Canto Fifty-One – On the Operations Deck of the Star Ship Bone Head
The forty-two Galtorrian soldiers stood at parade rest. Tedhkruhz in his ghastly purple robes stood quietly watching as two more soldiers led Farbick, Starbright, Stabharh, and Bahbahr out into the operations deck in manacles.
“Ah, Bahbahr, my friend, we meet again… but for the last time,” said Tedhkruhz in an oily voice that was so oily you could lubricate six Earther car engines with the vowels alone.
“You have won… I don’t deny it,” said a defeated Bahbahr with tears still rolling down his fat cheeks.
“Yes. I have won. And as the victor, it is my privilege to execute you now.”
Bahbahr hung his fat head and cried more freely.
“You know, it is my prerogative as his security chief,” said Stabharh, “to be executed before my master.”
“Oh, yes. We will be quite happy to oblige,” said Tedhkruhz while swinging the gun around to point at Stabharh.
“Wait a minute,” said Stabharh. “It is my prerogative. Doesn’t that mean that I can also choose to not be executed first?”
“Well, now, maybe you have a point there, Stabharh,” said Tedhkruhz, leaking more oil out of his corrupted personality. “What do you think men? Do we let the security lizard make that particularly disloyal sort of choice?”
“Of course not, sir,” replied a junior officer. “Execute him first.”
“Even though Stabharh is scrawny with far less meat on his bones?” wheedled Tedhkruhz. “Remember, Bahbahr alone has enough bulk to feed us all for a few days before we have to kill and eat anybody else.”
“Okay, Farbick, help me out here,” said Stabharh. “Surely there is something in all of that which you can use to start something brewing.”
Farbick was surprised. Stabharh was throwing the figurative basketball to him now? What did the lizard man expect him to do? Talk the oily Grandpa Munster-lizard into killing himself?
“Surely you can point out to these warriors that Tedhkruhz once had a crew of hundreds aboard his flag ship, the Bone Head. And then you could ask them what happened to all the rest? Why are there only forty-four of them left?”
“Yes, what did happen to all the rest?” asked Farbick nervously.
“Some of them died in battle…” said a young warrior.
“And we ate them after they died,” said another lizard warrior.
“And we ate some of the rest because we were starving,” said a third.
“But who picked the ones to be eaten?” asked Farbick, beginning to form a plan. “Did they volunteer?”
“Of course not,” answered another lizard-warrior. “Tedhkruhz always selected them.”
The Senator’s dimpled smile had disappeared completely. He grabbed a warrior’s weapon and fired a shot directly into Bahbahr’s head. “I truly believe that that is enough thinking for one day. You troopers do not want to tax your brains over-much. Look at all the meat we now have.”
“Let’s cook him immediately,” said a lizard-warrior in an ugly hat that Farbick assumed must be a cook’s hat.
“Yes, let’s,” said Tedhkruhz, smiling again. “And put the three prisoners back in the pit until the meat runs out. No sense in letting anything spoil before we get to it.”
The lizard warriors dragged the no-longer blubbering mound of carcass that had been Bahbahr away. He was obviously headed to the cook pots.
“That didn’t go like I thought,” said Stabharh to Farbick as the soldiers grabbed the manacles of all three prisoners.
“What were you actually thinking?” asked Farbick. But before the small lizard-man could answer, Farbick noticed Tedhkruhz looking at him. The Grandpa Munster grin was definitely gone. And was that a look of fear in his eyes? Fear as he looked at Farbick?