Canto 70 – Frying Pans and Fires (the Green Thread)
Hooey, King Killer, and another Pinwheel Corsair known as Willie Culver knelt in rags and chains on the cold metal deck of the Bregohelma. Wormheart Toadsucker rubbed rubbery white hands together with glee over them.
“Pirates are you? Fearsome are you? Killed many men, have you?” crooned Toadsucker. “It will not help you now. The master has you in his power. You are doomed. DOOMED!” The ugly sycophant cackled in a particularly ugly way.
“Charming company we’re keeping,” King remarked to Hooey.
“We have to put up with him in order to get where we are going,” said Hooey matter-of-factly.
“Jeez,” said Willie Culver, “we’re gonna die and you guys are making jokes!” Willie’s young face was contorted with fear.
“Well,” said King, “I guess it’s because I wanta die, and the Doctor here believes we can’t no matter what we do. You know, Willie, he’s a Time Knight and supposedly knows the future.”
“I know seven of them, as a matter of fact,” said the good doctor. “It’s just a matter of making sure we arrive at the correct one.”
“And what did Sheherry mean right before she died?” added King.
“About what, exactly?” asked Hooey.
“She said to take care of our children. She’s dead. We don’t have any children, nor ever will have!”
“Oh, well… You have to find out some time… You actually have three children, all boys. All three of them are growing up in the distant past, safe places where they can be retrieved at the proper time.”
“What?” King was stunned.
“Sheherazade knew she was going to sacrifice herself to save you. I showed her the video of the possible outcome of the battle. She decided to have three children by you in the short time she had available to her. That’s why I had to take her in my time ship to give birth three different times within the space of a week here in this timeline.”
“I have three boys?”
“The eldest she named Prince. The younger two are Terran and Sejii. She told me where and when I am supposed to pick up each of them and hand them over to you.”
“Let’s find them right now!” King’s face was red and hot. The chords in his neck bulged with emotion.
“Well… We sorta hafta get back to my time ship first. That’s going to take a while.”
“Yeah, especially if we die,” said Willie.
“Oh, we aren’t gonna die,” said Hooey. “I have an ace in the hole yet.”
At that moment, Brona Tang entered the Brig.
“So, Bad Guy in red armor, what will you do to us now?” said King with a perilous grin.
“Oh,” said the electronically enhanced voice, “I thought about putting you all to death, but I know from my uncle, Sir Saurol, that you can’t kill a Time Knight without it being the thing he wants you to do. They have some kind of uncanny power over the future. I won’t fall into that trap again. It cost me too much when I killed Shan Sasaki.”
“Ah, so you are the one!” said Hooey, surprised. “I should have known you were the one.”
“I have a much better plan for you three. There is no way you could’ve anticipated being marooned on the prison planet I have in mind. It will mean a long, slow degradation and death.”
“A desert planet, then?” asked Hooey.
“No,” snapped Tang. “I told you that you couldn’t guess. I will take you to the planet Stanley. You can play with the scalies, dinosaurs, and damnthings there. They will be happy to meet and eat you.”
“Oh, gawd!” cried Willie Culver. “No one has ever escaped from there.”
“I welcome it,” said King. “You are giving me just what I want!”
Tang laughed and waves of fear rolled over the three prisoners. “You will languish and live out your days there in terror and pain. Maybe your friend Tron Blastarr will be joining you there. We’ve found his little pirate base at the place he calls Outpost.”
King glared at the armored Admiral. “So, you think you’re gonna beat Tron?”
“Oh, I intend to take my time about it,” said Tang. “I know that Arkin Cloudstalker is making his way there with his allies. I might even trap Conn and the Blackhawks there, destroying all my enemies in one barrel.”
“Dream on,” said King hotly. “Tron and Maggie are the best you’ve ever faced. You give them time to put together the space forces, and you’ll never live to regret it.”
“Ooh! I’m so scared!” said Admiral Tang.
“We’re scared!” mimicked Toadsucker. “We are worried about one-eyed star sailors and their skinny, red-headed wives too! Ricky and Lucy fight the evil Admiral.”
“Shut up, Worm!” Tang backhanded the lowly mutant across his ugly faced and made him sink, weeping, to the deck of the Brig.
“You make me mad,” said King Killer. “In fact, you make me wanta live long enough to escape your stupid prison and pay you back what you’re worth.”
“Rot on Stanley, you ugly monkey. The jungles there will take all three of you in a week.” Tang turned on his armored heel and walked away, his red cape swirling and billowing out behind him.
“We’re gonna die a horrible death,” moaned Willie Culver, tears streaming down his young cheeks.
“Willie, I intend to bring us all three back alive,” growled King. “Just to spite that red bughead. He made me mad!”