Canto 86 – Landing in the Sand (the Blue Thread)
The spaceship known as The Magic Carpet landed gracefully in the desert downport of the planet Djinnistan. But even as graceful as the landing was, clouds of sand were kicked up in all directions.
“That was a beautiful landing,” Arkin Cloudstalker said to the Black Fly. She smiled at him. She was a stunning beauty without the black mask on.
“Thank you, Captain. You see now why the argument about who flies this ship was pointless?”
“Oh, yes. In fact, when this is all over, I want to recruit you to fly with the Lady Knights.”
“Ah, you flatter me, Captain. I am apparently good enough to fly with a troop of space pirates and criminal rim-world scum.”
“You know what I mean,” he said with a laugh, rising from the copilot’s chair on the bridge.
“Captain?” Lazerstone entered the bridge. “We seem to be under siege by a hoard of children of your species.”
“Oh?” Arkin looked out the viewport and down at the monitors. Child-sized humanoids, both male and female, were everywhere. Some were placing weather-clamps on the landing gear. Others were polishing everything they could reach, and with a strange group of what appeared to be robotically animated ladders, there was no surface on the Magic Carpet they couldn’t reach, even if it meant hanging upside down. Some even seemed to be probing at electrical connections with unidentifiable tools.
“Those are Peris, one of the species of Freaks created and mass-produced on this planet.” Black Fly seemed unconcerned at what was happening to her ship.
“Do you think they might break something, or do damage?”
“No. Dr. Bludlust created them with brains more facile than any computer, and much more creative than any human being, even human beings on psychedelics.”
“They are scanning things,” said Lazerstone. “I hope you have no secrets to conceal.”
“Well, scanners don’t read minds. And the ship itself has no real secrets at this planet’s tech level anyway.”
“The point is, they must not scan me. And I can feel some very uncomfortable scanning frequencies already.”
“They can read your mind or something that way, my friend?” Arkin asked.
“No. But they could disrupt me and cause me to explode with the wrong frequency.”
“How big of an explosion?” asked Black Fly.
“Twenty thousand megatons of thermonuclear energy, depending on how many harmonic stones surround us for my death to activate.”
“That sounds like a potential problem,” Arkin said.
“I have the word of a time knight that such an event will not take place,” Black Fly calmly told them.
Three of the small Peri creatures entered the bridge at that moment. One was a boyish male, and two were childlike girls.
“Greetings, travelers. We welcome you to the enchanted planet of Djinnistan. How may we be of service to you?” said the red-haired girl Peri.
“Well, to be honest,” said the Black Fly, “We have come to liberate this planet so that it can join the New Star League.”
“Oh, that sounds very ambitious,” said the boy Peri. “You do realize that you will have to defeat the minions of Dr. Havir Bludlust, right?”
“Yes, and are you sure it is a good idea to tell these natives that we are invading?” Arkin asked Black Fly.
“Oh, of course. These are not so much natives as they are slaves. Many of them not happy with how they were created, exploited, and abused. We will be calling them our army soon enough.”