Canto 10 – Planetfall
Once back at the docking port on Frieda, Ged noticed that the new space ship Goofy had asked Frieda to make was gone. His concern spiked like an EKG from a surviving victim of electrocution.
“Calm down, Ged,” soothed Ham. “Goofy is unpredictable, but he hasn’t gotten me killed yet.”
“You know what he’s doing, don’t you?”
“He’s going after those artifacts the alien computer was talking about.”
“Ham! Ancient devices with unfathomable powers? In the hands of a pyromaniac and lunatic? Don’t you see what comes next?”
“Well,” said Ham, looking down at his spaceship controls, “I do kinda see a disaster looming, if that’s what you mean.”
“Exactly what I mean!”
“Oi believes ye need to track yer shipmate down, what?” offered Sinbadh.
In minutes the Leaping Shadowcat was docked and the three teammates were aboard Frieda. In the main control room, they found the Nebulon Princess in a red jumpsuit, her small son sitting on the floor at her feet. She smiled beautifully at Ham as the two brothers entered the room.
“I… am… free…” she announced in halting, yet clear Galactic English.
“Ah… Good,” said Ged. “Goofy at least started the task I set him.”
“I… am… love…” added the Princess cryptically, moving directly toward Ham.
“Err… What?” stammered Ham.
“Oi thinks ye have an admirer, me bucko!” said Sinbadh helpfully.
The Princess reached up to touch one of Ham’s blond curls. “Nebulonin?” she cooed.
“Wha…? No. Human! Definitely Earther. I just have yellow hair.” Ham pinched the skin on the back of his right hand. “See, no blue!”
“Yes, blue…” she said smiling.
“Oh, what does that mean?” Ham blushed furiously.
“Your Nebulon slave girl has been set free by Trav,” supplied Frieda. “She means she is grateful. Your on-board library suggests she suffers from something called Stockholm Syndrome. She believes she is in love with you because you were her captors, but have been nice to her. She was apparently violated numerous times by those who held her hostage in the Imperium.”
“Erm, thank you, Frieda.” Ham said.
“Frieda,” said Ged, as if he had at that moment realized something, “Where did Trav Dalgoda go?”
“I supplied him with coordinates to find the Hammer on the surface of the planet. He went down there to find it.”
“I knew it!” swore Ged. “We have to beat him to the thing! Come on, guys! We go now!”
“Can we leave the Princess here?” asked Ham nervously as the Nebulon girl looked at him lovingly.
“Sinbadh? Can we trust that your corsair friends won’t come back?”
“Nah. Them buccaneers is moighty unpredictable like.”
“Everybody goes aboard the Shadowcat, then,” said Ged.
“Dang!” swore Ham as the Nebulon Princess took one hand, and her little boy took hold of the other.