Canto Sixty – The Bonehead
Light suddenly blared into the prison pit with a brightness that sledge-hammered the skull of anyone and everyone who had eyes. From pitch dark to bright light in practically no time at all. The optic nerves had no time to adjust, let alone the reactions of an intelligent brain.
“We are landing!” called out a Galtorrian voice that Farbick had not heard before. “Now is the time to be free of that prison.”
“Okay,” said Farbick carefully, “does that mean you are setting us free? Or are you just asking us to come out so you can kill and eat us?”
“We don’t trust Senator Tedhkruhz to allow us to survive for very much longer. You were right to point out to us that we are not helping ourselves by helping him.”
“And you let me live when you could’ve killed me, Stabharh,” said the voice of the guard from before. “We kinda owe you for that… I do, anyway.”
“Yes, what is up with that, Stabharh? First you betray your precious Bahbahr, and then you try to convince us to do the same with Tedhkruhz?” It was the first voice again.
“Slahshrack, is that you?” asked Stabharh.
“Of course it is, you fool. Who else knows you well enough to question your actions… especially the changes from your old ways?”
“It is Slahshrack,” Stabharh said to Farbick with a sudden toothy grin. “We went to Galtorrian Centurion School together to learn to become generals.”
Slahshrack and the guard helped all three prisoners out of the hole.
“There are only two of us that will help you,” Slahshrack said directly to Stabharh. “No one else trusts anyone else aboard the Bonehead. Helping one another is against Tedhkruhz’s rules, and gets you turned into dinner. Most of the Galtorrian soldiers who are left alive are not really capable of thinking for themselves. But I am, and Goahnahd is as well. That’s why he told me about your plans.”
“I’m very glad he did, and you came back to let us out,” said Farbick.
Slahshrack glared at the Telleron. “We wouldn’t have believed it if Stabharh hadn’t stayed in the prison pit. It made me believe he really had changed. If you had just killed Goahnahd and escaped the pit I would’ve killed you as worthless minions of the Galtorrian system.”
“You don’t believe in the system any more, Slahshrack?” Stabharh asked.
“Of course I don’t. Tedhkruhz is more conceited and ruthless and corrupt than fat old Bahbahr could ever have been. But I couldn’t go it alone. And now, Stabharh, with you as an ally, we can make the world our own. Tedhkruhz has the last working space ships and the last living army on the planet. If we slay the great dragon, then we can easily become the next great dragon.”
Suddenly the entire space craft crashed into a large, domed building. It had finally come down to the planet. Unfortunately, the damage and violence to the craft probably guaranteed that it would never lift off again.
“What happened?” asked Farbick. “Why have we crashed?”
“Well…” said Slahshrack, “we kinda started this rebellion by killing the pilots.”
Farbick was beginning to feel a little queasy in the craw. He pulled Starbright to him and folded her in his sucker-tipped arms and fingers.