Canto 87 – The New Star League (the Multi-colored Thread)
Ged was still a bit stunned when he made his way the next morning to the meeting in Shen Ming’s Hall. But he knew it was going to be important as Shen Ming claimed to know nothing at all about it, which always turned out not to be true, and Tkriashav said it was about the direction the Prophecy would take next.
He entered the Masters’ Study to find Shen Ming sitting behind the desk, contemplating the desktop with his off-kilter stare. Tkriashav stood behind him with his arms crossed, looking disgustedly at the two guests standing before them. One was a clownish-looking fool in a scout uniform. The other was a young boy wearing tights that bore the insignia of Tron Blastarr’s Outpost.
“So, Liz was right. A scout ship has come to Gaijin.”
“You knew about the prophecy?” Tkriashav asked him.
“Not until she told me about it last night.”
“Did she tell you this little incident will require the founding of the New Star League?”
“No, she must’ve forgotten about that part.”
“We should kill her, Ged. She’s a spy for the Imperium. We don’t know who she’s meant to help in the working out of the prophecy.”
“But she’s the mother of my son.”
“Ah, gave you the egg, did she?” said Shen Ming with a grin that could kill a bear.
“Oh, for heaven’s sakes, Shen-sensei!” swore Tkriashav with a very mild swear. “Why do you insist on never telling me about the things you read in the prophecy?”
“For one who can read minds, you really don’t understand much about thoughts and feelings, I fear.”
Tkriashav’s glare had shifted fully to the back of Shen Ming’s spotty old head.
“Ah, so you must be Ged Aero, the famous White Spider of Prophecy.” The clown in the scout uniform wiggled his thick, black eyebrows weirdly.
“Who’s asking?” Ged asked.
“I am Captain Spaulding, the African Explorer.”
“No, you’re not,” said the boy. “You are going by the name of Bill the Postman.”
“Oh, right, right. It’s hard to forget sometimes. And easy to disremember.”
“Since when does the Imperium send messages and videos to Gaijin?” asked Tkriashav. “Gaijin is an unknown planet to the Imperial Scout Service.”
“The ISS don’t pay me enough to come here. Fortunately, the Star Nomads do.”
“Star Nomads?” Tkriashav asked.
“The Star Nomads? What are they?” Ged echoed the Psion.
“I thought you knew everything, old Zaranian spooky-dude. The boy can explain later. He’s a gift to Ged Aero from Tron Blastarr and the Magnificent Wanderer.”
“A boy is a gift to me?” Ged didn’t like the idea of people as property, let alone as gifts.
“Oh, not quite a boy. Take your head off and show them, Tiki.”
To Ged’s horror, the child peeled all the flesh and hair off his head, revealing a silver face that looked like Artran if it weren’t bald and made of metal.
“You are a Metaloid?”
“Yes,” said Tiki. “Your Metaloid from now on, Ged-sensei.”
“Even programmed with Gaijinese honorifics, he is.” Shen Ming smiled at the child as he put his head back on. “You will accept this boy, Ged, as a gift to the White Spider and an honor to own.”
Ged nodded consent, since he really had no other choice.
“Now we need to settle some details about the New Star League,” insisted Tkriashav.
“Like what, for instance?”
“Well, we have worlds to sign an alliance with to finally form the League.”
“Well, I was thinking of proposing Gaijin itself as the capitol world. Then there is the world you still own at Don’t Go Here.”
“I don’t really own that world. It’s a democracy now.”
“Yes, as is the world of Zarane which I have already secured in an alliance.”
“Three worlds against a thousand?”
“We also have treaties in our possession with the former Psion world of Phoebus IV. Tron Blastarr has pledged the forces and star system of Outpost, as Razor Conn has the system of Dancer. We may still take back the world of White Palm. And we have word that Duke Ferrari now reigns over Farwind.”
“So, seven worlds… maybe eight.”
“Against a thousand.”
“Well, minus Dancer, Farwind, and White Palm, so more like 997.”
“Ah, comforting that sounds,” remarked Shen Ming.
“You will go with this Bill the Postman today as he leaves here?” Ged asked.
“Yes, as I seem to have no choice by the Prophecy,” answered Tkriashav. “Although it makes me worry to leave with this scout whose strange mind I cannot read.”
“Are you suggesting, sir, that I have no mind to read?” asked Bill who was really Scarpigo Snarcs but had first claimed to be Captain Spaulding.
“Certainly not. But you are not human. You are some sort of time-traveling being.”
“Ah, my mind is an open book, then,” said Bill Spaulding-Snarcs. “You just have to live with the fact that all the pages in it are blank.”
“You see what I mean about him not being human?”
“Yes. Where will you go?”
“What other choice is there? I must go back to Don’t Go Here. And when I go there, I must work out plans for the New Star League with Frieda. Ancient Technology has a large part to play in the Prophecy going forward.”
“At least you don’t have to go to Don’t Go Here alone,” offered Shen Ming with an inscrutable grin.
“Who is going with me?” Tkriashav seemed startled, an unusual state for one who reads minds so easily.
“Lizard Lady,” said Ged. “The Prophecy told her to leave too, just as it told you.”
“That’s a good sign,” said Shen Ming. “You are going to a planet called Don’t Go Here with a woman you would rather not go with in a space ship piloted by a man with a mind like a book with blank pages in it. Poetic to say the least.”
“And the least said, the better,” said Scarpigo-Bill Spaulding. “If you ask me, that is.”