Canto Sixty-Five – The Arboretum
Sizzahl and the two naked Morrells had moved to the arboretum’s central control panel to look at security programs. Brekka and Lester, accompanied by the baby buds, were watching for anyone else who might enter.
“Can you find him on a security camera?” Alden asked. “He has to be somewhere near.”
“I used the Telleron invisibility cloak to disappear. My fake Uncle Makk couldn’t possibly know where I went.”
“No defenses are left?” Gracie asked.
“Well, the fake Uncle Makk did take the security robots out just like the real Uncle Makk would’ve been able to.”
“That doesn’t take any of the worries away,” said Alden.
“Sizzahl!” shouted Brekka suddenly. “look above you!”
As Sizzahl and the Morrells looked up, the armored lizard man dropped out of the ceiling supports from a hundred feet above. He landed completely unhurt on the gravel walkway and stood up straight in front of Sizzahl.
“I told you I could track you,” Makkhain said. Then he stabbed Sizzahl in the chest with his glittering knife close to where a human from Earth would have a heart. The lizard girl grabbed the gushing wound and pitched forward into his arms.
“No!” shouted Alden, jumping at Makkhain from the left.
“You monster!” shouted Gracie from his right.
He simply kicked Alden into a senseless heap at his feet and knocked Gracie down with a sweep of his lizard tail. He cradled the wounded and probably dying Sizzahl in his arms.
“What have I done?” Makkhain said aloud.
“I think you have killed me, Uncle Makk,” Sizzahl answered. She closed her eyes and went limp in his arms.
“We are gonna kill you and eat you!” Brekka cried from the safety of Lester’s viney tendrils. “Lester, I mean. Lester is gonna eat you.”
“Maybe I can still save her.” The lizard man pulled some kind of medical kit out of pants pocket. He fished out some kind of aerosol spray and sprayed it into the gaping hole in Sizzahl’s chest. Then he took some kind of electronic device the size and shape of the egg of an Earth chicken and pressed that against Sizzahl’s throat. The silent lizard girl suddenly popped awake.
“Ah! Why did you do that, Uncle Makk? I was headed for my father and mother. Now I am hurting terribly!”
“Stabbing you changed something in my head. Tedhkruhz’s programming is no longer in control. I now feel like your real uncle. I now want to save you if I can.”
“First you kill me, and then you try to fix it?”
“I know I’m not physically your real uncle, Sizzahl. But in my head, I am still your Uncle Makk, and I still love you more than any other Galtorrian I know. Can you forgive me?”
“Of course I can. But if I die, you have to promise to take care of this world of ours.”
Alden pulled himself groggily up into a sitting position. Gracie went to him and put her arms around him.
“After what you did, you expect us to believe you are on our side now?” Alden asked with a glare that could melt frozen steel beams.
“No, naked little Skoog monkey, you don’t have to believe anything about me. You don’t have the power to change anything. You must rely on me for that now.”
“Please, save Sizzahl,” pleaded Gracie. “No matter what it costs us.”
“I will. And I won’t let it cost you anything.”
“No way am I ever trusting you again,” said Alden.
“Yes, I don’t expect you to.”
Brekka, Lester, and all the baby blossoms looked on with doubtful eyes… and doubtful blossoms that had no eyes, but somehow also saw.