Canto Fifty-Eight – On the Gundahl Moon
Xiar looked around at the moon base. There was considerable damage to the buildings and the power plant was going to need to be replaced by Telleron Magna-Grav generators. But, unlike the main planet below, the atmosphere on the small, broken moon was breathable and totally conducive to Telleron life. His people were saved. They could thrive here.
Biznap walked up with a young Galtorrian boy trailing in his shadow.
“Can we install an energy shield to protect us from that space craft you mentioned?”
“We can go one better,” said Biznap. “The defensive slug-throwers are still operational here. They have a rail gun set up here that we can electronically enhance and increase the lethal power to levels the Galtorrians cannot match. They will not be able to drive us out.”
“The news pleases me,” Xiar said. He nodded toward the boy. “Who is your young friend?”
“I have appointed Jahzpuhr here the leader of the Galtorrian children on this moon. He is helping us with repair and construction.”
“You will not try to kill and us, will you, Jahzpuhr?” Xiar asked.
“No, sir, Captain Xiar, sir.” The boy looked very much like a scale covered human from Earth, but the tail was definitely a difference. He was dressed in a new cadet uniform made from Telleron synthesizers. “Your people have saved us from death. You are feeding us. We owe you a life-debt and will serve you to the very end.”
“What do you mean?”
“The Galtorrian children we found here are all refugees from the planetary war,” said Commander Biznap. “They were starving to death until Farbick found them and fed them.”
“Our masters were keeping us around so they could eat us when all the food was gone,” said Jahzpuhr. “You have given us more than we could ever have hoped for, and we are grateful.”
“Well, I am just happy you didn’t eat Farbick, or any of us. I do need to take this base for my people, however.”
“The base is not ours, sir, Captain Xiar, sir. It belonged to Overlord Bahbahr the merchant prince. We will evacuate at once if you desire it.” The boy said it with a look in his eyes that told Xiar he was really begging to stay.
“Nonsense. You will stay here and work for us. If you do your jobs well, we will reward you. And you can certainly live here among us. You are all mere children, right? And there is to be no eating of Tellerons?”
“We will be faithful, sir, Captain Xiar, sir.”
“I like how polite you are,” Xiar replied, “and I definitely appreciate the no eating of Tellerons thing… but you don’t have to keep calling me sir, Captain Xiar, sir. Your majesty will be fine… or your ultimate gracious highness… or maybe just Captain. OK?”
“Yes, sir, Captain Xiar, sir.”
“Not a very quick learner, huh, Biznap?”
“No, sir, he is not. None of the lizard children seem particularly bright. But they do work hard and they have some skills in the construction department. They will be useful.”
“And your Earther wife, Harmony, can teach them all that Bible nonsense, eh? Instead of me?”
“She will appreciate more souls to save for Jeezis, or whoever it is,” said Biznap, “but she didn’t let up on me just because she had the rest of you to preach to. She has a sincere faith, and a very large capacity for curing un-taught heathens of their heathen-ness.”
“Is there any way to track them and get them back? Particularly Harmony and Shalar, I mean?”
“I will take a wing and go after them, but knowing Harmony, she will not slow down without finding and rescuing the lost tadpoles first.”
“That’s too bad. I really miss Shalar.”
“And your missing tadpoles too, I suppose?”
Xiar tried to remember which ones those were that they were talking about. “Yes, them too, I suppose.”