,” said Edyn, “it is so inspiring to work with those you have come to know and trust.”

Cobishandra looked excitedly at the instruments. “There’s a scout craft moving over the horizon. It’s got a fix on us.”

“That can only mean one thing,” said Ana, staring at the monitors, “Lance has sent someone to get us.”

“Get us?” Cobi was breathless.

“We’ve got to be ready for combat,” said Ana, “there’s no losing them now. They’ll know every move we make and be right on our tail.”

“Look,” said Biltar, “I really don’t know what ‘combat’ means in these circumstances, but I suggest we postpone it as long as possible and go full steam ahead with the mission. If they try to interfere or come too close, we’ll have to stand and fight but we might be able to get a lot accomplished first.”

“No,” said Cobi, remembering the sudden loss of Ana’s hand and arm, “I can’t just wait for someone to attack me unexpectedly. I say we should seek them out, blast them now and be done with it.”

“You have a good point there,” said Ana, “if we go on the offensive, it might surprise them by taking them off guard.”

“Whatever you two feel comfortable with,” shrugged Biltar, “I’m for whatever will get those energy devices distributed across Miraba as soon as possible.”

“Sometimes the best defense is a sudden offense,” Edyn added.

“That’s right,” said Anadia, “we can’t have someone out there trying to kill us while we’re completing our mission.”

“Let’s get on it then,” Biltar replied, “just tell me what to do. I’m a complete novice, as you know.”

“Me too,” said Edyn, “I learned a lot among the Frahza but combat wasn’t on the curriculum.”

“Keep watch,” said Ana.

“Be good observers,” added Cobi.

Over the horizon, at low altitude above Tarsenay, Colonel Tordine adjusted his instruments and monitors. “Just scare them,” Lance had said – and that’s exactly what he intended to do.

This is going to be fun, he mused, I’ll zoom in toward them, fire a couple of shots over their heads and chase them around a bit. Being inexperienced women they will panic at the first sign of any danger.

Colonel Toridne moved his craft in closer.

Cobi did a quick scan to pick up the energetic signatures of the threatening craft’s occupants and said, “Ana, it’s Colonel Tordine and he is alone.”

“Oh, Colonel Tordine, is it? What an evil bastard he is. He was laughing when Lance thrust my arm into the meat grinder.”

Ana and Cobi decided to use the hologram trick again. This time, they produced a hologram around the scout craft, threw up their full shields, cloaked and escaped out the back way. Before Colonel Tordine realized that the real ship was gone, it uncloaked right in front of him, dropped all its shields and prepared to fire. The Colonel scrambled to fire his energy cannons – but it was too late. A blast exploded in front of him throwing his craft up into the air and out of control. It came down hard on Tarsenay. All the monitors and communication instruments were knocked out and the craft was slightly damaged but still intact and functional.

Both Kultaki women rippled with flames of color and shrieked with victory.

“Good shot, Cobi!” shouted Ana, “you burned his ass but didn’t kill him! Now, Lance will know we mean business but won’t feel obliged to take vengence!”

“Fantastic work!” Edyn exclaimed.

“Really magnificent,” said Biltar, “I’m sure glad we’re on the same side!”

Everyone laughed as they streaked toward Miraba.

Colonel Tordine was glad to be alive but very afraid. It took him thirty zerons to stop shaking. Then, he changed his soiled pants, doctored the huge bruise on his forehead and headed his scout craft back to rejoin the others and reluctantly give his report to the Ambassador.

“Oh … the vacuum of space next to bare skin,” he whispered with a cold chill.

CONTINUE: 49) Friend Fryd

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