Canto 40 – Sad Tidings at the Spaceport
When the space ship called Megadeath, the Rock and Roll Starship, docked at the now prosperous spaceport of the planet Don’t Go Here, they interrupted a solemn ceremony. Administrator Bam-Bam Salongi was about to be buried in space. His body, encased in a glass torpedo pod, was on display in Frieda’s central administration hub. The relatively new crew of the space port was gathered around for testimonials and remembrances.
Frieda’s Metalloid form stood guard over the office. The Dion girl named Taquira was kneeling by the foot of the makeshift coffin and Tabitha Blue Arrow, in Lady Knight armor, stood over the head of Bam-Bam’s final resting place.
Xavier Tkriashav entered the office first, shock registering on his dark, inscrutable face. Behind him stood Captain Tommy Lee, Pilot Vince Niell, Nikki Sixx, and slack-jawed Cold Death. All removed hats and became silent mourners.
“What has happened here?” asked Tkriashav.
“Fez Amin and the Monopoly Brigade,” said Frieda. “He came here and killed Mr. Salongi and kidnapped Tara. We killed one of his Lieutenants, but he used Tara as a shield to make his escape. I’ve tried to organize pursuit, but we lost him completely in the Imperium.”
“We should not have left you vulnerable to attack,” said Tkriashav, shaking his head.
“We were unprepared for treachery,” said Tabitha, the Lady Knight. “It will not happen again.”
“We have ships now to defend our home,” said the Dion, Taquira. “We just don’t have any pilots to fly them.”
“We are outward bound now, to places where I know we will find a large number of willing spacers ready to come here and help get that problem solved, at least,” said Tkriashav. “I have places to go where I know all kinds of Psions. We might even see if we can strike an accord with the Nebulons we believe are migrating in mass towards this part of the Orion Spur.”
“You know,” said Tabitha, “you are opening your arms to all the peoples the Imperium loathes?”
“Yes,” said Tkriashav. “That was the idea. All us rejects will band together to make something far better than what Imperial Space has to offer.”
“You are a hopeless idealist, Psion Master,” said Tabitha Blue Arrow.
“Does that mean you will leave us and go back to the Imperium?” he responded.
“Of course not,” replied the Lady Knight. “We need idealists as leaders. It’s the reason I joined Cloudstalker’s Corsairs to start with.”
“You are good man, Psion Master,” hissed Taquira the Dion. She switched her brown lizard’s tail. “We like you a lot!”
“Tara wanted us to tell Ged Aero that she loves him,” said Frieda. “I fear those may have been the last words we’ll ever have from her.”
“I will have some students I have to deliver to Ged on Gaijin,” said Tkriashav. “I will tell him the grave news.”
An emerald-green female Galtorrian walked into the main office at that moment. “Ged Aero, you sssay?” she hissed. She was beautiful in a serpentine way, snake-eyed and tressed with flowing green hair. She wore the uniform of the Imperial Scout Service. “I must find Ged Aero.”
All eyes turned suspiciously to her.
“Why do you seek Ged?” asked Tkriashav.
“I must find the fulfiller of the Prophecy of Zhan! I have sssearched for him for yearsss. I mussst find him if it costssss me my life!”
“We shall see. You will surrender all weapons and travel with me under guard,” said Tkriashav.
“Yesss, whatever I mussst do. But, I mussst find him before hisss enemiesss do.”
The pheromones she gave off at that moment made every male present feel as if he must fall in love with her. Xavier couldn’t help himself from feeling it too. He tried to probe her, but she was apparently a Psion too, though not a type he recognized.