Canto Thirty-Seven – On the Moonbase of Gundahl
Starbright used the material synthesizer to make a wide variety of synthetic meat dishes. Tellerons really didn’t care for that sort of protein-heavy fare, but if the synthesizer had not run out of molecules in the storage bin, the little lizard people would’ve eaten until they burst like over-filled balloons. As it was their little lizard bellies were round and stuffed to the point of hurting on the synthetic meat and Skoog gravy. The lizard children all curled up in satisfied but stomach-achy balls on the control center floor and drifted off into hibernation-like slumber.
“Now that you fed them into a stupor,” said Farbick, “I will pick up all their weapons, and we are in control of the situation at last.”
“You don’t fight fair,” growled Stabharh the violent little lizard man. “You are not supposed to win the battle by feeding my troops into a coma. There was no blood and death and drama. Where’s the glory in that?”
“I don’t think we were looking for glory,” said Starbright. “Victory for us is staying alive… and possibly finding a new place for our people to live.”
“Not here!” protested fat Bahbahr. “This moon is my sacred property, legally purchased with the blood of slaves and warriors, and owned by me and my family for all time.”
“You have family?” asked Stabharh surprised.
“Well, not any more. Senator Tedhkruhz probably ate them when he took over Predator’s Preserve and all the military bases I owned on that sub-continent.”
“What about these children?” asked Farbick. “Were you going to share this place with them?”
“No,” said the fat overlord, “we were planning to eat them, since we are running out of edible food all over the planet. These are all merely low-class slaves and chattel. I might’ve saved a female or two to fertilize eggs with… there don’t seem to be any other living nobility besides Tedhkruhz and Rekhpahree and a handful of their kin.”
“Those young soldiers still belong to my command,” growled Stabharh. “You will turn them over to me when you let us out of here.”
“What if we don’t?” asked Farbick. “We could put the two of you down on the planet with the force-field box you are trapped in. We could keep this Moonbase for ourselves, and let Harmony Castille teach these lizard-tadpoles some manners.”
Bahbahr howled incoherently at that.
“What kind of mind-control device is a Harmony Castille?” asked Stabharh. “Especially one that is strong enough to control lizard brats that I have trained as killers? It would take a very powerful force.”
“Harmony calls it Christian Bible-teaching,” said Starbright with a shrug. “I have noticed it has the power to make Tellerons feel shame and self-loathing. And it can apparently also help any species to care about one another in a self-less way. I’d say that was pretty powerful mind control.”
“Well, you better hope it works at a distance,” sneered Stabharh. “You see that monitor over on the control panel? The one with the blinking red warning lights?”
“Yes,” said Farbick, suddenly concerned. “What does it mean?”
“One of Senator Tedhkruhz’s space battle cruisers is headed here to destroy this moon for all time.”
“That can’t be good,” sighed Starbright. “How do you know that that is who it is?”
“Because only Tedhkruhz still has working space ships, and you lot stupidly allowed one of them to survive its encounter with us. He obviously figured out who we were and where we were going in spite of your lah-dee-dah invisibility cloaking field.”
Stabharh’s evil smirk was loathsome and foul to look at, Farbick thought. Even serpents on Telleri, the really big ones, weren’t as horrid to look at as this reptile was. Even if he was about to die right along with Farbick and Starbright, Farbick knew this lizard-man was going to enjoy whatever happened next.